FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions
It seems pretty straightforward, yet many of us today get hung up on baptism. People have legitimate questions about baptism, and some of us wonder if the call to follow Jesus into the waters of baptism still applies. If you're struggling in your heart, look closely at the meaning behind baptism. Honestly ask yourself, "Is this just a man-made religious boundary marker, or a biblical truth and step of obedience that God is asking me to take?"
To help you determine the answer, consider some common questions. . .
Is baptism for babies or for those old enough to make that choice?
This is a fair question. Some churches baptize infants. Some choose not to baptize infants. While Christians can debate this, we should never divide over it. Many current 3Crosses attenders were baptized as babies. At 3Crosses, we don't baptize infants simply because every baptism recorded in the Bible occurred when someone was old enough to make a faith decision. Jesus blessed kids, but he didn't baptize them.
Infant baptism didn't become widely practiced until about 400 years after the birth of the Christian church when Augustine developed the theology of "original sin." In a nutshell, this idea means that when children are born, they are not only sinners, but God holds them accountable for their sins. So if an infant died, Augustine believed that God would hold that child separate from the Lord for all eternity unless the child was saved (through the sacrament of Holy Baptism). Given that the infant mortality rate was high in those days, the practice of infant baptism caught on fast.
3Crosses holds to the implied Bible teaching that there's an age of understanding and accountability when people are mature enough to grasp their need for forgiveness, and thus make a faith decision for themselves. Only God truly knows that age and it may differ for each child. If kids happen to pass before that time, we believe they're going to heaven.
If you were baptized as an infant, that was certainly a special moment for your family as well. Yet at 3Crosses, infant baptism is similar to what we call 'child dedication.' Once you personally come to an age when you decide to follow Jesus, believer's baptism is your next step. Don't be afraid to get re-baptized as an act of worship and obedience to Christ. Click Here for Information on Child Dedication at 3Crosses
Is it necessary for my salvation?
Whether it's water in a tank, a tub, a pool or the ocean, there's nothing special about the water itself (1 Peter 3:21). The Bible is clear that we are saved by God's grace, through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9), not by baptism, or any other works of our own. Baptism does not save us. It's better to think of it like this: baptism is to salvation as a wedding ceremony is to marriage. It's an external declaration of an internal event.
Before Jesus shed his blood for us, John the Baptist baptized people with water to symbolize that they were going to turn from their sins and live God's way. He spoke of a better baptism that Jesus would fulfill and make complete (Matthew 3:11). Christ's blood on the cross is really what washes away sins and pays our debt (Ephesians 1:7).
Baptism is the sign of the conversion believers in Christ have experienced, not the means of the conversion. It reinforces and builds up our faith as we publicly profess that we're part of God's family.
Technically speaking, do you have to be baptized to be a Christian?
It's clearly established in the Bible that you become a Christian by accepting God's free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). For example, the thief on the cross hanging beside Jesus was saved on the spot and never baptized (Luke 23:43). While baptism is not what saves us, baptism is necessary in that Jesus commands it (Matthew 28:19-20). All genuine Christ-followers should want to obey Jesus by doing what he said, and by doing what he did (John 14:23 & 1 John 2:6). Even Jesus, the perfect Son of God, showed us the importance of baptism by being baptized himself (Matthew 3:13-17).
If you're holding off on being baptized because you feel it is a "technicality" or unnecessary, take some time to examine your motives and pray for God to help you understand his heart on baptism. Ask yourself, "Why is it that I don't want to baptized? Am I willfully disobeying?" If you're waiting for God to directly prompt you to be baptized, you need not wait any longer! He already makes that challenge to each Christ-follower by his Word.