From the Pastor...
Why are you a Baptist? That’s a good question. Have you ever thought about it?
For some, the answer is you were born and raised a Baptist. For others, you married into the Baptist faith. Still others became a Christian and therefore you were baptized and became a member of the Baptist church. And finally, others were raised in another denomination, so even though you were a Christian, when you came to join the Baptists you were baptized by immersion.
As Baptists, we believe that baptism is an act of obedience. We follow the Lord’s example as He was baptized by John the Baptist. We also believe baptism is an outward sign or symbol of an inward change. We believe that baptism by immersion represents the death and burial of our old life to sin and self. This is also a picture of the resurrection as we emerge from the water to represent our new life in Jesus.
As Baptists, we do not believe that baptism saves us, regenerates us, or cleanses our sins in any way. Only the sacrificial blood of Christ can do that. We get baptized because we have been saved, regenerated, and cleansed by Christ.
As Baptists, we believe in believer’s baptism. You must be old enough to understand that you are following Christ and have accepted Him into your life as an act of your own free will. Luke gives us this pattern in Acts 18:8 when he describes the effect of Paul’s preaching in Corinth. They heard, believed, and were baptized.
When I was a boy, I wanted to be baptized because all my friends and cousins were getting baptized. I went forward and was subsequently baptized. The only problem was that I had not accepted Christ in my heart and life. I did it so I wouldn’t be left out. I came out of the water the same way I went in, as an unrepentant sinner and not a true believer.
Later on when I became a real born again Christian at the age of 29, I was baptized again. This time it had real meaning. It was still symbolic, but now I knew what the symbols meant to me personally. I had received believer’s baptism. I had heard, believed and was baptized.
Throughout history, Baptists have been persecuted for their beliefs, especially baptism. The main contention was that Baptists did not believe in infant baptism. This pitted them against the established Catholic Church and reformed churches.
For Baptists, a baby who was sprinkled or dipped had no ability to come to faith on their own; therefore the baptism had no meaning for the child. And,since baptism is a symbol and has no bearing on salvation, the infant could not be saved as a result of the baptism.
Baptists also hold that the mode of baptism by immersion is the true biblical interpretation of scripture. It clearly demonstrates the picture of the death, burial, and resurrection that is taught in the gospel. Therefore, to be a Baptist, one must be a true believer and be baptized by immersion in order to fully follow and obey Christ.
One of the questions raised by people today is can a person who is a true believer and has been baptized by sprinkling in another denomination be a Baptist? The answer is yes, if they are willing to be baptized by immersion.
Does it mean that their sprinkling has no meaning? No. In fact the baptism by immersion is bringing the person to a more complete understanding of following Christ. Remember baptism does not save, regenerate, or cleanse. It is an outward sign of your inward commitment. It is an act of obedience to follow Christ, who submitted Himself to His cousin John and was submerged in the Jordan River at His baptism.
Why am I a Baptist? I am a true believer who wanted to follow his Savior’s example. I submitted to a symbolic act of obedience to immerse my life totally and fully in Him. I wanted to be biblical in my baptism. I wanted it to have meaning, so I got baptized again, for real.
It is my prayer that we will be a church that knows why we are Baptists and lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ and into believer’s baptism. If you want to talk to me or one of our pastors about baptism, fell free to contact us anytime.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor,