In 2015, the Board of Faith Life (now called the National Faith and Life Team, or NFLT) surveyed MB leaders across Canada to determine their support for, and concerns about, the MB Confession Faith. In 2018, based on responses to that survey, the Board began a process of revising Article 8 “Christian Baptism.” The process included feedback and discussion across the country through provincial conference conventions, a national summit, regional clusters of pastors, online comments, and more. The revision has been met with widespread affirmation; and the NFLT believes the revised Article is ready for inclusion in the Confession of Faith.
Notice of Motion
That the following revision of Article 8 “Christian Baptism” be accepted for inclusion in the Confession of Faith of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
Current Article 8 Christian Baptism
We believe that when people receive God’s gift of salvation, they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of having been cleansed from sin. It is a covenant with the church to walk in the way of Christ through the power of the Spirit.
Baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sins, received forgiveness of sins, died with Christ to sin, been raised to newness of life, and received the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of the believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church. Baptism is also a pledge to serve Christ according to the gifts given to each person.
Baptism is for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and commit themselves to follow Christ in obedience as members of the local church. Baptism is for those who understand its meaning, are able to be accountable to Christ and the church, and voluntarily request it on the basis of their faith response to Jesus Christ.
We practice water baptism by immersion administered by the local church. Local congregations may receive into membership those who have been baptized by another mode on their confession of faith. Persons who claim baptism as infants and wish to become members of a Mennonite Brethren congregation are to receive baptism on their confession of faith.
Proposed Article 8 Christian Baptism
We believe that when people respond in faith to God’s invitation to repentance, new life, and discipleship, God calls each of them to receive water baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Baptism is an act of obedience which testifies that God in Christ has forgiven and cleansed a person from sin, freed them from the power of sin and death, given them the Holy Spirit, and united them with the body of Christ. Baptism by immersion is a powerful testimony that a believer has been washed by the Spirit, has died with Christ to sin and has been raised to newness of life.
In baptism the believer publicly bears witness to their own commitment to follow Jesus as Lord, serving Jesus as a covenant member of the local congregation in God’s Kingdom mission.
Baptism is the God-given means by which the local church family incorporates followers of Jesus.
Baptism is for all those who repent and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, have received the Holy Spirit, and pledge to live as disciples who obey Jesus in all of life. Baptism is for those who understand its basic meaning, are able to be accountable to Christ and the church, and request it voluntarily.
The local church baptizes believers by immersion and joyfully welcomes and disciples them into full participation as members of the congregation. The local church also joyfully welcomes Christian disciples baptized elsewhere, regardless of mode, if they were baptized upon their own confession of faith.
The local church invites those who claim baptism prior to their own confession of faith and who desire to be members of a Mennonite Brethren congregation to receive baptism as a testimony to their own faith.