The Doctrine of Baptism

By Dr. Martin R. DeHann (1891-1965)

       The following information is quoted from pages 28-34 of the excellent work by Dr. M.R. DeHann, titled 508 ANSWERS TO BIBLE QUESTIONS (copyright 1952)...

Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

We do not believe that water baptism adds one thing to our salvation. We are saved by grace and grace alone. It is the command of the Lord for us to testify to our identification in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by being baptized. It is, as far as salvation is concerned, entirely a matter of personal light. if one believes that he should not be baptized, he would, of course, be a hypocrite if he submitted to it. However, if we believe it is for us, we would be displeasing the Lord if we did not do it. The important thing is that we can continue to love one another even though we do not agree on all points in this matter.

Should All Believers Be Baptized?

Yes, we believe it is the duty of every believer to submit to baptism, not as a matter of salvation, but as a matter of obedience. There is no baptism by sprinkling in the Bible. It is always (as the original Greek indicates) by immersion. Water baptism has nothing to do with our salvation, but I do believe it becomes the Christian's duty to submit to it.

Do You Believe That Infants Should Be Baptized?

We believe that baptism must follow conversion. Regarding children, I believe it is good to dedicate infants and children to the Lord, but dedication is not baptism. Dedication is the act of the parent, in which he presents his child to God and assumes responsibility for the training of that child for Him. Baptism, however, is the act of the believer himself, in which he confesses faith in the Lord Jesus who “died for ours sins and rose again for our justification.” ...

Is Infant Baptism Taught in the Bible?

I was born and raised in a church which taught and practiced infant baptism and was the pastor of such a church for four years. Carefully studying my Bible, I found that infant baptism is nowhere taught or even suggested in the Scriptures. It is a doctrine of the church which is certainly not founded upon the Word of God, but is a remnant of Roman Catholicism. There is not a single clear instance of it in the Bible, and no trace of it until three hundred years after Pentecost. It is a wholly unscriptural doctrine of man. I would suggest that you limit your studies more to the Scriptures rather than the doctrinal standards of the church.

Is the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration Scriptural?

Regarding your question, Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16 do not teach baptismal regeneration. You will notice in Acts 2:38 that repentance is mentioned first. Christ and His apostles taught that baptism with water is an ordinance to be obeyed as an outward testimony of an inward change of heart, but they did not teach that one must be baptized in order to be saved. In Acts 22:16 that passage has nothing to do with the matter of water taking away sin. The testimony of Paul is here to give witness to the fact that his sins have been washed away. The literal rendering of this passage is generally accepted as “Now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized as thy sins are washed away, calling on the Name of the Lord.” The thief on the cross never was baptized. Please note Mark 16:16. This text does not say, “He that is not baptized shall be damned (or condemned),” but only “He that believeth not.”

Does the Word “Water” in John 3:5 Mean Baptism? (see note below)

The word, “water,” in John 3:5 refers to the Word of God. This is very clear from the following Scriptures: I Peter 1:23-24; Ephesians 5:26; John 17:17; and Titus 3:5. Symbolically in Scripture “water” speaks of the “Word of God,” and the teaching of John 3:5 is that we are saved by the Spirit's application of the Word of God to our hearts. See I John 5:10. The same is true of John 19:34.

[Note by David J. Stewart, webservant of Jesus-is-Savior.com: I tremendously respect Dr. DeHaan's knowledge of the Bible, but I differ with his opinion about the meaning of “water” in John 3:5. I want to give the reader both opinions so you can pray in your heart and decide for yourself. I believe that the word “water” refers to the physical birth, that is, the flesh. I think this is very clear from what Jesus said in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The Lord contrasts the physical birth to the spiritual birth, which I think clearly evidences the meaning of “water” in John 3:5.]

Is the Lutheran Teaching of Baptism Scriptural?

I have read very carefully what you had to say concerning the Lutheran teaching of baptism. The teaching of baptismal regeneration as taught by the Catholic and Lutheran churches is a denial of the doctrine of salvation by grace.

Who Should Be Baptized?

