New Hope United Methodist Church
BAPTISM

Baptism

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

Entrance into Christian life is acknowledged in baptism. During baptism, members of the church claim God’s promise of forgiveness and eternal life. As United Methodists, we believe in baptism at any age, infant through adult! If baptized as an infant, later we proclaim our beliefs in confirmation and are renewed for a life of service to God.

Baptism is not the occasion when God’s Spirit enters your life. God is with you from the beginning to the end of your life (and beyond). In the New Testament, Jesus himself is baptized and asks everyone to turn to God and be baptized as an expression of this repentance. Baptism means becoming Christ’s and signifies the intention to develop and grow as a follower of Christ.

Baptism is a sacrament — which means an outward sign of inward grace. The sign is the water and the grace is what God gives in the relationship between himself and the person who is baptized.

Baptism replaces the Old Testament idea of circumcision as a sign of the covenant relationship between God and his people. Since circumcision was principally an infant rite, it may be presumed that infant baptism was too.

Some people today say that baptism expresses personal commitment and must be reserved for adulthood. Others say that, because you cannot tell when a person’s consciousness or faith exactly begins, baptism should take place soon after birth. The New Testament supports both the baptism of adult believers and the baptism of infants from a believing family.

We hold clear beliefs regarding the sacramental nature of baptism as a means of grace. Baptism is most commonly administered (and encouraged) in infancy, and is the beginning of a holy covenant relationship between God, the parents, and the church, with clear promises made by each party. The child appropriates that covenant for him/herself at the age of accountability when that child is confirmed into the adult membership of the church.

In baptism, we are declaring that our infants are children of God’s covenant of grace, begun with Abraham. Like circumcision did not save, neither does baptism. Our baptized children will one day need to declare, profess, or recognize their personal faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. When that day comes, re–baptizing is not necessary. It is, instead, a time of celebration of the working of God’s grace in a person’s life, through parents, through the church, and through the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is to be baptized, including infants. If we say that babies are not to be included in Christ’s Great Commission, then where will it stop? What other people will we exclude? It is true that there is no example in Scripture of a baby being baptized. However, to conclude from this that babies are not to be baptized is absurd. Neither are there any specific examples of the elderly being baptized, or teenagers, or little children. Instead we read about men (Acts 2:41; 8:35) women (Acts 16:14–15), and entire households being baptized (Acts 10:24,47–48; 16:14–15; 16:30–33; 1 Co. 1:16). The authors of the New Testament documents didn't feel compelled to give examples of every age group or category being baptized. Why should they have? Certainly they understood that “all nations“ is all-inclusive.

While we also affirm adult baptism such administration of the sacrament must also be accepted and understood in its sacramental context, as a gift of grace by God in Christ to the church, not just as a faith expression of the one being baptized. To see it solely in the context of a faith statement reduces it, we believe, from an act of God to an act of the person, and thus negates its sacramental nature.

Following the orthodox biblical teaching of Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.“ We do not rebaptize anyone.

It is our practice, to recognize a baptism from all Christian traditions. Persons wishing to join our church must be baptized prior to being received, if they have not previously been baptized.

We baptize individuals in Sunday morning worship, so the Church family can embrace and promise to support you, and so they can be reminded of the grace of God in their own Baptisms. Most Sundays are available for Baptisms, although when we have Holy Communion, or on other special days we may not be able to have Baptisms. It is always our privilege to participate in this beautiful, powerful Sacrament with you!

Please click here if you want to be Baptized? Or if you would like to schedule a Baptism. Would you like to ask the pastor a question about Baptism?

WORSHIP


Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who will be in service to the needs of people in the
community of New Hope and beyond.
   Enter to worship – – Depart to serve.

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New Hope United Methodist Church     2098 New Hope Road | Hertford, NC 27944
This page was last updated Tuesday, July 1, 2014.