Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baptism Questions

This is post #1 in a series on Baptism:
  1. Baptism Questions - some questions I'd like to sort out
  2. What Did Baptism Mean? - a look at how the Greek terms get used and translated in other literature
  3. Baptism without Water - a look at baptism references that are not talking about water
  4. Baptism and Culture -  It seems Christianity adopted a common custom of the time.
  5. The Heart of Baptism - What is at the heart of this ritual 
  6. Who Can Baptize? - Do we think Matt 28:18 - 20 is addressed only for the clergy? 
  7. When Should Believers Be Baptized - At what age? At what level of maturity? 
  8. Baptism With The Holy Spirit - comparing immersion with water and with the Holy Spirit 
  9. Baptism Summary Thoughts

The topic of baptism has come up. My daughters are approaching the age where this decision often takes place. I feel I need to work through some questions of my own as I want to encourage my daughters in this important step.

As usual I have a lot of questions. So I will break this into a number of  blog posts as I examine this topic.  I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Here are some questions I plan to explore:

What did the term baptism mean in the culture of the early church?  Is it a word Jesus invented, or did it have a meaning outside Christianity as well?

Is there a difference between baptizing with water (John 1:31), and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19)? Does the word baptize always go hand in hand with water?

If Jesus had come to a culture that didn't practice baptism, would He have invented this ritual for them, or would He have done something different that would make sense to that culture?

How long should believers wait to be baptized?  How old should they be?

In colder climates like Canada, baptisms either have to wait until our 3 warm months, or we have to build special baptism tanks.  Is this really what Jesus had in mind?

Who should perform the baptizing?  Is this task reserved only for clergy or should all believers be going out into the world... and baptizing...?

What is at the heart of this ritual?  I don't believe God is as interested in religious rituals as He is primarily concerned with the heart.   So from God's perspective, what is He wanting from us here?

OK. I think that is enough questions.  Are there other questions I should consider on this topic?


Pat said...

Hi Jonathan- hope you get some answers here...did you know that wayne peterson baptized a lot of his family at oliver lake a few years ago? maybe the girls want dad to baptize them? but really I feel the people you are with, friends, church people, should witness it..but good to think on it..what a concert we had tonight. country music..now we are hosting the two women singers..after talking to you Pastor asked if we would..beds are made..love, Mom

Steve Martin said...

Here are what I believe to be two great resources on Baptism:




Please read the whole article and listen to the 20 minute mp3 audio.

Pastor Anderson makes many, may good (and biblical) points concerning most of the questions that you have raised.


Jonathan said...

Thanks mom. I've heard a few stories lately of family members baptizing their own, I appreciate that. Thanks.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve for the links, I'll take a look.

Steve Martin said...

Your quite welcome, Jon.

God bless you and your family.

Tom Schultz said...

Since you mentioned Canada, I think 3 months is optimistic except for Polar Bear Club members. I have concern for groups that would require an elderly convert (or at least one who hadn't been immersed) to undergo a dip in the frigid ocean waters.

Jonathan said...

Yes Tom. :) I'm glad you understand. I've been to many outdoor water baptisms. And I think they are great. But often there is an additional requirement of bravery and courage for Canadian baptismal candidates that isn't required in warmer climates.

Steve Martin said...


One for the road (on Baptism):