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McFarland Lutheran Church

Holy Baptism

‘In Holy Baptism, God liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Born children of a fallen humanity, in the baptismal waters we become God’s reborn children and inherit eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church, which is Christ’s body. As we live with him and with his people, we grow in faith, love and obedience to God’s will.’ Baptism is where our new life in Christ begins.

Do You Desire to be Baptized?  

If you are considering holy baptism, or desiring holy baptism for yourself or your child(ren) please contact the McFarland Lutheran Church office at 608-838-3184. A pastor or a baptismal ministry team member will personally contact you. Pre-baptism instruction is an important part of the preparation process.

Where Will the Baptism Take Place?

Holy Baptism is a celebration for the whole body of Christ. Candidates for Holy Baptism, sponsors, and an ordained minister called by the Church gather together with the congregation for the celebration of Baptism within the regular worship life of the Church. In the case of imminent death or life threatening illness, baptism may take place in the home or hospital.

How Do We Choose a Baptismal Sponsor?

Baptismal sponsors are to always and everywhere encourage and support the baptized on their journey of faith. Choose a baptismal sponsor who actively participates in the life of the church. Choosing a sponsor in this way insures that the sponsor(s) becomes what they are intended to be i.e. a model and support person for you and /or your child as you follow Jesus.

How Do We Baptize?

Water and the Word of God are used as Christ commanded. Baptism is done by sprinkling, pouring or total immersion under water 3 times in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus never commanded us about how much or how little water should be used. The important thing is God giving new life in Christ through baptism.

Do We Ever Need To be Re-baptized?

No! If a baptized infant grows up and turns away from the promises of God in their baptism they do not have to be re-baptized in order to reenter the community of faith. If the validity of baptism depends on the faith of the person being baptized then it might become necessary, but it does not. Christian baptism rests solely on the sure promises of God. Holy Baptism is done according to Christ's command and promise. It remains valid because God made an everlasting promise to you.

Holy Baptism is God’s act and Jesus’ command

Holy Baptism is God’s act, God’s initiative and God’s gift offered to us.  It connects us to Jesus, the Church and eternal life. We baptize in response to Jesus directing his disciples to, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"’(Matthew 28:19). Jesus’ Great Commission both commands the church to baptize and invites the individual to be baptized.

God Claims us as a Valuable and Important Part of the Body of Christ (the church) through Holy Baptism.

When you are baptized God claims us a member of Christ's Body on earth, the Church. As the First Century church baptized whole families, both infants and adults, so do we. Parents, you are invited to bring your infant(s) to the baptismal font within the first months – even weeks – of your child’s life.

Baptism is the beginning of new life in Christ, where we are given our identity as children of God and adopted into the family of God.

Baptism gives us a new life in Jesus Christ by giving us a new name and a new family for eternity.

‘If baptism is part of what God does, not of what we do, if it is God’s word that shapes, creates, reforms, reaches out, acts and enacts, then the priority does not fall on what we consciously bring. Logically and chronologically the gift of God in Baptism precedes what we take out of it. In Baptism it is Christ who brings the child, holds it in his arms, and receives it as a member of his body. Baptism points to the fact that salvation comes only from God.’

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism – Water and God’s Word

Jesus ushered in holy baptism as central to the Christian faith.

Holy baptism is a sacrament of the church i.e. the everyday element (water) and the words used (God’s) point us to God’s command and gift of God’s grace. ‘When God’s Word accompanies the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be lacking. For my faith does not constitute Baptism, but receives it.’

‘A person is drawn to water - to an ocean, a river or a stream - because there is something in them that knows that this if from whence he or she came. One thinks of the percentage of water in our bodies, the need for water to sustain earthly life, water’s cleansing properties, and the Genesis 1:2-3 account that at creation ‘a wind from God swept over the face of the water. Then God said, let there be light; ...

Holy Baptism is our departure out of chaos into the order of the forgiven life. It is our visitation by the Holy Spirit which broods over the water of life. In this water we are crucified with Christ; nevertheless we live, sharing Christ’s living water.’

‘In the name of the Father’ relates Baptism to the whole of creation - and its water; in the name of the Son’ calls to mind the whole personal relation of the baptized community to God in Christ; and ‘in the name of the Holy Spirit’ means that God takes the initiative, turning the (Word) into Spirit and creating the church.’

Forgiveness of sin and salvation

Holy Baptism ‘overcomes and takes away sin. ’Sin is washed away, the sinner is ‘drowned,’ the old self is shattered, ‘helpless as a crying infant with empty hands and uninformed head and no report card at all. ’This time, new life comes not by the breath of God, as at creation, but by the death of Christ. The forgiveness of sins becomes the glowing core, the center out of which our lives will flow. In Holy Baptism the sign of the cross is made over the person; we are invited to enjoy the fellowship of the resurrection and to share the burden of Christ’s suffering."

In God’s gift of Baptism we are assured the forgiveness of sins to live a free, responsible and joyful life - in order that we might be saved everlastingly.  Through Holy Baptism we can say that, ‘No greater jewel ... can adorn our body and soul than Baptism, for through it we obtain perfect holiness and salvation, which no other kind of life and no work on earth can acquire. ’Baptism is truly God’s gift, drawing us into Christ’s church and bestowing upon us forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life. In Holy Baptism, we are ‘sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.’

What do we do after being baptized?

Return to your baptism daily. Grow in faith and understanding (i.e. grow spiritually) all the days of your life. Live your life according to the commands and promises of our God; using the precious gifts which the Holy Spirit has given you for worship, study, and service; and respond to God’s love for you by sharing your faith in Jesus Christ and loving our neighbors more fully.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.Psalm 51:10

…put away a former way of life, your old self, corrupt and eluded by its lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self… Ephesians 4:22b-24a

The Role of Parents and Family

  • Provide for your child’s baptism
  • Build your family based on the love of God in Christ Jesus
  • Teach them to pray and provide for their Christian education
  • Nourish your child's spiritual growth by actively participating in the worship, education, and service opportunities in the church”

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