Baptism in the Presbyterian Church

The word baptize means to dip into or to immerse, therefore baptism is immersion. This term has been used by Christians for many years to denote a ritual of sprinkling some water on new believers. However, this word has a much deeper meaning and significance. The Service may begin with a hymn, or a verse from the Psalms, which can be either said or sung. The Pastor will then say “Let us pray” and then say a prayer After this follows a reading from the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John beginning at the 29th verse.

Once this has been said the Pastor will follow with a short address. The Pastor may ask the candidate to kneel before the water. Then the Pastor will then say “Let us pray” He will then Say the lords prayer followed by a testament to God concerning the baptism of the person. He will then ask the candidate “My brother/sister, are you willing to affirm your promises to God and to strive to fulfil His Will, as laid down by the Master Jesus Christ? ” The person will answer “I am willing and I earnestly desire so to do. ”

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The Pastor will then place his hand over the water in the font, and say a prayer blessing the water in the font. If the candidate is not already kneeling or standing in front of the water or font, the Pastor, taking the candidate by the right hand and placing him/her by the font, will sprinkle the persons head with the water, saying: “(Person’s name) I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. ” The Pastor will then make the sign of the cross with water on the persons head and say a blessing.

At this point the Pastor may ask the candidate to sit down. A Hymn will then be sung. Following this the Pastor will make a benediction, prayer and blessing. Baptism is intended to be a highly visible act of commitment; immersion is highly visible. It is dramatic and public. Immersion also more adequately expresses the meaning of baptism than doe’s effusion. What happens at conversion involves the full cleansing of sins. It involves a resolute and total leaving behind of the old life and a beginning of the new. It is in fact a burial of the old life and resurrection to a new life.

Baptism symbolizes our death to sin and our resurrection to a new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 2:20). Christ took the place of the sinner in bearing the penalty for sin. So complete is the believer’s identification which Jesus Christ that when Christ died on the cross and arose from the dead, the believer is pictured as having died and arisen with Him. Baptism symbolizes therefore, the cancellation of personal guilt through the absolute and complete removal of the penalty of sins through the blood of Christ.

Further than that it pictures the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ. By being lowered into the water the believer is testifying, “My sinful life, the old man, unrighteousness, the old sinful person that I was is buried with Christ. ” When a person is being raised from the water they are testifying, “I am now a new creation in Christ Jesus raised in newness of life to God and righteousness. ” In baptism, the believer testifies to that which Christ has done, and we declare our identity with Him in crucifixion and resurrection.

We bear witness to the fact that His righteousness becomes ours “through the faith of the operation of God. ” Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality, or a symbol of that which has already taken place in the life of the believer. A person becomes a Christian by putting their trust in Christ. In baptism, the person puts their trust in Christ and adopts his way of life, telling the world that they have become a follower of Christ. Baptist churches have adult “believer’s baptism”. The person has to make their own decision to commit their life to God.

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