When it comes to baptism, the New Testament is harmonious on two facts: It was always baptism by immersion, and baptism was a consistent aspect of people’s story as they entered into a new covenant relationship with God, as seen first and foremost in the Great Commission command to “Go into all nations and make disciples, baptizing them...” (Matthew 28:19). In baptism, we identify with and participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In the Greek New Testament, the only word that is translated by the English word “baptism” is the Greek word baptizo. This word meant: “to dunk, to submerge, to dip, to immerse fully in water.” The Greek New Testament has perfectly good Greek words translated “sprinkle,” (rantizo) and “pour,” (ekcheo) and neither of them ever gets used in conjunction with someone becoming a Christian. So we can be certain that the mode of baptism for the early church, and the intended form of baptism as laid out in Scripture, is immersion.
The alternate forms mentioned above (sprinkling and pouring), came into use in the early centuries of the church as substitutes for immersion (see the Didache 7:1ff); but they were not the practice of the church in the book of Acts, nor could they have been the intent of the authors of the New Testament. Because we strive to be a New Testament church, the only kind of baptism we practice or acknowledge is by full immersion in water of people able to understand the offense of their sin (which infants cannot do), and as far as membership at Chapel Rock is concerned, immersion is the only baptism we recognize.
We also know that baptism was always part of the process of salvation in the book of Acts. So, does baptism save you? No, not outside of the death and resurrection of Jesus, your faith in those events, and the presence of the Spirit. However, it is by essence and command, a vital part of being in a covenant relationship with Jesus. Let us be crystal clear – it is not the water that saves or is the agent of regeneration. You are saved when you welcome the Spirit of God into your life and enter a covenant relationship with God. That said, the witness of Acts 19:1-7 is clear: when you welcome the Holy Spirit to live in you, this is supposed to happen in harmony with Baptism (note that in that text, Paul assumes that belief and baptism are closely linked). Of course, Acts records EXCEPTIONS to this, and God is sovereign and can do what He wants; however, the New Testament knows nothing of an unbaptized Christian. For that reason and many others, we see baptism as a normative part of the salvation of every Christian.