Baptism is an act of obedience in which a Believer publicly proclaims his faith and commitment to Christ. Being immersed in water symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, so in essence a Christian is saying that they died with Christ and will rise with Him again. It is a beautiful step in a Believer’s life as the Body of Christ comes together to witness and support the Believer.
We saw some beautiful baptisms while attending the church and of course who can forget the baptisms at the beautiful church camp at the lake with the frigid water?
However, there was one disturbing pattern that a number of us noticed. Some were being baptized who were not walking with the Lord, especially among the youth. I’ve been told one youth reported immediately afterward that it was done just because everybody else was doing it. One person was baptized without giving public testimony because the pastor vouched for the testimony which was made privately to him. Another was questioned afterward and didn’t know why they got baptized, acknowledging they weren’t a Christian, but went ahead because the pastor convinced them.
There is no numbers game here in which God says to a pastor: how many congregants did you baptize? So what could be the reason for baptizing those who were not Christians or did not understand the meaning of baptism or had no desire to walk with Christ? Why were they pushed to get baptized? Being a part of a church where congregants are growing in the Lord and are making public confessions of faith is a wonderful sight to witness and it says to the congregation: we’ve got something good going on here spiritually. But if these baptisms were not genuine, why were they done?
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:27-28
Think of how much better it would have been to walk alongside those who expressed a desire to get baptized. Connect them with a mature person in faith for discipleship. Build and nurture relationship among the saints and encourage spiritual growth so that when the time came when there was true repentance, true conversion, their baptism would have been meaningful and genuine. To baptize those who are so weak in faith or perhaps have no faith at all seems only self-serving and all about the image. It benefits no one else. I do not believe God is amused by this hypocrisy.