Another question of the day….

Does God give “part marks”?  Like gymnastics? 

Here’s my context – I know a situation, at a church that loves God, and believes Christians must be emersion baptised to be members there.  Someone, who previously went to a different church, was baptised by being sprinkled, because no tank was available.  This person does not want to be re-baptised, even though they understand that God commands emersion baptism in the NT, because they do not feel wrong about their first post-conversion baptism. 

So – does God ever say “no, that’s okay, I understand it was too cold to go to the river, sprinkling’s good.”  Or, is does He say “This is my command, and partial obedience is full disobedience.”  (See 1 Samuel 13)

My analogy is just that – feel free to comment on it specifically, if you would like – but I really am curious as to your thoughts on a general level.  And, to be clear, we are not talking salvific issues….

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. krislinatin
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 11:40:38

    Do you have the NT text on emersion?
    God says, you are baptised unto repentance with water. But I give you the Holy Spirit. (i paraphrase) 🙂
    The water baptism modes arguments are like any other non-essential (for salvation) theological argument, i.e. infant baptism, OT statutes (Lev. 19) and mostly are an opinion of man. I don’t think this person should be re-baptised. and should ot feel like they are getting partial points from God for not getting dunked.
    I’m not quite sure if I’m saying this right, but hopefully you can get my drift.
    Kristina

    Reply

  2. clearly
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 12:27:28

    Verity,

    Since you and I both operate from the perspective that the church is made up of regenerate indiviuduals who have been baptized by immersion — it only makes sense that we believe they should be baptized by immersion to join a local church.

    I believe this is where John Piper goes off track. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2005/1306_Baptism_and_Church_Membership_The_Recommendation_from_the_Elders_for_Amending_Bethlehems_Constitution/

    Anyway, there is some ground in the Scripture for “rebaptizing” (Acts 19, although the situation was quite different). Historically, the anabaptists didn’t even recognize their sprinkling as legitamate baptism, nor the did the early English Baptists of the 17th century. Lexically, I don’t believe that the word baptizo can mean anything but immerse or dunk.

    That’s my two cents.

    Reply

  3. Nicole
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 12:37:47

    Ha! I love the irony – it Was Piper’s church that was not allowing this guy to join – Bethlehem has changed their stance since that link you posted. I was trying to find the original discussion, but can’t.

    Back to my other question though, how do you think God views us, when we only kinda-sorta listen? Does He make allowances for us, or is anything done contrary to how He commands us to do it a sin?

    And I agree Kristina – this is a non-salvific issue. (Although I know there is a movement out now, that suggests baptism must happen for salvation)

    Reply

  4. krislinatin
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 12:45:14

    Back to my other question though, how do you think God views us, when we only kinda-sorta listen? Does He make allowances for us, or is anything done contrary to how He commands us to do it a sin?
    Nope, i think God is an all or nothing kind of ….God. But He gave us His son for all our sins; past, present and future, cuz He knows we fall short. All. the. time. Even the sins of ommission.
    Wait, pipers church isnt allowing someone to join that is not submerged? Wow!

    Reply

  5. krislinatin
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 12:50:55

    it sounds like they are referring to infant baptism by that statement on the website, but you said that has changed?

    Reply

  6. Nicole
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:01:48

    Yes – it was a really openly discussed sort of thing in the summer – respectful on all angles, but they were adamant on that point.

    I love that God forgives, and has covered with His blood, the sins of omission, and commission, even the ones where we know not to, but do it anyways, and like James 4 – if you know the right thing to do, and don’t do it – that too is sin.

    We give ourselves alot of liberty, don’t we? Tell ourselves “it’s not that bad… yet… (thank you Rachel!) or that God understands – He knows we are just human after all.

    Maybe we ought to be holding ourselves to a higher standard – He does….

    Reply

  7. Matthew
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:22:25

    hmmmmm…..

    Reply

  8. Nicole
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:24:25

    lol – what does that mean?

