Position on Baptism
What is our position on baptism?
Baptism is the public confession of faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins – an outward profession of an inward faith. The symbolic act represents the real union of a believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Thereby, it is a sign of being cleansed from the stain of sin and becoming part of the people of God, the church. Baptism symbolizes a believer’s identification with Christ, purification through Christ, and incorporation into the body of Christ. Given the meaning and symbolic nature of baptism, we affirm that the act in of itself does not produce forgiveness of sins or cause salvation. Rather, baptism is a testimony of God’s grace and saving faith already present in a person’s life. (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:41; 22:16; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 10:22)
Proper Subjects & Time
Baptism is exclusively reserved for those who profess faith in and commitment to Christ. The Scriptures indicate that baptism should follow repentance of sin and profession of faith in Christ. Although there is not an explicit biblical command regarding the timing of baptism, we believe there is wisdom in delaying baptism until confirming, as best as one can assess, that genuine faith is present. In regards to children, there is not a definitive minimum age before a child can be baptized; however, we believe that prior to baptism children should show evidence of faith independent of parental control. This cautious, yet optimistic approach preserves the purity of baptism, ensures a proper comprehension of baptism’s significance, and safeguards against a false understanding of salvation. The biblical precedent for believer’s baptism is clear, whereas the case for immediate baptism is not. (Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-13; 10:44-48; 16:29-33; 18:8; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:12)
We believe that baptism by immersion best fits the Scriptural references and it alone provides symbolic identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In addition, the Greek word translated baptism (baptizo) predominantly means “to plunge, dip, immerse” something in water. Therefore, our practice is to administer baptism by immersion.(Mark 1:10; Acts 8:39; Romans 6:3-4)