Monday, April 21, 2008
Can’t see the forest....
Category: Religion and Philosophy
Y'know, I understand the need for Truth, and doing things the right way AND according to the scriptures. However, something bothered me awhile back, and this week's sermon just reminded me of it again.We had an Evangelist come to preach a revival recently, and one evening all he could do was to stress, emphasize, and hammer it home.... BEAT A DEAD HORSE, on the ORDER of your baptism, and your salvation. He said that if you made a decision, got baptized, then realized it was not a real salvation experience, and you came forward again, that it was emphatically necessary that you get baptized again, because technically the first one WASN'T true believer’s baptism! Well, first of all, it kind of freaked me out how much he was drilling on the subject. Yes, baptism is an outward expression to the World that you have chosen to follow Jesus. But when you start harping on it like that, and just become Church Nazi, then it seems to me you are placing more on the act than mere symbolism. If you think it is THAT important to have everything in the right order, are you suggesting that the ACT bestows part of the grace of salvation? If you "walked the isle" and then realized that it might not have been the real thing, the following REAL commitment is a matter of the heart between you and GOD; you have already shown the World that you wanted to follow Him. Why was it obviously so important to that evangelist that you would at that point need to show the world AGAIN, that you wanted to follow GOD? Ridiculous. This kind of legalism is what still really turns me totally OFF to modern Christianity, and makes me feel like I don't belong in a church anywhere. People like that totally miss the forest for the trees!!! I happen to have made a decision when I was 8 to "walk the isle" and be a follower of GOD, because my family and friends were followers of GOD, and I knew I wanted to do that too. Then, of course, I was baptized by my Dad in our little West Texas church. But I did not realize what everything meant at that age. It wasn't until 7 years later, that I had a "road to Damascus" type GOD confrontation that let me know the head knowledge-type decision I had made when I was 8 would not suffice. I had to come to the point of having a heart knowledge type of encounter with GOD for Him to really fulfill the empty places in my life.Now, as far as my family and friends knew, I had followed God since I was 8. Only God and I were aware of our later business together when I was 15, which I consider to be the age that I became a Christian. What would be the point to make someone like me go through baptism all over again? I have already done what baptism is supposed to do - I showed the world in a symbolic way that I wanted to put my old life behind me and follow Him. What POSSIBLE benefit could come from making that gesture again? I think that is asinine personally. My salvation is no less binding, I have no less portion of Grace, I am no less obedient to God, than any other Christian. And for someone to come in after I have loved God with all my heart for 27 years, and try to make me feel like a second-rate Christian because he doesn't like the order in which I did things really kind of pissed me off. I just feel like that is what modern-day Christianity has come to; so many people think it is important to get hung up on things like that instead of emphasizing the basic tenants of Christianity - the things that brought us all to Christ in the first place!!! I tend to side with Billy Graham on this one (if the evangelist could name drop all through his messages, then I can too, lol) - he said if he could do it all over again, he would not ever be seen with a world leader, he would not worry about anything else but getting across to lost people the fact that God loves them, and He gave his Son for them. The last thing I think we should be doing is attacking the people that are already in the fold. I'll get off of my soapbox now. The end. But that really did tick me off, lol, and Charles' message on baptism just brought it all back! Ok, ok, i DID say "the end".