Yesterday, I had the privilege to baptize almost 20 people in our Easter celebrations. At the end of the second service, I left the tank with tears running down my face, aglow in the power of this simple act in the water.
Because I didn't get to say much about it yesterday in the flow of our services, I'd just like to quickly make a few points about water baptism that will hopefully give you a stronger idea of what is happening in baptism, as well as give those of you who are from First Assembly some clearer idea about where we're coming from as a church with baptism.
I blogged about this on March 11, 2011, and you can see that post by clicking here. Here are some thoughts:
- Baptism doesn't equal salvation. As a church, we do not understand baptism as having saving power. Instead, we see saving faith and baptism as concomitant events. Just as thunder always follows lightening, we conceive of baptism as always following saving faith. That's the pattern found in the New Testament.
- Baptism is an event with meaning for the baptized and for the spectators. Baptism is a visual word--a way of making clear to anyone who sees it that you are burying your old life and being raised to new life in Christ. That's why we want to involve our congregation in it. It's a public way of saying to the whole group, "I follow Christ" and a way for the church to see that you have joined "the Church"--the spiritual community.
- Baptism is connected to repentance. Baptism is an ancient ritual that is connected to cleansing, deliverance, redemption, and conversion. Because of that, everyone who is baptized is also a person who is capable of repentance. That's why we don't baptize infants. If you were baptized as an infant, I encourage you to follow the Lord into the waters of a baptism you choose, and simply see if God does not meet you there.
The next baptism at First Assembly will happen on Sunday morning, May 29. How about joining me there or signing up for email by clicking this address
Labels: baptism, baptizo, Christianity, discipleship, doctrine, immersion