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Baptism - Is It a Work of God or a Work of Man?
For hundreds of years the Christian church continued to practice its belief that through baptism the Holy Spirit bestows a new spiritual status upon the one baptized, regardless of age. But around the 16th century some radical reformers began to place their emphasis upon what human beings can do and see, thereby denying the clear statements of Scripture regarding baptism's regenerating power. "Baptism ... saves" (1 Peter 3:21).
Denomination Beliefs about Baptism Type of Baptism Belief in Baptism in Infants Baptism Regenerates, gives Spiritual Life
Seventh Day Adventists An ordinance, a symbolic ritual, not necessary to salvation. A time for person to express personal faith in Christ By immersion only. No. Only those old enough to give expression of knowledge of their conversion. Children "dedicated" or "resented" to God.  
Baptists A divine ordinance, a symbolic ritual, a sign of having already been saved, but not necessary for salvation. By immersion only No. Baptism is an act of confession that is done by a converted person able to profess faith.  
Eastern Orthodox The "Mystery" (Sacrament) is necessary because it confers forgiveness for both native sinfulness and actual transgressions By immersion 3 times (sprinkling accepted only in emergency). Yes. Also receive Holy Communion and the Chrismation (anointing). Yes.
Episcopal (Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics) Necessary to salvation because it conveys spiritual rebirth. By immersion or pouring. Yes. Yes. Anglo-Catholic, but "low" Episcoplaians do not.
Lutherans A vehicle for God's Spirit to bestow the necessary new life-giving status upon sinners (Titus 3:5). By sprinkling, pouring or immersing. Yes. Yes.
Methodists (Arminians, Wesleyans) Baptism not necessary to salvation, since it is an outward sign of one's membership in the Christian community. By sprinkling, pouring or immersion. Yes. Yes.
Presbyterians An ordinance, a symbolic ritual, and a seal of the adult believer's present faith. By sprinkling, pouring or immersing. Yes.  
Pentecostal (Various "holiness" groups; Christian Missionary Alliance; Assemblies of God) Water baptism is an ordinance, a symbolic turual used to witness having accepted Christ as personal Savior. By immersion. Also stress the necessity of a "second" baptism of a special out-pouring from the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in unintelligible language. No. But dedicate children to God, asking His blessing on them.  
Quakers (Religious Society of Friends and the Menonites) Only an external symbol that is no longer to be practiced. Do not believe in baptism of water, but only in an inward, ongoing purification of the human spirit in a life of discipline fed by the Holy Spirit.    
Roman Catholics Necessary for the infusion of the sanctifying power called grace that starts one on the path to salvation. Primarily by sprinkling. Yes. Yes.
Salvation Army Do not baptize anyone today. Believe it was to be done only at the time of Christ.      
United Church of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed Churches and the Congregationalist Churches) Not necessary for salvation because it is only an outward ritual. By sprinkling. No. Baptism administered at the time of Confirmation. Infants are "presented" or "dedicated" to God by parents or sponsors.  
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons, Anti-Trinitarian) An ordinance essential to salvation for the removal of sins and entrance into the church. By immersion performed by a person holding proper priesthood authority. No. Only those 8 years old and older.  
Jehovah's Witness Baptism not necessary for salvation since it is only a symbol of one's attitude of being dead to sin. By immersion, but not done in their meeting places (Kingdom Halls). No.  

Birth is always a gift from God, and not something we do for ourselves. Christians who follow the practice of the early church, as do the Lutherans, declare that baptism is more than a human act remembering some action of God in the past, and more than a hu;man act of obedience to a divine command. Baptism is rebirth (John 3:3-5), initiated and carried out by God. Baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21) because the Holy Spirit is enveloped in its waters to bring the baptized into a new life of salvation through connection with Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; Romans 6:4).

Excerpted from Good News magazine.
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