Why is baptism important? Baptism is important because Jesus made it part of his command in Matthew 28:19-20. He also demonstrated its importance by being baptized himself (Matthew 3:13-17). Baptism is also a visible way of showing that we are now a part of the corporate body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-13).
Why do we baptize the way we do? We believe that baptism is an outward expression of what has happened in our hearts. In Romans 6:3-4 baptism is shown to be symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. So, we baptize by full immersion, backward, to demonstrate this symbol of dying, being buried, and then arising to new life. That is what true conversion is all about—death to our old self and our old ways and resurrection to a new life with new ways.
When should a person be baptized? Jesus’ statement in Mark 16:16 indicates that baptism follows belief. So baptism should happen as soon as possible after a person has come to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. The Ethiopian official was baptized immediately after belief (Acts 8:36-38). Paul was baptized within hours of his conversion (Acts 9:18). Cornelius and his household were baptized shortly after conversion (Acts 10:47-48). Lydia and her household were baptized shortly after conversion (Acts 16:14-15). The Philippian jailer and his household were baptized that same hour (Acts 16:33). Peter preached, “Repent and be baptized.” (Acts 2:38).
I was baptized before; do I need to be baptized again? If a person’s baptism occurred before they came to belief in Jesus as their savior, it would be appropriate to be baptized again, this time as a believer.
How old must a person be to be baptized? Anyone who is old enough to make a conscious, willful decision to trust Jesus as their savior and to express that decision verbally (Romans 10:9-10) is old enough to be baptized.
If I want to be baptized, what is my next step? If you are a student in our children’s ministry, you and one of your parents will meet with Pastor Heather. All others will meet with Pastor Rich.