THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Baptism is the sign and seal of God's grace and covenant in Christ. Whether administered to adults who are able to profess their faith or to those presented for Baptism as children, it is one and the same Sacrament.
The Baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. The Baptism of those who enter the covenant upon their own profession of faith witnesses to the truth that God’s gift of grace calls for fulfillment in a response of faithfulness.
In Baptism, we die to what separates us from God and are raised to newness of life in Christ. Baptism points us back to the grace of God expressed in Jesus Christ, who died for us and who was raised for us. Baptism points us forward to that same Christ who will fulfill God’s purpose in God’s promised future.
Baptism is received only once. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to the moment when it is administered, for Baptism signifies the beginning of life in Christ, not its completion. God’s grace works steadily, calling to repentance and newness of life. God’s faithfulness needs no renewal. Human faithfulness to God needs repeated renewal. Baptism calls for decision at every subsequent stage of life’s way, both for those whose Baptism attends their profession of faith and for those who are nurtured from childhood within the family of faith.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes all Baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches. The Rev. Dr. Steven Marsh will perform all baptisms unless he assigns a particular baptism to the associate pastor.