Approved on September 14, 2010
I – Definition
1) Baptism is a worship ceremony created and commanded by the Lord Jesus for His Church.
2) It proclaims, through the physical sign of water, the divine promise of forgiveness through the good news of Jesus Christ and admission into the visible church.
3) The Old Testament ceremony of circumcision foreshadows the covenant relationship found in baptism.
II – Description
1) Baptism, when coupled with the Word (i.e. the verbal proclamation of the Gospel), represents . . .
a) Through the sign of water, the promise of the Gospel and the benefits of belonging to the new covenant in Christ.
b) Being buried with Christ and the promise of the washing away of our sins in Christ.
c) The authority and guarantee of God’s promises.
d) The admission of the baptisand into the visible universal church.
2) By partaking in Christian baptism, by faith alone, Christians . . .
a) Are reminded of what Christ has done for them and are strengthened in their faith.
b) Publicly proclaim, and submit to Christ as their Lord, Savior and God.
3) For those who believe in infant baptism, these benefits are also applied to their children, since God promises good to those who trust in Him and their children.
4) Baptism is not . . .
a) Magical. Any benefit given from being baptized is received by grace alone.
b) Required for salvation, though it is a sin to neglect it.
5) The act of water baptism by itself offers no certainty of salvation, though it points to the certainty of the promises we have in Christ through faith alone.
III – Administration
1) The outward element to be used in all baptisms is water in the name of the Triune God.
2) Since this church is a federation of Congregationalist and Baptist traditions, both infant and profession of faith baptisms are permitted.
3) Baptism is to be given only once in a Christian’s life.
a) All those who have been baptized with water in the name of the Triune God have received Christian baptism.
b) Those who come to Baptistic convictions, and who have previously received infant baptism, may request to be baptized, since they believe they have never truly received baptism.
i) The pastor(s) of the church, however, has freedom of conscience not to personally perform this baptism if he believes it is in fact re-baptism. In such case the Diaconate will find someone else to perform that baptism.
ii) Likewise a pastor of Baptistic convictions is not required to baptize infants. In such case the Diaconate will find someone else to perform that baptism.
4) Though there are standards for baptism in the New Testament, there is also a liberality as befitting the Gospel.
a) Before granting baptism under normal circumstances this church asks for the following from the one being baptized or a parent or guardian:
i) Meet with the pastor to discuss the meaning of baptism, give testimony acknowledging his sin and repentance, thereof proclaim faith in Christ and His Gospel, and make a commitment to the local church.
ii) Commit to the local church as witnessed by being active in the worship life of this church for at least 2 months.
b) The pastor(s) can perform emergency baptisms upon his (their) discretion.
5) Sponsors are not required.
6) Normally, all baptisms will be done during a public worship service on the Lord’s Day by the pastor, or someone appointed by the deacons.
7) The mode of water baptism (sprinkling or immersion) is up to the conscience of the individual being baptized or parent/guardian and the pastor.