Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dunkin’ Douglas

The water really wasn’t too cold. What with it being September and everything, and a cool evening.
I am now a full member of the church I’d been visiting for a few years, having been baptized last Sunday afternoon along with a couple of other candidates. I didn’t need to join the church, but I felt that God was directing me to do so, and I’m glad that I did.
I had been baptized in another church some 20 years ago, and if I had stopped by and asked the Pastor to look it up, I could have shown a document to my new church and not needed to be baptized again.
Baptism is an outward act of an inner change, showing that we have died to our old nature, been buried with Christ, and, having had our sins washed away by his blood, risen again a new creation in Christ.
So why did I go through the ceremony again, nearly 30 years after becoming a Christian? Submission.
That’s a word that usually sets off ‘cult radar’ as men have often twisted scripture to set up their own little cults, where they tell their followers to submit to their authority. Let me state right here that I’m talking about being submissive to God, and His established pattern for Christians.
We are called to come together in worship, teaching and edifying each other, encouraging each other as we follow the path that God has set us on.
Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus show how a church should be set up, and James warns his readers not to forsake assembling together.
We do better as a group, a body of believers. When I began visiting my church, I didn’t speak up right away in the bible studies, as I had been in other churches, and didn’t want to bump up against different doctrinal beliefs. Instead I learned, and am learning. And in my submitting to the request of the elders of the church that I be baptized, I am respecting their authority, their leadership. They are good men, and ours is a good church family. It is a wonderful thing to be where God wants you to be, and I praise Him for leading me to become a member of the church family.

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