Call Folk to Repent and Confirm it by Baptism
Yes, coworkers, you’re free to baptize the repentant, do not delay it to please others who put their tradition above God’s order.
Yes, Lord Jesus, we will evangelize as You said, calling folk to turn from their sins. We will confirm their repentance by baptism, as the apostles did, to avoid discouraging them by delays or by legalistic demands. Help us smother babes in Christ with loving acceptance within the bosom of a caring body, just when they need it most.
Effective evangelism calls folk to repent, as Jesus and the apostles did. In the New Testament, new believers confirmed their faith and repentance without delay by being baptized into the Body of Christ, initiating their new, holy life.
The impact of baptism proves weaker, if a stranger or someone from outside the same fellowship baptizes. Baptism also loses its effect as the initial step of faith and obedience, when new believers must wait months or years for a regional bishop to come, must complete a long new-comer’s class or catechism, or must endure a lengthy probation period.
Some churches do well to encourage fathers to baptize their children. Baptism can also make a stronger impact when the person who is discipling a new believer does the baptizing.
Scriptural baptism is for bad folk who confess their sins and trust in Christ; baptism is not for those who think they’re good enough to merit it. Delaying baptism for man-made reasons makes new believers doubt their salvation, lose heart and, in many, cease attending worship. New adult believers are spiritually newborn babes in Christ, who need to be welcomed into the bosom of His church and smothered with loving care.
Resources For While You …
Dispel Evangelical fog. The blinding mist of bloated statistics, out-of-date church roles, and haphazard follow up proves extremely destructive; such confusion blurs everyone’s view of the Body of Christ. Follow up new believers as the apostles did, and you will not have a high dropout rate or misperceptions as to who are saved:
Deliver spiritually-newborn babes with gentle hands. Avoid deadly delays in following up repentant faith with baptism. Receive new believers into the warm Body of Christ, as soon as they know Jesus:
Help people to understand God’s acceptance Illustrate a striking case of repentance with this brief, gripping drama:
Confirm saving faith. Join with Philip in his ride in a chariot, with this convincing role-play:
Call folk to repent, as John the Baptist did. You do not have to wear camel’s skin or eat grasshoppers, as John did, to bring folk to repent. Enact john’s encounter with Jesus at the Jordan River:
Love new lambs:
Relive Pentecost’s world-changing events:
Make folk aware of the Holy One’s Awesome Presence. Folk seldom repent without first sensing holy fear of God and of His judgment. Enact the fearful scene of the Almighty zapping presumptions intruders. Nadab and Abihu learned in a fiery way the danger of not taking God seriously:
Gazing into Glory. Soar beyond outer space with astronaut John on his trip to heaven where he witnesses the final transformation of repentant believers:
Install spiritual, security cameras. Watch alertly for the creeping, lying serpent. Forewarn new believers of how Satan will tempt them:
Reenact one of Jesus’ most popular stories, of grace and forgiveness:
Common Traps To Avoid
Make baptism a graduation ceremony following a newcomers’ class or catechism.
Biblical baptism is the initial step of faith for the repentant. The apostles baptized as soon as a sinner confessed faith in the risen Christ. Newcomers’ instructions should follow baptism instead of preceding it, so it makes a much stronger impact.
Make new believers prove, over time, that they are worthy to be baptized.
Probation contradicts the apostle’s practice and entails deadly legalism; seekers might assume they must earn their way into God’s church. Valid reasons to postpone baptism include illness, waiting for family members, and security. Delaying baptism for legalistic reasons stifles God’s grace.
Delay baptism because you doubt a new believer’s sincerity.
Such doubts are deadly, contagious and disheartening in the extreme. Only God knows a seeker’s heart. Often, new believers with a destructive upbringing still commit shocking sins, while actually trying harder to follow Jesus than most believers who were raised in godly homes. Some fruit grows so high on the tree that it is seen only from heaven. Jesus warned not to judge in a condemning way.
Put off baptism in order to wait until an ordained clergyman can do it.
This practice forces thousands of churches to disobey Jesus; it cancels grace, stifles movements on six continents, and leaves new churches feeling second-rate, incapable of fully exercising God’s will for a congregation. The evil lies not with ordination; commissioning shepherds by laying on hands is a biblical practice. Abuse comes from imposing man-made, non-biblical requirements for ordination, so that an elite clergy can control God’s work. Instead, a congregation must remain free to set its own standards for naming its leaders, whilst not imposing its unique standards on other congregations.
Blame the New Testament practice of baptism, when some baptized folk fall away later.
It is wiser to question the method of evangelism. Did you baptize folk who merely made a “decision” with no challenge to repent and to let God transform their lives? Were they assured of salvation when all they had done was raise their hands in courteous response to an eloquent plea? The Bible says nothing about someone being saved by raising their hand or by walking forwards at a meeting. God has used “public invitations” to help some folk profess faith, especially nominal believers who are ready to step out for Christ. However, if an evangelist does nothing more, then results prove meager. One must not view the physical act of raising a hand or of going forward as a saving sacrament. Those who come to Christ in response to such a public invitation, and then continue to follow Him are a very low percentage; those who remain faithful do so only by God’s grace; the Holy Spirit has convicted them of sin, led them to repent and be born anew.
Offer “cheap grace.”
Western believers often equate self-fulfillment with spirituality.Their self-indulgence has an odor suspiciously akin to that of the Dalai Lama’s mystical mush, suggesting a common source. Cheap grace is to view the Deity as a benign Giver who never gets angry and who blesses everyone no matter what they do. Cheap grace no longer fears God, no longer warns believers to avoid the Almighty’s chastisement; it says He has grown milder. And weaker. Soon He will no longer send hurricanes or allows wars! If those happen, it cannot be due to His fault; He will have lost His sovereign control, since He would never allow such bad things to afflict us if He were omnipotent. Modern society has fully tamed this new, compliant, benign god; in his weakened condition, he is now safe, warm, fuzzy and eager simply to serve those who ‘deserve’ his grace, no questions asked.