Baptism – Introductory Thoughts

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I have had baptism on my mind lately. One reason is our 20s & 30s class is talking about the basics and one of the things I have realized is that some decades ago we taught about baptism so much that there has been a pendulum swing where baptism is mentioned but not really taught: what is it, what it means, how God uses it, etc. People in their early and mid 20s never really got taught about baptism other than the expectation that if they want to be a Christian they have to be baptized. While we would never endorse this, often by default, what was communicated is that baptism is basically a check box work that must be check off to get to heaven. None of us would teach it that way but that is often what is communicated by our lack of communication.

So I want to talk about baptism for a few posts. This all boils down to putting aside everything we have been taught (or assumed), pick up the Bible and learn about it for ourselves. Then it is up to us to practice what we find there and for scripture to shape our beliefs about baptism. I am going to write about what the New Testament has to say about it, what it means, how it is taught and how it should be taught. I am also going to write about how various groups answer the question “What should I do to be saved?” and how baptism fits into that. Last, I want to write about various forms of baptism, where they come from and the importance and authority of scripture in our understanding and practice of these matters. I look forward to your feedback.

0 Responses

  1. Thanks for doing this Matt! I agree with what you’ve just written and believe that the disagreement between churches over the meaning and purpose of baptism may in fact be the main thing blocking churches from accepting and working with each other. There are other hinderances as well, but I don’t believe anything greater than the differing views concerning the doctrine of baptism. I look forward toward reading your study…

  2. Glad to see that you are going to cover this on a few posts. I was recently at LCU Youth Ministry Intern Fair and I have some concerns about what our future ministers truly believe about baptism. There was almost this idea that some could take it or leave it. Thanks for covering this because this is not a CoC teaching as much as it is about God’s truth and His grace in baptism.

  3. I’m really looking forward to the research you’re going to do on this topic! I’m currently fashioning my perspective on baptism and your work will definitely be of great help to me as a resource. Keep searching. Keep answering.

  4. Thirty-five years ago (nearly half my life-time ago), I submitted my MA Thesis: The Use of Baptism in Exhorting Christians. My main thesis was that when the Scriptures address people already baptized, it is always to exhort them to one of three things: greater unity in Christ, greater purity from the world, and greater assurance through the Holy Spirit. All of this assumes that baptism has a direct relationship to the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – and that it is to make a difference in our lives.

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