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WHY BE BAPTIZED?

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Baptism

 

Once you have taken Jesus Christ into your life and fully embraced His teachings, your next step is to be baptized.


 

Why be Baptized?

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who commands His followers to be baptized. As He was about to ascend to His Father, Jesus commented "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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." (Matthew 28: 18-20)

Jesus set an Example

The command of Jesus is reinforced by His own example in being baptized Himself. Despite John the Baptist's protestation, Jesus insisted on being baptized.

Jesus said "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness". Jesus did not agree to be baptized with a view to washing His sins away. Rather in baptism He took His first step to the cross by identifying Himself with us in our sinfulness.

Declaring a Union with Christ

Baptism is a dramatic way of declaring your solidarity with Jesus. The only thing needed is a large quantity of water! Even today in warmer climates people are baptized in rivers, lakes and ponds - although in Britain it is more common for a baptistry to be used.

Spectators at a baptism are asked to imagine that the water is like a watery grave. So when a person is submerged under water, they identify themselves with Jesus who died and was buried.

In most Baptist Churches as you are baptized you will be taken backwards into a horizontal position as in a coffin. Then, like Christ, you will symbolically rise up from the dead.

Paul (Romans 6:4) describes the newly baptized as rising to live a new life. As you go under the water, you will be declaring your resolve to die to your old way of living, and as you rise from the water, your resolve to follow Christ's example.

Questions People Ask Coming From Another Church Tradition

What if I was baptized as a child?

Many people who turn to Christ have already been "baptized" as a small child. If this applies to you, you need to decide whether your "baptism" was Biblical and remains meaningful for you today. Baptists believe that baptism without faith is not the baptism of the Bible.

What if I have been confirmed?

If at your confirmation service you meaningfully confirmed the promise made on your behalf by your godparents, then some Baptist churches will welcome you into membership on your profession of faith. However, the same argument still applies. The New Testament knows only one baptism, the one baptism in which by faith Jesus is confessed as Lord.

Some Practical Questions

How old do I have to be to be baptized?

Baptists practice believers' baptism, not adult baptism. For this reason Baptists have avoided trying to set a minimum age.

What about the laying on of hands?

Many Baptist Churches are bringing back the old Baptist practice of accompanying baptism with the laying on of hands. This custom has its roots in the New Testament where we find the apostles laid hands on their new converts to symbolize the gift of the Holy Spirit.

THESE PAGES HAVE BEEN REPRODUCED BY KIND PERMISSION OF THE BAPTIST UNION OF SCOTLAND