Baptism is also about receiving God’s Spirit for service in the church and in the world.
The vast majority of Christian churches affirm baptism as a moment when we receive God’s gift and respond in faith, but not all practise believer’s baptism. Many baptise those who are too young to make their own response of commitment to Christian discipleship, and so parents make promises on their behalf that are later ‘confirmed’ by the person themselves when they are of an age to do so.
Many Baptists will want to welcome and affirm those who have a different story to tell of how they have been baptised and come to faith, while still declaring our conviction that believer’s baptism is the pattern that is set out for us in scripture:
1 Jesus set an example: Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).
2 Jesus commands us: In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
3 The early church practised it: On the Day of Pentecost, Peter tells the people to “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).
There are other examples of baptism throughout the book of Acts which suggests believer’s baptism was an integral part of early church life.