Baptism Booklet

The Bible makes it clear that baptism is a very important step in the life of a believer. Over the course of history there has been a variety of opinions as it relates to baptism. In light of this, we have answered a number of questions in order to help you have a biblical understanding of baptism.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is one of two ordinances that are commanded in the Scriptures. One is the Lord’s Supper and the other is the ordinance of baptism.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

Baptism is a visual picture of our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a reminder that the believer, once dead in their sins, is alive in Christ Jesus. It is a public testimony of the miraculous work of God that has already been accomplished in the life of the one who has come to faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

Romans 6:3-6

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:9-14

Wayne Grudem states:

“The practice of baptism in the New Testament was carried out in one way: the person being baptized was immersed or put completely under the water and then brought back up again. Baptism by immersion is therefore the ‘mode’ of baptism or the way in which baptism was carried out in the New Testament.”

Wayne Grudem - Systematic Theology

Certainly the passages in Romans and Colossians would picture a baptism by immersion. Being submersed in water is a reflection of Christ’s death. Coming up out of the water is a picture of being raised up with Christ. Baptism is commanded in the Scriptures. When we are baptized we are identifying with both the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder that we are no longer slaves to sin, therefore we are to walk in newness of life.

Who should be baptized?

At Countryside Bible Church we practice what is called Believer’s Baptism. This is because the Bible teaches that baptism is an ordinance for those who have come to personal faith in Jesus Christ. It is an act of obedience that does not confer any special grace. It is a testimony of the redeeming work that God has already accomplished in the life of the believer.

And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:40-41

As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Acts 8:36-38

They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

Acts 16:31-33

Once a person “believes in the Lord Jesus” they should be obedient to the Lord by being baptized. Baptism is a picture of what has already taken place in the life of the one who has come to faith.

Is Baptism Required for Salvation?

There are some who have taught that baptism is required in order to be saved. They have often referred to a verse in Acts to establish this doctrine:

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38

At first glance one might conclude that baptism and repentance are both necessary for salvation. However there are several reasons why we know this is an erroneous belief. While baptism is a very important step of obedience for the believer, to conclude that it is necessary for salvation would be to contradict other very clear passages of Scripture.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

John 1:12

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

Romans 4:5

In fact, the Bible declares over 200 times that salvation is based on personal faith in Jesus Christ alone.

In his commentary on the book of Acts, John MacArthur reminds us that:

“Throughout the book of Acts, forgiveness is linked to repentance, not baptism (cf. 3:19; 5:31; 26:20). In addition, the Bible records that some who were baptized were not saved (Acts 8:13, 21-23), while some were saved with no mention of their being baptized (Luke 7:37-50; Matt. 9:2; Luke 18:13-14).”

John MacArthur - What the Bible Says About Parenting

The Bible emphasizes that salvation cannot be merited by any works that we do.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Titus 3:5

Baptism is not a necessary component for salvation. It is an act of obedience for those who have already placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for salvation.

What if I was baptized before becoming a Christian?

Baptism prior to conversion does not accomplish the biblical purpose of baptism. Keep in mind that the purpose of baptism is to demonstrate what the Lord has already accomplished in your life through salvation. If you have not been baptized as a believer then this would be an important step of obedience for you.

When should children be baptized?

Children’s pastor Art Murphy says,

“The Bible never specifically mentions children being baptized. It only mentions the baptism of men and women and households, which may or may not have included children. We know that children attended sermons. But we do not know whether they were baptized.”

Children are saved in the same way that adults are saved. Both must come to God in faith. Salvation is a result of the grace of God extended to the sinner. It is imperative that children have an understanding of salvation prior to coming to the waters of baptism. Too often our children desire to go to heaven yet do not understand the reality of sin or the meaning of faith.

Children are easily influenced. They may see a baptism service and quickly want to participate themselves. A child’s friend may be baptized which then causes them to want to do the same; or often friends will want to be baptized together. This may have more to do with the peer influence rather then a desire to be obedient to the Lord.

