Here's a quote from John Gill's Introduction: "When I say it [baptism] is not a church ordinance, I mean it is not an ordinance administered in the church, but out of it and in order to admission into it and communion with it. It is preparatory to it and a qualification for it. It does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church. Persons must first be baptized and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were (Acts 2.41)."
This echos the sentiments of the 1689 LBCF, which says in paragraph one of chapter 29: "Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life."
This is opposed to the Presbyterian view (and other reformed traditions, as the Dutch Reformed as stated in the Belgic Confession article 34). This view is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith 28.1: "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...." The WCF cites 1 Corinthians 12.13 as its proof-text that baptism is the sacrament by which men are made members of the visible Church.
What are you thoughts? How does this particular aspect of the ordinance of baptism affect our understanding of the church in general, and this ordinance in particular?