Some people look at me and think that because I pastor a non-denominational church (a church that does not belong to a direct denomination), that we hold no specific ideas of Christian practice. This is not so. In fact, one thing we do is celebrate communion every week. You can read about my beliefs about communion in Part 1 and Part 2. I also still hold to the practice of baptism and want to explain why it is important to our faith.
JESUS COMMANDED THE CHURCH TO BAPTIZE
First, Jesus commanded that the church baptize believers. Matthew 28:18-20 states that one of the last things Jesus instructs His disciples is to go baptize people. I believe that baptism is an important aspect of the Christian faith because it was given by Jesus as “The Great Commission.”
JESUS WAS BAPTIZED
Second, Jesus, our ultimate example, was baptized in the Gospels. In Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus came to John the Baptist and was baptized by him. Verse 16 says, “Jesus was baptized.” He is our example in all things, and therefore, baptism is one of the things we are to follow.
BAPTISM PICTURES OUR REDEMPTION
Third, baptism is a picture of being redeemed by Christ. We look at Romans 6:1-6 and see a picture of Jesus crucified on the cross, buried, and rose again. If we believe in His sacrificial work on the cross as the God man, it as if we were crucified, buried, and rose with him. In fact, the passage uses the word baptize several times to illustrate how we are found to be in Christ so that our identity is now in Him if we put our faith and trust in Him.
BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE
Fourth, baptism does not save us. We know this for several reasons. First, we know from Romans 10:9-10 that our salvation comes through belief in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and nothing else. That it is through our belief and confession of our faith that we are saved. Therefore, none of the practices or what people call sacraments can save us. If baptism is needed to save us, then why would Jesus be baptized? Baptism also always follows salvation in Scripture. In Acts 2:38 Peter says, “Repent and be baptized,” not the opposite. Because of this, we do not baptize young children or infants. Baptism is for those who declare salvation for themselves. Our baby dedications at church focus on the parents’ desire to raise children in accordance to God’s Word.
BAPTIZE BY SUBMERSION
Fifth, the practice of baptism is submersion. The word for baptize used in the Greek, which the New Testament was originally written in, is baptidzo. It literally means submerge. It often was used in ancient literature for the practice of dying wool. Every time a believer is baptized in the Bible he is submerged (ie. Acts 8:35-39), which is why I believe this is how the practice is to be administered. God’s Word sets the standard.
BAPTISM DECLARES FAITH IN CHRIST
Sixth, baptism declares your faith in Christ. As we see in our third point, baptism is a picture of being redeemed in Christ. One purpose for the early church to be baptized was to show others that you believe in Christ for salvation. In the early church the practice was in public rivers. Today it is often done in the church. While it is done in front of the church body, it I great because the entire church sees you profess your faith, which often includes those who are seeking God and attending church. At the same time, in some ways it has been taken out of the public community eye. That being said, with pictures you can post to social media, or an ability to invite others, there is still an opportunity to share your step of faith through your baptism.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.