We recognize that some people that wish to join TIF come from traditions that do not practice baptism by immersion. While TIF does practice and encourage believers baptism by full immersion, the Bible commands us to first follow Christ in obedience – not the church.
At TIF, we believe the scripture teaches this: a person follows Christ in faith, responds in obedience, is baptized by immersion and continues in faithful service. We ask all of our members to respect and affirm this as the position for new believers who wish to join TIF. However, at the same time differing ideas about the mode of baptism will not become a point of contention between members at TIF.
If you have placed your faith and trust in Christ and been baptized previously we request that as part of the membership process you share your baptism story with our elders. Having experienced a differing mode of baptism does not exclude you from becoming a member of TIF.
Therefore, as long as you do not believe that infant baptism regenerates a person or guarantees that a child will receive saving grace at a later date, the elders of TIF recognize that the mode of your baptism is not a central or weighty enough departure from what we believe the Bible teaches to exclude you from membership. As long as you meet all other relevant qualifications and you are persuaded from Bible study and a clear conscience that your baptism is valid, we welcome you to consider membership at TIF. In such a case, we would not require you to be re-baptized by immersion as a believer in order to welcome you into membership, but we will teach and practice believer’s baptism by immersion in the church, and we will pray that you will have a change of mind that would lead you to eventually want such a baptism. However, we do not believe that members who were baptized differently are any less members, or that they are in sin. Rather, we think this is a testimony of how believers can unite under the priority of making disciples in spite of minor differences in perspective.
While not taking these differences lightly, we would not elevate them to the level of what is essential. Therefore, we will welcome into membership candidates who retain a conviction that it would be a violation of their conscience to be baptized by immersion as believers. This conviction of conscience must be based on a plausible, intelligible, Scripturally-based argument rather than on mere adherence to a tradition or family expectations. The elders will make all such judgments in presenting candidates for membership to the congregation. All candidates for membership, even when holding firmly to views different from the official position of the elders, must demonstrate a humble and teachable disposition with respect to the church leadership, as expressed in the Church Covenant.
We will not admit into membership persons who refuse to practice any form of baptism at all, or who believe that their water baptism caused their regeneration (salvation). The former is a serious rejection of the Lord’s commandment, and the latter is a serious misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit.