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Frequently Asked Questions About Baptism


Is baptism a requirement for membership in the NWCBC?

Yes. All believers should be baptized into the body of Christ according to the command of the Bible. Failure to obey this command displays a lack of submission to Christ and His church. Also, baptism is always closely connected with membership in the New Testament. Both go together, so only baptized believers are eligible to become members at NWCBC.


Does NWCBC affirm as members brothers and sisters who have not been baptized as a believer (including brothers or sisters who have only been baptized as infants)?

NWCBC does not affirm as members brothers or sisters in Christ who have not been baptized as believers. In addition, we are convinced by the testimony of Scripture that baptism is to occur after one has made a confession of faith that Jesus Christ is Lord, thus excluding infant baptism.


Does NWCBC affirm as members brothers or sisters who have not been baptized as believers by immersion (i.e., those who have been baptized as believers by pouring or sprinkling)?

The core of this issue is on defining the essence of what baptism is. The Bible teaches that believers are to be baptized in genuine faith. Therefore, baptism is a profession of faith, and only baptism in the nature of true faith is true baptism. Therefore, when we are confronted with a believer who has been baptized, our first concern is whether or not he has been baptized in genuine trust in the gospel of Christ.

Next, we need to consider the mode of baptism. According to the Bible, baptism is by immersion because there are no other examples of baptism in the Bible. The only exception is when the believer is physically unable (or has been unable) to enter the water.


Between the above and this, we believe that the former (the genuineness of the faith) will affect whether a baptism is a true baptism or a false baptism, while the latter (the mode of baptism) will affect whether or not a baptism is in compliance with the ordinances. When we determine that a baptism is not a true baptism (e.g., infant baptism), we will administer the one and only biblical baptism to that person, as commanded by the Bible. But if a baptism occurs on the basis of genuine faith, but in an unorthodox manner, we will recognize the validity of that baptism, and it will still be a true baptism because it is a sign of genuine faith; we will just say that it is an unorthodox true baptism. Therefore we would not require a believer in such a case to be re-baptized in order to join the church.


Does NWCBC affirm as members brothers or sisters who have not been baptized in the context of a local church (i.e., those who were baptized either on their own with another person, in a small group, or through a para-church organization)?

We believe baptism is one of two ordinances given by Jesus to be administered in the local church by biblically qualified pastors and elders. Therefore, if an individual's baptism does not fall within these parameters, we will not recognize their membership.


Does NWCBC baptize brothers or sisters who are not becoming members at NWCBC (i.e., those who desire to be baptized but for differing reasons are not able to commit to membership at NWCBC)?

As stated above, we believe that the New Testament always links baptism to membership. Therefore, we will not baptize anyone who has openly expressed an unwillingness to commit to the church.


Does NWCBC recommend and/or establish a particular age for children to be baptized?

NWCBC does not recommend or establish a particular age for children to be baptized. We do not want to discourage a regenerate child from being baptized, yet also want to exercise prudent discernment to avoid deception and false assurance in a child’s life by baptizing him or her before he or she is biblically regenerate and able to understand, articulate, and embrace the Gospel, believer’s baptism, and the responsibilities and expectations of church membership. 


Therefore, our elders work deliberately with parents to ensure a child (before being baptized) is able to understand, articulate, and embrace the Gospel, believer’s baptism, and church membership, and bears the fruit of regeneration.


A child will not be baptized until his or her parents (if they are believers) and elders together agree that the child is ready to be baptized. Then, upon a child’s baptism, the members of NWCBC, under the loving care and oversight of the elders, will work together to disciple such children to grow in Christ and mature in the faith.


Can an unbaptized believer participate in the Lord’s Supper at NWCBC?

NWCBC welcomes all believers who are following Christ in repentance and confession of faith and are obedient to His commands to receive the Lord's Supper. Baptism is one of the commands of Christ and is a direct outward command to which obedience does not need to be evidenced over a period of time. Every believer, after repentance and conversion, should be baptized and committed to the church according to the teachings of the Bible. Therefore, if a believer has not yet been baptized, we have no way of verifying that the believer is willing to publicly demonstrate his/her commitment and action to obey Christ, and therefore he/she cannot receive the Lord's Supper for the time being. He/she cannot join the fellowship of the Body of Christ until he/she has publicly demonstrated his/her obedience to Christ through his/her actions. Before the Lord's Supper, we should encourage one another to examine ourselves, prayerfully confess our sins, and repent in obedience to our Savior, Jesus Christ.


On what occasions does NWCBC administer the sacrament of baptism to believers?

First, we believe that baptism is one of the two ordinances given by Jesus to the church, and that it is a matter that belongs to the church and must be administered in the church. Second, baptism is a public witness, not a private secret. Therefore, the church must do it when the whole congregation is gathered publicly, usually in the context of Sunday morning worship. Before baptism, the baptized person must first publicly confess his faith and testify to it. It is on the basis of the baptized person's testimony and confession that the church can administer baptism to him/her. For the believer deserves to be baptized in faith.


Who is permitted to baptize believers at NWCBC?

Baptism is a command received by the church. Therefore, the entire congregation of the church should mutually acknowledge a spiritual leader among them to do this, as commanded by the Bible. Normally, the senior pastor or other elders of the church would be the appropriate person to perform this service. However, if the church does not have a pastor or elders at the moment, then the congregation may elect a suitable spiritual leader to perform this service, most likely someone who teaches the Bible regularly in the church. There are two reasons for this: first, baptism is a church practice, so it should be conducted by a spiritual leader whom the entire congregation trusts; and second, baptism is the "visible Word," so it should be conducted by someone who teaches the Word.

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