Thank you for your interest in learning more about baptism. It is an important step of obedience in Christianity. It is important enough for Jesus to model it and for him to make it an outward and public sign of accepting His role as a Saviour. Here are a few questions and answers that can hopefully allow you to understand this step better.
WHERE DOES CHRISTIAN BAPTISM FLOW IN THE CHRISTIAN WALK?
· First hear or read God’s Word and from there have faith. Acts 18:8, Romans 10:17
· Be convicted by the truth (believe) about Jesus and have the desire to respond to it. Mark 16:16, Acts 2: 14-37
· Experience repentance and have the desire to follow God’s instruction. Acts 2:38
· Those who confess Christ with their mouths. Romans 10:9.
· Thus infants are not proper subjects for or baptism. Matthew 18:1-5 (No biblical account of a child being baptized)
WHO IS A PROPER CANDIDATE FOR BAPTISM?
Someone who is old enough to know right from wrong and can understand the simple message of the Gospel and have undergone the points noted above.
HOW WAS CHRISTIAN BAPTISM PERFORMED?
Bible baptism is immersion. Matthew 3:16, Acts 8:26-39, John 3:23
o Baptism requires water. (Matthew 3:11)
o Baptism required plenty of water. (John 3:30)
o Baptism requires going down into the water. (Acts 8:30)
o Baptism requires coming up out of the water. (Matthew 3:16, Acts 8:39)
· Jesus was immersed. Matthew 3:13-16
· Even scholars from churches which accept other modes than immersion - will concede that immersion was original and that sprinkling and pouring were the concessions of man. It was never authorized or practiced by the Apostles or Christ.
· Every denomination, Protestant and Catholic, will accept immersion as valid Christian baptism. (In fact even Catholics from the Middle East baptized their infants by immersion.)
· Other forms did not come into practice until much later. It was not until 1311 that pouring or sprinkling was accepted as a form of baptism. No Biblical statement can be cited to grant to any person or church the right to alter apostolic practice with regard to baptism. The true meaning of baptism cannot be visualized or portrayed in any form other than immersion.
WHAT BAPTISM IS
Baptism is immersion in water in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ. John 3:3, Matthew 28:19-20.
· It is an act of obedience which commits one to a life of obedience. Galatians 3:27
· Baptism is a command to be obeyed. Matt. 28:18-20.
· Baptism symbolizes the new birth by which one becomes a new creature in Christ. It symbolizes the beginning of the new life.
John 3:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:17.
· Baptism is the act which initiates the Christian into fellowship.
Acts 2:36-41; 1 Corinthians 12:13.
· Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and also of the Christian, the new convert.
Romans 6:3-10; Colossians 2:12.
WHAT CHRISTIAN BAPTISM IS NOT
It is not a guarantee of heaven. If there is no faith and repentance, water baptism is invalid. Ephesians 2:8-10
· It is not proof to a congregation of the genuineness of a convert's faith. It is only proof to God who knows the heart -and motives of the person.
WHY SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?
· He is commanded to, by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:18-20.
· It is the appeal to God for a clear conscience.
· To demonstrate openly his obedience and his willingness to come under the lordship of Christ. 1 John 2:4.
· Jesus was baptized himself to "fulfill all righteousness." Matthew 3:15.
· We have no grounds on which to claim exemption from any divine requirement.
· Obedience resulting from love is our main motive.
SOME KEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT BAPTISM
Q: Can a person be a Christian and not be baptized?
A: To say "yes" is to say more than the Bible says (Mark 16:16). To say "no" is to presume to be God. Once a person has said ''yes'' to Jesus as Savior AND Lord, he has forfeited all rights to say "no" to any of Christ's commands. Baptism is one of these commands.
Q: Why do we require a person to be a baptized believer in order to be a formal member of Westway Christian Church?
A: Because in all the Biblical examples we have, this was the pattern of the early church. We do not believe that we would be following the Scripture if we allowed less than that.
Q: I was baptized as a child, am I not saying that my parent’s decision to baptize me then was wrong?
A: Your parents wanted you to come to the Lord when they had you baptized as an infant. While it may not be biblical, their intentions were noble. Now that you know what the Bible teaches, following it actually honors your parents’ original intention for you to come to the Lord.
Q: How soon should a person be baptized once he has received Christ?
A: The pattern in Acts was "immediately".
Q: Who should baptize me?
A: We uphold the biblical principle of “priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:5). This is why any baptized believer of good standing is welcome to baptize people. It is best done in view of the church and our pastors are happy to do it too or assist if other believers are doing it. Fathers and Mothers who have led their children to the Lord can baptize their children, Life group leaders and personal friends have baptized others in our church.
If you have any additional questions, please contact someone from the church staff. We would to answer them. You email us at firstname.lastname@example.org