What Is Baptism?
Baptism is a unique and important ritual of the Church. People differ as to who should get wet, when, and how much water should be used, but since the birth of Christianity, new converts have always been baptized as a symbol of their salvation.
We can look to the general pattern that emerges in the book of Acts where people come to saving faith in Jesus and then get baptized. In a five-second event, we see the good news of Jesus displayed as Christians are immersed in water, representing the death and burial of Jesus, and, lifted out of the water, representing the resurrection of Jesus.
This symbolic act demonstrates that as followers of Christ, we understand that Jesus stood in our place, for our sins and for our salvation, and that with His resurrection, He gave us new life empowered by the Holy Spirit. In baptism, we see the gospel with our eyes.
It is right for Christians to be baptized for at least these three reasons:
- It follows the example set by Jesus
- Jesus commanded it
- It demonstrates that I really am a Christian
It may be that you’ve become a Christian through your time at Parkside Church Westside, but you haven’t really told anyone. If that’s the case, we thank God for what he’s doing in you, and want to help you follow through in baptism because God will use it to strengthen your soul.
If you have questions about being baptized, please let us know. Someone on our leadership team will be glad to follow-up with you and think about what might be best for you going forward. Additionally, Matt has preached a sermon called, Be Baptized, which you can watch here on our website.
For children interested in being baptized, we recommend that they wait until they have reached age of 12 with the hope that they will have a clear understanding of the place of baptism in the Christian's life. We don't have a passage in the Bible that we turn to in answering this question. It's really a judgment call on the part of our Elders who have been in many conversations with adults who were baptized when they were young and then either came to saving faith later in life or came to a more clear understanding of the gospel. In those conversations, the person is often wrestling with the timing of their baptism and if it was appropriate. From those conversations, we've thought it reasonable to set 12 years of age as our guideline.
How Do I Take This Step?
Baptisms happen periodically during one of our Sunday services. Prior to that service, we offer a Baptism Preparation Workshop where those who are interested meet with a church leader who will walk with you as you consider baptism. This class does not obligate you, but allows you to explore and learn the meaning of this sacred symbol.