This summer, from Vacation Bible School to Christian camps, children and youth across Oklahoma and the nation will be hearing the Gospel. One of the more impactful Gospel presentations designed for children is the “A-B-Cs of Salvation,” popularized by LifeWay.
A-Admit to God you are a sinner;
B-Believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness from sin; and
C-Confess your faith in Jesus Christ and Savior and Lord.
The A-B-Cs of Salvation have helped countless boys and girls understand the path to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Without detracting from this, I think we could add one thing to this step-by-step list.
After A-B-C comes D—we get “dunked.” That is to say, we get baptized as the first step on the path of Christian discipleship. Indeed, the New Testament shows that new believers were baptized as the first step of obedience in following Christ.
It is therefore our job as the Church, as we evangelize, to spell out the importance of baptism as the first step of discipleship. As we plan our evangelism approaches, we cannot forget to have a baptism strategy in place for those who believe.
Baptists in particular would do well to remember the centrality and importance of baptism. It’s in our name, after all! While we know and emphasize that it is not baptism that saves us—that we are saved “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone” (Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:8-9)—we do sometimes unwittingly downplay or forget the significance of baptism.
Russell Moore explained the high stakes of baptism this way. He said, “(Baptism) is often described as you making a statement outwardly about an inward reality that you have experienced, kind of like a wedding ring. You wear a wedding ring in order to demonstrate and show that you are married. Well, there is a sense in which that is true but not exactly. Baptism is not like a wedding ring; baptism is like a wedding ceremony.”
Moore explained, “It is the people of God gathered together and all of us are proclaiming something. All of us are saying something. And what we are saying is that we believe that this individual is in Christ. All the people of God gathered together are pronouncing and announcing, ‘This person is in Christ.’ That is why we don’t do baptisms privately. We do baptisms gathered together with the people of God united together pronouncing this about this person.”
Whatever illustration you use in talking about baptism, we all agree on the importance of baptism. Therefore, this summer, as we plan our evangelism, we should plan the follow up, as well.
As we have opportunity to proclaim the Gospel, let’s also proclaim what comes next after people believe. Namely, believer’s baptism.
By God’s grace, we will see a bevy of new believers being baptized here in Oklahoma this summer and beyond!