Overview and Statement of Faith
Water baptism is only intended for those who have received the saving benefits of Christ through the new birth of the Holy Spirit. In obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the Church, oneself, and the world, believers are baptized by water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Water baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts the release from the mastery of Satan, sin, and death.
The Gospel and Doctrine of Salvation
The gospel is the historical narrative of the triune God orchestrating the redemption of a broken creation and fallen creatures from Satan, sin, and sin’s effects. It is our reconciliation to the Father and each other through the life, death, resurrection, and future return of the Son, by the power of the Spirit, for God’s glory, and the Church’s joy.
Why am I here?
What went wrong?
How can the world be set right?
This next section provides an opportunity to write out your testimony and salvation story. Here are some questions to think through as you write out your testimony:
How would you describe your life before Jesus?
How did God save you?
How is your life different now that you know Jesus?
What is Baptism?
Baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper) are the two ordinances prescribed by our Lord Jesus Christ as visible symbols of invisible grace. They are discernible and tangible representations of both the invisible realities of the gospel and the Spirit’s application of this gospel to our lives.
Through both ordinances, believers “remember” God’s goodness and grace, especially as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Both baptism and communion are pictures of Christ’s death and resurrection and our participation in both through the union to Him in faith. As we enter into the waters or watch another do so, we are reminded that Christ was crucified and raised from the dead and that we, too, have died to the old self in order to live for Christ.
What a person believes about baptism affects how they will perform the ordinance. Who should be baptized? When should they be baptized? How should they be baptized? All of these questions are answered as we reflect upon what baptism means.
The Village Church Statement of Faith describes baptism as a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a former way of life has been put to death and vividly depicts the release from the mastery of Satan, sin, and death.
As a symbol, baptism illustrates four significant realities:
Christ’s death and resurrection
The disciple’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection
The new life in which a disciple walks
Cleansing and washing away of sin
Is Baptism Merely a Symbol?
Within the Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, the nature of the sacraments was fiercely debated, even between the various Reformers. Without attempting to justify any particular position, it is important to assert that baptism is in some mysterious sense a “means of grace,” in which God sanctifies and encourages His people. That said, it is important to bear in mind a few helpful truths regarding what baptism is not and does not do:
BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE. Though grace is mysteriously mediated through the ordinance, it is not saving grace but rather sanctifying grace. We are more conformed to the image of Christ as we obey Him in the call to be baptized.
BAPTISM IS NOT “NECESSARY” FOR SALVATION. Without diminishing the duty and delight of baptism for a believer, we must warn against the doctrine which suggests that salvation is dependent upon baptism. The gospel is one of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone.
Who Should Be Baptized?
Should a person be rebaptized?
When Should a Person Be Baptized?
Improper motivations for delayed baptism
The practice of The Village Church
How Should a Person Be Baptized?
Though other denominations and theological traditions baptize by pouring or sprinkling, The Village Church practices baptism by immersion. We do so in light of the following considerations:
The Greek word βαπτίζω (baptizo) literally means to plunge, submerge, or immerse.
The representation of union in Christ’s death and resurrection is best expressed through immersion.
The surrounding context of baptisms in the Scriptures suggests baptism by immersion.
Where Should a Person Be baptized?
Although there are no prescriptions in the Scriptures to location, we prefer to practice the ordinance within the context of the local church which allows the congregation to celebrate together in a person’s act of obedience and submission.
That said, we do not want to prescribe what the Scriptures do not, and thus we do allow for baptism to occur outside the weekly gathering. Our preference in such cases is that video and/or pictures be taken to record the event so that the church can share in the joy.
Who Can Perform Baptism?
The Bible gives no prescription for the requirements to perform baptism. Contrary to some traditions, there seems to be no biblical reason to restrict the duty to men who have been ordained to vocational ministry. Therefore, we allow any believer, male or female, who has faithfully obeyed the ordinance of baptism to perform the ordinance of baptism.
For a more in-depth look at our position, consider our article, “Who Can Baptize at The Village Church?”.