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First Baptist Church of Avon Park

What is the meaning of Believer's Baptism?

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior and the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

The word for baptize in Greek is baptizo, which means "to dip, plunge, submerge, or immerse."  New Testament baptism shows forth the gospel in a visible way. It is a visual sign of what Jesus did to save us - namely his death, burial, and resurrection. It is also a sign of the believer's's new life in Christ- namely our death to the old life, its burial, and resurrection to a new life in Christ. That immersion is the original form of baptism is generally agreed.

Why not sprinkling or pouring?

The word baptizo itself teaches that neither pouring nor sprinkling constitutes New Testament baptism. It should be noted that while the verbs for pour and sprinkle appear in the Testament, neither is used for baptism. No usage has been found where baptizo means either pour or sprinkle. The practice of sprinkling for baptism gradually replaced immersion in the Catholic Church and when it divided into the Roman and Greek branches, the latter retained immersion. It was not until the 13th century that sprinkling became the official mode of Roman Catholic baptism. As baptists, we retain the biblical, New Testament mode of baptism: The immersion of professing believers in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Who should be baptized?

In practicing "believer's baptism", baptism directly follows conversion and is the profession of faith and repentance toward Christ. Most scholars would agree that infant baptism was not a common practice until the 4th or 5th centuries. The "why" to this question is hard to answer? Most likely, the baptism of infants had something to do with a pastoral and parental concern for babies dying in infancy and the acceptance of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire.

The New Testament evidence for believer's baptism is strong on this point;

  • In the New Testament those who evangelize are only commanded to baptize those who repent and believe. (Matthew 28:18-20; John 4:1-2)
  • The only clearly recorded subjects of baptism in the book of Acts are individuals who have repented and believed. (Acts 2:37-41; 8:12-13, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16)
  • Paul's letters demonstrate the twin assumptions that those who have believed have been baptized, and those who have been baptized believe. (Romans 6:1-5; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-12)

​At First Baptist, we baptize only those who have made a voluntary profession of faith in Christ, are able to articulate the gospel, and wish to enter into the covenant of local church membership.

Should I be "re-baptized"?

Most would argue that the sprinkling experience was very significant in ones journey of faith. However, First Baptist Church practices baptism by immersion, for the reasons stated above. Anyone who desires to join this local body of believers must act in accordance with our beliefs regarding baptism and the Bible. If someone was sprinkled as an infant it was a decision their parents made regarding their covenant with God to raise them in a family of faith. Simply stated, sprinkling is a totally different thing when compared to a believer being baptized by immersion.

Some Christians ask to be re-baptized after they experience a deep renewal of their faith, perhaps in conjunction with a "re-dedication" of their lives. However, the Bible is clear that there is no need to be baptized again. There is only one baptism meant to symbolize God's work in ones conversion. (Ephesians 4:5; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-28)

Furthermore, some people look back on their baptism in the past and wonder if they were truly saved and thus want to be re-baptized. However, we must be cautious here because every Christian grows in their understanding of grace over time, and so we should not quickly jump to the conclusion that we were not a believer until now. It is possible and even common for a person to become a Christian and then turn away for a time before the loving discipline of the Father brings them back into a life of repentance and faith. Thus, if a person has been baptized after a profession of faith as someone who was capable of making an adult decision, they should not be re-baptized at a later time.

Nevertheless, many have been through something called "baptism" that has no connection with a true profession of gospel faith in Jesus Christ. In these cases, they were not baptized in the biblical sense. Baptism should only follow the reality of gospel faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 19:1-5)

If you have any questions or would like more information about baptism at FBC, you may contact us anytime.

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    First Baptist Church
    100 North Lake Avenue
    Avon Park, FL 33825
    (863) 453-6681
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    First Baptist Church of Avon Park, 2017