The Sacrament of Initiation
Baptism is one of the Sacraments celebrated by the Presbyterian Church. Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian life. The washing with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the sign and seal of a person’s inclusion in the covenant of God’s people and union with the risen Christ. Thus, baptism, whether of an adult or a child, is a response to what God is already doing in that person’s life. This highlights the fundamental Presbyterian conviction that God always takes the initiative in redeeming us and that we are saved by God’s grace through faith. Neither the act of baptism, nor the decision to be baptized, confers salvation; both of these are responses to God’s grace already given and at work in one’s life.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am an adult and not yet baptized. What must I do to be baptized?
The first step is to attend one of Nassau Presbyterian Church’s Inquirers Classes. This is a three-part Sunday morning class in which we talk about the basics of Christian faith, the characteristics and history of the Presbyterian Church, and the meaning of membership at Nassau. For more information on the Inquirers Classes, speak with one of the pastors or visit the Membership page.
After the class, one of the pastors will meet with you for a session of additional baptismal education. Your attendance at the Inquirers Class will provide you with some helpful background for that session. Following your baptismal education, a date will be set for you to be baptized and received into membership during a Sunday worship service.
Is it possible to be baptized but not join the church?
No. As baptism is union with Christ, so it is union with Christ’s body, the church. Baptism is Christ’s gift to those who would be joined to him and promise to follow him as a member of his body, the church. Occasionally we baptize on behalf of another church.
I would like to join Nassau, but I was baptized as a Catholic (or Methodist, Eastern Orthodox, etc.). Do I need to be baptized again?
No. The Presbyterian Church has always placed great emphasis on the unity of the Christian church (Ephesians 4:4). We count anyone who has been baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit a baptized Christian, regardless of the tradition within the Christian church that administered the baptism. You simply need to attend Inquirers Classes and become a member of the church.
How can I arrange for my child to be baptized?
In infant baptism, the parent(s) take the vows on behalf of the child and promise to raise their child in the Christian faith. Similarly, the congregation vows to support the child’s growth in faith. At least one parent must be a baptized Christian and a member of Nassau.
If you are already a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, contact the Rev. Len Scales (Len.Scales@nassauchurch.org or 609-924-0103 x505) and she will schedule the baptism and a baptism class. During the class the pastors will discuss the meaning of baptism with you to ensure that you understand the intention of the vows you will take.
If you are not a member, the first step to having your child baptized is for you to join the church by attending one of our upcoming Inquirers Classes. See our Membership page.