This week's chapter in Gill dealt with the issue of the mode of baptism. I grew up in circles where the mode of baptism was not a very important issue. Sprinkling or pouring was deemed acceptable in certain situations. This discussion on mode really points to something larger, in my view, and that is the relation of abstract theology as opposed to practical theology.
In other words, how does our understanding of doctrine manifest in our practice and how important is that manifestation? Does the mode of baptism really matter, or is it something we can compromise on? If immersion is the only acceptable theological mode of baptism, then does that mean that it is also the only acceptable mode in practice? Are there ever appropriate situations where sprinkling or pouring may be acceptable?
“If you can’t make your own self what you desire, how will you be able to fashion another to your own liking? We are ready to see others made perfect and yet we do not amend our own shortcomings.” -Thomas a Kempis, “The Imitation of Christ.”
Brothers and Sisters, earlier this week I was finding myself rather consumed with how far short my family members were falling in meeting my needs. We had been cooped up in a house that was stocked with food and heated. I had so much to be thankful for but I was letting myself be pulled down by sinful thoughts. The house couldn’t stay clean. Might as well give up or... become bitter and irritated???
I woke up Wednesday or Thursday morning, can’t remember which, and the Lord brought to mind this wonderful read from which I’ve quoted. It has frequently challenged my heart to examine itself, to remember who the standard is in this house. It is not me. It is not Josh. It is Christ, the Living Word. He is the standard and I had fallen into the trap of making myself the standard that everyone was failing to reach. This is one quite amongst many worth of reciting from this wonderful book, but it’s what I need to remember. How imperfect I am! How perfect Christ is and yet He loves me. ❤️
Repentance followed. Private repentance between me and my Father came first but then also and so importantly, repentance of all this to my husband. He had borne the brunt of my frustration, withholding of love, pouting, etc. He forgave me. God forgave. It’s already been covered by Calvary but repentance is so necessary in order for one to be accountable to God, to oneself, and to others. Thankfully there is always the opportunity for new beginnings, a new leaf, etc. I hope this testimony is helpful to someone!
(Letters of John Newton) Rom 15:7 "Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God." The Christian, especially he who is advanced and established in the life of faith, has a fervent zeal for God—for the honor of His Name, His Word and His Gospel. The honest warmth of zeal which he feels, when God's Word is broken, His Gospel is despised, and when the great and glorious Name of the Lord his God is profaned, would, by the occasion of his infirmities, often degenerate into anger or contempt towards those who error—if he was under the influence of zeal alone . But his zeal is blended with benevolence and humility ; it is softened by a consciousness of his own frailty and fallibility. He is aware, that his knowledge is very limited in itself, and very faint in its transforming power in his own life; that his attainments are weak and few, compared with his deficiencies; that his gratitude is very disproportionate to his obligations; and that his obedience is unspeakably short of conformity to his prescribed rule; that he has nothing but what he has received, and has received nothing but what, in a greater or less degree, he has either misapplied or misimproved. He is, therefore, a debtor to the mercy of God —and lives upon His multiplied forgiveness. The Christian also makes the gracious conduct of the Lord towards himself—a pattern for his own conduct towards his fellow-worms. He cannot boast of himself —nor is he anxious to censure others . He considers himself, lest he also fall. And thus he learns tenderness and compassion to others, and to bear patiently with those mistakes, blemishes and faults in others — which once belonged to his own character; and from which, as yet, he is but imperfectly freed. He therefore acts in character, as the follower of Him who was compassionate towards the infirmities and mistakes of His disciples, and taught them gradually , as they were able to bear it—and not everything at once. But then, the same considerations which inspire him with meekness and gentleness towards those who oppose the truth—strengthen his regard for the truth itself, and his conviction of its importance. For the sake of peace, which he loves and cultivates—he accommodates himself, as far as he lawfully can, to the weaknesses and mistakes of other sincere Christians; though he is thereby exposed to be censured by 'bigots' of all parties, who deem him flexible and wavering , like a reed shaken with the wind. But there are other fundamental points, essential to the Gospel, which are the foundations of his hope, and the sources of his joy. For his firm attachment to these, he is content to be treated as a 'bigot' himself! For here he is immovable as an iron pillar; nor can either the fear or the favor of man prevail on him to yield the truth of the Gospel, no not for an hour! (Galatians 2:5). Here his judgment is fixed; and he expresses it in simple and unequivocal language, so as not to leave either friends or enemies in suspense, concerning the side which he has chosen, or the cause which is nearest to his heart. Knowing that the Gospel is the wisdom and power of God, and the only possible means by which fallen man can obtain peace with God—he most cordially embraces and avows it. Far from being ashamed of it—he esteems it his glory. He preaches Christ Jesus, and Him crucified. He disdains the thought of distorting, disguising, or softening the great doctrines of the grace of God, to render them more palatable to the depraved taste of the times (2 Corinthians 4:2). And he will no more encounter the errors and corrupt maxims and practices of the world, with any weapon but the truth as it is in Jesus —than he would venture to fight an enraged tiger with a paper sword!