Baptism is the act of someone being immersed in water as a testimony of having accepted God’s free gift of salvation. Baptism symbolizes a person’s union with Jesus Christ. The act of going down into the water symbolizes the death and burial of an old way of life before salvation. The act of coming out of the water symbolizes the liberation from sin and being raised to live a new life as a disciple of Christ.
We conduct baptisms during our Sunday Worship Services regularly throughout the year.
(See Matthew 3:16; 28:19; Mark 1:5-10; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 8:12, 36-38; Acts 9:18; Acts 19:3-5; Acts 22:16 Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-5; Colossians 2:12)
Jesus instructed His disciples to remember His death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols, which we call “ordinances,” as reminders of His death and resurrection. These two ordinances are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Who should get baptized?
Every person who has made their own, conscious decision to repent of their sin and surrender their life to Jesus Christ.
“Those who accepted (the Gospel) message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41
“But when they believed Phillip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
Certain points to note:
- We believe that baptism accompanies salvation, but is not required for salvation.
“[God] 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, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7
“A man who knows that he is saved by believing in Christ does not, when he is baptized, lift his baptism into a saving ordinance. In fact, he is the very best protester against that mistake, because he holds that he has no right to be baptized until he is saved.” -Charles H. Spurgeon
- Nowhere in the Bible do we ever see a baby baptized.
- The only people that the Bible describes being baptized are those who have made their own, conscious decision to repent of their sin and follow Jesus Christ.
- It is a membership requirement that every member must be baptized after their conversion experience. We call this believer’s baptism.
At Memorial Baptist Church we wait until children are old enough to surrender their life to Jesus and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them.
Some churches practice a “baptism of confirmation” for babies or children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on behalf of the child. In this ritual the parents are promising to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his or her own decision to surrender their life to Christ.
The problem with this ritual (outside of the fact that it is found nowhere in the Bible) is that many children grow up to be adults thinking that their baptism as an infant is their means of salvation. They go through their life believing that they are no longer under God’s eternal punishment and that no further decision must be made to surrender their life to Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Memorial Baptist Church does practice a “Baby Dedication Sunday”—a time during a Sunday morning worship service when the parents and congregation make a covenant to raise the child according to biblical principles. However, there is no practice of pedobaptism during this occasion.
Why should a Christian be baptized?
- To follow the command of Jesus.
“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.” Matthew 28:19
- To express to God, one’s self, the church, and the world the internal change that Jesus Christ has made in one’s life.
“Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.” Acts 18:8
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27
What is the meaning of baptism?
- Baptism is a visual and symbolic representation of Christ’s burial and resurrection.
“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:3-4
- Baptism is a visual and symbolic representation of our renewed life in Christ. Essentially, it is the outward sign of God’s inward grace and working in the heart of a believer.
“In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11-12
Why does Memorial Baptist Church baptize by immersion only?
- Jesus was baptized according to this method.
“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 alighting on him.” Matthew 3:16
- There are no examples of anyone in the New Testament being baptized by any other method.
- The word to describe baptism in the New Testament is the Greek word βαπτισμα (baptízō). This word means, quite literally, to dip, to immerse, to submerge—to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash.
When should someone be baptized?
- As soon as a person has surrendered his or her life to Jesus Christ, Memorial Baptist Church encourages him or her to walk through our New Member Class so that he or she may develop a clear understanding of what it means to follow Jesus and be baptized.
- There is really not a reason to delay baptism upon conversion. As soon as a person has decided to surrender their life to Jesus, he or she can and should be baptized. If the person waits until he or she feels “perfect,” they might never consider themselves “good enough” to follow through with the ordinance of baptism.
- During a baptism, the person officiating (usually Pastor Dan) will introduce the candidate. He may invite family, friends, and others who have been part of his or her spiritual journey to stand. Pastor Dan will then ask the candidate, “Have you surrendered your life to Christ and trusted Him to be your Savior and Lord?” After the candidate has responded, Pastor Dan will say, “Then I baptize you (Name), in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The candidate will then bend their knees, take hold the pastor’s arm and he will lower them just under the water and raise them back up. Once the baptism is completed the candidate will leave the baptismal pool, dry off, change clothes, and return to the service. Later, he or she will be given a certificate of believer’s baptism. We encourage all baptism candidates to invite all their friends and family to attend their baptism.
How does someone let the church know that they want to be baptized?
You can let the church know that you want to be baptized by making an appointment with Pastor Dan. You may schedule your appointment by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church at (504) 887-1716.