FBCSL Celebrated Baptism Sunday

First Baptist Church Sun Lakes (FBCSL) joined thousands of churches nationwide in celebrating Baptism Sunday on April 7. And what a celebration it was! A total of six people followed Christ’s example of baptism to fulfill the public announcement of their faith.

Baptism: initiation or interconnection?

In the fraternal world, there is usually a required initiation for every inductee. It could be anything from a beer drinking contest to mandating a day of craziness (including dress and activities). These initiations are usually demeaning, humiliating, and done all in the name of fun. Recent years have shown us otherwise, especially on college campuses where young people end up dead.

Non-Christians erroneously consider baptism a rite of passage in “becoming” a Christian. Such thinking is still too heavily weighted by a worldly perspective, while Christians follow their instructions to live in the world but not to be “of” the world. In other words, Christians seek to transform their minds to become more “Christ-like.” Unfortunately, pseudo-Christians seek to brainwash their followers to blindly follow the leader or prophet without allowing the basis for transformation to rest upon the sacred texts.

And that is the real issue at play in baptism: Christians follow the precedent established by the Founder of Christianity. Jesus thought so highly of the practice, He traveled a few days’ journey so John the Baptizer could fulfill scripture (see Mark 1:9, NIV). Christians today follow Christ’s example of baptism to accomplish the same purpose: to fulfill all righteousness (see Matthew 3:13-17, NIV).

Fulfilling righteousness is an outward act of what has happened internally. Baptism is a visual display of what occurred in the heart of one who professed his or her faith in Christ: The person is buried with Him in baptism (submerged under the water) and raised to walk in newness of life (being raised up from the water). Baptism does not magically accomplish this new life, though the transformation of the new life began the moment one placed his/her trust in Him and began to follow His way of living.

Baptism, though it may appear to resemble an initiation, is actually one piece of a puzzle of connections that bring interconnectivity to every new believer in Christ: It brings a common bond of faith, displayed by one action meant to engage believers in continued patterns of spiritual maturity that leads to being an image-bearer of Christ.