Baptists believe that Jesus Christ commanded two ordinances other congregations call sacraments. This has resulted in Baptists being characterized as those who baptize. This baptism we believe is commanded by Christ and is for those who profess or claim faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. The proper mode is full immersion into water. This method symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ and is a sign that the professor of faith is part of the body of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So why are Baptists different? Jesus commands in the Great Commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). This baptizing goes along with making disciples and teaching them to follow Christ. Acts 2:38 shows the disciples implementing this repenting and baptizing is the regular practice of the disciples and early church (Acts 8:12, 36–38; 9:18; 10:47; 16:14–15, 33; 18:8; 19:5). Gospel response and baptism are so closely related that an unbaptized Christian would have been unheard of.
The meaning of baptism starts with it being a declaration by the believer that he/she are now with Christ. This public declaration is one of surrendering to Jesus Christ as king of our lives. With unity with Christ it also identifies the believer as being one with the church. A believer must be in union with one, the head of the church (Jesus), and in union with the body (members of the church).
No, we do not baptize infants. There are many reasons for this. One is that Infants cannot profess faith in Christ and are not proper subjects for baptism. A second reason for this is there would be no point in baptizing an infant because there is no saving power in the baptism itself. As stated earlier it is a sign that the one baptized is declaring the saving work of Christ within them. Other denominations baptize their infants. We see this as a misapplication of the clear teaching of Scripture.
Yes, if you are not baptized and you have placed your trust in Christ Jesus and want to publically declare this in obedience to Christ then you need not delay in obedience but come forward on Sunday during the time of invitation. If you were baptized as an infant we want to encourage you to consider getting baptized as a professing believer, this is a sign to the church and the world that you are following the command of Christ in baptism.
Baptism is the next step after repentance of sins and submitting to Jesus. We desire to walk with you as you progress in your relationship with Christ Jesus.
- Stanton Norman, The Baptist Way: Distinctives of a Baptist Church (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 132.