Baptism is an ordinance of the church. Moments before Jesus ascended to His Father in Matthew 28, He commanded that all who follow Him be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We call baptism an ordinance of the church because Christ ordained that it be performed. The Scripture is clear that this ordinance, or command, involves the immersion of believers in water.
THE ENGLISH WORD “BAPTIZE” IS A TRANSLITERATION OF THE GREEK WORD “BAPTIZO,” WHICH LITERALLY MEANS TO IMMERSE.
Therefore, we do not practice sprinkling or pouring, but practice the biblical model of immersion in water. Furthermore, the New Testament pattern and symbolism indicate that baptism is reserved for those who have placed their faith in Christ. Therefore, we do not baptize infants but only those who have made a credible profession of faith in Christ. The Scripture is also clear that this ordinance, or command, is an act of obedience, symbolizing the believer’s faith in Christ, death to sin, and new life in Christ.
BAPTISM IS NOT NECESSARY FOR SALVATION BUT IS ESSENTIAL FOR OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST’S COMMAND.
Furthermore, baptism is a symbol or picture of the gospel. Romans 6 demonstrates that immersion in water depicts Christ’s death and burial and that being raised out of the water depicts Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Therefore, all who place their faith in Christ ought to publicly declare their new life in Christ through the act of baptism. In doing so, they are declaring themselves to be a member of the church and thus are committing themselves to the local church. Furthermore, in doing so, they are declaring their resolve to follow Christ all the days of their life and are inviting the accountability and encouragement of their local church.
A Guide for Parents
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS READY?
The decision to allow your child to be baptized should not be taken lightly. Many children are prematurely baptized, later confessing that they did not understand what they were doing. Since baptism is reserved for those who have already placed their faith in Christ, the following questions can help you discern if your child is ready to be baptized:
- Does my child understand the gospel?
Does my child understand that they were made to worship a holy God? Do they understand that they have not done this, but have sinned and deserve eternal separation from God? Do they understand that Jesus died and rose again, taking the punishment they deserved for sin? Does my child understand that God offers salvation to those who turn from their sin and believe in Jesus? Does my child understand that salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned?
- Does my child demonstrate a genuine walk with Christ?
Can you discern a changed heart (life) in your child? Does your child demonstrate a desire to know and honor Christ? Is your child convicted by their sin? Does your child see their need for Jesus? Is there evidence that your child is growing in Christ? Is the Gospel mere facts or a life-changing message that has changed who your child is?
- Does my child understand what baptism symbolizes?
Does your child understand that baptism does not save them? Do they understand that baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing their death to sin and new life in Christ? Does your child understand that baptism is a public testimony that they will follow Jesus Christ and resolve to do so all the days of their life? How can I prepare my child to one day be baptized? As a parent, God has called you to be the primary disciple-maker in your child’s life.
YOU CAN HELP PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR BAPTISM BY:
- Discussing it.
Talk about baptism together. Use this guide as a resource. Share your testimony and explain how God has worked in your life.
- Attending the Milestone 2 seminar with your child.
Children in Kindergarten through fifth grade will learn biblical truth for practical application, especially in regard to Jesus, faith, the Bible, sin, repentance, salvation, and baptism. These core competencies will assist to grow children in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
- Meeting with a minister.
Schedule a meeting with one of the pastors or ministers to discuss baptism. Ask for help in discerning where your child is spiritually.
Portions Adapted from Article VII of The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000
If you are an adult who is interested baptism, please register for the Baptism & Life in Christ Class.
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For additional information, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org