Here is a photo of a baptism at Boulton Lane:

What is Believer’s Baptism?

Baptists believe that Baptism is for those who have come to faith in Christ and who are committed to living his way. In other words, baptism is for believers.

Why Be Baptised?

Jesus Christ commands his followers to be baptised. He instructed his disciples to, ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28.19). Baptism is a vital step on the journey of faith because in it:

We follow the example of Jesus, who was baptised by John the Baptist because, ‘it is right to do all that God requires’ (Matthew 3.15).
We continue the practice of the first Christians who baptised all who responded to the preaching of the gospel (see Acts 2.37-41).
We participate symbolically in the death and resurrection of Christ. In Baptism we identify with Christ as a sign that our lives are now under his Lordship (see Romans 6.1-11).
We declare our faith in Christ and our commitment to live a new life in the power of the Spirit.
We experience the grace and blessing of and enter into the body of Christ, the community of the baptised. This means that Baptism is the pre-requisite for membership of the church.

Why Believer’s Baptism?

For Baptist Christians, the arguments for baptism outlined above are most clearly enacted in the baptism of those who have come to faith in Christ. The New Testament evidence supports this view and the points outlined above all connect baptism closely to a person’s own response of faith and commitment to discipleship and the church. Together these form a core principle of Baptist belief that:

‘Christian Baptism is the immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again on the third day’ (Baptist Union of Great Britain, Declaration of Principle)’.

Most Baptist churches will baptise by full immersion under water, unless there are good health reasons for doing otherwise. In such cases baptism will usually happen by affusion (pouring). This mode of baptism best symbolizes our sharing in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

What About Other Views on Baptism?

Baptists recognise that other Christians, churches and denominations have different views about when baptism should happen. Baptist churches respond to those from other traditions in different ways.

Many churches (often called ‘open membership churches’) will welcome into membership those who have been baptised as a small child, recognising that this baptism was a significant part of the person’s journey of faith. In some Baptist churches, however, membership is only available to those who have been baptised as a believer.

Leadership and Ministry
Most Baptist churches require all or most of their leaders (elders or deacons) to be baptised as a believer. In addition, the Baptist Union of Great Britain only accredits ministers who have been baptised as a believer.

Because Baptists hold to the view that baptism is for believers, many churches will be willing to (re)baptise a person who has come to faith even if they were baptised as a small child. Some churches, however, will resist this out of respect for the practices of other denominations and the individuals on journey of faith.

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