The Sacrament of Baptism
The second trait that is common in baptism is the formula or words used in the baptismal rite itself. In order for the baptism to be recognized as valid the person must be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. While that language may sound archaic to some, we believe it is one that should not be changed. In this way one is linked to other Christians throughout the world and is joined with the saints of all time and place: past present and future.
At All Souls, we regularly affirm there is One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism; one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5). God is the one who acts in baptism. God is the one who is faithful and brings to completion what is intended in the sacrament. Whether or not one has been immersed or sprinkled or had water poured over one’s head; whether they’ve been dunked frontwards or backwards their baptism is valid as long as water and this ancient formula was present. We affirm that sacraments are intended to be done once, and thus do not require a person to undergo baptism a second time unless there is serious doubt regarding the previous baptism’s validity.Who Can be Baptized?
In the earliest days of the church, baptism was primarily a sacrament offered to those converts who believed the apostle’s message. But even at that time, we read that often a believer’s whole household was baptized. One must assume that children were often among those included. (See Acts 18:8,1; 1 Corinthians 1:16) Thus the church began including the practice of infant baptism. Throughout time, infant baptism became the “norm.” Unfortunately much of that practice was based on the belief in limbo—the place where unbaptized infants went if they died. Whereas limbo was not the same as hell, it was still a place that was not on par with heaven. Thankfully, the Church has officially done away with this teaching and thus one no longer has to fear that their newborn child who died before being baptized is somehow excluded from heaven.
At All Souls, we offer the sacrament of baptism to anyone who seeks it. We will baptize adults, children and infants. We believe that Christ welcomed all—especially those who were previously excluded because of sin. Thus we will not withhold the sacrament of baptism from you regardless of your past failings. We do not withhold the sacrament of baptism from children of divorced parents. And we do not withhold the sacrament from children who were born out of wedlock.
When it comes to baptizing children and infants who cannot profess a faith of their own, we want to make sure that parents, in seeking baptism for their children, must be ready to make a solemn vow to raise that child in the Christian faith and to do all in their power to bring that child up in such a way that she or he can affirm their faith and take on those baptismal vows themself.
Following the ancient baptismal rite, baptism at All Souls includes the sealing of one’s baptism with holy oil, or chrism. The oil has been blessed by our Bishop. With it, one’s baptism is sealed and one is marked as God’s own for ever.
If you are interested in baptism for yourself, or if you are interested in having your child baptized, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to begin a conversation regarding this important sacrament.