Response to Heilman’s “Baptism, a sacrament and a commitment”

Pastor Arlin Sanford
Thursday, June 7, 2018
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            Arlin Sanford

In regard to the column titled “Baptism, a sacrament and a commitment,” I do not know Tracy Heilman, nor do I intend to make my comments to attack her personally. It is evident she has a love, and concern for children, which is commendable.

I would suggest we consider who, and what God says baptism is for, as stated in His word?

First of all, we never see innocent children being baptized in scripture. The reason is easily seen when we see the purpose of baptism. When Peter spoke to the crowds gathered at the feast of Pentecost after Jesus had been crucified, and risen from the dead, (Acts 2), he explained that some of the very ones there, were party to the death of the prophesied Savior! Upon realizing this, they asked what they should do. He responded, “repent, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The reason for baptism is clearly to have our sins forgiven. This is clearly seen when Paul recounted his conversion to Jesus in Acts 22:16, where he was told, “arise, and be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Jesus expressed the innocence of children when He told his followers in Matthew 18:3, “unless you change, and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

If we accept what God says in His word about baptism, innocent children who have not yet reached an age of being accountable for sinning before God, have no need of being baptized.

Secondly, while a person getting baptized certainly should have an encouraging affect on the people around them, we do not make vows to the one being baptized. The statements made in the article of “In each baptism, our vows encompass our children”, and “In baptism we make a sacred commitment to accept children as members of our family”, have no biblical backing. The one being baptized is making a vow of a commitment to God. My baptism isn’t anyone else’s commitment.

The question is why do we do anything in response to following Jesus? While we all have our own ideas of good things, our ideas need to be aligned with what God says in His word. Every problem in our society, within religious circles, and without, stems from a lack of yielding to God’s authority. We must remember that God says in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways,” declares the Lord”.

May we all be seekers, as Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8, and make sure we’re teaching, and living the way we are, because it’s what God says, and not what we say, or think.

Let’s all continue to “be ready to give an answer” I Peter 3:15 from God’s word for the reasons of what we do, and the hope we have, and in all things, may our powerful God be glorified.

Keith McNally