Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: The Simple Truth about Christian Baptism
By Kim Rojas
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What image comes to mind at the mention of baptism? Is it the small group of family members smiling at the baby dressed in lacey white, is it a biblical character or is it simply an idea? Before the baptism topic is discussed, it can be agreed that a Christian is a follower of Christ. Whether an individual is Episcopalian, Catholic, or non-denominational, believing in Jesus Christ is the bottom line which brings up the question about Christian baptism.
The book of Isaiah in the Bible mentions a baptism of the Holy Spirit, but for the sake of simplicity, this article will discuss water baptism. Water baptism is symbolic in all of its components. Baptism usually occurs at a special time, it is an event set apart, sanctified for a purpose; sometimes, individuals attending a baptism are those who would not otherwise be in a church. This is special. A congregation of people looks on as a group of witnesses to the event; itís not just a party, itís serious. The pastor, preacher or priest waits, ready to assist the person about to proclaim his or her faith. Itís real. The water is a tangible component of baptism that satisfies our human senses of a change about to occur.
But, the most important factor in Christian baptism is the person. Whoever chooses to be baptized has already made a decision to accept Christ in to his or her life. His heart has changed, his life has shown it, and now, he wants to prove it, not only to himself, but to his God and to the group of witnesses that he now faces with perhaps a bit of nervousness. It is a time of silence and a time of reverence.
Why water? The water is a vehicle of faith for the believer. It is symbolic in that the Christian about to be baptized is committing to the same life that Christ did. He stands before the congregation as Christ did before those who knew him. Next, the Christian is submerged (or symbolically buried) as Christ was buried, and rises again to live as joint heirs of the kingdom of God. It would be impossible to perform this symbolism with air or earth. Water is the perfect vehicle.
Contrary to some beliefs, baptism is not necessary to enter in to heaven. A real relationship with Jesus Christ in oneís own heart is the key to the door of heaven. Baptism is a choice and an honor. Most Christians are proud to profess their commitment to Christ and the baptism service is a tangible activity that shows faith in action. Itís satisfying to the human nature and itís honored in the eyes of God.
Christian water baptism does not have to be performed in a church building, or in any building, in fact. This type of baptism has often been performed in lakes, ponds, and oceans around the world with dynamic effects on the lives of Christians and non-believers alike. The image that should come to mind when thinking about Christian baptism is one of the professions of faith, buried with Christ in baptism and risen again to walk with him through life in to eternity, a peaceful smile on oneís face.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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