WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Baptism is an expression of one’s trust in Jesus Christ and is always accompanied by faith. Baptism is a physical representation of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In baptism we unite ourselves with Jesus (Romans 6). We bury our sinful lives in the water. We are entirely forgiven and sin’s power over us is defeated. We rise to walk in a new life to be lived with Jesus in obedience to God. God places his Spirit within us. Our baptism is an opportunity to personalize this spiritual reality. The Bible has given us clear ways to demonstrate our belief, and baptism is one of them.
WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
In the Bible, baptism was the consistent response for people who surrendered their lives to Jesus. When people accepted Christ as Savior in the New Testament, they believed in Him (Acts 16:31), repented of their sins (Acts 2:38), confessed Christ as Lord (Matthew 16:16- 18, Romans 10:9-10) and were baptized (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38- 41, Acts 8:36-38). Our role as Christians is to teach others to do the same things the Apostles taught the early church.
IS BAPTISM IMPORTANT FOR MY SALVATION?
Surrendering to Jesus necessitates some response on our part, one that includes belief, repentance, confession and baptism. Each part is equally important they are the ways we express our trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation. The actions, including baptism, do not save us – we are only saved through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – but each action is mentioned in Scripture as part of becoming a Christian. Any step taken is a response to salvation offered, not an effort at salvation earned.
DOES BAPTISM SAVE A PERSON?
The Bible teaches that only Jesus saves. Acts 4:12 states salvation is found “in no one else” but Jesus. We encourage people to believe, repent, confess and be baptized. As mentioned before, the actions do not save us – but each of these actions are mentioned in Scripture and are part of becoming a Christian.
It’s not profitable or fruitful to argue at which point one is saved. We do not judge anyone who has followed a different pattern. Judgment belongs to God alone (Romans 14:4, 8-12). God has the right to save any heart, for He alone sees the heart. No one this side of heaven can fully understand the majesty and meaning of baptism.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO KNOW TO BE BAPTIZED?
You need to realize only that you are a sinner in need of saving and that Jesus is your Savior. As you grow in Christ you’ll learn more about other teachings of the Bible. Being a follower of Jesus is a journey and this is just the beginning!
WHAT AM I COMMITTING TO?
You are committing to following Jesus with your life. That doesn’t mean you’ll never mess up. We all do. But, when you do, you’ll re-align yourself and keep following him.
WHY DOES NORTHSIDE BAPTIZE BY IMMERSION?
Let’s look at how the word baptism is used in the Bible. The original language of the New Testament was Greek. When Paul and other authors wrote of baptism, they always used the Greek word baptizó, which meant, “to dip or immerse.” There are other Greek words that mean “to sprinkle or pour,” and the authors would have used those words if they had intended to include other forms of baptism. The preference of baptism by immersion can be seen in Acts 8:38 when Philip baptized a man from Ethiopia. After the man expressed his faith in Jesus Christ, they went down into the water – an action not necessary if Philip were baptizing him by sprinkling. Immersion was the commonly accepted form of baptism in the church for hundreds of years. Only in later centuries did people begin to substitute different forms of baptism.
SHOULD INFANTS BE BAPTIZED?
In order to answer this question, we must first understand the nature of human beings. First, are we born with the mark of sin on our lives? Or do we have a “clean slate” until we are old enough to understand when we are acting contrary to God’s commands? At Northside we believe all mankind has a sinful nature – we all have the tendency to sin. However, we believe that a just God does not hold us accountable for sin until we are old enough to understand when we are in rebellion against Him. When someone is old enough to recognize their sinful nature, we encourage them to accept Christ, who died on the cross, paying the price for their sins. We realize many parents have had their newborn children baptized, making a public declaration of their intent to raise the child to know God. Although this is admirable, we don’t believe a newborn baby is capable of choosing to sin – an act of willful disobedience to God – so baptism isn’t necessary. Adult baptism is not a sign of disrespect for what your parents did. In fact, it can be seen as a fulfillment of their prayers. Be thankful for the heritage of concerned parents, but don’t neglect to make your own personal pledge of faith to God through baptism.
If you are interested in dedicating your young children (newborn - preschool), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your children are elementary age we offer a baptism class for them. You can register for the class on our baptism page.
