Was the Ethiopian Eunuch Immersed?
A baptist was eager to speak with me on the subject of
baptism by immersion. Totally convinced of the watertight case he was to
present, and considering me to be a genuine Christian, he proceeded to outline
"Do you read of pouring or sprinkling in the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch and
Philip?" he asked.
I answered, "Is this example the way you conduct baptism in your church?" He
explained that leaving out the irrelevant details, such as the location and the
fact that no witnesses were present, it was.
I asked if it were not unusual that his pastor be baptized every time he had to
baptize someone? Somewhat puzzled, he stated that his pastor was not baptized
every time at all; only the adult Christian was baptized. I responded, "But is
not immersion baptism." "Yes," he agreed, "but the pastor does not undergo
immersion at each baptism, only the one to whom he administers the rite."
So I asked, "Why did Philip go under water with the eunuch if it was not
necessary?" With some hesitation, he said that Philip did not go under water,
only the eunuch.
I quoted Acts 8:38: "... they went down both into the water, both Philip and the
Eunuch; and he baptized him."
Note the error of the notion that going down into the water is interpreted as
immersion since it involves dual immersion. The proper interpretation is that
the baptism took place not as part of the going down but immediately after they
went down. This is indicated by the conjunctive "and:" "... they went down both
into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch; and he baptized him."