Baptism is one of two sacraments that we celebrate together as a community of faith. Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant (relationship) that God established with His people. God made a covenant with a community of people. In the Old Testament they were the people of Israel, in the New Testament they are the Body of Christ, the church. In the Old Testament the sign of the covenant was circumcision was administered to both young boys and adults. We believe that through the ministry of Christ, the sacrament of baptism fulfills what the Old Testament practice of circumcision pointed towards. With Paul we believe that “children of believers are holy” (1 Cor. 7:14). Also, after Peter preached his Pentecost day sermon to the crowds of Jews, he called them to repent and be baptized. In doing so they would receive forgiveness of sins and the promised Holy Spirit. Peter goes on to say, “This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord will call.” (Acts 2:39) In our tradition then, along with the practice of the early church and throughout church history, we baptize children of believers, as well as adult believers.
In the baptism of infants and children God declares to His people “this child is part of the covenant family of God and so must receive baptism as a sign that he/she has received the promises of God made to him/her and the covenant community.” The child’s parents publicly acknowledge their love for Christ and their commitment to discipling this child in the way of the faith. For this reason only children of professing members of our congregation can receive the sacrament of baptism.
Profession of Faith
Profession of faith happens in various ways at many times throughout the spiritual journey of a believer. In an age and ability appropriate way, even a young child can confess their love for Christ and their desire to follow Him. We encourage the parents of young children in our congregation to actively and intentionally nurture the faith of their children. Part of the spiritual journey of our younger members will include participation in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Depending on the when the child and their parents feel ready, this may happen at an early age or sometime later. As parents with the children discuss this and come to a time when they recognize that their children would like to participate in a meaningful way, we welcome our younger members to share this with our elders so that they can also participate in the Lord’s Supper.
When our younger members who have made an earlier profession of faith reach age 18, we ask them to now, as an adult, affirm their love for Christ, his church, and the teachings of the church which our confessions and creeds summarize.