SBC believes that the Bible presents baptism as an outward witness of an inward faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Thus, baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, declaring the believer’s faith in and identification with their crucified, buried, and risen Saviour.
Baptism does not provide salvation for an individual, but rather serves to identify publicly the individual as a follower of Christ. The act of Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48.) The New Testament records the baptisms of adult believers only. In Romans 6:1–11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ’s death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.
Infant baptism is never mentioned in the Bible, and any baptism prior to faith in Christ destroys the picture of true baptism. Infant baptism came about as the result of the Roman Catholic Church viewing baptism as a New Testament counterpart to Old Testament circumcision where a Jewish baby was identified at eight days with the “covenant people of God” by being circumcised. Infant baptism was eventually seen as a way of cleansing away original sin and was believed to convey saving grace to the child. This stands sharply against the Scripture’s teaching on being saved by faith alone. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation, once they have the maturity and ability to understand what that means.
Therefore SBC does not practice infant baptisms or christenings. We do however practice Child Dedications which serves as a public expression of a parent’s desire to lead and spiritually nurture their child, so the child will develop a desire to have a personal relationship with God. For more information on Children Dedication, read the “Do You Want to Dedicate Your Child?” pamphlet, or enquire at [email protected]
The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The word the apostles used was “baptizo” (bap-tid’-zo) which means immersion, or submersion. The word was used by the Greeks when they spoke of ships that had sunk, or of cucumbers being pickled in a solution. The Bible is also filled with verses indicating that plenty of water was needed for baptism. (John 3:23, Matthew 3:6, Acts 8:37-39.) In order for baptism to be the intended picture of a believer identifying with the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:1-11), full immersion is of necessity. Going under the water represents Christ’s death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.
Baptism is for ALL believers. Believers are those who have realised that their sins have separated them from God. They have given up all efforts to reach God through their own good works or religious activity. They have concluded that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for his or her salvation.
If this describes you, and you are ready to publically testify to this fact, then you are ready to be baptized!
Register for the next baptism class which is scheduled a few weeks before the baptism. These are usually held on Saturdays. In this class, an SBC pastor will review the biblical basis for baptism, help you put together your salvation testimony, and answer any questions you may have. Also, the logistics will be explained for the actual baptism.