Friday November 17 , 2017

Baptisms

Why Baptism?

To be baptized is to follow Christ in obedience.  Please remember that baptism doesn’t save anyone.  In fact, the only requirement for baptism is that you have already trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior.  This is a big step in your Christian life.  It is the very first step in obedience to God after being forgiven of your sins.

Why Immersion?

The word “baptize” comes from a Greek word which means “to submerge in water.”  By definition then baptism is an act of immersion in water.  Baptism also illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (see Romans 6.3-4).  Immersion illustrates dying and being buried with Christ.  Coming out of the water illustrates Christ’s resurrection.

The first instance of baptism by sprinkling may have occurred in 251 A.D. when an elderly, sick man was afraid he would die unbaptized and was instead “sprinkled.”  Later, this practice of pouring water on the head was accepted for those that were ill…it was called “clinical baptism”.  In 1311 A.D., a council of Catholic bishops ruled that sprinkling/immersion was acceptable for everyone.  We, however, hold to the Scriptures as they were written, and the model that Christ Himself demonstrated in baptism by immersion.

What About Infant Baptism?

This may be one of the major points of contention & confusion between various denominations, particularly in this part of the country where there is a very strong Lutheran & Catholic influence.

Let’s turn to the Scriptures for direction.  What does the Bible say about infant baptism?

(chirping crickets)

The reality is that the Scriptures say nothing about infant baptism.  Of the 50+ verses that address baptism, not a single one mentions the baptizing of infants.  They do however have a great deal to say about baptism of believers.  An infant cannot yet place his or her faith in Christ.  Therefore, we find no scriptural basis for infant baptism.

Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they believe it to be the new covenant equivalent of circumcision.  In the Old Testament, God commanded circumcision of infants at 8 days of age to join them to the Abrahamic covenant.  Colossians, a letter written from Paul to the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae, speaks of a different kind of circumcision however:

Colossians 2:11–14 (ESV)

11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Paul writes of believers having their hearts circumcised AND being buried with him in baptism.   Baptism does not save you, nor your child.  It does not assure your entrance to heaven.  Rather, it is an outward demonstration of inward regeneration, a work done by Christ alone!

If Christian parents wish to dedicate their child to Christ, then a baby dedication service is entirely appropriate.  However, even if infants are dedicated to the Lord, when they grow up they must still make their own personal decision to believe and follow Christ.  Click here for more information on baby/child dedications.

Baptism Sundays – A Day to Celebrate!

Invite everyone…friends, family!  This is a time of celebration for what God has done in your life.    It is also one of the few times you will have friends and family who are completely focused on Jesus and how He has changed your life.  We celebrate His work!  Notice that our baptism services are not centered on the water aspect of the service.  They are also not centered on the music, the testimonies & stories of changed lives that will be shared, nor even the pastor.  The center of all of our baptism services is THE GOSPEL!  We sing songs to lift God up.  The testimonies are told to share with others how God changes lives.  The pastor preaches to exalt God in His glory and instruct people in godliness.  And then we invite others to join us in trusting Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives.  The gospel is center and the focus of the service!

More Information

Instructions for Baptism
We would love to hear from you!

Please email us if you have any questions, or to notify us that you’d be interested in getting baptized!