MAKING A SPLASH
You have probably heard by now that we are having another baptism service on April 4th (Easter Sunday). This is really exciting!
However, it is also something that some of you may be a little bit confused about. You see, lots of different churches and denominations practice baptism...but what that actually is can be quite different, and even have a different meaning, or doctrinal background.
So, allow me to try and simply explain what we, at Church@TheGabba (a Baptist church) believe about baptism and how we practice it.
Going back some hundreds of years ago, there was a broad theological movement (which became known as Protestantism) which grew out of the 16th century Reformation. Basically, this was a move away from the errors, excesses and traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches and a move back to solid New Testament teachings.
The Baptist movement/denomination came out of this time with a fierce and independent desire to conform to biblical teaching and practice, not on human traditions and direction. And one of the specific areas that the early "Baptists" focused on was that of "baptism". Obviously, just by name alone, you can see that baptism was important to Baptists!
But what was most important was reaffirming the understanding of what baptism was, who it was for, why it was practiced and how it was to be practiced. And the New Testament had all the answers to these questions, but the traditions of the "church" had departed greatly from them and had turned baptism into something that was not biblically supported.
You can check out the Scriptural foundation for these doctrines below, but, simply, our belief is that baptism is for believers and by immersion.
The New Testament clearly teaches that once someone became a follower of Jesus (a Christian convert) they were baptised.
The New Testament is also quite clear in that the method of baptism was by immersion (going under the water). The Greek word used is baptizo which means to "immerse or dip under". And this particular method also best signifies the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so there is great significance there.
Now, it is important to stress that 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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Baptism is a wonderful way to declare your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is not a case of waiting until you are "perfect" enough, or a "better Christian"....a baptism is like an introduction to the Christian life, not a graduation from it!
Even for people who have been baptised in a different church tradition, perhaps as infants, "believer's baptism" can be something very important and significant. Being baptised as a believer does not disrespect the previous experience or, for example, the parent's decisions made for the infant....but, rather, it is a case of making a public declaration by your choosing, as a believer, to respond biblically, obediently and faithfully to Christ.
So, here at C@G, we would encourage every person who is a genuine follower of Jesus Christ to be baptised. If you would like to find out more, or discuss this further, it would be a joy to hear from you. (Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
BIBLICAL FOUNDATION for BELIEVER'S BAPTISM
Why should I be baptised?
1. To follow the example set by Jesus Christ . (Mark 1:9)
2. Because Christ commanded it. (Matthew 28:19-20)
3. It demonstrates that I really am a believer/Christian. (Acts 18:8; 1 John 2:3)
What is the meaning of baptism?
1. It illustrates Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Colossians 2:12)
2. It illustrates my new life as a Christian. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4)
Why be baptised by immersion?
1. Because Jesus was baptised that way. (Matthew 3:16)
2. Every baptism in the New Testament was by immersion. (Acts 8:38-39)
Who should be baptised?
Every person who has believed and trusted in Christ. (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:12)