Sep 6

Baptismal Service

Baptismal Service (Sep. 4, 2011)

See more photos of our baptismal service by clicking on the photo (above).

Sunday we had a special baptismal service in which five individuals received baptism and became new members of our congregation. Every one of these individuals had been attending our services regularly for many months (or in some cases, years) but had not yet followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. Three were teens who had made professions of faith in the past and were active participants in our youth fellowship. One adult came from a church which practiced sprinkling and asked to receive baptism by immersion on the basis of her testimony of faith. The other adult was a convert (her daughter was also baptized the same day) who was saved after beginning to attend our church with her two children more than a year ago.

We generally hold baptismal services as often as needed, but it had been many months since the last one was held. When it became known that one person was to be baptized, then suddenly many others also expressed interest. We hold our baptismal services on the roof of our church building, which we have found to be convenient and extremely suitable for this purpose. We thank the Lord for these who publicly testified in their baptism of their regeneration after faith, of their determination to follow the Lord in discipleship, and of their desire to serve as functioning members in our local church.

It is unfortunate that in the traditional Christianity which is practiced among “evangelical” Christians here in Taiwan, baptism is often misunderstood in its meaning and purpose. The popular conception is that one becomes a Christian through receiving baptism (this teaching is called baptismal regeneration and is a heresy). This false teaching is encouraged by the faulty translation of the word “baptism” in the Chinese Bible, which uses a word meaning “washing ceremony.” Also many denominations in Taiwan practice sprinkling as the mode of baptism or are indifferent as to whether they practice¬† sprinkling or immersion. These facts add confusion and difficulty to our work as missionaries. We must strike a difficult balance between insisting on the necessity of the new birth as a pre-condition for baptism on the one hand and the requirement of baptism by immersion on the other. For these reasons, we take a little extra time teaching our converts about the meaning of baptism and never attempt to hurry them into the baptismal tank. After all, our goal is not to make converts or cultural Christians but to make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20)!

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