June 09, 2007

Baptism As A Spectator Sport

In response to this posting a few weeks ago, here is the follow up synopsis to the "Baptism Sunday" the church had.

In response to whether he thought the day went as he expected it would, the pastor responded:

Absolutely not. I wish I could say that my faith was so strong that I expected the stampede we experienced. But I must confess that it wasn’t. In truth, I was worried that the response would be very light. I was hoping and praying that we’d have at least 20 or 25 people come forward to be baptized. 30 would have thrilled me.

We had over 85 people come forward and be baptized on H2O Sunday. It was absolutely incredible. I cannot explain exactly what happened, except that it was a flood of people I never expected. Some of them I knew and had spoken with in the past about their relationship with the Lord. But most I did not know.

One lady got to our church early Sunday morning before worship started; some of our other ladies met her when they arrived for their Connection Point group. She shared that the Lord had been working in her life recently, and that the Holy Spirit impressed on her that she should come to "XXXX" and get baptized that Sunday. She had no idea we were having a special baptism Sunday. She was baptized during the 10:45 service.

We also had an 89 year old lady baptized. Everybody stood up and cheered for the longest time – while she was slowly making her way into the baptistry pool, and while she was getting back out. People shouted and cheered during every single one of the 85+ baptisms. Our deacons said they could hear the cheering and clapping in the choir room (in the church basement, underneath the Worship Center) every time it happened, as they were counseling the baptism candidates and getting them into and out of the dressing rooms.

All in all, it was an absolutely extraordinary day. I really can’t explain how it happened, except that God did it. Next week during our morning services, we’re planning on presenting a special video with some highlights of the day.

The saddest part of the whole article is the statement - "Most of them I did not know". How sad is it when we are now no longer content to do "hit and run" evangelism, but now feel we have to take it a step farther and do "hit and run" baptism. It is a sober, serious, experience. It is being "buried with Christ in death, and raised to walk in the newness of life". It is an important time and act of obedience and a public profession to follow in Calvary's road.

And now we've gone so far as to baptize people we don't even know. But take heart, there was 3 minute counseling going on downstairs before they came to the baptismal pool. Whew, thank goodness, those 6 - 8 week classes or even 6 month classes to prepare for baptism are way too long. We're so good now we can do it in just a few minutes and you're ready to be dunked.

I'm not against someone being baptised rapidly after conversion, but if people sat for years without getting baptised, what makes you think they now understand the Gospel that they have received and therefore understand and truly believe in the Jesus they're professing to follow? This is a dangerous practice and one I'm sorely disappointed to hear about.

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