I’m posting a two-part series on the two ordinances called Sacraments by Protestants, Baptism and Communion. Download my paper on Baptism, including a discussion of the often misunderstood Infant Baptism.
Download A Wesleyan View of Baptism
“What does baptism mean, and why is it important?” It has been my experience in pastoral ministry that there are many misunderstandings about Baptism that are unnecessary. I believe that pastors can and should do a better job of teaching the congregations they serve about the meaning of a sacrament so important to the Christian faith. I will base my answers regarding Baptism on Scripture as illuminated by the teaching of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and the current doctrinal stance of The United Methodist Church.
First, Jesus was baptized and commands his disciples to baptize. The Gospels, in Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3, explicitly report the baptism of Jesus, and it is implied in John 1. Then, according to Matthew 28:18-20, “18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” This Great Commission is the basis of Christian missionary activity and the clearest New Testament command, of which I am aware, to baptize… (Download the full paper to read more)
 Matthew 28:18-20, NRSV