Baptisms at DR
What is baptism?
Greetings in Christ! We as a pastoral team are excited that you are looking at baptism either for yourself or someone else here at Divine Redeemer!
Baptism is a wonderful gift where God claims His children to be His own! Jesus says in Matthew 28:19-20, “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus commands His followers to baptize in the Triune Name of God and promises His blessing upon all who are baptized. A baptism occurs when water is applied, and the name of our Triune God is spoken over the baptized.
Baptism is all about Jesus and where His work on the Cross (the forgiveness of sins, rescue from death, and the assurance of eternal life) is given to those who are baptized. Baptism is where God gives these wonderful blessings (along with the Holy Spirit) to His people through the water and the word spoken at baptism. Baptism is less about us and our commitment to God but more about how God promises to commit Himself to the one baptized to be their Lord and Savior. Put another way, God is the primary actor in baptism and the one who is being baptized is simply receiving God’s gifts of forgiveness, eternal life, and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Oftentimes we at Divine Redeemer will describe baptisms as the time when we join God’s family or when we become a part of God’s “team” because that is exactly what is taking place! This is especially helpful when talking to young children as it describes how God is making the baptized individual His own. We are brought into this wonderful Christian family through baptism! Baptism is the beginning of a life of discipleship following our Savior Jesus.
Baptism is God’s work and not ours. He is the one doing the saving, forgiving, and is the one giving His Holy Spirit. Baptism is not dependent upon our age, social status, mental capacity, or any other factor that would limit someone from receiving a baptism. Jesus says in Mark 10:14b-15: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Jesus welcomes the little children and does not want anything to hinder them. Since baptism brings people into Christ’s Kingdom, infants and children are ideal candidates for baptism!
Here are seven biblical reasons to baptize children and infants:
1. God is the Primary Actor in Baptism Titus 3:5
a. God’s power makes a baptism valid, and not the recipient. God alone can save.
b. Whether we are an adult or child, we are passive recipients in baptism.
2. Children are Included in “All Nations” Acts 2:38-39, Acts 16:31-33
a. The Bible nowhere forbids children to be baptized. On the contrary, children are included in this promise.
b. Whole households were often baptized in biblical days, which included servants and children.
3. Children are Born Spiritually Dead Ephesians 2:1; Psalm 51:5
a. Children are born with original sin.
b. Children need the forgiveness God offers in baptism.
4. Children Must Be Born Again John 3:3-8; Ephesians 2:8-9
a. To be born again, a Christian is to be baptized by water and the Spirit.
b. Just as we had no decision to be born physically, God teaches that we had no decision to be born spiritually.
5. Infants Can Have Faith! Matthew 18:6, 19:13-14, 21:14-16; Luke 1:15
a. The definition of faith is “trust in the heart.” Infants can have that faith!
b. Although infants cannot verbalize or rationalize this trust yet, they can still have faith!
6. Baptism is the Beginning of Disciple-Making Matthew 28:18-20
a. Christ’s plan for making disciples begins with baptism
b. Those who are baptized are instructed in the Christan faith throughout their lives
c. This is the exact way that children become disciples: baptism then instruction
7. Baptism is a New Testament Corollary to Circumcision Leviticus 12:3; Colossians 2:11-12
a. Circumcision used to mark a child as being a child of the covenant with God. This was done at eight days old.
b. Baptism is the mark which designates Christians as children of God. Baptism is greater than circumcision, however, because it is more than just a symbol. In baptism, God is at work to gift faith, grant forgiveness, and deposit His Holy Spirit.
Those who were not baptized as infants or as young children are invited to the baptismal font as well! The one who has come to faith in Christ through His Word is one who is also invited to receive the gifts that baptism offers.
We at Divine Redeemer do not believe in “re-baptisms.” If someone was baptized in the Triune name of God, there is no need to be re-baptized. Any baptism done in the Christian community in the name of the Triune God is valid. Ephesians 4:5 says that we believe in “one baptism” and therefore Christians need not be re-baptized. God has already done His work of forgiveness the first time!
However, if you are uncertain whether you were baptized or not, we will begin conversations to have you baptized.
Although not specifically mandated by the Bible, the role of Godparents/Sponsors has played an important role in the life of the church. The role of sponsors is to support the ongoing Christian instruction for the baptized. Sponsors are making a commitment to ensure that this child is taught all about Jesus and what God has done for them. Primarily this Christian instruction occurs within the household of the baptized, but sponsors are called upon to ensure that this occurs if, Lord forbid, something would happen to the parent(s) of the baptized.
Sponsors are to be those who confess the Christian faith, are to witness the baptism, and are to continue to pray, encourage, and support the baptized in their ongoing Christian instruction. They also serve as examples of those in the faith who follow Jesus in their lives
Try to schedule the baptism before your baby is born, otherwise please schedule it as soon as you are able to. Contact our Baptism Coordinator, Gail Arnold, in the church office, 262-367-8400, to set up the baptism. Also, if you have a preference for the pastor performing the baptism, please let us know at that time so we can check to see if they are available. We will also ask you for information for our church records and for the baptismal certificate. On the day of the baptism, please arrive no later than 20 minutes before the start of the service. A pastor will meet with you to discuss what will happen during the service. He will remind you that no pictures with flash are to be taken during the service, however, flash pictures can be taken after the service.Because the gift of baptism is given to God’s people, we encourage families to have baptisms done during the worship services. Please note: we also encourage baptisms to be performed during non-communion services which are the 2nd and 4th Sundays in the church and the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays in the gym.
- Indian Baptismal Napkin (see info below)
Your Indian Baptismal Napkin from Divine Redeemer:
In the early days of mission work in India, Belgium nuns had brought over the beautiful art of handmade lace and embroidery. When the Indian government no longer permitted the mission work to continue, the art was handed over to PASA which was a Lutheran World Relief project in south India (Kerala). This project provided young Indian girls and widows with the opportunity to earn a living for themselves by learning how to embroider and bobbin lace to make handkerchiefs, doilies, and table runners for selling. The young girls could then postpone marriage until they were much older because they were earning a wage from this new skill. (In many eastern countries, the young girls are usually married off at the age of 12 when they finish with their formal schooling because their family cannot afford to take care of them and feed them.) These girls would become pregnant at the early age of 12 or 13 after their marriage. In providing an income for these girls with a new skill, they do not get married or start a family until they are usually 22 or 24. It is safer for the young girls and a form of birth control in southern India.
Today, Divine Redeemer supports this project by purchasing baptismal napkins that young girls and single and widowed women make. We purchase the napkins from SEDA (Socio Economic Development Association) formerly PASA the Lutheran World Relief project mentioned above. All the embroidery and bobbin lace is done by hand. It is pinned to a pillow and often has 30 bobbins that are woven together and knotted. Pins hold the design in place as they progress. These women are proud of their work and even more proud when they can sell their work. They are so grateful for the support they receive from each sale.
When either of our pastors at Divine Redeemer baptize a child, they use one of these handmade napkins to wipe off the water after the child is baptized. The parents are then given this napkin as a keepsake. It is our wish that as the baptized child grows up, he or she will use it at his or her wedding as a bridal napkin or handkerchief and know that they are Baptized into Jesus and the Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church and School family and marked as Christ’s own forever.