What does Rock Hill believe about baptism?
The final command that Jesus gave his disciples before he was taken into heaven was to go and make disciples (followers) of Jesus by baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded. This is what the church begins to do in the book of Acts and continues to do to this day.
The subject of baptism, while important, is not something that all Christians agree about. At Rock Hill, we see it as an important step of obedience in your Christian life, but not one that is essential for salvation. There is room for disagreement among sincere believers on this issue. However, in an effort to allow the Bible to direct how we operate, this is how we answer many of the questions about baptism.
Baptism itself doesn’t save you. It is a physical picture given to us to help us understand an internal spiritual reality. The New Testament teaches us that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death is credited to us when we repent of sin and put our faith in Jesus. In light of that, the first Christian sermon preached by Jesus’ followers concluded with this exhortation: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38). Now we know that the thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved without being baptized, so why are we commanded to be baptized as followers of Jesus?
Baptism is in many ways your public profession of faith in Jesus. It is done before a group of people who witness your confession of Christ as Savior and Lord. While baptism is not the only way to make a public profession of faith in Christ, it is the one he has given us. We are to make our faith “public” and not simply a “private affair.” Romans 10:9-10 explains, “… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” There is both the internal (heart) belief and the public confession of that belief articulated here.
When being baptized at Rock Hill, these four questions are asked:
- Do you recognize yourself as a sinner in desperate need of a Savior?
- Do you believe that Jesus is that Savior, and are you trusting in him alone for salvation?
- Do you also believe that Jesus is Lord, and are you committed to dying to your old way of life and to living his way instead?
- Will you please share with us your story?
Baptism symbolizes your being united or “in” Christ in both his death and resurrection. Romans 6:3-11 explains that just as Jesus died and was raised to new life, so now in your baptism, it is a physical picture of the spiritual reality of being united to Christ. As you go under the water, it is symbolic of being “buried/dying” with Jesus, and as you come up out of the water it is symbolic of being raised/resurrected with him to new life. Additionally, baptism symbolizes our cleansing from sin (1 Peter 3:21). The word “baptize” literally means to immerse or dip. Although we don’t want to emphasize the mode of baptism too heavily, we think that immersion best pictures this symbolism.
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. Remember though, you are not baptized in order to become a Christian. You are baptized because you are a Christian. We should not put off baptism, since it is a command of Jesus. Rock Hill holds baptisms frequently throughout the year.
As long as you had a personal relationship with Jesus (were a Christian) when you were baptized, and as long as the church was a Christian church, then you should not be re-baptized. If your baptism was merely a church ritual done prior to your conversion or if the church was outside the mainstream of Christianity, then we would encourage you to be validly baptized for the first time.
Absolutely, as long as they understand what they are doing! Regarding this issue, Rock Hill places a lot of the judgment and discernment for children and their faith on their parents. You get to see them day in and day out to know whether Jesus has a visible impact on their thinking, decisions, and life. If they can articulate to you the gospel and how Jesus is their savior, then we see no reason as to why they should not be baptized.
At Rock Hill, we do not baptize infants as some denominations and traditions do. Instead, we dedicate children to the Lord and commit as parents and community of faith to raise them in the faith. We see it as primarily the responsibility of the parent and secondarily the responsibility of the church community to teach children the gospel and the Scriptures, AND provide models for them of what a passionate relationship with Jesus looks like.
Start by filling out the form below. Then please read through Romans chapter 6, write out your personal testimony, and schedule a meeting with one of our pastors. We encourage you to invite family and friends to your baptism since it is a wonderful opportunity for you and us to share with them who Jesus is and how he saves.