Methodists/baptism

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Question
I am writing a paper on sacramental theology for seminary, and we are not suppose to use the Book of Discipline or the Book of Worship because the professor said they are not scholarly. So, Who can preside at the sacrament of baptism in the UMC? Any other sources?

Answer
Jeff,

The Discipline and the Book of Worship would be considered Primary Sources for HOW Methodists perform the Sacrament, and within the Discipline the Articles of Religion and the EUB Confession of Faith would serve as Doctrinal guidelines for us in our understanding and practice.  For more "scholarly" approaches from within the UMC, you should look at the Church's Official Statement on Baptism:  By Water and the Spirit.  You can find it online here:

http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=4&mid=992

You also should check the following resources:

Mark W. Stamm:  Sacraments & Discipleship: Understanding Baptism and the Lord's Supper in a United Methodist Context
Gayle Carlton Felton:  United Methodists and the Sacraments

Both books, by United Methodist Theologians who have the Sacraments as their speciality, will address Sacramentology in general, and Baptism in particular.

A short answer to your question is that any Elder, or a Licensed Local Pastor in their appointment, may preside at the Sacrament of Baptism.

Since this is a homework assignment -- you're working on a paper -- I believe I leave my response at that.  You should look up your resources, do the reading and research, and formulate your own answer.  If, however, I can help you in other ways, please feel free to write again.

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Rev. Gregory S. Neal

Expertise

I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.

Experience

I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

Organizations
I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

Publications
I have my own website: www.RevNeal.org.   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at Amazon.com and in bookstores.

Education/Credentials
I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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