Outward expression, inward decision
Baptism is the next step someone should take once they have responded in faith to Christ. It is your opportunity to tell the world about your new relationship with Jesus.
Why do we baptize by immersion instead of by sprinkling or pouring?
The original language of the New Testament was Greek. When Paul and others wrote about baptism, they always used a Greek word that meant to “dip or immerse.”
There are other Greek words that mean “to sprinkle or pour.” If the writers had intended to introduce other modes of baptism, they would have chosen the appropriate word. Instead, they specified immersion.
It is not necessary to translate Greek words to understand this. In Acts 8:38, Philip baptized a man from Ethiopia. After the man expressed his faith in Christ, Philip and the man went down into the water: an action not necessary if baptism were by sprinkling.
Immersion was the commonly accepted form of baptism in the church for hundreds of years. It was only in later centuries that man began to substitute different modes.
Isn't baptism just a "work?" And doesn't the Bible say that we are not saved by works?
Baptism is not merely a “work”; it is a work of faith! It is an expression of one’s faith in Jesus Christ. It is a demonstration of one’s commitment to the Lordship of Christ.
It’s an act of obedience to His commands. Again, we are saved by TRUST IN CHRIST ALONE; however, the Bible has given us clear ways to “act out” and demonstrate our faith. Baptism is one of them. We do not baptize into membership; we baptize into Christ. Baptism into membership makes baptism a “work”; baptism into Christ makes it an act of faith.
“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.” (Colossians 2:12)
Do you believe that those who have accepted Christ as Savior, but have never been immersed, are saved?
First, we should understand that in the early church, there were no situations where people accepted Christ without being baptized. Indeed all who came to Christ were baptized.
The closest example we might find in the scripture of a believer who was not immersed is Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Apollos was a very spiritual man who had great fervor for his relationship with Jesus. But he had not been taught correctly concerning baptism. He knew only of John’s baptism, which was a baptism of repentance and preparation for the coming Messiah. He was unfamiliar with Christian baptism as the Apostles and early church leaders taught it. When Priscilla and Aquila instructed him, scripture says he was willing to change his ideas and submit to Christian Baptism… Baptism into Christ. They did not judge him; they merely taught him. That is our position as well.
Does baptism actually save a person?
The Bible teaches that Christ saves. Acts 4:12 states that salvation is found “in no other” than Jesus. However, receiving Christ necessitates some response on our part (1 Peter 3:21-22). The Bible makes it clear that our response should include faith, repentance, confession, and baptism. Each is important, but none is more important than the other. These are merely the ways we express the fact that we trust Christ for salvation. They do not save us; Christ does…but each is mentioned in reference to becoming Christians in the Scriptures.
When people accepted Christ as Savior in New Testament times they BELIEVED in Him (Acts 16:31), They REPENTED of their sins (Acts 2:38), they CONFESSED Christ as Lord (Matthew 16:16-18, Romans 10:9-10) and they were BAPTIZED (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38-41, Acts 8:36-38)
Our role as Christians is to teach people to do the same things that the Apostles taught people to do back then. It simply is not profitable or fruitful to argue about “at which point” one is saved. Instead, we encourage people who would accept Christ to “BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, AND BE BAPTIZED.” We refrain from making judgments about anyone who has followed a different pattern. Judgment belongs only to God (Romans 14:4, 8-12)
Can I be a member of your church and not be baptized?
The elders and ministers of our church are responsible to God for the doctrine we teach. Their interest is in leading our people to lives of godliness and growth in Christ.
The position our church has taken is that baptism was an ordinance in the New Testament church. Everyone who accepted Christ was baptized. As a modern-day church seeking to return to Biblical standards, we simply feel that we should “do what they did” and “teach what they taught” in the scriptures. Baptism is too important a doctrine to be compromised. We realize that not everyone agrees as to its importance, but again, as leaders, we are called to shepherd as best we know how. Thus, we believe that members of our Church should hold an elevated view of baptism.
Should infants be baptized?
In order to address the question of infant baptism, one must first ask about the nature of human beings in general. The question is this: Are all of us born with the mark of sin already on our lives? … or are we a "clean slate," not viewed by God as "sinful" until we are old enough to personally choose to act in opposition to what we know God has commanded?
At The Crossing, we believe that all mankind has a "sinful nature"…we all have a "tendency to sin." However, we believe that a just God does not hold us accountable for sin until we are old enough to understand that we are in rebellion against Him. When one reaches the age where he or she is old enough to realize that he/she is a sinner, we encourage them to accept Christ who paid the penalty for their sins on the cross. Romans 7:10.
We realize that many parents have had their newborn children baptized for reasons of making a public declaration of their intent to raise the child to know God. While this is admirable, we do not believe that a newborn baby is a sinner…one who has willfully disobeyed God. Thus, baptism is unnecessary. In Acts 2:38, baptism was coupled with repentance. Newborn children have nothing of which to repent; and in fact, cannot repent. There is no record of infant baptism in the Bible.
Perhaps a more crucial question is, "Why NOT be baptized?"
What does one have to lose by doing so? Some feel that a call to baptism after years in the church implies that they were not Christians. This doesn’t seem to be the attitude of Apollos when he received further instruction. He merely accepted the new teaching and proceeded to obey.
What Bible passages can I study?
Whenever anyone mentioned in the book of Acts (which records the history of the early church) accepted Christ, they took the same, next step. Look up these passages to ascertain what that step was:
Baptism is the way God has chosen to signify us stepping over the line, and makes us clean and presentable to God. It is not the water, but what happens in the water through faith. It is not something you do (a work), it is something that is done to you.
If you have come to a new intimate, personal relationship with Jesus and would like to be baptized, or want more information, let us know! Select “I want to get baptized” on our contact form and we’ll follow up with you!