At Capilano Christian Assembly (CCA) we see baptism as one of two ordinances given to the Christian church. An ordinance is ‘an established rule’ or clearly defined practice required by the Lord. It is always exciting to see Christians choosing to do God’s will by obeying Him in these specifically defined ways.
Below you will find an outline with Bible references and questions to assist you in considering what baptism means. Although it is normal for CCA elders to have a personal visit with each person wanting to be baptized, we are also happy to discuss the subject anytime.
Baptism – commanded in the Great Commission
1. Matthew 28:18-20 – In these verses the twelve disciples and their successors, the church, are told to do three things. What are they?
2. Mark 16:15-16 – In this passage, the onus for baptism is not on the baptiser, but on the believer. He must choose to believe and be baptized. (From other bible references, we know that being ‘saved’ is a matter of faith alone. John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5-6) Read Mark 16:16 carefully. What determines salvation/condemnation? Why do you think baptism is tied so closely to believing?
Baptism – the Meaning
Identification – Romans 6:1-6; Galatians 2:20 – Baptism is a beautiful picture of the relationship of a Christian to Jesus Christ. We are saying, in effect, that his death, burial, and resurrection become our own death, burial, and resurrection.
a) Romans 6:1-3 Why do we need his death to count for us? (Romans 5:5-8; Romans 6:23)
b) Romans 6:4 What do we, as His children, want to bury?
c) Romans 6:4-6; Galatians 2:20 How does resurrection life parallel a Christian’s new life? How do we make that new life effective?
Witness – Baptism is a simple, yet somewhat dramatic, way of ‘going public’ with your decision to receive Christ as Saviour and to follow Him. Fellow Christians will know where you stand and will be more committed to helping you grow. Unbelieving friends and relatives who observe your baptism, or hear about it, will often be impressed with the sincerity of your faith. Can you see a valuable ‘psychological’ factor in the event of baptism?
Baptism – the Method
a) the Greek word ‘baptizo’ means to dip or immerse. It was used in the Greek world to describe dipping cloth in dye, dipping a cup into a bowl, or sinking a ship totally.
b) In Acts 8:26-39, Phillip and the Ethiopian went ‘down into the water’ (vs. 38) and “came up out of the water” (vs. 39). This description does not seem to leave room for sprinkling or pouring.
c) Romans 6:1-6 The picture of death, burial, and resurrection is symbolized best by going right under the water and rising out of it.
Although many churches baptize infants, there is no record of this in the New Testament. Rather, the New Testament pattern always showed that faith and repentance preceded baptism – (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 16:14-15, 18:8). Infant baptism may demonstrate the parents good intentions for the child, but his/her choice in later life will be the real factor in salvation.
Please feel free to contact the Capilano Christian Assembly elders to ask questions about baptism. We are not ‘defensive’ about our position, nor will we put any pressure on you to be baptized. We want that choice to come from your heart.