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Baptism: Why All the Controversy?

Posted by on in The Upward Call
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baptism-slideIn order to help us understand why we are the greater minority in our teaching of baptism for adults, by immersion, for the forgiveness of sins, I want to take the next few weeks and go through some of the major changes that have taken place in the teaching of baptism over the years. I want to accomplish two things by doing this: (1) to help member of the Lords’ church to be a RESOURCE to others when discussing baptism, and (2) to help some who may be coming from other fellowships to evaluate their own baptism in the light of God’s teachings.


            Before we get into some of the specific teachings, I want to give you an illustration that can help us set the stage and understand how the changes could have developed. I, obviously, am not an accountant but my wife is. She is the one who reconciles our checkbook with our bank statements. She is clearly more qualified than I am, but there is also another reason. When it comes to the checkbook, I am not worried about it matching exactly. If I was a few cents off each month, that would not bother me; I would simply let it ride. On the other hand, Chaney wants it to match exactly. She makes sure things that are not in the register are written in and when she is done, everything matches to the cent.


            Just imagine where we would be if my method was allowed to determine our checkbook. Things that needed to be written in would not be there and the discrepancy that existed, even if it was just a few cents, would be allowed to grow and grow. Eventually my checkbook would be way off because I had not approached this task with the same short of thoroughness my wife did. Furthermore, I am willing to be a bit careless because I know that Chaney is going to look at it and she will fix and problem that exist. Many people when they go to a church believe they can trust the minister or preachers to tell them what God says “accurately.” Much like my trust of Chaney to “fix” the checkbook, they have put their trust in someone else telling them God’s Word. This obviously can present some problems.


            Some of the changes made to the teaching of baptism have trickled in over the years are some are more recent changes. Nonetheless, not everything has been a blatant disregard of God’s Word; some have come from misunderstanding or masked terminology. There have been choices made along the way that have moved away for the teachings in the Bible, but some of them have been “slight” changes (ones that may not have triggered everyone’s radar) that have now become traditions or “accepted” practices by the people that we will encounter. Many times, the people we meet were not the ones who created the false teaching about baptism; they were simply the ones misinformed. Their culpability comes in the fact that they did not consult God’s Word to see if what they were taught was true (like the Bereans – Acts 17:11). Therefore, our obligation is to compare what they did with the Scriptures teach. In the coming weeks, we will do this to help you be a RESOURCE to those you meet so you can have a conversation with them about their possible baptism.

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