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Baptism & Ordination

It is vital that all Christians today rediscover their calling as ministers of the gospel in baptism and to engage afresh with the challenge of mission in a society where most do not know or understand the Christian story. A church will either thrive or die according to people's response to this single issue.

Baptism in the early Church
  • First, care was taken to determine whether the inquirer was sincere in intentions
  • Candidates journeyed into deeper personal commitment during a two to three year period of formation
  • The final Lent before baptism - candidates were elected by the congregation for baptism
  • There was an increase in intensity as candidates neared the time of baptism
  • Baptism involved a three hour long liturgy - part of the Easter vigil
  • They joined a new family, were given a new identity, a new name and a new white robe
  • They entered into a simple and generous lifestyle often changing job e.g. leaving military service
  • Indelibility - once and for all

Ordination in the early Church
  • A 10 to 15 minute event within the liturgy of a normal Sunday Eucharist

We seem to have reversed the whole thing in most ot the Church today - one consequence of Christendom

Ministry has become the possession of presbyter rather than the ministry of the whole body of Christ (royal priesthood of believers). It is the ordained rather than the baptised who are understood as entering into ministry in and of the church.

Building Kingdom-shaped communities
  © New Way of Being Church 2007