Thursday Memo

Hi Five Oakers,

I'm looking forward to our River Baptism Service in Hudson on Sunday. We have over 30 folks being baptized. As we talk about what these folks are expressing by being baptized, I'm going to ask everyone else to remember their baptism and the important step they took that day. I'll also put out a call for anyone else who has a personal relationship with Christ to join them if they have not been baptized as a believer.

One of our staff members who is quite recognizable around Five Oaks has come to the conclusion that he needs to be baptized as a believer. He was baptized as a baby in the Presbyterian Church, but he's become convinced that baptism should follow a profession of faith. Come see who I'm talking about!

That's all I have for many of you today, but if you're someone like this staff member, keep reading.

Here are a few things to consider if you were baptized as an infant but not after your profession of faith.

#1- Don't get baptized again if you are convinced that infant baptism is faithful to Scripture. Let the Scripture guide you. There are some great theologians that I highly respect, particularly in the Reformed tradition, that have a robust theology of infant baptism while holding solidly to salvation by grace alone through faith alone. I don't agree with them on this issue, but I respect their position.

#2- If you can't defend infant baptism scripturally, don't neglect this act of obedience to Christ because you are afraid of offending someone in your family. Remember all those passages where Jesus pits himself against family in Luke? Yeah, those passages are appropriate to apply on issues like this. You need to do what you believe is right before God. Period. "But God, it'll really upset my mom" won't cut it. Sorry.

#3- Your family may not get it, but you can honor their intent when they had you baptized by declaring your grown up faith through believer baptism.

#4- Don't get baptized if you have no idea what it means. Do your homework.

#5- Keep in mind that we don't baptize dead people.

#6- Okay, just wanted to see if I had your attention. We only baptize people who have found new life in Christ by putting their faith in what Christ did for them on the cross (see Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; Roman 3:21-26). Apart from Christ we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). So that's what I mean when I say we don't baptize dead people.

#7- I had an interesting discussion with someone last weekend that brought up an issue I'd not thought of to address before. Their former church practices infant baptism and in some of that denomination's historical documents or policies, they threaten excommunication for anyone who is re-baptized. I'm not sure anyone still practices that anymore for that reason. I'm making an educated guess that it goes back hundreds of years to Europe when "free" churches (not under government control and holding to believer baptism) did "battle" with state sponsored churches (namely Lutheran, sometimes Roman Catholic) and threw a lot of that kind of stuff at each other all the time in their battle for converts. One side would claim, "If you don't get baptized by immersion, you're going to hell." And the other would respond, "If you leave the mother church and get baptized again, you are renouncing God and will be excomminicated." Yeah, people still think like this about baptism, but not many.

#8- If you sluff this off because it's not do or die, you might be missing the blessing of blessing others (think of your own kids, your family and your church family) with your public profession through baptism.

Those are some things to ponder. No hurry to decide, but who knows what horrible things will happen to you if you put it off too long........just kidding. Relax.

Blessings to you, Pastor Henry