Gleanings from the Daily Office – Like Fathers, Baptism is Inadequate

GLEANINGS (from the Daily Office) – Like Fathers, Baptism is Inadequate – Year One, Proper 19, Friday, September 14, 2015, 1 Corinthians 1:1-19

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, . .”

For those of us in the reformed sacramental world, baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. We act outwardly to confirm what God is doing inwardly.  Baptism is the sign. Being cleansed inwardly, being washed in the blood, is the thing signified. Simply put, both are important, but one is more important than the other.

Paul knew this well. He probably loved baptisms. He seems unable to recall all that he has performed. But baptisms are the result of preaching. And even that could be misunderstood. The power is not in the preacher. It is in the word preached, the Word itself, and more specifically the word of the cross.

We moderns have reduced so many things to that which we can study empirically. Easily the outward and visible sign becomes more important than the thing it signifies. So we debate that which we can hold, the form. Sprinkling or immersion? Infants or adults? I read once that there was a debate among some desert fathers concerning if sand had enough water in it to be used for baptism. Really?

We easily put too much emphasis on the sign. Like the folly of saying my father is Abraham, it is folly to say I am baptized and rely upon it. So here is the tough question for us. Are we baptized and therefore members of a church? Or have we been confronted with the word of the cross and therefore saved? Big difference! The former does not insure the latter. The late Dallas Willard once said we excelled in the former and therefore produced few followers of Jesus Christ.

–Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”–

Categories Latest News, Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on September 14, 2015

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