Littleton Christian Church and the Sacraments
What does this church believe about Baptism?
Baptism visibly and tangibly demonstrates the gospel story by connecting us to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river, he was being baptized on behalf of all his people, past and present. Now, instead of crossing the Jordan to enter the “promised land,” the people of God put their faith in Jesus to enter the true Promised land.
We believe there is one baptism: His! Jesus’ baptism into death was merely foreshadowed in the Jordan river but literally experienced on the cross. Now, when his followers and their children are baptized, they are proclaiming that his death and resurrection has made a way for them to live in the true promised land, the Kingdom of God, which knows no geographical boundaries.
In the words of Christian Philosopher James K.A. Smith, “Baptism isn’t primarily a way for us to show our faith and devotion. As with worship more generally, God is the agent here. Baptism is a sacrament precisely because it is a means of grace, a way that God’s gracious initiative marks and seals us. It is the sign that God is a covenant-keeping Lord who fulfills his promises even when we don’t. This is why, since the time of the early church, households have been baptized… and why… believing parents present their children for baptism. As a sacrament, baptism is not a bottom-up expression of our faith but a top-down symbol of God’s gracious promises. He chose us before we could believe; he loves us before we even know how.”
Because baptism is completed by Christ and is a promise that is kept by God, we believe it honors God to only baptize someone one time. If you were baptized as a young child and can’t even remember it, let that remind you of the fact that Jesus died for you long before you were born. He does the work! And if you now have come to believe in and follow him, consider this: your baptism worked! The promise that God made to you before you were born, through all the ups and downs and twists and turns, has come to fruition in your faith today. His faithfulness initiates our faithfulness.
I would like to be baptized or to have one of my kids baptized. What do I do?
Littleton Christian Church offers baptism on the last Sunday of every odd month (January, March, May, July, September, November). All you need to do is contact pastor Mike or one of the elders.
Since I can’t be “re-baptized,” is there anything I can do to demonstrate my commitment to Christ?
Yes! In John 13, Jesus dressed himself as a servant and washed his disciples’ feet. Peter, the spokesman for the disciples, was troubled: it was improper for a superior to wash an inferior’s feet! Jesus responded, “unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Just like you, Peter wanted to be joined with Jesus, so he responded: “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and head!” In other words, wash all of me! Re-baptize me! Jesus said to him, “one who has bathed (been baptized) does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean.”
In this scene, Jesus gave his followers a great gift: ceremonial footwashing is a way for people to re-discover and refresh their baptism. It shows that we will submit to our King Jesus, who leads us by serving us. On any baptism Sunday, we will also offer foot washing to those who want to formally remember their baptism.
What does this church believe about Communion?
Communion is an opportunity to celebrate and participate in Jesus’ victorious, saving work on the cross. Think of the meal as a doorway through which God brings us into his presence and enters into ours. Through his death, which we proclaim at the table, Jesus made a way for us to dwell with God and abide in Christ.
Communion is among the most precious tools Jesus gave to his followers. It gives us a tangible way to see, touch, smell, and taste him. It reminds us that he came not as an intangible spirit, but as a flesh-and-blood human being. Communion demonstrates the gospel - it is a sign of Jesus’ self-giving death for us.
Communion also brings us together. It is the feast of our King, but it is not reserved for the rich and powerful. Jesus said, “all who are thirsty, come and drink.” He offers himself as the bread of life, as living water, and anyone who comes to him in faith may participate.
Should my kids participate in Communion?
We invite elementary-aged kids back into the “big room” for communion on the second Sunday of every month. If you would like your younger kids to join, please let us know.
If your children have been baptized, they should participate in communion. It is critical, however, that you as a parent explain the bread and the cup to your child. Jesus gave his life for them, which means one day they will feast with Jesus in eternal joy. Don’t let that reality become an empty ritual.
If your children have not been baptized because you are waiting until they decide, the consistent practice is to wait until after they have been baptized. We encourage all children with at least one believing parent to be baptized, and then to participate in this feast! Talk to pastor Mike or one of the elders if you’d like to take this step with your family. We offer baptism on the last Sunday of the odd months.
Where can I go to learn more? (further reading)
The first place to go is to the Bible. Some of the great passages on Baptism are Matthew 3:12-17 (the baptism of Jesus), Matthew 28:18-20 (Jesus’ great commission where he commands his followers to baptize), John 13:1-11 (where Jesus washes his disciples’ feet), Acts 2:37-42 (the first mass baptism of believers), Acts 16:16-34, and Romans 6:1-14.
Some of the great passages on Communion are Matthew 26:20-30; Luke 22:14-23; 6:25-59; 7:37-39; John 15; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 11:17-34; and Revelation 19:1-10.
Another great resource is the Westminster Confession of Faith, chs. 27-29.
Finally, we recommend a small book called Infant Baptism: What Christian Parents Should Know by John P. Sartelle.
For those interested in how baptism and communion fit into our larger goals, the book You Are What You Love, by James K.A. Smith, has been a very important guide for LCC.