Baptism in the RCA
Why does the RCA baptize infants if they don't know what's going on?
The RCA does so because baptism is a sign and seal of God's covenant of grace with us and our children. Baptism is the visible word of God that we are cleansed in Christ's blood, buried with him unto death, that we might rise with him and walk in newness of life.
The RCA baptizes infants as well as older children and adults. The journey of faith that begins in individual baptism continues in the church community. In the RCA, baptism is always performed in the context of a congregation of God's people. Baptism is the mark of corporate as well as individual faith. The congregation commits itself to the spiritual nurture of the infant, child, or adult being baptized.
Recognizing the symbolic cleansing and refreshing characteristics of water, the RCA affirms sprinkling, immersion, and pouring as methods of baptism.
What happens during baptism?
In baptism God promises by grace alone
to forgive our sins;
to adopt us into the Body of Christ, the church;
to send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us;
and to resurrect us to eternal life.
Through baptism Christ calls us to new obedience,
to love and trust God completely;
to forsake the evil of the world;
and to live a new and holy life.
Reports to General Synod
- Statement on Infant Baptism (1967)
- Concerning Rebaptism (1975)
- Baptized Non-Communicants and the Celebration of the Lord's Supper (1977)
- Is Infant Dedication an Alternative to Infant Baptism? (1983)
- Baptized Non-Communicants and the Celebration of the Lord's Supper (1984)
- Baptized Children and the Lord's Table (1988)
- Baptized Children and the Lord's Table (1990)
- Who May Present Children for Baptism? (2007)
Come to the Water
This three-week study is intended to draw on the richness and centering power of baptism and to empower the church to begin to see baptism as singular and ongoing. Available are: