Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What About Baptism

So, a little while back in our small group/ Bible study we got on the subject of baptism and it's importance. The discussion also went to the question of whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. I am not going to get into a topic about which some Christians argue or disagree. That's not necessary in my opinion.

I would say it is pretty clear from reading the New Testament that baptism is important either way. My question is this- why does it feel like baptism is so...forgotten, or at least given less importance than it seems it had in the early church? As I have been reading my Bible post resurrection, baptism usually directly follows a decision to follow Christ. Believe and be baptized. Right?

And perhaps it's just me, or where I live or something, but I feel like it's treated as something separate. When a gospel presentation takes place, should not a call to baptism go right beside it? From my experience it's not like that. First there is sharing of the gospel and what Christ has done for us, then there is a leading in prayer, or an offer to pray with. It is usually stated that if you have made a decision to follow Christ there should be follow up and discussion about what that means, etc. (Please don't misunderstand my feelings. I am not trying to take away from the importance of that, or the goodness of it.)

Baptism is something that is presented at a later time. It doesn't happen based on the time frame of a decision to follow Jesus (again, this is just from my experience...I may be observing things differently than most). Baptism is called for when one is planned. "We are having a baptism on such and such date. If you have not been baptized and would like to be, please talk with so and so..." or something like that.

I feel like this makes baptism take on less importance than perhaps it was meant to have. It feels like it has become something that we do at our convenience rather than as a first act of obedience. Now, I might be a little confused on the subject, so please give insights if you have them. Also, I do understand that perhaps here in the Pacific Northwest with our weather it might make a difference. I suppose that if you do not have an indoor baptismal font it might make things hard to do. There might be the reason that if you are in a large church you would be doing it all the time. But should that matter? Can't other means be figured out?

This is just something that has been on my mind. Please feel free to share any insights that you might have. I am not meaning to ruffle feathers if my observations are off either. If you have experienced something different, please share. I would love to find out that this isn't as normal as I might think it is.


Laurel said...

Great conversation to get started. I look forward to seeing what others have to say.

At our church, baptism is stressed quite a bit, and you don't have to wait until a specific Sunday. We have an indoor baptismal and an outdoor baptismal.

On the flip side to what you have shared ... I have been concerned about the HUGE emphasis that our children's ministry puts on baptism, because I think that many kids think that it is the act of baptism that will save them. So, somewhere there needs to better balance and understanding.

Yes, it's important ... but just by getting baptized does not mean that you will go to heaven when you die.

Laurel :)

Gramp's said...

Dear Me: I'm glad that you are asking about baptism. It's very important and here are the steps that you need to take. First: Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Second: Repentance for the remission of sins. Third: Baptism by emerision by one having authority and the laying on of hands for the gift of The Holy Ghost. Notice I stated by one having Authority. Read Matthew chapter 3. Then go to James Chapter 1 Verse 5 and do what it says. If you are in tune with God as I feel you are you will know the truth of what I say.
I testify that these things are true and that I know this by the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. I tell you this in the Name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Raising Olives said...

Of course you could have the view that Baptism is the sign of the covenant, just like circumcision was in the Old Testament and while adults who were brought into the covenant later in life were circumcised, the norm was for the sign of the covenant to be given to children.

Thought I'd throw that in, just for fun!


Jenilee said...

We believe in baptism as an act of obedience and an outward expression of our faith in Jesus as the Lord of our life.

We encourage our kids in children's church to be baptised but only after they have a full understanding of their faith and a remembrance of what they are doing. As Children's Pastors, we talk with them and then ask the parents to talk with them to make sure they are ready for that step.

I think with kids you have to be especially diligent in making sure that they understand that their salvation is not dependant on being baptised. We are saved by asking Jesus into our hearts, asking His forgiveness for sins and believing on Him as our Lord. Baptism is simply a step of obedience.

I agree that baptism is not emphasized enough. It is something we should offer often so that new believers or old believers have opportunity to take that step of obedience.

I tear up every time someone comes up from being baptised... the smile on their face is priceless. I look forward to the day when our girls have an understanding and are baptised.

great discussion!

Trinity Mommy said...

I will add my two cents in here :) Let me just say that when God grabbed a hold on my heart and I made the decision to completely live my life for him... in tears I told my husband I WANTED to get baptized immediately! I was baptized at 10:00pm, I could not wait! My small group all drove to where I would be baptized and we celebrated with singing afterwards for this miraculous thing God did in my life... all in the dark of night! I do not think that one can go without the other. If you look at scripture as a whole you MUST confess with your mouth AND be baptized just like when praying not only do you pray and receive what you ask for but it also HAS to be according to the will of God!

Anonymous said...

What nice answer