By / Jul 9

In this episode, Josh, Lindsay, and Brent discuss the assassination of Haiti’s president, how new deaths from covid remain from those who are unvaccinated, a summer Olympics without any spectators, and the winner of the national spelling bee. Lindsay gives a rundown of this week’s ERLC content including Candice Watters with “Do you need a digital reset? A better approach to screen time after the pandemic,” Daniel Patterson with “Why and how reading shapes your soul,” and Hannah Anderson with “At what age should we baptize our children? A case for baptizing those who make a credible profession of faith.”

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  1. Suspects arrested in assassination of Haitian president
  2. Nearly all deaths from Covid in US are among the unvaccinated
  3. In Maryland, all deaths from Covid in June were among unvaccinated
  4. More evidence suggests vaccines protect against delta variant
  5. An Olympic fiasco
  6. Zaila Avant-garde wins national spelling bee

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By / Jul 6

If you have cross-denominational friendships, you might have come across the teasing meme, “Baptize yo babies.” Paedobaptists will sometimes lob it at their credobaptist brothers and sisters, alluding to the doctrinal difference between them. What was once a source of deep division — so deep that it included propaganda campaigns and even persecution — is today nothing more than gentle ribbing. During the recent gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, one Ben Anthony egged on the sibling rivalry on Twitter, promising “If anybody yells ‘baptize your babies’ at SBC on video while it’s quiet, I’ll Venmo you 20 dollars.”

Like all good-natured teasing, this particular jibe works because it’s built on a mutual trust and accepting of each other as we are, while also recognizing and discussing our differences. Your Presbyterian friends will baptize infants, and your Baptist friends will baptize those who make a credible profession of faith.

Ironically however, Baptists sometimes have greater disagreement among ourselves about the exact when and how of baptizing those who confess Christ. Recently, Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and co-founder of 9Marks, drew attention to the cover of the Spring 2021 edition of Baptist Life. It carried the caption “Building and Rebuilding Healthy Churches” along with a picture of a young child being baptized. “The irony of this cover,” Dever tweeted, “when the widespread baptism of children may be the leading cause of Baptist church rolls being filled with unconverted members.”

Dever is understandably concerned by the threat that an unregenerate membership poses to a congregation; and that is nothing compared with the false hope some members themselves risk when they trust in their baptism for salvation more than Christ’s saving work. But is the baptism of young children to blame for Baptist rolls being filled with the unregenerate? Should we delay baptism until a child is grown? What makes for a credible profession of faith? While godly pastors and parents differ on how to answer these questions, I’m convinced that you should — to riff of our Presbyterian friends — “baptize yo children.”

Childlike faith

In God’s providence, I was born into a Christian family and made a profession of faith at a young age. When my mother explained the gospel to me, I responded to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and I remember the joy I found in claiming Christ as Savior. I was not baptized immediately because my parents wanted to give space for my faith to show itself, which it did in different ways — including my attempts to evangelize my younger brother by promising to buy him a cap gun if he prayed the sinner’s prayer (Clearly, I had much to learn).

A year or two after my profession, our pastor closed the morning worship service with a call for those who wanted to be baptized to come forward. I turned to my mother and asked if I could go, and she nodded that if I believed God was calling me to this act of obedience, then I could. I did and at the next baptismal service, I confessed my faith in Christ before the gathered congregation and was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I was no more than 7 and so young and tiny that my pastor had to lift me to the microphone to give my testimony.

My own history is evidence neither for nor against baptizing young children, but it does raise a significant question about how we evaluate the credibility of a child’s profession. Pastors and parents who delay baptizing children until they are teens or young adults often do so because they want to ensure that the child is acting out of their full volition. They want to both test the child’s profession as well give them time to understand the significance of what they’re doing by publicly identifying with Christ. As laudable as this goal might be, I think it might overlook a fundamental test of a true profession.

In Matthew 18, the Scripture records a time when Jesus called a child to himself in order to teach a lesson about the nature of the kingdom. “Truly, I say to you,” he said to his disciples, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Part of what makes a profession of faith credible — whether of a child or adult — is that it is childlike. It is a faith that is humble, dependent, and ready to receive the Savior’s offered sacrifice. Looking back, I realize that I responded with this kind of faith in part because I was a child. I didn’t face the same spiritual hurdles or mental objections that I would eventually wrestle through as my faith matured. Instead, there was a purity and single-mindedness to my submission to Christ as my Savior.

