Here are the questions that the congregation raised during the January 12th, 2020 sermon titled “Baptism Done Right” from Luke 3:3-9 and 3:15-22. I hope that they are as helpful for you as the questions were for me.
This time to answer questions demonstrated to me how much we might not understand. And, how deeply many people at Mercer United Methodist Church think about their faith.
So keep your eyes open and questions forming… we will be having another question and answer Sunday in the near future.
Because of Jesus
Baptism Sermon Questions raised during the sermon
(January 12th 2020, Luke 3:3-9, 3:15-22 “Baptism Done Right”)
“P” asked if immersion was required.
Response: No. Immersion is not required. Jesus was probably immersed, as most that John the Baptist (Luke 3) baptized were likely immersed as well. Yet, Christian baptism also harkens back to anointing (for example, 1 Samuel 16:13), where oil was poured on a person’s head or was dabbed on their head. That anointing practice influences baptism as well.
“P” also asked if it was okay to baptize more than once.
Response: No. And in the United Methodist Church we do not rebaptize. As baptism, whether for a baby or a person who can speak for themselves, illustrates God’s grace much more than our response, rebaptizing is moot. Rebaptizing suggests that we matter more than God’s grace.
“B” noted that they were dedicated as a baby. Then was baptized as an adult, for the “age of discernment.”
Response: Much can be said for waiting for the age of discernment. Yet, Acts 16 has 2 accounts where the whole family was baptized (Lydia in Acts 16:11-15 and the jailer in acts 16:25-34). If the Disciples baptized children, why would we refrain today?
The other side of the argument points out that Jesus was dedicated and circumcised at the temple (Luke 2:22) and not baptized, and that the households mentioned might not have had children involved.
“P” asked if it was necessary to be baptized to be saved.
Response: No. Why?
1. Jesus told the thief on the cross (Luke 24:39-43) that he would seem in paradise (AKA heaven) today. Without being baptized.
2. Baptism illustrates God’s grace in cleansing us. Greater than water placed on a person is the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).