Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Shame on You

This Easter Sunday I finished service and I was talking with one of the girls that was baptized about 4 years ago and confirmed a year or so ago. In the conversation she said the other day she went to another church and was pressured into getting baptized...she continued,
"The lady kept bugging me...and I didn't want to do it but she insisted that I needed to be put completely under the water."
I couldn't believe my of my students was re-baptized...
What about the first baptism? Didn't it do any good? Did God not deliver His gift of forgiveness and new life then?
I guess this insistant lady would say no. She would say that YOU have to be FULLY SUBMURGED under the water and YOU MUST BE at LEAST OLD ENOUGH to UNDERSTAND. And so I say,
"Shame on You insistant lady...hounding a teenager and telling her that her prior baptism was not good enough. Causing this little one to stumble in her faith. Shame on You!"
All I could think was...where did I go wrong in teaching my student not to fall into these temptations...Then my student said,
"Pastor, I know we should only be baptized once...but she insisted." She wanted to please her and maybe just in case the insistant woman was correct, it couldn't hurt, could it?

Come to my side of the city...shoot, go anywhere there are Baptists, and you will see this happening. I have a few adults that have been baptized more times than I have taken a bath. There is a reason for this. False Teaching.
What is so wrong with getting baptized more than once one may ask? It makes a believer start to doubt the validity of their faith.
"Was that baptism so many years ago valid? How do I know if I truly believed then? When will I ever know if I truly have a valid baptism? Was my baptism done correctly?
The problem is putting the focus on man's actions and our worthiness...Get this in your head...WE ARE Never GOING TO BE WORTHY ENOUGH FOR BAPTISM ON OUR OWN. Whether a Baby or the Pope. God is the one doing the good deed. We are the bystander receiving the gift of life and salvation. It is the ultimate welfare check. He is the Giver, we are the receiver. Baptism is a thing God does, not what we do by our intricate actions.
Baptism received in the name of the Holy Trinity is always a baptism, no matter what. The Church of God is part of the "Anabaptist" tradition; the word "Anabaptism" means, "Baptized again." At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century there arose groups that were collectively known as "enthusiasts" or "radical reformers" and eventually known as the "Anabaptists." One of the hallmarks of their theology was the view that infant baptism is of no effect and believers must all be baptized again.
However Scripture teaches that baptism is that one-time wonderful act of God in our lives by which He incorporates us into the life and death of Jesus Christ. It has life-long and ongoing blessings, but is performed only once on a person. Our Lord said, "Go and baptize," not "Go and baptize the same person numerous times." And although it is administered only once, baptism is to be used by Christians throughout their whole life. Nowhere do the Apostles call on Christians to repeat baptisms; however, they frequently recall to their minds the baptism once received (1 Cor.1:13; 6:11; 12:13; Rom. 6:3ff; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:21).
So I say again to the well meaning lady..."Shame on You." It is my prayer that this child's faith has not been weakened.
For those of us who have been rebaptized...take heart and always point to the 1st baptism in which the Holy Spirit gave you the gift of faith, life and salvation. Look at the other "baptisms" as a remembrance of the first baptism in which God grasp you in His arms to eternity.
For more "Shame on You" above.

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