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For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1Corinthians 12:26

As members of one body and members of one another, we care for each other’s needs, offer comfort in times of suffering and loss, and a steading hand during chaotic seasons. This is the love that will draw the lost world to Christ. But (and this is an important “but”), our unity must extend beyond mere gathering and ministering to one another.

Indeed, true Christian connectedness extends beyond the temporal. In fact, all we do in the physical realm flows from the spiritual. This is commonly understood in the Christian community. So, what about our sin? We are quick to mourn with a brother or sister over some temporal loss, and we should, but which is worse, physical loss (even the loss of a loved one) or damage to one’s relationship with God?

No sin is private. It may be secret but it is not private… The sin committed in the privacy of the home will have its effect in the assembly of the saints. A. W. Tozer

Sin in secret, even undiscovered, makes a man less fit for his participation in the Body of Christ until he has been restored through confession, forgiveness, and cleansing. Temporal personas have no effect on spiritual condition. “Fake it until you make it” is deception, not only toward the community of faith, but also for the one attempting the charade. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowI will never forget that meeting. The lesson that day was being taught by a gifted teacher. He had been teaching from Romans for several months; and had come to Romans 6. For some reason, he felt it necessary to warn everyone that he would be discussing “baptism”.

Almost immediately, at least half the men in the room moved to the edge of their seats; leaning forward in anticipation of what the teacher would say next. You could feel the tension in the room intensify. I wasn’t the only one that noticed: The teacher tentatively covered the topic – like someone walking through a mine field.

Let’s face it, right here at the beginning: “Baptism” has become one of the most polarizing – dare we say, divisive – doctrines in the church. Whole denominations are at odds with one another over what they believe the other believes about baptism. How could a sacrament of God – a sacred God moment – become such a destructive force?

How can there be so many doctrines of baptism? Surely, I am not the only one that sees the irony in our “doctrines of baptism” – that the word of God has the opposite singular and plural context:

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. Hebrews 6:1-3

There is only one doctrine; and it is the doctrine of many baptisms.

Let me be clear: I am not proposing to be an authority on the doctrine of baptisms. I would much rather find the truth than claim to have it. I believe the Holy Spirit speaks in community; in response to Jesus’ prayer for our unity (John 17:20-23).

Honestly, I am hoping for the attitude of another meeting. The question of communion came up (from John 6): What does it mean to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood? Everyone in the room offered their opinion on the meaning of the passage.  Amazingly, no one said anyone else was wrong. There was a supernatural attitude of humility and respect.

More importantly, there was a genuine desire to discover the meaning of a mystery. The Holy Spirit taught me something about communion that day; and He taught me something about community – God speaks in it, when people desire to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

Yes, there is an understanding that I currently hold – and am even confident in – in regards to the doctrine of baptisms. However, I have been wrong before, and I just might be wrong again. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “It may not mean what I think it means, but it must mean something.” My hope is that there is something here that encourages, edifies and equips you in your search for the lost foundations.

Furthermore, Read the rest of this entry »

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