What Happened When I Preached on Baptism?

By Brian Jones

This article is no longer available online, but all of the articles about baptism that appeared in the March 1 and 8, 2009, issues of CHRISTIAN STANDARD–plus a bonus article–are available for purchase as a single, redisigned, easy-to-read and easy-to-use downloadable resource/pdf (a fuller explanation is below).

Baptism: 7 Practical Perspectives

Item 02973  •  $2.99

What does the Bible teach about baptism? What does baptism symbolize and what does it accomplish? Why is there so much disagreement?

Seven writers offer their insights on this controversial but fundamental topic in this 14-page resource that—with the exception of one article—originally appeared in the March 1 and 8, 2009, issues of Christian Standard.

The writers closely examine the Scriptures, while also offering insights drawn from personal experiences. As one writer puts it in his summary statement: “Baptism is a richly meaningful act, commanded by Christ, in which we humbly ask the risen Lord for what he alone can give. It is a prayer that confesses our need and his supremacy. It does not detract from truth that the Lord alone saves; it confesses that truth.”

All downloads include permission to reproduce the material up to 10 times for ministry and educational purposes. To order this resource, CLICK HERETo sample the first few paragraphs of Brian Jones’s article, continue reading below . . .   

A few years ago I finished a sermon and out of the corner of my eye noticed a couple storming toward me with clenched fists. I thought to myself, this can’t be good.

All day, after each of our three services, people came up to me and thanked me for teaching on a topic that had confused them for years. I had worked tirelessly on the message and felt God had honored that time on my knees and at my computer. All in all it was a really good Sunday.

But not according to this couple.

Both husband and wife, professors at a nationally acclaimed Baptist university in our area, accused me of “twisting the words of the Bible” and “grievously misleading people.”

It takes a lot to rattle me. But two minutes into their tirade I felt that familiar nervousness swell up in my chest, the kind of sensation that seizes someone after he’s been in an automobile accident. After their verbal blistering, I had to simply walk away; but oddly enough, they chased me down and gave me more.

Still stewing on that experience a few days later, I was struck by a number of things: First, I was amazed at how much that one negative conversation overshadowed all the many positive ones that took place. Second, I was honestly quite proud of myself for not pulling a Jackie Chan on that guy’s face. But mostly I was struck by how much I am still tempted to skirt difficult topics after all these years of preaching.

One of the temptations we pastors can succumb to is preparing and delivering sermons based on the compliments, requests, flattery, and feedback of the people we serve. While we always want to preach to meet the spiritual needs of the people we serve, what if God wants us to preach on something we know most people won’t agree with? What if God wants us to preach on something we know will more than likely send a bunch of people packing?

Interestingly enough, the sermon that ticked off that couple so much was titled, “Do We Teach that One Has to Be Baptized in Order to Be Saved?” . . . 


Brian Jones is the founding pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, Pennsylvania. He’s the author of Second Guessing God and Getting Rid of the Gorilla: Confessions on the Struggle to Forgive. Learn more about his ministry and writing at www.brianjones.com.

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