Dissertation Projects

Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Nancy J. Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Russell Staples

Third Advisor

Walter Douglas

Abstract

The Problem and Method Used

Baptism is a church activity conducted every three months in most Seventh-day Adventist churches in Kenya. While it brings joy to see new members join the church, the significance of baptism is not fully reflected in the life of individual believers or of the church. This problem may largely stem from inadequate understanding of the significance and meaning of baptism and its celebration. This study sought to develop ways of improving the practice of baptism in the areas of preparation of candidates for baptism, celebration of baptismal ceremonies, reception of new converts into church membership, and postbaptismal nurturing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kenya. To achieve this, this study looked at the biblical meaning and significance of baptism and how it is practiced in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Information on how baptism is viewed and practiced was obtained by three questionnaires that were sent to Kenyan pastors and church members.

Conclusions

Baptism is an essential ordinance of the church for which careful preparation should be made. The biblical meaning of baptism, death to the old life and resurrection to a new life, should be clearly explained before baptism is administered to anyone. Candidates should understand baptism as a rite of passage into Christ and into the church. More than anything else, the readiness of candidates for baptism is determined by evidence of true conversion. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kenya, pastors need help in preparing candidates for baptism. Church elders and lay persons who can help church pastors in preparing new converts for baptism need training in how to give baptismal instruction. Baptismal instructors should be able to teach candidates to understand the import of baptism as traditional rites of passage are understood in many Kenyan communities.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Kenya; Baptism--Seventh-day Adventists

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.32597/dmin/568

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