Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist … Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist, Primitive Baptist…. Confused yet?
Let’s make it simple. We use the label “Baptist” so that others know where we stand on one of only two biblical “sacraments” – or ordinances – given to the church by Jesus. He said, “go forth into all the world, making disciples, and baptizing them in My name”.
Did you know that the word “baptize” is actually not a word? At least it was not an English word until after Bible translators made it up. Yes, that’s right. The Greek word that means “to immerse” is baptizo. But, for debated reasons, translators instead of translating the word decided to trans-literate and change the Greek word into a more English sounding word. So the word “baptize” literally means “to immerse”, as in to completely cover. This is why we don’t dip, sprinkle, or pour.
While immersing is what we think is most proper, even more important to us were the instructions that Jesus gave on WHO should be “immersed” (baptized). It seems pretty clear to us that He said to baptize “disciples” (check out the quote above). Because of this, we are convinced that only those who show the fruits of repentance and grace in their lives and who have a good understanding of salvation and the meaning of baptism (in other words those responding to discipleship) are the proper candidates to be baptized. Except in divine cases, these people are usually older children and adults.
So, when you read “Baptist” in our name it just means that we administer the sacrament of baptism to those that have shown themselves to be disciples of Christ and when we do it we give them a good dunking!