At Cornerstone, our members are those who have proclaimed faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, have professed this faith through baptism, and have entered into covenant relationship with those who make up Cornerstone for the purpose of declaring and displaying the gospel to each other and to the world.

frequently asked questions

What is baptism?

Baptism is a sacrament ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ.  In baptism two things are communicated. First, baptism signifies our union with Christ and our participation in all of his saving work (cleansing and forgiveness of sins, regeneration and new life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). Second, baptism signifies our initiation into the Christian life and consequently the community of God.

Our practice of baptism

At Cornerstone we regularly baptize two groups of people, believers and their children. Baptism is the sign and seal of the new covenant. It is a sign that points to the promises of God and his saving work that has been accomplished by Jesus. It is a seal of of God's grace in our lives that symbolizes the sealing of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. When an infant is baptized they receive the sign of the covenant and become members of the church, but it is not until they take hold of the promises by faith that the sign becomes the seal of righteousness. Believers who are baptized receive their baptism as a sign and seal at the same time. There is no difference in these baptisms, as some have suggested: "infant baptism vs. believers baptism" but they are the same covenantal sign and seal for all who receive them. 

The first group consists of the infants and children of members of Cornerstone. This practice is commonly referred to as ‘infant baptism’.  The second group consist of adults, youth, and children who profess and have demonstrated faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and desire to becomes members of Cornerstone.  This practice is commonly referred to as ‘believer’s Baptism’.  

Is there any biblical support for baptizing infants? 

In the New Testament, baptism replaces circumcision as the sign of the covenant.
  • Colossians 2:11-12 teaches that baptism is the full expression of circumcision. The covenant of circumcision required that the infant male be circumcised as a newborn infant (Genesis 17:12), and this covenant was to be an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:13). Physical circumcision is clearly no longer in effect (Galatians 6:11-18), but the covenant it represents is still in effect (Romans 2:29). The new outward sign of this “everlasting” covenant with believers and their children is baptism (Colossians 2:1112). Therefore, we believe it follows, then, that baptism is to be administered to the children of believing parents.
  •  Acts 2:38-39 describes baptism with virtually the same language and terms with which Genesis 17:9-14 describes circumcision. The promise connected with baptism in Acts 2:38-39 explicitly includes the children of believers, as did the promise connected with circumcision in Genesis 17:9-14. No mention of a required age or profession of faith is made with respect to such children.
  •  As circumcision was a requirement for the Old Testament household (Genesis 17:10, 12-13), so, we believe, was baptism for the New Testament household (Acts 16:15, 31-33; 1 Corinthians 1:16). Never once are children said to be excluded from a household baptism, except in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, who obviously had no children. There is no biblical command given for believers to cease the application of the covenant sign with their children. In the New Testament, believers’ children were regarded as members of the covenant community.
  • In Luke 18:15-17, Jesus said that God’s Kingdom belongs to little children (from the Greek brephe, which literally means “baby” or “infant”).
  •  In Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21 Paul addresses children (from the Greek tekna, meaning “child”) as believers in Christ. He speaks to them as he would any saint, regardless of age.
  •  In 1 Corinthians 7:14 Paul refers to the children (tekna) of believers as “holy” (meaning set apart for God). The word translated “holy” (hagia) is the exact same word used elsewhere by the apostles in reference to believers (translated “saints” – see Ephesians 1:1, for example). The New Testament assumption, then, is that children of believers should be regarded and treated as believers unless or until they prove themselves to be covenant breakers.
  •  In 2 Timothy 3:15, Timothy is said to have known the Scriptures from infancy (brephe).
  •  In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist is said to have been filled with the Spirit, “even from his mother’s womb”. The New Testament suggests nowhere that the sign of the covenant (previously circumcision, now baptism) is to be withheld from the children of believers until they make an informed profession of faith in Christ.

Is there any historical support for baptizing infants? 

It is a well-attested fact that household/infant baptism was the universal practice of the early church. No reputable biblical historian or scholar, whether Presbyterian or Baptist or otherwise, will dispute this fact. Irenaeus (a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John) speaks of infant baptism as a universal practice in the early church. Tertullian (end of 2nd century) acknowledged the universal practice of infant baptism. Origen (2nd and 3rd centuries) spoke of infant baptism as the common practice of the early church. These things being the case, were household (and consequently infant) baptism not the New Testament church practice, then the conclusion must be made that a full reversal of the early church’s practice occurred immediately following the death of the last apostle. Because there is neither biblical nor extra-biblical evidence indicating so much as a debate about this issue in the first or second centuries, such a reversal is extremely unlikely. We conclude this in large part because there is a wealth of documentation about virtually every other theological debate and/or alleged ‘heresy’ in the early church.

Are we saying that water baptism saves children? 

No.  Nor does baptism guarantee the salvation of older children or adults. In order to be saved, a child must possess his/her own personal faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.  When a child professes faith at some point after baptism, that is the time in which the baptism and all that it signifies takes full effect. Until that time, the child’s baptism is regarded as the sign of the child’s inclusion in the church community (and all its benefits, except the Lord’s Supper) by virtue.

What if I don't agree with Cornerstone's beliefs on baptism?

We encourage household baptism at Cornerstone for those who agree with our beliefs as a church, but we certainly do not require it of those who don’t. Parents who are not convinced of our position are fully embraced as members of our church community. This is an issue about which we are happy to disagree without it being any hindrance at all to full Christian fellowship. We work hard to make sure this ‘non-essential’ issue doesn't become an essential one.

Sacraments Class

In this two day class we will explore the Reformed doctrine of the sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In our time together we will seek to better understand why God has given his church these means of grace. Adults who haven’t been baptized and parents who would like to have their children baptized will be required to attend the sacraments class.
Our Sacraments class will be offered twice per year, fall and spring following the Discover Cornerstone membership class.

Adults that have not been baptized will be required to go through the sacraments class and will be baptized on the Membership Induction day.