What is baptism?
Baptism is the action of being being publicly completely immersed in water and coming out of the water. It is symbolic of being washed clean of the consequences of our wrongdoing (sin) through the sacrifice of Jesus dying in our place. It signifies the beginning of a new life as a Christian – a follower of Jesus Christ. For this reason baptism is sometimes referred to as the “watery grave” as the old way of living is put to death and a new life begins.
Baptism is also used by most Christian churches as the way of not just becoming a Christian, but joining the local church family.
For this reason, in the Adventist Church, baptism occurs after an individual has studied what being a Christian means in terms of faith and action in Bible led principles that cover core Christian beliefs about God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit (the Trinity), the Bible, Creation, Christian behaviour etc. Baptismal ‘candidates’ make public vows (like wedding vows) declaring their understanding of these principles prior to baptism.
This is in keeping with Bible teaching:
New Living Translation (NLT)
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.
10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God,
and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
What does baptism look like? See this 30-sec video below to get an idea:
We believe that faith in Jesus alone is sufficient to seek Baptism, and to be accepted by God as a Christian. However, we recognise that Baptism is the beginning of a lifetime Christian journey that needs to be guided by biblical principles. So we ask baptismal candidates to make a commitment to study these principles and follow them.
Occasionally, the following summary vows are used as an accepted alternative (for example, if there are many candidates – to allow the service to keep to time!).
1. Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and Lord, and do you desire to live your life in a saving relationship with Him?
2. Do you accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and do you pledge by God’s grace to live your life in harmony with these teachings?
3. Do you desire to be baptised as a public expression of your belief in Jesus Christ, to be accepted into the fellowship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to support the church and its mission as a faithful steward by your personal influence, tithes and offerings, and a life of service?”