After your baptism is scheduled, tell everyone you want to come and see. Sometimes, people like to call family and friends and give them time to make plans to be there and witness the baptism. If you need time to do that - that's fine. Baptism is a great testimony to people who know you - like family and friends!
You will need to bring a swimsuit, a white t-shirt and a towel. We will give you a white robe to put over that - but you will want to feel comfortable when you are wet. You should read the Simple Q & A and The Doctrinal Position Paper below so that you can understand the purpose of baptism.
Baptism is the act of obedience of a BELIEVING Christian who wants to publicly confess their personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It is the symbolic WASHING AWAY of one’s old, sinful past and the RISING again to LIFE, God’s way. The act of baptism can be defined as an outward expression of an inward decision.
Baptism illustrates Jesus’ DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION. “Christ died for our sins ... He was buried ... and He rose again.”~ 1 Cor. 15: 3-4. Baptism illustrates NEW LIFE as a Christian. “By our baptism then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead... so also we may live a NEW LIFE.” ~ Rom. 6:4. Baptism does not make you a Christian. It is a demonstration that you already believe. It is important to understand that baptism does not “save” you. You are “saved” only by your faith in Jesus.
To follow the example set by CHRIST & because Christ COMMANDED it:
“. . . Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” ~ Mark 1:9
“Jesus said, Go then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." ~ Matt. 28:19-20
As soon as you BELIEVE! THERE IS NO REASON TO DELAY! As soon as you have decided to trust Christ with your life, you can and should be baptized. If you’re waiting until you’re perfect, you’ll never be ready. “Those who believe ... were baptized ... that day!” ~ Acts 8: 35-38
The church should desire to be obedient to Christ's command. He commanded that we be baptized. However, before we can fulfill the command as Christ originally intended, we must come to an understanding of why we are to be baptized and how we are to be baptized. The following topics of focus will be addressed in this doctrinal statement:
The Purpose of Baptism - the following questions will be answered in an effort to develop sound doctrine concerning why we are to be baptized. What is the difference between baptism as a sacrament and baptism as an ordinance? What does the ordinance of baptism signify? What spiritual benefits are conveyed when one is baptized?
The Practice of Baptism - the following questions will be answered in an effort to develop sound doctrine concerning how we are to be baptized. Is baptizing infants or children mandated biblically? Which mode of baptism: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion should be administered?
The following questions will be answered in an effort to develop sound doctrine concerning why we are to be baptized: What is the difference between baptism as a sacrament and baptism as an ordinance? What does the ordinance of baptism signify? What spiritual benefits are conveyed when one is baptized?
Sacrament is the term that is used when baptism is believed to mediate special grace or spiritual power. Baptismal regeneration is necessary for salvation from the perspective of those who view baptism as a sacrament.
Sacraments are viewed by Roman Catholics, as instituted by Christ and necessary for salvation. They posit that baptism remits the guilt of prior sins, removes the pollution of sin but not sexual lust, delivers from eternal punishment, and regenerates through the infusion of grace.
Lutheran's hold that baptism is an instrument of grace as well. Luther linked faith in the sacrament as necessary for justification, whereas, traditional Catholics believe that baptism was effectual for salvation because they were properly administered, regardless of faith.
Presbyterians and Reformed see baptism as sacraments which are signs and seals of the covenant of grace that mediate spiritual benefits when received in faith. They see baptism as fulfilling the Old Testament rite of circumcision thus expressing initiation into the faith and church as did circumcision for Jews. Anglicans and Episcopalians also hold to a view of baptismal regeneration as well.
Lastly, Church of Christ congregations also maintain that baptism is necessary for salvation, However, they do not call baptism a sacrament. Although the theological positions stated above not exactly the same, they are alike enough that they can be discussed together, each one holding that baptism is necessary for salvation.
There are several passages used to attempt to prove that baptism is necessary to salvation. In Mark 16:16, Jesus tells his disciples: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Another verse is John 3:5, when Jesus tell Nicodemus, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." A similar statement is made by the Apostle Paul in Titus 3:5, when he said, "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit," Then there is Peter's statement recorded in Acts 2:38, Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit." Ananaias exhorted Saul in Acts 22:16, "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."
