Centerview Baptist Church of Jacksonville, NC
Prayer | Online Giving | Times & Directions | Contact Us
Baptism
The Bible teaches that baptism is the immersion in water of a person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  If you would like to experience the tremendous joy of obedience to Christ's command, you are invited to contact us to talk about this important step in your spiritual journey.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Baptism

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Baptism does not make you a follower of Jesus Christ nor does it guarantee your eternal destiny. Baptism is like a wedding ring--it is the outward symbol of an inward commitment you have made in your heart to Christ as Lord and Savior.

What about infant baptism?

In the New Testament faith always preceded baptism.  Since a baby has no ability to make a decision to place his/her faith in Christ, infant baptism is not a biblical mandate. The Bible teaches that children who are unable to comprehend the Gospel would go to heaven because of God's love and grace, not on the basis of a religious ritual like baptism.

Since the purpose of baptism is to publicly profess your personal commitment to Christ, it is necessary that a child be mature enough to place his/her faith in Christ and understand the true meaning of baptism.  For parents with infants and young children, we provide a special worship service time when parents may dedicate their children to God.  This dedication is a covenant by the parents to raise their child in the ways of the Lord until the child is old enough to make his or her own personal commitment.  You may contact the church office at (910) 347-6691 to make arrangements.

Do I need to be baptized a second time?

It is recommended that you be baptized again if you have never been baptized by immersion since you became a follower of Jesus Christ.  If you were baptized as an infant, believer's baptism doesn't devalue your prior experience but simply reflects your desire to be obedient to God's Word and Christ's example.  If you were baptized into a cult or non-Christian religion, it is also recommended that you be baptized again.

Can I choose who will baptize me?

Yes!  Usually one of our pastoral staff will officiate at your baptism.  If you desire someone else to baptize you, please contact one the pastors and they will be glad to help you make arrangements.

Can my family be baptized together?

Yes!  If each family member has placed his/her faith in Christ for salvation and understands fully the meaning of baptism, we encourage you to be baptized as a family.

Baptism: A Biblical Imperative 

Introduction

What Does the Bible Say?

Who Should Be Baptized?

The Purpose of Baptism

The Meaning of Baptism

The Method of Baptism

Is Re-Baptism Ever Necessary?

The Baptism of Children

Obstacles to Obedience

The Believer's Response

 
Introduction

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20, The Great Commission).

Baptism is an ordinance, but we prefer to call it a ministry of the church.  Now the Great Commission - the greatest mission statement ever made, the epicenter of all that God wants to do in the earth, may seem an odd place to begin a study of baptism, but in fact it is the best place to begin.

In the Great Commission there are four action verbs: (1) go, (2) make disciples, (3) baptize, and (4) teach. Of these four, the verb that is expressed in the Greek imperative as a command is the second verb "make disciples."

Now, disciples want to become like their master.  In other words, the heart of God wants to bring to the people of the world an opportunity to become like Him, to have His life reproduced and expressed uniquely in their own personalities and lives.

How do you make disciples of Jesus Christ?  How do you reproduce the life of Christ in someone else's life?  What are the grand strategies of God to reproduce His life in yours?

That's what the other three action verbs are for!  First, someone must go and tell the world about the Lord.  When the Lord saves us, the immediate next step is to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The next step is for the person to begin to learn about the Kingdom of God so that, as the Bible says, the Spirit of the Lord works within that person transforming him or her into His likeness.  This is "The Great Commission."

But why is something that appears to be as unimportant as baptism in the middle of that kind of enormous statement?  In other words, isn't baptism just one of those little "rites" of the Church? Isn't it just one of the religious things that we do?  So, how in the world does it fit into a statement of such overwhelming magnitude as "The Great Commission?"  The answer is that it is not one of the "little" things that we do, but from the lips of Jesus Himself, baptism is one of the key strategies of God in your life.

As we'll discover in a moment, baptism was intended to bring the Church together in joy and celebration.  Instead, it has often divided the Church over the course of centuries and has been the subject of "hot" debate between good people.

