Monday, March 25, 2013

Say what?

I realize that I, like everyone else, tend to view the Bible through my own theological lens. Like Alexander Campbell, I have a simple answer to religious division – agree that I’m right, and then we will have unity in the church. Yes, that’s tongue-in-cheek (mostly). But still, I’m perplexed by the crowd that says baptism is “necessary, but not essential.” Recently I was at an event where the leader was promoting an upcoming baptism service (note: it was not a church affiliated with the Restoration Movement). He said, “Not that baptism has anything to do with one’s salvation, but we do it because Jesus commanded it.” It wasn't the first part of the sentence that threw me (I’m accustomed to that), but the second part doesn't make sense to me. Jesus commanded baptism three times in the gospels (John 3, Mark 16, Matthew 28) – and each time he gives the reason or purpose for that which is commanded (baptism). He tells Nicodemus that one cannot see the kingdom of God without it (John 3:5). He directly connects it to salvation (Mark 16:16) and becoming a disciple (Matt. 28:19). I just don’t see how you can separate the command from the purpose.  I’m reminded of something my friend John Mitchell is fond of saying, “It takes professional help to misunderstand these verses.”

What do you think?


John Dobbs said...

I'm with you!

Jeff Randleman said...

I agree! The complete dichotomy of such a statement confuses me. Not only can we not separate it from what Jesus taught, as you mentioned, but every time salvation happens in the book of Acts, baptism is involved. I just don't get it when people try to lessen the importance.