Last month a group of us from MK Camp joined together at Whaddon Way Church to witness the Baptism of Nat Bates & Keira Hamilton. This month, we have the opportunity to witness the Baptism of Ayesha Gunn & Rosie Wilkinson at Newport Pagnell Baptist Church [details below]. But what’s all the fuss about Baptism?
Baptism is essentially going public about your faith; it is a bold public declaration of your faith in Jesus Christ. It is also an act of obedience in response to the call of Jesus on your life; it shows us following Jesus’ own example (see Mark 1:9) and His final command to His followers (Matthew 28:19).
The word ‘baptise’ means ‘to dip or immerse’ and so baptism usually involves the candidate being fully submerged in water (see picture). It is more correctly referred to as ‘believer’s baptism’ – specifically in Baptist churches, as we don’t baptise infants/children, only those who have made their own profession of faith (and are therefore believers).
Let’s be clear: baptism does not make you a Christian, that happens when you make a commitment to follow Jesus and live as He calls you to live. But baptism is a way of publicly demonstrating that commitment & change in your life, in front of family, friends & anyone else you care to invite. Also, baptism doesn’t make you a better Christian than an unbaptised believer.
What does it mean?
It is a symbolic act which represents Christ’s death, burial & resurrection.
“I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
“And when you were baptised, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death.” (Colossians 2:12)
“Don’t you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptised also share in his death? When we were baptised we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptised so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.” (Romans 6:3–4)
Who Should Be Baptised?
Every person who believes in Christ should be baptised. Believers realise their sin separates them from God. They conclude that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross bridges the gap between them and God. Having decided to trust Christ alone for their salvation, they follow Christ in baptism as a symbol of their new life in Christ. This is made in the first sermon preached at the start of the Church – about three thousand people are saved and the first thing Peter tells them to do after salvation is baptism:
“Turn back to God! Be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will be given the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)
When Should I Be Baptised?
As soon as you have chosen to put your faith in Jesus Christ and committed to follow Him.
“But when they believed what Philip was saying about God’s kingdom and about the name of Jesus Christ, they were all baptised.” (Acts 8:12)
Most churches will expect you to attend a short course which will prepare you for baptism. These are usually really helpful. It will give you a chance to fully understand baptism and provides an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have. But it’s not always necessary – read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian and a shotgun baptism in Acts 8:26-40.
There is no reason to delay. If you wait until you are ‘good’ enough, you will never feel ready for baptism. Since baptism is not a part of your salvation but a symbol of it, it is OK to wait until the next scheduled baptism.
That’s a basic understanding of baptism. But I’m sure you still have questions. Feel free to ask them in the comments below, or via the MK Camp page on Facebook. Or better still, speak to someone at your church.
Ayesha & Rosie’s Baptism
Here are the details of the Baptism service at NPBC next Sunday, to which everyone is welcome!
Date: Sunday, 28th October 2012
Time: 10:30am (probably good to arrive at about 10:10)
Venue: Newport Pagnell Baptist Church, Lovat Hall, Silver Street, MK16 0EJ