Many Christians understand the witness of Acts 16, where whole households were baptized (likely including infants and children), to mean baptism is for people of all ages. Baptism of new converts to the faith, as well as infant baptism, has been a common practice among Christians since the third century.
As Mark Stamm, a professor at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, is fond of saying, "We always baptize babies."
What does he mean by that? That we require every baby to be baptized? That we do not baptize children, youth or adults? Or that it's too late to be baptized if you weren't baptized as an infant?
No. He means that at whatever chronological age we are baptized, we are always, at that moment, babies or new creatures in Christ.
United Methodists are glad to baptize people at whatever age or stage they come for baptism. There is no time too soon, and no time too late, to begin one's journey with Christ and life in the community of faith. Baptism marks the beginning of all of that, whenever it may come in our lives.It is unusual, but it is possible, even for a youth or adult to become a baptized member by receiving Christian baptism while another who is a professing member reaffirms vows as your sponsor, committing to walk with you and work with you until you are ready to confess the vows for yourself and become a professing member in The United Methodist Church. Baptism is all about beginnings. Whenever you're ready to begin a life of discipleship to Jesus Christ with the church, and the church is ready to help you take your next steps, that's a good time to be baptized.
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.