    Reply

  9. Matthew
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 13:35:35

    just wanted to let you know I was here… but I don’t think I’ll be commenting on the discussion… didn’t work out so well for me last time…

    SDG,
    Matty

    Reply

  10. raquelamisto
    Dec 12, 2007 @ 18:13:45

    I do beleive that we should be holding ourselves to a higher standard… just an eensy peek of soft porn is no different than constantly humping around on your spouse. Keeping in mind that it all keeps us from Christ. I do think, though, that we’re all at different places on our paths with God and that you may get something years before God reveals it to me… ya know?

    Reply

  11. susan
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 07:11:20

    That is so true Raquel, and very hard for me to remember. (the part about God revealing things to people at different times) There are things i am ‘awake’ to now, that i was not aware of 5 years ago, and i should not hold other people to understanding and feeling the weight of these things right at this moment, just because i do. God very well may be working on a different area of their life, for His Glory, and this issue may be dealt with at a later time in their heart.
    At times i feel as though others’ SHOULD be more concerned for say, watching Israel- because it is God’s time piece, or for who/what they use as teaching material in a church – because they will be held accountable for it, or other such things…

    and then i remember that God has SO SO SO SO much left to teach me and change in me. i remember that i am so so so unfaithful and selfish. and it reminds me to go to my Bible, pray and allow GOd to change my heart and the other hearts around me as well.

    just some early morning brain mush. haha.

    Reply

  12. susan
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 07:12:25

    sorry, i didn’t address the topic AT ALL!! 🙂

    Reply

  13. Nicole
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 07:27:31

    nice off-topic though Susan…. I have had this discussion with a few people lately. We think we have a right to judge those who are struggling with sins we either can not relate to, or ones God has already helped us work through/opened our eyes too.

    It’s a beautiful thing when we can patiently come alongside someone else and help them with their struggles, because we know God is faithful – and will continue the sanctification process through out our lives…

    Reply

  14. susan
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 07:47:32

    true.

    this is the part i struggle with, being ‘little miss non-confrontational’ (why didn’t they make that in the ‘little miss’ series of books??). I know we are instructed to use scripture to rebuke and encourage, and i know there are definitely times to call people to account for their sins. you are definitely right.

    i guess with me, i tend to become self righteous in my perspective, so i need to repent of that and ask God to give me His desires when it comes to sin in my life, and in the lives of those around me. and i am learning right now that i need to restore my first love and become passionate for Christ.

    love you Nikk!!!! 🙂

    Reply

  15. Nicole
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 08:11:23

    I think the key is to be looking to Christ, and not one another. As long as we are comparing ourselves to His standard, we are never in danger of feeling like we have things all together….

    BTW – It’s funny the sins in us that bother us most, aren’t the ones that others see. I find you one of the most unselfish people I know! I was so annoyed with you last year, because you were going to give up Christmas, to give goats to families in third world countries (uh – I think the right word is “convicted”) Your life is a walking testimony to the goodness of God!

    Reply

  16. Mike
    Mar 09, 2008 @ 16:18:31

    Hey Nicole!

    Saw some your comments on dobubting thomas and thought I’d come over here for a look-see. I didn’t get baptized immediately after I was saved (long story), but when I did, it was by sprinkling, although I grew up in a church that preached total immersion.

    Now, I never seen it for myself, but a friend of mine said he saw the Jordan River and from what he saw, there was no place deep enough for total immersion. And the phrase about Jesus “coming up out of the water” was he coming up from UNDER water or was he simply coming up onto the bank?

    Also, in the OT, the sprinkling of (animal) blood was enough for remission sins. I believe what we are to be full immersed in is Christ Himself

    Reply

  17. Nicole
    Mar 10, 2008 @ 07:27:59

    Hey Mike – thanks for adding your thoughts!

    “The width of the Jordan varies from ninety to one hundred feet, while its depth measures three to ten feet.” – for what that is worth to you….

    I guess I honestly brought up a topic I don’t feel I know enough about to talk about – Dave, you have anything to add?

    Reply

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