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Why Do We Baptize....

GordW

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One of the Sermon suggestions our Worship Committee received last summer was a series on Sacraments. This is actually morphing into a series called "practices of the Church" which will mainly be during Lent. But this week we have a precursor to that series, because it seems very natural to talk about Baptism on the Sunday of the Church year designated "Baptism of Christ" (and I ran out of Sundays in Lent to do all I had in mind).

And so my sermon title is "Why do we do this?"

I know we talked about the meaning of baptism a few times on WC1, not sure we have visited the topic on WC2, certainly not recently.

So why do we do that baptism thing?

If interested here are my (somewhat noncommittal) opening thoughts for the week:
Ministerial Mutterings: Looking Forward to January 13, 2018 -- Baptism of Christ Sunday
 

Mendalla

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I know we talked about the meaning of baptism a few times on WC1, not sure we have visited the topic on WC2, certainly not recently.
Actually, it comes up from time to time in other topics (do a search for "baptism" in the R&F forum) but you're right about not having a dedicated thread in a while.

I am curious about what baptism means for those who believe in unmerited Grace, especially universalism. I mean, if you believe one must "receive the Spirit" or "give oneself to Jesus" to be saved, then baptism becomes part of that, either facilitating or acknowledging that commitment. But what about those who believe God made the call long before we were even a twinkle in our Daddy's eye and are already saved if we are going to be saved?
 

Jae

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Why the United Church baptizes must be found in the Manual or some such other official place.

As to why my Baptist churches baptize, they do so as a symbol - an outward sign of an inner reality. The baptism is seen as a way for the believer to profess that they have decided for Christ. That they have allowed God to kill off their old, worldly self and to give them newness of life.
 

chansen

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Killing people off in shallow pools of water sounds inviting.
 

Jae

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Why the United Church baptizes must be found in the Manual or some such other official place.

As to why my Baptist churches baptize, they do so as a symbol - an outward sign of an inner reality. The baptism is seen as a way for the believer to profess that they have decided for Christ. That they have allowed God to kill off their old, worldly self and to give them newness of life.
Now me, I hold that baptism is necessary for salvation. "And so baptism of like form maketh us safe; not the putting away of the filths of flesh, but the asking of a good conscience in God, by the again-rising of our Lord Jesus Christ," - 1 Peter 3:21 (WYC).
 

revsdd

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Why the United Church baptizes must be found in the Manual or some such other official place.


From Article XVI of the 1925 Twenty Articles of Doctrine:

"Baptism with water into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is the sacrament by which are signified and sealed our union to Christ and participation in the blessings of the new covenant."

From the 2006 "A Song Of Faith":

"Baptism by water in the name of the Holy Trinity is the means by which we are received, at any age, into the covenanted community of the church. It is the ritual that signifies our rebirth in faith and cleansing by the power of God. Baptism signifies the nurturing, sustaining, and transforming power of God’s love and our grateful response to that grace."

 
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Seeler

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As a layperson, but with many years of experience in faith development, I sat at many meetings where we discussed practice of baptism. My opinion is that it is an important sacrament – an outward sign of an inward blessing. It shows a commitment between the parents of the child and the church of God.
In my opinion it should always be done in the presence of the congregation, preferably at a worship service. The parents make vows to raise the child as a Christian. The congregation make vows to for provided space for the child, and to accept the child as a welcome member among them.
It is a beautiful ritual full of meaning for those present. In my congregation is usually infant baptism, with the hope that the child will grow and develop their faith and choose to be confirmed.
But it could be at any age. With youth or adults who were not baptized as young children, it usually takes place at the time of confirmation.
 

Waterfall

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Just a few questions:
Did Jesus baptize others?
Does someone in an official position (,eg minister) always have to officiate at a baptism or could anyone do it?
Could someone be baptized without witnesses or even by God if they are alone?
 

Luce NDs

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Sacraments ... icons of the great vacancy ... or indication of traditions of what I don't know we hold dear to our core ...

