the first step of obedience for a Christian

The Importance of Baptism

Baptism represents cleansing. When you become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you are cleansed by Christ. He died in your place on the cross, paying for your sins, fully forgiving you for all your wrongs. You have passed from death to life being cleansed from sin and guilt, and given the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live the life God designed for you to live.

Baptism is the outward picture of what happens to a Christian inwardly. Baptism represents an ending and a new beginning. Immersion especially dramatizes this. You are buried under the water – signifying the end of the old life before Christ – and raised up out of the water – signifying the beginning of the new life as a disciple.

Buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life.

What We Believe About Baptism

We believe that baptism is for those who have placed their faith in Jesus alone for salvation. (Acts 2:41)

We call this “believer’s baptism.” Baptism does not save anyone and it does not impart grace to those who receive it. It is, however, a sign of salvation and an act of obedience following salvation.


We baptize by immersion (Acts 8:36-39, Romans. 6:4)

We believe it to be the most biblical and clearest picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It also pictures the spiritual death and resurrection that occurs in a believer’s life when they become a Christian.


Baptism is required for membership at James River.

For a person to become a member of James River, Jesus must be their Savior and Lord, actively seeking to obey the Lord daily. Baptism is the first step of such obedience. James River accepts immersion Baptism from other like-minded churches. If you are interested in getting batized, we'd love to hear from you (use the form below).

Infant Baptism

At James River we do not baptize infants. We believe scripture teaches baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust Christ alone for salvation (Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48). The New Testament records baptisms of adult believers only. Jesus himself loved and welcomed children wanting parents to bring their children to Him; but Jesus never commanded us to baptize children before they have been saved. Rather than baptizing infants or children, we encourage Christian parents to dedicate their children.

Want to get baptized?


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