At Salem, we believe that baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is God's gift of grace, forgiveness, and salvation FOR YOU. You don't have to have your life together or be a perfect person to be baptized. All you have to do is trust that God will keep his promise, because as sinners, we fail on our part of the promise again and again. That's why we need God's grace and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ.
Because we believe baptism is a gift, there is no reason to wait to receive it. That is why we welcome parents to have their children baptized, so that they can share God's gift with their family. We DO NOT teach that baptism is a celebration of OUR acceptance of Jesus or a right of passage to enter a higher status in a religious organization. We DO teach that baptism is about God's acceptance of US in light of the suffering and death of his Son Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world. Therefore, baptism is about God's relationship with the baptized. Baptism is about what God does in the life of the baptized. Our life is a response to the new life we receive in baptism.
We recognize the baptism of all Christian churches done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the one and only baptism needed in one's life. Whether the person is baptized as a child or as an adult, that gift is one in the same. In our church, if an infant or young child is baptized, the parents and sponsors make a promise to raise the child to participate in the relationship that God has with them. If an older child or adult is baptized, they themselves make the promise to participate in this relationship. We take these promises very seriously:
One might say "How can I possibly do all that?" To be honest, we all fail to keep these promises. But we believe that God is gracious, loving and forgiving because of his Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and rose again. In response to that, we pick up the pieces and try again, trusting that, despite our failure, God will never fail us. Therefore, baptism does not place the expectation on us to be perfect people, but instead it presents us with the assurance that God loves us and will always be our gracious and loving Father even though we are far from perfect. In baptism, God's receiving of us is stronger than our receiving of him; God's "yes" is bigger than our "yes". That is what we celebrate.
If you or someone you know is not baptized and would like to be, our pastor would be happy to visit with you about it and help you to understand how this gift of God's love is received.
*You'll find a copy of the Baptism Request Form in the Downloads section of this page. You can open/download it to fill it out digitally and e-mail to us, or you may print the form and drop it off in the Salem office or mail in.