WHAT IS BAPTISM?
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands us to “…make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…” It is understood from this passage that the preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ must precede baptism. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit, through the faithful preaching of the Gospel, not the performance of a ritual of immersion, sprinkling or pouring, whereby disciples are made.
Baptism can be given only when the recipient has responded to Jesus in repentance and faith. That this pattern was clearly understood by the Apostles is made manifest in the many examples found in the early history of the church (Acts 2:38; 8:36ff; 10:45; 16:32–33).
The Apostle Paul confirms this understanding in his teaching about baptism in Romans 6. It is in repentance and faith that we are identified with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. The person who is baptized is clearly proclaiming his turning from sin, believing Christ for forgiveness of sin and turning his/her back on the old life and living a new life in Christ.
Although there is no direct prohibition of infant baptism in the New Testament, care should be exercised to bring the whole counsel of God to bear in situations with no clear Biblical instruction.