Saturday, October 3, 2009

Biblical Baptism

The church I serve in Vermont has a large number of people attending who did not grow up going to church on a regular basis. Many of the people either have no affiliation with a church or have a very loose connection to some church that they were never really very connected with and have not attended in many years. As a result of this lack of regular connection to a church, many of my friends who come to church don't know much about some of the basic pieces of theology that are important to a healthy spirituality. One of those issues of that baptism. I have found it important to teach what the Bible says about this subject on a somewhat frequent basis. This frequent teaching has helped many people find a great sense of peace as they consider this most important Christian experience.

According to the New Testament, baptism is the way that Christians publicly proclaim their faith in Christ. It is a picture of how Christ died for us, was buried for us, and rose again for us. When we stand in the water we are saying that we are taking our stand for Christ. As we are dipped under the water it symbolizes us "dying and being buried" to our old way of life and when we come up out of the water it symbolizes how we are raised to "new life" through our faith in Christ.

Baptism does not "save" us, but it does show the world that we have already been "saved" from our sin. The New Testament makes it very clear that every person who has trusted Jesus as their Savior and made a commitment to follow Him should be baptized after making that decision. Obviously, if a person has never been baptized at all, then it makes sense that they would be baptized after they make a sincere commitment to Christ. If we realize we are in this category, we should pray about getting baptized right away out of obedience and devotion to Christ. It will enhance our connection to God and improve our personal spirituality.

Sometimes people were baptized by their parents before they were old enough to understand what it was all about. While that is a very lovely ceremony to watch, we cannot find any examples in the Bible of an infant or small child being baptized. In the Bible, people were always baptized only AFTER they made a deep and sincere commitment to Jesus Christ. When people who were baptized by their parents finally make the choice for themselves to become Christians, they should get re-baptized as a testimony of their own faith. It does not mean they didn't appreciate what their parents did for them, nor does it "undo" their previous baptism, it simply means that now they are making this decision for themselves. Parents should rejoice that their kids have come to a place of committed faith in Christ and support them in their own faith decision.

While there is no "perfect" age to be baptized, it is very common for young people ages 13-24 to have the spiritual and emotional maturity to be able to think this through on their own and come to this conclusion for themselves. Therefore that is a common age for people to be baptized once they have trusted Christ as Savior.

There is something powerful about being baptized. It gives us a sense of spiritual cleansing. It makes us feel close to God. It is also a step of obedience to God, since He is the one who told us to do it once we had trusted His Son as our Saviour.

If you want to be baptized, talk to your pastor. If you live in the Central Vermont area, send me a message on Facebook or by email and we can set up a time to talk. Once you feel like you understand it all, I would consider it an honor to baptize you. Pray about it.

Dr. T


  1. Well put! I agree completely with your Biblical explanation and with your emphasis on the personal meaning of baptism for every follower of Christ.

  2. Working with African American kids... some of whom went thru a baptism before becoming born-again... I appreciate your words.... "sincere confession"....
    God is telling me ... yes, these kids are sincere that they are NOW born-again, but they waffle in and out of their understanding when questioned. They need to start a true discipleship program and take steps of unwavering faith... they must count the cost... they must identify with Jesus only...
    They must truly understand SIN, their Adamic nature and that Jesus bought them back from it's eventual toll - death.
    We need more and more mentors, teachers... who are themselves ever studying, ever growing, in faith.
    We don't need teachers who just teach a lesson without the power of the Holy Spirit.
    We need Hebrews 11 and I Cor. 13 to resound in our ears and in the kids.
    "Ring the bells, O Lord, of the joy that was set before You... depising the shame... enduring the cross.... because You love us. Amen."

  3. I was shocked at how little some Baptist churches teach about baptism. Isn't that the reason the whole Baptist movement emmerged on the scene 400 years ago?

  4. I appreciate your explanation of Baptisism; one I can share with my grandson soon. About the infant baptism (christening). This is a service where the parents dedicate their child to the Lord. The parent promise before God to raise this child " the admonition and nurtriment of the church." This, in no way, is an affirmation of the child but of the parents.

  5. This blog on baptism is great.

  6. I like this.

  7. I would like to observe a baptism by immersion. I saw one in a movie once, but would like to see it done in real life. I heard your church was doing on this Sunday, I might just drop in to see it.

  8. Is it true that Andrew Kinney is getting baptized at your church on Sunday? I heard he almost went to jail and that you and your wife went to court with him to keep him out of jail. Not many pastors would do that. Can anyone come to your church? I would like to see Andrew get baptized.