Thursday, September 12, 2013
BAPTISM―(B) IN THE SERIES CLIF FROM A TO Z
"HAPPY DAY, HAPPY DAY, WHEN JESUS WASHED MY SINS AWAY,
HE TAUGH ME HOW TO WATCH AND PRAY, AND LIVE REJOICING EVERY DAY."
Don't ask me how many times I have sung this song. I can't give you an exact number―but it is many. This has often been the song sung following someone's baptism. As a preacher for almost fifty years, I went down into and come up out of the water with many who were baptized.
On a cold, November night in Oklahoma when I was sixteen years old I was immersed in water as an expression of my faith in Christ. I don't know if we sang "O Happy Day" or not―but it was for me.
This is not a doctrinal treatise on baptism. That needs to be handled in another post. Beginning with the Bible I have read just about everything I could put my hand on about baptism. There is a lot to be said about the subject and it is important. But in this post I am writing only about the experience of baptism―mine.
As a young man I preached in many evangelistic meetings―in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. There were many baptisms as a result of these meetings.
At the local congregations where I preached at the end of every worship service, Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening we extended an "Invitation" for people to come to Christ―and many did. I believe that every example of baptism in the Bible teaches that when a person came to faith in Christ they were baptized immediately. So that's what we always did.
I also believe the Scriptures teach that baptism is by immersion. I have baptized people outside in lakes, and inside in a baptistery. When we went to the lake there were usually boats out on water but when we waded out into the water and the gathering on the shore began to sing, the boats came to a stop and reverence was given to the occasion. Because I was a student preacher for a small country church that didn't have a baptistery, in the winter months we would drive several miles into town to "borrow" a large churches baptistery.
Some preachers have records of all those they have baptized. I have never kept that kind of record but the names would fill a large book.