19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
As we enter into the month of September, I also enter into a new phase on our discussion of evangelism. This month, I would like to focus on baptism. Now I realize that the topic of baptism warrants its own study series, and that is why I am using this month’s newsletter article to promote the new study on baptism that I will be starting after I finish the sixth chapter of Hebrews. I have received several questions about baptism over that past few weeks and even a recommendation that we have such a study. As I am always desirous of listening to you, my congregation, and incorporating your suggestions as much as I can, I am pleased to announce that we should begin this study sometime around the middle of October. In dialoguing with the Deacons about this venture, they also communicated hearty agreement for the need of focusing on baptism. Therefore, I am preparing to tackle this topic with you over a period of at least five Sundays. In this series, we will cover subjects concerning what baptism actually is from a Biblical perspective, who should be baptized, why we require baptism at Grace for membership, when “baptism” is really not “baptism,” and considerations for how the church should practice baptism. Many questions surround this ordinance such as, why are there so many baptismal traditions in Christianity? Why are there so many differences among these various traditions? Where did many of these traditions begin? How can we evaluate these traditions outside that of our own from a fair Biblical perspective? And, what happens when an individual comes to us for church membership from one of these other traditions? How have Baptists historically dealt with such issues, and how are we dealing with these issues today? All these are wonderful questions that will be addressed as we gather on Sunday evenings to discuss this topic by which we as Grace “Baptist” Church are so obviously defined. I will be providing a resource upon which I will base the pattern of this series so you can prepare before each Sunday’s lesson as well as have a resource to read when one of these issues come up again, and they will come up again. The resource that I will be encouraging you to purchase is Bobby Jamieson’s Understanding Baptism from the Church Basics series. The cost for this resource is only $9.00, and you can sign up for it on the welcome desk. Perhaps you might sign up early, so we can get the resource to you ASAP and you can be ready and prepared for the series when it begins. Bobby Jamieson writes:
(Definition): baptism is a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersing him or her in water, and a believer’s act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and his people, thereby uniting a believer to the church and marking off him or her from the world.
Our confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message states:
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
Do you agree?
Until next time, this is Pastor Daniel writing, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”