ARE PEOPLE SAVED IF THEY HAVE SURRENDERED THEIR LIFE TO CHRIST BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN IMMERSED?
In the early church, there weren’t any situations where people accepted Christ without being baptized. As we discussed earlier, Jesus is the one who saves us. His sacrifice on the cross is what brings freedom from sin. Baptism is an obedient expression of a surrendered heart and one’s trust in Jesus as the leader of their life. The closest scriptural example we can find of a believer who was not immersed is Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). He was a very spiritual man who was committed to his relationship with Jesus. But Apollos had not been taught correctly about baptism. Apollos knew only of John the Baptist’s baptism, which was one of repentance and preparation for the coming of Jesus (Luke 3:1-19). He wasn’t familiar with the Christian baptism as the Apostles in the early church taught it. When Priscilla and Aquila instructed him, Scripture tells us Apollos was willing to change his ideas and submit to Christian baptism – baptism in Christ. Priscilla and Aquila did not judge him; they taught him.
PERHAPS A MORE CRUCIAL QUESTION IS, “WHY NOT BE BAPTIZED?”
Christ set the example for us when John baptized Him. “But John tried to talk him out of it. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,’ he said, ‘so why are you coming to me?’ But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.’ So John agreed to baptize him” (Matthew 3:14-15, NLT). If Jesus was obedient in being baptized, shouldn’t we?
DOES IT MATTER WHERE I WAS BAPTIZED?
No! If you were baptized in a Baptist church, Pentecostal camp or in the lake at a family reunion, it doesn’t matter. What is important is that you know that you are a sinner and that Jesus is your Savior.
CAN I BE RE-BAPTIZED?
Re-baptism is only encouraged for those who lack confidence in their initial decision to be baptized. These reasons can vary but usually consist of making that decision for the wrong reasons: If you felt pressured by friends or family, if you did it out of guilt or if you feel that you decision was not made for the right reasons. Baptism should be a personal decision of obedience to Jesus’ saving grace in your life. Scripture teaches that anyone who has fallen into sin after being baptized should confess and repent of that sin, making re-baptism unnecessary.
HOW DO I KNOW IF BAPTISM IS MY NEXT STEP?
Surrendering your life to Jesus and being baptized is the most important decisions you will make. Because of that, we want you to be confident in the step you are taking. You are ready to be baptized if you believe that Jesus is the son of God, that he died on the cross for your sins, and if you are ready to surrender your life to him and his leadership, than baptism is your best next step!
CAN I BE A MEMBER OF NORTHSIDE AND NOT BE BAPTIZED?
The leaders at Northside are responsible to God for what we teach. Our heart is to lead people to lives of godliness and growth in Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism was an ordinance of the New Testament church. Everyone who accepted Christ was baptized. As a modern-day Church seeking to return to Biblical standards, Northside’s leadership feels we should “do what they did” and “teach what they taught” in scripture. Baptism is too important to be compromised. We realize not everyone agrees regarding its importance, but we are called to lead the best way we know how. We believe that people who call Northside home should hold an elevated view of baptism.
STORIES OF BAPTISM FROM THE BIBLE
In Acts, which records the history of the early church, everyone who accepted Christ was baptized. Take a look at some of their stories:
The Samaritans- Acts 8:4-17; The Ethiopian- Acts 8:26-39; Cornelius- Acts 10:23- 48; Lydia- Acts 16:11-15; The Philippian Jailer- Acts 16:16- 34; The Corinthians- Acts 18:7-8; The Ephesians- Acts 19:1-7; Paul- Acts 22:1-16
OTHER SCRIPTURE TO STUDY
1 Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:11-12; Romans 6:1-4; John 3:16-23; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 5:29; Matthew 3:15; 1 John 2:4-6
KNOWING YOUR STORY
An important first step in knowing if you are ready to get baptized is knowing your own story. Our stories are beautiful examples of God’s faithfulness and redemption in our own lives and serve as powerful tools in telling others about Him. Take some time to think through your story. What has God been doing in your life to bring you to the step of baptism? What does Jesus mean to you? How has surrendering your life to Jesus changed you? Take some time to write out your story.