Who should be baptized?
All those who are willing to repent of their sins and confess their belief in Christ should be baptized (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38-39).
How should we be baptized?
The word for "baptism" in the New Testament is the Greek word baptizo, which means "to immerse in water." The New Testament says baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:1-5). Baptism serves as the grave for the old self and the resurrection of the believer's soul to walk in life with Christ. Because of that, we baptize people by immersing them in water.
When should we be baptized?
A person should be baptized at the time he or she trusts in Christ. The Bible teaches we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), but in the New Testament church, a person's baptism was always the first expression of faith, not separate from it. So baptism was intended to offer a means of union with Christ and a benchmark of transformation, marking the place and time a person made a commitment to Christ (Rom. 6:1-8). At University Heights, we are attempting to restore the original intent and practice of baptism. Therefore, we ask a person to be baptized at the point that he is ready to make a commitment to Christ.
Why should we be baptized?
A person should be baptized to follow the example of Christ, as well as numerous examples in the New Testament, particularly in the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit prompts individuals to recognize their sin and guilt. The only method by which the human soul can be wiped clean of sin is through the blood of Jesus Christ. This "washing away" of sin is most clearly symbolized in the act of baptism.
Since one of the biggest obstacles between God and man is human pride, baptism also offers a venue by which believers humble themselves before God and others and admit their need for Christ's redemption. In addition, baptism meets a God-given human need for expression. Everyone needs an outlet for emotion, or an expression for an impression. Baptism is the outlet for an expression of faith in Christ.
The act of baptism itself does not save an individual--we are saved only through accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross. According to Acts 2:38, it is the God-ordained time when our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who were never baptized by immersion but were sprinkled should submit to Christ’s command to be immersed in water.
Should a person ever be re-baptized?
Any person who has trusted in Jesus as the only Son of God and who has willingly been immersed into Christ may become a member of University Heights Christian Church whether the baptism occurred here or elsewhere. Re-baptism is encouraged for those who lack confidence in their initial baptism experience because they don't remember it, they were coerced, or their heart was not right with God at the time. Anyone who has fallen into sin after having been baptized should repent and seek forgiveness, but re-baptism is not necessary.
Must a person be baptized during a worship service?
No. Persons are encouraged to be baptized upon making a commitment to Christ, even if that is not during a church service. At the same time, baptisms during worship services provide the opportunity to testify to your faith and show humility. Mark 8:38 says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Paul exhorts all believers to unite, for we are all of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5). Regardless of our particular beliefs regarding the mode of baptism, it is important for all Christians to seek unity as representatives of Christ's body. We believe the source of unity is the truth of God's Word, and we pray that baptism will be a place of unity, not division, among believers.