What is Baptism?

The word Baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means to dip or immerse. In the Old Testament and Jewish writings, there are four types of Baptism mentioned: purification, initiation, repentance, and identification. In the New Testament, there is one primary type of Baptism mentioned. It is a Baptism that symbolizes identification into a community of followers by immersion under water. Commonly, in the New Testament, Baptism immediately followed conversion of an individual who place his/her faith in Christ. Baptism is symbolic of new life in Christ. In every New Testament command and instance of Baptism, repentance and faith precede Baptism. We strongly encourage all those who profess faith in Christ to be baptized as a sign of obedience.

We are so excited to begin talking to those who desire to be baptized. Click here for information on our next Baptism!

You don’t need to be baptized to be saved.
The New Testament teaches that a person is saved by repentance from sin and faith in Christ. “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.) In Luke 23, the thief on the cross recognized who Jesus was, reached out to Him, and Jesus promised him salvation. That dying thief had no opportunity to be baptized.

You need to be baptized to be obedient to Jesus.
We are commanded to be baptized as a part of being His disciple. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28:19) Thus, we don’t get baptized when we “feel like it,” or when we “get around to it” or when we are “led to it by the Lord.” Baptism is one of only two ordinances or rituals that Jesus commands us to observe for all time. The other is The Lord’s Table, or what is often called communion.

Baptism is the public profession of your faith.
Baptism is done before a group of people who witness your confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is not the only way we profess to be a Christian, but it is an important way.

Baptism symbolizes your cleaning from sin.
Baptism throughout the New Testament indicated that a person had “repented” or turned away from sin. The apostles often referred to the fact that believers were washed from sin. Peter stated that the water in baptism symbolized not the cleansing of the body from dirt, but the cleansing of the conscience. (1 Peter 3:21)

Baptism symbolizes your union with Christ in His death, burial, & resurrection.
When you become a Christian, you die to sin and your old way of life and you begin a whole new life. Romans 6:8 states, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” The very act of baptism (being immersed in the water and coming up out of the water) is a picture of what happens to you spiritually.

Five Stones believes that people should be baptized by immersion as opposed to sprinkling or pouring. The term “baptize” literally means to immerse. This was how people in the bible were baptized. Also, immersion best symbolizes what happens spiritually when you become a Christian.

You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Christ for salvation and been “born again”. Remember, you are not baptized in order to become a Christian. You are baptized because you are a Christian. We should not put off baptism, since it is a command of Jesus. Five Stones Church holds baptism celebrations several times per year. You can e-mail bschill@fivestoneschurch.com or call the church office at 704-243-0655 for more information about baptism.

Among orthodox Christians there are different perspectives on infant baptism. Some denominations and traditions (such as Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Catholic) baptize infants while others (such as most Baptists) do not. Perhaps you were baptized as an infant. How should you view that baptism? You certainly want to show respect to your parents and their viewpoints, as well as be grateful to God for any spiritual influence they had in your life. However, our understanding of what the bible teaches is that baptism is an action that follows conversion. So, if you have not been baptized since you have made a decision for Christ, we would recommend that you get baptized

As long as you were born again when you were baptized, and as long as the other church was a Christian church, then you do not need to be re-baptized. If however, your baptism was merely a church ritual done prior to your conversion or if the church was outside of the mainstream of Christianity, then we would encourage you to be validly baptized for the first time.

We believe parents are the primary overseers of their children and ultimately responsible for their children’s spiritual development. The Church leadership is responsible to guard, initiate, and uphold the sacrament of Baptism. Together we work to help young people take steps of faith and growing in their spiritual development. This issue of age is one that causes tension in homes and churches. We strongly believe the decision for Baptism needs to be birthed from within the young person and not declared by the parent. We want to partner with the parents and child to help ensure biblical readiness for Baptism. As a matter of policy, we do not set an age requirement. The Bible does not give us a precise age at which people should baptize children. Therefore we depend heavily on the parents and pastors involved to make a godly decision and discern through prayer and counsel when a young person is ready. We would desire to see the child clearly communicate on his or her own initiative what the Gospel is, who Jesus is, and what their faith in Him means.

Because this commitment requires a level of cognitive and developmental readiness, we ask that children go through our Baptism Class called “Start Here.” Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment that they may not fully understand, attending this class with a parent is very important.

If you have any further questions regarding baptism for your child, please feel free to email Rachel rsawhook@fivestoneschurch.com. You can also reach her by calling the main church line at 704-243-0655.

Arguments exist for baptismal regeneration which when defined states that Baptism is necessary for salvation of an individual. We believe Baptism is not necessary for a person to be saved. Salvation occurs once through faith in Christ, the repentance of sin, and belief in the Gospel.

Jesus and Baptism: In all four Gospels it is recorded that Jesus was baptized. The reasons for Christ’s Baptism were to fulfill all righteousness, for empowerment, and signify to His acceptance by God. What John tried to prevent, Jesus allowed, so we might have an example to follow.

Read Acts 26

  1. What was Paul’s approach to Agrippa?
  2. What did Paul include in his background?
  3. How did he describe his meeting Jesus?
  4. Why should we use a personal testimony?

How To Develop Your Testimony to Share with Others

Make it personal, not preachy; use “I” and “me” not “you” and “we.”

Follow an Outline.

Before

How your life looked before you became a Christian; include how you became aware of your need for Christ.

How – How you specifically became a Christian; communicate the gospel clearly and briefly; include the following:
The fact of sin
The penalty of sin
Jesus’ payment for sin
The requirement to repent and trust Jesus personally
The steps you took to invite Christ into your life (could have been a prayer of commitment)

After

How Jesus changed your life; relate back to the areas you struggled with before conversion.

Clearly write out your personal testimony using the outline provided. Try to keep it between 3 to 4 minutes.