But perhaps just as many people can offer up a similar testimony that doesn’t run as smoothly as mine does. What are we to make of professions of faith that eventually wither? More to the point, does child baptism lead to false assurance of salvation?

A faith that grows

Pastors are right to be concerned that some sitting in our pews have a false sense of assurance. But this often happens when our profession of faith and baptism are understood as ends in themselves, something to be checked off a list. If a confessing Christ is primarily about “getting saved” or “going to heaven when you die,” it shouldn’t surprise us when we see false professions among both children and adults alike. But in these cases, the source of the false profession is not rooted in the age of the individual so much as falsely framing the gospel as personal rehabilitation rather than a choice to come under the care and authority of King Jesus. 

But when a child or adult is taught that their profession of faith (and subsequent baptism) is the first step in a lifetime of submitting to Jesus, it reframes the question entirely. No longer is the focus on how old a child is when they come to faith in Christ; the focus now shifts to discipleship regardless of whether the individual is 5 or 35.

In this sense, the problem may not be childhood baptism, but a failure to disciple believers in every stage of life. Like our physical bodies, faith that is living must also be growing. And just like our bodies require proper care and sustenance, our faith does as well. Because here is the inescapable truth: The faith of a 5-year-old will have the same essential quality as the faith of a 35-year-old, but a 5-year-old’s faith must still develop into a 35-year-old’s faith.

I am not suggesting that a child can lose faith once implanted. I am suggesting that as we grow, our faith must grow with us, meeting new challenges and doubts with the timeless answers and promises of Scripture. That adult members of churches act in unregenerate ways may be the result of false childhood professions, but it might as easily be the result of a faith that is on life-support.

The risk of not baptizing

I am sympathetic to the concerns of serious-minded pastors and parents, but I wonder if there is another concern that they’re overlooking. If there are risks to baptizing children, are there risks to not baptizing children when they profess faith?

As much as baptism identifies the individual believer with Christ, it also identifies him or her with the body of Christ. In this sense, baptism brings newly regenerate members into community with other regenerate members. But what happens when we keep a professing child at arm’s length until we are convinced of their sincerity?

Children are not easily fooled. They will quickly recognize our cynicism and take it to heart. Some children will do everything they can to overcome our skepticism and please us. They will learn, among other things, that they must earn their inclusion into the household of God by performance. Still others will learn that the adults around them cannot be pleased — that nothing they do can convince us of their sincerity — and they’ll become discouraged. In the one case, we risk raising pagans and in the other, Pharisees.

It is entirely legitimate to want to see fruit from a child’s profession of faith before baptism, but we must ask ourselves exactly what would convince us? What good works must they perform and how long must they perform them until they are accepted by the body? After all, there is a profound difference between calling a child to obedience on the basis of their profession of faith and calling a child to obedience in order for their profession to be accepted.

First steps

Given all this, what are faithful pastors and parents to do?

First, honor and accept your child’s faith. While we should not pressure, coerce, or manipulate a profession from young children, we also shouldn’t be surprised when they respond in childlike trust to the Jesus we claim is so beautiful. As you teach and present Christ to them, do so believing that if he is lifted up, he will draw all people — including your children — to himself.

Second, if your child does make a profession of faith, recognize that they do not naturally know the next steps. Remember how limited a child’s scope of reference is. As parents, we are the ones introducing the world to them — whether it’s trying a new food, starting school, or understanding the ordinance of baptism. So when there is a baptismal service at church, talk with your children about what you’re doing together as a community, and explicitly tell them that this is symbol is available to them. Do not assume that your child knows this, especially if they’ve not seen other children baptized. You can say something as simple as, “The Bible teaches that those who want to love, follow, and obey Jesus will show this by being baptized. If that’s something you want to do, let me know and we can talk about it more. I will help you.”

The reality is that children face hurdles to baptism that have nothing to do with the validity of their faith or their desire to obey Jesus. But just as we’d never ask a child to sign themselves up for school when they are ready to learn, parents should feel the freedom to direct children to baptismal waters when they see signs of faith and repentance.

But finally and most importantly, recognize that when a child professes faith and is eventually baptized, their journey is only beginning. As my husband and I have explained it to our own children, this is the first step of a lifetime of walking with Jesus. 

