Week 4 Assignment: Dialogue #2
Study of Baptism
….Interview: 1. Pastor Demetrius Williams is the pastor of Community Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI. Pastor Williams is the successor of retired Pastor Roy Nabors. He has been the Pastor of Community for 11 years. He is also a Professor at UWM Milwaukee teaching Religion and Comparative Literature. Pastor Williams was so honored to be interviewed on the subject that he teaches and preaches on.
Pastor Williams, what is the significance of baptism for you? Baptism is apart of a new converts relationship with Jesus Christ. John the Baptist or the John the Baptizer was one proclaiming the significance in St. Mark 1:4, “The messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.”
Our procedure for baptism is that our candidates for baptism are submerged in the water, which is symbolic, representing the death of the old man and raising up out of the water in the newness of life in Jesus Christ. The rationale for the procedure is stated in St. Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” My biblical basis for baptism is in Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into his death? 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.”
Interview 2: Pastor Raymond C. Monk is the pastor of Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI. Pastor Monk is the successor of the deceased founder Pastor Todd which was the pastor for 38 years before his passing. Pastor Monk have been the pastor of Ephesians for 3 years. Pastor Monk what is the significance of baptism for you? Baptism is a symbol for a new convert making a public declaration that their allegiance is to the deity in whose name that they are being baptized in. Also, a sign for a need for repentance. What is your procedure? My procedure is the submerging which symbolizing the old man dying and the new man coming up in newness of life, in this new journey with Jesus Christ our Lord.
We take Baptism as a public celebration, which we do every first Sunday of each month. Our biblical basis is St John 1: 29-34, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me. I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel. And John bore witness: I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
I enjoyed both interviews, the heart felt answers that was given. I appreciate both pastors taking out of their busy schedules to do these interviews. My second interview was prayers answered. I prayed and asked God to send me to who that would volunteer to do the interview. Two days later, I got a friend request from Pastor Monk on Facebook, never met him before. I reached out immediately and asked him will he be willing to do the interview, and he gladly said yes. Still do not know why he reached out to me.
It was interesting to hear that both Pastors are under the Baptist faith, yet there were some differences on how they both proceed with baptism. Pastor Williams theology thinking is in agreement with “Hughes”, “Preparing Christian brothers or sisters for baptism is a huge opportunity to disciple them, especially if they are fresh converts.” He has a new- members teaching session for 4 months, where there is Q &A when something is not clear. When their candidates are submerged into the water, expectations are there for this brand- new life. He has an age limit for children because he remembered his experience as a child, no teaching or understanding of baptism which it took him three times to receive what God proclaim in the word. Pastor Monk do have a New Beginners class that last a month or when the first Sunday comes. If they give their life to the Lord on the first, he will baptize them. Pastor Monk don’t believe in a delay according to Acts 8:26-40. He will give a 15 min. exhortation before he submerges them. He baptizes children at a speaking age, if they can confess, Romans 10:9, willing, he will baptize them. If not he encourages the parents to keep bring them until they are willing to do the confession. “Instruct them as to what baptism is so important. That is to say, teach them the gospel. The very movements that they will undergo in baptism are divine theater that will portray what happened to them when they met Christ” ( Hughes).
This is my third time doing this assignment, I typed on the blackboard and each time when I submitted it, it kicked me out and I lost my assignment. I was devastated the first time, could not sleep, because I felt so defeated. The next day tired it again, same results but this time I had a peace. I encouraged myself in the Lord, I had a talk with myself. When you rest in Holy Spirit , He gives a peace that surpass all understanding,(Philippians 4:7). So here I am again, I will not be defeated, all Praises to God. I can understand Pastor Williams about the multi baptism, because of a lack of understanding and the order of some churches. I liked to sing, so in order for me to sing in the youth choir I had to be baptized. As the old saying goes, “going down a dry devil coming up a wet one. As I came in a true relationship with Christ, and got the understanding of it all, it was an experience that words can’t subscribe, I came up speaking with the gifting of Holy Spirit, my life has not been the same since that day. This was a new church that believed in discipling new converts before they get baptized. Pastor Monk is still young in the ministry, but he will see that rushing the process is not a healthy spiritual practice, it produces believers with a form of godliness, (II Timothy 3:5-7). Also what comes with maturity in Christ is rightly dividing the word of truth.
Blessings, Demetra Lock
Biblical references: Acts 8:26-40, II Timothy 3:5-7, Philippians 4:7 (English Standard Version), Romans 6:1-4, Romans 10:9, St. John 1:29-34, St. Matthews 28:19, St. Mark 1:4 ( King James Version)
Hughes, Kent R. O’Donnell, Douglas Sean. (2015) The Pastors Book .Crossway. Pgs. 378-379
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