Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: The Importance of Christian Baptism
By Sherry A. Jackman
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Water baptism is our outward statement, to other believers and non-believers, that we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and that we are choosing obedience to His commands. The immersing under water is one means of baptism that is favored by several Christian denominations. The ones who teach this form of baptism do so because this is the method by which John the Baptist and Christ himself were baptized, as described in various portions of the gospels. For those of us who are baptized that way, the immersion under the water signifies dying to our sins. When we are subsequently brought up out of the water, the symbolism is that we are raised in newness of life.
Most followers of Christ believe that baptism should be undertaken by someone who is old enough to understand--not only salvation-- but the importance of Christian Baptism as described above. It is not my intent to debate the ramifications of infant baptism. For those parents who do believe in baptism of young children, I see no harm in it. But I do believe that the children need to make their own choice, for salvation and baptism, once they are of an age to understand and do so on their own. Some children have a deep spiritual understanding as early as three, and their parents will usually know when a child is ready for baptism by their own choice.
The other form of baptism practiced by several denominations is baptism by sprinkling holy water just on the tops of the head. This can be very practical because it does not require a baptistmal tank, which involves a lot of water, dry clothing, and towels.
For a long time I believed that the only true form of baptism was by immersion. However, after coming to realize all the logistics of such form of baptism, I have changed my opinion, and believe that the form of baptism is far less important than the state of the heart and spirit of the person being baptized. If the baptismal candidate fully believes in their heart that they are a sinner saved by grace, are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and desire to follow Him in baptism, this is all that is required to be properly baptized.
Whether a person is immersed (dunked) or sprinkled upon really makes little difference.
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