 
What Does the Bible Say?

Let's take a look at what the Bible has to say about it.  Personal opinions of people or church "traditions" are not the source of truth for those who have placed their trust in Christ and His Word. Let's find out what the Bible says about baptism.

The Great Commission makes baptism one of the key ingredients of God's plan for the life of every person who is a Christian. Let's look at the character of baptism and find out why.  Who should be baptized? How? When?

 
Who Should Be Baptized?

Who must be baptized?  The answer is that everyone must be baptized who knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; that is, those who have asked for and received forgiveness from sin and are made part of the family of God. The immediate next step after receiving Christ as Savior is to follow the Lord in the waters of baptism.

In the Book of Acts, the history book of the early Church, there is no record that anybody ever came to know the Lord without being baptized immediately.  The concept that someone would receive Christ as Lord and Savior and not be baptized is not scriptural!  There is no such account.

The eighth chapter of Acts records the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.  As they travel along in a chariot, the Ethiopian eunuch asks, "Tell me, what do I have to do to be saved?" He finds out and he finds the Lord.  Watch what happens! Verses 36 to 38 record the following:

"As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water.  Why shouldn't I be baptized?' And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him."

The ninth chapter of Acts records the story of Saul of Tarsus.  Remember that Saul was brutally persecuting Christians. He was on the road to the city of Damascus to do the same. A blinding light stopped him, he came into contact with Jesus Christ, and it changed his life.

"Then Ananias went to the house and entered it.  Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again.  He got up and was baptized and after taking some food, he regained his strength" (Acts 9:17-19).

That's when he was born again! And he was then immediately baptized. There are several other examples in Acts, but these should suffice to show the pattern:  salvation then baptism.

 
The Purpose of Baptism

There are two fundamental purposes of baptism.  In exploring these purposes, it is helpful to understand that baptism did not start with Christianity.  This was a common religious practice. Sometimes the baptisms were of water of a variety of different modes - sprinkling, immersion, etc.  Sometimes they were of blood.  People from various groups and movements often baptized themselves! The reason John got his name "the baptizer" was because he was doing something few people did! That is, he was participating in other people's baptisms.

In Christianity, baptism is not intended to be a private experience.  When Christ saved you, it was an intensely private experience.  But once you have entered the family of God, there is nothing private about it!  You are part of this wonderful thing called the Church, the Body of Christ, brothers and sisters related together in God's family.

Almost everything of spiritual significance that happens to you after your salvation happens in connection with your family - the extended family of God.  And that includes baptism.  Baptism is an ordinance of the Church of Jesus Christ.  John baptized people. People didn't do it on their own.

What are the two purposes of baptism?  First, it is an individual public profession of personal faith in Jesus Christ and surrender to Him.  This is why it is so important that a person be old enough to understand what is happening and to be able to make such a commitment to Christ. This is why our baptisms at Centerview Baptist Church are so special.  It's a mature person professing, "I know what I'm doing.  And I want you to know, I belong to Jesus Christ.  I'm surrendered to His will in my life."  Such testimonies bring great joy and blessing.

Is the purpose of baptism for the baptized person's benefit or for the congregation's benefit?  For whose benefit is the Bible's command for baptism?  The answer is "for both."  That's why the congregation of the church, the baptized person's extended family, should attend and participate when people are being baptized.  This is for your benefit.  It's a biblical command of God.

The second reason for baptism is often lost in the study of baptism, but it is both biblical and consistent with the history of New Testament Christianity.  Baptism was the initiation rite into the fellowship of the local church of believers.

In the early Church, following the Lord in the waters of baptism was the official, public pronouncement that a person was a believer in Christ and was part of that wonderful movement called Christianity. While there was much joy in this, there was also much personal cost as persecution often followed.  Baptism was an "initiation ordinance" into the fellowship of the church.

There are still many places in the world today where an individual's baptism provokes persecution. In Communist countries there are often severe consequences to being baptized. In our culture, no one is persecuted because they are baptized, although they may have difficulty with some family members, depending on the family church background.