By / May 6

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this considering I’m a professor at a Baptist seminary, but how I came to be a passionate Baptist was not because I thought baptism by immersion was the most compelling foundation. In a roundabout way, I became the convictional Baptist I am today because Baptist ecclesiology was the natural outcome of what I understood as the correct understanding and practice of religious liberty. That may sound confusing, so let me unpack it from the beginning.

I grew up in central Illinois going to a Southern Baptist Church (Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville). If you’re outside the geographic South growing up in church, you may have attended a Southern Baptist Church without any real sense of feeling explicitly Baptist. That’s because in the North, at least in my experience, we didn’t see ourselves as very much Baptist as much as we did just Bible-believing evangelicals. If you would have asked me as a teen if I were a Baptist, I would have answered “yes” but only because I understood that I was not Catholic. 

Feeling a call to ministry, I went to a Baptist college in southwest Missouri. Upon graduation, I went to the seminary where I now teach, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. At both institutions, I took Baptist history classes and became aware of our history and theological distinctives, which I appreciated at the time, but still did not feel overly zealous about. This was not the fault of the professors. Looking back, I recall my two Baptist history classes to be well taught and the professors passionate about their subject. Perhaps owing to my general immaturity, ideas like regenerate church membership, believer’s baptism, baptism by immersion, local church autonomy, and religious liberty did not really animate me. That does not mean I disagreed with them; I did agree with them because they simply seemed biblical. But ecclesiology was not front and center in my earlier theological angst. Questions like Calvinism, inerrancy, and the Emergent Church were front and center. 

It was not until I “came of age” that my first jobs, incidentally, would lead me in a more fervently Baptist direction more so than my formal education in Baptist institutions. My first jobs out of seminary were for think tank and advocacy organizations that focused on social conservative causes like life, marriage, and, well, religious liberty. I had heard of the issue, but at the time, I did not understand the urgency of the issue. What is now a token issue of concern for evangelicals, a decade ago, was not. In 2008-2010, it was a different cultural climate. Much of the religious liberty challenges we’re encountering now were predicted, at the time, by documents like the Manhattan Declaration. This joint document of Catholic and Protestant luminaries declared in somber tones that were the government to continue its leftward lurch, a reassertion of religious liberty rights would be necessary as well as the possibility of civil disobedience. I knew I was treading in deep, turbulent waters. As I was getting my feet beneath me career-wise, I recall having to play catch-up on an issue that I was told was fundamental but was now threatened.

So, I got to work in both Kentucky’s capital and our nation’s capital on, among other things, religious liberty. I was largely unfamiliar with it, aside from what little I had learned about it in my Baptist history classes. It certainly was not, at the time, the top-tier pillar or foundation to my public theology like it is now. My work required me to read on the subject, and that’s what I did. It was not so much a heavy reading load in religious liberty theory (though there was that) inasmuch as I immersed myself in the advocacy world of social conservatism, which necessarily and rightly treated religious liberty as a lifeblood-like issue. It did not take long until I was convinced. Being someone enamored with the intersection of first principles, theology, and political philosophy, religious liberty afforded me the opportunity to merge together topics that I was already passionate about, but whose inchoate understanding still needed tuning.

As I would learn, the posture a state takes toward religion is one of the most decisive postures it will take in whether it will be broadly pluralistic and limited, or tyrannical and coercive. I would also learn that unless you have the requisite liberties to act on your convictions, then you cannot do much of anything, whether worship in your church or advocate in the public square. To not possess the freedom to act on one’s most primary beliefs means one is not free in even the most basic idea of the word. The idea that persons are endowed with self-seeking capacities that endear them to religion were making more and more sense. Life, I came to understand, required various types of liberties (speech, associational, religion) to make it meaningful and worthwhile. The presence of these liberties would decide what type of life someone would have in their community.

It led to a flood of first principle questions, among them: 

  • How does one understand what truth is?
  • How does an individual come to grasp religious claims?
  • What posture should the state take toward religion?
  • How is one’s quest to understand truth related to their personhood?
  • What’s the relationship between moral obligation and religious foundation?
  • What are one’s obligations to the state? To God?
  • What are the jurisdictions and responsibilities of the state?
  • What are the jurisdictions and responsibilities of the church?
  • Who gets to decide who is right and wrong about such matters as religion and morality?
  • What’s the relationship between religious liberty and other liberties?

