Why all the fuss about baptism?

In the New Testament, conversion involves five integrally related components or aspects, all of which took place at the same time, usually on the same day. These five components are repentance, faith, and confession by the individual, regeneration, or the giving of the Holy Spirit by God, and baptism.

Robert Stein

You may be wondering why this is the third post in a row on baptism and church planting movements. Why the fuss?

Baptism is important because Christ commanded us to baptize new disciples. It is not an option extra. Movements take Christ's commands seriously.

Some church leaders teach that Paul wasn't concerned about who he had and hadn't baptized. In response let's note this pattern — Jesus didn't baptise because he trained his disciples to baptize (John 4:2); and Peter didn't baptize Cornelius and his household because he trained his coworkers to baptize (Acts 10:48); and Paul didn't baptize many of the Corinthians because he trained others to do them (1 Corinthians 1:14).

The possibility that one could have faith but not be baptized was not even perceived as an option by Paul.

Who can baptize? The NT is clear, the person doing the baptism must be no more and no less than a disciple. No other qualifications are laid down. Paul was baptized by Ananias described only as "a disciple." God could have sent Peter or one of the Twelve. Instead, he chose a disciple who we never hear of again. If there is a NT preference, it's better that they are not a recognized leader like Peter or Paul.

If you turn baptism into an optional extra for mature believers, and if you only allow formally qualified leaders to baptize, you have diverged from the NT pattern and are unlikely to see a multiplying movement.

Who gets baptized, when, and who does the baptizing, are indicators of what separates a movement from a monument.

Baptism is worth the fuss if you want to see a movement of multiplying disciples and churches.

Related: Baptism and becoming a Christian in the New Testament - Robert Stein