But baptism is the rite of initiation into the local church.  In it a person is saying, "I am not just a 'lone ranger' for Christ.  I am part of God's family." Such a person comes into a family of mutual commitment and love and relatedness to one other.

Baptism is required for Centerview Baptist Church membership.  Some who would like to be members refuse to be baptized.  Why would the church require baptism for membership?  Does baptism make you wiser in voting on a church budget?  Does being immersed in the waters of baptism somehow contribute to the decision of who to call as your pastor, or in the exercise of other church membership decisions and responsibilities?  Of course not!

Why, then, would Centerview Baptist Church put an obstacle like this in the way of membership? The answer is that the Bible commands baptism for every believer as the first step of obedience to the Lord following salvation. Therefore, while worship and participation at Centerview Baptist Church is open and available for everybody in the world, membership in the church is only for those who know the Lord and are surrendered to His will according to the Word of God. Such men and women are the core of what God is doing, and going to do, in the ministry of this church.

Membership is for people who love the Lord.  Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).  Church membership is available to people who love the Lord enough to obey the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

 
 The Meaning of Baptism

What is the meaning of baptism?  To answer this question we turn to a wonderful passage found in Romans 6:3-5:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection."

This passage encapsulates the meaning of baptism: the public identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Identifying with the death of Christ is the death of your "old nature," your old life before you found the Lord.  Identifying with the burial of Christ is your determination to put aside the things that are not of the Lord and put on the personhood of Jesus Christ.  And identifying with Christ's resurrection is your new life in Him.  When you were saved, you did not find a "way of living."  You found life itself!  And the resurrection of Christ is resurrection into new life for you.

 Back to Top

 The Method of Baptism

Understanding the meaning of baptism leads us to an interesting and often controversial question.  What is the proper method of baptism?  There are people who will talk until their veins bulge from their necks saying, "You must sprinkle."  Others will argue with equal force, "You must immerse."

What method of baptism is "correct?"

Let's examine the biblical teaching on the method of baptism.  Baptism comes from the root word "baptizo," which means "to place completely under; to be identified with” (see 1 Corinthians 10:2).   In the case of water baptism, those two words together simply mean "water immersion." This method of baptism was the historical practice of both John the Baptizer and the early Church.  It was not until several hundred years later that infant baptism was practiced.

Why does this matter?  The reason immersion was taught and practiced in the early Church was that (1) immersion was the only method of baptism consistent with the biblical meaning of the word "baptize" and, (2) immersion was the method that most closely symbolized and represented the meaning of baptism according to the sixth chapter of Romans.

Going down into the water.  Being buried with Christ.  Coming back up out of the water in newness of life.  All this is a symbolic reference to the resurrection of your new life in Christ. That is why the early Church practiced immersion and why Centerview Baptist Church continues in this wonderful biblical fashion.

 
 Is Re-Baptism Ever Necessary?

Is it ever necessary to be re-baptized?  Once you've been baptized, is it ever necessary to be baptized again?  The answer is generally, "No."

The Bible does not teach that baptism is a way of rededicating your life to the Lord.  You don't have to do this every two or three years.  So, if you have been saved by Christ and been baptized, you never again need to be baptized.  Are there some circumstances under which a person should be re-baptized?  Yes, there are.  Let me suggest to you three.  First, a person should be re-baptized if the first baptism was not a Christian baptism.  Some people have been baptized as part of a cult group or other non-Christian group. Even if they were born again at the time, that is not a biblical baptism since baptism has its meaning in the context of the assembly of believers.

The second reason why a person may need to be re-baptized is if the baptism was not biblical in its character.  Acts 19 relates an incident in Ephesus where some believers had been baptized, but they had been baptized according to John's baptism.  John's baptism was a call to repentance and preparation for the Messiah but not a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  How could such a profession of faith be made since Christ had not yet come on the scene?  Although these Ephesians had been baptized, they hadn't even heard about Jesus.  They were asked, "Have you been baptized?"  That's another way of asking, "Do you know the Lord?"  They said, "Oh, yes, we've been baptized."  They were asked, "Whose baptism was it?"  And they answered, "John's."  They were finally asked, "Well, how about being baptized with the Holy Spirit?"  Well, they didn't know about the Holy Spirit.  So these believers were re-baptized, only this time it was a Christian baptism.

