Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: The Most Important Sacrament is for Believers Only
By gene hudgens
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Christian Holy Baptism are the three most important words to “believers”. However, Baptism is far more important than only a word. Unfortunately, the word Baptism opens up a most confusing and questionable issue for many of the most learned, knowledgeable and trained leaders of Christianity. Is there any wonder that we laymen are even more confused?
I don’t find that Jesus Christ explicitly described how baptism was to be done, other than in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Is immersion required for Baptism? Much of the earliest Christian artwork will depict the recipient being baptized as water is poured over his head from a cup or shell. Archaeological evidence, of an early Christian baptistery, from the second century found in a church in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, is too small and narrow to immerse a person. Even if Christians were baptized in the nude in the Christian Catacombs of Rome, it appears that the pools were so shallow that only the feet were immersed.
Are both “believer’s baptism and infant baptism accepted? Many people strongly feel that baptism is only for adults that can make a personal decision to believe in Jesus. However, 80% of all of those who call themselves Christians practice infant baptism.
From Wikipedia: Most Christians practice infant baptism, including; Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Assyrian Church of the East, Anglicans, Church of the Nazarene, Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, and the Continental Reformed.
From USATODAY: Changes in attitudes and social practices has a bearing on statistics that show Americans are slowly drifting away from the ancient baptismal ritual.
Fewer babies, increased secularization, interfaith marriage, a move towards churches that downplay tradition, and fewer people marry in the church effects the statistics
Understanding baptism is difficult even for religious teachers. There are several baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, and each has its own particular spiritual significance. It is especially important for laymen to read the New Testament words and attempt to distinguish between these various baptisms…in an attempt to reduce confusion. These include: The baptism of John (Matthew 3), Christ’s own baptism unto death (Luke 12:49-50), the baptism with the Holy Spirit into the mystical body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), the baptism of believers, in water, upon their profession of faith in Christ, and the baptism of fire, which will be the Christ-rejecter’s doom.
Regardless of anything that is written in any way to down play baptism, every child of God must realize and accept that baptism is a commitment to a lifelong spiritual practice, a discipleship…and certainly not a one-time event.
Baptism for all of us represents a rebirth into a way of life ordered after the example of Jesus Christ. Baptism is the beginning, not the end. Baptism is only the outward evidence of simple faith. It certainly isn’t the motions of a religious observance that will save us from sin and guarantee us a ticket to Heaven. Only our trust can accomplish this.
Logically, baptism alone can not remove the sin which everyone has inherited and practiced. Only faith in Jesus our Crucified and Resurrected Lord can do this.
Infant baptism is widely accepted, but every parent must clearly realize that the infant is not capable of making a decision for himself. In reality it is a dedication of the parents that they will bring up the child in a Christian home and teach the child to follow the Lord to the best of their ability…with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
These Christian parents have a tremendous challenge as they raise their children in a Christian home. These Christian parents must never become complacent and think for a moment that just because the child is taken to Sunday school or church each week, goes to an alter or prays with a group that they will necessarily grow to become Christians. These parents, as all parents, must be totally involved each hour of each day setting the Christian example and communicating with the child about the necessity of being a true Christian.
To believe as a Christian is much easier than living as a Christian, which requires an adult decision. Therefore every child, as he reaches his adult maturing age must make wise adult decisions to live as a Christian. They all need a tremendous amount of help from parents.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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