What is Baptism?
Baptism is one of the two ordinances (the other being communion or the Lord’s Supper) prescribed to the Church by Jesus as a visible symbol of invisible grace. In baptism, we are performing a symbolic action that announces and affirms a greater, unseen reality. Specifically, we believe that baptism symbolically represents the following:
- Christ’s death and resurrection.
- A believers union with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
- The new life that a believer has in and through Jesus.
- The cleansing of a person that comes through forgiveness of sin.
- A believer’s adoption into and participation in the family of God, the Church.
Why should someone be baptized?
There are several reasons why we believe baptism is an essential step for all followers of Jesus. First, Jesus instructed us to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). Second, as those who are committed to practicing the way of Jesus in all of life, we see the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17) as an example worth following. Third, we believe that baptism is an essential practice by which we publicly demonstrate and declare that we have decided to follow Jesus. This public announcement also allows the community of believers to celebrate the life-transforming power of the gospel with you.
It is important to note here that baptism is not synonymous with salvation nor is it a substitute for salvation. The New Testament teaches that salvation is based on saving faith in Jesus Christ, the result of confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Baptism is symbolically significant because of the salvation that has already taken place in and through Jesus. Salvation precedes baptism and never depends upon it (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Who should be baptized?
Baptism was given expressly and exclusively to those who have professed saving faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (e.g. Acts 2:41; 8:12). It is an expression of one’s trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ and commitment to follow Him in all of life for the rest of one’s life. This response often raises the following questions:
What if I was baptized as an infant? Do I need to be baptized again?
At Seven Marks, we practice credobaptism, or what has sometimes been called ‘believer’s baptism.’ With that in mind, we recommend that you be baptized if you have not been baptized by immersion after professing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Therefore if you were baptized as a baby, or before you truly understood the meaning of baptism, we encourage you to be baptized again as a reflection of your commitment to Jesus.
What if I was baptized in another church tradition/denomination? Do I need to be baptized again?
If you have previously been baptized after professing allegiance to Jesus, then you do not need to be baptized again. It doesn’t ever ‘expire’ or ‘wear off.’ Seven Marks recognizes, honors, and celebrates followers of Jesus who come into our community who have previously been baptized elsewhere.
What if I am coming back to faith after a period of apathy, intense sin, or unbelief? Do I need to be baptized again?
The above principle includes those who may be seeking to rededicate their life to God or are beginning to take their faith more seriously. In these cases, we do not believe baptism is the appropriate step, but would encourage you to connect with our team or a community group where you can begin to grow in your newfound commitment to the way of Jesus.
Do you baptize children?
Yes! We believe baptism is a good and appropriate step for children who trust in Jesus–expressed through an age-appropriate confession of faith and understanding the purpose of baptism. If your child has questions about baptism, or if you are wondering if baptism is right for your child, we would recommend you check out our START HERE baptism class, offered several times each year.
How should I be baptized?
At Seven Marks, we practice baptism by immersion, though we do not believe that there is anything inherently sacred about the mode of baptism. For us, the importance of the mode of immersion is in the powerful picture it paints of the gospel. Being lowered into the water is a symbol of the burial with Christ in His death. Being raised from the water is a symbol of being raised to new life in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
If, after professing saving faith, you were previously baptized in another denomination or tradition through a different mode of baptism, you do not need to be baptized again.
Who can/will baptize me?
Anyone you want, provided that person is a Christ-follower who has already been baptized. In fact, we encourage you to ask someone who has played a significant role in your faith journey–such as a family member, a friend, someone from your community group, etc–to baptize you. But if you prefer someone from the Seven Marks team to baptize you, we would be more than happy to do it.
When/where will I be baptized?
We typically baptize people during our weekend gatherings. When you sign up, someone on our team will be in touch to coordinate a date/time that works for you.
What do I need to wear/bring?
You can bring your own clothes (we recommend gym-like attire and dark colors), or you can borrow some from us. Either way, we will give you a shirt as a gift to celebrate your baptism at Seven Marks (most people choose to wear this shirt for their baptism). We also have towels and just about everything else you will need to look the same way leaving as you did when you arrived.
Do I have to be baptized in order to become a covenant partner at Seven Marks?
Yes. While we will happily baptize you at Seven Marks even if you have no desire to pursue covenant partnership, you cannot pursue covenant partnership without being baptized. If you have questions or would like to learn more, we recommend attending our covenant partnership interest meeting, which occurs periodically during the year.