[forthright] Amazing, But Not Unexpected

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 04:11:57 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

Amazing, But Not Unexpected
 by Barry Newton

The following is a true story.

The female voice on the phone had an unmistakable
British accent from Africa. After a polite greeting,
she cut to the heart of the matter. "I am interested in
baptism. How do you baptize?"

In the past, others have called requesting information
about "baptizing" their newly born infant. I thought I
knew what was coming. I had no clue.

So I proceeded to offer a brief explanation that we
immerse those who confess Christ and we are willing to
baptize at anytime of the day. I anticipated this would
sufficiently reveal that we are not in the business of
immersing infants.

Her exclamation was amazing, but should not be totally
unexpected. 

   "That's biblical. I have been been a part of
   a denomination, but in studying my Bible I
   realize that my infant baptism is not what
   God wanted. I want to be baptized. I do not
   want to be a part of a denomination any
   more."

So often I work with people who have undergone extreme
mental gymnastic training to alter the New Testament's
simple and clear teaching on baptism. To at least grant
them the opportunity to scrape off those accumulated
unbiblical human traditions often requires providing
tools enabling them to consider reexamining salvation
by faith, baptism and some taken-out-of-context proof-
texts.

Tools can provide the opportunity to objectively
reevaluate. But what it really comes down to is the
heart. What does the person really value? Does a person
cling to the security of one's own inherited faith, the
peace of mind which comes with swimming with a large
school of fish or something like embracing the simple
cohesive gospel message, even if it might not be
popular?

This past Monday, Catherine commented during our Bible
study, "For so long I have looked at these verses, but
I never had eyes to see. Now I see." It was her desire
to be humble and obedient to God that restored her
vision.

A few minutes later, she confessed her belief in Christ
and desire to rely upon what his death has made
possible. Then she was plunged beneath the water dying
to an old life that God's power might make her alive
with Christ raising her up to a new life in him (Acts
2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4).

----
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