What is Believer’s Baptism?
Baptism serves as a picture of believers sharing with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. By being baptized a believer publicly testifies to one’s identification with the finished work of Christ (Colossians 2:12). As Christ went into the grave so the believer goes into the water; as Christ rose from the grave demonstrating new life, so the believer rises out of the water portraying new life in Christ.
Baptism was never intended to demonstrate a believer’s maturity, knowledge or giftedness but to proclaim one’s submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We believe the mode of baptism is immersion since the word “baptism” means “to dip” or “submerge” and because the apostle Paul used the word “burial” (Romans 6:4) to explain the purpose for baptism.
Who Should be Baptized?
The Lord Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). A disciple is any person who recognizes the inability to gain heaven on personal merit and entrusts one’s eternal destiny to the risen Saviour.
Although Scripture teaches the importance of believers being baptized by immersion, baptism is not the means by which one is saved from sin’s penalty. People are only saved through placing faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord (Romans 3:23-26). John wrote, “God has given to us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
The term “believer’s baptism” is intended to emphasize the fact that faith always preceded baptism in the New Testament. That is why there is no account of infants being baptized or christened.
It is the preference of the leadership that children wait until they are at least twelve years of age before they are baptized so that the experience will be more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
When Should a Believer be Baptized?
According to the New Testament every new convert was baptized by immersion within three days of conversion. Some examples are as follows:
- 3,000 Jews in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:31)
- The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:36-38)
- Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9)
- Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:44-48)
- The Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16:30-34)
Why Should Believers be Baptized?
Believers are to be baptized as an act of obedience to the Lord.
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
The early followers of Jesus understood this command and obeyed it (Acts 2:41; 8:36-38; 9; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 30-34).
Because of this teaching converts are encouraged to follow the Lord through the waters of believer’s baptism.