Faith

The Baptism Question I Should Have Asked

A while back, I wrote a post about a battle over baptism in some Christian churches and how it’s one of many things some churches seem to be using as a marketing tool to divide other, larger churches.

The main battle is whether or not one is truly saved after accepting Jesus Christ as his personal savior, but before actually being baptized.

Some churches believe that while baptism is a command from God, and that believers are therefore obligated to be baptized, one’s salvation comes when one accepts Christ; other churches seem to believe that no matter how fervently one believes that Christ is his personal savior, until he’s actually completed the act of baptism, he will not truly be saved.

In the aforementioned post, I wrote about being visited by two young ladies who knocked at my door hoping to attract me to their fledgling church, a church they described as being absolutely true to the bible.

It occurred to me the other day that there was another question I should have asked them: if one cannot be saved until one is actually baptized, then how often does their church actually hold baptism services?

Most churches that I’ve been part of hold an actual baptism service about once per quarter, maybe once every two months. I suppose some churches might hold them once a month; others hold them twice a year.

There’s no formal rule, apparently.

But for the churches that truly believe that if someone who accepted Christ was suddenly killed in an accident before being baptized, it seems to me that those churches should offer baptism every single week. That way, what they consider the all-important final step to receiving guaranteed salvation is never more than 7 days away for a new Christian.

Any church that would tell a new believer that they’ve not received Christ until they are baptized is behaving recklessly with that person’s salvation if they only hold a baptism service quarterly.

It’s either a critical step that seals the deal, meaning you have nothing without it, or it’s an obligation as a symbol of obedience to a loving God who grants you salvation when you come to Him even before you carry out the command.

It can’t be both.

Churches that choose to condemn other churches for not teaching the singular importance of salvation should behave in the way they say they believe by making sure no week goes by without offering baptism to anyone in their congregation.  Otherwise, they’re part of the problem they’re rallying against.

2 Comments

  1. The church I was raised in, the Church of Christ, baptized a person as soon as they came forward to confess their sins and accept Jesus. The baptistry was kept heated and ready. I assume it’s still done that way in the Churches of Christ, although I haven’t attended one in quite a long time. Assemblies of God and Baptist churches usually just baptize when they have several people wanting to be baptized.
    When I was growing up, baptism took place immediately, except that everyone left the church and went to a pond or stream deep enough for baptism. My dad used to tell about how they had to break the ice on “Big Creek” for him to be baptized. Pat Boone, a longtime Church of Christ member, used to baptize people in his swimming pool.

  2. And then there are those Christians who don’t think baptism is any more (or less) important than the other rites: marriage, communion, ordination, etc.

    My dad did not want us kids baptized till we could make the decision ourselves, but most people in our church just dunk the kid as a matter of course at some point during the first year.

    My question for your door-people would be “Is the fact that I was baptized at age 13 good enough for you, or do I have to be ‘rewashed’ to join your church?” If it’s the latter…see ya. Jesus loves me and I don’t care whether people like this do or not.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.