As a Baptist church, you’d expect us to be enthusiastic about baptism – and we certainly are! In the days before freedom of worship was permitted in Hampshire and beyond, Baptists were known as “Dippers”. They held their baptism services outdoors at Hatchett Pond, near Beaulieu (you can dip into our history section for more on LBC’s origin story). But of course, just like those believers 300 years ago, we baptise people today because the Bible asks us to. Jesus was Himself baptised by John (the Baptist), and baptism was one of Jesus’ key commands to the disciples:
Baptism is a very special moment on the journey of faith. It’s a moment when someone who has put their trust in Jesus has the opportunity to display to others the change of heart that God has brought about inside them. Some people have described this moment as “an outward, physical sign of an inward spiritual reality”. Or, more simply, as “a visible picture of an invisible gift.”
Baptisms at LBC take place during our regular Sunday services. We have a pool in the main church building (unlike the one at Hatchett Pond, it’s temperature-controlled), which we use several times a year. People who are being baptised enter the pool and are momentarily immersed under the water. This signifies the ‘death’ of their old life and the fact that they are being born again to a new life in Jesus Christ; as the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 6:4, “we were therefore buried with [Jesus] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” In doing this, baptised believers are declaring – publically – that they are no longer choosing to go their own way. They are instead choosing to follow Jesus by listening to Him and obeying Him. They are also letting everyone know that they have been washed clean, or forgiven, and have a fresh start at living well.
Our times of baptism are always very special, and those being baptised often invite their friends and family to come along and witness this act of obedience to Jesus.