early catacomb wall drawing
I’m posting a brief introduction on Baptism from the Covenant Worship Book that describes some of the biblical and theological foundations underneath this sacrament. In a recent teaching (July 12, ’09) I’m sure I left folks with more questions than answers! Though that is not always bad, if is important that everyone knows that we’re eager to discuss those questions and have a clear understanding of how the church sees baptism as a vital part of our discipleship as Christ followers, not just as a beginning but as an on-going paradigm of “being who we really are” in Christ! So please contact me as we prepare for our next baptism. Here’s the article
In Jesus Christ the Word of God was clothed as human flesh (John 1:14). Christians have proclaimed this act of God as a confirmation of God’s promise to send a deliverer and as a conveyance of God’s very own self to humans. Some theologians speak of Jesus as the sacrament of God.
The term sacrament has been used to render the Greek term mystery. As understood in ancient times, the term mystery did not refer to a problem in search of a solution. A mystery was something that had been hidden but then became a public disclosure. In Ephesians 3 St. Paul refers to the mystery that had been hidden—that is, the inclusion of the Gentiles among the people of God—that now had become a public fact. In a more technical sense, a sacrament was a sacred oath a soldier took to Caesar or a security deposit placed before a judge in the Roman court system.
More conventionally, the sacraments have been called outward signs of an inward and invisible grace. Precisely in the administration of the sacraments something goes public, a mystery is disclosed, something is being communicated and something pledged. After Cain had murdered Abel, God put a mark on his forehead confirming a promise that Cain’s life would not be destroyed. God’s promise never to destroy the earth again with a flood was confirmed to Noah by a rainbow. At the circumcision of Isaac at eight days of age, there was confirmed to Abraham and Sarah a promise that through the generations that succeeded them the entire world would be blessed. In that same act a new identity was conveyed and confirmed to Isaac: that he was the first of the generations that would serve God’s plan of universal salvation. Continue Reading…