All who profess to be followers of Christ are directly confronted with the practice of baptism. It was recorded in the Gospel of Matthew as a directive of Jesus, in his last parting command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). However, the time of upheaval that occurred during the formation of the early church led to an evolution of methods and beliefs concerning baptism. As a result, there is a good deal of confusion in the church today concerning the significance of this practice and how exactly it should be carried out. This matter deserves attention because the biblical practice of baptism is related to the issue of eternal salvation, so straying from the truth of the Bible could be costly. Though the traditions and beliefs regarding the practice of baptism evolved greatly in the centuries that followed the events of the New Testament, the only tradition that is of any value to a true follower of Christ is that which is found solely in the records contained in the Bible.
Archive for the 'Baptism' Category
In my previous two posts, I wrote about the importance of going into all the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ. But in our zeal to carry out the Great Commission through preaching, we sometimes forget that the Great Commission also contains another command from the Lord Jesus Christ: the command to baptize.
Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 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 always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Some people hear the gospel of the Kingdom preached to them, repent from their sins, and then attempt to live the Christian life, skipping the step of baptism. There are many different reasons for this.
Some don’t want to.
Some don’t believe we have to.
Some just never get around to it and don’t really think it’s that big of deal. It’s not exactly high on their priority list…
So, is it important? Do we have to? When do we get baptized? Are we in a rush? Should we do this immediately, or can we procrastinate and put it off? How much should we know, understand, and believe, before we say, “I will?”
As an attendee and presenter at this year’s Theological Conference put on by Sir Anthony Buzzard and the Atlanta Bible College, I guess I’m qualified to write a brief review of what went on and how things went. With so many of us that post here on Kingdom Ready there in attendence, I would have thought that somebody would have beat me to it already. But maybe everyone else thought someone else would write something too. So here goes.
There has been much misunderstanding about the holy spirit. The King James and some other versions of the Bible most often use the phrase “Holy Ghost” but the word “ghost” carries different connotations today, and most Christians generally prefer “Holy Spirit.” Most of mainstream Christendom believes that the holy spirit is a person, specifically the third person of the Trinity. I deal with the Trinity in relation to Who is Messiah in a Closer Look article. Historically the belief in the holy spirit as the third person was even later that the belief that Jesus was God. The deity of Christ became official doctrine in 325, while the holy spirit was not established as the third person of the Trinity until 381.
Thirty yeas ago this June while attending summer church camp as young teen, I sat in the open-air tabernacle listening to the evening evangelist give a dynamic and passionate sermon about Jesus’ 2nd coming. The words he spoke, the Scripture verses he read aloud, the entire tone of his message struck a chord in my inner being. In fact his sermons each previous night of the week-long camp were just as good and weighed heavily in my mind progressively. But this final sermon of the week – on the final night of camp, seemed like God Himself was speaking through this man to give that particular sermon to ME. At the alter call at the end of that service this minister asked if anyone else there in attendance wanted to accept Christ as their Lord & Savior (many had the previous nights & were also baptized). A warmness overtook me and though at first my feet felt like they were nailed to the ground, the moment I decided I had to walk towards the front of the tabernacle, I could have sworn I floated like a feather down the aisle and up the front. With tears in my eyes I knelt and confessed with my words and every emotional fiber within me, that I believed in and accepted Jesus of Nazareth as my Savior. The next day before camp broke up, I was baptized in the same stream that my own grandmother had been baptized in some 50 years before.