“For this reason, only when a child’s stated convictions and beliefs are tested by circumstances in life as he matures do parents begin to learn more conclusively his spiritual direction. While many people do make a genuine commitment to Christ when young, many others—perhaps most—don’t come to an adequate understanding of the gospel until their teenage years. Others who profess Christ in childhood turn away. It is only appropriate, then, that parents move cautiously in affirming a child’s profession of faith and not be quick to take any show of commitment as decisive proof of conversion.”

Grace Community Church - Evangelizing Your Children

“Although Scripture commands that believers be baptized (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38), it is best not to rush into the ordinance in the case of a child. As previously stated, it is extremely difficult to recognize genuine salvation in children. Rather than rushing them into baptism after an initial profession, then, it is wiser to take the ongoing opportunity to interact with them and wait for more significant evidence of lasting commitment. Even if a child can say enough in a testimony to make it reasonably clear that he understands and embraces the gospel, baptism should wait until he manifests evidence of regeneration that is independent of parental control.”

Grace Community Church - Evangelizing Your Children

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:1-3

If a child expresses an interest in baptism and yet does not reflect the character of a person who has been saved in the other areas of life, they should probably wait. It is vitally important that we help our children understand that baptism is stating publicly what God has accomplished internally. When God accomplishes this work of regeneration in our lives, He continues to work in us to accomplish His work of sanctification.

“Even if parents conclude it’s too early to regard their child’s interest in Christ as mature faith, they must not deride a profession of faith as false, for it may be the seed from which mature faith will later emerge. Instead, the parent should continue to point that child toward Christ, teaching the truth of God’s Word with patience and diligence, and always looking to the One who is able to open hearts to respond to the gospel.”

Grace Community Church - Evangelizing Your Children

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

How do I prepare my testimony?

Your testimony should include the following:

Your condition before salvation. Please be discreet when speaking of past sins. We never want to glorify sin or cause others to think sinfully.

Your conversion. How you came to understand your need of salvation and how you became saved. It would be appropriate to use Scripture. Keep in mind that others may be in the congregation who have not yet come to faith in the Lord.

What your life has been like since salvation. In what ways have your habits and attitudes changed? How is the Lord continuing to make a difference in your life?

Please keep your testimony 3-5 minutes or less.

Practice your testimony:

  • State your name first
  • Share your testimony
  • Close, if necessary, “so I’m here tonight.”

In the baptism class before the baptismal service, you will share your testimony. After the class, please email a copy of your testimony to the Associate Pastor for feedback. The church staff will print and laminate your final draft for use on the day of baptism.

How do I prepare for the day of my Baptism?

  • Prior to the day of baptism: Email final copy of testimony to the Associate Pastor
  • Arrive at the church at least 30 minutes before the service begins (5:30p)
  • Meet in the Green Room (back stage of the Worship Center)
  • We will have a laminated copy of your testimony for you to read
  • Bring a change of clothes for after your baptism
  • Bring a towel
  • A robe will be provided to wear over your clothes in the baptismal
  • You can change clothes in the bathrooms backstage

In the baptismal:

  • Please hold the hand rails going in and out of the baptismal
  • Stand 6 to 8 inches from the microphone
  • Don’t touch the microphone!
  • Use the ledge if needed
  • State your name
  • Give your testimony as written in your final draft
  • Remove glasses
  • After your testimony face to the left
  • Stand as close to the step as possible
  • Slightly bend your knees
  • Don’t lean back
  • Grab one wrist and hold your nose if you want
  • After the pastor says, “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” he will baptize you
  • Take notes and glasses with you
  • Leave the same way you entered

You will receive a Baptismal Certificate commemorating this special event in your life. A CD of all the testimonies in the baptismal service will also be provided to you. Additional copies of the CD will be available through the media ministry. Sign up at the Ministry Center.

Baptism is an opportunity to publicly proclaim the greatness and kindness of our God.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21