The first story we read in the gospels about Jesus as an adult is His baptism. The last thing Jesus said to His disciples before ascending into heaven was that they should go throughout the world making disciples and baptizing them. Baptism is obviously a very important activity in the New Testament.
Baptism is also a subject that Christians don’t all agree about. Here at Trinity Vineyard, we view it as a secondary issue, allowing some room for disagreement between sincere believers. We have, nonetheless, tried to be faithful to the bible and faithful to what the church has done historically.
Here is how we would answer some of the most frequently asked questions about baptism:
Why should I be baptized?
- You don’t need to be baptized to be saved. The New Testament teaches that a person is saved by repentance from sin and faith in Jesus. "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.” (Acts 1:38) In Luke 23, the thief on the cross recognized who Jesus was, reached out to Him, and Jesus promised him salvation. That dying thief had no opportunity to be baptized.
- You do need to be baptized to be obedient to Jesus. We are commanded to be baptized as a part of being His disciple. "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) Thus, we don’t get baptized when we "feel like it," or when we "get around to it" or when we are "led to it by the Lord." Baptism is one of only two ordinances or rituals that Jesus commands us to observe for all time. The other is The Lord’s Supper, or what is often called communion. (for more on Communion, click here)
- Baptism is a public profession of your faith. Baptism is done before a group of people who witness your confession of faith in Jesus. Baptism is not the only way we profess to be a follower of Jesus, but it is an important way.
- Baptism symbolizes your cleansing from sin. Baptism throughout the New Testament indicated that a person had "repented" or turned away from sin. The apostles often referred to the fact that believers were washed from sin. Peter stated that the water in baptism symbolized not the cleansing of the body from dirt, but the cleansing of the conscience. (1 Peter 3:21)
- Baptism symbolizes your union with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection. When you make the decision to follow Jesus, you die to sin and your old way of life and you begin a whole new life. Romans 6:8 states, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." The very act of baptism (being immersed in the water and coming up out of the water) is a picture of what happens to you spiritually.
How should I be baptized?
Trinity Vineyard believes that people should be baptized by immersion as opposed to sprinkling or pouring. The term "baptize" literally means to immerse. This was how people in the bible were baptized. Also, immersion best symbolizes what happens spiritually when you give your life to Jesus.
When should I be baptized?
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Jesus for salvation. Remember, you are not baptized in order to become a Christian. You are baptized because you are already a follower of Jesus. We should not put off baptism, since it is a command of Jesus. Trinity Vineyard holds several opportunities for baptism each year. You can call the church office (281-897-8463) to find out the schedule.
What if I was baptized as an infant?
Among orthodox Christians there are different perspectives on infant baptism. Some denominations and traditions (such as Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic) baptize infants while others (such as most Baptists) do not. Perhaps you were baptized as an infant. How should you view that baptism? You certainly want to show respect to your parents and their viewpoints, as well as be grateful to God for any spiritual influence they had in your life. However, our understanding of what the bible teaches is that baptism is an action that follows conversion. So, if you have not been baptized since you have made a decision to follow Jesus, we would recommend that you get baptized.
At Trinity Vineyard, we do not baptize infants as do some denominations and traditions. Instead, we dedicate infants to the Lord and call parents to commit themselves to raise their children in the ways of Jesus. We do this based on the model seen in scripture of infants being dedicated to the Lord: Samuel in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 1:21-29) and Jesus in the New Testament (Luke 2:21-24).
Should I be re-baptized if I was baptized at another church?
As long as you were baptized after making a decision to follow Jesus, and as long as the other church was a Christian church, then you should not be re-baptized. If, however, your baptism was merely a church ritual done prior to your decision to follow Jesus or if the church was outside of the mainstream of Christianity, then we would encourage you to be validly baptized for the first time.
Can my children be baptized?
Absolutely, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. Trinity Vineyard requires that you wait until your children are at least 10 years old (preferably older) so they can make an intelligent profession of faith that is their own. We certainly believe that a young child can be saved, but the older a child is, the more they will understand and the more meaningful baptism will be for them. Remember, they do not need to be baptized in order to be Christians.
What should I do if I want to be baptized at Trinity Vineyard?
If you decide you want to be baptized at Trinity Vineyard, you will need to sign up for one of our baptisms and take a baptism class. This class is brief (45 minutes) and is offered before the weekend worship service the week prior to the baptism weekend. Call the church to find out when the next baptism is scheduled. We would encourage you to invite friends and relatives, since it is a wonderful opportunity to bear witness to Jesus.
Please feel free to contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org or (281-897-8463) if you have any other questions or concerns about baptism.