Quick baptisms

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Crabtownboy started an interesting thread about SB evangelism.

    The discussion went into about baptisms decreasing in the SBC.

    One point brought us many who are baptized never remain active members of the church.

    So here is the question:
    Should we baptize a new convert immediately (and thus becoming a member) or should there be a period of "courtship". If so how long? Should there be "conditional membership"?

    Hmmm thoughts
     
  2. Allan

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    I go with Scripture on this. Yes, immediately.

    However I believe the #1 reason many do not stay is not so much a faulty salvation message as many of my Cal brothers suggest but not real discipleship or mentoring for those new babes in Christ. Though I agree to a degree it is true about some evangelism practices the real problem is that the churches are taking the needed time and patience with each of the people.

    Many evangelsim practices go out into the homes NOT to bring them to their church but to make sure they know, understand, and have believed the message of salvation. If not they tell them and even if they make a proffession they left with a hand shake and smile and "welcome to the Kingdom".

    Ever wonder why the Cults are on the rise and churches (the ones who aren't in the entertainment business) in the decline. The cults are right there by their side discipling 2 to 3 times a week, bringing or sitting right next to their converts and making them apart of their lives (like extended family) as the Church body does the same. People do not know what it takes to serve God or know what they 'should' know about God. They need someone to help. I no one will then they will find whatever they can that best fits 'their idea'. And THAT is the #1 problem our Baptist CHurches are on the decline.

    Sorry, ranting :)

    Yes, if they make a proffession, scripturally they are to be baptised immediately but I do believe they are to know what it means biblically before they are. We are not supposed to second guess another's salvation because only God knows that. We are however to be watch-caring each others lives so as to encourage each other unto holiness and righteousness.
     
  3. tinytim

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    Forget quick.. I say hold them under for awhile !!! :)

    No where in scripture does it talk about a courtship...

    You see them baptizing immediately.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    The NT church baptized believers "quickly". HOWEVER, the general knowledge and understanding of the Word of God in that era of Jewish converts was LIGHT YEARS different than the prevailing ignorance of converts today.

    In predominantly Gentile churches, baptism was so slow (AFTER a period of catechism and understanding) that even the great apostle Paul said he only baptized ONE convert in years at Corinth.

    If a person with maturity, understanding of the Word, grown up in the church, etc, gets saved, I would have no problem following the example of baptizing that one immediately (at the next service - I hate baptisms "tacked on" at the end of a service; it is a special PUBLIC event that should allow time to invite family/friends and even unsaved to witness it).

    If a child or a non-church background person gets saved, I would push for 4-6 hours of instruction and deepening of understanding. And even to make SURE they were saved - so many think a 1-2-3 prayer or a hand-raise saved them and then get really saved in the class/discipleship.
     
  5. LeBuick

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    I'm with you, I baptize immediately per the examples in scripture. I see it, you are either being baptized or getting a public bath. Some get two for the price of one... :thumbs:

    Then again I have been dunked three times. I have strayed from the Church in my adolescence and each time back I was dunked again.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    In so many churches baptizing is immediately followed by placing them on church membership roles. There is no reason to add them so quickly. People who do not stay reveal they have no heart for God and their conversion is most likely false. Let's see somr fruit before we make them a voting member of our churches and allow them to take part in God's business and voting matters.
     
  7. Alive in Christ

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    1st of all, water baptism has absolutely nothing to do with local "church membership" as understood today.

    It is symbolic of the new birth that has just occured. Its a wonderful picture.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Down into the water...symbolizing the "death" of the old man.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Up from the water...symbolizing the "birth" of the new man.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I believe it is at its most beautiful when it takes place as soon as possible after the new birth.

    The longer you wait, and the more "scheduled" it becomes, the less meaningful it becomes imo.

    And there is the danger of some church "abducting" it and turning it into a sort of requirement for "local" church "membership".

    The most important "church" that one must be a part of is the Universal church, meaning all the born again people on earth.

    After joining that group, one should find a local fellowship to plug into.



    :godisgood:
     
  8. LeBuick

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    Our Bylaws say you have to a member 6 months before voting at a meeting. You also have to be current with your tithes, taken the last two communions and active (meaning show up once in a while)...
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    I have never seen a church that did not require baptism as a requirement for church membership.
     
  10. Alive in Christ

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    RevMitchell...

