At LifePoint Christian Church, we practice “believer’s baptism.” Jesus called the church to mark the beginning of each disciples’ choice to follow Him with baptism. It is the believer’s first opportunity to declare allegiance to Christ.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding this view of baptism and what it might mean for you.
What is the significance of believer’s baptism?
Believer’s baptism is the way a person makes a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. By being baptized you are proclaiming that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, that Jesus is the Savior and Lord of your life, and that to the best of your ability you want to live your life in a way that pleases him. Baptism is what separates those who are spectators from those who have decided to get in the game.
Why is baptism so important?
At the very beginning of his ministry Jesus himself was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:31-34). His last words to his friends before he ascended to heaven were the command to “…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 28:19b-20a). In the New Testament, baptism is part of the conversion. So much so that the two were considered part of one event (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). At LifePoint we understand scripture to teach that the act of baptism is a part of the grace and salvation process. It is an outward commitment of an inward work of grace that is taking place (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 6:3,4).
Who should be baptized?
Thoughtful and committed Christians have disagreed about this question for centuries. The church understands the scriptures to teach that baptism is an expression of the commitment of the person being baptized. That is why we call it “believer’s baptism.” It is an expression of a person’s faith in Christ and a desire to follow Christ. Therefore, baptism ought to be restricted to someone who is mature enough to make that decision and that commitment. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 18:8; 19:4; 22:16).
If I was baptized as an infant, should I be baptized again? If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the baptism you received as a child. If you have made a faith commitment to Christ as a mature person, then we encourage you to be baptized by immersion as an adult. This is an expression of your commitment to follow Christ.
How much water does it take to get baptized?
There are many modes or methods of baptism. Some churches practice sprinkling, some pour water on the one being baptized and others immerse. It is the understanding of LifePoint Christian mChurch that the method of immersion best fits the word used in the New Testament for baptism and best fits the symbolism (the word means “to dip or immerse” also “to purify”). Going all the way under the water symbolizes the fact that you have been cleansed fully from head to foot and have been totally forgiven. As you go under the water you identify with Jesus in his death and burial, and as you come up out of the water you identify with Christ in his resurrection. (Romans 6:4-7) The value of baptism is in the heart and life of the believer.
Is baptism a guarantee of getting into heaven when I die?
No, it is not. God offers his forgiveness and salvation as a free gift of grace. We receive his gift by faith. We cannot earn it by being baptized. If you have been counting on the fact that you were baptized as a infant as a ticket into heaven you have misunderstood what baptism is all about. Having water sprinkled on your head when you are a few weeks old will not get you into heaven. You can’t get into heaven by being baptized. You are saved by faith, not by baptism (John 3:16; Romans 10:9, 10:13, 11:6; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8,9) It is all about the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for the sins of mankind.
Can I make it into heaven even if I say no to baptism?
Jesus himself was baptized. We at LifePoint would have a concern as to why you would not want to be baptized, as well. Jesus clearly commands his followers to be baptized as a way of declaring their devotion to him. Baptism is the first thing Jesus asks you to do in obedience to him. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching … He who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (John 14:23a, 14:24a).
Am I ready to be baptized?
Baptism is for believers. A believer is someone who has realized that their sin separated them from God and is repentant. They have given up all efforts to reach God through good works or religious activity. They have concluded that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for his or her salvation. If you have come to that point in your spiritual journey, then the answer is yes, you are ready to be baptized (Acts 8:34-38).