When I began to answer these questions, they led me in an inevitably and distinctly Baptist ecclesiology. It was in the Baptist tradition, which had helped birth religious liberty in North America through the likes of Roger Williams and John Leland, that I saw the principles of religious liberty most fulsomely applied. How so? Because the questions above are best answered in light of key Baptist ecclesiological distinctives that focus upon the individual and the associations they form in their life. 

Like an outwardly working concentric circle, religious liberty hinges upon an understanding of (1) individual assent, (2) group association, and (3) institutional distinction. These are reflected in the practices of individual conversion and regenerate church membership, which entails a distinction between membership in the church and membership in society, and the institution of the gathered church being distinct from the institution of the state. 

In the next post, I’m going to explain what these three principles mean in greater depth.

By / Sep 10

A high school football team recently made news for hosting a “mass baptism,” in which several players and at least one coach made professions of Christian faith and were baptized on school grounds. This incident has stirred some controversy since it appears to have been part of the football team’s scheduled practice day, raising questions about whether the ritual constituted a “state-sponsored” religious ceremony. On the other hand, many Christians have found the incident encouraging; video of the ceremony was captured and posted by a local church, with the caption, “Take a look and see how God is still in our schools!” 

As a Christian, it’s difficult to watch people make professions and faiths and be baptized with anything other than a worshipful gratitude. There should be no higher joy for followers of Jesus than to watch others testify of Christ’s presence in their lives. And as many Christian teens can attest, school is often not a place where open expressions of Christian faith are seen or even welcome. The sight of high school boys and staff being baptized as they proclaim to know Christ is a most welcome sight. 

However, I do think there is a case to be made that these “mass baptisms” are unwise, whether they are carried out for a football team or a group touring the Jordan river.  For the record, I don’t have any reason to believe that the school administration or the football coach intended to pressure or single out non-Christians. While there may be some prudential (and possibly legal) arguments against enjoining a baptism ceremony with a public school itinerary, my concern does not lie with where these kinds of baptisms happen. It lies with how they happen. 

The main problem with these kinds of “mass baptisms” is actually quite simple: They take what is, biblically, an ordinance of the local church and try to turn it into something else. 

Believer’s baptism is one of the most important things that a local church does. It is one of only two ordinances explicitly prescribed in the New Testament for local congregations to carry out (the other being Communion, or the Lord’s Supper). Biblically, the purpose of believer’s baptism is to proclaim, in the context of a covenant community, that a person has truly repented of sin and believed in Jesus Christ for salvation.

It’s crucial to note that in the New Testament, baptism is not the solitary, individualistic decision, but a covenant ceremony meant to occur in the context of a group of believers who are spiritually bound to one another. Thus, baptism is much more than a rite of passage that someone agrees to undergo when they are ready; it is a communal act that invites the rest of the covenant community to witness and affirm the reality of this person’s submission to the lordship of Christ. When a person is baptized upon a profession of Christian faith, they are submerged in water that symbolizes their death and burial in Christ, and then raised out of the water to signify that the resurrection of Christ is their own resurrection. And the most important thing that the local church does in baptism is affirm, by covenant witness, that they believe this baptism is true; that is, they endorse (within the limits of human knowledge, of course) the fact that the person baptized really has experienced death and resurrection in Jesus. 

The problem with “mass baptisms” like the one performed by this high school football team is that they cannot, by definition, do what baptism is intended to do. A football team is not a covenant community like a local church. Even a football team consisting exclusively of genuine Christians is not bound together by the same spiritual bonds that define members in a local church. This is exactly why, in his wisdom, Jesus appointed that baptism be an ordinance of the local church and not merely an ordinance of Christian culture. Baptism is more than a individualistic proclamation of Christian faith; it is a public vow—not unlike a wedding vow—intended to be shared by a community of believers who belong to one another in Christian covenant. 

Does this mean that Christian players on a sports team or Christian members of a book club cannot have meaningful spiritual relationships? Of course not. We are called not only to love the local body but also the body of Christ all over the world. If a group of Christian football players want to have a Bible study, that is wonderful and completely in line with Christ’s teaching about the church. If a group of Christian friends in a dorm hall want to sing hymns together on a Saturday evening, I believe Jesus is honored by that. But the ordinances of the local church were given to the local church for a reason. And many times, attempts to replicate the covenant functions of the local church are part of a larger effort to replace the local church in the lives of Christians. We must fight this tendency with all diligence. 

