What do Methodists believe about the baptism of children and adults? The following is a brief history of the Methodist church as well as information on this denomination's baptism and salvation beliefs.
History of the Methodist Church in America
While the history of the Methodist Church dates back to the earlier 1700s, when John and Charles Wesley led a historic religious revival movement in the Church of England, America's Methodist origins began in America in the 1760s in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Many years later, a historic event occurred on April 23, 1968, at the General Conference in Dallas, Texas. This event witnessed the uniting of The Evangelical United Brethren Church with the the Methodist Church as Bishop Reuben H. Mueller and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke joined hands. This symbolic joining of hands gave birth to a new denomination comprised of the two churches which is now known as The United Methodist Church. The combining of these two churches made the newly formed denomination one of the largest Protestant churches in the world, with roughly 11 million members.
Over the years, the Methodist church as experienced some changes, but it continues to follow the tradition of Methodism, The Evangelical Association, and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, according to The United Methodist Church website.
- Women's roles-One of the most noted changes is the role of women in the church. Today, a number of women hold important positions within The Church, including ordained ministers, district superintendents, bishops, and other positions of leadership.
- Ethnicity-The Church has resolved to build a reputation of a community which welcomes everyone, regardless of his or her gender, race, or ethnic background.
What Do Methodists Believe about Baptism of Children and Adults?
What do Methodists believe about baptism? The official doctrine of The United Methodist Church in regards to baptism is this: Baptism represents believers' repentance and forgiveness of sins. It also signifies a new birth and the beginning of a person's Christian discipleship.
The following points are typically referred to when the question, "What do Methodists believe about baptism?" is asked.
- Because young children are considered to be heirs of God's kingdom and believed to be under the atonement of Jesus Christ, they are thought of as acceptable subjects for baptism. In other words, baptism is symbolic of God's intentions for them. As they mature, they will hopefully be led to receive their salvation through their profession of faith.
- Baptism, along with communion, is considered a sacred symbol that affirms a Christian's beliefs and signifies the acceptance of God's gifts through the Savior.
- The United Methodist Church has not designated a set rule about how baptism is performed, although in most cases, baptism involves the sprinkling of water on a person's head.
- The Methodist Church seeks to welcome everyone at the communion table, including children and adults, members and non-members.
- The Methodist Church acknowledges "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins," according to the Nicene Creed.
The United Methodist Church believes in welcoming others into its community by eschewing the following: "…lead with our hearts, keep our minds open, and welcome everyone through our doors." If you believe that the Methodist Church might be the right fit for your family, then visit a local congregation. Many churches often feature classes for new members and new converts, as well as those who are simply curious about the history, beliefs, and traditions of this denomination.
For more questions regarding the Methodist belief on baptism, salvation, and other doctrines, visit The United Methodist Church.