    Me neither. The water baptism is symbolic of the fact that the new believer was added to "the Church" simultaneously to placing their faith in Christ and being born again. You become a "Church member" the instant you are born of the Spirit...through faith alone.

    What I had in mind in my earlier post is that later on a church who doesnt know anything about your water baptism will make you go through a meaningless water baptism just so they can "see it" with their own eyes, and make you a "member" of that local body.

    The believer of course became a "member" of "The Church" (the universal church, Christs body on earth) since the instant they were born of the Spirit.



    :godisgood:
     
    #10 Alive in Christ, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2008
  11. Crabtownboy

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    There really needs to be follow-up, visiting, classes for new Christians, etc. The dip them and drop them program that so many Baptist churches and especially evangelists have is a really poor model.
     
  12. tinytim

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    I think what we may have tied church membership too closely to baptism.

    For example in reading our churches minutes from 125 yrs ago, when a person was saved, they baptized him or her the next chance they could..unless it was in the dead of winter... then they waited for the ice to thaw (when I say immediately I am not talking about that day... but within a week or two) ... Then the people did not become members until the next business meeting, (maybe six months later)

    Today, when someone who has not been baptized comes forward for membership, we vote on them, and if approved, it will be pending their baptism, so in essence, when they come up out of the water, they are immediately a member of our church.

    We may need to go back to the old paths... Saved, baptized, then train them to be a member.. membership, discipleship...
     
  13. annsni

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    I haven't read the replies so I'm just giving my opinion to the OP.

    In the times of the early church where Baptism was practiced immediately upon belief, there was a huge risk to the new believer. When they came to Christ, there was a good chance that they would face terrible tribulation and very possible execution for their faith. They went into that water knowing that and thus I'm sure there weren't all too many 'fake' conversions at that time. Coming to Christ was a life or death decision in those days.

    Today, it's not. Today with so many may make a profession of faith without realizing the true meaning of it - and not really meaning it but responding to an emotion or pressure - or even responding after hearing an 'easy believism' gospel where they are just checking in for their fire insurance.

    In taking time to wait, and having that new believer mentored for a time, we are sure that we're baptizing those who are more likely truly saved. In our church anyone can be baptized who has come to the Lord but they must either be in a small group and their small group leader will stand for them and their testimony or else they must meet with a pastor for a time for him to study a bit with them. They also must finish a Bible study on what baptism is and why we do it. So that hopefully, those who are being baptized will be doing it with the full knowledge of what this means.

    That's just my opinion of it. I had asked myself a lot of times "Why not right away" and I know that there are churches that do so but in realizing the differences in the early church and baptism and church now, I think it makes sense to wait a bit today.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    One of the great conundrums of evangelicalism is that the easy believism, propositionalist soteriology that scandalizes the Cross and creates cheap Christianity is that we are happy to baptize supposedly converted people and watch them disappear into the abyss of society.

    I'm not convinced that we should baptize people immediately after conversion. As well I think there is a variety of evidence in the New Testament that while the initial movements in the early church had baptism fairly soon after conversion that as the early church grew there was more of a "courtship" period between conversion and baptism.

    Perhaps we do a great disservice towards new believers when we throw them into a strange service without ever truly explaining the significance and the "why" behind the significant ordinance of baptism.

    One thing that the church where I get to serve has championed is a time between personal conversion and public confession. (Of course we don't do come forward invitations as part of our beliefs about the essential nature of reaching those who would otherwise might not connect with Christ) After a period of intentionally explaining the ways of Christ and the will of Christ for each person, and helping them evaluate their decision, we will video their personal tesitmony and display it before they are bapitzed. Often these are the most compelling presentations of the Gospel in our sevices.

    Depends I guess. I'd be willing postulate that many of our people think baptism is salvific even while we tell them it isn't part of salvation. They believe that by participating in this ordinance they are securing their place in eternity.

    We usually take about a week (which given our culture is pretty quick) for intentional follow up by a minister in their stage of life and then have their testimony video taped.

    The perpetual spiritual infancy of most evangelicals seems to the proof enough for us that we can ask for a more intentional process. Ironically we find that the only people who give us grief over it are other Christians and those who have been baptized multiple times in their life.

