As a ‘Baptist’ church, we practise the baptism of believers by full immersion. But what does that mean and why do we do it?
Jesus’ final command to his followers before he ascended to heaven was:
“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 28:19).
Therefore, in obedience to Jesus’ command that is what we do!
The Greek verb to ‘baptize’ really means ‘to dip’ and so describes the act of dipping someone into the water. We have a large pool called a baptistry in which we immerse people when they get baptised. We baptise them on their own public declaration of faith and as Jesus commanded we do so in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism itself does not change a person, but it is a richly symbolic act which includes at the very least the following aspects:
- Going into and out of the water is a bit like going into the grave and rising again – and so is a sign of our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection on our behalf (cf. Romans 6:4).
- It is a visible sign of something that has happened internally – repentance and faith in Jesus.
- It is a picture of the washing clean which has happened to us when we believed in Jesus and were forgiven (cf. Titus 3:5)
- It is an act of obedience on the part of the believer in response to Jesus’ command.
We therefore encourage all who have come to trust Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to be baptized. If you would like more information about being baptised, please speak to Graham Culver.