On Sunday, February 14, 2016, I was slated to be baptized by Pastor Scott Boger. However, my baptism was canceled due to his need to deal with a family situation. This, coupled with Newton First Baptist Church’s conduct about the matter, has left me grateful that I have not been baptized, as originally planned. In fact; I’ve yet to be baptized as an adult to date and, looking back one year later, could clearly see the Lord’s hand at work.
It’s not that I shouldn’t have been baptized, as an adult. It’s not even a question of my worthiness of baptism. It is, as the Lord has led me to see; not everyone is worthy of performing a baptism.
“And,” why did I wish to be baptized again? Well… Having been baptized in the Catholic church as a baby, “I don’t seem to recall it ever happening.” Furthermore; I don’t see any text in The Bible that indicates baptism is for infants. So, having the powerful sense that my baptism wasn’t correct the first time around, I seek to be baptized again, “Under proper conditions.”
“Also,” in reading the story of Jesus, I can see where there is an order to things; specifically, baptism in its relationship to communion. I see no text in The Bible that definitively states that its acceptable for believers in Jesus to partake of communion, without having been properly baptized, “First.” Every time someone has tried to tell me that I can participate in communion; I inexplicably feel as though I’m being lied to in my gut; that sensation often being accompanied with a flash of major league annoyance.
Do I believe in my heart of hearts that baptism is more an outward declaration of faith to a church body than anything else? “No,” I don’t. Nor do I see where a church has the right to make a person jump through hoops to get baptized; filling out questionnaires, having to go before the deacons to be deemed worthy, take classes, etcetera.
I do believe that baptism reflects and inward and outward transformation. It symbolizes our conscious commitment to form a deeper relationship with God, through His son, Jesus.
“But,” inwardly, there is a very important transformation that takes place, which many folks seem determined to write off. John the Baptist tells us, in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Clearly; we’re not talking about baptism as an outward declaration of faith before one’s church here.
“Also,” we know from The Bible that, after his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
“Now,” if you will notice, a resurrected Jesus is telling his disciples in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Why would Jesus have told his disciples to baptize in addition to teaching if it was, as many like to say, more a declaration of faith before the church than anything else?
Why would Jesus tell disciples to baptize believers if it was something that’s inconsequential; not a requirement for participation in communion at the very least? Even a blind man can see something is very wrong with the way church leaders and congregations treat baptism.
I could probably extend my point further. But I’m sure you are an intelligent reader; totally getting where I’m coming from.
As for me getting baptized? Clearly there have been some stumbling blocks placed in my path to a deeper relationship with the Lord. No doubt; some of these blocks have been placed in my path by mere mortals.
“However,” since the Lord knows the hearts and minds of everyone, I can fully see that God has prevented me from making a huge spiritual mistake. “And,” while I’m yet to be baptized, I’m certain the Lord will make sure it is done by someone who truly understands the full importance of baptism.
“True!” Just because a person is baptized does not mean that they are saved. However, it’s clear to me from reading The Bible, “Baptism is a part of the process that can help one to strengthen their relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ.”
Anyone who is foolish enough to mitigate the importance of baptism, or steer someone away from getting baptized… Well… They might want to guess again about their own salvation. The Bible makes that pretty clear, too.