– Baptism

Baptism

If you have come to faith in Christ and have not been baptised (even as a child)  please  phone and make an appointment to see one of the ministers. If you have surrendered your life to Christ and are involved in the life of the Church and  you wish to have your baby baptised, please phone Dawn at the  church office and ask about the Baptism Preparation course.

BAPTISM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

When the disciples began moving out from Jerusalem, preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ (that He is the Lord of life; the Son of God; that He reveals God to be one who loves us; that we can call Him Father; that we need no longer fear death and evil because He has overcome them; that He is our Saviour; He forgives us and helps us to cope with evil and death; that we only have to trust and follow Him; that He guides us by His Spirit – see Ephesians 1 and Acts 2) many people believed and became His followers.  They became
members of the growing group who became known as the Church.  They became members by renouncing their old way of life (separated from God = sin,) by confessing that they now committed themselves to following Jesus, seeking to do His will for them and living as He had taught men.  They signified the fact that they were going, with God’s help, to die out on the old way of living and live the new life in Christ by being baptised according to Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 28:19-20).  They went down into the water to symbolise dying and being buried with Christ, they came up out of the water to symbolise being “born again” into new life.  (Romans 6).

INFANT BAPTISM

The first people to hear the disciples preaching the Good News were adults, they could make confession and they could undergo the  symbolic immersion.  Very soon the Christians who had been baptised, whose households became Christian households, began to ask why their children could not be initiated into the faith by being baptised.  The children were too young to confess their faith in words, or to make promises about trying to be followers, but they could respond to Christian love in the Church community, and they would respond to the teachings of Jesus if they grew up in a household where these were practised.  (Acts 16:19-34).

The Church agreed that they could be baptised provided that the parents fulfilled a solemn promise, to bring them up in the faith and in the Church.  (Later on in the Church’s history whole nations were baptised without much concern for meaningfulness and understanding on the part of the persons baptised. This has carried over to the present in that many parents find that having their children ‘done’ is a social necessity even when they have little idea of the meaning of Church membership and Christian commitment.  On the other  hand, there are some denominations who, reacting to this abuse, looked at the New Testament and because no infant baptisms are specifically recorded there, they only practice adult believers baptism).

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