We believe that Christian baptism by immersion in water is a public identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. What is baptism? According to Scripture, baptism is the practice by which a repentant person is immersed in faith in Christ for the expressed purpose of having his/her sins washed away by God (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Who should be baptized? According to scripture, every person who comes to faith in Christ is to be baptized (Matt. 28:18-20). This is why we do not practice infant baptism. Only when a person is ready to turn his/her life over to Christ and trust Him as His Lord and Savior is he/she eligible for baptism.
What happens in baptism?
Physically, a person being baptized is lowered beneath the water and then raised up out of the water. The actual word means to "immerse." Many churches practice other forms of baptism such as sprinkling, but it is our conviction to only follow the practice of Scripture.
Spiritually, God promises to do all of the following for a person baptized in faith in Christ.
- Forgive all sins (Acts 2:38)
- Destroy the old nature and grant a new nature (Romans 6:1-11)
- Add the person to His church (1 Corinthians 12:13)
- Clothe the person in Christ (Galatians 3:26-27)
- Send His Holy Spirit to dwell within the person (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13, 14)
- Save the person (1 Peter 3:21)
What about the "sinner's prayer" or just "receiving Christ into your heart"?
According to Scripture, there are no examples of the sinner's prayer or just receiving Christ into one's heart. In Scripture all who came to Christ, following His resurrection, were immersed immediately into Him.
Scripture teaches that we are not saved by works, only by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, baptism is not a work of man, it is a work of God. He is the one forgiving, adding, indwelling, and clothing.
While there are several passages that only present faith as the prerequisite to salvation (John 3:16; Romans 10:9, 10, etc), there are also passages that only present repentance, or only present baptism (Acts 22:16). Scripture will never say anything less about a subject than it does in a single verse, but it may say more. With that principle in mind, it is our conviction to look at all of what Scripture teaches about salvation. When taken together, Scripture teaches that we are saved:
- From Sin (Romans 6:23)
- By God's Grace (Ephesians 2:8; II Corinthians 5:21)
- Through Faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-17)
- In Baptism (Colossians 2:12)
- For Good Works (Ephesians 2:1)
What about people who trusted in Christ, lived for Christ, and yet were never baptized?
This question is never asked in the New Testament. After the resurrection, all who came to Christ were baptized. In the early church there was no such thing as an unbaptized Christian. Sadly, there are so many misunderstandings about baptism today that many believers are forgoing a wonderful gift of God's grace in becoming a Christian. It is our desire to proclaim only what the Scripture teaches on this matter, no more and certainly no less. God's mercy is great, but assurance can only come from following His Word.
If you would like to talk more about how to become a Christian, please call our office at (812) 934-5147 or email us.