What is baptism?
Baptism is a symbolic action that demonstrates that we repent and believe the gospel. It is the visible sign of identifying with Jesus and his church. In the New Testament, baptism pictures a number of realities:
- Baptism pictures the cleansing of forgiveness as the water washes over us.
- Baptism pictures the death and resurrection of Jesus as we are plunged under water and brought up again.
- Baptism pictures the death of our old self as we’re plunged under water and the resurrection of our new life in Christ as we rise again.
- Baptism pictures our union with Jesus and entrance into the church.
- Baptism is the sign of our entrance into the New Covenant by faith.
Who should be baptized?
In short, baptism is for those who have turned from their sins and are trusting in Christ for their salvation. Jesus commissioned his disciples to baptize those who became disciples of Jesus (Matt. 28:18–20). We see throughout the New Testament the assumption that every believer is baptized upon their credible profession of faith (Acts 2:40–41). So, if God has brought you to a new life of repentance and faith in Christ, we encourage you to be baptized.
For parents wondering when it’s best to encourage a child to be baptized, we believe that there is “wisdom in waiting.” We often recommend that parents wait until a child is in middle school or high school to begin conversations about baptism if he or she professes faith in Christ. This ensures that they truly understand the gospel and have a profession of faith that the church can affirm, have an increased measure of independent thinking from parents, and will be old enough to remember their baptism in a meaningful way. It’s also important to note that this would also apply to taking the Lord’s Supper, since the biblical pattern is for people to 1) trust and follow Jesus, then 2) be baptized as a symbol of entrance into Christ and the church, and then 3) begin sharing in the Lords Supper together. Here is an article by Tim Challies that the elders find helpful in thinking about this question: When Should My Children Be Baptized?
When can I be baptized?
We would love to walk through a brief process with you that involves confirming your understanding of the gospel and baptism, as well as your testimony of how God brought you to faith in Christ. If you are interested in being baptized or have questions, please contact the church office at info@zionsvillefellowship.