Believer's baptism and the glorification of the Self...


#1

Has anyone ever been to a believer’s baptism service? It is usually at the end of a regular church service in churches that practice believer’s baptism.

What is believer’s baptism? It is the practice of only baptizing those who claim to be believers. The bible, according to propontents of believer’s baptism, only records adult believers being baptized, so it is unscriptural to baptize anyone else.

What usually happens at these services is the pastor calls forth those who are the be baptized (or rebaptized for those who were baptized as infants). He then says a little about the person and this is followed by the soon the be re/baptized person giving a testamony.

In all the services I have been to it has amazed me at how much self-glorification takes place during the testamonial portion of the service.

It is as if God is a bit player in the story of the new believer’s life. What is usually said is how this or that person was such a horrible sinner (which is good), and how they came to an understanding, and how they realized they needed to change, and how they accepted Christ into their hearts, and how they etc…

After this testamony the believer is re/baptized and is met with wonderous applause.

Is this really about God or about the person? Is it about God’s grace or about the person’s ability to make a wise choice?

When an infant is baptized it is not about them, it is about God’s unconditional grace in their life. God personally reaches down and accepts the child. It is about God’s grace, not about the self.

Peace


#2

Wow - interesting point!

I was once part of a gospel choir that is associated with a non-denominational Christian church. One of the beliefs stated on their website was that they offered baptism “for those who believe in Christ.” Needless to say, even tho it’s a trinitarian baptism, they don’t baptize infants.

I have many friends in this church that basically follow their faith based on their own “feelings.” Though I’ve never doubted their sincerity, I wonder sometimes if they realize how self-centered their beliefs are, and how they ‘glorify themselves’ often through their various church ministries and activities. When I attended their services, it did seem like a lot of ‘show’ and little substance.


#3

[quote=Tonks40]Wow - interesting point!

I was once part of a gospel choir that is associated with a non-denominational Christian church. One of the beliefs stated on their website was that they offered baptism “for those who believe in Christ.” Needless to say, even tho it’s a trinitarian baptism, they don’t baptize infants.

I have many friends in this church that basically follow their faith based on their own “feelings.” Though I’ve never doubted their sincerity, I wonder sometimes if they realize how self-centered their beliefs are, and how they ‘glorify themselves’ often through their various church ministries and activities. When I attended their services, it did seem like a lot of ‘show’ and little substance.
[/quote]


#4

Here is a good article on the differences between Catholic and fundamentalist baptism. It’s very interesting.

catholic.com/library/Infant_Baptism.asp


#5

Please don’t judge believer’s baptism so harshly.

If there is self-glorification, it is unintentional.

The point of the “testimonies” of the pastor or the believers is to give glory to God. Just because the testimony is personal doesn’t mean that it is glorifying to self. There’s nothing wrong with describing how God works with you personally. Indeed, much of the Bible is testimony and praise to God’s work in the lives of individuals.

I think that Catholics would do well to be ready to give their personal testimonies. Catholics can present apologetics, but those are just the facts. Tell people what Jesus and His Church means in your life.

I was evangelical Protestant for over 40 years, and all the churches I know of allowed children to be baptized if they came of their own free will and testified that Jesus had come into their hearts. My older daughter was baptized when she was 5, by her daddy, during a baptismal service. She understood what she was doing, as much as a five year-old can understand.

I think we need to ENCOURAGE Protestant churches to hold baptismal services! As you know the sacrament works even if the understanding is not there. Baptism is the way that people become Christians. We WANT to see people get baptized and become part of the family of God, don’t we? Even if it’s for the wrong reasons. At least the Holy Spirit is present in their lives after they are baptized.

A lot of Protestant churches are cutting back on baptismal services. The last Protestant church we attended, an Evangelical Free Church, only held a few baptismal service in all the years we were there.

I think that this is because many Protestant Christians believe-mistakenly-that baptism is a “work of man” and therefore not necessary to salvation. They are so afraid of teaching “works” that they avoid even the appearance of “works,” and that means baptism.

I’ve been involved with several online discussions where Protestants say that baptism is not necessary for a Christian. They will say that even though Jesus was baptized, he also healed people, and not all of us heal people.

It’s really SCARY that this teaching is gaining followers. The ONLY reason why many Protestants get baptized is because Jesus was baptized, but they do not believe it has anything to do with their salvation. It’s just a public testimony.

Thank goodness Jesus got baptized! I honestly think the main reason He was baptized is because He knew that in the future the Protestants would split away from the Church, and that they would drop all the sacraments unless He Himself set the example.

Evangelicals get baptized because of the Great Commission, but again, it’s only a testimony to them, and therefore, not a requirement for salvation.

I think that the confusion over baptismal doctrine is one reason why baptismal services are not done very often anymore in some Protestant churches, but that’s just my opinion.

The fact is, Protestant churches are cutting back on baptismal services, and this means not as many baptisms and that’s BAD. So when we see one happening, I’d say “YAY!”


#6

It surely is unintentional. I was also a fundamentalist type for a few years, and had one of these believer’s baptisms myself, and witnessed many others, including those of my wife and children.

You go on to describe the scariness of evangelical teaching that deemphasizes the importance of baptism to the point that it isn’t even done anymore. The same thing seems to happen with the Eucharist. To them, it is only symbolic, so it isn’t necessary. It is unintentional, but it demonstrates how bad teaching leads to bad practices. For sure, most of these believers are true, deepheart Christians who love Jesus and follow Him as best they can. Unfortunately, they are attached to teachers who, though unintentional, are sailing them into dangerous seas.


#7

count me out, I prefer the Catholic practice, where my horrible sins are a secret between me, God and the priest.


#8

Allweather, exactly!

During the 1990s, my husband and I became increasingly alarmed over the tendency of Protestant churches to eliminate Communion and Baptism, or at least celebrate them as infrequently as possible. (We knew of one church that did communion once a year.)

I know of at least one situation where the Protestant pastor refused to baptize a believer who asked. It’s just a “symbol.”

Many Protestant churches have formal ordination requirements, but there are just as many who do not have any requirements to be ordained other than coming forward for the laying on of hands. It’s just a “symbol,” after all.

The churches we were involved with still anointed the sick with oil and prayed for their recovery. But the “oil” is just a symbol, so it isn’t always used.

Most evangelical churches do not have confirmations. Only the mainlines.

As for confession–well, there is no need to confess our sins other than for our benefit. Our sins are forgiven past present and future. I am involved with another forum (Protestant) and the “lead teacher” on this forum just made this statement a few days ago. Yikes!

So that’s six out of seven sacraments gone or almost gone–all symbols.

So what my husband and I started wondering back in the 90s is, “When will the Protestant churches start getting rid of marriage?” After all, if communion and baptism are only symbols, so is marriage. So why have a wedding? Just do whatever is required by law. Or–just live together as man and wife, since any kind of ceremony or “words” is just "symbolic anyway.

I’m sure it’s already happening in some churches.

We found this frightening. It is one of the many things that we started questioning in the evangelical churches, and we didn’t get reassuring answers.


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