It is important to be familiar with the beliefs of a particular church before visiting, attending regularly, or joining. The Baptists' view on baptism is one of the most important differences between them and other denominations.
The Baptist Churches believe that the Bible is God's inerrant Word. They differ from other denominations in how they interpret New Testament teachings about the sacrament baptism. Baptist churches believe that Jesus ordered immersion as a means of baptism in the New Testament church. The Baptist church believes four things about baptism which are supported by the scriptures:
1. Only believers are allowed to be baptized. That means that babies, children, and adults who haven't made a public declaration of faith cannot partake in this sacrament. After an older child or adults makes a public confession of faith, it is encouraged and welcomed to be publicly Baptized. This serves as a way of symbolizing the change of heart and confirming the new allegiance. This aspect of Baptist belief in baptism is further explained by the scriptures found in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:14-16.
2. Baptism should be performed by immersion. Some denominations believe that baptism can be performed by sprinkling or pouring water. Scripture supports the belief that baptism should be done by immersion First Baptist Church.
The closest English equivalent to "baptizein", when translated literally, is "immersion".
There are passages in the Bible that support full immersion. However, there are none that support sprinkling or pouring. John the Baptist clearly submerges Jesus in Matthew 3:16. In Acts 8:37 and 38, Philip is said to have lowered the eunuch into the water while he baptized him.
3. Baptism does not guarantee salvation. Baptism means to testify that the person receiving the sacrament has already accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Baptism represents the death of Jesus Christ (the person being baptized gives up their own righteousness and claims Christ's righteousness), the burial of Jesus Christ (being completely submerged in water), and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (returning from the water). This belief is based on Romans 6:4-5, and Colossians 2:12.
4. The Baptist Church requires baptism as a condition for membership. (Note that membership in the church is not necessary for salvation.) This aspect of baptism is found in the book of Acts. Specifically, Acts 2:14 & Acts 8:37 - 28. In the book of Acts it is stated that the church followed a specific order, starting with salvation, then baptism, and ending up in full church membership. Matthew 16:25-33 also mentions this.
The Baptist denomination is united by these four elements of baptism. These four aspects of baptism are universal to the Baptist denomination. They preserve the unity and uniformity across all Baptist churches in America.