Thus hei rho gamma ... the escaped dot 'r! Sometimes a dark one ...

Initially we learn: "see spot run ..." all in the swaush of the process ... it too goes on interminably ..
 

revsdd

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Just a few questions:
Did Jesus baptize others?
Jesus did not baptize with water. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus was baptized with water. That's what makes it normative for most (but not all) Christians. The Salvation Army, for example, does not baptize with water.

Waterfall said:
Does someone in an official position (,eg minister) always have to officiate at a baptism or could anyone do it?
As a sacrament of the church it is normally the responsibility of the person ordained or licensed to preside at sacraments. It is, however, generally accepted that in situations of "pastoral emergency" any baptized Christian can baptize others and the baptism is considered valid.

Waterfall said:
Could someone be baptized without witnesses or even by God if they are alone?
You have to specify what you mean by baptism. Water, Holy Spirit, or fire? Presumably God baptizes with the latter two and no witnesses are required. As for water baptism, I'm not sure what you mean by "without witnesses." In the United Church the norm is that water baptism is a public event that takes place during a normal service of public worship, and there is a role acknowledged for the congregation. Private baptisms happen in the case of "pastoral emergency" - so a baby or child is dying before being baptized. I've also baptized two unbaptized adults privately in their hospital beds over the years because they were dying.
 

Waterfall

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Jesus did not baptize with water. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus was baptized with water. That's what makes it normative for most (but not all) Christians. The Salvation Army, for example, does not baptize with water.


As a sacrament of the church it is normally the responsibility of the person ordained or licensed to preside at sacraments. It is, however, generally accepted that in situations of "pastoral emergency" any baptized Christian can baptize others and the baptism is considered valid.


You have to specify what you mean by baptism. Water, Holy Spirit, or fire? Presumably God baptizes with the latter two and no witnesses are required. As for water baptism, I'm not sure what you mean by "without witnesses." In the United Church the norm is that water baptism is a public event that takes place during a normal service of public worship, and there is a role acknowledged for the congregation. Private baptisms happen in the case of "pastoral emergency" - so a baby or child is dying before being baptized. I've also baptized two unbaptized adults privately in their hospital beds over the years because they were dying.
I was just wondering because Jesus has mentioned we should pray alone and not make a show out of it.....just wondered why baptism required others to witness it as the norm.
 

Jae

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Jesus did not baptize with water. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus was baptized with water. That's what makes it normative for most (but not all) Christians. The Salvation Army, for example, does not baptize with water.


As a sacrament of the church it is normally the responsibility of the person ordained or licensed to preside at sacraments. It is, however, generally accepted that in situations of "pastoral emergency" any baptized Christian can baptize others and the baptism is considered valid.


You have to specify what you mean by baptism. Water, Holy Spirit, or fire? Presumably God baptizes with the latter two and no witnesses are required. As for water baptism, I'm not sure what you mean by "without witnesses." In the United Church the norm is that water baptism is a public event that takes place during a normal service of public worship, and there is a role acknowledged for the congregation. Private baptisms happen in the case of "pastoral emergency" - so a baby or child is dying before being baptized. I've also baptized two unbaptized adults privately in their hospital beds over the years because they were dying.
In the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptists (FEBCC), baptism is an ordinance, not a sacrament. I've only ever seen pastors and youth pastors baptize. A baptism without witnesses would sound strange to the ears of Baptists who see baptism as being a public profession of faith.
 

Waterfall

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Also is the Holy Spirit always present for baptism by water?
 

Jae

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Interesting that two rather different Christians said such similar things. Though I wonder if the different final words have any significance, or are just different ways of saying the same thing.
Good observation Mendalla.

The quote you used from me, though, was from when I shared why my Baptist churches baptize. I have a different view than do my denominations.
 

Luce NDs

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Are ordinances like missals ... immagine the launching of crap like stories to ba