There's a third reason why a person may need to be re-baptized and it is the most common one:  if you were baptized before you became a Christian. 

If you were baptized as an infant in a Christian church, you ought to thank your parents for bringing you up in a Christian tradition.  If anything ought to bring joy to the hearts of parents, it should be their child saying, "Mom and Dad, I have come to know the Lord as my Lord and Savior and now I need to proclaim that in the context of the assembly of believers, just as the Bible teaches.  I want you to come and celebrate with me to see that what you started many years ago has now grown to maturity."

So if you were baptized before the Lord saved you, you really were "dedicated to the Lord," not baptized in the biblical sense.  You need to do what the Bible says, you need to be baptized "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."     

Back to Top

The Baptism of Children

The preceding discussion raises the following question, "Should we baptize children?"  The answer is "Yes" - when they have been saved and can say so.  While there is no magic number as to when the right time is to do this, our position is to wait until the child really knows what he or she is doing.         

Back to To

Obstacles to Obedience

There are three reasons why some believers who love the Lord experience some reluctance to follow the Scriptures in the area of baptism.  First, some people are fearful of embarrassment and they believe that baptism is "a child's experience" without dignity and respect.  They are concerned that to get in that tank of water in that funny baptismal gown and be immersed in front of dozens of people is embarrassing.  "I'm a Marine," some say. "I'm 57 years old.  What do you mean you're going to baptize me?!"

There is a price in following Jesus Christ, and the price begins with self-denial.  Throughout history, there have been people who have watched what God has done, and then there are the people who have been part of making it happen.  Centerview Baptist Church is full of people who want to be part of making something happen for God and we are!  And that begins with the kind of self-denial that puts Christ first.  Embarrassment is simply another way of the devil saying, "Are you really going to have it God's way?  Wouldn't you rather have it your way?"

The second reason for reluctance in following the Lord in the waters of baptism is family resistance.  Some say, "I'd like to be baptized.  I know the Bible commands it as the fulfillment of the Great Commission in my life, but I've got parents that will see this as a betrayal of the way they raised me."

We are genuinely sympathetic to this problem.  We need to minister carefully and redemptively to parents.  What needs to be said to them is, "I want to thank you for raising me in a Christian tradition.  You are going to be so glad to know that I have made a commitment to Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I want to build upon what you have started."  Parents do not have to feel threatened or abandoned.  But what if after much effort at understanding has been made, family resistance is so strong that there is no way to follow the Lord according to God's Word without their resenting it? The answer is that you must make a choice who you are going to serve.

There is a third reason why people are not baptized, and that is that they are just plain afraid. The answer to this kind of fear is to trust both the Lord, who loves you and the love and acceptance of your brothers and sisters in your extended family here at Centerview Baptist Church.

 
The Believer's Response

If you know the Lord as your Savior and have never been baptized as a profession of that faith, what will be your response?  In Luke 6:46, our Lord calls His people to responsiveness to His leading as He declared: "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"  This is a penetrating question. The meaning of the Greek word "Lord" is the concept of Master.  And what Luke says here is logical: "Tell me, why do you say I'm your Master, but you don't obey me?"

We look forward with great joy to assisting you in the baptism process.

Back to Top

 
 

 

12Dec
Wednesday December 12, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Christmas Fellowship Dinner
12Dec
Wednesday December 12, 7:35 PM - 8:30 PM
Sanctuary Choir Rehearsal
14Dec
Friday December 14, 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM
S.A.Y. Christmas Party at the Farm
15Dec
Saturday December 15, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Ladies' Christmas Fellowship

 
 
Home | Times & Directions | Listen Online | Sitemap | Contact Us
Copyright 2011 Centerview Baptist Church | 1165 Piney Green Rd Jacksonville, NC 28546 | Site by My Church Website Design