How should I be baptized?

While some churches sprinkle, baptism by being completely immersed in water was the undisputed church practice for the first 1,300 years of church history. The very word “baptism” means “to immerse” and that’s what the Bible records, so we believe that if you’re physically able, you should get completely dunked. Immersion is also what completes the symbol that baptism represents – the old you dying and being buried [going under the water] and being made into a new person with a new life in Christ [coming up from the water]. (Romans 6:3-4)

Do we baptize infants?

At Harbor, we don’t baptize infants because every baptism recorded in the Bible occurred when someone was old enough to make their own personal faith decision. Baptism is a step of obedience that follows salvation, and salvation is a choice that can only be made by someone mature enough to decide what they believe. In lieu of an infant baptism, we have baby dedications, which allow parents an opportunity to express their desire to raise their kids to love and serve God.

If I was baptized as an infant in another church, should I get baptized again?

Your infant baptism was certainly a very special moment for your family. But at Harbor, infant baptism is similar to what we call “baby dedication.” Once you personally come to an age where you can decide for yourself to put your faith in Jesus, baptism is the next step. Don’t be afraid to get re-baptized as an act of worship and obedience to Christ.

Does the water wash away my sins?

Whether it’s water in the ocean or water in a tub, there’s nothing special about the water that is used for baptism. The Bible is clear that we are saved by God’s grace, not by baptism, not by our own works. (Romans 10:9-10) Baptism is not salvation; Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is really what washes away sins and pays our debt. It’s better to think of it like this: baptism is to salvation as a wedding ceremony is to a marriage. It’s a public declaration of an internal event.

Do you have to be baptized to be a Christian?

It’s clearly established in the Bible that you become a Christian by accepting God’s free gift of grace. For example, the thief on the cross hanging beside Jesus was saved on the spot and was never baptized (Luke 23:39-43). While baptism is not what saves us, baptism is necessary in that God commands it. All genuine Christ-followers should want to obey Jesus by doing what he said, and by doing what he did. Even Jesus, the perfect Son of God, showed us the importance of baptism by being baptized himself (Matthew 3:13-17).

What if I still believe it’s a technicality?

If you’re holding off on being baptized because you feel it is unnecessary, take some time to examine your motives and pray for God to help you grasp His heart on baptism. Ask yourself, “Why is it that I don’t want to be baptized?” If you’re waiting for God to directly prompt you to be baptized, you need not wait any longer. He already makes that challenge to each Christ-follower by his Word (Matthew 28:19-20).