Metro Bible Church recognizes baptism as one of the two ordinances Jesus Christ instituted for His Church. Below is a our view on Baptism written in 2011 and approved by the Elders of Metro Bible Church.
The Bible commands every believer to be baptized (Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-42). Baptism is a public statement and testimony of a person’s commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a symbolic act illustrating a person’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-6). Anyone who desires to be baptized must be interviewed and approved by the Elders who will administer baptism by immersion (Mt. 3:16; Mk. 1:10; Jn. 3:23; Acts 8:38-39).
Baptism is one of the two ordinances practiced by the Church (communion being the other). The Greek word “baptizo” was a common word meaning “immerse” or “submerge”. New Testament writers used it to summarize the meaning of the subsequent act of obedience following faith and hope in the gospel of Christ. Therefore it is now the total immersion in water of a believer who has confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a practice belonging to the public ministry of the church and is the ideal means set forth in Scripture for the outward testimony of a person’s belief in Christ and resulting inward change.
Based on Christ’s commandment to the Church, it is an act of obedience as individuals and as a Body in following Christ’s example, and to be in compliance with the New Testament way (Matt 3:3-16; 28:19; Mk 1:9; Acts 2:12; Acts 8:12,36-38; 9:18; 18:8; 19:5).
It serves as an indication of true repentance, saving faith, and regeneration; that through faith, the baptism of the Holy Spirit has already taken place. It serves as a personal expression of an assured and genuine faith in the words and work of Christ, and indicates that others have observed and support the genuineness demonstrated (Matt 3:11; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-17; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 18:8; 19:5; Rom 6:3-5,11-15; 2Cor 5:17; Col 2:11-13; Heb 10:22; 1 Pet 3:18-21).
To demonstrate a new faith and hope. It symbolizes that dependence and trust in God was necessary for salvation, it serves as an appeal in faith for continued purification, and it is an act of hope that future consummation with Christ is real (Matt 3:5; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5; 19:4; Rom 6:4-5; 1Cor 6:11; 15:29; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21-22).
To illustrate the gospel. It paints a picture of Christ’s work and power (death, burial and resurrection) for all men, and its effect through faith (die to self, filled with His power and raised to walk in new life) (Rom 6:4-5, cf Gal 3:27; 5:24; Eph 5:18).
To cause others to officially identify the one being baptized with the fellowship of Christ and His Body. Others associate the individual with the life and death of Christ, and the joy and suffering of His Body, the Church (others who have been baptized / filled with His Spirit) (Lk 1:76-77; 3:16; Acts 2:32-33; 19:4; Eph 4:4-6).
To personally associate and identify (in full view and support of the Body) with the Person of Christ (“in the Name of Jesus”) and with His Church (as opposed to a specific teaching) (Matt 3:15; Acts 2:38; 10:48; 18:25; 19:3-5; 1Cor 1:13; 12:13; Gal 3:27).
To personally and officially commit (in full view and support of the Body) to Christ and His Church. It is one’s entrance into the community of believers. It is a personal pledge or statement of submission to God’s authority, submission to His Body, and to the building up of His Church (Mk 1:10; Acts 2:41-47; Gal 3:27; Eph 4:15-16).
Though baptism is not necessary for salvation, scripture clearly indicates that baptism is linked with repentance and saving faith. We believe that as soon as you believe in Christ as Savior, you should make your plans for baptism. Due to the commitments involved and the integrity of the church, it is important that the leaders of the church body affirm true repentance and faith as indicated by consistent evidences of a changed heart, and note a willingness and readiness to commit to His Body (Acts 16:31-34; 22:16).
Since baptism serves as an indication of true repentance, saving faith and regeneration, we believe that it is important that the child show indications of a changed heart and assurance in his faith. As a church family, it is important to get to know the child and be able to affirm true repentance and faith, and note a willingness and readiness to commit to His Body. It cannot therefore be a rite of dedication or surety of future faith by the parents. While it is not for us to decide who is saved and who is not, we believe that if “baptism is done prematurely, we risk affirming a profession that was made simply to please believing parents or to be accepted by a Christian subculture, thus perpetuating nominalism (albeit unwittingly).” Therefore, “waiting to baptize the young…helps to ensure that we do not wrongly affirm a spurious profession.”[i] Metro Bible typically waits until one is of jr. high age before baptizing.
We believe that all those who will be personally committing to the growth and maturity of the one being baptized should plan to attend. If the one being baptized is officially committing to submit to the Body of Christ, those who attend should ideally be the local body that will be able to impart their lives and the Word consistently into their life.
We believe that the church (location) of the local body that will be committing to the growth and maturity of the one being baptized is best. This allows members to witness all that baptism communicates. It ensures the one being baptized that those witnessing the event not only support the public identification and commitment, but are the ones that will respond in love and commitment, for the purpose of the growth of the body (Eph 4:15-16). (Note: at Metro Bible, membership is effective after baptism.)
Since sprinkling in Scripture is used mostly in reference to atonement and Levitical purification, and since baptism itself does not save, it must be separate, and an act resulting from being purified and cleansed from sin. In addition, total immersion in water is the mode in which Jesus was baptized and how the early church and denominational leaders practiced baptism.
We believe it best symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ, and therefore the best way to visually identify with Him (Rom 6:4-5). As one is immersed, it symbolizes leaving the old self (repentance – dying to self), and burying it in faith, allowing the Lord to fill the heart with the “new self”, in order to walk in obedience in the power of the Spirit (submit to His authority). As one is lifted up, it symbolizes having been “washed” and also a commitment to live in the power of His resurrection.
One does not have to know every detail before being baptized, but we believe it is important to understand what it means to personally identify not only with Christ but with His Church as well. Obedience after salvation is most important, but we believe it is important to know a person also gets baptized in part to officially commit to submission to, and the building up the Body of Christ.
[i] Mark Dever, Deliberate Church