In the Church of Scotland we have two ceremonies (ordinances) which Jesus commanded his disciples to perform. These ceremonies are ‘Baptism’ and ‘the Lord’s Supper’. In some traditions of the Christian church these ceremonies are known as ‘sacraments’ or ‘ordinances’. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs and symbols which remind us of important spiritual truths.

The Meaning of Baptism

When we come to faith in Christ, the Bible instructs us to be baptised. Baptism signifies a washing in water which reminds us that we are cleansed and forgiven of our sins, since Jesus has paid the penalty for all our sins on the cross. 

Baptism signifies that we have come into a special relationship with Jesus Christ. This sacrament therefore represents to us the wonderful blessings that flow from this special ‘covenant’ relationship with God; for God has promised to be our God [and the God of our children through all generations]. 

We notice that baptism further signifies our initiation [membership] into the visible Church family. We are therefore not just welcomed into the fellowship of the local church, but are welcomed into the fellowship and family of God. 

Finally, baptism signifies that we now walk in a “newness of life”. Since Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, Christians also share the blessings that flow from Christ’s death and resurrection. Therefore we see baptism as signifying a life in all its fullness, a resurrection life, an abundant new life in Christ.

Adult Baptism

When you are baptised you make profession of what Jesus has done for you (forgiveness of sins, cleansing), and what he continues to do in your life (changing you to be more like Jesus).

In baptism you will take a vow of allegiance, declaring your heart’s desire to serve and obey Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.


Infant Baptism

Infant baptism places responsibilities upon you as parents, and not the children. Although a child may not understand the sacrament of baptism, and may not necessarily have come into a personal relationship with Jesus, it is important that one of the parents at least be a member [or adherent] of the church, as they are asked to make promises to God on the child’s behalf.

Parents [or Sponsors] are asked to make vows, professing their faith in Christ, and promising to make careful provision for their child’s spiritual development through Christian teaching and instruction. We can begin our child’s spiritual development by being a Christian influence in our home. At Blackhall St. Columba's Church we offer a variety of Children’s ministries (Sunday Club, Family services, and other church events) to help support parents in Christian instruction.
As a child is admitted into the local church family, the congregation are invited to make promises to God, promising to love and care for the child, and to give support to the parents.

The Mode of Baptism

In the Greek language ‘baptism’ can mean “to dip, immerse or sprinkle”. In the Reformed tradition, all three expressions for baptism are acceptable ways to administer the sacrament. In the Church of Scotland it is more common-place to have baptism by “sprinkling”, where the minister will baptise from a ‘font’ at the front of the church. Here the minister will pour or sprinkle water on the candidate’s head, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. 

Who can be Baptised? 

So who ought to be baptised? In the New Testament it is clear that adult believers were baptised on their profession of faith - “Believe and be baptised!”

The Church of Scotland believes that the Bible teaches us, as believers, to baptise our children. Through the baptism of our children we anticipate and pray that one day they will come into a personal relationship with Jesus, and that they will experience the promises and privileges of their baptism in a personal way.

 

Service of Blessing and Thanksgiving

A Service of Blessing and Thanksgiving is a step on the way to Baptism. In many ways it is Baptism without the water! It involves special prayers for the child and family and the dedication of him/her to God. It does not involve parents making promises (see later). More and more parents these days are opting for this service, for various reasons which may include:

  1. Parents want to mark and celebrate in Church their child’s     arrival but don't feel ready yet to make the promises involved with a Baptism service.
  2. Parents would prefer that their child make up their own mind about Baptism when they are older and can make the promises for themselves.
  3. One parent is not at this time able to make the promises and therefore it would be hypocritical for them to say words of Christian faith that they don't believe.
  4. Parents don’t at this time feel able to make a commitment of a Church involvement that we require at Blackhall St Columba’s before we arrange a Baptism.

If you have not been attending Blackhall St. Columba’s Church for long, or at all, then a service of Blessing and Thanksgiving is certainly the right service for you at this time.

What Happens Next?

It is important that you contact Benjamin (Minister) through the Church Office to organise an interview with you. He will be delighted to help and answer any questions regarding baptism, a service of blessing or any other issues that are not clear to you. 

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Registered Scottish Charity, No: SC008756