What We Believe About Baptism
If you’re someone who wants to go from being a fan to becoming a follower of Jesus then baptism is one of the foundational steps you should take. Why baptism? Because in Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven he expressed its vital importance. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands his followers 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.” Baptism doesn’t make you a believer, but it does identify you as one. In other words, when we choose to follow Jesus it’s important we don’t keep the good news to ourselves. Jesus asks us to celebrate that decision with our family, friends, and community around us through baptism. Baptism might seem like an unnatural way to share the news about our faith, but it is something Jesus has asked all of us to do, and something even he did himself. That’s why at Hillside baptism is not to be a dry, scary, or “religious” experience, but done out of a living, loving relationship with Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Typically, information sessions about baptism are held two to three times each year in preparation for our baptisms at Christmas, Easter or Spring Celebration. These info. sessions are promoted several weeks in advance so you can sign up to attend.
Realizing the spiritual significance of baptism, we know people often have questions about it. Why should I be baptized? I’ve already been baptized as a child, do I have to do it again? Does it matter if you are sprinkled or dunked? Answers to these commonly asked questions are found in the Bible as outlined below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should be baptized?
All those who recognize their need for God’s forgiveness, repent of their sins and confess their belief in Jesus Christ should be baptized (Mtt. 28:19; Acts 2:38-39).
When should we be baptized?
A person should be baptized soon after he or she trusts in Christ alone as Savior. The Bible teaches we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) and that a person’s baptism is always one of the first expressions of faith. It’s kind of like a benchmark of personal life change, showing others one’s true desire to live for the Lord.
How should we be baptized?
The word for “baptism” in the New Testament is the Greek word baptizo, which means to “immerse in water”. Full immersion was the example of Jesus at the Jordan River (Mtt. 3:13-17) and people throughout the New Testament. This would include 3,000 new believers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41-42), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8: 26-40), Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:17-19), the Philippian Jailer and his family (Acts 16:25-34). Also, the New Testament indicates that baptism repre- sents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom .6:1-5). Baptism serves as a symbol of the burial of the old self and the resurrection of the believer’s soul to walk in life with Christ. Therefore, at Hillside, we baptize people by immersing them in water.
Should a person ever be rebaptized?
Any person who has trusted in Jesus as Saviour and who has willingly been immersed, may become a member of Hillside Baptist Church whether the baptism occurred at Hillside or elsewhere. Rebaptism is encouraged, how ever, for those who lack confidence in their initial baptism experience because they don’t remember it, they didn’t understand it, or their heart was not right with God at the time. Rebaptism in these instances would be a very joyous and meaningful experience! Further, a second baptism is not a denial of a previous baptism. If your parents had you baptized as a child they were expressing a desire for you to honour and serve Christ throughout your life. Being baptized by immersion is in many ways a fulfillment of this positive desire on their part. It also reflects your desire to be baptized in the same way Jesus was baptized. Every Hillside member has been baptized by immersion as Jesus demonstrated and commanded us to joyfully follow. By the way, if you choose to be baptized don’t be surprised if, on the occasion of your baptism, there is great joy, excitement and maybe even a few tears shown by your church family. Baptism is a wonderful experience!