BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION BY IMMERSION

 

From S. J. D. McCay, “Celebrating renewal and appropriation of baptism by immersion”
in Adrio König, et al, Infant Baptism?: the arguments for and against. Proceedings of a theological congress held in UNISA 3-5 October 1983,
CUM Books, Roodepoort, 1984. pp.135-138 of pp.125-138.

[This rare book is in the Hewitson Library, Knox College, Dunedin at PMT Inf. This extract is used with permission of the author. It includes a baptism and a renewal of baptism (here called 'confirmation') - both done by immersion. The names given in the article are here deleted. Of the three candidates, one, AB was baptised as an infant; two, CD and FE were not.]

 

Order of Worship

 

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF NEW ZEALAND

HOWICK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Beachlands,

17 April1983

 

HYMNS OR SONGS

 

CALL

Minister: We declare one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is over all and through all and in all.

Each of us has been given his gift, his due portion of Christ's bounty

People: We declare that to us who are on the way to salvation the cross of   Jesus is the power of God.

Minister: We declare that we were all brought into one Body by baptism in the one Spirit... and that one Holy Spirit was poured out for us all to drink.

People: With all these witnesses to faith around us like a cloud, we must throw off every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, and run with resolution the race for which we are entered, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

 

OCCASION

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this is a very special day and moment in the life of one of our families and therefore in the life of God's whole family.

 

We declare together with Paul:

People:            When one sorrows all are sad.

When one rejoices all are glad.

 

AB was brought as a baby to God. His parents thanked God for the gift of their first-born. In baptism God declared and sealed his purpose and promise to A as to each of us and all the world. Before we knew it, God loved us; Christ died for us; the Holy Spirit was given to us.

 

In baptism God has sealed each of us - in grafted into Christ, incorporated in His Body, declared to be members of the household of faith to be nurtured in God's grace.

 

God, who is faithful, has brought A through many experiences to give himself to Jesus as His follower and friend.

 

A comes to profess personally, responsibly, the faith which was exercised on his behalf and to submit himself to immersion. This is God's sign which we all recognise:

 

People: As we have been buried with Christ in a death like his, so we shall be raised to Life in him... Hallelujah.

 

CD and FE have been nurtured in faith, have received instruction and now come to submit themselves to God in Christ casting themselves on Christ for His cleansing, relying on Him for life and strength, committing themselves to Christ's company and service,

opening themselves to Him for His Spirit to live and work in them.

 

People: From first to last this has been the work of God. He has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has enlisted us in this service of reconciliation... Hallelujah.

 

So now, my friends, the sacrifice of Jesus makes us free to enter boldly into the sanctuary by the new and living way which He has opened for us... So let us make our approach with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts made clean and bodies washed with pure water. Let us be firm and unswerving in the confession of our hope, for the Giver of the promise may be trusted.

 

PRAYER

 

VOWS

As you make your vows, remember Jesus' promise to us all - "Whoever confesses me before others, I will confess before my Father in heaven". Therefore I bid you - make your confession, knowing that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved; and whoever comes to Jesus He will never turn away. He has promised.

 

Question 1: Do you confess your faith in God as your heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your sanctifier, helper and guide

 

Response: I do, with all my heart

 

Question 2: Do you sincerely repent of your sin?

Do you confess your need of Christ's cleansing?

Do you rely on His Spirit to make you holy in God's sight?

 

Response: I do repent.

            I submit to God's mercy in Jesus Christ.

            I give myself to Him for His Spirit to mould according to God's will.

 

Question 3: Do you promise, always depending on God's grace, to follow and serve the Lord all the days of your life?

 

Response: I give myself to Jesus

            To follow Him and serve Him as Lord.

 

Question4: Do you promise to continue faithfully in the life, worship, witness and work of Christ's Church, using the gifts of grace which God gives you by His Spirit for His useful purpose?

 

Response: I pledge myself to live and work with all God's people for His praise and glory, and for their encouragement and mine.

 

Question 5: Do you submit to this act of immersion to show that you have put off the old humanity and been buried with Christ in his death and to show that you are now alive with Christ in the power of His resurrection, raised by Him and clothed by Him with His life and His Spirit?

 

Response: With the apostle Paul and all Christians, I confess that the life I   now live is not mine, but is the life which Christ lives in me – He loved me and gave Himself for me. Therefore I love Him and sub    mit myself to Him.

 

(Here opportunity is given to the candidates, if they wish, to share something of their experience and personal conviction concerning .Jesus Christ...)

 

The officiating minister immerses each candidate.

 

BAPTISM

CD and FE... I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

People: The Lord Jesus save and seal you

The Spirit, possess and direct you

The Father love and use you for His glory.

 

CONFIRMATION

AB, as you were baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and a the Holy Spirit, so now I confirm to you the cleansing, forgiveness, new life, and promised gift of God's Spirit, which are in His covenant...

 

People: So now we pray God, who has begun a good work in you, to bring it to completion at the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

PEOPLE'S SUPPORT AND DEDICATION

(As soon as the last of the candidates has emerged from the water, the people sing the Aaronic Blessing...)

 

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make his face to shine upon you

and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you

            and give you peace.

 

HYMNS OR SONGS

(Those who were immersed change, or are warmly wrapped).

 

PRAYER

All:

Glorious and gracious God, we praise you for your grace

and mercy in Jesus for all mankind.

We praise you today for these, your servants, whom you

called and claimed as your own.

 

As they have now confessed you, Lord Jesus,

commission them and us in your service.

 

We seek and claim the promise of your Spirit

for them and for us as the one Body of Jesus Christ.

 

Grow us all in love, joy and peace

as heirs of your covenant.

 

Use us to build up the Body of Christ,

to share your salvation with all people,

and to prepare for the coming of your Kingdom.

 

In joy, as your Spirit joins with our spirit, we cry “Jesus is Lord".

Equip us, that if we must share in Christ's sufferings now,

so also we shall share in his splendour hereafter.

 

Keep us faithful and joyful in your service,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.

 

ADDRESS

 

PRAYER

Minister: Let us, with one heart and voice, declare our faith and unity in Christ by saying the Apostles' Creed, All: I believe"

 

THE BLESSING

Minister:

Go forth in the life and love of God,

Go and share the grace, mercy and peace of Jesus.

Go, live and serve in the power and joy of his Spirit.

Go with Christ's words ringing in your ears –

"See, I am with you always, to the end of the age".

 

All: ("Sing the Doxology".)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.