What do I need to know about baptism @ Open Bible Church?
What is Water Baptism?
In our church we practice baptism by immersion. We understand water baptism is a symbol of spiritual obedience in the life of the believer.
Why do we Water Baptize?
First and foremost, we baptize in order to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself was immersed in baptism in the Jordan River. In addition, it is a powerful symbol of our faith:
- As the symbol of cleansing from sin.
We know that cleansing from sin involves repentance. 1 John 1:9 assures us that if we turn from our sin, God will forgive and cleanse us.
- As the symbol of freedom from the consequences of sin.
Romans 6:4 speaks of death, burial, and resurrection. The symbolism here represents death to sin by burial in the water at baptism.
- As the symbol of new life in Christ.
Romans 6:5 teaches us that we have resurrected life; and water baptism by immersion most clearly demonstrates that coming up out of the water is a resurrection to the newness promised in Christ.
Is Water Baptism for me?
The scripture is clear that those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are to be baptized in water. Water baptism validates our faith in Jesus and reveals in a public manner our new life in Him.
Ultimately, water baptism is an act of submission. It is about showing that your heart is yielded to Jesus Christ. Baptism is not done to save us, because only faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ can do that.
Why do we Baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Simply, because we are commanded to do so in Matthew 28:19. Although there are other scriptures concerning water baptism (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5, Galatians 3:27) these scriptures emphasize the process of following Christ and repenting of sin, rather than the baptismal formula itself.
How do I prepare for water baptism?
Pickup a baptism booklet in the foyer and return the included baptismal card no later than noon on the Thursday before baptism day along with a brief personal testimony using the guidelines below. Alternatively, you can fill out this form.
- What was life like before you knew Christ?
- How did you come to Christ?
- What is life like since you’ve believed?
For parents with children we have the following suggestion: if this material is too complicated for them to understand, they may be too young to be baptized. However, as a church we consider it the primary responsibility of parents to educate their own children in important spiritual things such as water baptism, so we will honor the parent’s decision in this matter.
Arrive at the church conference room (near main entrance) for a short pre-service class and instruction forty-five minutes before the service you will be attending. The person who will be baptizing the candidate must also attend the class. Please make note of the baptism checklist.
Be prepared to briefly answer these questions at your baptism:
- Tell us a little bit about why you want to be baptized today.
This question allows opportunity to give the reason for your faith and the reason for being baptized. It may be your first time, or it may be that you are drawing a new line in your life and doing it again. If so, we want to hear about it.
- What is one of the best things about knowing Jesus?
This question allows opportunity to explain what Jesus means to you by sharing one of the best things about your relationship. Here’s where it becomes personal.
- Are you saying, before all these people, that Jesus is Lord of your life and that you will follow Him for the rest of your days?
This is the statement of your intent to not simply identify with, but to follow Jesus.
- There will be reserved seating for family and close friends in the sanctuary near the baptism area.
- Added scriptural references for further study:Matthew 3:11-17, Mathew 28:18-19, Acts 2:37-41, and Romans 6:1-14.
Water Baptism Checklist
- All candidates for baptism must attend pre-service class forty-five minutes prior to service time. The person who will be baptizing the candidate must also attend the class.
- Each candidate for water baptism will have written out, or submitted online (openbiblerc.org/baptism), their personal testimony according to the directions listed in the water baptism brochure and make sure it is received at the church office prior to the date of baptism. Note also, that they must be able to articulate in the class that they believe in Jesus, understand repentance, and have invited Christ into their heart.
- Each candidate will enter the baptismal with assistance and will then answer the three public interview questions into the microphone prior to baptism.
- Each candidate will be baptized in this manner: they will crisscross their arms across their chest with their hand able to pinch their nose if needed and the officiate will then place his or her hand on top of those crossed arms and submerse them under the water and bring them back up by placing their free arm under the small of their back to provide support. There will be another person there to assist if needed.
- Each candidate will be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19.
- Following the baptism, the candidate must have a change of clothes and a towel ready. They will then walk a short distance to the appropriate rest room to change. A dark t-shirt will be provided for each baptismal candidate. It is suggested that you avoid jeans or clothing that will be heavy when wet.
- While others are being baptized the other candidates are expected to be respectful and quiet during this process.
Baptisms are scheduled quarterly during both Sunday services. Please feel free to reach out to Sharon Hansen or anyone at OBC for questions about baptism!