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Westminster Confession of Faith - Chapter 28 with our testimony notes
1. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also, to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world. Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 4:11 with Col. 2:11-12; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:5; Titus 3:5; Mark 1:4; Rom. 6:3-4; Matt. 28:19-20.
All those who have received baptism are to be considered part of the covenant people of God. Gen. 17:12-14; Col. 2:11-12; Acts 16: 31-34.
The church accepts as valid the baptism which has been administered in any true branch of the visible church.
2. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto. Matt. 3:11; John 1:33; Matt. 28:19-20.
3. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person. Heb. 9:10, 19-22; Acts 2:41; Acts 16: 33; Mark 7:4.
We reject the teaching that an es- sential feature of baptism is immersion. 1 Cor. 10:2; Heb. 6:2; Heb. 9:10; Luke 11:38.
4. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or both believing parents, are to be baptized. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:37-38; Gen. 17: 7, 9-10 with Gal. 3:9, 14, and Col. 2: 11-12, and Acts 2:38-39, and Rom. 4: 11-12; 1 Cor. 7:14; Matt. 28:19; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15.
The children of believing parents are to receive baptism because of their covenantal relationship. Acts 2:38-39; Gen. 17:7; Acts 16:31; Col. 2:11-12.
In administering baptism to her children the church recognizes their rightful place within the covenant, and her obligation to give them pastoral care and oversight, and to assist the par- ents in carrying out their covenanted responsibilities. In presenting them for baptism, parents not only claim for their children the nurture and benefits of the Church, but dedicate them to God in the service of Christ.
The baptism of infants sets before parents the obligation to do all in their power to lead their children to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Gen. 18:19; Matt. 28:19-20; Prov. 22:6.
Baptism is not to be administered to the infants of persons who, though members of the church, have so neglected the means of grace as to cast doubt on their profession, or their intention to fulfill the baptismal vows. Ps. 76:11.
5. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it; or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. Luke 7:30 with Ex. 4:24-26; Rom. 4: 11; Acts 10:2, 4, 22, 31, 45, 47; Acts 8:13, 23.
6. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will in His appointed time. John 3:5, 8; Gal. 3:27; Titus 3:5; Eph. 5:25-26; Acts 2:38, 41.
We reject the teaching that a person cannot be saved without baptism; or that persons are regenerated by baptism. Luke 23:39-43; Acts 8:13, 18-23; Acts 10:47.
7. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person. Titus 3:5.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
What is Baptism? - Baptism is a Sacrament, wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s. Matt. 28:19; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:27.
To whom is Baptism to be administered? - Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible Church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible Church are to be baptized. Acts 8:36-37; Acts 2:38-39; Gen. 17:10 with Col. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:14.
Westminster Larger Catechism
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a Sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible Church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s. Matt. 28:19; Eph. 5:26; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 15:29; Rom. 6:5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:4.
Unto whom is Baptism to be administered?
Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible Church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but infants descended from parents, either both or but one of them professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect, within the covenant, and to be baptized. Acts 8:36-37; Acts 2:38; Gen. 17:7, 9; Gal. 3:9, 14; Col. 2:11-12; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:14; Matt. 28:19; Luke 18:15-16; Rom. 11:16.
How is our Baptism to be improved by us?
The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others, by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of Baptism and our engagements; by grow- ing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that Sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body. Col. 2:11-12; Rom. 6:4, 6, 11; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 1:11-13; Rom. 6:2-3; Rom. 4:11-12; 1 Pet. 3:21; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:22; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 12: 13, 25-27.
RPCNA Directory of Worship
Baptism is a sacrament ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sign and seal of the inclusion of the person who is baptized in the covenant of grace. Baptism with water teaches that we and our children are conceived and born in sin. It signifies our dying to sin and our rising to newness of life by virtue of our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. It also signifies and seals to us cleansing from sin by the blood and Spirit of Christ. Since these gifts of salvation are the gracious provision of the triune God, who is pleased to claim us as His very own, we are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptized persons are called upon to assume the obligations of the covenant; Baptism summons us to renounce sin and the world, and to walk humbly with our God in devotion to His commandments.
Although our young children do not yet understand these things, they are nevertheless to be baptized. For the promise of the covenant is made to believers and to their children, as God declared to Abraham, ‘And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.’ (Genesis 17:7) Under the New Testament, no less than in the Old, the children of believers, have, by virtue of their birth, an interest in the covenant and a right to the seal of it. The covenant of grace is the same in substance in both the Old and the New Testament, and Baptism has replaced circumcision as the seal of that covenant. (Colossians 2:11,12) Our Savior admitted little children into His presence, embracing them and blessing them, and saying, ‘Of such is the kingdom of God.’ (Mark 10:14) The grace signified in Baptism is not tied to the moment of administration. Scripture teaches that our children are covenantally holy before their baptism (I Corinthians 7:14). Baptism applies the promises and obligations of the covenant to our children, and calls them to personal repentance and faith as they come to years of understanding.