Baptism--Reformed churches

We promised: faithful ways the congregation can live out its baptismal covenant to families

Author
Allan L Purtill
Abstract
The purpose of this project is to study the ways a congregation can prepare families for infant baptism so that participation of these families in congregational life increases. The study will demonstrate the relationship between preparation for baptism and participation in congregational life. Research considers a theological history of baptism in the early church, and a case study of Hopewell Presbyterian Church's baptism records and data from a congregational survey on baptism beliefs and practices. The project proposes that congregations invest in forming relationships around children and their families prior to baptism in order to increase active participation.

Embracing biblical baptism: a review of the salient issues so that elders may effectively defend the doctrine of covenant baptism

Author
Gary R Cox
Abstract
This thesis seeks to address how one can effectively disciple a non-paedobaptist believer in understanding and embracing covenantal baptism. It addresses how one can effectively train church officers to clearly answer the questions that a non-Reformed lay person might have regarding paedobaptism. It seeks to address the issue from the whole counsel of God's word, and not just individual texts or verses. As such, it spans a large body of historical and theological writings, beginning with the unity of the Bible and culminating in answers to commonly asked questions by those who do not embrace the baptism of covenant infants.

The washing of regeneration: baptismal theology among ministerial candidates in the Presbyterian Church in America

Author
Craig R Higgins
Abstract
This study examines the baptismal theology of those who are preparing for ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America. Biblical exegesis demonstrates that baptism, though multivalent, is the rite of entrance into the new community established by the redeeming work of Christ. An historical survey of the Reformed tradition, giving special attention to the work of John Calvin and the documents of the Westminster Assembly, concludes that the Reformed tradition has held to a highly developed baptismal theology, seeing the sacrament not as a mere symbol but as an instrumental means of grace. Baptismal theology has, however, become a source of debate and division, often focused on the question of "baptismal regeneration." This thesis asserts that the church can move beyond these debates by the renewal of a rich, instrumental baptismal theology--a renewal essential to the church's missional identity.

The significance of baptism as taught specifically in the Providence Christian Reformed Church and generally. . .

Author
Jack Van Marion
Abstract
This project explores the ground for baptism in a local congregation of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada and more generally among CRC congregations in North America. Drawing on biblical teaching about the meaning of baptism, the project examines five baptismal motifs and responds to common objections to infant baptism. The project advocates a posture of grace toward those who have second thoughts about the Reformed understanding of baptism, and calls for greater visibility of baptism in public worship.

The reforming of thought about baptism in a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Author
Rodger M Crooks
Abstract
The author's aim was to help his congregation become more Presbyterian in their thinking about baptism. By means of surveys, informal discussions and formal counseling, he discovered what his congregation thought about baptism. By interviewing local ministers about their views on baptism, he discovered why some in his congregation held non-Presbyterian views on baptism. The author preached four sermons, outlining the Presbyterian understanding of the basis, subjects, meaning and mode of baptism, and compiled a workbook on baptism, which was used in counseling parents who wanted their children baptised. A final survey indicated some success in fulfilling the author's aim.

Tracing our traditions: the story behind the sacraments

Author
Mary Alyce Hansen
Abstract
The study examines Reformed beliefs and practices concerning baptism and communion from Bible times to the present day. It responds to questions church members often ask about the meaning and origin of the two sacraments. Chapters I, III-IX present the handbook that is used in an adult education course in two separate Presbyterian churches in Omaha, Nebraska. Chapter II describes both field tests. Pre- and post-evaluations measure the information learned and the appreciation gained for what Presbyterians believe and practice. The project encourages that every avenue be pursued to talk with adults and children about the historical understandings of the sacraments in order to encourage responsible change and reformation within the denomination.

Training elders for oversight of infant baptism in the PCUSA

Author
R Blair Moffett
Abstract
The purpose of the project is to give Presbyterian elders a better understanding of baptism and to provide a design for decision-making which the elders can use in interviews with parents who request baptism for their children. Pastors in three Presbyterian churches lead their elders in field testing of the design. Participants take pre- and post-tests and provide concluding evaluations which show significant increases in knowledge and understanding of baptism. Testing the design in churches with the pastors as leaders demonstrates that the program can be used effectively by others. A leader's guide with lesson plans and suggestions regarding methodology is included.

Ministering toward congregational maturity: a reformed perspective

Author
Thomas P Eggebeen
Abstract
The purpose of the thesis is to provide: 1) insights into the relevance of the Reformed tradition for congregational life; 2) examples and analysis of programs useful in creating a Reformed consciousness; and 3) a critique of fundamentalism. The focus of each chapter is as follows: 1) the theology and practice of infant baptism as the beginning point of a Reformed ministry; 2) spiritual confidence as the chief result of living within the Reformed tradition; 3) the reality and function of doubt within the believer's life; and 4) basic thoughts for Reformed spirituality.

Do you intend your child to be his disciple? Helping parents to fulfill the vows which they make at the time of their child's baptism

Author
Richard R Boyer
Abstract
In the Presbyterian Church (USA) parents routinely bring their infant children for baptism, making vows on behalf of their children. One such vow is the parental intention that the child become Jesus' disciple, obey His word, and His love. Yet we have historically provided little guidance for the fulfillment of this vow. I designed and conducted a nine-week class to assist these parents. The class presented strategies for teaching children about the Bible, Christian worship, prayer, church traditions, and the Christian life. The participants reported increased confidence in their ability to provide such teaching for their children.
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