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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Playdough Scripture Matt 28:19-20

"Therefore go and make converts disciples of all nations, baptising them in water and in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them understand correct theology.  to obey everything I have commanded you.(Matthew 28:19-20 Playdough Version)

This is based on a very well known verse. But a blog post by Tobie van der Westhuizen from South Africa got me thinking.  How well do we really know it?

Is there a difference between making converts and making disciples?

Immersion in water is a great way to symbolize immersion into our relationship with God, but we shouldn't assume this verse is talking about water.

Do we spend as much time teaching and modelling how to follow the person and teachings of Jesus as we do on teaching our doctrines? Should we be showing as much as we are telling? Disciple making may be more like apprenticeship than classroom style learning.


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Steve Martin said...


Baptism means 'with water'. The amount of water is immaterial since it is God's Word of promise (in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit) which makes the Baptism efficacious.

Jesus told us to go and Baptize. I did not think we had the ability to give people the Holy Spirit...if Baptism means to give people the Spirit.

Jonathan said...

Hi again Steve. We know baptism doesn't always mean with water.

There are other examples of this term used in Matthew, the New Testament and other sources where baptism is used to talk about immersion into something other than water.



I love the symbolism that our tradition of imersion in water. But I don't see anything in this specific text that implies water.

Thanks for the comment.

Steve Martin said...

That's what Baptism is...WITH water. Almost every instance of baptism in the New Testament, is with water. (indeed, that is what the word means)

Is there a Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Yes there is. But that does not negate that baptism means washing with water, with God's Word attached to it.

Where was Jesus 'baptized'? In a river.

Thanks, Jon.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comments Steve, I suspect we may have to disagree on this one. If you re-read the links I gave in my comment we see baptism meant immersion, to dye, submerged, dipped, plunged... into something. Yes often the something was water. Can you see a link between how this verse is written and how Matt 3:11, and Mark 1:8 are written?