Baptism FAQ by Pastor David Diaz
This blog is designed to answer your general questions about baptism. If you have professed faith in Christ Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, and have trusted in him alone for your salvation, we would love for you to respond in obedience and get baptized at our next baptism service.
Q1: What is Baptism?
A: Baptism is one of two ordinances that all followers of Christ must obey. The second ordinance is The Lord’s Supper or Communion. The word baptism in the Greek is baptizo and means “to plunge, dip, immerse” something in water. It is the public display of what has already occurred in your heart – a regeneration born of the Spirit of God which opened your eyes to see Jesus so precious and so glorious that you acknowledged your sin, your need for forgiveness and professed faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sin and trusted in Him, His life, death and resurrection alone for your salvation. This external sign is the complete immersion of a believer of Christ in water.
Q2: Why Should I Get Baptized?
A: All believers should get baptized because Jesus commanded it. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In baptism, a believer is identified with Christ. Baptism is like a husband or wife wearing their wedding ring. If one or both spouses don’t wear the rings, their marriage still remains. The ring is a symbol of their union to one another. So it is with baptism. Not being baptized does not un-save you, but it does symbolize your union with and identity in Christ.
Q3: How Are Baptisms Done At CityLights Church?
A: At CityLights Church, we baptize by water immersion. We believe this is what the Bible clearly teaches that this is the way to do baptisms. There are instances before and after Jesus’ death that show this. In Mark 1:10 it says that Jesus, “came up out of the water.” Clearly He was in the water. John 3:23 describes John the Baptist baptizing at Aenon near Salim because the “water was plentiful there.” This implies there was enough water to be immersed in, not sprinkled with. Acts 8:38-39 takes place after Pentecost and says, “…and when they came up out of the water.” Paul says in Colossians 2:12 that believers “…having been buried with him in baptism.” To be buried in water is to be under water.
Q4: Who Can Be Baptized?
A: We believe that only those who have professed faith and trust in Jesus Christ can be baptized. Nowhere in the Bible are there examples of someone being baptized that did not receive the word of God and responded in faith. Because baptism is a symbol of our union with and identity in Christ, only believers may receive baptism. Acts 2:41 says, “…those who received his word were baptized.” Acts 16:14-15 describes Lydia’s heart being opened by the Lord to what Paul was teaching and after that she was baptized.
Q5: What Is The Meaning of Baptism?
A: When a believer is baptized, their immersion in the water is a picture of going down into the grave and being buried with Christ. When they come out of the water it is a picture of being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4 says, “Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Paul continues this in Colossians 2:12 where he states, “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Q6: Should All Infants Be Baptized? Should Children Of Believers Be Guaranteed Baptism?
A: At CityLights Church, we differ from the Roman Catholic view that teaches baptism should be administered to all infants. In Catholic theology, baptism is necessary for salvation. Since the Bible teaches that baptism happens after a believable profession of faith in Jesus, we do not baptize infants because they cannot yet make a decision to profess faith in Christ. In Protestant circles, certain denominations such as Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian & Methodist, while they oppose the broad baptism of all infants like the Catholic Church, they do baptize the children of believers belonging to their congregations. These churches pair the New Testament sign of baptism with the Old Testament sign of circumcision of all male boys after 8 days of being born which was an outward sign of entering into the covenant community of God’s people. While this is true, at CityLights Church we do not baptize the infant children of believers because they have not yet professed faith in Christ. Secondly, real circumcision is a matter of the heart as Paul says in Romans 2:29. Thirdly, the New Testament does not talk about covenant community made up of believers and their unsaved children and relatives. The means of entrance into covenant relationship with God in the New Testament is voluntary and internal for every believer. Salvation comes about by an internal act of faith in one’s heart, not an external act.
Q7: Does Baptism Save?
A: While baptism is a command in the Bible for all believers, baptism does not save. To say that baptism is necessary for salvation is to say that we are not justified by faith alone, but by faith plus baptism. This is a false gospel. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” In addition, Paul opposed the Galatians who were beginning to believe that in order to be saved, one had to be circumcised as well (see Galatians 5:1-12). Paul opposed this teaching boldly. One clear example of baptism not being necessary for salvation is seen when Jesus hung on the cross and told one of the criminals next to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” The criminal died on the cross without being baptized, yet Jesus told him he would be in paradise with Him that day.
Q8: Is There An Age Requirement For Baptism?
A: The Bible does not specify a minimum age to be baptized. Not all children will understand the gospel message at the same age. Parents whose children profess faith in Christ should pay attention for convincing evidence that their children understand the gospel, and are walking at some genuine level of life with Christ, and what it means to have faith and trust in Christ. If this can be affirmed, then baptizing is appropriate.
Q9: Who Can Baptize Others And Where Should Baptisms Occur?
A: The Bible does not specify restrictions on who can baptize people. Having said that, it would be wise to only allow men and women who are believers and faithfully walking with Jesus. The Bible teaches in the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:4-10), so it does not seem that we should restrict who can perform baptism beyond someone who is saved and faithfully walking with Jesus. Because baptism is the sign of entering into the body of Christ (the church), it would make sense that baptisms take place wherever the assembly of God’s people gather so that everyone in that local church can rejoice with those who are being baptized. In areas of the world where God’s people face heavy persecution that could lead to death just for professing faith in Jesus, baptisms might take place in secret places to avoid endangering the lives of those being baptized.
Q10: Should I Get Re-Baptized If I Didn’t Understand The True Meaning of Baptism When I Was Baptized?
A: It depends. If you were baptized as an infant, biblically, the answer is clearly yes. If you know that you were not saved at the point when you were baptized and did it because of peer pressure or parental pressure, lacked a true understanding of salvation or had wrong motives, and you have since been born again by the Spirit, then be baptized again. Sometimes believers get saved and get baptized without having been properly taught what baptism means only to find out years later the true meaning of baptism. These believers sometimes feel they need to get baptized again because they now truly understand it. To go back to the marriage metaphor, just as married couples don’t get re-married if they didn’t understand the true meaning of marriage until many years later, we should not be quick to be baptized again. Rejoice in the fact that you now know the true meaning of baptism which occurred after your salvation. In our Christian walk we will most definitely enter seasons of refreshment and renewals that will make our previous experiences dim in comparison. Your faith is not sustained by whether or not you knew what baptism meant fully after conversion, rather it is sustained by God and Him gracefully empowering you to persevere in your faith throughout your whole life.
If you have professed faith in Jesus, asked him to forgive your sins, and have placed your trust in his life, death and resurrection and would like to be baptized at our next baptism service, please sign up by clicking on the link below.