“What does your church believe about baptism?”
Those from other denominational backgrounds who visit our church often ask that question. Because our views differ from what some other churches believe, it is important that we seek to answer a few of the questions that are asked on this topic.
Following is a summary of our beliefs about baptism:
What Does Baptism Signify?
We believe that baptism was instituted by the Lord as a symbol of our initial Christian experience. Most importantly, baptism symbolizes the relationship of the believer with Jesus Christ which includes being united with Him through His death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-10; Colossians 2:11, 12). Water baptism also signifies our experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit by which we are made a part of the body of Christ. By following Jesus’ example of being baptized, a Christian also expresses his desire to follow the Lord each day.
Does One Become A Christian By Being Baptized?
We believe no one is ever saved by being baptized. An individual becomes a Christian when, by the grace of God, he/she trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:36; Ephesians 2:8.9). Apart from faith, the act of being baptized is of no spiritual benefit in and of itself. Spiritual blessings, however, are received when one is baptized because of a
desire to obey and serve the Lord. Though baptism can correctly be called a “sacrament,” we prefer the term “ordinance” because the former term is sometimes meant to imply spiritual powers in the rite itself.
Who Should Be Baptized?
We believe the Lord has commanded all who have received Christ as Savior and Lord to be baptized (Matthew 28:19). Baptism should be one of the first steps of being a disciple after one becomes a Christian. Therefore, we do not receive someone as an official member of our church until he or she has been baptized.
Should Infants Be Baptized?
We believe the Bible teaches that an individual is to be baptized after he/she becomes a Christian and expresses faith in Jesus (cf. Acts 2:41; 8:12-12, 9:18). Since an infant clearly is incapable of expressing faith in Christ (even if such faith were to exist), we do not believe infants should be baptized. Any individual, including a child, who gives acredible profession of faith in Christ and understands the basic meaning of the ordinance may be baptized.
What Mode Of Baptism Should Be Used?
We believe “immersion” (putting the person completely under the water) is the proper mode of baptism. The original meaning of the word “baptize” was to immerse, and this was certainly the mode used by the early Church. We also believe immersion best expresses the truths symbolized by baptism.
Do Other Views Of Baptism Have Validity?
We recognize that other practices labeled “baptism” (e.g. sprinkling an infant) may be significant spiritual experiences to those involved. However, we do not believe such practices constitute the biblical ordinance of baptism. Thus, we believe anyone who was “baptized” previous to his/her conversion, should be baptized by immersion after they have receive Christ as Lord and Savior.