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“I Was Baptized As an Infant – Why Do I Need to Be Baptized Again?”

We often get questions about our views on baptism and why it is a requirement for membership at the Summit Church.  In particular, we are often asked why this is required for individuals who were previously baptized as infants.  Below is an excerpt from the response of one of our directional elders, Bruce Ashford, to this question.

If you will allow me to do so, I want to answer your question in a relatively brief manner, but if you would like to have further conversation, I am happy to talk with you in more depth. I’ll start by explaining our view of baptism and its meaning, and then try to articulate why we have the policy, which you stated below.

In Romans 6:3-4 and Col 2:12, we learn that we are buried and raised with Christ and that baptism is a confession of this belief. It signifies that we have believed on Christ, the Spirit of God has given us new life with Christ, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of life (Col 1:13), we are identifying with the body of Christ, and we place our hope in the fact that Christ will one day raise us from the dead to live with him eternally.  In other words, baptism is for those who have already believed on Christ.

In passages such as Mk 1:9 and Acts 8:38-39, we learn that baptism is practice by immersion. The reason for this is that baptism is not only a confession of our belief in the gospel, but also a picture of that belief. As we go under the water, we provide a picture of being “buried with Christ,” and as we come out of the water, we provide a picture of being “raised with Christ.” In other words, immersion rather than sprinkling gives the best picture of the gospel we confess.

Your baptism as an infant was an expression of your parent’s faith. We do not reject or minimize your parents’ faith. Thank God for your parents and their desire to raise you under the Lordship of Christ. However, we do invite you now to express your own genuine faith through baptism. Your baptism will be a joyful moment as you have the privilege of standing before your church, in front of the people you love, confessing your love for Christ and providing a picture of the gospel.

We don’t put your earlier baptism in the category of “not good enough,” as you stated below. We just put it in the category of “before you believed.” We invite you to celebrate your belief in Christ by making a public declaration of this in baptism. This will be an act of obedience to Christ on your part, it will be an encouragement and a joyful occasion for our church, and it will be a picture of the gospel for those who are attending our church but are not yet believers.