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The Sacrament of Baptism a sign of unity

Declaration of the Churches in Poland on the threshold of the Third Millennium

Warsaw, 23 January 2000

In thanking the Triune God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – for two thousand years of the New Covenant and for over a thousand years of Christianity on Polish land, the undersigned Churches, with reference to the long-standing theological and ecumenical work performed in the world and in Poland as well as to jointly approved documents (particularly the Lima Document, 1982), joyfully acknowledge and confirm their ministration of baptism, and declare that:

1. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Himself instituted the sacrament of baptism and ordered it to be administered (Matthew 28,19; Mark 16,16). Baptism is emergence from slavery (1 Corinthians 10,1-2), incorporation into Christ crucified and resurrected, introduction into the New Covenant, a sign of new life in Christ, being washed clean of sin (1 Corinthians 6,11), being enlightened by Christ (Ephesians 5,14), a new birth (John 3,5), being clothed with Christ (Galatians 3,27), renewal by the Spirit (Titus 3,5), an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3,21) and liberation, which leads to unity in Jesus Christ, where divisions due to social status, race or gender are overcome (Galatians 3,27-28; 1 Corinthians 12,13).

2. Baptism is with water and the Holy Spirit; it is administered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism unites the person being baptised with Christ, and Christians with one another. It brings a person into the Church and is the start of a new life in Christ, the aim of which is to praise the glory of God (Ephesians 1,14).

3. Baptised people living in a particular place and time are jointly responsible for bearing witness to Christ and to the Gospel: those who are baptised live for Christ, for His Church and for the world, which He loves, waiting in hope for God’s new creation to be revealed and for the time when God will be all in all (Romans 8,18-24; 1 Corinthians 15,22-28. 49-57) [Lima Document, no. 9]. Baptism in Christ is a call to the Churches to overcome their divisions and manifest their fellowship in a visible manner.

The undersigned Churches solemnly recognise the validity of Holy Baptism administered by a minister of those Churches:

The Evangelical Augsburg (Lutheran) Church
The Evangelical Methodist Church
The Evangelical Reformed Church
The Catholic Church
The Polish Catholic Church
The Old Catholic Mariavite Church
The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church