Baptist 21 loves seeing new believers baptized. That’s why we are excited for the push by SBC President J.D. Greear and the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to see believers baptized on September 8th! (They are both encouraging the use of the hashtags #FilltheTank and #BaptismSunday for those participating and here are further resources).
We are aware, of course, that there are a wide range of approaches to believer’s baptism within Southern Baptist life. Some churches assess the readiness of a baptismal candidate over the course of several months. On the other end of the believer’s baptism spectrum, other churches practice some version of “spontaneous baptisms,” which baptize believers on the day they learn that the baptismal candidate wants to be baptized. We believe that a robust conversation over the wisdom of various approaches can and should happen amongst cooperating Southern Baptists. But that’s not the purpose of this post.
In this post, we want to encourage ALL Southern Baptists to, if they are able, to baptize believers on September 8th. That’s why we want to offer several ways that Southern Baptists can participate, regardless of their approach.
- Plan your scheduled Baptisms for September 8th: If you have Baptismal candidates who have been through your processes, plan their baptisms for Sept. 8, as we carry out a cooperative effort to testify to the life-changing nature of the gospel together as a convention of churches.
- Teach on Baptism and call for people to respond to the gospel on September 8th: We would encourage that you teach on baptism that Sunday and what baptism is proclaiming. This would be a great opportunity to clearly and faithfully proclaim the gospel and call unbelievers to respond.
- If you are open to a version of “spontaneous baptism,” make that happen on September 8th: We would encourage you to make sure there
isa credible confession and an understanding of the gospel. We understand the concerns with spontaneous baptisms and we have addressed them here and here; NAMB has provided some resources to help with this as well. We would urge, as Baptists have historically, to connect baptism with church membershipas you call people into the water.
- Pray for all involved as we approach September 8th: Because we believe we need God’s power to bring about God’s goals, we pray. Ask him to bless our convention of churches in an unusually stunning way when it comes to conversions and public testimonies to that in Baptism. Pray for pastors as they lead their churches to be faithful to the Great Commission. Pray for unbelievers in your midst that they would come to treasure Jesus. Pray for believers that as they witness baptisms it would spur them on in evangelism. Finally, let’s all pray that the Lord would be glorified in our churches.
We are thankful to be a part of this convention of churches that is passionate about seeing new believers baptized. Let’s continue to be prayerful that the Lord will do wonderful things in our midst and through these efforts.