Published December 16, 2010
Pastor Bill Blanchard’s position on baptism (immediately following conversion, or only after some indeterminate time of discipleship) seems to me plausible, at best.
In one of his examples, the eunuch baptized by Philip, he assumes that the eunuch was like well-trained Jews, in no need of further training, if I may paraphrase him in the interest of space. (This is apparently assumed because the eunuch was reading Isaiah 53.)
But, that is an assumption not found in the text. In fact, he says that he, and those like him (the eunuch), had no need of “further training before or after baptism.”
I’ve never met a Christian in need of no further instruction. We have Sunday schools and discipleship training classes based on that need – not to mention Sunday morning sermons.
In fact most, if not all, of the baptisms in the Bible occurred immediately following conversion. On that basis I can use his own argument to support immediate baptism.
I believe there is a certain danger in developing what amounts to a new orthodoxy by stringing together disparate verses* from here and there. Taking it further, if Pastor Blanchard’s position is valid, why do we have to figure it out so painstakingly?
Paul’s history of writings strongly suggest that he would have told us, since he expounded on just about everything we know about what Jesus taught and meant about Christianity.
*This is the method by which The Church Of God comes to the doctrine that if you haven’t spoken in tongues you haven’t received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and therefore considers the rest of us “marginal Christians.”
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