Table of Contents
This Order for the Administration of the Sacrament of Baptism to Adults derives primarily from the 1946 edition of the PCUSA’s Book of Common Worship. Some minor changes have been made to the original, including: (1) All Scripture quotations have been updated to reflect the NAS95 translation, (2) One or two antiquated expressions have been modernized, (3) One complete paragraph of dubious sacramental language has been omitted from the “Prayer of Consecration,” (4) and the baptismal vows themselves have been adapted to accord with the particularities of Clearnote Church, Bloomington’s membership requirements as defined by her bylaws.
Order for the Administration of the Sacrament of Baptism to Adults
The Minister shall invite the candidate(s) for Baptism to come forward.
The person(s) to be baptized shall stand before the Minister, who shall say:
Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Words of Institution
Dearly beloved, listen to the words of the institution of the holy Sacrament of Baptism. Jesus said to His disciples:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The Apostle Peter also, on the Day of Pentecost, called upon the people, saying:
“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
The Minister shall then say to the Person to be baptized:
Doubt not, therefore, but earnestly believe, that truly repenting and coming unto Him by faith, He will number you among His people, and that this Baptism with water in His name shall be unto you the sign and seal of the washing away of your sins, your union with Christ, your regeneration by His Holy Spirit, and your engagement to be the Lord’s.
Dearly beloved, you are now faithfully, on your part, in the presence of God and of this congregation, to answer the following questions:
Question: Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord: and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life? (If so, say, “I do”)
Question: Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inerrant Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
Question: Do you confess your need of the forgiveness of sins and with a humble and contrite heart put your whole trust in the mercy of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?
Question: Do you promise to make diligent use of the means of grace, to continue in the peace and fellowship of the people of God, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit to be Christ’s faithful disciple to your life’s end?
Question: Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to heed its discipline?
Question: Do you desire to be baptized in this faith and to be received into membership in Christ’s Church?
The Minister shall ask current members of the church to stand and respond to the following question:
Question: Do we, the members of this congregation, welcome these disciples, who have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ, and promise by our fellowship to strengthen their ties with the Household of God? (If so, say, “We do”)
The Minister shall say:
Let us pray.
Prayer of Consecration
Almighty and everlasting God, whose blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord has ordained this holy Sacrament: Mercifully look upon us we ask You, who are met together in His name, and ratify in heaven that which, by His appointment, we do upon the earth.
Set apart this water from a common to the sacred use to which it is appointed and grant that Your servant(s), now to be baptized with it, may receive the fullness of Your grace, and ever remain in the number of Your faithful people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Minister shall proceed to baptize the candidate(s), clearly stating their name(s), and reciting over them the following formula:
I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, descend upon you, and dwell with you forever. Amen.
When this is finished, the Minister shall say:
Let us pray.
Prayer of Intercession
Almighty and eternal God, strengthen this your servant, we ask You, with the Holy Spirit the Comforter, and daily increase in him Your manifold gifts of grace: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and keep him in Your mercy unto life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Defend him, O Lord, with Your heavenly grace; that he may continue as Yours forever; and daily increase in Your Holy Spirit more and more, until he arrives in Your everlasting kingdom.
The God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory, confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Then, facing the Baptized, the Minister shall say:
Admission to the Table
Forasmuch as you have made confession of your faith, I do now, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Head of the church, admit you to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and to the fellowship of Christ’s Church.
Then, the Minister shall give this Charge:
And now as a member of Christ’s Church, go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no man evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; heal the afflicted; honor all men; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.
A Service of Infant Baptism
Pastor: The baptism or dedication of a child at Clearnote Church is a precious moment for our church family. Through this service both the parents and congregation make a public commitment to God to raise this child within His Family, the Church, and to tenderly care for, discipline, and teach this child the truths of Scripture.
It is an act in which the parents give this child back to God, recognizing that he is the Lord’s gift to them. Of all our children, we say with Hannah: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:27, 28).
As participants in this service of baptism, our church family pledges that we will be responsible for this child. Therefore, each of us shares in the duty to care for him and to assist his parents in his instruction.
Holy Baptism shows us: First: That we and our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore cannot enter into the Kingdom of God unless we are born again.
Second: It witnesses to us and guarantees the washing away of our sins through Jesus Christ and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
And Third: Since every covenant is made up of two separate parts, therefore through baptism we are warned by God towards new obedience: that we cling to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that we trust in Him and love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength; that we cast off the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life.
And, although our young children do not yet understand these things, they are nevertheless to be baptized; for just the way they are right now, without even being aware of it, they stand condemned in their representative, Adam; so also, though, are they received unto grace in Christ, as God speaks to us through Abraham, the father of all that believe, saying: “I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy offspring after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee and to thy offspring after thee” (Genesis 17:7).
To this the apostle Peter also testifies, saying, “For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him.” And Paul told the Philippian jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house” (Acts 2:39; Acts 16:31).