The local church is a precious gift from the Lord Jesus to all of us. Baptism is one of the most beautiful things that can happen in a local congregation. By keeping the two together, Christians can display for the unbelieving world a dazzling glance at what the Kingdom of the risen Jesus Christ looks like. Instead of trying to replicate the local church in our casual relationships, we should spur each other on to more faithful membership and service in our respective churches. We should indeed be glad to see God at work in our schools, but even more importantly, we must see God at work in our churches.  

By / Mar 6

Hello, this is Russell Moore, and this is Questions & Ethics sponsored by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am here in our Washington offices, Leland House. On this program, every time, we come back to the questions that you send in about things that are going on in your life.

I have a really interesting question that came to me from a pastor who says, “Dr. Moore, in our church I am very careful about baptizing people. I make clear in my preaching that God can save people at any age, but often it is harder to determine whether or not say, a five-year-old has been saved as opposed to someone else. And so we take baptism very seriously. We work very slowly in interviewing people. And one of the requirements we have at our church is that everyone who is being baptized will give a short verbal confession of faith in the baptistry as to his or her faith in Christ and salvation experience. But here’s my problem: We have a severely autistic teenager in our congregation who isn’t comfortable talking very much at all and is certainly not comfortable talking to people who are not his parents. He communicates mostly with his parents via iPad. And so how do we interview him for baptism? His parents say that he has come to Christ. How do we interview him for baptism, number one? And number two, do we exempt him from giving a verbal testimony in the baptistry?

That’s a really good question. I am glad that this was asked. One of the things that many of our churches are needing to think through right now is how do we as local congregations deal with the issue of disability? And frankly, if in your congregation you are not grappling in some way or other with the question of disability, then I think you should probably ask why? Are there people in our community that we are not reaching? Are there people in our church that we are not asking the right sorts of questions to minister to them? But most congregations are going to have to think this through.

Pastor, I think the way you ought to handle this is to treat it the way you would if you were dealing with a new believer who doesn’t have the capacity to speak or to hear. How would you handle that? The way that you would probably handle that is to find some other means to interview that person, maybe with a sign language interpreter or in some other way, and then accommodate that disability in that way. Somebody with severe autism along the lines that you are mentioning—from what you are describing here, it’s not as severe as it can be—but it is not that this is a person who doesn’t want to talk. Don’t treat this simply as somebody who says that they get nervous. This is a disability that this person has, a real challenge that this person is facing. And so because, for you, talking is an easy thing, don’t assume that if you push this person enough he is going to be able to talk. No. This is the situation that he finds himself in. and so enable him to live out a godly life in Christ as someone who has autism.

I think the way you do that is to work through his parents. So if the way that they are communicating with him right now is via iPad, great! Use that medium, and tell the parents the sorts of things that you ordinarily would be looking for in someone who is coming to faith in Christ: What is his testimony? What is he trusting in? What is he hoping in? What is his heart conviction? That sometimes can be difficult to ascertain, but not impossible to ascertain because of communication.

As a matter of fact, for those of you who are ministering to people with autism both as parents and as pastors and youth pastors and children’s pastors, there is a really good book I would recommend called The Reason I Jump. And it is by an autistic child who is writing and explaining—and there was a system where he was able to do this, to write this book, I think through computer technology—to talk about why he does the things that he does. And so some people think that this is just a habit you’ve picked up or this is an irritant. He is explaining that no, this is the way I see the world in a way that is different from you.

So have compassion upon that, and talk through his parents. If he communicates best through iPad, great! Just ask them for the things that you want to know. Then, in the baptistry, don’t require him to give a verbal testimony in the same way that you wouldn’t require someone who couldn’t speak, didn’t have vocal chords, to speak. What would you do? You would come in and say that we have a unique situation here. My new brother in Christ, “Ronny,” he has some challenges in his life that he is taking on that he is overcoming. He is not able to give a verbal testimony, but we have communicated with him, and we have full confidence that he trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has repented of his sins. He has put his faith in him. And so, “Ronnie,” based upon your profession of faith, I baptize you now, my brother, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I think that that’s the right thing to do. I think that this is in many ways similar to the situation that we see in the gospels where the man who could not walk, his friends picked him up. They took him to Jesus. They tore the roof off the house and lowered him down. I think that’s the way that we ought to do it. And as you are doing that, communicate very clearly to your congregation that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for those who would consider themselves to be “well-bodied.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everybody. And so people, no matter what our disability, no matter what we are carrying with us through this life, can follow after Jesus and be faithful and contributing saints, members of the great cloud of witnesses and of the body of Christ. And I can’t think of anything that’s better news than that.

