With her spiritual heart fully satisfied that in God’s Word He has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation, Mummy was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. Although she was thankful for her “christening” as an infant (as practiced in the Anglican church) she was shown by her Bible teacher that there is only one method of baptism recognized by the Bible: Ephesians 4:5 ” One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Also, that one of the prerequisites for baptism is faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice as the only means of salvation from sin. She realized from her studies that because infants and children cannot experience conversion they do not qualify for baptism. Jesus said “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). In the apostolic church only those who believed were baptized.
Baptism takes place at the “new birth,” not at “infant birth.” This is why believers were baptized “both men and women”(Acts 8:12) Does this mean that babies and children are excluded from the new covenant community? Certainly not! Jesus did not exclude them from His kingdom of grace. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them,” He said “for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them” (Matthew 19:14,15). Believing parents fulfill a vital role in guiding their children into a relationship with Christ that will eventually lead them to baptism. Jesus positive response to the mothers who brought their children to Him to be blessed has led to the practice of child dedication. For this service parents bring their children to church to be presented or dedicated to God.
Repentance is another qualification for baptism (another principle not comprehended by infants and children) “Repent,” said Peter “and let everyone of you be baptized” (Acts 2:38). Instruction in the Word of God produces not only faith but repentance and conversion. In response to God’s call people see their lost condition, confess their sinfulness, submit themselves to God, repent of their sins, accept Christ’s atonement, and consecrate themselves to a new life with Him. Without conversion they cannot enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only through repentance can they experience death to sin-a prerequisite for baptism.
It thrilled Mummy’s heart to be baptized just as Jesus was, by immersion in water. The meaning of the English word baptize comes from the greek verb baptize, which implies immersion, since it is derived from the verb bapto, meaning “to dip in or under.”
After Mummy took her spiritual step, she believed that it was not simply a matter of having one’s name recorded in a church book. She was not isolated; for years, until her body weakened with age she worked as a missionary on our small island, telling others about God’s great love for each of us. Mummy will celebrate her ninetieth birthday in February, God willing, and is still enjoying the fruits of her faithfulness to God. Because of her commitment and a dedicated life to Bible truth, and to her family, my siblings and I also believe in, and practise the beautiful teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16)