Baptism Position Paper
Baptism is a controversial subject, even today. When it comes to baptism you can get as many different answers as there are denominations. Here at Metro Church our goal is to go back to the Bible and the early church in our attempt to understand and explain the importance of baptism. Below you will find biblical answers to our understanding of baptism.
What is baptism?
Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo, meaning “to plunge, immerse, or dip under.” Baptism illustrates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4). It symbolizes both the burial of the old life (dying to self) and the birth of life in Christ. The Bible says baptism is a command to be followed (Acts 10:48). The Bible also says that baptism is a burial in water, not merely sprinkling or pouring water on someone (Acts 8:36-38, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12). The Bible says that baptism saves us (1 Peter 3:21) and washes away our sins (Acts 22:16).
Who should be baptized?
All those who are willing to repent of their sins and confess their belief in Christ as the Son of God should be baptized.
Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples (teach) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Acts 2:38-39 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Before we are baptized we need to believe in Jesus Christ. Babies and young children are unable to believe in who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for them. They must rely on someone else’s beliefs. Likewise, some people with mental problems are unable to believe. This belief comes when one is able to hear and comprehend God’s word (Romans 10:17). Some simply cannot do that, and would not be subjects for baptism.
Is baptism all we need to do to be saved? Nothing “alone” saves us. In order to be saved, one must hear the word of God (Acts 2:22-23, Matthew 17:5). Hearing the gospel produces faith (Romans 10:17). We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24) and that He died, was buried, and arose the third day (Romans 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This faith motivates us to obey Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:8-9). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys (James 2:17-24).
One who is subject to baptism must then repent of his or her sins. The Greek word for repentance literally means, “About face, forward march!” Repentance is not an option, but a command (Acts 17:30). God also expects those who want to please Him to show deeds that “demonstrate their repentance.” (Acts 26:20) Repentance comes from a “godly sorrow” which leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). An example of repentance is found in Matthew 21:28-31.
The confession of faith in Christ is required of those who are to be baptized. This is a confession of our faith in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. When we say, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” we affirm our belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 8:36-38 is an example of a man making this confession.
Finally, those seeking baptism must then be baptized. Romans 6:1-6, Romans 6:17-18 describes Bible baptism in detail. There, we see it compared to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Colossians 2:12 also says baptism is a burial, or immersion. 1 Peter 3:21 tells us that baptism saves us! From these passages, we learn that a person who wants to be baptized must be old enough to be taught, and understand what is taught. He or she must understand God’s word enough to be convicted of their sins, and want to make the changes necessary to live right in the sight of God. Anyone who cannot or is unwilling to do these things should not be baptized.
How should we be baptized?
Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo which is “to plunge, immerse, or dip under” water.
When a person is baptized they take the name of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church. The Corinthians tried to take the name of the person that baptized them (1 Corinthians 1:12-14). Many churches try to do the same thing. Here at Metro Church when you are baptized you are baptized in the name of the Father, Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Acts 4:12 and Act 11:26 tell us there is no other name but Christ that will save us.
Proper baptism is “for the remission of sins.” Some teach that you are baptized because you are saved already. The Bible is very clear on this matter. Acts 2:38 says baptism is “for the remission of sins.” Read Acts 22:16. Why did Paul need to wash his sins away if they were already gone (as most churches teach)? Every time one was baptized in the Bible, it was for this reason.
Proper baptism is an immersion in water. In fact, the word “baptism” is transliterated from the Greek word “baptizo.” This word means “to immerse, to dip, submersion.” sprinkling or pouring water does not fit this definition. In every case of conversion, people were immersed in water. Acts 8:36-38 is one example. (They “went down into the water,” and “came up out of the water”.) Paul also described baptism as a “burial” (Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12).
When should we be baptized?
A person should be baptized as soon as possible once he or she believes and confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Why should we be baptized?
This is a good question. I believe to answer this question thoroughly; we need to ask, “Who authorized baptism for salvation?” A person should be baptized to obey Christ’s command(Matthew 28:18-20), for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38 & Acts 22:16), and to receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Through baptism we are cleansed of all unrighteousness or sin (1 Peter 3:21, Hebrews 10:22). The Holy Spirit prompts individuals to recognize their sin and guilt. The only method by which the human soul can be forgiven of our sins is through the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:27-28, Hebrews 10:1-7). This “washing away” of sin is most clearly symbolized in the act of baptism (Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21). If we want to please our savior and live with Him when this life is over, we will be baptized (John 14:15).
Now that we understand who authorized baptism, we ask, “why should anyone be baptized?” Because baptism is for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). Saul was told in Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” People should be baptized because it is a command, and because we have examples of people being baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16, Acts 16:33-34). We should be baptized because baptism puts us into the church (Acts 2:47). When baptized, we will receive spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), including the salvation that has been promised (Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21).
Should a person ever be re-baptized?
Any person who has trusted in Jesus as the only Son of God and who has willingly been immersed into Christ may be recognized as a member of Metro Church whether the baptism occurred at Metro or elsewhere. Baptism is encouraged for those who lack confidence in their initial baptism experience because they don’t remember it, they were coerced, they were baptized for any reason not identified as biblical, or their heart was not right with God at the time.
Anyone who has fallen into sin after having been baptized should repent and seek forgiveness, but re-baptism is not necessary (Acts 8:13-24). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)