underwater: a conversation about water baptism–C. E’Jon Moore’s reflections

11 09 2007

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So, the first House of God Sessions event has come and gone. Admittedly, I’m no closer to making up my mind on the subject of baptism. That’s not to say none of our panelists were convincing. Quite the contrary. I thought each of them said many things of great weight.

As I expected, a lot of people sided with whoever they already believed like. If I could pick a perspective I was most impressed with, however, it would have to be the position of the Salvationist—which stymies me, because I couldn’t agree with their position less. But, there was something about Cherri Hobbins’ willingness to even be here. Coming in, she had to have known it was going to be like throwing herself to the lions (a fact she even alluded to during our morning session). But, she got me thinking. What is the efficacy of baptism?

Salvationists find no efficacy (effectiveness, usefulness, worth, value) in the practice of baptism or communion. They believe that Jesus Christ is the sacrament. While I do not agree with the Salvationist position that either practice is optional nor do I agree with the [classic] Church of Christ position that baptism is necessarily subsequent with/integral to salvation, there is something to be said for viewing Christ as the sacrament.

When I take communion, Christ is present—whether symbolically or bodily (depending on where you fall on the Protestant/Catholic spectrum). In that sense, he is the sacrament. When I enter the waters of baptism in obedience to his command to do so, he is present. In that sense, he is the sacrament.

What did spring from this conversation for me was that obedience is important. All of the panelists agreed on that point. All arguments of how one hermeneutically understands how that obedience is to be interpreted, obedience to Christ was constantly stressed as proof positive that one is not only a believer, but a disciple. So, when all is said and done, I now realize a bit more how much my obedience to Christ is tied intimately to how I love him.

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