    I'm completely behind the idea of convental membership which baptism by immersion following salvation (I don't care which church it is in so long as it meets those qualifications) is a pretext is ideal in our churches. What is membership anyways? How many of our people are, or have been, members of multiple churches? If we validate and value membership our people will discover the rich partnership with it.

    Again this is just where I'm at ecclesiologically. Not for everybody probably but it works for the congregation where I get to serve. :)
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    I think I may have a solution for who are wary of a delay in baptism pending a series of new member classes.

    We had a variation of this several years ago in our church. On the day one joins the church (profession of faith, transfer of letter, statement), he is given a copy of the church's bylaws and doctrinal statement, asked to take them home and read them. Sometime within a week, somebody from the church--Pastor and deacon, committee, whatever--will visit in the home answer any questions and clear up any confusion about doctrines and practices. Two questions: "Do you understand and agree with what we believe and the way we do things." And, "do you still desire to covenant with us?"

    The report of that visit goes back to the church, which votes on them either the following Sunday, or at the next business meeting. Baptism follows quickly if needed.

    This leaves plenty of time for new member orientation in detail. The process is timely, but not rushed.
     
  16. ray Marshall

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    My Wife and I fought joining the Church for a period of probably four years. Wanting to but thinking we may stray away from the Church sometime later. That is a heavy burden to carry also. One weekend in November,1966 our chuirch had a two-day special meeting. As I was fighting the possabality to join the Church, my Wife went to Church on the Saturday meeting, I took my son and we went fishing. Now you have to have the experience before you may believe what I am saying. Well, that Saturday evening my wife call me from the Deacons house and told me to come and pick her up. When I walked into the Deacon's house, his Wife came to me and said, "Well, Peter went fishing." She cut me low and I was pretty angry inside. I didn't appreciate what she had said to me, but she knew me better than I did myself with all that burden I was carrying. I ate a bite and my Wife and I went home. I was down stairs in the laundry room cleaning the fish I had cought. Now remember, we were both under a heavy burden. She comes down stairs and started talking to me about joining the church and ask me if I was burden to join thje church? She told me that she was really interested in joining the Church and be baptised. I told her that I wasn't intending to join but I told her that if she felt the need that she should do so. Now I wanted her to join so as to give me a need to go to Church with her.
    The next day being Sunday morning being Nov.30th we went to Church and I was enjoying the preached word, and I shall remember that day forever. Before the service ended, I was so full of hearing the visiting Elder's preaching and that in his sermon he quoted how the spirit will grown and grown in your heart. I was trembling all over and it seemed like a lifetime to me before the announcement of anyone that knew what they should do and come join with others of like faith befor choosing a dismissal hymm. When we started singing, I raced to the front and with tears flowing so freely and also my Wife crying and sobbing so tearfully, the Pastor and all attending the meeting stopped singing. The Pastor told the congregation, with him and most everybody there was in tears. He said, "We have been watching and praying for these two for some time to come forward and joining the Church As customary in the Primitive Baptist Church, the pastor asked the members what was their mind, do we take them in as members."There was so many tearful and loving kindness in the Church and over rejoysing during that moment that a "yes" was joy by all the members. The Pastor asked us if we had anything that we might won't to say but we was crying so much that our tears of a final time for our burdens of relief and the joy's of our submitting hearts seemed to give us so much relief.
    We was baptised that evening in a little stream that was only about 8 ft. wide and maybe three feet deep. I will tell you, yes, that water was cold but our battle was finally over and our longing to follow JESUS was the greatest thing that you could ever imagine. I do think that we must have had to go through our burdensome heart that I believe GOD gave us double freedom in all of this.
    As I write this now, the tears is also flowing from my eyes. Thanks to those that may read this true experience that my Wife and I has overcome by following the LORD in baptism.
     
  17. LeBuick

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    Thanks for sharing your testimony Brother, I often tell people, if you keep fooling around the Church you're going to get saved... :thumbs:
     
  18. Plain Old Bill

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    I don't think supposed new converts should be able to make a public confession of faith until they can write an 1800 page thesis on soteriology and be able to defend it. Then we should disciple them for 14 years before baptizing them. Church membership is a separate thing from baptism. What is easy believism?
     
    #18 Plain Old Bill, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2008
  19. ray Marshall

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    Thank you Brother. It happens a lot that way.
     
  20. ray Marshall

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    Sorry about how I listed the month of november of 1966 It was in October, 1966
     

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