Believer’s Baptism

We believe it is an essential step of obedience for every follower of Jesus Christ to be publicly baptized.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave his followers two universal symbols which identify us as his followers. These symbols—also called ordinances—are Believer’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These symbols are commanded by Christ and have been practiced by the apostles and followers of Christ from Pentecost to the present. Jesus himself was baptized, marking the beginning of his earthly ministry.

Baptism is a step of obedience. It is commanded by Christ as a public, outward sign of the inner spiritual transformation that takes place when we repent of sin and trust in Him as our Savior. Baptism is a ‘water grave’ symbolizing death to self and resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ. Through the waters of baptism, believers publicly identify with Jesus Christ and with his church.

 

Who should be baptized?

Jesus taught, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)

  • At Pentecost, the people who heard Peter’s message asked: “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ…” (v. Acts 2: 37-38).  And “Those who accepted his message were baptized.” (v. 41)
  • “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)

Therefore, we believe everyone who trusts in Christ should be baptized.

 

Why be baptized?

To follow the example of Christ and in obedience to the command of Christ. “Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mark 1:9). “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19).

Believe and be baptized is the New Testament pattern. “Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)

Baptism is a public identification with Christ and His Church. “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41)

Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection and our new life in Him. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:3–4).

 

When should a believer be baptized?

In the New Testament baptism follows conversion. For a new believer this is the first public step of obedience to the lordship of Jesus Christ. No one is saved by being baptized, but after a person places their faith in Christ he or she should be baptized. There is no need to delay. Because belief is a prerequisite for baptism we do not baptize infants, instead we dedicate infants to the Lord and we baptize believers on the basis of their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

 

By what mode are believers to be baptized?

Here at Pequea we practice baptism by immersion because immersion appears to the method of baptism practiced by Jesus and the early church. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water…” (Matthew 3:16a). And “Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water…” (Acts 8:38b, 39a)

Also baptism by immersion best illustrates the believers’ identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:1–4)

Historically, church leaders agree that immersion best illustrates the believer’s identification with Christ and was practiced by the early church: John Calvin: “…it is evident that the term baptise means to immerse, and that this was the form used by the primitive Church.” (see Institutes of Christian Religion, Chapter 15, section 19). Martin Luther: “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imparts and the mystery signifies.” John Wesley: “Buried with Him, alluding to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”

The word baptize means ‘to dip under water’ and comes from the Greek word baptizo which means ‘to immerse or dip under water.’

 

What must I do to be baptized at Pequea?

Trust in Jesus Christ

  • Make your desire to be baptized known to one of the pastors or contact the church office
  • Attend the Baptism Class
  • Prepare your written testimony (helps provided in the Baptist Class)
  • Invite believing and unbelieving friends to witness the service
  • Commit to follow Jesus Christ and to grow in Him