The baptism I attended on Saturday encouraged me. Among the sixteen people baptized were two I know personally. One is a sixteen-year-old girl who has grown in her understanding of the gospel during the two years I’ve known her. Another is a longtime employee of our organization who has recently decided to forsake his former manner of life and follow Christ. As I shook their hands afterwards, I sensed their enthusiastic commitment to our Lord, and rejoiced in this fruit from ministries I’m involved in.
The baptism also concerned me. The pastor’s message presented baptism itself as the means of forgiveness of sins, new life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Though he mentioned faith in Christ as a prerequisite for baptism, he didn’t explain His atoning work as the basis of our salvation. He admonished those baptized to leave behind their old way of life and behave in a new way, of which everyone in society would approve, from the moment of their baptism forward, in order to avoid scandal and to convert other people. I fear that many are trusting in their baptism and personal morality, rather than in Jesus Christ, and will therefore encounter an awful surprise on Judgment Day.
I have many friends in the church that hosted the baptism, including some in leadership positions, and I am troubled by the distorted gospel I typically hear there. Would you please pray with me that the Biblical message of salvation will be proclaimed in that church, and that God would direct in anything I could do to encourage this?