About 1270, THOMAS AQUINAS - CATHOLIC:  "As the Apostle says (Rm. 6:3), 'all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death.'  And further on he concludes (Rm. 6:11):  'So do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.'  Hence it is clear that by Baptism man dies unto the oldness of sin, and begins to live unto the newness of grace.  But every sin belongs to the primitive oldness.  Consequently every sin is taken away by Baptism."  (Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars)




About 1550, JOHN CALVIN - REFORMED CHURCHES:  "Baptism resembles a legal instrument...for he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins. Therefore, those who have imagined that baptism is nothing more than a mark or sign by which we profess our religion before men...have not considered that which was the principal thing in baptism - which is, that we ought to receive it with this promise, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved' (Institutions, Book 4, Chap. 15, paragraph 1).




About 1700, MATTHEW HENRY - PRESBYTERIAN: "First, they must admit disciples by the sacred rite of baptism....Baptism is an oath of abjuration, by which we renounce the world and the flesh as rivals with God for the throne in our hearts....In baptism we take Christ to be our Prophet, Priest and King, and give up ourselves to be taught and saved and ruled by him....Disciples, all baptized Christians....In the latter clause baptism is omitted because it is not simply the want of baptism, but the contemptuous neglect of it which makes men guilty of damnation"  (Commentary, Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).





About 1750 GEORGE WHITEFIELD METHODIST: ...."He who persists in this act of rebellion against the authority of Christ will never belong to his kingdom....Does not this verse urge the absolute necessity of water baptism?� Yes: when it may be had.� But how God will deal with persons unbaptized we cannot tell" (Commentary, John 3:5, Vol. 4, pg. 302, 355). 




About 1775 - JOHN WESLEY - METHODIST:� "Buried with him in baptism...alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion...."  By baptism we enter into covenant with God....made members of Christ; made the Children of God.� By water, as the means, the water of baptism, we are regenerated or born again" (Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 350 and Preservative, pg. 146-150).





About 1800 - ADAM CLARK - METHODIST - "Undoubtedly the Apostle here means baptism...Baptism is only a sign, and therefore should never be separated from the thing signified....It is a rite commanded by God himself and therefore the thing signified should never be expected without it" (Commentary, John 3:5 and Titus 3:5). 




1864 and 1881, CHARLES SPURGEON - BAPTIST [Note changes in outlook between those 17 years]: [1864] "Do we who baptize in the name of the sacred Trinity as others do, do we find that baptism regenerates? We do not....Baptism does not save the soul....the preaching of it has a wrong and evil influence upon men....most atrocious that in a Protestant Church there should be found those who swear that baptism saves the soul....He has no right to be baptized until he is saved.... "  [1881] "They had faith, and a glimmer of knowledge sufficient to make them right recipients of baptism....He who has been baptized into Christ sees Christ in baptism....our representative union with Christ....we were thus buried with him....Baptism is an acknowledgment of our own death in Christ....You are brought up again from the pit of corruption unto newness of life....now you have been dead and buried and have come forth into newness of life....baptism represents resurrection....this life is entirely new" (Sermons in the Metropolitan Pulpit, London, Sermon No. 573 1864, Sermon No. 1627 in 1881).











Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, Part Four, Articles I-IV: "Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water comprehended in God's command [Matthew 28:19-20]....It worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlasting salvation on all who believe....the water without the Word of God is simply water and no baptism....a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost; as St. Paul says to Titus in the third chapter verses 5-8....It signifies that the old Adam in us is to be drowned....St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 4 says: 'We are buried with Christ by baptism into death'.  "









Institutions, c. xvi: "Baptism resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are canceled, effaced and obliterated so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us.� For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins."









Confession of Faith, Chapter xxviii, Sec. i: "Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be to him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his engrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life."




The Larger Catechism: "Baptism is...a sign and seal of engrafting into Christ, of remission of sins by his blood and regeneration by his Spirit."









Wesley's Commentary on the New Testament, pg. 350: "Baptism administered to penitents is both a means and a seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily in the primitive Church, bestow this upon any unless through this means."









Church Constitution, Articles XIII: "We believe that Christian baptism is a sacrament signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ, to be administered to believers."