Churches of Christ have a reputation for placing a great deal of importance on water baptism. However, we do not emphasize baptism as a "church ordinance" but a command of Christ. The New Testament teaches that baptism is essential for salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). We do not practice infant baptism because New Testament baptism is only for sinners who turn to the Lord in belief and repentance. An infant cannot sin nor has the ability to comprehend, so they cannot qualify as a believer.
The only form of baptism practiced in churches of Christ is immersion based on the Koine Greek verb βαπτίζω (baptizō) which is translated to mean to dip, immerse, submerge or plunge. Scriptures always point to baptism as a burial (Acts 8:35-39; Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12).
Baptism is extremely important because the New Testament sets forth the following purpose for it:
- It is to enter the kingdom (John 3:5).
- It is to contact Christ's blood (Romans 6:3-4).
- It is to get into Christ (Galatians 3:27).
- It is for salvation (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).
- It is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
- It is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16).
- It is to get into the church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:23).
Christ died for the sins of the whole world and His saving grace is open to everyone (Acts 10:34-35; Revelation 22:17). We do not believe that anyone is predestined for salvation or condemnation. Some will choose to come to Christ in faith and obedience and be saved. Others will reject His plea and be condemned (Mark 16:16).