expressions of faith and unity in the love of Christ
The American Church in Paris affirms Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God’s action. Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service.
Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. Jesus through his own baptism identified himself with sinners in order to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus in his own baptism was called “Beloved Son” by the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit to undertake the way of the servant manifested in his sufferings, death, and resurrection.
Jesus the risen Lord assured his followers of his continuing presence and power and commissioned them ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:19, NRSV).
The disciples were empowered by the outpouring of the Spirit to undertake a life of service and to be an inclusive worshipping community, sharing life in which love, justice, and mercy abounded…
In Baptism, we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Baptism, we die to what separates us from God and are raised to newness of life in Christ. Baptism points us back to the grace of God expressed in Jesus Christ, who died for us and who was raised for us. Baptism points us forward to that same Christ who will fulfill God’s purpose in God’s promised future.
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit binds the Church in covenant to its Creator and Lord. The water of Baptism symbolizes the waters of Creation, of the Flood, and of the Exodus from Egypt. Thus, the water of Baptism links us to the goodness of God’s creation and to the grace of God’s covenants with Noah and Israel.
Prophets of Israel, amidst the failure of their own generation to honor God’s covenant, called for justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24) They envisioned a fresh expression of God’s grace and of creation’s goodness – a new covenant accompanied by the sprinkling of cleansing water.
In his ministry, Jesus offered the gift of living water. (John 3) So, Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s grace and covenant in Christ.
As circumcision was the sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant with Israel, so Baptism is the sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant with the Church. As an identifying mark, Baptism signifies:
- the faithfulness of God,
- the washing away of sin,
- putting on the fresh garment of Christ,
- being sealed by God’s Spirit,
- adoption into the covenant family of the Church,
- resurrection and new life in Christ.
The body of Christ is one, and Baptism is the bond of unity in Christ. As we are united with Christ through faith, Baptism unites the people of God with each other and with the church of every time and place. Barriers of race, gender, status, and age are transcended. Barriers of nationality, history, and practice are overcome.
Baptism enacts and seals what the Word proclaims: God’s redeeming grace offered to all people. Baptism is God’s gift of grace and also God’s summons to respond to that grace. Baptism calls us to:
Baptism gives the church its identity and commission for ministry to the world. God’s faithfulness needs no renewal. Human faithfulness to God needs repeated renewal. Baptism calls for decision at every subsequent stage of life’s way, both for those whose Baptism attends their profession of Faith and for those who are nurtured from childhood within the family of faith.
Baptism joins believers to the church, and is for the children of members of the church (Acts 2:37-39, Acts 16:25-34). Children of believers may be baptized without delay, but without haste. Baptism, whether administered to those who profess their faith or to those presented for Baptism as children, is one and the same Sacrament.
The Baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. The Baptism of those who enter the covenant upon their own profession of faith witnesses to the truth that God’s gift of grace calls for fulfillment in a response of faithfulness.
Baptism is received only once. As there is one Body, there is one Baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6). The American Church in Paris recognizes all Baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches.
Baptisms for adults and children take place throughout the year normally on the third Sunday of the month and during one of the three worship services (09h00, 11h00, 13h30), but must be scheduled in advance.
If you would like to talk more about your baptism, or the baptism or dedication of your child(ren), please call the church office 01 40 62 05 00 to request a baptism request form and schedule a meeting with one of the pastors.