Is Baptism an ordinance of the church? I hear Protestants say this all the time. I would appreciate your help!


The word “ordinance” is not in the Bible, so I do not know exactly how to answer a question about a concept which is not clearly in the Bible.  Besides,  I believe the relevant question is not whether baptism is an ordinance of the church, but whether it is taught in the Bible.  The proper question is what does the Bible say on a topic, not what the “church” says on it.  The church does not decide what is true.  It is the Bible which determines what is true.  I have a study I have done on Christian baptism which I am attaching.  You will see from this outline that baptism, biblically, is the point in time when a person is forgiven of sin and receives the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-41, Acts 22:14-16).  Baptism is when a person who is outside of Christ comes into Christ (Romans 6:2-9, Galatians 3:26-29).  Therefore baptism is an essential part of the process by which a person saved.  Baptism Notes

Baptism is an essential of Christianity.    Is it an “ordinance of the Church”?  I do not know. Again, like I said, the word ordinance is not in the Bible.  Here is a definition of the word from the world’s expert on such things, wikipedia:

  1. a piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority.
    “a city ordinance banned smoking in nearly all types of restaurants”
  2. 2.
    An authoritative order; a decree, a law, an injunction, a fiat a command, a ruling or a dictate.

If this is the definition, then an ordinance of the church is a decree of the church.  This is something that denominations have with their published creeds.  I am involved in nondenominational Christianity, personally.  From my perspective, there are no church ordinances–only biblical commands.  I will let you decide how you should think about the idea of ordinances, but I would say that baptism is not a church ordinance, it is an essential biblical command.

John Oakes


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