So, you and I are seekers of God and have been reading the Bible together. We decide that we believe Jesus is the Lord and Savior and want to become Christians. What would we do next? Would we pray a “Sinner’s Prayer” as is so commonly taught among contemporary Evangelical Christians or would we seek to repent and be baptized which is what we find taking place throughout the book of Acts. Watch the following video clip of Francis Chan, author of the book “Crazy Love” and a highly respected Pastor among Evangelical Christians:
My theology has been shaped by its roots within the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. There are many things that were “fed” to me by influential preachers and theologians within this movement. I have constantly sought however to read the Bible for myself and never settle for the conclusions of others. This has led me on occasion to go against the traditional theological stream of Restoration thought, including some of the nuanced understandings I have regarding the biblical teaching on repentance and baptism. However, one thing which I believe the Restoration Movement has continuously taught correctly is that repentance and baptism are the normative biblical means through which we become Christians.
I have posted this video clip of Francis Chan not to pat myself or the Restoration Movement on the back. Instead, my intention is to show that reaching such a conclusion as Chan reaches, as the Restoration Movement has historically reached, is not so far fetched if we just would read the Bible for what it is.
Reaching such a conclusion opens one to the oft tired accusation of teaching works-salvation or baptismal regeneration, neither of which I believe in or want to teach. In some future post(s) I will do some writing on the why of repentance and baptism as well as why embracing such practices as the normative biblical means of becoming a Christian can be done (and should be done) without either teaching a works-oriented salvation or baptismal regeneration. In the meantime, go back and read the book of through the book of Acts and ask yourself why repentance, baptism, and being filled with the Holy Spirit were (and still are) so important to becoming a disciple of Jesus – a Christian.