From the outset, our church has encouraged and practiced Believer’s Baptism by total immersion. From examples we find in the New Testament, we believe that this baptism is for Christians who make a conscious decision for themselves to declare their faith in this way. Baptism of infants practiced in other churches is different - it is a decision made by the parents and signifies their desire that the child will grow up to know God and become part of the church.
At the front of our main room is a large tiled baptistery tank set into the floor. This baptistery is filled with water and candidates for baptism step down into the water to be greeted by one or more of the Elders of the church. After declaring their faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour, they are briefly completely immersed under the water and then raised up again.
The person being baptised wishes to declare that something very special has happened to them. By being buried under the water, death is signified: being raised up out of the water illustrates resurrection life (being ‘born again’) out of the realm of death. Baptism does not turn a person into a Christian. Baptism is for those who have, by God’s grace, already been led to repent of their sin and put their faith and trust in Christ “who is the one mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5)
In a marriage service, the bride and groom declare commitment and love to each other; but that love already existed, and the decision to become united in marriage was taken long before the actual wedding day. Baptism publicly declares the bond of love and commitment that exists between the Christian and Christ their Saviour.
Baptism by itself does not make a person a better Christian, nor does it alter the extent of God’s loves towards that person – it is an act of obedience to our Lord’s request and is a public declaration that the former self-centred way of life has passed away (or died) and is being replaced by a new life in Christ that puts God at the centre.