Sincere Baptism in Mission Field


There is no doubt that we need to have evidence that one is truly converted before he is baptized. However, how to evaluate the evidence and what evidences are necessary are still in question mark. As a Christian from communist China, I have seen all kinds of scenarios. Some churches baptize believer immediately after his confession, some churches need the believer go through a serious of foundation faith lessons and pass the exam before baptism, while some churches even need the believers to show the evidence of their convert through good deeds including reading Bible daily and tithe.

I brought this topic up to front after reading the case of A GROUP CONVERSION[1] and the analysis of Matthew 28:16-20 in Moreau’s book. The group conversion is rare in the modern world, but the similar situation will occur while a short mission trip is made to a place while there’s no local church that can follow up the new believers. I have seen several cases during my ministry that a baptized Christian know nothing about the doctrine of salvation and finally left Christianity because he don’t think it is what he want.

Revisit the versions in Matthew 28:16-20 really helps. The focus here is “baptizing them”. Who are the “them”? Are they believers or disciples? From the context it not the one who make a pray or raise his hand to join the church, but people who have deep and abiding commitment to Christ[2]. Now comes the question again, it is very hard to tell if someone is having deep and abiding commitment to Christ or not by talks, courses or examinations. But these are necessary for the evaluation to an extent. From my point of view, it’s more harmful to baptize someone who is not actually saved than to reject a saved Christian’s baptism request maybe simply because he failed in the doctrine exam.

To draw a conclusion, I’m against the quick baptism after one’s vocal confession without carefully examine his faith, practice and doctrine unless it’s an extreme case.

[1] Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin, Gary McGee. Introducing World Missions, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 69

[2] Moreau 2004, 44