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Baptism and Membership

Baptism is an expression of transformation and a sacrament of initiation.

A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward change. Baptism is a public sign that a new inward life centred about a restored relationship has begun.

Methodists may baptise by any of the modes used by Christians: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Each mode brings out part of the rich and diverse symbolism given to baptism by the Bible. Each is a form of washing which symbolizes the washing away of sin (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21). Being totally buried in water and raised from it is also a powerful symbol of our burial and resurrection with Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12) and of being born anew of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5). Pouring or sprinkling water upon the candidate’s head also signifies God’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9-10; Luke 3:21-22; Acts 2:38; 19:1-7). In summary, baptism celebrates the themes of death to the old life and birth into a new. It is the cleansing and purification of our souls, and signifies that we have been incorporated into the growth of the body of Christ.

Baptism is not administered to any person more than once, for while our baptismal vows are less than reliable, God’s promise to us in the sacrament is steadfast. Once baptised, we have been initiated into Christ’s body the Church and are members of Christ’s family.

(Adapted from the Methodist Church in Singapore’s Church Membership Manual and the United Methodist Book of Worship.)

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