Introducing the Anglican Church: 5. Baptism

 We are looking at some of the key teachings of the Anglican Church as found in the 39 Articles, one of the foundation documents of the Anglican Church of Australia. This is a simple modern English version (the original 16th and 17th century version is in the Prayer Book).


Article 27. About Baptism

Baptism is not only a sign that shows that a person is a Christian, and which distinguishes Christians from those who are not baptised. It is also a sign of regeneration, or new birth. The sign of baptism is like a letter of promise so that those who receive baptism rightly are grafted into the church. The promises of forgiveness of sin and our adoption to be children of God by the Holy Spirit are represented and made sure by the visible sign.  Faith is confirmed. Grace is increased because of prayer to God. The baptism of young children is to continue because it agrees with the sacrament Christ ordained.

The Anglican church baptises both adults and children.

Baptism does not make a person a Christian because of the ceremony. Baptism is a sign of God’s promise of forgiveness and new birth. When it is received by faith it becomes the public means by which a person joins the church. It marks a person as a born again follower of Jesus.

Baptism strengthens our faith because it reminds us of the promises of the gospel. That is, it is about new birth, forgiveness, adoption, and being grafted into the church. God’s grace comes to us through this sacrament because it is like a letter of promise. When we believe what the sign promises (what Baptism represents) we receive the promises. Baptism does not work because of the outward form of the ceremony, or because the grace of God is connected with the water. It works because people believe the promises of the gospel.

The Anglican church teaches that the baptism of infants is consistent with the Bible’s teaching about baptism. The Article does not go so far as to say that children must be baptised, only that if they are, it is true baptism.

The faith exercised in infant baptism can be thought of as the faith of the child expressed through the faith of the parents.