Seven Common Questions About Baptism
If you grew up in the church, you have probably heard or experienced some type of baptism—whether it was watching a Christ-follower be immersed in water or attending a baby’s christening. But if you are new to Christianity or you just recently came back to church, you might have a lot of questions about baptism, like many of us do.
Here are some answers to seven common questions about baptism that will help us better understand this significant act of faith.
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- What is baptism?
Baptism is a beautiful expression of faith; it is an outward sign of an inward reality. Baptism is a step you take after you begin a relationship with God. It serves as a public declaration of a private decision to trust in Jesus Christ and to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6).
- Is baptism necessary for salvation?
Baptism is not a step you take to begin a relationship with God. The New Testament clearly teaches (in over 200 instances) that salvation is based on faith alone in Jesus alone (Romans 10:9). It’s not based on what we do, even something as important as baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Why is baptism important?
Baptism is important because Jesus both modeled it (Mark 1:9) and commanded it (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus was baptized to identify Himself with God’s purpose and mission. And He commanded us to take this step as one of the first things we should do after we trust in Him. As we follow the example of Christ in baptism, we identify ourselves with God and commit ourselves to His purpose and mission both in and through our lives.
- When should I get baptized?
After putting your trust in Jesus Christ and beginning a personal relationship with Him, baptism is a great next step in your faith journey. Since baptism shows your intent to commit your life to Jesus, it is important to be baptized once you have made the personal decision to follow Christ (Acts 8:12).
- What is the difference between baptism by immersion and by sprinkling?
Different churches use different methods of baptism. Some use sprinkling or pouring where water is simply sprinkled or poured onto the head of the person being baptized. Other churches use total immersion where the person being baptized is submerged in the water.
While other churches and traditions may practice baptism differently, we encourage baptism by total immersion because it most clearly shows the meaning of baptism as identification with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism by immersion also seems to have been the practice of the early church. Baptism comes from the Greek word, baptizo, which literally means to dip or submerge. However, the means of baptism is not as important as the meaning behind it.
- Should children be baptized?
At Chase Oaks Church, we believe baptism is a picture that illustrates a spiritual relationship with Jesus that begins at salvation. Salvation happens through a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ. So, no one should be baptized until he or she is able to personally understand and respond to the Gospel.
Therefore, we believe children should be baptized once they have made the personal decision to follow Christ. It is important for children to understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the meaning of baptism before taking this next step.
While we don’t baptize infants at Chase Oaks, we do dedicate them. This is a special time for parents, relatives, and guardians to pray with a pastor and ask for God’s help in raising their children to come to know Jesus.
- How many times should I get baptized?
If you have not been baptized since you made the decision to follow Jesus Christ or you do not remember being baptized, baptism might be a good step for you to take. However, if you have already made a public declaration of your faith in Jesus through baptism, there is no need to get baptized again.