Pastoral Care

 

 

Baptism

Do contact your Zone Pastor for Baptism arrangement or call the Church Office.

Biblical Understanding of Water Baptism

From a Lutheran perspective.

 

Rom 14:1 Give a warm welcome to any brother who wants to join you, even though his faith is weak. Don't criticize him for having different ideas from yours about what is right and wrong. LB

 

WHAT IS WATER BAPTISM?

Some people believe that Baptism is merely an outward sign of an inward faith, or merely an act of obedience to Christ's command, or a way of joining a local church, giving us a sense of belonging. These are correct but the Bible has much, much more to say concerning baptism:

Acts 9:10-19 There was no public to witness the baptism of Paul; only Ananias was present.

Gal 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. NIV

 

God adopts us as His children when we believe in Christ and through baptism we are fully clothed and empowered in Christ.

 

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. NIV

Rom 6:3-4 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. NLT
 

Through baptism, we were buried and raised with Christ. We are totally identified with Christ, not merely symbolically, but factually!

 

1 Cor 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. NIV
 

Baptism empowers you to be identified with a local church and to be committed to it, having a sense of belonging. We are given the opportunity to develop our lives and spiritual gifts.

 

HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?

Some people believe that immersion is the only biblical method of baptism. There are logical reasons but the Bible clearly didn’t say that there is only one method of water baptism. To specify only one way is not only extra-biblical but also not practical. There are times; other methods have to be used, like when a person is in ICU.

God being the Most Wise, has chosen water, the most readily available element to be used in baptism. Immersion baptism although seeming more meaningful, is not very practical in all situations (due to location, climate, age or health).
 

Too much emphasis on the method may detour us from the main purpose of baptism as stated above.

 

The Greek word for baptism is used in different ways in the Bible:

Mark 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables (beds). KJV

Could the Pharisees immerse their beds or tables every time they slept or ate?

Surely not. It simply means they sprinkled the water over the table in a ceremonial manner.

Acts 2:41 Three thousand people were baptized in Jerusalem (a very small hill). Could all of them be baptized by immersion?

Jerusalem has no river nor lakes and it is in the midst of a desert.

Does the phrase "buried with Christ" support immersion? Col 2:12

Christ was buried side-ways on a hill, in a tomb. Not six feet underground. If one really wants to be symbolically meaningful, he needs to be baptized through a water fall!

The phrase does not refer to the method but to the meaning of baptism.
 

Faith, not the method of baptism, is important. It is not the quantity of H 2 O(water) but faith that saves!

 

SHOULD BABIES BE BAPTIZED?

Some people have reservations toward baptism for babies.

This actually keeps our children from the special grace that is released through baptism:

The Bible says forbid them not!

Matt 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." NKJV

 

1. Babies can have faith!

Who says babies cannot believe or come to respond to what Christ has for them?

Matt 18:6 But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. NKJV

Psa 22:9-10 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. 10 From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. NIV

Luke 1:41 At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. NLT
 

The psalmist started to believe God while he was still in the womb. John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb when Jesus drew near. Faith is more than just intellectual perception. It is primarily trust. Faith is a gift of grace. Parents today have learned that it is good to sing and speak to the fetus while it is in its mother's womb. They can respond in faith!

 

Some fear that children will take their faith for granted and there is no genuine faith.

What is needed is not to abolish child baptism but more proper teaching and prayer.

Baptize first and teach!

Matt 28:19,20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit .... 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. NIV

 

2. Children are in need of grace as much as you are!

Some think that children are not held accountable to God until the age of accountability. The term ‘age of accountability’ is never used in the Bible.

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.... NIV

Death spread to all men as a result of the sin of Adam. Young and old are also suffering from the consequence of sin.

Psa 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Since children are born in sin they are in need of God's grace as much as adults.
The manifestation of this sinful nature is seen almost immediately after birth. You don’t have to teach a child to misbehave. He does it naturally.


Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off … for all whom the Lord our God will call." NIV
 

The promises of the forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit are given to adults as well as children.

 

3. Your children are born into the covenantal family

Some prefer to give children the freedom of choice. But we are responsible to choose the right thing for them at this age.

When you adopt a mature child, you ask him to make a conscious declaration of his willingness to be adopted. But when you adopt a baby, do you ask him to make a declaration of faith in you? No, his very helplessness is an appeal for adoption.

We choose the best kindergarten and school for our children. In the same way we should choose to raise them up in the grace of the Lord. When they grow up, they still have the free choice to continue to believe or deny their faith.

But being born in the covenantal family and being baptized exposes them to the great grace that enables them to continue to believe.

Those who frequently engage in the deliverance ministry often find that baptism is a powerful weapon to rid a child of familiar spirits and generational curses.

Baptism fulfils the Old Testament seal of circumcision. In the OT, children were also circumcised.
 

If the Old Covenant included children, how much more the new, which is a more glorious covenant? It is also by no accident that children are born to Christian parents. It is a sign that God wants them included in the covenant. The Bible says to baptize them first and then teach!

 

Acts 16:30-33 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. NIV

The whole family was baptized, clearly including children as well.

 

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