Friday, July 23, 2010

Church of the Nazarene's Position on Baptism

Here is my summary of the Church of the Nazarene’s take on baptism. In short, anyone from infants to children to adults can be baptized in the Church of the Nazarene and by the mode of their choosing whether it is by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. As for infants, the parents otherwise could choose to “dedicate” the child rather than have the baby baptized. The most commonly used mode of baptism is immersion.

Why does the church hold to various modes and recipients? you may ask. The church has taken a “non confrontational approach to baptism”. After all, “many would argue over the form baptism should take and the time it should be administered. Recognizing these differences, the Church of the Nazarene focuses on the essentials”.

How does the church view baptism? you may ask. According to them, baptism is more than “just showing others what God has done” and “is a sacrament where God gives grace in the midst of the action. Baptism is God’s means to give us grace to follow Him”. It appears that the church takes a sacramental view of baptism in that there is the belief that baptism is a physical means by which God gives grace. “In some mysterious way God uses physical things [like baptism and the Lord’s Supper] to bring about spiritual changes and give His grace…God has chosen to give grace through our participation in them”. Also, the sacraments are “one means to fulfill the active proclamation of the gospel”. Baptism is also viewed as a symbol of “participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ”. And as a side note, the Lord’s Supper is viewed as symbolic of God’s “sustaining grace to His followers”.

According to the church, baptism is a “sacrament of initiation” by serving as an “entry point into the Christian faith”. It is the mark of “our inclusion in the new covenant that Christ established”, it is symbolic of our identification with the death of Christ, it is a symbol of our participation in the resurrected life of Christ, a symbol of our reception of the Holy Spirit, and “it is the action through which we are made part of Christ’s body, the Church”.

I have a comment and question concerning the Church of the Nazarene’s view of baptism. First, the rest of the booklet from which I obtained my information, it seems that one must repent, confess sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, prior to baptism. This makes me wonder how they view infant baptism in relation to faith in Christ, and in what sense is it a means of grace to the infant.

All in all, the Church of the Nazarene’s view of baptism is one of the most interesting to me. Anyone… infants, children, and anyone else could get baptized and by the mode of their choosing (sprinkling, pouring, or immersion). So if you happen to change your mind about the mode of baptism or whom is eligible for it at any time in your Christian walk, and if you are part of the Church of the Nazarene, no need to sweat it, because you will still have a home in the Church of the Nazarene. Pastors, you would not lose your job. Missionary, you would not be sent back home.  Teacher, you would not suddenly become disqualified from teaching.  The reason I mention this is because I ran across a forum in which one of the respondents was a Presbyterian pastor and he did not want to lose his job because of the issue of baptism.  So that is Church of the Nazarene’s view of baptism, or at least what I deciphered it to be.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


What does the washing of water found in Ephesians 5:26 mean? Should you, as a believer in Christ, look to creed books and Bible commentaries for the answer to that question or should you look to translations of the Bible for truth? Do you want to trust men or do you want to trust God's written word?

Ephesians 5:25-26...just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (NKJV)

How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church? The church is the body of Christ. The church is comprised of Christians. How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church?

Ephesians 5:26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word;(The Living Bible- Paraphrased)

Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, (KJV)

Ephesians 5:26 in order to make her holy, cleaning her with the baptismal water by the Word. (Weymouth New testament)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. (Common English Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water.(Contemporary English Version)

Ephesians 5:26 In order that he might sanctify it, purifying [it] by the washing of water by [the] word, (Darby Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. (ERV-Easy-to-Read-Version)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleaning it, washing it using water along with the spoken words. (God's Word Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, (Good News Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water alone with the spoken words. (Names of God Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (New American Standard Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He did that so that he might make the church people holy, when they were washed with water by God's word. (World English N.T.)

Do you really want leave the interpretation of Ephesians 5:26 to others,why would you not read it and believe what it says?

Is God smart enough to guide men to accurately translate the Bible?

Two choices: 1. Trust God's written word, the BIBLE. or 2. Trust preachers, priests, pastors, Bible commentators, the man on the street, your friends and relatives or creed books, for the truth and nothing but the truth.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved....(NKJV)