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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Heart of Baptism

This is post #5 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

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?

Romans 6:3-4 (NIV)
"Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
This is a common passage related to the meaning and purpose of Baptism.  Note this passage doesn't specify baptism into water. Not every passage with the term baptize means immerse in water. If the word baptize is followed by the word into we can translate it into immerse/dip/dye/submerge into... Either way the meaning is still clear.  We have been immersed or dipped into Christ.  We have become one with Christ.  Paul continues in Rom 6:6-13 describing how our selfish will died with Christ on the cross, so that we can truly live.

Baptism is commanded in Matt 28:19 -20, and in Acts 2:37 - 38.  Again neither of these passages specify immersion into water.  But immersion into Jesus (or Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is at the heart of the message.

There is also the aspect of a public declaration of ones faith.  I don't know if Jesus intended this when He spoke of Baptism, but this has been part of the tradition for a very long time now.  We can not ignore the fact that the early church practiced immersing new believers into both water and into the Holy Spirit.  The immersing into water became an outward public symbol of what was occurring on the inside.

I am open to other thoughts here.

What do you think is the meaning at the heart of baptism?


Steve Martin said...

I think it (baptism) is the concrete point in our personal history, where God promised to be our God. He adopted us in our baptism. He gave us His name.

And these truths are something that we can count on no matter what the circumstances are of our lives. Or whether our faith at the moment happens to be strong, or weak.

It is something that we can count on that is totally outside of anything that we do, say, feel, or think. It is an external Word. Anf He gives this to us so that we might have the assurance of our salvation.

That's what I have been taught...and I believe it.


Jonathan said...

Thanks Steve. :)