As you consider what it means to be baptized, we've provided some of the most common questions related to baptism to help you better understand this biblical practice.
When should I be baptized?
Many people were baptized as babies or as children and wonder if they should be baptized again. Some people have recently decided to follow Jesus Christ with their life and wonder how much they need to know or how much they need to learn before they are baptized.
What does the Bible say about that? Here are some examples of progression of events in the Bible. First in Acts 8:13, it says “Simon believed and was baptized.” The pattern is obvious and found consistenly throughout the New Testament. People would first put their faith in Christ, and then they would express it publicly with baptism. In marriage, people make their commitment to one another and then mark the significance of those vows with the exchange of rings.
How soon after your commitment to Christ should you be baptized?
In the New Testament people did it immediately. In Acts 16:25-34, one man was baptized with his entire family in the middle of the night right after he came to faith.
You do not have to wait to get your spiritual act together before you take the public step of baptism. Waiting until we grow up in the faith is not a requirement of baptism. The simple requirement is to have the faith of a child, to put your trust in Jesus. If you have been serving Jesus for years, but you haven’t been baptized either because no one has taught you or you just put it off, when you understand that you need to be baptized, just follow! Whether you made your decision 5 days ago, 5 months ago, 5 years ago, or 50 years ago, just do it! Some say that their parents had them baptized when they were a baby or very young. Isn’t that good enough? Often parents want their children baptized primarily as a sign of their dedicaiton and commitment to God, expressing their intent that one day they hope the child becomes a follower of Jesus. If your parents did that for you, their motivation was pure and you ought to be thankful for their concern.
However, at the same time, if you look at the Bible, baptism always came after someone came to faith. If you decide to be baptized as an adult because you’ve come to your own sense of faith now, that does not repudiate the baptism you received as a child. You may look at it as a fulfillment of your parents hopes and prayers that you would follow Jesus one day with your life.
When are my children ready to be baptized?
At Via Church, we have child/parent dedications where parents pledge to do their best to point their child toward Jesus. We do not baptize small children at Via Church. Some may ask why do so many christian groups baptize babies and young children if it’s not in the Bible?
A couple hundred years after the original church began, the doctrine of origianl sin got distorted and teaching became skewed. Some taught that the moment a child was born, God held them accountable for their sinful nature and if they were to die, they would spend eternity away from God.
Jesus said in Mark 10:14 “...the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (children).” In 2 Samuel 12:22, David is grieving over the death of his infant child. Notice what he says, “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” David wasn’t concerned about his baby going to hell. He was confident that he would go to him one day in heaven.
The distortion of the doctrine of original sin led to a distortion on the doctrine of baptism. People came up with doctrine called baptismal regeneration. This taught that if a baby is baptized it saves them from spending eternity apart from Jesus if they die. The Bible is clear however, that a baby’s soul is not in danger in the first place.
So, when should a child be baptized? From scripture we understand that it should be after they have made the decision to follow Jesus as their forgiver. They need to be ready to express outwardly what has happened inwardly. Usually children should be between 9-12 years old where they have a more adult-level cognitive ability.
Can I follow Jesus without being baptized?
This is a puzzling question because anyone who truly wants to follow Jesus would be willing to do the first thing that Jesus asks them to do as a follower. Your Savior asks you to take this plunge. Baptism was never intended to provide salvation for an individual, but rather to publicly identify a person wtih Christ. You do not have to be baptized to have Christ in your heart any more than you must exchange rings to be pronounced man and wife. However, if the inner commitment to trust Christ alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of baptism should be as valued and as visible as the gold ring on a newlywed’s finger. 1 John 5:3 says, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.”
Why do we encourage people to be immersed?
There are many different methods of baptism practiced in different Christian circles. Some sprinkle, others pour, some completely immerse, and some have the tradition of dunking three times in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We only immerse once. In both Matthew 3:16 and Acts 8:38-39, it states “came out of the water.” This seems to be the Biblical pattern. Ultimately, we know that it’s not the water or the amount of water that saves anybody; Jesus does the saving as you follow Him.
What is the process
People have lots of questions about the actual baptism even though it is just practical and pragmatic. These questions will be answered during a class one week prior to the service that you will be baptized in. There is great power to be experienced when you decide to just follow Jesus!
Step 1: Register
The first step in being baptized at Via Church is filling out the online form below to let us know a little about yourself and your desire to be water baptized. This form will be processed and you will hear back from us regarding the details of your class.
Step 2: Baptism Class
The next step is attending our baptism class that is scheduled the Sunday prior to your baptism weekend at 9:00am on our campus .
Step 3: Your Baptism
The last piece is your actual baptism! You will receive full instructions on what to wear, where to go, when to arrive, etc., during your baptism class.
Take a moment to fill out the following form to register for baptism during one of our services.