WHY BAPTISM MATTERS FAQs
At Fellowship Greenville, we believe the Bible is God’s perfect word and that it brings clarity to life and the Christian faith. One aspect of the Christian faith that often raises questions is the idea of baptism.
What is baptism? In simplest terms, baptism is an outward expression of the inward decision to trust Jesus with your life. It’s a symbol that tells the world that you have identified with Jesus—that you believe in him, that you belong to him, and that you want everyone to know it.
If I was sprinkled or christened as a baby is baptism necessary? According to the Bible, being sprinkled or christened is not a substitute for baptism, because baptism is an expression of the decision to trust Jesus—a decision which babies are incapable of making. In other words, the Bible tells us that we must fully understand the life Jesus offers and trust in that before symbolizing our belief in that life through baptism.
Why should I be fully submerged? Colossians 2:12 tells us that submersion represents death to sin, and then re-emerging from the water represents the cleansed, forgiven heart that follows our decision to trust Jesus. Plus, the word baptism literally means “submersion.”
Isn’t baptism just a church tradition—is it really a Biblical command? Baptism is more than a formality because Jesus said: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”(Matthew 28:19). This verse makes it clear that baptism is a vital part of the disciple-making process Jesus gave to Christians. He commands us to go, to tell, to baptize, and to teach. In other words, Jesus commands us to be baptized as an important part of telling the world about the new life he’s given us. While the Christian faith is intensely personal, the Bible makes it clear that it’s never meant to be kept private.
Is Baptism a prerequisite for becoming a Christian? No, it is not. Much like a wedding ring is a symbol that tells the world we belong to our spouse, Baptism tells the world that we are a Christian. However, if a wedding ring is removed, the person is no less married, and the ring wasn’t a requirement to getting married—it’s just the important symbol that lets everyone know that the person is married. And we eagerly wear wedding rings because we love our spouse and want everyone to know we are taken.
In summary, Baptism is how we publicly express our faith in Jesus Christ. Through the waters of baptism, we are declaring that we confess faith in Christ, that Jesus has cleansed us from sin, and that we now have a new life with him. Baptism is an outward testimony of the inward change in the life of a believer. Or, as Paul said in the book of Romans: For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. If you have trusted Christ with your life but have not been baptized, or if you have more questions about baptism, we ask you to reach out to us and let us help you learn more about the process of baptism at Fellowship Greenville.
For more information, please watch the Why Baptism Matters video.