I was baptized (fully immersed) in 1997 at a Pentecostal church in Ottawa, Ontario. I gave my testimony of conversion (which was in 1995) prior to water baptism as was the tradition at this congregation. I was so excited to have a few family members and family present during this. Later in 2000, my husband and two girls were baptized, together in a swimming pool, in front of family and friends (see above photo).
I remember when I got baptized how my parents and others reacted. They simply didn't understand why I would wanted to get baptized as an adult for one simple reason: that they, as good parents, had me baptized as an infant. My baptism in 1997 therefore gave me an opportunity to share with them, and others, why I needed to be baptized at this point in my life.
Infant baptism: my three children were all baptized as infants. I had no scriptural understanding, and certainly not of baptism. I just assumed it was the Christian religious thing to do, something that all Christian parents with infants should do.
After reading scripture however, I can now see that baptism is not intended at all for infants. There is no instance of scripture talking about water baptism as appropriate for infants. Instead water baptism is reserved for those who have understood and placed their faith in Christ. Having identified with Christ through faith, baptism follows simply as an outward sign to others, which is for the purpose of declaring their faith to now be in Christ alone. Water baptism means we now identify with His death and resurrection. Obviously infants cannot make this conscious decision to follow Christ. They certainly cannot understand what baptism even signifies.
Certainly the method of sprinkling water on the head of an infant does not agree with biblical baptism. Christ was not sprinkled upon, He was fully immersed. It does not agree with the apostles teaching which was handed down and that we are supposed to be following. I believe infant baptism to be a teaching that was wrongly introduced by early church leaders, one that went horribly astray & even against what Paul & the others commanded. It's true, perhaps they did not have the fully compiled Bible at their disposal at that time (for reference), which could perhaps explain the reason that things went so wrong; yet they could have easily corrected these errors once they did have the Bible, compiled & for reference. Unfortunately that didn't happen; instead many wrong, false beliefs and teachings continued to be introduced, embraced and adhered to and are yet today.
PS: I think the idea of dedicating your infant or child to Christ in front of other believers to be appropriate and full of faith. However, as that child grows, they will still have to see themselves as sinners, in need of salvation. This because we are only saved through unmerited favor. Otherwise there will be no appreciation for what God has truly done for them on the Cross. In fact, children growing up 'in the church' so to speak can be very self righteous and think that they somehow 'deserve' to be saved. They can be very proud. However it's so true: those who are forgiven much (of our many sins) are those that love much.
What kind of communion was Christ talking about during the last supper that he had with his disciples? What was it that he wanted us to do, 'in remembrance of him?"
It has been my conviction for some time that he wasn't talking about a ceremony or a ritual to beperformed (a certain amount of times per month or per year). But that is exactly what the visible church has done, they have made this a ritual, one to be performed again and again, religiously by adherents. If you follow this ritual, they say that you have participated in the 'communion' of Christ's blood and bread. It's easy to understand how the intent and significance therefore has been completely lost. When Christ referred to his blood & bread, he warned us to think about His sacrifice ('ie not take His blood & bread unworthily) in favor of simply following a tradition.
When Paul refers to the "bread of Christ's body and drinking the blood of Christ's body", he is first of all, talking to a church that is seriously struggling with many things. They needed to be pointed to Jesus, to really deeply consider what had happened on the Cross for them. They needed to do this in light of where they were now at and what they were struggling with. Think about Christ. Think about what happened on the night Jesus was betrayed, think about what His death really meant for them. The sacrifice He had made for them. Obviously, they were not doing this at all when they were coming together. To truly drink of the cup of His blood and partake of the bread of Christ, is to really consider and judge our own consciences to see whether we are examples of His death (death to self). Are we truly partaking of that BREAD, that bread being offered to us in light of this?
The answer to this determines whether we (as individuals and collectively when we do come together,) if we TRULY are examples of Christ's death by showing forth His life.
"Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat OF THAT BREAD, and DRINK OF THAT CUP." (11.28)
Paul said many were sick and had died because they were not truly an example of this (they had never examined their lives, consciences) but instead were just living after their flesh.
We do need to be chastened when we do this. WE are God's people whom He has chosen to be his examples to others. If we fail to appreciate and consider the bread and blood of Christ, we will not be showing forth Christ to others, but we will be showing forth instead many things which will not convince a lost suffering dying world that Christ has truly risen, and chosen to live in a people. We will be proving the opposite.
Though we can't make ourselves worthy in any way, we can by partaking of the Bread which HE OFFERS US, show forth Christ to others. In that sense, we do become worthy, but it's only through partaking of THAT BREAD that He offers us. (11.26) "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
Today, my husband & I had the privilege of getting together with a few other couples for the purpose of simply sharing the life He has given us & to rejoice in the hope within. He is so good. Now you might think, so what, don't Christians do that all the time?
Well, for us, we left the institution in 02 which was followed by a home group for a couple years. But since that dissolved, it's literally been years for us to be in a group setting. I admit it was really exciting as well as awkward for myself, at the same time. I am not sure that makes sense, even to me, however I hope you get what I mean. As much as I was excited, I wasn't sure what my expectations were, or even if I had any, or what they should be. It's just it's been so long for me. I don't think in these terms anymore. I am not sure if that's a handicap at the moment for me. I just haven't thought a lot about these things tho I admit I thoroughly love people, I love being with them, I love life, I love sharing, interacting, there's just no end to the river of Christ and He is so beautiful and vibrant in His people.
Perhaps now that I think about it, the word is surreal; I felt like I was just sort of gazing or peering into the group setting. I enjoyed simply watching and observing the way they interacted, shared their hearts, their beliefs. People are just so darn interesting! lol. What was amazing is that there seemed to be a continual shared eagerness to learn and to grow. That was inspiring and you can't help but also feel encouraged by their faith.
On another note, I was reading the Bible on the way there and I was meditating on Samuel again. I re-read some things from a few weeks ago, and thought I would share what my thoughts were.
David found himself on the run from Saul, and ended up finding refuge under the favor of King Achish, King of the Philistines. In fact Achish so favored David, that he said of him,
And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.
David found the hand of protection of God amongst the Philistines. God chose to use Israel's enemies as a way to favor David, protect him and look after him.
Today I was wondering what all of Israel (those in Saul's camp) thought of that arrangement. The majority of the perceived children of God, ie Israel, would have been a part of Saul's camp. Not David's. There would have been much murmuring against David, and judging him, slandering him. Many numbered against the few. In today's language that could mean being labeled one of many things. Apostate. Lost. A betrayor. Left the faith. an outcast.
But the fact remains, that David's heart was so wonderful and so fixed on the Lord. David was able to look beyond the established religious order of his day and serve His God in fear and admiration. He didn't count the cost. He certainly did not hold anything against Saul, in fact he respected him because of the fact that God had chosen Saul. Saul relentlessly hunted him down and showed no mercy, and his pursuit against David drove him mad. He was not able to truly see how merciful David was and that he sought no harm against Saul. David was so devoted to God that even in the midst of living within the enemies of Israel and being hunted down by God's people (use that term loosely), he chose to repeatedly trust God and look to Him as His One and Only steady source of strength and guidance. He never waivered in his belief of God's absolute goodness. It's so amazing to think that David went through so much and yet his faith never wavered.
Even when he returned to Ziklag, and it was burning,their wives and children taken captive by the Amalekites;
Even when his own people and he cried until they had no more tears;
Even when they were going to stone David (his own people) because of the loss, it says , and David strengthened himself in the Lord. So now not only is all of Israel after him, but his own people are seeking to kill David!
"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.1 Sam 30:6
It is my hope in offering this to you that in the midst of each day's circumstances, whether they be joys or trials, that you & I would together be edified, and receive the ministering Spirit of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and be enabled to share life, hope, comfort and conviction.