Renewing waters: How United Methodists understand baptism
A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino
Water is important to our life both inside and outside of the church. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
Water sustains life for humans, animals, and plants. We clean with warm water and relax in cool water. We find peace listening to the roar of the ocean or taking a stroll in the rain.
Water is also important to our life in the church.
In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, “we are initiated into Christ’s holy church, … incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit,” the Introduction to the Baptismal Covenant says. “All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.”
Former director of worship resources with Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church the Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards explains, “Baptism is the ordinary means of rebirth and initiation into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Our need for salvation
The Bible teaches that God made human beings in the image of God, and all of creation to be good. Sin caused a “distortion of the image of God in us and the degrading of the whole of creation,” By Water and the Spirit, The United Methodist Church’s official statement on baptism, reports.
In baptism, we reject the power of sin and begin our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ.