The doctrine and practice of baptism is one of the cornerstones of Christian ecclesiology. In the Great Commission, Jesus tells his church to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). Jesus could have prescribed any number of things in his final charge to his disciples, but He included baptism. This places baptism high on the Christian’s priority list. Despite its significance, the church at large has not come to an agreement on what precisely baptism is and how precisely we are to perform it.
“What is baptism?”
“What are the key differences between major denominations in their views of baptism?”
“Is there a possibility of denominations coming together in agreement on this doctrine?”
Such questions are at the heart of this study. I wish to navigate between three different positions on baptism (Memorial Sign, Regenerative Sacrament, and Covenantal Sacrament), and show how baptism is both a sign and sacrament. Continue reading Baptism: A Potential Sacrament
In our Church culture we tend to delay baptism for far too long. I personally was baptized 5 months after my conversion. I have seen as long as a few years after one getting saved that they are finally baptized. Churches have a tendency to hold “Baptism Classes” for believers new and seasoned. Those classes, spanning a few week period, go over the doctrine of baptism in order to assure the baptizees know why they are going through with it. After completing this long course, the believers then set a baptism date a few Sundays away. I have seen discipleship material, which is otherwise excellent, with weekly lessons about the basics of the faith, and the last chapter is on baptism. At the end of the chapter is a section to set a date for your baptism. I remember regarding one Bible College (a Baptist one!) that, within their Statement of Faith, under “Baptism” it stated that one should wait until they show fruit, just to make sure their conversion is genuine.
May I say boldly that this is not the way it is supposed to be. In the New Testament baptism was performed immediately after one was saved. There was no probation period. There was no “Bi-Monthly Baptism Service”. The natural bend was not to doubt one’s conversion until they show enough fruit to prove they are genuinely saved. Rather, it is a mandate that all who are saved be baptized. Let us survey the book of Acts and see what the practice of the apostles was. Let us glean all we can from these accounts, and revolutionize the way our churches go about obeying this command. Continue reading When Should a New Christian Be Baptized?