In recent discussions on other blogs with those who believe in Calvinism, I have a noticed a curious perspective that continues to raise its head. The curious perspective to which I refer is that one has to answer a set of questions to the satisfaction of a pastor before one can be baptized. Even David Platt alluded to this in his sermon during the SBC Pastor's Conference when he chastised our churces for "easy believism."
In Holy Scripture, do we see anyone requiring a sinner to go through a questionnaire before he or she was baptized? Absolutely not. The model we do see in Scripture is preaching, response,, baptism,
then teaching. The Great Commission is very clear about how to make disciples.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
Let's pay very close attention to what Jesus said. Jesus said for us to go and make disciples of all the nations. I hope we are all clear on that. Now watch this. Immediately following his imperative for us to make discples, He tells us how to make disciples. The first thing we are told to do is baptize and then teach. Baptize and teach. Baptize and teach. This is the biblical formula for making disciples: baptize and teach. Notice it is not teach and baptize. It is baptize and teach.
This formula is exactly what we see happening in the New Testament. First, there is preaching, then people respond, they are baptized and then they are taught. We see these principles in how John the Baptist conducted his ministry (Matt. 3:1-6, John 3:23). We also see these principles in Jesus and His apostles (John 3:22). In the book of Acts, we see Peter preaching and more than 3000 people were baptized that day (Acts 2:36-41). I don't imagine the apostles interrogated 3000 people on whether or not they completely understood the intricacies of the atonement. The Scripture says, "those who gladly received his word were baptized" (Acts 2:41a).
One final biblical example of this biblical formula is found in Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39). The Holy Spirit directed Philip to a divine encounter with the man from Ethiopia. When Philip preached Jesus to him, the Ethiopian asked, "What hinders me from being baptized?" Now notice what Philip did not do. He did not take the Ethiopian through a theological quiz in order to make sure he knew what he was doing. He did not tell the Ethiopian he had to take a baptism class or a new member class before baptism. What did Philip say? He said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The Ethiopian replied with a confession in Christ and was baptized immediately.
Are you hindering the lost from being baptized? Are you requiring the lost to jump through theological hoops before they can be baptized? Are you reversing the biblical formula for making disciples and insisting on in-depth teaching prior to baptism? If you are, then I submit that you are not practicing the biblical principle of making disciples.
Throughout the New Testament, we see the discipleship process as preaching, response, baptism, and then teaching. Any other approach to making disciples is unbiblical and is man's requirement, not biblical teaching.
When someone gladly receives the word of God, baptize them and then begin to teach them how live a life that is pleasing to Christ. Do not hinder the work of the Holy Spirit by implementing artificial obstacles to someone coming to Christ. If this is easy believism in the eyes of men, then so be it. I will choose to follow the biblical model.
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