Therefore, in the Old Testament God formally commanded His people to circumcise their children, and this was a guarantee of the covenant and of the righteousness of faith; and therefore Christ also hugged the little children, laid his hands upon them, and blessed them, saying: “For of such is the kingdom of God.”
Since, then, the sacrament of baptism which was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ has taken the place of circumcision, we baptize those who are, by their parents, heirs of the Kingdom and Covenant of God.
Nevertheless, grace and salvation are not so inseparably connected to this ordinance of baptism that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it. Neither is it true that all that are baptized are undoubtedly saved. The effectiveness of baptism is not tied to that moment of time when it is administered. Yet, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really displayed and given by the Holy Ghost to such (whether adults or children) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.
By virtue of being the child of believing parents, this child, because of God’s covenant promises, is distinguished from the children of the world and is recognized as a member of God’s Household, the Church, through baptism. But this sacrament is not sufficient to make him continue to be a Church member when he becomes an adult.
When he has reached the age of discretion, he becomes personally responsible for obedience to the covenant—he himself must have faith, repent, and obey. He also must make public confession of his faith in Christ. And if he doesn’t obey God in this manner, then he becomes a covenant-breaker and, consequently, he then becomes subject to the discipline of the Church.
QUESTIONS TO THE PARENTS
Pastor: In presenting your child for baptism, you announce your faith in Jesus Christ and show you want to study Him, know Him, serve Him, and love Him as one of His chosen disciples. Do you reaffirm your own faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?
Parent(s): We do.
Pastor: Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
Parent(s): We do.
Pastor: Do you claim God’s covenant promises in his behalf and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, as you do for your own?
Parent(s): We do.
Pastor: Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon God’s grace, that you will seek to set before him a godly example, that you will pray with and for him, that you will teach him the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the tools which God has given us, to bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
Parent(s): We do.
QUESTIONS TO THE CONGREGATION
Pastor: (congregation stands) Our Lord Jesus Christ ordered us to teach those who are baptized. Do you, the people of this church, promise to tell this child the good news of the Gospel, to help him know all that Christ commands, and by your fellowship, to strengthen his family ties with the Household of God?
Congregation: We do.
Pastor: Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child, so that in due time he may confess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
Congregation: We do.
Pastor: Parents, please name this child.
Parents: The child is named…
Pastor: (Child’s name), child of the Covenant, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and dwell in your heart forever. Amen.
CHARGE TO PARENTS
Pastor: Beloved, I charge you to teach your child to read the Word of God, to instruct him in the principles of our holy religion as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, to pray with him and for him, to set an example of piety and Godliness before him, and to endeavor by every method which God has given us to bring up your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You are to teach him that he is a part of the Church, under its care and subject to its government and discipline.
Pastor: Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who of your infinite mercy and goodness has promised you will not be only our God, but also the God and Father of our children: humbly we ask you for this child, that your Spirit may be upon him and dwell in him forever. Take him, we ask you, under your Fatherly care and protection; guide and sanctify him both in body and soul. Allow him to grow in wisdom as in stature, and in favor with God and man. Abundantly enrich him with your heavenly grace: bring him safely through the perils of childhood, deliver him from the temptations of youth, and lead him to witness a good confession and to persevere in it to the end.
Guide these parents with your counsel as they train and teach their child; and help them to lead their household into an ever-increasing knowledge of Christ. We commend to your care all the children and families of this congregation. Help us in our homes to honor Thee, and by love to serve one another. And to thy name be all blessing and glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This order for the administration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is our attempt to modernize the Scottish reformer John Knox’s own order, which he, in turn, adapted from John Calvin’s Geneva liturgy during the time of his exile there. This is something of a work in progress, and since we are likely at times to make significant changes, we encourage interested parties to drop in occasionally for the latest version (current as of 11.20.12).
Order for the Administration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
[Following the prayer after the sermon, the minister shall give this exhortation—]
Dearly beloved,—we are about to celebrate the Holy Communion of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, so let us consider how the Apostle Paul exhorts every one of us to examine ourselves before we eat that bread and drink that cup. For just as the benefit is great, if we partake of the Supper with a repentant heart and a living faith (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink His blood; and dwell with Christ and Christ in us; we become one with Christ and Christ with us), so is the danger great if we receive this meal in an unworthy manner. For Scripture says that he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Therefore I warn those of you who are not baptized members in good standing of a Bible-believing church (not under discipline), or who are currently living in any sin against your knowledge or conscience, not to profane this holy table. This meal is not for you.
And yet, I don’t say this to exclude any repentant person, no matter how serious their sin, but only to exclude those who continue in sin and refuse to repent.
Examine your consciences, therefore, to know whether you truly repent of your sins, and whether, by trusting in God’s mercy, and seeking your salvation in Jesus Christ alone, you are resolved to pursue holiness, and to live in peace and love with all men.
If you have this testimony in your hearts before God, then be assured that your sins are forgiven through the perfect merit of Jesus Christ our Lord; and I bid you, in His name, come to His holy table.
