Baptism at Wellspring Fellowship

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 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matt. 28: 18 – 20 A commitment to Jesus Christ is not an event, it is a transformation. While it may have a beginning point, we never really achieve total completion. Instead we should think of our transformation as a life long journey. We begin the journey by recognizing who Jesus is and what he has done for us. This recognition should also cause us to recognize who we are. We recognize that we are sinners and have sinned against Him. We recognize that the result of our sin has separated us from a relationship with God. We need a savior. It is at this point that we are given our first opportunity to participate in this transformation that God through Jesus Christ has provided for us. We have opportunity to recognize our own sinfulness and can ask Jesus to forgive us for all our sins and make us pure. Spectacularly, He does! (1 John 1:9) Having been forgiven by what Jesus did, we now participate in that forgiveness by asking for forgiveness and turning away from that sin. This is what Peter had in mind when he preached “Repent and be baptized”. (Acts 2:38).
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The next step in our transformational journey is to ask Jesus to be our Lord. Having removed the barrier between God and us in repentance, we are now free to restore the right relationship with Him by acknowledging His lordship over our lives. As our Lord, we submit to His leading,  His commands, and begin to understand His ways! Submitting to His lordship is a true sign of our love and gratitude for His salvation.(John 14:21).
It is in this decision that we receive Jesus. More than just intellectual agreement, it is a commitment to act on that agreement. (John 1:12).
Take a moment and reflect.  ______Do you recognize that you have sinned (rebelled) against God? ______Have you asked Jesus to forgive you from all of your sins?
______Do you want to receive his forgiveness and His lordship in your life?
If you have not done these things and want to then pray a simple prayer acknowledging your sin, asking for His forgiveness, and asking Him to be your Lord. Having made a commitment to Jesus Christ accepting Him as your Savior, and Lord, participating in baptism is your next step in your transforming journey.
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What is it? Being baptized is a prophetic sign act. “Prophetic sign act” is some theological terminology that basically describes a physical action that we take that has spiritual implications. It is important to understand that it is God's activity that makes baptism effectual. In other words, it “works” because the Holy Spirit is active in it, not because we fulfill a prescribed ritual or say magic words. The theologian William McClendon Jr. calls it a “Remembering Sign.”[1]  Remembering Signs are special activities that the people of God do at the command of God. In doing them we spiritually participate in the in the event that the sign points to. God placed these Remembering Signs in His people so that they would participate in what He has done to save them or redeem them. Remembering signs are three way signs. First, they point back to the historical event and cause us to remember what God did. Secondly, they point to the present because when we participate in them we experience right now, a real spiritual blessing that comes from that participation. Finally, they also point to a future fulfillment that is our ultimate and complete redemption. Lets examine how baptism works as a Remembering Sign. The greatest historical act of redemption is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of the Remembering Signs (Sabbath, Communion, and Baptism for example) point to or through that single most important historical redemption event. When a person is baptized they personally spiritually participate in that event and in the three directions that the sign points. The Past. Being immersed in the water is our participation in the death of Jesus Christ. We are prophetically and symbolically living into that event as well as the death of our old self. When we are brought up out of the water we are participating in His resurrection. We too are brought up a new person with a new beginning. (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 6) The Current. Participating in the act of baptism has some current impacts as well. First there is a spiritual activity that happens.(1Peter 3:21) It is not that the physical act of being dunked somehow changes your spiritual destiny, it is that when you are participating in this prophetic sign act, you spiritually enter into a new kingdom, God's kingdom. Baptism changes your status, it changes your citizenship.(Phil.3: 10, 20) you are now part of the Body of Christ. It is an indication of your complete forgiveness by God. You are baptized in the Name of the Father, in the Name of the Son, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit. This means that you are now under the authority of this Triune God. You are part of His family and brought into that family on His authority (think In the name of the king!) That you are willingly and actively choosing to do it indicates your personal, public, and spiritual commitment to this new identity. In Baptism you are insured of the reception of the Gift f the Holy Spirit.(Acts 2:38)
The Future. Having died to your old self, and being resurrected as a new person, points to future reality. You are in the kingdom of God. Even though you are still stuck in this life and this body, baptism points forward to the time when you will be resurrected into eternity and everlasting life in the Kingdom of God. (Rev. 21:27) Fill in the things that baptism points to: The Past                                         The Present                                     The Future   Reflect and put into your own words on what baptism does and how it works.
In your understanding of what it does and how it works are you now ready to participate in this Remembering Sign? ___________
Frequently Asked Questions I was baptized as an infant. Do I need to be baptized again? Infant baptism was established in the medieval church as a pastoral response to infant mortality. Parents wanted to make sure that their children, if they died, would be in heaven. Infant baptism is more in line with circumcision than a believer's baptism. The church, understanding that in taking this step prior to any possible assent by the candidate, took care of the informed public commitment piece with confirmation in early adolescence. It is not our intent to suggest that such a process is somehow ineffectual. God is the one who makes baptism “work”. We feel that infant dedication followed by conversion-baptism (when one is old enough to personally make a decision) is a better process. If you were baptized as an infant but never personally participated in that decision through a commitment of confirmation or if because you do not remember so it does not hold particular meaning for you, and you would like to be baptized, we invite and welcome you to personally participate in baptism!
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How old do you have to be to be baptized?
There is no prescribed age for baptism. Each person is different in their response to Christ and in their maturity. However, the gravity of the decision in relationship to the maturity of the person to make such a decision should be considered. In order for their “yes” to be meaningful the valid possibility to say “no” is also a necessary requirement. Otherwise, we are merely participating in infant baptism without the confirmation piece in place! In general, early to mid adolescents, where an individual is able to appreciate and understand the decision they are making should be the lower limit. This is not a hard fast rule but the decision should be made in close interaction and communication with the pastor and parents. Who can baptize? The scripture does not give any prequalification or “rules” as to who can baptize. The only inferred qualification is that it is necessary that it is a believer. What is your doctrinal statement on baptism? We believe that every believer should personally participate in conversion-baptism as the effectual way in which God through the Church (or its representative) joins the life of the candidate with that of Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.  Conversion-Baptism is a sign indicating; God's complete forgiveness in Christ, the entrance into the resurrection community with a new identity marked by the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the reception of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. I was baptized as a young teen but did it because everyone else was. Can I be re-baptized? While there is no scriptural basis for “re-baptism” neither is there a prohibition against it. We believe every believer should personally participate in baptism, and if your baptism was somehow incomplete (wrong motives, didn't understand, didn't live it out, infant, etc) it is important to remove that barrier. The evil one will try and use anything to cause people to doubt the security they have in Christ, so we would love to provide you the opportunity to personally participate in baptism. I want to be baptized! Who do I talk to? Congratulations! Talk to one of the Pastors or Elders and we will be happy to serve!
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