Do you have questions about the meaning of some of the terms and teachings of The United Methodist Church? In this series, we ask clergy to share their understanding of topics. No preaching, just conversation.
In this episode, we asked the Rev. Mike Sluder to talk about the United Methodist differentiation between baptism and confirmation. Sluder is the Director of Connectional Ministries and Conference Secretary of Global Missions with the Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Mike Sluder, Holston Conference: “I’ve been asked several times as a pastor why we have baptism and confirmation at different times, ‘Aren’t they always supposed to be together?’ Well, sometimes they are in our tradition. And we have folks that are baptized and confirmed all at the same time. We don’t believe that they always have to be. There can be a place in time where we’re baptized as an infant and we’re raised in the faith until we come to that point in time when we confirm it. Because infant baptism does not take away the responsibility of an individual to claim and to make strong for themselves that faith. The promises that were made on behalf of them by their parents and by a church that raised them in the faith until they got to the point where they said, ‘It’s not my mom’s faith anymore. It’s not my preacher’s faith. It’s not my Sunday school teacher’s faith. It’ s mine. I want to confirm, I want to make strong, my commitment for Jesus Christ.’ So baptism and confirmation must always be together in one life, but not always together at the same point in time. It’s important that we claim for ourselves, the faith and the life that Jesus has given to us.”
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View the entire series Reflections on our Faith.
This video was first posted on January 9, 2018.