CrossHope Chapel practices believer’s baptism by immersion and does so as an ordinance of our church, as an expression of having been saved, not as a prerequisite to get saved.
Baptism Is Only for Believers
The New Testament records that baptism always followed conversion, never preceded it, and was not necessary for salvation (Acts 2:1-41; 8:36-39; 16:30-33). Since we look to the Bible as our sole authority for faith and practice, we believe that baptism is only for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Furthermore, we point out that in the New Testament a commitment to believe in and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior was always voluntary. Therefore, baptism as a sign of such commitment ought always to be voluntary.
Because of these convictions based on the Bible, we do not baptize infants or children without the ability to articulate their personal faith in Jesus Christ. For infants and children we practice “child dedication” as a ceremony of consecration to God, based on the practice of presenting children to the temple (Luke 2:21-40).
Baptism Is Only by Immersion
We conclude that immersion of a person’s entire body in water is the only biblical way to baptize. The belief in immersion as the proper mode of baptism is based on the Bible for several reasons: The English word “baptize” comes from a word in the Greek language—the language in which the New Testament originally was written—that means “to dip, submerge, or immerse;” John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River by immersion as Jesus began his public ministry (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11); Christ’s disciples in New Testament times baptized by immersion (Acts 8:36-39); Immersion is a means not only of declaring that Christ died, was buried and was resurrected to provide salvation but also of testifying about our own hope of resurrection (Romans 6:4-5); The New Testament teaches that immersion is a way to symbolize that a believer has died to an old way and is alive to walk a new way in Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:11-12).
Baptism Is Symbolic
We believe that the Bible teaches that baptism is an important step of expressing faith in Jesus Christ, but not necessary for salvation. For example, the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43), Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-18) and the people gathered in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:24-48) all experienced salvation without the necessity of baptism. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter urged those who had repented and believed in Christ to be baptized, not that baptism was necessary for salvation but as a testimony that they had been saved (Acts 2:1-41).
Thus, baptism is symbolic and not sacramental. We believe that the Bible teaches that baptism symbolizes that a person has been saved and is not a means of salvation, but rather is a way of public testimony to the saving grace of Calvary as a personal experience.
Baptism does not wash away sin but symbolizes the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ, which is why Christ commanded his disciples to baptize (Matthew 28:19) and we desire to fulfill that command as part of the Great Commission by practicing believer’s baptism.
As often as doctrines within our fellowship require clarification, or as conflicting issues within our society arise, or as disputes with the church at large, or as national conversations deem necessary, we will develop and adopt appropriate “position statements” to offer clarity regarding our pastoral leadership and/or our Statement of Faith on those matters.