In our day and age of ecumenical awareness and knocking down the walls of denominations, are baptisms important to people anymore? to Churches? With all of the people saying that they would accept any ole kind of baptism, whether it be sprinkling, pouring, or whatever, is it important about the kind of baptism you have? With some people in Southern Baptist Churches saying that they would accept any baptism, as long as the person was saved, and the baptism was by immersion, is it important who does the baptizing? I mean, if momma’s can baptise their children in the backyard mudhole after they lead little Johnny, or Susie, to the Lord; and it be acceptable to a SB Church; does that not scream some things loudly about that Churches view of baptism? So, do baptisms matter anymore? Are people even concerned with a doctrine and practice that seems to be a very important one as you’re reading the NT.
I really believe that part of the problem today, which some people and some Churches have in some areas of ecclesiology, is that they have a John Wayne, rugged individualist, “I did it my way” mentality. And, this mentality rubs off on their view about baptism, and really, about the Church in general. And, we see this in the thinking of people when they say things like, “I ‘m satisfied with my baptism, so I don’t want to get baptised by a Baptist Church. I want to join your Church without being baptised again.” We see this kind of thinking when Pastors say things to the effect that it doesn’t matter if a new convert is baptised by an individual person in a hot tub, or if they’re baptised with the Churches presence and by the Churches blessing. It doesn’t matter to them that the Church is not involved in the baptism. Why? because it’s an individual thing, rather than a Church thing. In their view, it is a personal thing that happens outside of the Church.
You know, when you look in the Bible, baptism is a group thing; not a “lone Cowboy on the range, riding in the sunset as the coyotes howl” thing. The Lord set up the Church to be a fellowship of Believers. The Church is supposed to be where people are baptised, and taught the Word of God, and discipled, and encouraged. The Church is supposed to always be a group of Believers, who are seeking the Lord together. So, why would baptism not be a Church ordinance? Why would baptism be something that an individual could just do…out there… somewhere….apart from the Body? Why would the Church today let Western philosophy turn baptism into an individuals own personal possession, rather than something that the Church does and participates in? Could it be for convenients sake? Could it be to get more members in their Church, because they know that some people will not join their Church if they have to have a proper baptism? Could it a real reluctance to deal with controversy on the part of a Pastor? Could it be ignorance of the Bible? Could it be the desire to “fit in” with the greater, evangelical group out there? To accepted by the “cool group?” What do you think?
Well, baptism is supposed to be a testimony of the person’s conversion. Baptism is supposed to declare a message, the Gospel, to the people watching it. Baptism is supposed to be a symbollic picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. Baptism is a picture of the blood of Jesus washing away the guilt and punishment of our sins. Baptism is supposed to be a way of formally accepting a new born baby in Christ into the Church. So, why would people even think that it’s something that’s an indvidual thing? Why would they even want baptism to be an individual ordinance, rather than a church ordinance?
Folks, baptism is a time to celebrate the new birth. Baptism is a time to rejoice in the salvation of a person. Baptism is a very special thing, and it’s something that all the Church should have the privilege to participate in. Baptism is a time for the entire Church to join with the baptismal candidate in this wonderful ordinance given to the Church by the Lord Jesus. How much would be lost and missed if everyone was just out there baptising people in their own, private hot tub, or swimming pool, or local swimming hole in the creek? I think a lot would be missed. We would be missing much of what the Lord intended to do in the life of a Church, if the Church is not allowed to participate in the baptism of new converts.
