Article XX: Baptism Policy
Section 1. General Position.
Baptism is a command of Christ which is not essential to be saved but is an ordinance that is to be taken very seriously by every believer. Baptism is the visual expression of what the Holy Spirit has already done for every true believer at conversion. It is a picture of the baptizing work with the Holy Spirit into Christ resulting in the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It is also the believer’s public demonstration and representation of one’s transfer by the Holy Spirit from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, and of the believer’s new identification with the Church, the Bride of Christ. Thus, we believe that baptism can only come after one’s conversion to Christ. See further Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:44-48; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12.
Section 2. Baptism and Grace Church Membership.
Because of the seriousness as well as the meaning of this ordinance, Grace Church takes the position that all membership applicants, showing forth their willingness to be obedient to the Word of God, must be baptized before they can become a member of Grace Church.
Section 3. Method of Baptism.
Grace Church believes the Biblical method of baptism is immersion for the reason that it best illustrates the believer’s identification into the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ as described in Section 1.
Section 4. Qualifications for Baptism.
The Elders will examine closely each candidate for baptism as to their true conversion. The following marks will be sought out during interviews and observations of the candidates’ life:
(a) The believer recognizes his/her sinfulness and has gone to God, pleading for mercy and trusting Christ alone unto salvation.
(b) The believer gives evidence of having entered into “newness of life” as indicated by a change of affections, a love for God and neighbor, a love for God’s Word, His church and His people, and increasing victory over sin.
(c) The believer possesses a basic understanding of the doctrines of grace, that salvation is not of works, but of God’s mercy and grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).