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On the topic of Baptism, I had the privilege of interviewing Pastor Dr. Ron Smith of

Waterstone Church and Reverend Debra of Church of the Good Samaritan. Each once

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again, had very distinct and passionate responses as it pertained to infant and believers

baptism.

Pastor Ron used such wonderful, simplistic yet profound analogies to explain

and signify the importance of believers baptism. Reverend Debra shared beautiful

imagery as she described the process for infant baptism. Each Pastor adamantly

mentioned in their interviews how they believed their practice was the way it was

intended to take place.

Pastor Ron shared just as the marriage ceremony comes after the

engagement and there is an exchange of rings between the bride and groom, the baptism

is the next step after accepting Christ into one’s heart. It is the order of the events as they

take place. It is the outward act of obedience that an individual share with their loved

ones. As a wedding is announced and celebrated so is the baptism something to be shared

allowing a time to rejoice in the most important decision an individual will make in their

lives.

Reverend Debra discussed how the infant is brought before the church and their

parents and extended family and are held before God as the Priest sprinkles water over

their forehead to signify the baptism. Sharing that this covering should take place as the

child enters the world and not something that should be prolonged over time as the

person ages.

 

 

Analysis of the Interviews

Pastor Ron discussed with many biblical references how many people come to an

understanding of salvation and the acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior, but many

have a challenging time moving on to the next step and realizing the valuable and

significant relevance to the next piece of the puzzle with baptism. It can become a real

stumbling block for many new believer’s as they begin to connect the dots on their

journey of faith. Acts 18:8 reads “Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household

believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were

baptized.” (NIV) He typically waits until the individual is at least 12 years of age. He

then has the parent’s if it’s a minor, or the individual schedule a face-to-face time of

dialogue where he has them express verbally in their own words how they came to the

decision of wanting to be baptized.

Reverend Debra typically meets with the parents and speaks with them briefly about the

significance and the procedure that will take place the day of the baptism. She was

incredibly detailed about the book she uses to follow very closely how to carry out the

procedure, it gives a step-by-step account that needs to be followed with what to say and

do and who can perform the duties.

Much of the believer’s baptism that Pastor Ron leads is very much led by the spirit with a

few specific areas where he shares biblical references and has the individual repeat after

him before they are fully immersed in the water of the baptismal pool.

Personal Viewpoint

I fully agree that the choice to be baptized is one that should be made when the individual

is of an age where they can grasp and understand the significance of what Christ

sacrificed for us as believer’s and the individual can articulate to some degree the reason

for their choice. I believe this miracle can and does take place at any age and definitely

earlier than 12 for some people. I have witnessed children by age 7 or 8 and have known

people as young as age 5 accept Christ and choose to be baptized that have amazing

understanding and faith.

I believe the step of brining individuals in to speak with them allows for additional time

to gain insight and understanding as to why they are choosing to be baptized, whether a

child or adult this is a wonderful opportunity for the Pastor to guide and lead the believer

into a deeper relationship with God as they continue their faith journey. Our text speaks

of three differences as it pertains to baptism the mode, symbolism, and subjects. The

believer’s baptism mode according to the New Testament is immersion. “The Greek

word baptizo literally means “to plunge, dip, immerse.” (Hughes p. 374) The symbolism

depicts “we were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as

Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness

of life.” (p. 375) Lastly, as it pertains to the subjects “the New Testament consistently

records that baptism was reserved for those who professed their faith in Christ-believers

only.” (p. 376) I learned a great deal as I spoke with both Pastor Ron and Reverend Debra

and it really opened my eyes to the other side of the coin so to speak. While I still agree

with the believers baptism, I enjoyed learning about the biblical references that supported

the beliefs for infant baptism as my understanding broadened. The dialogue was

informative, and I was challenged to see the passionate perspectives of another

denomination. “Baptism is not necessary for salvation. A symbol cannot save. The

imperative is simply to obey Christ, who commanded baptism for all who believe.” (p.

376)

 

 

In the text Hughes clearly states that “the one thing we agree on, and which is more

foundational, is that baptism is not optional. As Christians, we are to obey Christ’s Great

Commission command to be baptized (Matt. 28:19).” (p. 374) We don’t have to work

hard to immediately identify and bring to light the differences we find in each other; but

let us be challenged to work hard to find the similarities if not in each other, than the

Christ that is in each of us.

 

 

​​​​ References

 

NIV: New International Version. Zondervan, 2011.

Hughes, R. Kent. The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.

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