05/27/2017 - What/Who Is the Body of Christ?
“…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” Eph 4:12.
It was Wednesday night. A group of worshipers were gathered together at the church for our weekly prayer and fellowship meeting. Five minutes before starting our meeting, the door of the church opened and a father with his son came in. He greeted everybody and then he asked, “Is the pastor here? If he is here I’d like to have a private conversation with him.” I invited him into a room, and we introduced ourselves to each other. In two minutes I listened to the reason why he was looking for me, “Pastor," he said, "I am here with my son (6-7 years old) to ask you to baptize us. Can you do it?” I said, “Of course I am happy to baptize you, not only you but your entire family. But first, I’d like to ask you if you know Jesus, and if you know what baptism is.” “Pastor," he said, "I don’t have time to talk with you about these issues. I'm asking you if you want to baptize us right now!” The conversation was longer as I tried to explain to him that baptism is more than a physical act of immersing under the water, more than a ceremony; baptism is an act of belonging to the body of Christ – the church. He was not happy to talk about this, so he left the church in disappointment. I am sure that some “friends” would judge me for not baptizing someone who asked, but I consider that there is something more important than a physical aspect of baptism – the spiritual meaning of it. I know people who were saved without baptism, but I do not know anybody saved without Jesus. Of course I am not for the old rules that someone must be kept "at the door of the church." This method is when after six months of Bible study and baptismal classes, a person must take a test of knowledge in front of the board of the church and another one in front of the church, and then, after one year, that person can be baptized. But I also am not for baptism for the sake of “baptism.” More voices are saying that what is really important is to be in a close relationship with Jesus; you do not have to belong to a church. Having a close relationship with Jesus is more important than belonging to an organized group of people who gather together for worship and fellowship. Really? Actually, when the Bible speaks about “the body of Christ,” what does it mean? What is the body of Christ? Who is the body of Christ? Is it important after baptism to join an organized church, or is it enough after you are baptized to just have a vertical relationship with God?
Next time I will continue with this topic.