Regarding Mark 16:16 there is some question concerning textual integrity calling into question the verse’s authenticity. That issue aside, when one considers the second half of the verse, "But whoever does not believe will be condemned." the issue of faith (belief) is included but baptism is not, leading one to believe that faith is the deciding factor not baptism. John 3:5 and Titus 3:5 probably do not refer to baptism at all, but rather to the cleansing power of God's Spirit in regeneration, which is symbolized in baptism. Acts 2:38, and Acts 22:16 can be interpreted either literally or symbolically. To interpret these passages literally is to make baptism a condition of salvation.
To make baptism a condition of salvation is to make the New Testament a fundamentally self- contradictory book. This would be an inconsistency into the very heart of the doctrine of salvation. This is evident if we look at the numerous passages in the New Testament that teach that the only conditions for salvation are repentance and faith. To make salvation dependant on any outward ceremony or act is to destroy the nature of Christianity as spiritual, and make God the "grand master of red tape." The following passages make it clear that God does not arbitrarily make any conditions for salvation, but rather provides justification through faith alone.
Acts 10:43 "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
Acts 13:38 "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."
Acts 16:31 "They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved --you and your household."
Rom. 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
Gal. 3:26 "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
Eph. 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith --and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- "
There are many other verses that are just as decisive that faith in Christ alone is sufficient for salvation. I maintain that the conditions of salvation have never changed. Humans have been saved without baptism, in Old Testament times and in New Testament times, before Pentecost and since Pentecost, Jews and Gentile.
Baptism is a symbolic act that pictures Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. A new Christian follows Christ example in symbolizing his/her own death to sin, burial, and resurrection to a new life as a believer. Col. 2:12 says, "Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."
The following questions will be answered in an effort to develop sound doctrine concerning how we are to be baptized. Is baptizing infants or children mandated biblically? & Which mode of baptism: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion should be administered?
Most scholars agree that immersion was the mode of baptism acknowledged by Jesus and followed by the church for several centuries. Baptizo, the Greek word for baptize, means to immerse or dip in water. The Scriptures bear out this definition. Jesus Himself came up out of the water in Matt. 3:16, "As soon as
Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him." Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch also confirm the idea of immersion in Acts 8:38-39, "And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing." Only in later centuries did the practice of sprinkling develop as a matter of convenience. The beautiful symbolism of total immersion more clearly displays what has happened in the spiritual realm.
Is baptizing infants or children mandated Biblically? If one holds to a view of sacramental salvation then it makes sense that parents would want their children regenerated in baptism. Infant baptism is defended on the grounds of new Testament examples of "household baptism." The Apostle Paul and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:32-34), the Apostle Paul and Stephanus (1 Cor. 16:15), and Peter and the whole house of Cornelius are examples of passages which proponents use to defend their infant child/baptism practice. However, the existence of any children what ever their again these passages is only inferred.
If what I have just written about the purpose of baptism is true then it follows that the only person properly qualified for baptism is the one who has heard the gospel, accepted its message, and believed by faith that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. John the Baptist demanded that before he would baptize any of the Pharisees and Saducees, they had to, "produce fruit in keeping with your repentance" (Matt. 3:8). The process of qualifying first and baptizing later follows in Jesus ministry in John 4:1, and also in the great commission. Matt. 28:19 says, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Disciple are to "be made" first with baptism following. Luke reports that those who accept the message first were baptized later in Acts 2:41, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." The act of baptism involves a personal obligation of the part of the believer to promote the cause of Christ represented by the work of the church.
The true New Testament church is a soul-winning, baptizing, teaching, preaching, evangelistic institution and the baptized believer is now a part of that great, missionary, world-wide ministry. We are united by the Spirit in the worship of God in praise, in thanksgiving, in prayer, and in the diffusion of the saving message of Christ to every person. We are joined together in the body of the Lord for instruction, for spiritual growth, and for mutual helpfulness. It is a great, glorious, mighty, significant day when we are baptized into the body of Christ, the bride and church of our Lord!