Do I need to be baptized to be a Christian?
You don’t need to be baptized to be saved, however a person should be baptized as an outward sign of the inward work of Christ in their hearts in obedience to the teachings of Christ. The New Testament teaches that a person is saved by faith in Christ. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Luke 23, the thief on the cross recognized who Jesus was, reached out to Him, and was promised salvation. That dying thief had no opportunity to be baptized. Yet, as stated, one should be baptized according to the teachings of Christ.
We are commanded to be baptized as a part of being a disciple. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28:19) Baptism is one of only two ordinances or rituals that Jesus commands us to observe for all time. The other is The Lord’s Table, or what is often called communion.
How do we baptize? Vineyard believes the best way to express the spiritual reality of God’s new life is to be baptized by immersion. We really die and rise with Christ. The meaning of the word "baptize" in Greek is to be immersed. This was also a common practice in the early church. We also follow "Trinitarian" Baptism as taught by Jesus in Matthew 28 (In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). For more on our view of Trinitarian baptism, see this writeup.
When do we baptize? Vineyard believes you should be baptized any time after you have personally trusted Christ for salvation and have been “born again”. Remember, you are not baptized to become a Christian. You are baptized because you are a Christian.
Can children be baptized? Absolutely, as long as they thoroughly understand what they are doing. Vineyard requests that you wait until your children are at least 8-10 years old so that they can make a thoughtful profession of faith that is their own.
Should I be re-baptized if I was baptized at another church? If you were born again when you were baptized, and as long as the other church was part of mainstream, orthodox Christianity, then you should not be re-baptized.
What if I was baptized as an infant? Among orthodox Christians, there are different perspectives on the way to baptize. Some denominations (such as Reformed, Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) baptize infants, while others (such as most Baptists) do not. If you were baptized as a baby, before you made your own personal confession of faith, then we would encourage you to consider being baptized again as an adult. At the same time, you certainly want to show respect to your parents and their viewpoint, as well as be grateful to God for any spiritual influence they had in your life. Our view of infant baptism is simply that it is more closely related to baby dedication.
We occasionally have people come to the Vineyard with very strong convictions about their infant baptism. Because we honor your convictions, re-baptism is not a requirement to become a member of the Vineyard. We do, however, want to know that you have a reasoned conviction for not being baptized as an adult.
Can I participate in the Vineyard without being baptized? You can participate in the Vineyard in many ways if you have not been baptized; however, you may not become a member without being baptized. Because we understand baptism to be our common entry point into the worldwide community of Christian faith, it is also our entry point for membership at Vineyard Freeland. If you would like to learn more about baptism, email us at email@example.com
Baptism is a subject that Christians don’t all agree about. We at Vineyard, like other Christians, have tried to be faithful to our understanding of the Bible when it comes to baptism. We do, however, view it as a secondary issue and therefore allow room for disagreement between sincere believers.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Why We Practice Trinitarian Baptism
Should I give financially to Vineyard Freeland?
One of the basic values that is confronted when we become followers of Christ concerns our view of generosity. When we come to the Bible, we see that God himself is a giver and he encourages us to give money, time, and our whole lives over and over again. At Vineyard, our members and leaders commit to a habit of regular and substantial giving.
Three Biblical Illustrations Regarding Giving:
1. Stewardship - A steward is someone who manages or administers the property or affairs of someone else as an agent. The message of the Old and New Testaments is that human beings act as stewards of God for all creation. For the Christian, achievement is not measured by how much one makes or how much one has. The measure of a Christian is how well possessions have been used in Jesus’ name and for what purpose.
2. First Fruits - The idea of first fruits challenges most of our current thoughts about giving. Giving is typically based on what we no longer need or what is unused after we have paid all the bills. The concept of first fruits is entirely different. Back in the Old Testament a person was to give the first fruits of their crop. Those first tomatoes of early summer always seem to be the best. We have waited for them and nurtured them during the slow warming of the spring. The Bible continually calls us to give the first of everything to God (Proverbs 3:9). God expects people to give from the very best they have. It means the money we give the church comes out of the paycheck first before obligations or savings are even considered.
3. Tithing - In an affluent society, we need some guidance for our thinking about giving. In Old Testament times the tithe was the king’s portion. After a king conquered and subjugated the people, the people would render to him a tithe (a tenth of the produce of their land). Because Israel was conquered by God’s love and care, Israel became obligated to render to the Lord a tithe. Tithes were used for several purposes: the maintenance and support for the priesthood (Numbers 18:21-24); tithes were paid to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29); and a sacred tithe was given that would be associated with a fellowship meal (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). In fact, when you calculate the Old Testament tithe requirements, the three tithes add up to about 28% of a person’s income. This was on top of taxes imposed by the government and for the temple. But the basic rule was that “a tithe of everything...belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30-33).
Should Our Giving Go To The Local Church?
In his wonderful book on finances titled A Biblical Theology of Material Possessions, Gene Getz writes, “Every true believer is part of the universal church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:11-16). However, when we study the New Testament, we cannot bypass the concept of the local church. In fact, approximately 95% of all the references to the ekklesia (Greek for “church”) are references to local, visible, and organized expressions of the universal church. Luke’s historical record in the book of Acts is an account of founding local churches.”
“We cannot bypass the concept of the local church when it comes to determining how Christians should use their material possessions. The principle becomes especially relevant as we attempt to practice the principle of accountability.
