FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is baptism?
Baptism is a public act of being submerged underwater to identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism is a declaration that a person has chosen to align and commit themselves to Jesus by placing their faith in Him. When a person is baptized, they are pledging their allegiance to Jesus and His Church. In addition to that, baptism is the act of the church to affirm and acknowledge a person's profession of faith. While it is a public visible act, it points to an inner spiritual reality of being united with Jesus.
Is Baptism necessary for salvation?
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone. It is a complete gift of God, irrespective of any work (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism does not save a person, but it does confirm that a person is saved based on their profession of faith in Jesus and what He has accomplished.
Why should believers be baptized?
Matthew 28:18–20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Acts 2:37–41 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.
Romans 10:9-13 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. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. There are some that will falsely argue that without baptism, a person is not saved. However, there is no evidence of this in scripture. Some will say that John 3 states that unless a person is “born of water and the Spirit” he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Many point to this as evidence of the necessity of baptism. However, nothing in the context suggests that Jesus is speaking of baptism. Rather, He is alluding to the promise of the New Covenant in Ezekiel 36, which speaks of both “water” and “Spirit.” Therefore, Jesus is saying that “new birth” or “regeneration” is necessary for salvation, not baptism. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone. God is promising in Ezekiel that he will cleanse us, wash us and give us a new heart, a new spirit in those who believe. This is precisely what Jesus was talking about in John 3. We can also affirm this as considering the whole of scripture and the overwhelming amount of language that supports that salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Christ and not by works.
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Who should be Baptized?
Baptism is only intended for the person who has made a personal decision to ask Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. This means the believer has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work on and become what we call a “disciple” or one who follows Christ. We practice what is called “believer’s baptism” which means we only baptize those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Reading through Acts, we find baptism explicitly related to repentance, receiving the Word, believing and receiving the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. In certain cultures, those who are baptized open themselves up to public persecution. Even in our context, participants often face the ridicule of family and friends. It can also cause tension within families that believe in the tradition of infant baptism and will feel it is an abandonment of the family tradition. However, as Christ followers we are to expect that not everyone will understand and may be persecuted for following Jesus. In those situations, we should be loving, patient, and help explain baptism clearly in hopes they will come to understand what scripture says about baptism.
Romans 6:3–4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Is there an age requirement for Children to be baptized?
There is no evidence in scripture that someone must be of a certain age to be baptized. At Harbour Church, we have seen a large number of people decide to be baptized stating that they were baptized as infants or young children and didn’t understand what they were doing. Baptism should be a one-time special event in the life of a believer and we will do our best as a church to insure that each child has personally choose to be baptized and is old enough to understand what is happening. We are not given an age requirement within scripture, however, there are very simple, but important guidelines to consider.
Guidelines for Children choosing to be baptized:
- It is important that the child being baptized has put their personal trust in Christ and his atoning work on the cross.
- It should be the personal decision of the child to be baptized when they are ready to make their personal faith public, without undue pressure from parents or family to be baptized, as that should never be the motivation to please people, but to please God.
- A child needs to be able to clearly articulate what they believe and understand why they are choosing to be baptized without a parent needing to speak for them.
- Harbour Church suggests the minimum age of ten years old. This is not the rule, but a helpful guideline for children. Typically a child is mature enough at the age of ten to comprehend their faith and be autonomous enough to choose baptism as their next public step of faith. (If you have specific questions regarding this, please talk to a Pastor about your child)
When should a person be baptized?
Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. As soon as a person trusts Christ, he or she should be baptized at the next opportunity they have to be baptized. The Scriptures do not speak of a delayed baptism in which a regenerate believer refrains from obedience to the ordinance. In all the accounts in the Scriptures, baptism is rather immediate. This pattern of being baptized at the next opportunity is found throughout scripture.
The Most Common Reasons people delay Baptism
Not Being Good Enough
There will never be a time where a person will be “good enough” for baptism. God tells us, “we have all fallen short,” meaning none of us our good enough to merit the right to be baptized. Our right to enter the water to be baptized is based on Christ’s
One of the most common reasons for delaying is fear, but we shouldn’t allow anxiety or the fear of being in front of people hinder us. Jesus was baptized publically. It is a public act of obedience. Confront your fear and understand that God is greater than your fear. We are not to fear what people might think, but to make a public statement to everyone about the inward change in your heart and life. righteousness and what he has done for us. We just follow in his footsteps, because he made a way for us. Jesus Christ is who makes us righteous. We can than confidently enter the water with joy and thankfulness.
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