Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28: 19
We love doing Baptisms at Disciples Church.
Jesus commanded that all members of the new covenant be Baptised with water, so we rejoice when people become Christians and we invite them to be Baptised.
We like to point out, however, that Baptism itself does not "save" someone; you don't become a Christian when you are Baptised. Instead, Baptism is a “figure” of that which does save. It is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace instituted by our Lord Jesus. This reminder helps us to focus our attention inward to assess the state of our souls. In what, or whom, do you place your hope of salvation? Regardless of how seemingly good or virtuous or noble your answer, the only salvation is by grace through faith. Any and all works, including Baptism, fail to save. Trust Christ, and Christ alone, for your redemption.
Baptism is a sign. It signifies entrance into the visible new covenant (Christian) community. There are, of course, people who are Baptised into the visible Church who are not really and finally saved. People were circumcised into Israel who were not faithful to the old covenant. Neither Baptism nor circumcision are regenerative (faith giving). Undergoing the rite does not confer faith.
What Does Baptism Represent?
Baptism is a sign of entrance into the Kingdom of God. Baptism puts us into the visible expression of the Kingdom, and symbolizes entrance into the invisible fullness of the Kingdom.
Baptism represents cleansing. It summarises all the purification rites of the Old Testament. The reality of cleansing from sin is by the blood of Christ applied to us, and this is symbolised by the application of water. Therefore, Baptism involves a confession of our sinfulness, since only defiled sinners need to be cleansed.
Appropriately, water is used because it makes us fresh and clean. Just so, Baptism represents (but does not confer) our new birth into the new life in Christ. We are born again by water and the spirit (John 3: 5).
What Does Baptism Achieve?
Baptism signifies our death in Jesus’ death and our resurrection to a new life in His resurrection. It symbolizes our acceptance of a call to join Christ in His humiliation, that we might also join Him in His exultation.
It is possible to be saved and yet not Baptised – though one should be. God commands us to join His church. To do that, we must be Baptised. So, a person should make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour before entering the visible Church by Baptism.
Who should be Baptised?
Any person of any age who makes a credible profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should be Baptised.
What about Baptising children?
If a child can make a credible profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ then he or she should be Baptised.
What about Baptising babies?
Babies cannot make a profession of faith, so we don’t Baptise them. We will, however, be happy to join with the parent or parents as a church community to dedicate their baby to the Lord, as vows are made to raise the child to know Jesus and the Gospel of salvation for themselves. Scripture teaches that babies of believers receive the special grace of having Christian parents (1 Corinthians 7: 14) and we endeavour to make every effort to assist parents to raise their children to know the Lord.
God’s children are children by faith not by birth (Romans 9: 7 – 8). God is a covenant making and covenant keeping God, who works through His people to achieve His purposes. He has promised that He will show mercy from generation to generation (Luke 1: 50), and we rejoice when we see His promises fulfilled in the lives of our Church families.
How should Baptism be done?
The sacrament of Baptism involves the application of water to the body of the person being Baptised. We don’t believe that the Bible is sufficiently prescriptive of any particular mode of Baptism. Church tradition since the time of the early church has seen people sprinkled with water, washed with water, have water poured on them, or even being fully immersed in a pool of water, river or lake. At Disciples Church we don’t prescribe a particular mode of Baptism. Instead, we are happy for the person who is being Baptised to choose how the water is applied.
What about re-Baptism?
This question arises if a person was Baptised (or ‘christened’) as a child, and then comes to faith later as an adult – should they be Baptised again? Once again, the Bible is not prescriptive on this point so we are happy to make this optional. If a person wants to be re-Baptised as an adult then we are happy to do this, but it is not required. We do not re-Baptise adults who have already been Baptised before as an adult.