First Christian Church practices a believer’s immersion as the biblical form of baptism. Baptism is such an important topic in the life of a Christian, and in scripture, that we suggest anyone interested in learning more about it contact our minister and set up a time to discuss it with him.
Max Lucado, a Christian author and minister of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, TX, writes, “Can such a powerful Biblical Doctrine be humanly understood? The human mind explaining baptism is like a harmonica interpreting Beethoven: the music is too majestic for the instrument. No scholar or saint can fully appreciate what this moment means in heaven. Any words on baptism, including these, must be seen as human efforts to understand a holy event.”
Our goal is to neither deify baptism nor trivialize it as un-necessary to the gospel. We cannot look at baptism without first seeing it through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. The cross reveals the darkness of our sin and the purity of our Savior. Baptism has many facets: cleansing, burial, resurrection, the death of the old, and the birth of the new. Above all, baptism reveals the power of God’s grace.
Once a person believes they are a sinner (faith), admits their sin (confession), and turns to Christ for salvation (repentance), some steps must be taken to proclaim that they are a follower of Christ. Baptism is that initial and immediate step of obedience.
A helpful verse is 1 Peter 3:21 – …and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,… You cannot understand baptism until you understand the power of the cross.
Baptism is a very public statement. God’s doesn’t want secret followers. He wants disciples who proudly proclaim that they belong to Him.
Baptism is part of the Great Commission Jesus gave to His disciples prior to His ascension. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
Jesus connects baptism to salvation. Mark 15:15-16 – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Baptism is a sacred vow a believer takes when choosing to be a disciple of Jesus. Believers are not immersed into a church, a creed or a doctrine. They are immersed into Christ. Romans 6:3 – Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Baptism is not the end but the beginning. Those who are immersed are Born again or born from above (John 3:3). Our heart of stone is removed from us and is replaced with a heart sensitive to the will of God.
Please understand, it is not the act of baptism that saves us, but the act symbolizes how we are saved! The invisible work of the Holy Spirit is visibly dramatized in the water. We are completely submerged under the water in a symbol of death and burial so that we might rise to walk a new life.
This is a significant event. We willingly plunge our body and soul into the promise and power of Christ. The ritual of immersion signifies our admission that apart from Christ we are dirty, but in Christ we are pure. Through the Holy Spirit, our baptism effectively seals our salvation, uniting us to Christ’s resurrection.
Finally, there is no scriptural indication of an unbaptized believer in the New Testament church.