Frequently asked questions
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Baptism is a public display that identifies you with the person and message of Jesus. In Matthew 3:13-17, we see the first mention of baptism in the Bible being administered by a man who is referred to as John the Baptist (or John the Baptizer). Those who were baptized by John were publicly identifying themselves with John’s message of repentance (turning away from sin). Even though Jesus was perfect and never sinned, He still insisted on being baptized by John.
So why was Jesus baptized? The answer is simple: Jesus was baptized as an example for us to follow. For Jesus, He identified with John’s message to repent because God’s Kingdom was near. When we are baptized as followers of Jesus, then we are identifying ourselves with Jesus and his message of salvation. Baptism tells the world, “I’m with Jesus.”
Since the first century, baptism has been a symbolic act of obedience for those who wish to publicly identify themselves as followers (disciples) of Jesus. The act of baptism is simply a way to physically express the spiritual change that has taken place inside of our hearts through the forgiveness of our sins. Much like a wedding ring symbolizes a commitment to a relationship, baptism shows the same type of covenant commitment. The ring doesn’t make someone married, and the act of baptism does not save a person from his sins. There is nothing magical about the gold that makes up a wedding band. The truth is that one could be married and never wear a ring. The ring itself is not what binds a husband and wife in marriage. In the same way, there is nothing supernatural about the waters of baptism, but it is a powerful symbol that you have entered into a relationship with Jesus.
DO I NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN ORDER TO BE SAVED?
No. Jesus saves us from our sins the moment that we turn away from our sins (repentance), receive Jesus as the King of our lives, and place our faith in Him by believing that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day. It is important to remember that baptism does NOT make you a Christian. It is an outward symbol of the inward commitment that you have made to Jesus. It is much like a wedding ring. The ring is an outward symbol that displays the inward commitment that people have made to their spouses.
It is important for you to know that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). God's promise is that "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). If you haven’t already done so, you can receive God's gift of salvation today! If you aren't sure what to say, then we want to invite you to pray and ask God to save you by placing your trust in Jesus. You can sincerely pray something like this:
God, I want to experience your love for me. I turn away from my sin and place my trust in your Son, Jesus, who died for me and rose again on the third day. I surrender to Jesus as my King and Savior and receive your promise to save me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Whether you just prayed to receive Christ or did so some time ago, write out your story of how you came to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and why you want to be baptized.
WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
The most important reason that you should be baptized is that it is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus. Matthew 28:18-20 is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. These verses are Jesus’ final recorded instructions to His disciples where he commissioned His disciples to make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them (these new disciples) to obey all that Jesus had commanded. While a person does not have to be baptized in order to be rescued from sin and have a relationship with God through Jesus, baptism is a matter of obedience for a follower of Christ. Therefore, it should be one of the first steps that a new believer takes after they accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior should be baptized! If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior but have never been baptized as a believer or by immersion, then we would love to discuss this with you in more detail!
WHAT IS BEAR VALLEY’S VIEW OF BAPTISM?
We hold the view referred to as believer’s baptism, which means that we baptize only those who have made a profession of faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In the Great Commission Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize those who become disciples, which involves a conscious decision to follow Jesus. In the New Testament, every person who received baptism did so only after consciously placing their trust in the Good News of Jesus, and we hold that this most accurately reflects the biblical teaching on who should receive baptism.
Immersion describes the mode of baptism. Other modes of baptism practiced in other Christian traditions include sprinkling or pouring. The word that is used in every instance of baptism in the New Testament is the Greek word baptizo. The literal meaning of this word is “to immerse or dip under water,” therefore we believe that the mode of baptism most faithful to the biblical practice of baptism is immersion.
WHAT IF I WAS BAPTIZED AS AN INFANT?
If you were baptized as an infant, you may wonder why we teach that you should be baptized again. We practice what is referred to as believer's baptism, which means that we only baptize those who are able to make a profession of faith in Jesus. While many churches practice infant baptism, we dedicate infants and children to the Lord through setting aside time in one of our services to pray over the family and rejoice with them as they commit to raise their child to know, love, and follow Jesus. Then, subsequent to a person's salvation experience, we ask that they take part in believer's baptism by immersion following the pattern of the New Testament.
HOW WILL BAPTISM HELP ME OR CHANGE ME?
In the New Testament we can see what appears to be a “pattern” that people followed:
- They heard the Gospel and believed it.
- They turned away from sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
- They were baptized (as a public declaration of faith)
- They went on their way rejoicing!
Baptism seems to provide people an assurance that they have done everything Jesus commands as they begin their new relationship with Him. Baptism is also a great way for the Church to recognize that a new believer has in fact come to Christ. See if you can recognize this “pattern” in Acts 8:30-39 and Acts 16:30-34.
If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, have you ever been baptized as described above? While your salvation is in no way dependent upon being baptized in this way—or even being baptized at all—it is still a matter of being obedient to Jesus. If you have never been biblically baptized and would like to schedule a day to go public with your faith in Jesus, or if you would like to discuss it further, then please click on the link below to complete the Baptism Interest Form.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR MY BAPTISM?
Invite friends and family to witness your public declaration that you are with Jesus. If they cannot join us in person for your baptism, then encourage them to join us online. Our services are streamed live and recorded. Live services can be joined by visiting bvchurch.org/join-us, and if you would like to share the link to the recording after your baptism, then please let us know. We encourage you to share this momentous occasion in your walk with Jesus!
On the day of your baptism, please come to the first row directly in front of the platform in the Worship Center 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start of the service. One of our pastors or a member of our Baptism Team will meet you and escort you to the baptistery area where you can use a private room to change clothes and prepare for your baptism (or you can simply come in the clothes you are planning to wear when you are baptized).
Please bring the following items with you:
- A complete set of dry clothes to wear after being baptized.
- A plastic bag to hold your wet items.
- If desired, shoes that can get wet (it's best to just go barefoot)
- A swimsuit and a dark shirt or top OR a dark T-shirt and shorts. (Ladies please wear white undergarments if you choose to wear white clothes rather than a swimsuit).
- If desired, a hair dryer and other toiletry items.
We are excited to share in this joyous occasion with you, and we look forward to celebrating with you as you take this step toward growing deeper in your relationship with Jesus Christ!