What is baptism really all about?
My growing up in a fairly conservative denomination (the Mennonites) allowed me to see a certain picture of baptism that most other denominations would probably dismiss. We had used pouring as the method. Although it was practiced that way, most others would say that is not how it should be done. Later in my College time, I was questioning my salvation experience and decided to be re-baptized by immersion.
I now realize that all this was as a result of me trying to be sure I was saved. I was so afraid of Hell at one point in College that I didn’t sleep for 3 nights.. I had had no real assurance of salvation, and surely believed the scriptures were from God, and it sure seemed like they talked of a place called Hell, which I now realize was a pagan deception that made its way into many versions of our modern Bibles.
Now I can look back on all this baptism rituals with a smile.. Can you see how ridiculous religious minded people can make you do things for the wrong reasons. They have good intentions… to save you from the wrath of God, so to speak, but the heart of the matter is so much more than the literal baptizing with water.
When we can see that the whole purpose of sharing the good news of God’s kingdom is not to perform various rituals in and of themselves, but to intentionally bring the person into a closer walk with God, we are getting a better understanding. This is, I believe, the real intention of Christ when he told his disciples to preach and baptize. Let the people know how much God loves them… Why? Because he really is love! Love keeps no record of wrongs. The judgement day will be a whole lot different than what most people have been taught. God gets the last laugh, IMO. 🙂