Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Blessings of Baptism

  1. It is the only religious ordinance (that I know of), that deals with guilt and shame equally at the same time. In the East, shame is the big issue--not measuring up to communal expectations. In the West, guilt is the primary issue, having crossed a line individually. Consider the wisdom of God to give us a practice that is capable of dealing with both our sociological and spiritual needs at once and across all cultural divides.


     

  2. This 'enacted sinner's prayer' is far more memorable than any articulated prayer. Ask how many people remember what they 'said' when they converted; then ask how many remember where, when, and how they were baptized? God knows we are tactile. This is the perfect gift to help us remember our beginnings.


     

  3. Furthermore, this 'sinner's prayer' is always said correctly. It is about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. You CAN NOT DO IT WRONG! I need that with all the stupid things I say.


     

  4. It starts our Christian walk right. We begin by imitating Jesus in his salvific act. It brings us to 'dead' center in our theology so that our beginning in Christ aims at the core of Christianity as well as our ultimate destiny of resurrection.


     

  5. The Scriptures bind together this gift with the promise of a cleansed conscience and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I want that!


 

I'm not so stricken with the question of 'only one way to convert'. I suspect God is far more creative than we give him credit for. However, given these five blessings of baptism, it boggles my mind why anyone would be contentious in refusing such a gift directly from the hand of Jesus, especially when it models the self-abnegation he enjoined on his disciples.

3 Comments:

Blogger David H. Willis said...

Being in the Resoration Movement I've read & heard a lot about baptism. However, there was something remarkably fresh about what you've written. Thanks much.

April 22, 2008 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger stephen said...

Mark,

Why do you call it an ordinance? I understand that the word "sacrament" can cause confusion. But I really don't think this is reason enough to abandon the word and replace it with another nonbiblical word. The word "sacrament" really aligns with what the majority of the RM believes about baptism. Are we so afraid of become papists that we can't use word that they also use?

I would also disagree completely with point 3. You can enact baptism wrongly. Baptism can be invalid. here are a few reasons I see for invalidating a baptism (at least biblically. I am not condemning these people to hell. I am only saying that biblically and theologically their baptism is invalid:
1. If you are not baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. If you are not citing Jesus as the world's true Lord to whom you owe your allegiance. (If you view Jesus as a good example and no more and that is why you are baptized, then your baptism is invaild)
3. If you refuse to have part of yourself baptized. I am thinking of Constantine's soldiers, who kept their right hand out of the water so they could still kill. But I also think this could be metaphorical, about part of your life that you are consciously refusing to submit to Jesus' lordship.
4. Biblical baptism is to be by immersion.
5. There are several more reasons (like if you are baptized into an erred Trinitarian formula), but I am not going to make an exhaustive list. I just wanted to show some examples of "doing baptism" wrongly.

I also think that one of the other blessings of baptism is that it is eschatological. You actually do become and enter into new creation when you come out of the water.

I look forward to your response. And to seeing you soon at graduation.

peace be with you.

May 14, 2008 at 4:54 AM  
Blogger Travis Long said...

Thanks...this was a blessing

June 8, 2008 at 11:50 PM  

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