In Salvation of Sand Mountain, the author, Dennis Covington “considered asking him [Brother Carl] to baptize me in the Tennessee River, but I finally decided to be baptized in my home church in Birmingham instead (Covington 133). Why did Dennis Covington want to be baptized? What did it signify? What is its origin?
The word baptism is derived from a Greek word, meaning to overwhelm or to cover wholly with fluid. In English its meaning is the process by which a man or object is completely immersed in water and then withdrawn from it again (Barth 1948). This process is symbolic of cleansing the body of sins. By being baptized, believers are coming to a new life in Christ (White 1960). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16).
In the Bible, it states the requirements for baptism clearly: an individual must willing to repent all of their sins; he or she must also be completely immersed in water; the individual must come and asked to be baptized of their own free will; a person must be baptized by another believer such as another Christian or pastor; and he or she must be baptized in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost (Barth 1948).
Paul explains in the Book of Romans that the believer is to be baptized. It is not the baptism that saves them, but their faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation. He does go on to say that the act is an initiation into life in Christ and the in the church (Beasley 1963). It symbolically joins the individual to Christ in his crucifixion and his subsequence resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).
On of the men accredited to baptizing thousands of people was John the Baptist. Before he was conceived, God spoke to John’s mother telling her that her unborn son will be filled with the Holy Spirit and would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. John’s mission in life was to pave the way for Jesus. When John reached the age ...