Confession of Faith (1902) - Article 4
IV. Concerning Christian Baptism.
¶46. We believe and confess, that Christian baptism is a holy, visible, evangelical, sacred act and ordinance (institution) of Christ commanded by the Lord Himself for a sacred sign of regeneration and embodiment in Him and His church. Holy Baptism in not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but for the honest believer a blessed representation of the purging from the inner sinful uncleanness of the soul by the blood of Christ, through which forgiveness of sin has been received, and the answer of a good conscience toward God. Cf. II., "Conversion." 1 Corinthians 12:27; 1 Peter 3:21; Revelation 1:5.
¶41. The practice of baptism consists in this, that all, that hear the Gospel and in repentance of heart and living faith accept it, on their confession of a new life from God (Colossians 2:12-13) are baptized (immersed) in* water according to the command of Christ: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. - Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:22.
¶48. This command of the Lord the apostles have carried out and thereby many have been brought into the faith and have been baptized, both men and women, as especially on the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem. And they, which gladly received the words of Peter and the other apostles were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts chapters 2, 8, 10, 16.
¶49. The children of believers (Acts 2:39) shall continually be brought before the Lord in prayer by the parents and the church, and shall be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and instructed in the Scriptures according to the measure of their understanding. 1 Timothy 2:1; Matthew 19:13-15; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:15; Luke 2:42. When later they have advanced so far that they can comprehend the calling voice of the holy Gospel, and accept the Word with a repentant heart and take faith in the Lord Jesus, it becomes them unto their own desire and free confession to receive holy baptism, as says the Apostle Paul: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Luke 2:52; Acts 8:5, 6, 12; 10:33-48; 16:14, 15, 31-34; Romans 10:17; John 3:5-8; Matthew 4:1; 2 Timothy 2:19.
¶50. Baptism shall rightfully be administered once in the life of the believer. Ephesians 4:5.
¶51. The believers are bound together through baptism as having died unto sin to walk in the newness of life as taught by the apostle Paul: How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. The believers have in baptism put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). Therefore every one must contribute according to his calling and gifts toward the support and betterment of the body Of Christ in spiritual and temporal things with diligence. Matthew 25:14; Luke 13:13; 1 Corinthians 4:1-10; 1 John 3:17; James 1:27; 2:15-16; 1 John 2:12-14; Colossians 3:18-25; 4:1; Romans 16:1-4; 6; Titus 2:1-10; Matthew 21:15-16; 1 Corinthians ch. 13. As true members of the household of God and children of the kingdom (Matthew 13:38), they shall carefully guard the holy privileges of divine citizenship and duties received of Christ their head and be subject to all the commandments of their King and obedient to them according to His Word: Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded to you. Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 1:22; 2:19-20; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42.
*Compare Matthew 3:11 and John 1:26 according to English Revised and American Revised Versions. "Baptism is administered by immersion in water" (Erklaerung der Menn. Bruedergemeinde vom 7. Mai 1862, und June 1868): "Baptism in the Greek 'baptismos' and in the Latin 'mersio' means that something be entirely dipped into water, until it meet above. Also without doubt, the German word 'Taufe' (baptism) comes from the word 'Tiefe' (depth)". . . . (Dr. Luther, Sermon on Baptism). -- "The word, 'baptizo', 'baptize' means to immerse and the practice of immersion was observed by the early church". (Words of Calvin in De Baptismo). -- In the "Confession of Faith" etc. of Cornelius Ris approved of the Mennonite churches "zur Bonne'' in Amsterdam and many others in the year 1773, we read (by C.H.A. van der Smissen in "Kurzgefaszte Geschichte und Glaubenslehre der Mennoniten") "Article XXV. Concerning water baptism . . . .". "Regarding holy baptism we understand thereby an immersion of the entire body in and under water". Romans 6:4; Matthew 3:16:Acts 8:37-38." But then it says further: "or an abundant sprinkling with the same which latter mode we find generally appropriate in these northern regions, because thereby the same benefits are expressed)". Notice that in this immersion is attested to by three places in Scripture whereas no Scripture is mentioned in this confession for sprinkling. The well-known old Mennonite preacher Jacob Denner (died 1746) was, according to the Mennonite authors, pastor C.H.A. van der Smissen and pastor Berend C. Roosen, preacher of the "Dompelaars" which word signifies "immersion church" in Altona and Friedensstadt, Germany. Menno Simons Treatise on baptism has the title:"Die Christliche Taufe in dem Wasser, erklaert aus dem Worte Gottes (Christian Baptism in water, explained out of the Word of God)." See his "Vollstaendige Werke."
Confession of Faith of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America. American ed. Hillsboro, KS : Mennonite Brethren Pub. House, 1917.
Loewen, Howard John. One Lord, One Church, One Hope, and One God : Mennonite Confessions of Faith. Elkhart, IN. : Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1985.
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