The Christian Ordinances of Community Bible Church

Christian “ordinances” are specific practices commanded by Christ to be conducted within the church. We believe Christ established two ordinances—baptism and the Lord’s Supper. While both are to be carried out in obedience to Christ, neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper are in any way essential for salvation, which is solely “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9). A summary of our beliefs and practices concerning these ordinances is as follows:

Baptism (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:1-11)

Purpose

All believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit at the moment they place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (I Cor. 12:13). As a public testimony of their identification with Christ, believers are commanded to be baptized in water. Water baptism is an outward expression of their internal faith. It is not, however, a means of attaining or completing salvation.

Participants

The examples in Scripture indicate that faith in Christ should precede water baptism (e.g. Acts 2:41; 8:26-39; 9:18). Therefore, only people who have truly placed their faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized. This can include both children and adults, but would not include infants or very young children who are not yet capable of understanding the truths regarding salvation. For this reason, we do not baptize infants. However, we do conduct “dedication” ceremonies in which parents commit themselves to raising their children according to God’s standards.

Pattern

The Biblical pattern for baptism is full immersion in water. That is the pattern we seek to follow. However, we recognize that there can be circumstances which make full immersion unfeasible (e.g. people with certain physical limitations, elderly people, or terminally ill people). In such cases, we believe an alternative method such as the sprinkling or pouring of water is acceptable. The primary issue in baptism is the condition of the person’s heart, not the method of the baptism itself.

Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26-30; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-29)

Purpose

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial, reminding us of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. It was there that His body (symbolized by the bread) was broken, and His blood (symbolized by the drink) was shed. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are proclaiming Christ’s death on our behalf (I Cor. 11:26).

Participants

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial celebration for all who have truly placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we invite all believers, whatever their age or denominational background, to participate in this important observance.

Pattern

Concerning the frequency and method for the Lord’s Supper, we believe there is freedom for each local church body to celebrate it as they choose. We normally celebrate the Lord’s Supper approximately four times throughout the year. The bread and drink are generally passed to the entire congregation in the pews. At times, however, the frequency and method will vary.