The importance of Baptism- on Theologues

Hey y’all. I’ve was invited by some friends to write a few articles at Theologues: a site which focuses on Christ, His Church, tradition, and theology.

In that vein, I wrote two articles on a credo-baptist rediscovery of some of the grand narratives we’ve been missing. It is called: “Confessions of a Bapto-Catholic” (not my title). Here’s a weird thing: I’d actually recommend you read part 2 first!

The first part focuses on our place in a grand narrative of baptism. It uses Christian art, scripture, and old liturgies to look at earlier understandings of Baptism to see if there’s something we evangelicals may have neglected and need to recover. In this way, it’s a little harder to read than my second piece. The second piece is more engaging, in my opinion.I think I found my voice better there. It is a warning about re-baptism. It focuses on being dead in Christ in baptism and raised to newness of life.

Here’s a link and an excerpt from the baptism “Confessions” part 1.

Baptism in the early church often took some time to get to: it involved both an expressed desire to be baptized and join the life of the church and catechesis—teaching to know the mysteries and truths the church believes. Especially in the era when the church had to exist was secret, great care had to be taken considering whom joined. In our modern era where baptisms can be an assembly-line affair shortly at a revival or even a result of, shall we say, engineered spontaneity, we may sometimes neglect or forget to treasure the promises baptism entails. We have a new family; we are united with, and, upon our baptism, are invited to imitate the Christ followers before usthose further along than us who have finished the race as well as those still living. In the Galatians passage, for example, we join not only the living community of believers but are “offspring of Abraham” by baptism and “heirs according to the promise.”  As another example 1st Peter chapter 3 says Noah’s ark prefigured baptism: where a few were saved in the ark many are now saved through Christ. (1 Peter 3: 20-22)  The Resurrection of Christ demonstrates Christ’s authority to save humanity. Baptism shows we are not our own but part of that ark of salvation, that body of Christ.

And here’s a link and an excerpt from baptism “Confessions” part 2″

“I want to be baptized again, just to be sure. I really didn’t get it—I was so young, you know?” “I’ve recommitted my life to Christ so I’m getting re-baptized.” Ever heard someone say something like that? You are dead in Christ and raised to newness of life. Do not presume you can die again. My dad told me a story of a friend he had growing up who was baptized three times. He professed faith and was baptized. Then he wasn’t sure he really believed and he was baptized a second time. That time, however, he wasn’t completely immersed (part of his head remained dry). He was baptized a third time.

In the last week, I have heard of a popular southern mega-church deriding other churches as “those which bury more than they baptize”—neglecting to mention many of their members were active members at other churches who had been re-baptized at their new church plant.

I hope you take a look and enjoy them.Theologues? Well, they’re good people. As a last link, I appeared on a podcast to discuss the church and sexuality (a controversial topic indeed) with Ron Belgau of Spiritual Friendship as a special guest.

Expect to see my work here, and on Theologues, a bit more frequently than in the past!

EDIT: Baptist Theologian, Roger E. Olson, mere weeks after I wrote my articles, wrote his own article on baptism in “Christianity Today.” While the scope and focus is slightly different, there’s some serious overlap in our thoughts.

Check out his article here.  I know it’s a coincidence but it’s still cool to see evangelicals and Baptists openly reflecting on ways our contemporary baptismal practices may be out of sync with where we ought to be.

1 Comment

  1. I’m from a Campbellite background and I’ve never heard of anyone being baptized THREE times. In fact, we discourage it.

    I do, however, find that in congregations like mine, that we don’t baptized babies, but we’ll baptize someone the moment they make a profession. I know some as young as three.

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