Why We Baptize?
From Genesis on, God made a Covenant of Grace with his people. In the ancient near east, a covenant was a sacred promise and pact where commoners would pledge loyalty and payments to a ruler in exchange for rights and protection. If a commoner failed to keep his promises he could face exclusion or even death. In the Bible God adopted that cultural practice but also adapted it. He unilaterally pledges to carry the burden of relationship graciously, and he takes the penalty of any failure upon himself. As a response to such mercy, God then also outlines covenantal responsibilities for his people.
In the New Testament, the covenant remains the same and is further developed as Christ came to bear the penalty for any failure and to achieve a righteousness he would gift to his people. But, while the covenant promise remained, the symbol and ceremony changed (just as the Lord’s Supper replaced the Passover). Instead of blood, water would now be the symbol of the covenant relationship between God and his people. Jesus’ blood was entirely sufficient for the forgiveness of sins and met all the requirements of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Therefore the shedding of blood is no longer needed. Additionally, baptism is far more inclusive, allowing for Christ’s work on behalf of women and Gentiles to be more clearly stated.
As a sign and seal (reinforcing and strengthening) of the covenant, Baptism is commanded and functions in several ways:
- It marks and identifies a person as being part of God’s promises and community. The individual’s faith is strengthened and others see their connection to Christ;
- As in the Lord’s Supper, there is a supernatural and mysterious promise of and infusion of grace and blessings to the one baptized;
- It signifies and assures us of our being washed of sin and guilt and given the support and power of Christ;
- For parents baptizing their young children, it is a demonstration of their trust in God’s promises on their behalf;
- For believers, it is an outward sign of salvation and inward transformation;
- For children, it is an outward sign of the child being included in the covenant promises and church community.
Because we believe baptism is a vital part one’s faith journey, we require that members be (or have been) baptized. However, we do not require complete agreement with all the details of our understanding or that a person be baptized in our particular church or tradition. We also do not believe baptism is required for salvation or that the sacrament saves a person (which is by faith through grace alone). A child who is baptized will still one day have to possess his or her own personal trust in Jesus as savior. At that time, their baptism and the promises their parents were trusting will have come to fruition as he or she becomes a believing member of the church.
If you are interested in baptism for yourself or for your child, please email We will send you some information regarding the theology of baptism and will connect you with an elder to answer any questions you may have.
Kid's Communicant Course
A course for rising 6th graders that walks through the basics of the christian faith, such as exploring who God is, what role the Holy Spirit plays in our faith, and what it means to be a member of your church. Watch the video below for more details.