So lately my mind has been on overdrive when it comes to the Christian walk. I've been studying Acts for the past month during my own quiet time and through some studying (and venting) with a friend, I've been able to contemplate some things that have really been bothering me and others that just perplex me.
First off, why are there so many denominations? This is mostly rhetorical. I know the origin of most denominations, but as the Body of Christ we are supposed to be united and I see very little of that. There's hardly unity within denominations and their respective "churches". I understand choosing one church over another because of preference; the worship or the way the Pastor preaches....etc. However, when you really look at it, it's usually bigger things that separate "Christian churches". It's usually doctrinal issues, many being salvation issues. This is where I'm completely torn.
If I feel confused about this, how much more unbelievers looking in at us?
One main issue I've been confronted with, at least in my heart, is where and when did water baptism become separated from salvation? In Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission, known to all believers, clearly states to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". This was the last command Jesus gave us before ascended to Heaven. Then on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:37 people were "cut to the heart" and asked what to do. Peter replied in verse 38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.
As you read on in Acts, when people believed they were immediately baptized. It seems they went hand in hand. Reasonably, if you think about what water baptism is...the old self dying and the new self coming alive...then just by saying words and confessing without baptism logically seems as if you'd still be your old self (This is just me thinking out loud).
Again, when did water baptism become separated from salvation? The Word of God has not changed, why have we? It's like in our mass produced society, we like everything fast and easy and we've made out salvation to be the same. I know that in Romans 10:9 it says "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," but this was said to believers that already had been baptized in water (Please look it up if you don't believe me).
What I've noticed for probably my entire life in the Christian church (several different denominations) there is very little, if any, importance given to water baptism. It's something done maybe once or twice in the year, but definitely not when someone receives Jesus Christ as their Savior.
All I'm saying is that if you're sold out for Christ, which is what should happen when you give your life over to Him (not going back to your old ways), whether or not you believe you need to be baptized to be saved, why not just do it out of obedience...especially since it's mentioned so many times in the New Testatment? Better safe than sorry, right?
So now my brothers and sisters in Christ, "let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repenatance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement." (Hebrews 6:1-3)