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Why Do We Baptize?

By October 17, 2014No Comments
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It’s not uncommon for me to be poking around the Internet and find a divisive and inflammatory article on baptism. I know we don’t all agree, but it’s both sad and ironic to me that this act—intended to unify and connect the Body of Christ—more often than not becomes a matter of division and distinctiveness.

Recently one well-known preacher referred to the view of baptism held by our Restoration Movement as “the Galatian heresy.” While I find myself irritated with such a callous assessment of our beliefs, I also have to admit that we have at times made baptism an idol for ourselves. We have made it as divisive as anyone.

We have had more baptisms in the past year in our church than we have in many years. There have been old and young alike. Across the board we’re seeing people stepping forward and making decisions for Christ. We’re recognizing that as reason to celebrate.

We also see it as a matter of obedience.

If Jesus calls us to be his disciples (Matthew 28:19) and the very first command he gives us as disciples is to be baptized (also Matthew 28:19) then why would we argue or be divisive about this? I know there are other understandings about baptism and I know there are deeper thinkers than I. But beyond debate, beyond our differences, beyond our distinctions, can’t we all agree that it’s a great reason to celebrate?