After you have worked your way through all the baptism requirements set out in Chapter 18 of “Bible Teach”, ask the Witnesses to contrast that with what the Bible reveals about baptisms of people in the New Testament.
Take your time with each passage. Focus on how detailed a process they did or didn’t have to go through (quotations are from the Watchtower’s New World Translation):
- The Ethiopian official: Acts 8:35-38: “Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he declared to him the good news about Jesus. 36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to a body of water, and the eunuch said: “Look! Here is water; what prevents me from getting baptized?”… 38 With that he commanded the chariot to halt, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Immediate)
- Saul of Tarsus (according to Luke): As narrated by Luke in Acts 9:18: “And immediately, what looked like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his sight. He then got up and was baptized.” (Immediately after recovering his sight)
- Saul of Tarsus (personal testimony): As he himself recalled it in Acts 22:12-16: “Then a man named Ananias, a devout man according to the Law, well-reported-on by all the Jews living there, 13 came to me. He stood by me and said to me: ‘Saul, brother, regain your sight!’ And that very moment I looked up and saw him. 14 He said: ‘The God of our forefathers has chosen you to come to know his will and to see the righteous one and to hear the voice of his mouth, 15 because you are to be a witness for him to all men of the things you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized, and wash your sins away by your calling on his name.’” (emphasis added) (Without further delay after recovering his sight)
- Cornelius and his household: Acts 10:47-48: “Then Peter responded: ‘Can anyone deny water to prevent these from being baptized who have received the holy spirit just as we have?’ With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Immediate)
- The Philippian jailer and his household: Acts 16:30-33: “He brought them outside and said: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” They said: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of Jehovah to him together with all those in his house. 33 And he took them along in that hour of the night and washed their wounds. Then he and his entire household were baptized without delay.” (at night, without delay)
Contrast these experiences with the entire process this chapter spells out for “qualifying for baptism.”
Based on all those examples, ask the Witnesses, “What message would you give to me so that I could become a Christian in one hour?”[i]
Next time, we’ll examine the meaning of baptism.
[i] “Quick Question #39 for Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Keith Walker, YouTube