We practice the Christian ordinance of baptism for those who have repented of their sin and have believed upon Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. We baptize by immersion in water, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We do not believe that baptism is salvific in any way, but it is an act of obedience to the commands of Christ and publicly displays one’s commitment and identification with Christ and His Church. This identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection represents the believer’s death to sin, burial of the old life, and resurrection to a new and holy life in Christ.
In baptism, the church testifies and affirms the faith and repentance expressed by the new believer and also commits to encourage, exhort, and assist the believer in their new life in Christ. God also uses baptism to remind believers of His grace and call them to faithful obedience.
FAQ's [Click on each question for the answer.]
Is baptism required for membership at Saco Bay Community Church?
Yes. Jesus commands all of His followers to be baptized (Mt. 28:18-20) and to disobey this command displays a lack of submission to Christ and His church. In addition, baptism is closely connected with membership in the New Testament, and we seek to follow that pattern. Both go together, so only baptized believers are eligible to become members at Saco Bay Community Church.
Does Saco Bay Community Church affirm as members brothers or sisters who have not been baptized as a believer (including those who have only been baptized as infants)?
Saco Bay Community Church does not affirm as members brothers or sisters in Christ who have not been baptized as believers. We understand that many brothers and sisters view their infant baptism as biblical baptism. However, we are convinced by the testimony of Scripture that baptism is to occur after one has been brought by divine grace to repent of their sins and believe upon Jesus as Lord (Jn. 3:3; Acts 2:41; 8:12; 8:38; 10:44-45; 18:8). Thus, we do not consider infant baptism to be biblical baptism.
Does Saco Bay Community Church 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)?
Biblically, baptism is by immersion. Because Scripture includes no examples of baptism by any other mode, we do not accept as members brothers or sisters who have not been baptized (i.e., immersed in water). The only exceptions to this is in cases where a believer is (or was) physically unable to be immersed in water.
Does Saco Bay Community Church baptize brothers and sisters who are not becoming members of Saco Bay (i.e., those who desire to be baptized but for differing reasons cannot commit to membership at SBCC)?
As noted above, we believe the New Testament always links baptism and membership. Because of this, we are hesitant to baptize any individual who openly does not desire to commit himself or herself to membership. In unique circumstances, we would baptize an individual if they are unable to join Saco Bay Community Church, but are soon to commit themselves to membership at another biblical church.
Does Saco Bay Community Church 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. Because of this, we are hesitant to recognize an individual for membership if their baptism does not fall within the above parameters. However, we would make an evaluation on a case-by-case basis.
Does Saco Bay Community Church recommend and/or establish a particular age for children to be baptized?
Saco Bay Community Church 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 careful 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 the elders together agree that the child is ready to be baptized. Then, upon a child’s baptism, the members of Saco Bay Community Church, 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.