The fact that you’re reading this… thinking about being baptized…probably indicates that you’re at a significant point on your journey to know God. For centuries, people just like you walked a similar path and eventually came to that place where they wanted to deeply align their lives with Jesus. Baptism was and continues to be that unique way people like you express this new story they sense being written into their lives.
So be assured…baptism is not something you do once you have your life all figured out, or what a person does once they have all the answers.
It is about acknowledging that you no longer want to live a single moment without God. It’s about realizing that following God is the right thing to do and it’s about being so thankful for Jesus that you want to be known as someone who is committed to follow Him.
The next few pages will give you more information about the baptism experience and tell you how to register. Look it over carefully. If you have any questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.
Pastor Tim Engelsman
231.924.3284 ext. 25
What is Baptism?
Baptism is identifying yourself with Jesus Christ by participating in an experience that pictures what Jesus did for us. So it’s important that you understand the symbolism behind baptism and the truths that it represents.
When a person was baptized in Jesus’ day, they would wade into a nearby river or lake. Tradition tells us they would make some kind of declaration recognizing Jesus Christ as their Rescuer and Ultimate Leader (sometimes referred to as “Savior” and “Lord”). After that, they would be dunked quickly under the water.
Through this brief submersion, the new follower was declaring they believed several truths with their whole body...
Jesus was different. He died, was buried and came back to life…
when a person is placed under the water, it’s a portrayal of Jesus’ death and burial. But because He conquered death and came back to life, we won’t hold you under the water! Lucky for you!
In Christ I am clean…
the reality of the water completely washing over them in baptism symbolized their belief in the reality that Jesus’ blood on the cross completely washed them of all sin. In Jesus all is forgiven. That’s great news!
Because of Jesus, I get a brand new start…
just as Jesus came back to life… in Jesus we get to start all over, this time to live life with God and for him. God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us on our journey, so we’re never ever alone again and to experience His power to live differently.
I’m going public as a Christ-follower…
baptism is a public declaration of our intention to follow Jesus beyond our self interests. From now on, everything changes… at least that’s our desire. Just as a wedding establishes the commitment of two people before witnesses, being baptized in some public way will establish your commitment to Jesus before the others who join to celebrate your faith journey. You’re saying, “I have a new reason to live and my view of the world is different because of Jesus.”
Most Often Asked Questions about Baptism
Okay, at least a few people had these questions… once.
This whole thing is so new to me. How can I be sure that I’m really ready to be baptized?
That’s a great question. Baptism isn’t something that anyone should feel forced into. Each person should only do it when they’re ready. Having said that, some people worry that they have to live completely perfect from now on. Some even have expressed “there are some things that I need to get out of my life before I get baptized.” It’s great when we want to bring our lives in line with Christ’s instructions, but being baptized is more about starting the journey with Jesus than having everything in your life in order. Baptism is about celebrating God’s forgiveness and the spiritual journey He desires to lead us on.
Of course, if there are things in your life that you know conflict with what Jesus wants for you, and yet you have no intention of ever letting those things go, that probably indicates an unwillingness to let God guide you. Be assured that God still loves you and will be patient with you on the journey. But you might want to think through if you’re ready to embrace following Jesus. While we all have things in our life that we struggle with to turn over to God… a bold unwillingness to follow God in a known area of your life conflicts with the statement baptism makes. Struggling to surrender is normal and to be expected. Open defiance probably indicates you’re not ready to say you are following Christ.
Why do we baptize by “immersion” (fully under the water) at Fremont Wesleyan?
While we don’t believe immersion represents the only valid way to baptize someone, we do believe that it is what they did when scripture was being written. The word baptism means “to dip” or “immerse.”
We believe that baptism by immersion most clearly portrays the reality of someone who identifies themselves with Jesus as so closely aligned with him that it is like dying along with him and being raised with Christ to new life. In a nutshell, baptism by immersion symbolizes best what really happened to Jesus – and to us when we trusted him.
There are some cases in which it might be impossible or unhealthy for a person to be baptized by immersion. In those cases we are more than willing to baptize people through another common mode called “pouring.” If you have a health concern with being baptized by immersion, please give us a call so we can discuss your options.
What does The Wesleyan Church believe about baptism of young children?
We believe that water baptism is commanded by Christ and ordained as a means of grace when received through faith. It is an expression of Christian faith and a sign of God’s ministry toward us. It is a symbol of the new covenant of grace and signifies acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ. By means of this sacrament, believers declare their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
Since children are born into this world with natures inclined to sin, and yet the grace of God provides for their redemption during the period before reaching the age of accountability, those parents who so choose may testify to their faith in God’s provision by presenting their small children for baptism, while those who prefer to emphasize baptism as a testimony by individual believers to their own act of faith may present their children for dedication.
If I was baptized as a baby or young child, should I get baptized again?
Two questions can help you clarify this issue. First of all, since baptism is a conscious choice on the part of the person to be baptized, did you make that decision on your own? If not, then becoming baptized may be a good way for you to personally express your desire to follow God today.
Secondly, when you were baptized, did you understand what Jesus had done for you and were you sincere in your intention to give your life to him? If not, but you now would say those things are true for you today, then baptism would be a great next step.
The bottom line is… baptism is something that should be done after one understands and decides to follow Jesus.
What would I say to my parents (who had me baptized as a baby) if I choose to be baptized again?
That’s certainly something that would require prayer and careful consideration. But our perspective is that it is an opportunity to tell anyone you like about your faith journey.
You might look at your story as the completion of the journey your parents desired for you when you were young—that you would truly know and follow Jesus. So your baptism as an adult is you coming full circle to fully embrace the truths your parents hoped you would embrace when you were old enough to understand on your own. Sure, you may not choose to do it in the same church, but it is the same Jesus you are following.
Try to avoid focusing on anything negative about your church experience as a child or any difficulty you might have with their current church situation. Celebrate the things you have in common and keep the focus on following Jesus with all sincerity.