Questions About Baptism
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
1. It illustrates Christ´s burial and resurrection.
• “Christ died for our sins… He was buried… and He rose again.” –I Cor. 15:3-4
• “For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” –Col. 2:12
2. It illustrates my new life as a Christian.
• “When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun!” –2 Cor. 5:17
• “By our baptism then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead… so also we may live a new life!” –Rom. 6:4
• Baptism doesn´t make you a believer – it shows that you already believe. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring – it´s the outward symbol of the commitment you make in your heart.
• “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith… it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8,9
WHY BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION?
1. Because Jesus was baptized that way.
• “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” –Matt. 3:16
• “John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People were coming and being baptized…”
2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
• (Example) “…then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water…” –Acts 8:38-39
• The word Baptize means “To dip under water.”
• The Greek work “baptizo” means “To immerse or dip under water.”
• It best symbolized a death, burial and resurrection. Baptism by immersion pictures the Gospel story!
3. The founders / leaders of denominations agree:
• Martin Luther… “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the work imports and the mystery signifies.”
• John Calvin… “The word ´baptize´ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
• John Wesley… “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
• Cardinal Gibbons (Roman Catholic)…”For several centuries after the establishment of Christianity, baptism was usually conferred by immersion, but since approximately the 12th century, the practice of baptizing by affusion (pouring or sprinkling) has prevailed in the Catholic church, as this manner is attended with less inconvenience than baptism by immersion.”
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
1. Every person who has believed in Christ.
• “Those who believed and accepted His message were baptized…” –Acts 2:41
• “Simon himself believed and was baptized…” –Acts 8:13
• “But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News… and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” –Acts 8:12
• And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. –Matthew 28:18-20
2. We encourage parents to wait until their children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. We also spend time helping children understand salvation and baptism and give them a workbook to complete (available upon request—call the church office).
• Some churches practice a “baptism of confirmation” for children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own personal confession of Christ. This custom began several centuries after the Bible was completed. This is different from the baptism talked about in the Bible which was only for those old enough to believe. The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ. At Highland, it is a membership requirement that every member must have been baptized the way Jesus demonstrated, even though many of us were “confirmed” as children.
CAN MY FAMILY BE BAPTIZED TOGETHER?
• Yes! If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment and testimony of your faith in Christ!
• However, it is important to remember that baptism is a personal statement of faith, not a family tradition. It is usually not wise to delay your baptism while waiting on other family members to accept Christ, particularly children. This puts an undue pressure on them, and delays your obedience.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR WHEN I AM BAPTIZED?
• Women should wear shorts and a top which will preserve modesty. Men may wear a swimsuit or shorts and t-shirt. Bring a change of clothes, a towel, and a plastic bag for your wet articles of clothing. For church baptisms, we will provide a robe to wear over your swim clothes. Baptism helpers will show you where to change and when to go into the baptistery in the service. Our helpers will also take your picture when you’re baptized if you wish.
• For Lake Baptisms – We will provide a special Baptism Celebration Tee-shirt (black) which you can wear over your swim suit or other appropriate clothing. Let us know your tee-shirt size.