Wednesday, August 20, 2008

General Assembly Resolution: Baptism of Infants

Note: Bracketed text [ ] are words that are to be deleted from the current Manual. Underlined text are words that are to be added to the current Manual.

800.2. The Baptism of Infants or Young Children

When the sponsors shall have presented themselves with the child (or children) the minister shall say:

DEARLY BELOVED: [While we do not hold that baptism imparts the regenerating grace of God, we do believe that Christ gave this holy sacrament as a sign and seal of the new covenant. Christian baptism signifies for this young child God's gracious acceptance on the basis of His prevenient grace in Christ, and points forward to his (her) personal appropriation of the benefits of the Atonement when he (she) reaches the age of moral accountability and exercises conscious saving faith in Jesus Christ.]

The sacrament of baptism was given by Christ as a sign and seal of the new covenant of grace. Christian baptism signifies for this young child God's gracious acceptance, and points forward to his (her) personal confession of faith when he (she) reaches the age of moral accountability and exercises conscious saving faith in Jesus Christ.

In presenting this child for baptism . . .

FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. The current Ritual for The Baptism of Infants or Young Children, paragraph 800.2 begins with a statement of what we do not believe, rather than a statement of what we do believe. The above resolution allows us to begin the ritual with a positive statement of our beliefs. Certainly, the baptism of infants and young children should be a positive, celebratory time, rather than presenting a sense of uncertainty or defensiveness, which the wording of the current ritual may produce.

2. The above resolution is more consistent with Wesleyan sacramental theology and the teachings of John Wesley.

3. The above resolution is more closely in line with Article of Faith XII. Baptism, paragraph 16, in that it neither reduces our beliefs, nor imposes doctrinal positions not stated within the Article of Faith. Thus, the above resolution provides a ritual that is readily usable for all who espouse belief in Article of Faith XII, whereas, the current ritual does not provide such an opportunity for all who wholeheartedly espouse belief in Article of Faith XII.

1 comment:

J.B. Chapman said...

I have sent this one to the Minnesota Distirct.