The first story we read in the gospels about Jesus as an adult is the story of his baptism. The last thing Jesus said to his disciples before ascending into heaven was that they should go throughout the world making disciples and baptizing them. Baptism is obviously a very important activity in the New Testament!
Baptism is also a subject that Christians don't all agree about. Here at Vineyard, we view it as a secondary issue, allowing some room for disagreement between sincere believers. We have, nonetheless, tried to be faithful to the Bible and faithful to what the church has done historically regarding baptism. Here is how we would answer some the of the most frequently asked questions about baptism:
Why Should I be Baptized?
The Bible teaches that people should be baptized by immersion as opposed to sprinkling or pouring. The term "baptize" literally means to immerse or to dip. This was how people in the Bible were baptized. Also, immersion best symbolizes what happens spiritually when you become a Christian.
When Should I be Baptized?
You should be baptized as soon as possible after you have personally trusted Christ for salvation and been "born again". Remember, 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. Vineyard holds baptisms six times a year. You can call the church office (623.934.4000) to find out the schedule.
Should I be Re-Baptized if I was Baptized at Another Church?
As long you were "born again" when you were baptized, and as long as the church you were baptized at was a Christian church, then you do not need to be re-baptized. If, however, your baptism was merely a church ritual done prior to your conversion or if the church was outside of the mainstream of Christianity, then we would encourage you to be validly baptized for the first time.
What if I was Baptized as an Infant?
Among Christians there are different perspectives on infant baptism. Some denominations and traditions (such as Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic) baptize infants while others (such as most Baptists) do not. Perhaps you were baptized as an infant. How should you view that baptism? You certainly want to show respect to your parents and their viewpoints, as well as be grateful to God for any spiritual influence they had in your life. However, the Bible teaches that baptism is an action that follows conversion. So, if you have not been baptized since you have made a decision to follow Christ, we strongly urge you to get baptized.
Can My Children be Baptized?
Absolutely, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. Although the Vineyard does not impose an age restriction we do encourage parents to wait until their children are old enough to make a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We desire to partner with parents in preparing their children for salvation and baptism. To assist parents in this process, our Children's Ministry department has teaching booklets available on both topics. A class on baptism is also taught in the Children's Ministry department twice a year during our weekend services.
At Vineyard, we do not baptize infants as do some denominations and traditions. Instead, we dedicate infants to the Lord and call parents to commit themselves to raise their children to follow Christ. We do this based on the model seen in scripture of infants being dedicated to the Lord: Samuel in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 1:21-29) and Jesus in the New Testament (Luke 2:21-24).
What Should I do if I Want to be Baptized at Vineyard?
If you decide you want to be baptized at Vineyard, you will need to sign up for one of our six baptisms and take a baptism class. This class is brief (60 min) and is also offered six times a year at various times prior to each baptism. Call the church office (623.934.4000) or visit our website calendar to find out when the next baptism is scheduled. We would encourage you to invite friends and relatives to your baptism, since it is a wonderful opportunity to bear witness to what Jesus Christ has done in your life.