"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" - Matthew 28:19
If you or your close family member or friend are not baptized yet and are asking this question be thankful! You are asking a great question and are taking a giant step in the right direction. Baptism is an immensely important part of our lives as the Bible makes abundantly clear:
"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 3:21)
We wish to be a part of this with you, not just to see you baptized, but to further see the Holy Spirit grow you in faith every day thereafter.
Baptism at Grace starts with one simple step: talk to our pastor. We wish to personalize our ministry to you and your family and the best way to do this is for us to ensure we have a chance to know you. Typically, we would like to have a face-to-face meeting with every family and candidate to be baptized, especially if you are very new to the congregation. This provides us an opportunity to meet you, to talk about baptism, as well to plan a Sunday morning to do it.
No. For infants we understand baptism to be of such importance that we want to work with you to see this done as soon as possible. After an infant's baptism we desire to continue to work with you, so your infant's faith continues to grow after baptism.
For adults, we also understand baptism to be of great importance but the Bible demonstrates that instruction should precede baptism for those who are able. Thus, we desire to work with adults in our Adult Information Class first before leading up to baptism. After attending this class and being baptized with us, you are free to become a member of our congregation.
"Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God's command and combined with God's word. Which is that word of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.' [Matt. 28:19] (From Luther's Small Catechism)"
Baptism is a sacrament. That is, it is a sacred act, instituted by God Himself, that gives forgiveness of sins. It isn't an invention of the church, past or present. It isn't an empty ritual, a rite of passage, just a "christening", or any other simple tradition. It is an act of God Himself that really does something in our lives. To say the least, this is why we hold it in such high regard and why we take the practice of it with great care and sincerity.
A simple way to see baptism is to understand it as a washing of sin. In fact, the very word baptize comes from the greek word baptizo which means to apply water by washing, pouring, etc. In a sense, you can see in baptism a picture of someone entering in the water covered in the dirt and darkness of sin, being washed and forgiven in baptism, and coming out a new person, washed clean by God Himself.
Baptism works forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38 states "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."
Baptism rescues us from death and the devil. Romans 6:3, 5 states "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? . . . If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection." Paul is telling us that baptism connects us to Jesus' death where He served the punishment for all our sins. It also connects us to Jesus' resurrection that just as Jesus rose from the dead we too look forward to a resurrection of our own to come.
Baptism gives eternal life and salvation. Mark 16:16 states "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." In baptism you can rightly say that you are saved at that moment and you have eternal life at that moment. There is no more need to think or wonder "well I hope I'll be saved someday" or "I hope I go to heaven when I die", God's gift to us in baptism makes the gift of eternal life a present reality for us.
We pray these words regarding baptism have been informative and enriching for you. We certainly invite you to inquire with the pastor if you have more questions or would simply wish to talk further on this topic.
We sincerely want everyone to understand, however, that the Christian life does not stop at baptism. A parents' spiritual responsibility for their child does not end with baptism. In fact, it is just the beginning. When Jesus' commanded baptism in the great commission of Matthew 28 he went on to say "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Baptism is rightly to be followed up with a life-long journey of teaching and growing in the faith. To stop one's journey at baptism is likened to planting a seed, covering it up, and giving it no water or sustenance hoping it will grow.