North Sea Beliefs on Baptism

    Below you will find our beliefs on baptism, but I want to note that we have many in our fellowship who do not hold the same beliefs on baptism.  We invite anyone and everyone to fellowship with us at North Sea, and we even have two forms of membership to accommodate those who are not in agreement with the below.

    - Pastor David Fresch

    Baptism at North Sea Baptist Church

    Virtually all Christian churches practice the rite of baptism. They do so because Jesus commanded his disciples to go...and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 28:19 

    It is almost universally agreed that baptism is connected with the beginning of the Christian life; it is a type of initiation into the kingdom of God as well as the local church. It is the first step of obedience a new Believer can make out of humble gratitude and obedience to Christ.  

    Still, there is considerable disagreement among various church denominations concerning baptism. As you read, take your Bible out to search the Scriptures for yourself. 

    1. The Meaning of Believer’s Baptism

    Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It is a symbolic act of obedience to Christ, identifying the Believer with their Lord, and giving testimony to the inner spiritual change that has taken place when the Believer put their faith, trust and hope in Christ. 

    Baptism serves as a public testimony that the Believer has been ‘born again’ (John 3:3). It is not a magical rite, nor does it produce any spiritual change in the one baptized, it is simply an act of obedience to Christ who commanded His followers be baptized. 

    Further, along with salvation, baptism is a requirement for membership into the local church. A candidate for baptism must demonstrate credible evidence of salvation and an intention to become involved in the life of the local church. Baptism demonstrates a public commitment to Christ, to faithfully follow His commands and His teachings. 

    Some churches believe that baptism initiates a person (often a baby) into the family of God and do not require any demonstration of faith or belief in God on the part of the person being baptized. 

    ...Continued on next page, The Symbol of Baptism and The Mode of Baptism

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    2. The Symbol of Baptism

    Because baptism is an outward expression of an inward change, it is highly symbolic. A symbol is a visible picture or representation of another idea or event.

    Baptism:

    • identifies the Believer with Christ’s death and resurrection. (Romans 6:4ff)
    • gives testimony that you have died to an old way of life and become alive to a new life through Christ, (“born again” - John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:23)
    • is a promise and a commitment to God and to all those witnessing the event that you are committing your life to Christ for His use and to His Kingdom for all eternity.
    • is a way of identifying with a local church and entering into a covenant-love relationship with a ‘body of Believers’. (Acts 2:41)
    • It is also done out of simple obedience to Christ who commands you to do it demonstrating Christ is your Lord and Savior. 

    3. The Mode or Method of Baptism

    The word ‘baptize’ is a transliteration of the Greek work ‘baptizo’ meaning to dip, plunge or submerge. The mode that best preserves the meaning and symbolism inherent in baptism is immersion, or completely submerging the candidate under the water, then raising them upright out of the water. As Christ  was laid in a tomb after His death, the new Believer is lowered under the water. And  as Christ rose from the dead after three days, so too the Believer is raised upright out of the water to ‘walk in newness of life’. Even theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin acknowledged immersion to be the basic meaning of the term and the original form of baptism practiced by the early church.       

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    4. Who can be Baptized

    In the Bible only believers were baptized. This means that baptism follows conversion (repentance from sin and confession of Jesus Christ as Lord).

    Evidence of babies being baptized in the New Testament church is nonexistent. Infant baptism became commonly practised by churches who believe baptism imparts saving grace. Some churches believe infants who died would be made acceptable to God in heaven if they had been baptized. Many churches have adopted this tradition for baptism.

    Two requirements are found in the Bible for baptism: 1) repentance of sin and 2) faith in Christ.  This sequence is important: baptism following conversion. We call this “Believer’s Baptism”. 

    ...Continued on next page, What if I Was Baptized as an Infant?

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    5. What if I was Baptized as an Infant?

    Biblical accounts of baptism show that people were only baptized following repentance and confession of Christ as Lord.  We believe this sequence is not only descriptive, but prescriptive to the church. In fact, John the Baptist refused to baptize some people because their actions did not demonstrate their devotion to God. (Matt 3:8)

    Infants are baptized on the merit of their parent’s faith rather than their own. It is an initiatory rite where the infant is brought into the “family of faith” similar to  baby dedication performed in other churches. However, in the Bible, every individual believed prior to being baptized. This would seem to exclude infants.

    When Jesus said “Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3), He was referring to simple trust, faith and humility not baptism.

    After much reflection and study, some people determine that they would like to have Believer’s baptism in addition to infant baptism. They do so as an act of their own free will and devotion to God and to demonstrate to God and others the transformation that has taken place in their life through the power of God. We can assist you with this decision should you feel this is right for you. 

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    6. What If I was Baptized But I Really Didn’t Know What I was Doing?

    Occasionally people are baptized for the wrong reasons i.e. peer pressure, parental pressure, to obtain church membership, etc. instead of obedience to Christ. We believe that every Christian needs to honour God and be sincere and honest in their relationship and commitment to Him.

    If you believe you did not fully understand the meaning of baptism or feel that your baptism was not done for the right reasons, you may want to consider being baptized again in order to solidify your commitment to Christ. If this is the case we would be pleased to talk with you about this decision to see if it is best. Remember, however, that baptism does not make you ‘more saved’ or impart any special grace to you, it is a demonstration of your willingness to follow Christ, and is a public confession of your commitment as a Believer.                          

    Sometimes rather than being ‘re-baptized’ a Christian  may want to publicly dedicate their life to Christ and renew their commitment of love  and obedience to Him. We can assist you with either of these decisions.


    Some Scriptures Relating to Baptism

                        Matthew 3:11,14       Mark 16:16        Acts 2:38,41      Acts 8:36

                        Acts 9:18-19             Romans 6:3-4    Ephesians 4:5     Colossians 2:12

                                                        Matthew 28:19   John 15:10,14