Baptists derive their name from the very visible practice of believers’ baptism. It involves the total immersion of a person into water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on their own profession of faith. Unlike some other Christian denominations, Baptists do not baptise infants but only those who are of an age to make a clear declaration of their own free will. By means of baptism, a person declares their desire to turn from a life without God to one which is lived for God through Jesus Christ. Christian faith is not something that anybody can choose for any one other than themselves. A person does not become a Christian because they are born in a certain country with a Christian heritage. Neither do they do so because this is what their parents or others would wish. Each person needs to be ‘born again’ on their own account (John 3:3) because they have intentionally turned from a godless life to a life in God. They have done this because they have come to believe for themselves that the Christian faith is true, that their lives are falling short of what they should be, and that Jesus Christ is the one through whom they can receive forgiveness from God and a new life in God’s spirit. Believers’ baptism makes all of this clear and so is a challenging symbol of Christian discipleship.
The Meaning of Baptism
- Being born: In John 3:5-6 Jesus speaks of the need to be ‘born of water and the spirit’ in order to see the kingdom of God. Baptism demonstrates this new birth into a spiritual life through Jesus Christ.
- Being washed: Inevitably, the drama of baptism can also be seen as taking a bath. Titus 3:5 refers to the ‘washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit’. New birth carries the idea of being washed clean from the polluting effects of the sinful life. Through his sacrifice on the cross, Christ brings about a cleansing of sin and enables us to break free from its guilt and shame.
- Being buried and raised: Baptism is also like being buried in a grave and then raised to a new life beyond death. Paul puts it like this: ‘therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in newness of life’ (Romans 6:3-4).
- Being immersed in the Holy Spirit: When a person is baptised, they are usually fully immersed in water. There are other ways of baptising, such as the pouring of water over the head symbolising the anointing of the Spirit, but total immersion captures the idea of being plunged into the realm of the Holy Spirit.
Why be Baptised?
First of all, because Jesus has commanded it. This is clear in Matthew 28:19 where Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and teach people about himself. Those who believed were to be baptised. If being a Christian means calling Jesus, Lord, one of the first steps is to be baptised as he commanded. This is an act of loving obedience.
Secondly, because to do so is to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus himself was baptised by John the Baptist. At that time the spirit came upon him to enable him to fulfil his mission as the Messiah (Matthew 3:13-17).
Thirdly, because it is the best way to confess Christ publicly.
We therefore encourage all who have come to trust Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to be baptised. If you would like more information about being baptised, please speak to the Pastor or one of the deacons.
There is no doubt that becoming a member in a local Baptist Church is challenging. It involves commitment and this in turn requires sacrifice. This may mean the sacrifice of time and money and of emotional and physical energy. In return, there is the reward of belonging to a community of people who strongly believe in what they are doing and who are working cooperatively to achieve their goals. Membership probably involves swimming against the tide of modern culture in which people have come to see themselves first and foremost as consumers rather than contributors. But this is a tide that needs to be resisted. If the role of the church is to offer alternative ways of living which arise from the covenant relationship we share with God, then committed church membership is worth entering in to and commending to others.
Why Bother With Church Membership…?
Belonging to the church has historically been a priority for Christians. At Duckpool Baptist Church, that belonging is expressed through Church Membership which is a covenant (or commitment) to be in relationship with other believers, in which we agree to walk together as disciples of Jesus, grow together, worship and serve together in mission.
Who Is Church Membership For…?
Church Membership is for those who are firstly, committed to Christ, and secondly, committed to Duckpool Road Baptist Church for the forthcoming ‘season’ of their faith journey.
To become and remain a Member you must:
- have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and have a personal relationship with him;
- be baptised as a believer by full immersion;
- with God’s help, be seeking to live in a way which honours Christ and the Bible;
- seek to serve Christ within the Church and beyond;
- be willing to live under the authority of Christ as also mediated through his body, the church.
Benefits & Responsibilities…
To be a part of the Body of Christ as expressed through Membership is a high privilege, which carries equally high responsibility.
Benefits include fellowship; encouragement; prayer; pastoral support; love; worship; discipleship; the ability to identify and exercise your spiritual gifts; and the opportunity to attend Church Members’ Meetings where we make important decisions like the appointment of Ministers and staff, stewardship of finances, and the organisation of our mission and ministry.
Responsibilities include regularly attending church services, prayer meetings and Members’ Meetings; seeking the mind of Christ; supporting the vision of the church; to love, to pray for and to encourage others; giving to the work and vision of the church; and living in a way which is honouring to God in service to him and to each other.