Immersion was never thought necessary in the Christian Church. After St. Peter’s first sermon three thousand people were baptized, and it is most unlikely that it could have been by immersion, above all in the light of recent research into the water supply available in Jerusalem itself at that time. The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve, written about the year 90, says, “Thus baptize … If you have not fresh water, baptize in other water. If you cannot do it in cold, use warm. If you have neither, pour out on the head water three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Either form then is valid. If immersion were necessary, what would you do with bed-ridden invalids and the dying? Nor is the significance lost by pouring. The true significance is that grace washes the soul as water washes the body. The true sign of washing is retained by any true ablutions. Washing does not always imply the taking of a plunge-bath. Burial with Christ is signified by washing away the death of sin and the resurrection to the new life of grace. In any case Christ left the practical application of such matters to His Church, saying, “Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in Heaven.” Matt. XVIII., 18. And He promised to be with His Church, preserving her from any misuse of this power.
Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty