Friday, February 12, 2010


As a minister of the Word and Sacraments in the Presbyterian Church of Australia I have been given the great honour and privilege of baptizing my little grandson at the Presbyterian church my daughter and her husband attend. Much of my own and extended family will be there to witness this grand event as we, along with the rest of the congregation, officially welcome this infant into the Lord’s church.

Since baptism is a sign and seal of God’s promise of salvation to all who believe, I will baptize my grandson with water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit by sprinkling him with water. Sprinkling is Scriptural: See eg, Dr Francis Nigel Lee’s Sprinkling is Scriptural – A Reply to the Baptist Adamthwaite’s “Baptism is Immersion”

“Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.... It be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance!” Westminster Confession, 28:3-5.

Baptism does not regenerate, but the Holy Spirit certainly does! Hence the Father's promise of the Holy Spirit with the shed blood of Jesus as sign-ified in Covenant Baptism. As wax with the stamp of the king’s sign-et ring sealed an official letter, so the water with the name of the Triune God affixed on the baby’s head sign-ifies and seals the promise God makes to believers and their children – including my grandson.

May we all be reminded to improve on our baptism! (See Westminster Larger Catechism 167 below)

WLC Q. 165 What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into Himself, of remission of sins by His blood, and regeneration by His Spirit; of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.

WLC Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to Him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

Q. 167. How is our baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and endeavouring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.

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