Frequently Asked Questions About Water Baptism

Does a person have to be baptized in order to be saved and go to heaven?

No. Nothing can be added to our faith in Christ, as the means by which we are forgiven of our sins and assured of eternal life (Ephesians 2:8).

Who should be baptized?

Everyone who has put their faith in Christ should be baptized (Acts 2:38). If you believe in Jesus as your Lord, and you know he commands his followers to be baptized, then you should be baptized (Matthew 28:19).

Why be baptized?

Because God says so. It’s an act of obedience that publicly expresses your faith in Jesus and your commitment to him. This public profession of faith paints a beautiful portrayal of the transformation we experience when we’re saved. Also, it often inspires others to put their faith in Christ.

What if I was baptized as a child?

Often, people who were baptized as infants feel the need to be baptized later in life. Being baptized as an infant was the parents’ decision. Being baptized after deciding to follow Jesus is a personal decision--which has meaning for those being baptized. We support people who want to be re-baptized.

Should I have my new-born baptized?

The New Testament pattern shows water baptism being done following a personal decision (beginning with Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3). The crowd was baptized after responding to Peter’s preaching in Acts 3. The Ethiopian was baptized after Philip talking with Philip the evangelist. Saul was baptized after seeing a vision of Christ. We do see NT examples of children dedicated to God and whole families baptized as parent’s come to faith. So, we support parents who want to dedicate their children with water.

When is my child ready to be baptized?

This depends on the faith and maturity of the child. Look for their ability to articulate the Good News and verbalize their faith in Christ and desire to live for him.

Should I wait to be baptized until I’ve been following Christ longer?

We encourage Christians to be baptized soon after they have made their commitment. This is the biblical pattern. The longer it is delayed, the more excuses we can make for not taking this step of obedience. We don’t want anyone to miss this wonderful opportunity. On the other hand, if you’ve been following Christ for a long time without having been’s never too late to take the plunge. It’s a God-glorifying act you won’t regret.

What should I say to my family and friends?

The truth: You are excited about your new life in Christ and you’d like people to celebrate this new life with you. Invite family and friends to come and hear about the amazing grace you’ve experienced and the profound decision you’ve made. It may help explain some of the positive changes they’ve seen in your life. God may use this to grace your family and friends with faith as well.

Am I ready to be baptized?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, then you may be ready! Fill out the attached form (or talk to a Compass Staff Member) to let us know. We’d love to talk to you more about water baptism during a brief orientation meeting.

What’s Water Baptism All About?

Baptism has long been seen as a symbol of cleansing. Prior to the start of the church, the practice of baptism already existed in Jewish culture as an act or repentance and purification. John the Baptist baptized people as an act of repentance, preparing the Jewish people for the soon-coming Messiah. The followers of Jesus were baptized as well. However, for Christians, baptism symbolizes more than just cleansing from sin.

Romans 6:3-4 offers an important look at the symbolism of water baptism: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Going into the water symbolizes death and burial. Coming up from the water of baptism symbolizes resurrection from the dead and the start of a new life. Since cleansing and resurrection are expressed through water baptism, total immersion is the preferred method (as opposed to sprinkling).

Despite the obvious importance the Bible places on baptism, it is clear that baptism doesn’t provide salvation. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). An example of this can be found in the thief on the cross. Prior to his death, the thief believed in Jesus.

Though the thief was never baptized, Jesus promised the man would be with Him in heaven (Luke 23:43). The thief’s faith saved him, even though he didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized. Baptism is a symbolic ritual that portrays what our faith has done for us. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward transformation.

Christian baptism is a voluntary ceremony whereby a person publicly declares he or she has come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Christian baptism is performed by dipping the believer under water and lifting him or her up again, symbolically representing the believer's acceptance of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection which has washed them of their sins.

The biblical requirement for baptism is simple: have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible adds no requirements for age, the length of time someone has been a believer (Acts 8:34-38).

Baptism can be performed in a church's baptismal, a swimming pool, or the ocean. Participants can wear robes, waders, jeans, or swimsuits. The only requirement is that the person being baptized is a follower of Christ, willing to obey God by publicly declaring his/her faith in God’s Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Prior to His ascension back to heaven, Jesus gave his disciples this command: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in...the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19). When the church baptizes new disciples, it is obediently following the direction it was given by Christ Himself. While it isn’t necessary for salvation, it is an important step of obedience every Christian should take. As Jesus was baptized in obedience to His Father’s command (Matthew 3:15), we are as well.