Is baptism required for membership at TCM Baptist Church?
Yes. In Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus commands that all believers are to be baptised. It follows that to disregard this command displays a lack of submission to Christ. As we look at the New Testament, we see that baptism is closely connected with membership. Since they go together, only baptised believers are eligible to become members at TCM Baptist Church.
Does TCM Baptist Church affirm Christians as members who have not been baptised as a believer (including Christians who were only baptised as infants)?
We do not affirm Christians as members who have not been baptised as believers. We are aware that some Christians view their infant baptism as biblical baptism. However, we are convinced by the testimony of Scripture that baptism is to occur after one has made a confession of faith that Jesus Christ is Lord, thus excluding infant baptism. Therefore, we would ask the Christian who is seeking to join with us in membership to consider undergoing biblical baptism—not to be re-baptised—as an expression of submission to Christ and the leaders of TCM.
Does TCM Baptist Church affirm Christians as members who have not been baptised as believers by immersion (i.e. pouring or sprinkling)?
The word translated “baptise” means to immerse. Because Scripture includes no examples of baptism by any other mode, we do not accept any Christians as members who have not been immersed in water. The only exceptions to this are in cases where a believer is (or was) physically unable to be immersed in water. Beyond this exception, we are sympathetic with those who were “baptised” with water in another form by another local church that did not practice baptism by immersion. However, we urge such believers who desire to become members to be baptised by immersion for various reasons:
- As a church, we believe baptism by immersion is biblical and exclusively practice baptism by immersion.
- We believe it is good for every member of the church to be united together in a clear identification with Christ in his death and his life—an identification which is most clearly illustrated in baptism by immersion.
- As we participate together in the Great Commission, making disciples who will be baptised by immersion, we believe it is beneficial for members of the church to have modelled such baptism in their own lives.
In light of these reasons, we desire all potential members of TCM who have not been immersed to do so in obedience to the Scriptures and to display the gospel in this way.
Does TCM Baptist Church affirm Christians as members who have not been baptised in a local church (i.e. those who were baptised either on their own with another person, in a small group, or through a para-church organisation)?
We believe baptism is one of two ordinances given by Jesus to be administered in the local church by biblically qualified pastors and elders. Because of this, we are hesitant to recognise an individual for membership if their baptism does not fall within the above parameters. However, the elders are willing to consider a potential member’s situation on a case-by-case basis.
Does TCM Baptist Church baptise Christians who are not becoming members at TCM (i.e. those who desire to be baptised but for differing reasons are not able to commit to membership at TCM)?
As stated above, we believe the New Testament clearly links baptism and membership. Because of this, we are hesitant to baptise an individual who openly does not desire to commit to membership at TCM. We would recommend seeking baptism at the church to which one will become a member. In the case that there are no biblical churches within a reasonable distance, TCM is willing to baptise and affirm membership until the person is able to move closer to a church or join a church as soon as one is started nearby. Since we consider baptism a part of membership, we don’t see how we can effectively shepherd people who are not regularly part of the body. Also, it is difficult to see how a Christian could fulfill the commitments of membership when absent from TCM.
Does TCM Baptist Church recommend and/or establish a particular age for children to be baptised?
In most cases, we strongly encourage parents and children to wait until the child is at least thirteen years old, so the child has begun to experience what it means to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and what it means to be united in membership with other believers, which requires selfless service to others. While we do not want to discourage a regenerate child from baptism, we also want to exercise careful discernment to avoid deception and false assurance in a child’s life by baptising before he or she is biblically regenerate and understands the gospel, believer’s baptism, and the commitments of church membership. Therefore, as with anyone seeking to be baptised, our elders work deliberately with parents to ensure a child (before being baptised) 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 baptised until his or her parents (if they are believers), the child’s leaders, and elders together agree that the child is ready to be baptised.
Can an unbaptised believer participate in the Lord’s Supper at TCM Baptist Church?
All believers who are following Christ in repentance and faith, and are walking in obedience to Christ, are welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper at TCM. Before the bread and the cup are shared in the Lord’s Supper, we are to examine ourselves, prayerfully confess known sin, and repent in obedience to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because baptism is command to be obeyed, we continually exhort every believer who has not yet been baptised to pursue baptism as soon as prudent or possible at TCM, or the church the visiting believer regularly attends.
Who is permitted to baptise believers at TCM Baptist Church?
As we believe baptism is one of two ordinances given by Jesus to the church, to be administered in the church, we believe that pastors and elders who oversee the local church are to administer this ordinance and baptise believers. Consequently, the pattern we follow is that pastors and elders of TCM baptise believers. We welcome a deacon, a leader, or a father to assist with the baptism if desired and deemed appropriate by the elders.