What’s your question for us? Send it to me at [email protected]. Anything that you are trying to think through, maybe it’s something that you were reading in the Bible in your devotional time. Maybe it’s a conflict that’s going on in your workplace or a decision you are having to make in your family or in your neighborhood or in your church. Whatever it is, send it to me at [email protected], and I will give it my best shot in answering it for you.

By / Feb 25

Hello, I am Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and you are listening to Questions & Ethics. This is the program where we take an issue that you are struggling with and look at it through the lens of the kingdom of Christ.

Our question today is one that I am being asked a lot right now because of some press reports about a megachurch where, apparently, there is a time of spontaneous baptisms. And at least some media reports are saying that this church is planting people in the congregation to walk forward during the invitation to be baptized in order to present the illusion of momentum in that invitation so that that will kind of break the ice and free people up to be able to come for baptism who are needing to be baptized.

I don’t know whether or not in this church’s case that is really what is happening. I have seen media reports misrepresent people and misrepresent churches and misrepresent me sometimes. So, I am not suggesting that that is the case for this particular church, because I don’t know. And that is one of the reasons why I am not naming the church. But I think it is a valid question to say would that be the right thing to do? I have seen churches where they have had people do this at the invitation time, not as it relates to baptism, but just in terms of walking down the aisle to sort of give people that sense that they are not alone if they walk forward.

So, theoretically, would it be right if you were to have spontaneous baptisms—to have people come forward and be baptized in order to help loosen other people up to do it? And the answer to that is no. And here is why.

Baptism is not just some sort of church program. Baptism in scripture is a word that Jesus is speaking, the congregation as the body of Christ is speaking on behalf of Jesus, “All authority has been given to me,” all authority on heaven and in earth. Jesus says I give that authority to you. You take the gospel to the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In the act of baptism, the church can only speak where Jesus is speaking, and Jesus is speaking only to those who have come to know Christ.

Of course, I am a Baptist. Some of you are of other faith traditions. You will disagree with me on that, and we can talk about that later. But I think, biblically, that is who is qualified to be baptized. Jesus is speaking to that person saying you are united with me in death, burial, and resurrection. You have a pledge and a promise coming from me that at death you are going to be lifted up out of the grave in resurrection. That means you have died to your sin. You are a new creation in Christ. And that word that is being spoken in baptism is being announced from the local congregation to the outside world. This is somebody who is being marked out as one of the people of God and someone who now is under the authority and accountability of the church, the body of Christ.

That is a serious, serious act. It is not something that we can use as some sort of pretend drama in order to get something done within our congregations. It is frankly deceptive to have people who are pretending to be repentant sinners. I cannot imagine that taking place on the day of Pentecost when the Apostle Peter is standing up and preaching, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins!” and to say that we have James and John and Nathaniel out here in order to kind of prime the pump of the crowds gathering around. The only way you could ever come to that conclusion is by so instrumentalizing and pragmatizing baptism that it no longer has any kind of connection with the radical break and departure from the old life that we see in the New Testament—an act that frankly, as a Baptist, I am particularly indignant about because so many of our forefathers were harassed and even killed!

I was just looking this morning at a set of paintings out of the revolutionary era of a Baptist being held face down in the water, being dunked by people who are doing that in order to ridicule him for the fact that he believes in a free church believer’s baptism. So many people have died, have given their lives, been whipped, been exiled for baptism, and then just to use that in some sort of manipulative, emotionally deceptive sort of manner, I think, is a travesty. Again, I don’t know if that is happening in that one particular church, but it wouldn’t surprise me, with the way that so often we turn people into statistics, if it weren’t happening in some churches. And yes, I think that would be unethical. I think that would be wrong. And I think that would be a shameful thing to do.

What’s your question? Thanks for listening to us here on Questions & Ethics. And if you’ve got something that you are thinking about and you are wondering as you are reading your Bible or as you are talking to a family member or a neighbor; or maybe you are witnessing to an unbeliever in your community, and you are saying I just don’t know how to answer this question; or I am trying to deal with this issue in my family or in my workplace or my church, and I’m just not sure what’s right, well, shoot me an email at [email protected] or send me a message via Twitter with the hashtag #askrdm, and we will talk about it here on Questions & Ethics. Until next time, seek the kingdom and walk the line. This is Russell Moore.