In regard to your question concerning baptism, let me repeat that water baptism is not a saving ordinance, but rather a blessed privilege on the part of God's children as a testimony for Him. It is a privilege rather than a command. In regard to I Corinthians 1:14, please note that Paul definitely states that he did baptize some of the Corinthians, but because they made it such an issue, he was thankful that he did not baptize any more of them. I believe that a man must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in these matters. If God convicts us of the need of baptism, we are disobedient if we refuse. However, I do not believe that anyone should be baptized who does not fully desire in this way to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the book of Acts, both Jews and Gentiles were baptized as a testimony to their identification to Christ. One can be saved without baptism, but to refuse to be baptized makes one a disobedient believer.

Who Can Perform Baptism?

From the Scripture, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that a special clergyman or preacher must perform baptism. Any born-again believer has the right to baptize another. For the sake of order, I suppose the other method, limiting the right to a certain class, was adopted. ...

I Was Sprinkled As an Infant. Is it All Right for Me to Be Re-Baptized by Immersion?

In regard to your question concerning your re-baptism, I can understand your predicament quite thoroughly, since I too was brought up with a similar church background. I too was sprinkled as an infant, and then later the Lord saved my soul and showed me the truth about Bible baptism. I was re-baptized by immersion as my testimony of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sprinkling is not baptism, and since I considered my so-called infant baptism as merely a dedication, I felt I must submit to immersion after I was saved. We do not believe that baptism adds to our salvation, or makes us fit for heaven. It is only our own personal testimony, and so all I can say is, you just follow the leading of the Lord and do as He convicts you. As far as I personally was concerned, I was re-baptized, but I am the last one to try to force my own convictions upon someone else. ...

Is the Gift of Tongues for This Age?

We believe that according to I Corinthians 13, these special signs ceased when Revelation (the Bible) was completed. It is not a matter of whether God is able to do these things, but entirely a matter of whether they are for this age and dispensation. Tongues together with other miracles were apostolic and ceased with the apostolic age.

Did the Signs and Gifts By Laying On of Hands Cease with the Apostolic Age?

We believe that the signs and gifts were committed by the Lord Jesus to the apostles and they were definitely apostolic gifts for the apostolic age only. In the New Testament, the apostles received these gifts by the laying on of hands to others as the Spirit directed. However, with them the signs and gifts ceased, and there is not a single instance in the Bible where anyone except the twelve apostles could transmit these gifts to others. Those upon whom they laid their hands could perform signs, but they were never able to give this to anyone else. It, therefore, passed with the death of the apostles, and so we believe that all who claim to have this apostolic gift today are frauds and deceivers.

Please Explain the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Tongues To Me.

In regard to your question concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we believe that every believer when he accepts the Lord Jesus Christ receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit and needs nothing more, except to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not believe that the gift of tongues is for this present dispensation, and therefore, if we ask for more than just God's promise, we are asking for something with which the Lord is not pleased. I believe that there are many sincere people who believe in the work of “baptism” in the Holy Spirit and tongues, but I also believe that they are wrong, and not in harmony with the clear revelation of the Word of God.

The following information is quoted from page 53 of the excellent work by Dr. M.R. DeHann, titled 508 ANSWERS TO BIBLE QUESTIONS (copyright 1952)...

Why Was Christ Baptized?

In regard to your question concerning the baptism of Christ, the Scripture says this was done to fulfill all righteousness. It was to identify Himself with the people whom He came to save that Christ was baptized, although He had no sin. It was His declaration of willingness to go through death and resurrection for His people.

The Chemistry of the Blood (by Dr. M.R. DeHaan)

“There still has been no translation of the Bible which can exceed the King James Bible for accuracy.”

—M.R. De Hann (508 Answers to Bible Questions; Chapter 3, “BIBLE,” page 35, ©1952)


Excellent Quotes by Martin R. DeHaan, M.D.

"Before an individual can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself."

"We need not all agree, but if we disagree, let us not be disagreeable in our disagreements."

"Be on guard against any tampering with the Word, whether disguised as a search for truth, or a scholarly attempt at apparently hidden meanings; and beware of the confusion created by the senseless rash of new versions, translations, editions, and improvements upon the tried and tested Bible of our fathers and grandfathers."

"The true Church preaches REGENERATION; not reformation, not education, not legislation, but regeneration."

SOURCE: THE TABERNACLE, Pg. 101


Jesus is Preparing A PLACE for Every Believer!

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Amen, amen; amen and amen! What a glorious day that will be!


John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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