Pastor’s Blog November 2017

An issue that I have often found it difficult to clearly articulate my views upon has been baptism. It would be difficult for me to overstate how strong my conviction is, that believer’s baptism usually by immersion is the biblical pattern.

My problem is that I recognise that many fine Christian women and men have been baptized as infants, many of whom I’m unworthy to even compare myself too, and yet I believe on this issue they are totally wrong, that infant baptism and confirmation, are not the equivalent of believers baptism and that they  should be baptized as believers. How can I affirm the genuineness of a person’s faith while challenging their view of baptism?

I recently came across this quote from John Piper that in my view beautifully expresses the tension.

I would say to them: “Brothers, I think you are not baptized. But you believe on biblical grounds as you see them, with as much humility and openness to truth as God has given you, that you are baptized. Your understanding of baptism does not imply that Christ’s command may be neglected or that infant sprinkling is regenerating. You give good evidence of being born again and that you embrace Christ as your Saviour and Lord and Treasure, and you manifest an authentic intention, on the basis of that faith, to follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings. Therefore, since there is good evidence that you are members of the Body of Christ, you may be members of this local expression of that body. But understand this: I will spend the rest of my ministry trying to persuade you that you and your children should follow through on the full obedience to Jesus and be baptized. In admitting you, I do not give up on my view of baptism. That is the whole point. We are finding a way to work on this disagreement from inside the body of Christ in its local expression.”

I believe passionately that the issue of baptism matters. That it shouldn’t just be forgotten in a healthy desire to promote unity among churches. Baptism is an issue of both faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ and as such it is incumbent upon each of us to prayerfully reflect upon what the bible teaches and respond appropriately to it.

In saying this I recognise that there will be things that I am blind too that are taught in scripture, I pray God will open my eyes to these things and that I will respond in obedience to them.

Phil Dixon