Summary: Does it really matter what mode of Baptism that is used , the important thing is being baptized by the Holy spirit.
Today is the day that we as United Methodist acknowledge and celebrate the Baptism of our Lord and Savior.
Baptism is a sacrament in the United Methodist Church and is not something that we take lightly, our baptism is a very important step in our life.
And in the United Methodist Church we practice three modes of baptism sprinkling, pouring or immersion whichever is preferred by the person being baptized. We also baptize infants as well as those who are old enough to make a profession of faith on their own in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As United Methodist we also accept the Baptisms that were performed in other Christian denominations, we do not re baptize we acknowledge that once is enough.
We do re-affirm our baptismal covenant, and we do have services that allow us to remember our baptism from time to time but we don’t need to be re- baptized once is enough.
If someone tries to tell you different think of it this way. If being baptized symbolizes us dying and being resurrected with Christ, how many times we want to crucify Him once was enough.
So what is baptism? It’s a religious sacrament marked by the symbolic application of water to the head or immersion of the body into water and results in the admission of the recipient into the community of Christians.
I hate to say it but there is controversy between some denominations and how you are baptized , some will tell you that you aren’t saved , if you aren’t baptized their way, they will even go so far as to tell you that you will go to hell if you weren’t immersed or baptized in Jesus name. The difference in belief really depends on the theology of their denominations.
I’ve had someone tell me:
• I shouldn’t baptize an infant – I tell them Jesus said to His disciples “suffer the little children and let them come to me.”
• I’ve had them tell me that Jesus was immersed because the scripture says He came up out of the water- I believe that verse could also mean that He came up out of the water onto dry land. I also know that some scholars and historians believe that the Jordan River would have only been about 7 inches deep at the time and place that Jesus was Baptized
• I grew up in a church that told me unless I was baptized in Jesus name I would burn in Hell. - I just tell them that I know that Peter said in Acts to be baptized in Jesus name but that Jesus said in Matthew 28 to go out and make disciples and baptize them in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Am I saying they are wrong and I am right? No, I’m saying there are different ways to look at it and they all could be right. Unless we were there on the banks of the Jordon that very day we really don’t know every single detail we only know what’s recorded in the Gospels and how we interpret it.
I would like to tell you how I envision that day. Just close your eyes for a moment as I try to paint a picture for you and imagine you’re standing on the banks of the Jordon the Sun is shining , a gentle breeze is blowing rustling the reeds the crowd is listening intently to a man called John the Baptist as he preaches a message of repentance.
He sees some of the religious leaders and shouts, you no good snakes, you brood of vipers who warned you of what’s to come? Repent and make good of it, bear some good fruit the axe is laid at your root and Gods ready to chop you down.
Then someone says what should we do and John replies, if you have two coats give one to someone who has none, give some food to those who need it.
A tax collector said what should we do? He said quit robbing people collect no more than is due. And a soldier said what about us and John said quit extorting money, don’t lie or accuse anyone, be happy with what you make.
I’m not Christ I baptize with water but the one who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire and I am not worthy to tie his sandals.
And then I imagine him looking up and seeing Jesus headed down toward the water and he says “Behold the Lamb of God”
I can see Jesus with a big grin as he wades into the water and says Baptize me John, and John shaking says oh no I need you to baptize me , then Jesus says You must in order for me to fulfill all righteousness as he says this I can see him kneeling down in the water and John taking a large shell or maybe a wooden bowl and dipping it full of water pouring on the head of Jesus and as Jesus walks back to the Bank the sky splitting and the dove coming down and a booming voice saying . Behold this is my Son and I am well pleased.