I love those moments when someone answers a question that I’ve had for years and they don’t even know they’ve done it. This year, Presbyterian women are working through a study called Come to the Water. The most recent lesson was on baptism.
Symbolically, baptism is a beautiful thing. A sign of community, it signifies that we are all reborn in Christ. Amazing!
But, as is true with so many things, it can also become a stumbling block. What’s the right way to baptize? Sprinkling, pouring, or emersion? Infant, at confirmation or adult? In private or in public? And then there’s the biggie – is it necessary for salvation?
In one Presbyterian word, no. I know other denominations believe baptism is essential but in the Presbyterian Church USA we are reborn through Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Not baptism.
And that is something that I’ve wondered about for years. What if someone accepts Christ into their heart but isn’t baptized? Are they truly saved? I’ve always wanted to believe that they are. After all, to say that they aren’t saved is to say that being sprinkled, doused or dunked is more important that accepting Christ. It says that the human element (baptism) is more important than Christ.
That’s an awful lot of power for beings as fragile and fickle as we. I’m relieved to know we don’t actually wield it. I’d much rather depend on our loving Father and the Grace of Christ.