CAN A NON-CHRISTIAN NURSE BAPTIZE A BABY?

A sister on the West Coast writes that 40 years ago, as a practicing nurse, she witnessed the spontaneous delivery of a baby, and the infant died within minutes. Sensing the situation, she reached for a cup of water and poured it over the baby's head to baptize it before it died. Was that baptism valid, she wonders, since it was not immersion and since she did not consider herself a Christian at … [Read more...]

TWO CONVERSION STORIES

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "You seem to say that people are initiated into the church in different ways, suggesting that Acts 2 is a pattern for Jewish conversions and Acts 10 is a pattern for Gentile conversions." *** I am sorry if I left that impression. I am not suggesting a sepaate "pattern" for Jews and Gentiles -- or any pattern at all in the sense of a formula stating "man's part" in … [Read more...]

CIRCUMCISION AND BAPTISM

A gracEmail subscriber writes, "You recall that male babies in Israel were circumcised as a sign of God's covenant with his chosen people. When Christ ushered in the new covenant, did he instruct us to exclude infants from receiving baptism as the new covenant sign?" *** Although circumcision and water baptism both serve as covenant signs, one for Jews and the other for Christians, baptism, … [Read more...]

INFANT’S BAPTISM RAISES QUESTIONS (2)

A gracEmail subscriber writes that his infant grandson is soon to be baptized, although Grandpa raised the baby's mother in a church that baptizes only confessing believers. This grandfather requests more information on the subject. *** Whether babies ought to be baptized or not, their situation clearly differs from that of adult converts to Christianity. Christians on both sides of this issue … [Read more...]

BAPTIZING CHILDREN (1)

A scholarly minister writes, "I am leading a study this summer with five other families, all having children who have expressed an interest in baptism or a desire to be baptized. The children range from seven to 13 years of age. What are your thoughts on this subject?" *** On this question, gracEmail readers (like Christians for the past 16 centuries), do not all share the same understanding. I … [Read more...]

RELATIONSHIP, NOT RITUAL

A gracEmail subscriber writes that she was baptized as a pre-teen, later rebelled, and was re-baptized in her 30's. Although she always has "gone to church," she has never felt God's peace. Now in her 60's, she looks back over "years of misery, divorce, remarriage, divorce, misery and rebellion." She has confessed her sins and asked God's forgiveness repeatedly, but she questions now if she ever … [Read more...]