Monday, June 27, 2011

Take me to the water...

Craig Blomberg on the importance of baptism:
.... I don’t for one minute want to argue for baptismal regeneration—the belief that you must be baptized to be saved. But I do want to insist that, if not normative, believers’ baptism by immersion as soon as feasible after conversion was the normal practice of the New Testament church and it should be ours also.

My concern in this blog, however, is not so much to debate those friends of mine who practice infant baptism, not for salvation but as a ritual on the part of parents and a congregation indicating their intentions to do their best to raise a child as a Christian, while recognizing that some day he or she will have to confirm it for themselves with their own saving faith. Most Baptists believe that should be done too, and many even dedicate babies with almost the identical theology that paedobaptists use at infant baptism. The only debate is whether the water should be applied earlier, in small drops, or later, in larger doses!

My concern here is rather the inordinate number of young adults (and a few older ones) I meet these days who seem to think baptism is just no big deal. And if they weren’t raised in a church that prescribed a certain way for it to be done, they may never have been baptized at all. And if they have had faith in Christ for many years already, it really seems to them to be unnecessary. Or, if they do go through with baptism, it is just, they say, “ because Christ commanded it and we need to obey him.” But they can’t give any particular reason for why he should have commanded it. ....

With or without words, baptismal immersion testifies to our identification with the crucified and risen Christ. With words, with the appropriate “pledge of a clear conscience toward God” (1 Pet. 3:21), produced by already existing saving faith, baptism includes a promise to follow Jesus all the days of our lives. .... [more]
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom. 6:4 NIV)

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