Malankara World

What Shall I Do To Be Saved?

By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil

Question 44. Who is (authorized) to baptize?

Now that we understand what faith is, and that a believer should be baptized in water, we need to see who Jesus authorized to perform baptism. Can anyone perform this?

1) Jesus entrusted the power to baptize only to the apostles. Please refer to Mat 28:19 "Jesus said to the eleven apostles Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

2) The book of Acts proclaims that only the apostles baptized. We can see that those who were baptized by Philip in Samaria or Ephesus did not receive the Holy Spirit. In other words they were incomplete. No-where in the Bible is it mentioned that the Unuch received the Holy Spirit, though he was baptized. [Philip is one among the seven deacons including Stephen appointed by the apostles by laying their hands upon them (Acts 6:3-5)] Philip preached about Messiah and Samarians accepted the word of God. The apostles heard this and they sent to them Peter and John, who went down to Samaria and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17). We can see here that the people of Samaria believed in Jesus and were baptized. But their baptism was not complete. Therefore baptism by itself is incomplete. Baptism has to be officiated by the apostles or by an authority appointed by the apostles, so that the baptized may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

3) Later, the elders and priests referred to in Acts 20, baptized people. We have seen in the writings of church leaders of 1st to 4th centuries that this practice continued.

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