Doppraxis i samtida svensk baptism

  • Ulrik Josefsson


Baptismal Praxis in Contemporary Swedish BaptismThis article deals with the praxis of baptism among Swedish Baptists and Pentecostals. Two issues are dealt with in separate sections. The first concerns how baptism is performed liturgically. The second concerns the connection between baptism and membership in the congregation. The main material for the first section is a survey of the thirty-seven Pentecostal congregations in Sweden with the highest rate of baptisms. The material for the second section is a collection of by-laws and instructions from different types of Baptist congregations.The liturgical praxis of baptism is viewed from four perspectives: How and when does the candidate confess the Christian faith? What responsive action does the congregation take? How, when and by whom is the prayer of intercession conducted? When and how is membership in the congregation attained?In the following section, different views on the relation between baptism and membership are studied. Three groups are discerned that differ in how they understand infant baptism and the extent to which infant baptism can be a basis for membership in the local congregation. ‘Consistent baptism’ does not see infant baptism as a valid baptism and only welcomes members who have been baptized as believers. ‘Baptism in principle’ does not see infant baptism as a valid baptism but welcomes members from other traditions; it does not accept their baptism but accepts them as Christians and a part of the church. ‘Modified baptism’ accepts infant baptism – not as a complete but as a valid baptism – and therefore welcomes as members those who have been baptized as infants. Some examples from each group are discussed.The article shows that the Baptist tradition in Sweden is in transition. Three main conclusions can be drawn. First, sacramental dimensions are playing an increasing role within the Baptist tradition. Secondly, individual considerations are becoming more and more important to the way baptism is viewed and handled.  Thirdly, respect for other traditions is deepening in the context of ecumenical relations. Whether these developments will confirm or erode Baptist identity in Sweden remains to be seen.