St. Paul Lutheran Church rejoices in the sacramental ministry of Baptism. Baptism marks one’s entry into the Body of Christ and the infusing of the Spirit of God. In a very real way, our whole ministry of Word and witness is typified in Baptism. For this reason, we seek to baptize responsibly. The following guidelines have been written to assist those desiring to be baptized. We pray they will result in building a strong faith foundation for our Christian fellowship.
Please read to learn more about Baptism at St. Paul, and schedule a meeting with Pastor Tom to learn more and/or to begin Baptism preparations.
St. Paul Policy for Baptism in the Congregation
1. Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a gift from God, saves. Baptism itself does not save. Baptism is the assurance of that salvation by Faith. It is a tangible act, commanded by Christ, in which we experience the Grace of God, and therefore, is a sacrament. Baptism initiates into the Body of Christ, the people of Christ, and therefore is not “Lutheran Baptism.” A person is baptized once. Because of the unfailing nature of God’s promise, and because of God’s once-for-all action in Christ, Baptism is not repeated.
2. God, whose grace is for all, is the one who acts in Baptism. Some are adults and older children who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, declare their faith, and desire Holy Baptism. Others are the young or infant chidlren of active members of the congregation or those children for whom members of the congregation assume sponsorship.
3. Adults baptized in this congregation will become, and should desire to become, active members of the fellowship. Active participation in the Body of Christ is the desire of all the baptized.
4. When infants and young children are baptized, the parents and sponsors receive 3 weeks of instruction and the children are taught throughout their development. The parish education of our congregation is part of our baptismal ministry.
5. Infant Baptism is responsible if the parent(s) or sponsor(s):
a. are active members of a Christian faith community.
b. accept the responsibilities for their baptized child, namely to raise the child in the communion (active participation) of the faith community, to teach the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed and the Ten Commandments, and to provide Holy Scriptures for the baptized and instruction in them.
6. Infants baptized in this parish will become members of the parish, but may be transferred immediately after baptism.
7. In addition to parents and congregation, baptismal sponsors should be baptized, active members of a congregation. At least one sponsor shall be an active member of St. Paul. Sponsors accept the responsibilities of helping the child know and believe, as they grow in years. (see 5b)
8. We seek to celebrate Baptism in such a way that the celebration is a true and complete sign of the things which Baptism signifies. One of the two shared sacraments of the Church (Communion and Baptism), it is a public rite. Only under emergency or extreme crisis shall it be administered privately, and in such cases it is beneficial to recognize the Baptism in a public rite soon afterward. Every Baptism celebrated in the assembly is an occasion for the remembrance and renewal of baptism on the part of all the baptized.