Q. What is baptism?
A. Baptism comes from a Greek word meaning “to dip” and was practiced in the New Testament times by immersing a person in water after that person has trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This act symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus. It also represents the believer’s death to, and cleansing from, his or her sins, “not the removal of dirt from the body but the response of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so the baptized believer comes up out of the water ready to live a new life.
Q. Who can be baptized?
A. All who hear the good news of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus, and come to Christ by faith.
Q. What must I do before I am baptized?
A. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Ethiopian eunuch heard about Jesus for the first time, and believed, he said to Philip, “Look, here is some water; what prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip answered, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” Likewise in the early church many people were baptized on the very first day they believed.
Q. Do I need to be baptized to be a Christian, or to be saved?
A. No. You are baptized because you are a Christian, not in order to become one.
Q. Why do some churches baptize babies? And why does this church not baptize babies?
A. Some churches baptize babies in order to welcome them from the beginning of their life into the Christian community. We agree that there is a biblical basis for presenting a child to God, but every instance we see in the Bible of someone being baptized involves persons who had heard the good news of Jesus and believed.
Q. Then what’s the difference between baby dedication and baptism?
A. One is a presentation of the child to God, as Hannah presented Samuel, or as Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple. The other is a response of obedience on the part of a person who is able to make a decision about that response. Our Bibles tell us that Jesus was presented to God in the temple by his earthly parents, and that when he was about thirty years old he chose to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. This step of obedience marked the beginning of his public ministry.
Q. What if I’ve already been baptized? Do I need to be baptized in this church even if I was baptized somewhere else?
A. Where you are baptized is not important. What is important is why. If you were baptized before you personally made a decision to follow Christ, and you have now made such a decision, you may want to consider being baptized as a public witness to that decision. But if, having trusted in Christ, you were then baptized, it is not necessary to be baptized again.
_____Yes, I believe with all my heart that Jesus is Lord and I have asked him to be Lord of my life. I want to demonstrate this publicly by being baptized.
_____I’ve already been baptized and am living as a Christian.
_____I still have questions. I’d like to talk with the pastor about this.