Baptism in the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) takes water -- plenty of water. Disciples practice
"baptism by immersion" because it mirrors New Testament practice. In addition,
Disciples see the use of the specific form of baptism, immersion, as powerfully
symbolic. It recalls Jesus' own baptism; it acts out dying with Christ and
emerging to new life; it is a "putting on" of Christ. The person being baptized
experiences the firm support of the community -- of the Body of Christ -- in the
arms and hands of the minister, feels the plunge of commitment, and bursts into
new life with the sound and feel of rushing water. At the conclusion of a
Disciples baptism, the congregation most often is asked to pledge support of the
newly-baptized person in her or his faith journey.
Disciples typically are baptized when they can express as a personal choice
their desire to become part of the Body of Christ. Disciples call the practice
"believer's baptism." As the believer is immersed, she is baptized in the name
of the Trinity. It is customary for the minister to use the words "in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Infant dedication is a common Disciples tradition. A baby is brought into the
environment of a loving church where parents and congregation pledge themselves
to nurture the child in the love of Christ. An infant so dedicated "confirms"
that dedication with a faith-response usually during the early teenage years,
about the same time when many Disciples are baptized.
Most Disciples today recognize other forms of baptism as valid. A person
baptized in another Christian tradition wishing to join a Disciples congregation
is simply asked: "Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living
God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of your life?" The person who answers, "I
do," is welcomed into the congregation