Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbols of salvation. No, they cannot produce salvation. We are saved from our sins by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But baptism and Communion are meaningful illustrations and reminders of how God gives sinners new life in Christ. They are not mere memorials. They are fundamental statements of faith, essential acts of obedience, Christ-ordained expressions of devotion, true acts of fellowship, and biblical elements of worship.
Unfortunately, many Christians do not take baptism and the Lord’s Supper seriously. Some churches do not even have Communion. Others share the Lord’s Table infrequently. Still others treat it as an afterthought in worship. Baptism is treated with the same disregard. Some allow (or force) their children to be baptized before they understand the gospel and make a personal profession of faith in Christ. This results in many baptized people who are not actually Christians or a part of the local church. Other allow people to join and participate in the church without any reference to baptism. This results in many Christians and church members who have never been baptized. In both instances, the meaning of baptism is confused and its importance is mistreated.
I believe that much of the confusion and disregard for baptism and the Lord’s Table can be traced to a simple problem: no teaching and wrong teaching. So it is incumbent upon pastors and congregations to be clear and consistent in teaching the meaning and significance of these Christian ordinances. And whatever material you can find to assist you in this process is invaluable. You should keep gathering good material that will help you address these historic doctrines in new ways. And I recommend that you add Watermark: An Explanation of Baptism by Bob Franquiz to your list of tools.
Bob Franquiz is the pastor of Calvary Fellowship in Miami Lakes (FL), a church he planted in 200. And he writes with seekers inquirers and new converts in mind. In the introduction, Franquiz confesses:
“Let me be honest with you; I’m not a Theologian. A theologian is a really smart guy that writes weighty books that most normal people don’t read. I am a Pastor and a Bible teacher, and I have tried my hardest to be more practical than profound” (p. 6).
Watermark is a fresh but faithful explanation of baptism, without the distractions of technical jargon or theological controversies. He discusses the significance of baptism and provides a biblical understanding of its meaning. Then he answers frequently asked questions – questions like: Who should get baptized? Do I have to be baptized immediately after my conversion? Am I not a Christian if I do not get baptized? And, Can I be re-baptized?
I encourage you to add this brief and clear explanation of baptism to your reading list. You can confidently give it to new believers who want to understand what baptism is all about. More seasoned Christians will find it helpful in equipping them to talk to unbelievers and new converts about baptism. Pastors can make it available in their churches. Or they can use it to as a primer for their own teaching (or writing) on baptism. Remember…
“There is something that happens when a person makes a decision to be baptized. They aren’t just deciding to get wet; they are dying to the old way of life and craving to live the abundant life that Jesus offers” (p. 15).