So, who should get baptised? Of course, those people who get saved by grace thru faith. Acts 2:41. Acts 10:44-48. Acts 16:30-34. How should they be baptised? By immersion. Matthew 3:13-17…Jesus came up straightway out of the water. The very word for “baptise” in the Greek means to dip under, to immerse. So, if you want to do it right, the way the Bible clearly teaches, then it must be a dipping under; an immersion. What should baptism be about? It should be a declaration to the community that a person has been saved. It should be a testimony that the person has truly, sincerely put their faith in Jesus, and they’re willing to obey Him as their Lord. Who should baptise? The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Great Commission was given to the Church. Matthew 18:20. The beginning of the Church was standing before the Lord Jesus that day. The Apostles were standing there, who were commissioned to preach the Gospel to the world, and baptise the new converts, and disciple them. They were the men that God used to get the Church that the Lord Jesus founded going. The Church should be the one who baptises new converts, so that they are involved with a Church family; to be nurtured in the faith; encouraged; taught; loved; affirmed; accepted; challenged; inspired; and given much needed guidance. The Church is the one, who was given this task by the Lord Jesus, it’s Head.
So, what a Church believes about salvation and baptism does matter. Who is doing the baptising does matter. It says a lot about a person’s beliefs. I mean, if you get baptised in the Church of Christ, then you are identifying with their view of baptismal regeneration and works salvation. If you get baptised by a Mormon Church, then you are saying that you agree with them about works salvation, denying the Trinity, denying the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. If you get baptised by an Assembly of God Church, then you’re agreeing with them that salvation is not an eternal work of God; that it’s something that can be lost. If you get baptised in the Methodist Church, sprinkled on top of the head, then you were not properly baptised by immersion. And, these are not true baptisms. Now, I’m not saying that these people aren’t saved. They most certainly could be saved. But, their baptism is not a valid, proper, true baptism. They should be baptised for the right reasons, and in the right way.
Now, please don’t come into the comment section calling me a Landmark Baptist. lol. I don’t believe that Baptist Churches are the only true Churches, or that we can trace our lineage back to Jesus, or that SB’s are the only ones who can baptise. Puulease. Listen, if Muddy Creek Community Church believes like we do about salvation and baptism, then we should accept their baptism as a true baptism. If Possum Ridge Bible Church believes as we do about salvation and baptism, then I believe they have a true baptism. So, please don’t come in here with all the Landmark comments. I really don’t have the time, nor the energy to deal with that malarky. But, I do believe that baptism is important. And, it should be done right, and for the right reasons. And, I most certainly believe that it should be a Church thing.
This post was originally published on my own blog over three years ago. It was published in the midst of a controversy within my state regarding baptism and church membership, but the truth it contains is as applicable today as then.
My grandfather, Glen Wesley Smith, was an alcoholic. Thankfully, God saves alcoholics, and on Mother’s Day, 1950, He saved my grandfather, and called him to preach, which my grandfather faithfully did from the following Sunday until his retirement in 1983. Even after retirement, he served as interim pastor at the First Baptist Church in Poteau, Oklahoma, where he grew up. He passed away in 1989.
Among the great treasures he passed down to me is a large satchel, filled to overflowing with sermons he typed himself. I probably have close to a thousand of these typed sermons, along with a couple of well-marked Bibles. Frome time to time, I like to thumb through these yellowed pages. It often makes for great study, and, as I don’t really have clear memories of my grandfather in the pulpit, they serve as a way for me to visualize him there, preaching the Word. Continue reading
Well, it’s that time again, and here for your amusement is episode 3 of the SBC Today podcast. We were down a voice or two this week, but what we lacked in quantity, we made up in no appreciable way whatsoever. But we did have fun.
In this episode, we begin with a bit of talk about the GCR Taskforce and the NAMB trustee meeting. At the time of recording the GCR Taskforce had not yet begun their meeting, and the NAMB trustees were in executive session, so there really wasn’t much to discuss. We ended the program with prayer for both groups.
We also talked about polyamory, which is every bit as strange as it sounds. And in the middle, taking up the bulk of the time, is a discussion about the local church, the Great Commission, and baptism.
We hope you enjoy these podcasts. You can listen using the player below, or subscribe in iTunes and have them automatically downloaded each week when they’re ready. And while you’re at our iTunes page, give us a rating and/or a review. We welcome your feedback and suggestions, which you can leave in a comment on this post or by email. Just click on “About” at the top of the page, and you’ll find email links for each member of the team.
As always, here are links to some of the things we discussed.