The Baptist tradition practices two sacraments, or ordinances, that were commanded by Christ in scripture: baptism and communion. Since these rites can have different meanings in different churches, we want to let you know what each of them means at Commonwealth Baptist Church.
Baptism marks someone’s entry into the Christian faith. Now certainly, someone can be a Christian and never be baptized. In order to become a Christian, a person simply needs to accept Jesus as their Lord and decide to live their life as one of his disciples.
We believe that baptism is the way in which Christ desires for all believers to publicly confess their decision to be become a Christian. We believe that it is a strong and powerful expression of faith, but we do not believe that the rite is necessary in order to receive salvation. The act of getting baptized is a public symbol of one’s decision to follow Jesus.
In the Baptist Church, we practice believer’s baptism, which means that we do not baptize infants. We wait until the individual makes the decision to be baptized.
We also baptize through immersion. Instead of pouring water onto the head of the person being baptized, we actually stand is a pool of water (a baptistry in our sanctuary), and we immerse the person being baptized in the water. Going under the water is a symbol of being buried with Christ in death, and being raised out of the water is a symbol of walking with Christ in a new life.
While we practice believer’s baptism through immersion at Commonwealth Baptist Church, we honor and accept all baptisms as being valid. People who have been baptized in other traditions and wish to become members of our church are not asked to be re-baptized.
Whereas baptism marks a person’s entry into the faith, communion reminds believers that the Christian journey is ongoing. It is the symbol of Christ’s continued presence in and with his followers.
At Commonwealth Baptist Church, we partake of Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, on the first Sunday of each month. We eat bread and drink juice (most Baptists stopped using wine during the Temperance Movement) to remember Jesus’ command from the Last Supper, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
You do not have to be a member of Commonwealth Baptist Church in order to receive communion in our church. The Lord’s Supper is open to all to who love Christ.