What does the Vineyard believe about BAPTISM?
About Water Baptism:
The very first story we read in the gospels about Jesus' ministry is his baptism. The very last thing he said to his disciples before ascending into heaven was that they should go throughout the world making disciples and baptizing them. The inspired record of the early church in Acts and the story of church history through the ages indicate that water baptism is a very important activity in the New Testament and the church.
Regrettably, water baptism is a subject that Christians donít all agree upon. At The Vineyard Church, while we believe that baptism is important, we allow some room for disagreement between sincere believers. Our beliefs and practices reflect a diligent effort to be faithful to the Bible and Protestant church history. Here is how we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about water baptism.
Why Should I Be Water Baptized?
1 You should be water baptized in order to be obedient to Jesus Christ. We are commanded to be baptized as one of our first acts of surrender to Jesus. Baptism should be an urgent priority for the disciples of Jesus. You do not need to be baptized to be saved. Water baptism is an outward work of obedience to Jesus Christ after a personís individual decision to repent and trust him for salvation. We are firmly committed to the sufficiency of faith in the blood of Christ alone for salvation. No work of man can enhance the work of Christ on the cross. However, baptism in water is the outward sign of the inward work of Godís grace.
2 You should be water baptized in order to publicly profess your faith. Baptism is the initial means by which disciples of Jesus Christ are identified. It provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith before the church and provides a wonderful opportunity to invite friends and family to witness their confessions of changed lives.
3 You should be water baptized in order to symbolize your cleansing from sin. Throughout the New Testament, baptism indicates that a person has "repented" or "turned away" from sin, selfishness, and living independently from God. The writings of the apostles often refer to the fact that disciples of Jesus were "washed from their sin." Peter writes that the waters of baptism symbolize the inward spiritual reality of the cleansing of our conscience, not the cleansing of the body from dirt.
4 You should be baptized in order to symbolize your union with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. When you become a Christian, you die to sin and your old way of living and then begin a new way of life. The act of baptismóbeing immersed under the water and coming up out of the wateróis a picture of what happens to you spiritually. Like Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected three days later, so we identify with him when we are baptized.
How Should I Be Water Baptized?We baptize by immersion (as opposed to sprinkling or pouring) because we believe it most closely fulfills the biblical form. The term "baptize" literally means "to immerse or plunge." In addition, going under water best represents what happens when you become a Christian. While the immersion mode of baptism best illustrates the work of Christ, the Bible does not mandate how much water should be used. Therefore, we would not argue with those who believe they have a valid baptism in another form. We will always baptize by immersion unless there are other extreme circumstances that would compel us otherwise (physical handicap, sickness, etc.).
When Should I Be Water Baptized?
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Jesus Christ for salvation and been born again. However, remember that you are not baptized in order to become a Christian. Rather, you are baptized because you are a Christian. We should not put off water baptism, nor delay in our prompt obedience!
What If I Was Baptized as an Infant?
Among orthodox Christians, there are differing perspectives on infant baptism. Some denominations baptize infants, while others do not. Perhaps you were baptized as an infant. How should you view that baptism? Should you be rebaptized as an adult? You certainly want to show respect towards your parents, their viewpoints, and your spiritual heritage, as well as be grateful for any spiritual influence they had in your life. Our understanding of what the Bible teaches, however, is that baptism is an act that follows conversion. Consequently, we do not recognize the efficacy of infant water baptism because the Bible teaches the necessity of making a commitment to Christ before baptism. So if you have not been baptized since youíve welcomed Jesus into your life, we would recommend that you get baptized. If you were baptized as an infant, it was likely your parentsí intention that you would some day be a follower of Jesus. Your baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parentsí wishes. In no way does it repudiate the baptism you received as a child.
Should I Be Baptized Again?
If you were born-again when you were first baptized, and the other church where you were baptized was a true Christian church, then you need not be rebaptized. If, however, your baptism was merely a religious ritual conducted before you had a personal relationship with Jesus, or if the church was outside the mainstream, then we would encourage you to be validly water baptized for the first time. But we do not require people to be rebaptized when they join The Vineyard Church.
Can My Child Be Baptized?
Certainly, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. We do require that you wait until your children are at least 6 years old (preferably older) so they can make an intelligent and believable profession of faith that is their own. We believe that a younger child can be saved, but the older a child is, the more they will understand and the more meaningful baptism will be for them. Remember that children do not need to be baptized in order to be Christians.
How Can I Get Water Baptized?
We hold water baptisms several times a year at each of our campuses. These events are wonderful celebrations and will be announced several weeks in advance in the church programs and on the web site. Printed invitations for you to distribute to your family and friends are available at the Welcome Center in the weeks leading up to the baptism service. We ask all candidates for baptism to attend a one-hour baptism class prior to the service. We encourage all interested baptism candidates to speak first with your Small Group Leader, who will answer questions, etc., and then to inform the pastors of your decision. Please contact the church if you have any other questions or concerns about what we believe about baptism.
- Mark 1:9-11
- Mark 16:15-16
- Matthew 28:19
- Ephesians 2:8-10
- Titus 3:5
- 1 Peter 3:21
- Roman 6:1-4
- Acts 2:41; 8:12; 10:47-48