And although you feel that you do not have perfect faith, and fail to serve God as you ought; yet if, by God’s grace, you are sincerely sorry for your sins and infirmities, and earnestly desire to fight against unbelief, and to keep His all commandments, then be assured that your remaining imperfections do not prevent you from being received of God in mercy; He himself making you worthy partakers of this heavenly food.
For we do not come to this table as righteous in ourselves, but we come seeking our life in Christ, acknowledging that we live in the midst of death. Let us, then, look upon this sacrament as a remedy for those who are sick, and consider that the worthiness our Lord requires of us is only that we be truly sorry for our sins, and find our joy and salvation in Him. United with Him who is holy, by faith, even Christ Jesus our Lord, we are accepted of the Father, and invited to partake of these HOLY THINGS WHICH ARE FOR HOLY PERSONS.
Words of Institution
Therefore, beloved of the Lord, listen to the words of the institution of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, as they were delivered by the apostle Paul (1Cor 11:23-26): “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread (take bread in hand) and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper (take cup in hand) saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Dearly beloved,—You have heard the manner in which the Lord instituted His Holy Supper.
Taking and setting apart these elements, by the Word and prayer, to be sacramentally the body and blood of Christ, we must be fully persuaded in our hearts of the mystery of His holy incarnation—God manifest in the flesh; that He was chosen by the Father to be Mediator, sent by God into the world, assumed our flesh and blood.
That having taken on our nature, He bore our sins and carried our sorrows, and bowed His head in death, that we might be accepted of God and raised to life in Him;—and this one offering up of Himself, once for all, we are to commemorate and proclaim in the breaking of bread, with a spiritual sacrifice of all possible praise unto God.
And as the Lord ordained that we are to eat of this bread and drink of this cup, to assure us of our union with him, and that He gives us His body and His blood to be our meat and our drink unto eternal life, we are not to doubt His goodness, but to be firmly persuaded that He accomplishes spiritually in us all what He exhibits here outwardly in these elements. For the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
And as by His death, resurrection, and ascension, He has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit, which, dwelling in Him as the Head, and in us as His members, unites us all in one body, we are to receive this Supper in brotherly love and mindful of the communion of saints. For we, being many, are one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. We are to rejoice in the holy fellowship wherein we are joined by the faithful patriarchs and prophets of old; the holy apostles and evangelists; the blessed martyrs and confessors; the redeemed of all ages who have died in the Lord, and now live with Him for evermore; our fathers, our brethren, our children, and those who were as our own souls: believing that though our eyes behold them no more, they have not perished, but that as Jesus died and rose again, even so them also, which sleep in Jesus, God will bring with Him; and that when the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, we shall meet them again in glory and joy.
And now, that we may fulfill the Savior’s institution with righteousness and joy, let us, in celebrating this sacred service, follow His holy example in word and action.
As the Lord Jesus, the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, I take these elements to be set apart to the holy use for which He has appointed them; and as He gave thanks and blessed, let us now draw near to the throne of grace, and present to God our prayers and thanksgivings.
Let us pray—Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who admits Your people into such wonderful communion, that, partaking of the body and blood of Your dear Son, they should dwell in Him, and He in them; we unworthy sinners, approaching Your presence, and beholding Your glory, despise ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes. We have grievously sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have broken our past vows, we have dishonored Your holy name, and are unworthy of the least of all Your mercies.
Yet now, most gracious Father, have mercy upon us; for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, forgive us all our sins; purify us from all uncleanness in spirit and in flesh; enable us heartily to forgive others as we as ask You to forgive us; and grant that we may hereafter serve You in newness of life, to the glory of Your holy name.
Pastor: O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world:
People: Have mercy upon us.
Pastor: O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world:
People: Grant us Thy peace.
O God, who by the blood of Your dear Son, has opened for us a new and living way into the holiest of holies, grant unto us, we pray, the assurance of Your mercy, and sanctify us by Your Holy Spirit, that, drawing near to you with a pure heart and undefiled conscience, we may offer unto You a sacrifice in righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pastor: Lift up you hearts!
Congregation:We lift them up to the Lord!
[Elders stand to be served. Once they have supped and found their stations, say to the congregation:]
The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! You may now come and eat.
Exhortation After the Meal
Beloved in the Lord, since the Lord has now fed our souls at His table, let us praise His holy name with thanksgiving, who has not spared His own Son, but delivered Him for us all, and given us all things with Him: who demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Let us therefore show forth His praise form this time forth for evermore, glorifying God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are His; ever walking worthy of His grace, and of our high calling in Christ Jesus.
Prayer After the Meal
Let us pray—Almighty and ever-living God, we heartily thank You for how you have bent low to feed us with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and have assured us by this meal of Your favor and goodness toward us, and have given us this tangible sign that we are members incorporate in the mystical body of Your Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people: and are also heirs through hope of Your everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of Your dear Son. And we humbly ask, O heavenly Father, that you preserve us in that holy fellowship, causing us to do all such good works as You have prepared for us to walk in, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom, with You and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
Offering for the Poor