What should we believe?
There is no doubt that being baptised with water is a clear command of Jesus, and therefore a key aspect of our discipleship (e.g. Mt 28:19, Mk 16:16). Where there is doubt, within the Body of Christ is on the following four aspects of baptism:
- The appropriate subjects of baptism
- The appropriate manner of baptism
- What baptism achieves
- Whether baptism is necessary for salvation or not
To take them in turn, we find the following spectrum of views associated with each heading. On #1, some believe that babies should be baptized, while others insist that this should be reserved for believers only. Even within the “believers only” camp, some would argue for baptism to occur immediately after a personal expression of faith, while others would believe that waiting a while is more prudent. On #2, some believe that a sprinkling of water is sufficient, while others insist that only full immersion under water does justice to what the Bible expects – with many sitting on the fence between the two understandings. On #3, some would say that baptism is actually the means of receiving grace to make a person righteous and save them, while others would be very careful to insist that this is absolutely not the case and that baptism is merely a sign pointing to a greater reality. Finally, on #4, some would insist that babies who are not baptized go somewhere different (and less pleasant!) than babies who die who have been baptized.
This Baptism Booklet will outline three separate views on water baptism, showing how they understand these four aspects above and discuss how biblically sound they are. It will conclude with the position of Hills Bible Church.