The New Testament message regarding the local church is that it is the local church and not another organization that is chiefly designed by God to be the agent of the kingdom of God in this world. Only the local church crosses generational lines, ministering not only to students, but to grandparents, babies, singles and marrieds. Only the local church carries on all of the functions of kingdom living including the worship of God, the teaching of God’s Word, ministry to the poor, prayer for the sick, the burial of deceased loved ones, world missions, etc. Only the local church functions according to biblical patterns of church government. The local church alone is entrusted with the two biblical ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Table.
In sum, the local church is the chief focal point of God’s plan for the ages (Ephesians 3) and ought to be your focal point for giving. Vineyard Freeland, in no way, discourages people from giving to para-church organizations, to friends on the mission field or to individual’s carrying on evangelistic work. In fact, many members of Vineyard Freeland give substantially to para-church organizations and to leaders outside the local church. But we believe that such giving ought to be above and beyond our substantial financial commitment to the local church, since the local church is God’s chief agent for bringing the kingdom of God into this world.
How to Give: Gifts can be made online, in-person, or by mail. For instructions, visit our giving page.
If you have questions, contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org
Vineyard Freeland is in the process of obtaining our 5013c Non-Profit licensing. In the mean time, our finances are managed by our sending Church, New Life Vineyard of Midland, Michigan.
What is the Vineyard's position on LGBTQ+?
The Vineyard holds a traditionally orthodox ethic and theology regarding marriage, sexuality, and gender. While this is a non-negotiable here at Vineyard Freeland, all people are welcome to attend our services, are treated with the love and respect that Christ showed the world, and yet all people will experience a gospel challenge.
While Vineyard Freeland is not considered ‘open and affirming’, we do make every effort to be ‘welcoming’. Our prayer is for Vineyard Freeland to be a community where everyone has a space for exploring the Christian faith and learning what it means to become Jesus-shaped. By Jesus-shaped, we mean that it is our goal to be shaped to be like Jesus rather than shaping a Jesus that we like. We don't get to invent our own version of Jesus - we surrender to the Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). The gospel empowers us to become increasingly more like the real Jesus and live according to the Word that he inspired. We believe, regardless of one's culture or personal leanings, that God is at work in the lives of his people in order to help them to both desire and behave according to his good purposes (Phil 2:13) which, in terms of sexuality, means either entering a covenant of marriage between one man and one woman or living a life of celibacy. Vineyard churches (including Vineyard Freeland) hold the traditional theology and practice regarding marriage (our pastors do not officiate at same-sex weddings) and our leadership (including lay leaders) commit to practicing a traditional male-female (married) sexual ethic.
Our convictions will lead to uncomfortable tensions for some, though we believe these tensions are inherent to the the call to become Jesus-shaped. Our position means that someone who is fully open and affirming of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle will feel tension at Vineyard Freeland as they are exposed to the in-breaking rule of Christ in our midst, especially as they are drawn to leadership roles. Yet, regardless of one's views, all people should be loved and respected.
What is the Vineyard's stance on women in leadership?
In response to the message of the kingdom, the Vineyard Movement encourages, trains, and empowers women in all areas of leadership.
You can find the Vineyard’s full position paper on this subject at: vineyardusa.org/library/one-in-christ-men-women-together-in-ministry/ .
Is Vineyard Freeland political?
People today are choosing churches based on ideological and social issues rather than theological ones. The major disagreements among Christians are not around theological questions such as the nature of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the modes of baptism, whether a Christian is “once saved, always saved”, or how we interpret the end times. Christians are divided along the social fault lines of abortion, gay marriage, immigration, women’s rights, race, and politics. As our country has become increasingly divided along partisan lines, so too have churches. Over the past few years, people have increasingly chosen to leave churches where there are political differences to find churches where there is uniformity. We believe this will have lasting negative consequences both for Christian discipleship and for national unity.
The Gospel is not only concerned about the “afterlife” but has implications for “all of life”. While Jesus taught us that his kingdom is not of this world, he also taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus’ kingdom—his reign and rule—is meant to impact every aspect of our lives, from our personal engagements to our public engagement. If Jesus came to bring only a spiritual Gospel, then the political authorities would have had no need to kill him. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is political.
While the Gospel has political implications, we are not partisan. Jesus is not a Democrat or a Republican. Our convictions have nothing to do with being a progressive or a conservative church, but everything to do with taking the Bible seriously. For example, Vineyard Freeland, we hold to a consistent ethic of life - we oppose the injustice of abortion. But we don’t stop there. We believe that a consistent ethic of life demands that we care for mothers in crisis pregnancies and advocate for parent-friendly policies. We believe that companies should treat their employees with dignity and fairness. We help the poor and the vulnerable from 'womb to tomb'. Thus, we are not defined by a Republican or Democrat platform - we are defined by the call to serve as ambassadors for Christ in this present age.
It is our desire to shape the inclinations of peoples’ hearts and minds by a vision of Jesus’ kingdom that transcends our partisan politics.
Why does Vineyard Freeland recieve communion every Sunday?
The simple answer is that weekly communion has been the practice of the Church since the first century. The drift away from weekly communion is a recent innovation. We believe that the table of our Lord Jesus is a place of grace and welcome. We invite all who desire to follow Jesus to partake in the bread and the cup. This is a practice known as 'open communion' as we do not require church membership to participate. We believe that the table of our Lord is a place of grace, repentance, and faith.