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Baptism Overview

Why baptism?
We baptize because Christ commanded it.  Matthew 28:19 tells us: “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.” We believe that if Jesus tells us to do something, it is important.

What happens in baptism?
Baptism is a place where we encounter God.  In baptism, this encounter makes us aware of specific promises, specifically that God offers “forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation.”


Who can be baptized?
Every single person is welcome to participate in baptism.  We believe everyone is a child of God, and that God welcomes us all, regardless of anything that we might think disqualifies us.


What do I need to believe to be baptized?
For those who are old enough to answer for themselves, a number of questions are asked about how they intend to follow Jesus.  We ask people to commit themselves to the following:
   To live among God’s faithful people
   To hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
   To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
   To serve all people, following the example of Jesus
   And to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?


We know that we cannot do this, but we commit to do this with God’s help.

If you ask people to commit themselves to practices, can infants and children be baptized?
In scripture, there are multiple instances of families and households being baptized.  We see an example of this in Acts 16.  When someone is not old enough to answer for themselves, the precedent is that someone can answer for them.  Parents, grandparents, or others who are spiritual leaders in children’s lives can commit to share these practices with children.  When the child has grown, they can take these promises for themselves (a practice commonly called Confirmation in the Lutheran Church).


Who can baptize?
While the promises of baptism can be made by anyone invoking the “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” in normal circumstances baptisms are performed by ordained pastors.


How many times do I need to be baptized?
Ephesians 4:5 tells us that there is “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”  We believe that the first baptism of life is the one that God recognizes.  At times, it is helpful to remember our baptism through words and actions that strengthen our understanding of the meaning.

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