What Is Baptism?
At Hillside we know people often have questions regarding baptism. Why should I be baptized? I’ve already been baptized as a child, do I have to do it again? Does it matter if you are sprinkled or dunked?
Why Get Baptized
Answers to these commonly asked questions are found in the Bible. We believe it clearly teaches us that baptism is the first step of obedience after making a commitment to Christ. Baptism allows a Christ follower to communicate to the world their heartfelt commitment to Christ.
By attending a Baptism class you will hear what Scripture says about baptism and find answers to many of your questions. The classes are designed not only to help you understand the basics of baptism, but also to introduce you to the mission and purpose of Hillside. Upon completion of the class (and getting baptized), you will be given the opportunity to join the church as a fully participating member. Separate classes are available for children.
All those who recognize their need for God’s forgiveness, repent of their sins and confess their belief in Jesus Christ should be baptized (Mtt. 28:19; Acts 2:38-39).
A person should be baptized soon after he or she trusts in Christ alone as Savior. The Bible teaches we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) and that a person’s baptism is always one of the first expressions of faith. It’s kind of like a benchmark of personal life change, showing others one’s true desire to live for the Lord.
The word for “baptism” in the New Testament is the Greek word baptizo, which means to “immerse in water”. Full immersion was the example of Jesus at the Jordan River (Mtt. 3:13-17) and people throughout the New Testament. This would include 3,000 new believers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41-42), the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8: 26-40), Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:17-19), the Philippian Jailer and his family (Acts 16:25-34). Also, the New Testament indicates that baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom .6:1-5). Baptism serves as a symbol of the burial of the old self and the resurrection of the believer’s soul to walk in life with Christ. Therefore, at Hillside, we baptize people by immersing them in water.
Any person who has trusted in Jesus as Saviour and who has willingly been immersed may become a member of Hillside Baptist Church whether the baptism occurred at Hillside or elsewhere. Rebaptism is encouraged, however, for those who lack confidence in their initial baptism experience because they don’t remember it, they didn’t understand it, or their heart was not right with God at the time. Rebaptism in these instances would be a very joyous and meaningful experience! Further, a second baptism is not a denial of a previous baptism. If your parents had you baptized as a child they were expressing a desire for you to honour and serve Christ throughout your life. Being baptized by immersion is in many ways a fulfilment of this positive desire on their part. It also reflects your desire to be baptized in the same way Jesus was baptized. Every Hillside member has been baptized by immersion as Jesus demonstrated and commanded us to joyfully follow. By the way, if you choose to be baptized don’t be surprised if, on the occasion of your baptism, there is great joy, excitement and maybe even a few tears shown by your church family. Baptism is a wonderful experience!