A Stark Realization

In many ways, this blog was a method I used to vent pent up emotions, and try to cope with the crazy ways of life. I have gotten out of the loop and have not posted in at least 7 months. This site was the place I came to give updates, put ideas to ponder, and confess as a Christian has been commanded and given the opportunity to do. I failed.

I missed 7 months worth of ideas, possible ways to glorify God, and 7 months of possible teachings, and I apologize. I did not have much, if any, followers, but still, it became a thing I must hold myself accountable. So here are 2 things to ponder on: Christian non-violence and the possibility that most that have been baptized might not be saved.

Those are two loaded conversations, but I will be brief considering my demotivation and current state of emotion.

Christian Non-violence

Given the Old Testament, we often see that God has commanded his people to fight and often commit violent acts. It is not uncommon. Exodus and Joshua are two of the best examples I can give off the top of my head for this. These two books show the escape of Israel from Egyptian slavery, and finally entering the promise land that was told Abraham’s children would inherit. Along the way, there were many battles, many cities destroyed, and many lives lost. Even during the time of the Judges and the kingship of Israel, battle and God’s hand in war was well present. People take this to assume that as Christians we should not worry too much about violence if it should arise. This is not true though. Jesus gave many things for Christians to obey that concern violence, but none of them gave the condoning of the use of violence. In contrast, if we are harmed by someone, we must turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39). If they take from us, we must offer them more (Matthew 5:40). If they force us to go one mile, lets go with them two (Matthew 5:41). We must pray for our enemies, not just for those that are good to us (Matthew 5:43-44). Anyone can be kind to those that are kind to us, but as Christians we are called to be different and love our enemies.

An example that might be contrary to this might be when Jesus chases the money changers in the temple with a whip (John 2:15-17), yet turning over tables and chasing people with reeds out of the temple can hardly be taken as violence, and just because we used a ‘whip’ (likely just reeds fashioned together) does not mean he used it to physically harm anyone. Plus this fulfilled the scriptures that were specific to Jesus. 

Another example can be when Jesus tells his disciples to sell what they have so they can buy short swords (Luke 22:36), but again, just because they went to get swords does not mean that it was meant for the harm of people. A good example of the contrary is when Jesus rebukes Peter for cutting the ear of the slave in the Garden of Gethsemane:

“Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.” – John 18:10

“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”- Matthew 26:51-52

I do not know why Jesus told the disciples to acquire a sword, but it does not seem like it was meant for self-defense or harm. That puts me in the next point, self-defense is not condoned either as it is part of reacting evil from evil. Try to find verses that refute Christians ever needing to react or ever use violence, because you will not likely find one. Even if you see something that seems like it, remember, it has to fit somehow with the verses, thus making it unlikely that it truly says to use violence. Regardless, this is honestly difficult, and I’m guilty of not breaking it. I can’t claim perfection nor anything close to perfection. And that is why I write this section, because I confess my sins and struggles. 

Validity of Baptism

This one is based off of one section in Acts, mainly. It is when Paul meets people that are preaching Christ, but were not baptized into Christ after Pentecost. 

“It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 19:1-5

I have known about this pressure that many children have on being baptized. It starts to get stronger and stronger the older they get. Eventually, if they start getting into being 14, they often are surrounded by others their age getting baptized at Bible camps, during a retreat, or at church. I would say that the vast majority of children would probably decided to get baptized because their friends were doing it, and it seemed like the right time since everyone was doing it. Many are even pressured (probably implicitly) by their church or families to get baptized because once they grow older, people start to wonder. If they grow up to being 16 or 17, they are given so much pressure that they may eventually cave in. But one common trait that all these children have during their baptisms is that they are not doing it for the right reasons. During the day of Pentecost, Peter gives his sermon to thousands of people telling them about the salvation of Christ and how he is the Messiah they have been waiting for. At the end, the people are convinced and desperately want to know what they must do to get eternal life. Peter responds to repent and in the name of Christ be baptized for the remission of their sins, and they will receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38). These people are scared and desperate after hearing about Jesus; they see the importance and urgency in their eternal lives. These are things not present with those children – they do not understand yet the sacrifice of God or the very real fight for their souls. 

The eunuch in Acts 8 is another example of how when learning about Christ, there was an urgency to get baptized. Philip preached Jesus to his and the eunuch was pierced to the heart, just like those on Pentecost. When he believed he knew he needed to die, be buried, and resurrected as a new creation in the waters of baptism, and so they stopped the chariot next to the river. He was baptized instantly and he went off rejoicing even though Philip was snatched up instantly from there.

So many children are without this belief and desire of baptism like those in the first century. They may want to be baptized, but they might not feel the NEED to be baptized. When they truly are heartbroken and urgently feel the need to submit to God and put on a new body in baptism, they then are with the right mind to repent of their sins. 

All of this came to me after hearing how frequently students at Christian colleges may figure out they truly were not ready when they were initially baptized and decided to get rebaptized. I even visited a program that is a preaching school mainly, and heard a man announce how his wife realized after a while in the program that she needed to get rebaptized. I thought it was rare when the professors told me about this occurrence happening at this school, but I was shocked. But I rejoiced because this meant we have a new sister in Christ, one that can be sure actually died to self and was given eternal life with God. Rejoice!

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