Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Touching Base! Part 158

Baptism Q & A
Guest posting by Fred Grendel

(This article can also we found on our website
at http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

In this Touching Base, I will try and answer the most common baptism questions:

Why do we immerse baptism candidates at Bethel, while other churches just sprinkle people?
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek “baptisma” which means “to immerse”. Also, Romans 6:3 tells us that we are "baptized unto death", meaning that baptismal candidates need to be willing to walk away from old ways of life to the point where the old ways are dead. Going down into the water represents this, and it also represents Christ’s going down to death for us. Coming out of the water represents Christ’s resurrection for us. However, if a candidate has some physical challenge or health concern that prevents them from being immersed, Bethel is more than willing to do baptism by sprinkling.

Do I really need to get all wet in front of everyone?
I recognize that this could be a really concern for people, but the answer is “yes, you do.” It is really part of the point of baptism, as it does take humility. But baptism is a symbol and proclamation of a believer’s union with Christ, and therefore it does take commitment and courage on part of the believer.

Of course, you are welcome (and encouraged) to change and freshen up before rejoining friends and family.

I was baptized before as a believer and would like to get re-baptized, is this possible?
This is something that is between you and God, although I might say that believer’s baptism is a one-time thing, just as Christ died once for all. If you were a believer at your baptism, then there is no need for re-baptism, although you may always choose to re-dedicate yourself to God. So a good question to ask yourself if you have fallen away from God since your baptism, is “was I really a believer, or was I just going through the motions?” This may be something you want to pray about. Acts 2:38 does say “Repent and be baptized”.

I was baptized as an infant. Should I get re-baptized as an adult?
If you are someone who is wrestling with this, I would encourage you to search the Scriptures and the church’s history when it came to infant baptisms. Bethel believes that baptism is for confessing believers. This is why we do not baptize infants, but simply recognize families who have recently had a baby and ask for God’s blessing on them as they dedicate their child to Him. This is something I wrestled with personally in my early twenties. If you are interested I would love to have coffee with you and tell you my own story.

Does baptism make me a member of Bethel Church?
No. If you wish to become a member at Bethel we would love to chat about this, but Bethel does not consider baptism as entrance to church membership.

I attend here as a student, and I have another home church. Can I get baptized here?
Yes you can, and just last spring a two students in this situation from other churches choose to get baptized at Bethel! Again, it is a personal decision. If you were in this situation and would like to be baptized we strongly encourage friends from back home to come and join us so that they can come and celebrate this with you.

What are the requirements of baptism? I.E. how do I know I am ready?
Repentance means that you have made a decision to change the path of your life one hundred and eighty degrees away from sin and towards Jesus Christ. If you have done this, and it was a personal choice, then you are ready to be baptized! It could have been today, it could have been twenty-five years ago!

How do I know if my child/teenager is ready to be baptized?
Sometimes it is difficult to know if a child, pre-teen or teenager is ready for baptism. The key requirement is still repentance and a commitment to Christ. As a parent, are you seeing fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)? Is the decision one hundred percent their own or has peer pressure (even unconsciously) intervened (i.e. a friend is being baptized)? It would also be a great idea to pray with your child about this, and see if the Holy Spirit gives you peace about your child getting baptized.

I want to study this more, what are some key texts?
Matthew 3:13-17, 28:19-20
Acts 2:38-41; 8:12; Acts 8:26-40 (the Eunuch’s baptism)
Romans 6:4
Galatians 3:27
Colossians 2:12
1 Peter 3:21

If you have more questions about baptism please come to our baptism class this Wednesday March 14th and 6:30 PM

Fred Grendel
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact bethelcommunitygroups@gmail.com

No comments: