This is a post that assumes the Baptist position on baptism. If you are someone who has never understood why some traditions baptize infants, you should read up on that first. I don’t believe you have really understood baptism until you have first wrestled with whether or not you should sprinkle your newborn. Perhaps start here
In my circles, because we believe God commands believers to be baptized, we wrestle with when is the appropriate time to encourage our kids toward baptism. Often our children ask to be baptized, and we are left telling them, “not now.”
Mark Dever, who I consider a virtual mentor, is on record many times as teaching that we should not baptize young children. It is not that he does not think they could become Christians; he believes it is too difficult for the local church to discern real conversion in young children. He has also seen too many times people come to his church, having been “baptized” earlier in life, then realize they only now believe the gospel, and then having to “re”-baptize them.
I TOTALLY understand his concerns. We have members in our church who are extremely mature in the faith who basically have the same approach. But over the next few posts I want to walk through our decision to allow our 8 year old to get baptized last summer. She had just turned 8 at the time. She is the youngest person we have ever baptized at our church. And I am totally open to her not being the youngest ever.
I believe we should baptize believers of any age upon a credible profession of faith.
But because of where we are in church history, there are so many different factors to think through regarding this. But one thing I want to be clear from this first post: Baptists do not believe that only adults should be baptized. If you know a Baptist who speaks like that, they are speaking wrongly about the Baptist position. We do not believe only adults or older children should be baptized. We do not see a minimum age in the Bible. We believe only believers should be baptized, and that all believers should be baptized (Matthew 28.19). It is the implications of “only” and “all” that are very complex in our day and age, but it at least gives us a direction to walk towards. In the next post, let’s first think about some of the biblical data.
The Lord seemed to use this sermon in particular from a couple weeks back. We are going through the Proverbs at Kailua Baptist right now. I’ve chosen to preach through chapters 10-30 topically, trying to highlight themes that God seems to highlight in those chapters. This sermon theme was on the tongue. Hope it blesses you:
I am very pleased to announce that Kailua Baptist Church is partnering with Immanuel Baptist Church (Louisville, KY) and Kahului Baptist Church (Maui) in an effort to plant a church in Waiehu, Maui. The two men who will be leading the charge are Rocky Komatsu (one of our elders) and Jay Haynes (one of Immanuel’s elders).
The plan is for them to move to Maui in January (less than three months from now) and spend about a year as members of Kahului Baptist, cast vision, recruit core members, do outreach in Waiehu, and in early 2019 start a worship gathering there. This of course is all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and subject to change as He wills, but that is the plan for now.
They are both great gospel preachers, under no illusion that God promises a church will happen, but full of faith and are very biblical in their thinking. We all agree that there is a need for a healthy, evangelical church there, and so this does seem like a good and wise endeavor.
- adding the Waiehu church plant effort to your regular prayer list
- giving financially to further the gospel in that area
- going with them to be a part of their core team
For more info, check out their website here
A few reflections over the last three months:
- A pastor is truly on-call 24-7: I have always known this, but this was the first time in eight years that I felt that weight lifted off, a weight that I personally did not realize was there until it wasn’t. This is not a complaint on my part. This is just a statement of reality. And it is why, though no church is mandated to do this, it is a good and kind thing for a church to grant periodic sabbaticals to pastors.
- Stay-at-home moms are so awesome: For about two of the three months I was a stay-at-home dad, doing more of the cooking, picking up our younger daughter from school, helping our older daughter transition into college, and doing more cleaning than I normally do (which was still less cleaning than my wife does, and she just started back to work this school year!). Then for about two weeks I did some care taking for my dad. All in all, I did less than all our stay-at-home moms do at much lower quality, and I was drained. Thank God for these moms! (this is not to say anything negative about moms who work outside the home, just a note of encouragement towards those society often looks down upon)
- God is doing good things in other churches: we got to visit several churches over the sabbatical, and I am so thankful for the work of faithful preachers and Christians all over our island. The gospel is going forth on Oahu! There is basically a healthy local church in every corner of our island. Praise God!
- God is doing good things in our church- as I got to observe KBC at a little further “distance” than usual, I realize how blessed our church is. We have many faithful teachers, connections with other faithful teachers, our people love the Word, they love God, love each other, and are trying to grow in holiness more and more. Our church is Reformed, and constantly being reformed for God’s glory. Even something like our weekly Communion is something so refreshing each week (it stood out to me when we did not have communion at every church we visited; it felt incomplete). KBC is blessed by God!
- I love my church- Out of the 12 weeks, I believe we were away 6 of those weeks. It was good to visit other churches. And even the weeks I was there, it was a bit awkward for everyone (i.e., “should I talk to him? should I bother him?” etc.). Now, being “back back”, I am so thankful for the faith family God has given me.
Time to go prep for a sermon and do other pastoral things…
My church has graciously granted me a 3 month (!) sabbatical. I am very grateful. Though that does not mean I should necessarily take a sabbatical from this blog, I am planning to do so. I have been trying to post twice a month for the last couple years, and it has been a blessing to be able to do so. But I will take a break from this blog until early October. I would appreciate your prayers for a fruitful time of rest
I have had the opportunity to travel to Central Asia the last few years to help several Christians in their efforts to reach the unreached. It has been a great blessing to be a part of. I realize there are many different situations, but having been a part of at least seven or eight short term mission trips, here are a few things I think every faithful short term team would want you to know, if you are either a missionary on the field, or a local church inviting us to come help you in your work:
- We are so thankful for you! You are likely a part of the few who felt the burden to not stay, but rather to go. That means you likely sacrificed in ways most of us never will, all for the sake of the gospel. Thank you for being on the front lines of the Great Commission!
- We do not want to be a burden. We are only coming because we think we can help you. We would not come unless you invite us. So please do not invite us simply because you think that is what you are supposed to do. If you are having to create work for us, do not invite us. If you have more work than you can handle, that is exactly why we hope to come.
- We are willing to lead or follow during the trip. Just be clear about what you want. As a local church, we have our sights set on preaching the gospel to unbelievers, discipling believers, and organizing local churches. We are happy to lead in that. But since you are on the field in a context that is foreign to us, we are happy to follow you. Let’s just communicate clearly.
- We are willing to pay for as much as we need to. Let’s simply communicate clearly about that as well
- We do not want to sightsee. Please do not feel like you have to show us around. We are there to work, not play.
- At the same time, we are not there to work 24-7. We will benefit from as much rest as is normal for the Christian life.
- We are a local church. You are likely a missionary without normal church life, or a young church who needs help growing ecclesiologically. One of the goals in missions should be to establish healthy local churches. That means by God’s grace we have something to offer you missiologically. Please do not be offended if we try to offer it. We are simply trying to do our job, and trying to help you do yours.
I cannot stress to you how thankful we are for you, and how much we love praying for you. I look forward to discovering how God used all our efforts together to grow the Church
We just had our second annual church retreat/camp. We were blessed to be able to bring a speaker from my former church for the second straight year. Pastor Ryan Fullerton brought great teaching on building a culture of evangelism. A few reflections:
- I pray every single one of our members have these words ringing in their ears in every relationship with non-Christians: connect-God-man-Christ-response
- I pray for every single one of our children to be saved, and that we have a culture that says, “I welcome advice in parenting”
- Preaching the gospel to yourself is how you will persevere in this life, and we cannot expect to be effectively evangelistic if we are not rejoicing in our own salvation
- Ryan Fullerton is still my favorite preacher in the world
Listen to his Sunday sermon here