“Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” Acts 19:3
Peggy and I never realized how deep the spiritual differences were between our families until we baptized our children. My family was a classic Norwegian Lutheran family. We believed in infant baptism because it expressed the purity of receiving the faith. We receive Christ not on our own merits or actions, but as a free gift from God. My wife’s family, who were German Mennonites disguised as Presbyterians, held to what is called, a believers baptism. That is, one had to be old enough to confess belief in Christ for a baptism to be genuine.
In almost every other aspect, apart from baptism, our two families were identical in faith practices. Our families shared similar spiritual disciplines and social views. We were both taught to be humble, servant minded, and down to earth. Any form of public display of your faith was frowned upon. Matter of fact, you would have been chastised for it. Yet, the practice of baptism caused deep pain within our marriage.
It left me wondering, into what were we baptizing? How can the same Jesus, same Spirit and same God, be so different and dividing? Actually, it is not God who is different and dividing. Divisions are caused by the human mind as it desperately searches to understand the mystery of God.
As I experience different expressions of a living faith, I find I trust the Holy Spirt more and the theologies of humans less. This is not to say theologies have no place or value. The words scholars and non-scholars use to describe God help me grow in understanding. However, we have a tendency to worship our theologies and practices more than the living God.
The younger me would give long lectures about the purity of one infant baptism. The older me cares less about who, how and where you were baptized and more about how you are living within that baptism. Adults, like children, can receive the Holy Spirit and have it remain dormant within them. Transformation happens when the soul embraces the reality of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God within them. This may cause some to speak in tongues or prophecy. I simply celebrate the peace which comes from knowing I am loved. I invite you to do the same.
Click to read: Acts 19: 1-8
- When was your baptism and what do you remember about it?
- How do you understand baptism today?
- Have you ever seen the Holy Spirit?
- What does it mean for you to live within your baptism?
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