About Baptism

The Meaning and Purpose of Baptism

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water as a public proclamation of an event that has already occurred – salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Through baptism, the new believer openly identifies himself with Christ. A believer submerged during baptism signifies the death and burial of his old life, while recalling the sacrificial death and burial of Christ. Emerging from the baptismal waters is symbolic of being raised with Christ to a new life. Baptism is not only a responsibility of new believers - it is also an incredible privilege and the first step of discipleship.

Who should be baptized?

Baptism is often referred to as "believer's baptism" and it is intended as just that. New Testament baptism occurs when a person trusts Christ as Lord and Savior and obeys the command to be submerged in water and raised from it as a testimony to a salvation experience that has already occurred. Apart from a personal commitment to Christ, water provides nothing more than temporary outer cleansing. Baptism is intended for the believer who has been convicted of his sin and separation from God, has repented (or turned away) of his sinfulness, and has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As such, the ordinance of baptism should be reserved for those who are old enough to have a biblical understanding of salvation, a conscious commitment to Christ, and knowledge of the significance of the act of baptism. If baptism takes place before personal salvation it has no meaning. The practice of infant baptism began some time after the 1st Century- some scholars believe it was as early as the 3rd Century as the role of the Church became more prevalent in the salvation process and expression. There is no reference to infant baptism in the New Testament- only those, through a personal decision, who have come to faith in Christ.

When should I be baptized?

Although baptism is not a means by which we are saved, it is a means by which we are set apart. Through baptism, the believer testifies that he is no longer his own – that he belongs to Christ and to God's family. Baptism should immediately follow the salvation experience and should be the believer's first public testimony and first act of obedience. Scriptural baptism (baptism based on a personal commitment to Christ) occurs once. Once baptized by immersion, a Christ-follower need not be baptized again as a result of a change in church membership or growth in spiritual understandings.

Why should I be baptized?

Baptism is not a requirement of salvation, but it is a requirement of obedience. Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist – and He requires that His followers be baptized as well. As previously mentioned, baptism is the responsibility of a new believer, but it is an even greater privilege. Through baptism the believer aligns himself with his Lord and with his new family – the church. Also, because of Christ's mandate for believer's baptism, all members of Park Cities Baptist Church have received Christ and, therefore, have previously been baptized or expediently follow through on their commitment to making their public profession of faith.

How should I be baptized?

The biblical model for baptism involves complete immersion in water. The Greek word "baptizo" used in the New Testament means to "immerse", "sink", or "submerge". The common use of this "new" word transliterated into English included the sinking of a ship or the complete soaking of a garment in dye. Baptism in the Bible was always by immersion. New Testament baptisms, including Christ's, were performed by immersion.

Mark 1:9 describes the baptism of Jesus, where He was baptized by John "into" the Jordan and came "out from within" the water after he was emerged. For the first 1200 years of Christian history, immersion was the universally accepted mode of baptism.

Finally, the symbolism of baptism is best reflected through immersion. The act of baptism symbolizes the death and burial of Christ (and the corresponding "watery grave" for the old life of the new believer). When we accept Christ we are deciding to die to our old sinful way of life and to live for Christ in His power. Emergence from the water represents the believer's "rebirth" to a new life.

Baptism is an outward expression of an inward commitment.

Not unlike a wedding ring, baptism is a symbol of a deeper commitment. You can be saved and go to heaven without being baptism just as you can be married without wearing a wedding ring. When a person wears a wedding ring, it is obvious that they are married; they have said "I do" - indicating a deep commitment to their spouse. In a similar way, one who is baptized has already said "I do" to Jesus - "Yes, I will deny myself, take up my own cross, and follow you", in response to Jesus' call to discipleship in Luke 9:23.

Baptism is the privilege and joy of every follower of Jesus.

Acts 6:26-40 tells the inspiring story of the apostle Philip who leads an Ethiopian to Christ and then baptizes him. The man came to faith in Christ and then was immediately baptized after his decision to receive Christ's forgiveness.

Read Romans 6:1-4

In order to pursue baptism...

Contact the Pastor's office (nblaprade@pcbc.org / 214-860-3972) or go to one of our response teams after any of our services. To schedule baptism in the En Español congregation, contact Sam Silva's office (ssilva@pcbc.org / 214.860.3918).