Sprinkling is not baptism. The word â€œbaptismâ€ is derived from the Greek word baptismos, which means â€œimmersion.â€ The Greek word baptein (baptism) means â€œto plunge, to immerse, or to washâ€ (see â€œBAPTISM,â€ The Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987 ed., Mircea Eliade, et al. [New York: Macmillan, 1987]). So when the candidate is immersed in water during baptism, his spiritual being is being cleansed.
Hebrews 10:22 cannot be cited as a basis for sprinkling. In fact, this verse actually supports baptism by immersion because it describes how the heart, not the body, is being sprinkled spiritually, while the body is â€œwashed with pure waterâ€ physically (washed=immersed). According to Hastings, â€œThe external form of baptism was immersion in flowing water which is presupposed in Ac 822, He 1022â€ (Hastings, â€œBAPTISM,â€ Dictionary of the Bible [New York: Charles Scribnerâ€™s Sons, 1963]).
Similarly, in Ezekiel 36:25-26, cleansing through sprinkling figuratively denotes inward cleansing. (The reference is to Numbers 8:6-7.) In the Old Testament, the sprinkling of blood foreshadowed the spiritual cleansing of Jesusâ€™ blood (see Heb 9:18-22). Thus â€œsprink1ing of the bloodâ€ in Peter 1:2 does not refer to the physical action of baptism, but to the effect of spiritual cleansing through Christâ€™s blood.