I get this question a lot.
And clearly it has something to do with baptism, as you might guess.
We just welcomed our third son into the world and will not be baptizing him, reserving baptism for later in life. Instead we will have a Baby Dedication, where we acknowledge that our parenthood is a stewardship entrusted by God; one that He helps us carry out.
But why does Baptism matter so much?
First let me say that Christianity is about following the example and teaching of Christ more than it is about the religious trappings of ritual and ceremony. In the Bible we see Christian Baptism is a first step any believer can take after their personal choice to follow Jesus.
The Baptist, like many other Christians, makes a choice to live a changed life; committing to love, with the confidence that their sins are forgiven; and the first public step is to be obedient to Christ’s command to be baptized.
The committed follower of Jesus goes down into the water, symbolizing the end of old ways and comes up out of the water, symbolizing new life.
Repentance and resurrection!
Birth into the family of God.
This already happened spiritually
when the believer came to trust Christ
for forgiveness and life;
Among the Baptist fellowship that meets in Alva, the main goal is people coming to know the heart of God for humanity and discovering how we may follow Jesus Christ as the supreme example.
Jesus made it clear that the most important point is love;
love of God and an overflow of that love expressed toward people.
In the story recorded by the Apostle Matthew, Jesus had something to say to people that performed religious acts without faith in Him: “I never knew you; depart from Me”.
We can commit as family and community to train up a child in the way they should go, but a parent can’t choose for their child.
We each must choose to follow Jesus.
For the Baptist, Baptism is a first, deliberate step in following what Jesus taught. Baptism is punctuation!
'Baptist' has come to mean a lot of things (for better or worse)
but the distinct mark of a changed life, before and after,
with baptism as the symbolic epicentre, is why they take the name.