Baptism: What We Believe
What is Christian Baptism?
Baptism signifies the following crucial New Testament principles: Union with Christ, Forgiveness of Sins, and The Gift of the Holy Spirit. Both Baptism and the Eucharist are sacraments of grace, that is, sacraments of divine initiative, not of human activity. In the New Testament, the candidate never baptizes themselves, but always submits to being baptized by another. In their baptism, they are a passive recipient of something that is done to them. A sacrament is a sign not of what we do or are, but of what God has done, or does.
Why should I consider baptism?
We uphold the sacraments of Baptism and The Lord’s Supper (or Eucharist) as the two ordinances that Jesus instituted during his time here. As Christians are a part of the covenant community and Christ’s body, the Church, we view these sacraments as being integral to your life. Baptism is connected with your entrance into this beautiful community, and the Eucharist is a celebration of the ongoing renewal of your covenant with Christ and His Church. It fills us with such joy each time we recite the welcoming liturgy during a Baptism service – “We receive you into the congregation of Christ’s flock..”!
Why do Anglicans baptize infants?
The Covenant view of baptism is founded upon God’s covenant of grace and regards baptism as essentially the God-appointed sign that sealsthe blessings of the covenant to the individual Christian believer. This covenant is not truly a “new” covenant – it is simply a fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. To quote John Calvin, “the covenant is the same, the reason for confirming it is the same. Only the mode of confirming is different; for to them it was confirmed by circumcision, which among us is succeeded by baptism.” That is, baptism has replaced circumcision as the Covenant sign.
To the infants of believing parents, the covenant sign of baptism is administered because they are born into the covenant, but it signifies and seals to them graces which they still need to receive later by faith. This is the case also with adults who are baptized in unbelief and later believe. We do not re-baptize them. We may engage them in a renewal of their baptism just as we would engage a married couple on a renewal of their vows.
To learn more about baptism, what the Scriptures teach about baptism, what we believe as Anglicans, or if you are interested in being baptized or baptizing your child – even if you’re not sure yet – contact Fr. Benjamin Wall.