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.
At The River, we believe that baptism is very important, and that every person who says yes to Jesus should be baptized. Here is how we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about water baptism.
WHEN SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Jesus Christ for salvation and been born again. You are not baptized in order to become a Christian. Rather you are baptized because you are a Christian.
HOW SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
We baptize by full immersion. The term “baptize” literally means, “to immerse or plunge”. In addition, going under water best represents what happens when you become a Christian. Putting your trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, you are agreeing with his death as you go down into the water, and agreeing with the new life through the resurrection as you come up out of the water.
We will always baptize by immersion unless there are other extreme circumstances that would compel us otherwise (physical handicap, sickness, etc.).
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 re-baptized. If, however, your baptism was merely a “religious ritual” conducted before you had a personal relationship with Jesus, then we would encourage you to be water baptized as a sign of you putting your trust in Jesus.
Can my children be baptized?
YES, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. We would ask 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. Children do not need to be baptized in order to be Christians.
HOW CAN I GET WATER BAPTIZED?
We currently hold all-church water baptisms off church campus. These events are wonderful celebrations and will be announced several weeks in advance in the church bulletin and on the website. We ask all candidates for baptism to attend a one-hour baptism class the Sunday prior to the baptism service. To find out more about the next Water Baptism service, please go to our contact page and send us a note, or call the church (707-472-9191). You can also fill out a connect card and drop it in the offering at one of our weekend services.
WHY SHOULD I BE WATER BAPTIZED?
- You should be water baptized 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 those who have said YES to Jesus. You do not need to be baptized in order to be saved, however, water baptism is an “outward sign” of the “inward work” of Jesus when we were saved. It symbolizes our trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
- 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 a changed life.
- 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 our body from dirt.
If you have any further questions regarding baptism, or what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus, use our CONTACT FORM on the bottom of this page.