Q: Infant Baptism… Basis for this practice, why some churches practice it… and why Discovery does not. Is baptism truly required for salvation or just the individual choice of faith?
Q: Can Baptism be done privately or does that defeat the whole purpose?
This post is provided by Randy Smith. Randy came to faith in a vibrant church plant and brings leadership experience, wisdom and a kind spirit to Discovery. Randy has served among our students and worship team, leads a life group and currently serves on our leadership team. He is another excellent example of a follower of Christ who strengthens a church.
A: The practice of immersion baptism goes back to the early church. It is a symbol of our sinful natures dying with Christ, being buried with Christ, and being resurrected with Christ. “We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We 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 6:1-4, NIV).
At Discovery, we do hold baptisms (in a horse trough, no less) for those believers that have chosen to follow Christ and are ready to turn away from sin and habits that separate them from God. There is no special water or person that is needed for baptism, for they have no power of salvation. They are just part of the observance. God is the one that forgives us and is the only one that can save us once we confess our sins and repent to Him.
However, it is important to point out that we are not saved because we are baptized. Baptism is just a symbol of our rebirth in Christ. Jesus is the only key to salvation. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Romans 10:9-10, NIV). So, why do we get baptized if it is not what saves us?
Baptism is commanded in the New Testament. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NIV). Baptism not only a symbol of our new life in Christ, but is also an act of obedience to God. Additionally, baptism symbolizes our identity as a Christian and our confession that Christ is our Lord. Therefore, it should be made in pubic as a statement of our faith, obedience, and allegiance to Christ.
Discovery does not do baptisms for infants because we believe that baptism should be predicated by a choice to follow Christ as well as confession of sins. For Discovery, this does not apply to infants because there are no sins to confess and they are unable to make a choice for themselves. We base this belief on our interpretation of the Bible. Some churches do offer infant baptisms due to their doctrinal beliefs and their interpretation of scripture.