Unchurch’s core beliefs describe our theological positions on key aspects of faith. Centered in Jesus and His message, ours is a biblical theology rather than a theology that is speculative, subjective, or merely rooted in tradition. These beliefs are derived directly from Scripture (both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible).
Baptism & Communion
Unchurch observes two biblical sacraments rooted in the actions and teachings of Jesus: Baptism and Communion. These sacraments represent both the individual, inward commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus and the corporate, outward sign of being connected to a local community of Jesus followers—the local church.
Adequate Knowledge, Forethought, and reflection
If the purpose of Baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, you may well be asking yourself, “What was the significance of my Baptism as a baby?” In the New Testament, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told His disciples to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation.
If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
While recognizing the right for other churches to practice infant Baptism if it conforms to their theology, Unchurch understands Scripture to teach that only professing believers qualify for Baptism.
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, fulfilled by individuals who have submitted themselves to His sovereignty.
- Baptism symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and the newness of life believers experience by virtue of their identification with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith before the church.
Although the old covenant practice of infant circumcision is sometimes given as a rationale for infant Baptism, the biblical definition of the functions of circumcision and Baptism shows that those two institutions fulfilled different purposes in their respective covenants. The equation is never made in the Bible between the circumcision of male infants in the old covenant, and the Baptism of born-again believers, much less of infants, in the new covenant. However, Unchurch encourages Jesus following parents to present their children for the ceremony of dedication, whereby God’s blessing is formally invoked upon the children, and the parents publicly commit themselves to raise the children in accordance with the teachings of Scripture.
Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought, and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment they may not fully understand, a minimum age of 7-8 years has been established.
Baptism recognizes and celebrates the redemptive life change that is continually occurring within our church. Unchurch encourages new believers and believers who have not yet participated in adult Baptism to be baptized by immersion. The Pastors’ position is that Baptism by immersion paints the truest picture of dying to sin and arising to Christ and new life.
The Biblical Foundation For Baptism
Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on Baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism does not provide salvation for an individual, but rather serves to identify the individual publicly as a follower of Jesus. In passages such as Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48, the act of Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust in Jesus alone for salvation. The New Testament records the Baptisms of adult believers only. In Romans 6:1–11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ’s death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.
Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus that follows an individual’s acceptance of salvation by God’s grace alone.Baptism isn’t a prerequisite for salvation; however, if an inner commitment to trust Jesus alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of that commitment—Baptism—should follow, as is modeled throughout the New Testament in the lives of those choosing to follow Jesus.
When Can I Be Baptized?
Baptisms take place quarterly at Unchurch. Check online or in announcement slides and brochures to see when the next Baptism is scheduled.
The Biblical Foundation For Communion
Jesus’ Last Supper, the Passover meal He shared with His disciples on the night before He was crucified, is the biblical foundation for the Communion meal celebrated in His honor by Christians all over the world today. With His twelve friends gathered around Him for the traditional Jewish Passover meal, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19–20).
Who Can Take Communion?
Communion is “the believer’s meal,” a sacrament intended for Jesus’ followers, by which they acknowledge and remember His work on the cross—the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf for the forgiveness of the sins of humankind.
- Unchurch extends an “open” Communion table, meaning the invitation to receive Communion during a service is open to any follower of Jesus, regardless of membership, denominational affiliation, or spiritual tradition.
- Those investigating Christianity who have not yet made a commitment of faith through Jesus are encouraged to simply let the Communion plate pass by, using that portion of the service to pray and invite God’s activity into their investigation of faith.
When Is Communion Celebrated?
Communion is celebrated during select weekend services at each Unchurch throughout the year, usually every other month.
UnChurch Practices Baby Dedication instead of Infant Baptism….
A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents, and sometimes entire families, make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s Ways.
Responsibilities Involved in Baby Dedication
Christian parents who dedicate a child are making a promise to the Lord to do everything within their power to raise the child in a godly way, prayerfully until he or she can make a decision on his or her own to follow god. Parents who make this vow of commitment are instructed to raise the child in the ways of God, and not according to their own ways. Some of the responsibilities include teaching and training the child in God’s Word, demonstrating an example of godliness, disciplining according to God’s ways and praying earnestly for the child.
An Example of Baby Dedication in Scripture
And she (Hannah) made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give hi to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be sued on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:11 (NIV)
When god answered Hannah’s prayer by giving her a son, she remembered her vow:
“As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood her beside you praying to the LORD, I prayed for this child, and he LORD has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life, he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshipped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:26-28 (NIV)
What about Infant Baptism?
In the Bible, we find parents bringing children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them. But he did not baptize them and he did not tell anyone to baptize them.
Baptism is public profession of salvation (as the Bible teaches), and only people who have intentionally received salvation should experience baptism. This is why we do adult water baptism at Life Church.