Thursday, September 30, 2010

WHY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST OUGHT TO BE BAPTIST

What?

Are you serious, Terry?

Ah, I thought this might awaken your sinuses!

One of the challenges each of us has had to deal with along the way is that of being in the church with a bit of unbiblical pride in ourselves....a large bit.  There is an air about much of our reputations which is simply air-rogant.  I have driven more away than I have led to Jesus by my cocky swagger of knowing the true truth.

Yet, I'm serious that we ought to be Baptist....as in John the Baptist.  That Baptist had a humility about him which evidently eased him into one courageous champion for God's definable direction.  Pointing toward the Lamb, John declared He must increase, but I must decrease.

From the toweling off at baptism each of us is called to grow in Christ to the pace of ultimately fading away.  He must increase while we live a pattern of decreasemanship.

Decreasing is such a valuable trait.  It leads us to have an accurate assessment of our roles.  And it gives jealousy and envy a much-needed, much-deserved pounding. 

Decreasing is what I am about (it's what you are about).  My job is not to become more prominent, more visible, more sought.  No, my job is to step aside of the self that Jesus might gain full habitation. 

Note the wonder of God.  Decreasing is progress.  Decreasing does not drive people away from God, but allows them to be drawn to Him for we are less in the way than once.

I've ruined family and friend relationship due to my earlier years of my personal increasing in knowledge and huffy assumption I knew best; knew more than "them".  Wonderfully, as I've learned to decrease, the work of God seems to find its own liberty.

Therefore, I declare with no play on words that what is really needed in hundreds of communities is for the Church of Christ to become Baptist.

5 comments:

Lee said...

Terry, I love those thoughts, because they put much needed focus into one's life-long journey. And P.S., "decreasemanship" might just become my new favorite word.

Anonymous said...

Just talked about John the Baptist's role in a Bible study Tuesday night. His job was to point everyone to the Lamb and not anything else. Ours should be the same!

Jay

Brian said...

New word: "Decreasemanship" I love it!

Yes! Jesus is the super-star! We get to introduce Him and then step aside and watch the performance take place in the lives of those who will accept Jesus as Lord!

Decrease in "it's about me" and increase in "it's about Him!"

Anonymous said...

The Church must learn that it does not dispense salvation. That would be a good place to start with some humility. Those who believe that you must be Baptized by the right people, or in just the right way, have forgotten that no man or institution dispenses salvation.

We are not saved by the physical act of Baptism. Baptism a shadow of the reality, and a fine shadow at that ... but still a shadow.

Born again of water and the Spirit. A person is washed, but God cleanses us of sin. A person is immersed, but God immerses us in His Spirit. God places us in Christ.

It is God who washes us clean of sin, and gives us His Spirit. We douse people and worry if an elbow was sticking out.

It is possible to enter God's Kingdom without being washed and immersed. But it is not possible to enter the Kingdom without being reborn through forgiveness and a new spirit, by His Spirit.

The Church dispenses nothing. The Church teaches people how to approach God, who have already been drawn to God. Baptism is not our power. Not is it a privilege of the Church. Baptism is a commandment, i.e., a duty for the Church, just as it a commandment to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this Mr. Rush, it's too ironic for me recently. I was just having a conversation about how, growing up Church of Christ, I always wondered as a kid, "If John the Baptist is Baptist, then why are we 'Church of Christ'"? Shouldn't we have been Baptists too?

To a kid, learning that WE went "strictly by the Bible" and also learning about everything "wrong" with the Baptists (once saved, always saved; grace without works, etc.), it just seemed soooo contradictory that John was himself a Baptist, but we wouldn't have anything to do with present day Baptists.

Well, I've taken to calling him John the Immerser anyway. I learned soon enough...oddly...by just opening the Word.

Thanks for a GREAT post!