A Note from the Pastor’s Desk!
February 2, 2023
This is the first online communication from your Pastor, but I have a feeling it won’t be the last. I have a renewed sense of drawing us together as a family; especially as we have experienced the worldly natural separation and isolation.
Today, I just want to take a few minutes of your time and talk about our Family Chat last Sunday.
First of all, thank you to everyone that asked questions and participated. It warms the heart of your pastor when I hear your heart. Secondly, thank you to those who put on the potluck, the soups were delicious and the fellowship sweet. And of course, you all know that your pastor loves potlucks and spending treasured time together.
Someone once told me that a person is known as much for what they say as they are for what they don’t say. There is a subject that didn’t get talked about in our Family Chat that I believe is important: The Subject is Baptism.
Recently we have someone say that infant baptism is not in the Bible and so it is not biblical. This former Baptist Pastor was passionate about it and I respect a man who stands on his convictions. I too have convictions and I have learned a valuable lesson and practice it in my preaching:
Romans 14: 4, “Who are you to judge someone’s else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord can make them stand.”
The principle is: “Do not judge the convictions of others when they are different from yours!”
Now if a person’s conviction is anti-biblical this principle doesn’t apply, but when it comes to doctrines that can be Biblically backed, then we need to let the Holy Spirit bring them into unity in our hearts.
Regarding Baptism, currently, The PIER church is a CRC church that is different. We have practiced both Infant Baptism and Adult Baptism. We have done more adult baptisms because we are a church that is sharing the gospel and God is moving in our midst to transform and change adult hearts to follow Jesus. I am so blessed to have watched in our midst Dave baptize his son Daniel; God is moving in that family!
Now adult baptism is Biblical; in response to Peter’s preaching in Acts 2, the people said, “What must we do to be saved? Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized.”
Infant baptism is interesting because some say it isn’t found in Scripture! Well the name
“Trinity” isn’t found in Scripture but is a true doctrine. So why do people practice Infant Baptism?
First, because it is a belief that no baptism in itself is salvation, it is only a response to salvation. So no baby or adult is saved because they are baptized; this puts baptism on a level playing field in regards to infant to adult.
Second, in the group of people who are convicted of baptizing infants, they see two things:
First, as in circumcision; their hearts desire their infant children to be part of the covenantal family of God and they want to stand before God and witnesses to say, “We will raise our children in the LORD.” There is something powerful about speaking out loud those words publicly. Also, infant baptism gives the opportunity for a church family to say out loud; "We will help you in the work of raising your precious children in the Lord.” This brings the community together to work side by side for the Gospel of Jesus Christ within our community.
But I believe also something precious can come from Infant Baptism that “Dedication” can miss: Ezekiel 36: 25 - 27, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. and I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Paul said, “Before the foundations of the earth were created I was called...” A powerful truth in Paul’s life that he believed even in his time of religious rebellion, he realized God was moving from before he was created.
The Sprinkling of a child is our acknowledgment of God’s movement in the history of mankind. That he is constant through the generations of mankind and he doesn’t change so we are not destroyed. So for those, whose convictions are in infant baptism they not only see their dedication to their children; but God’s sovereignty over their children’s lives to be faithful to his word and to move as he predestined to move.
Where dedication is; I will raise my child in the Lord; Covenant is I entrust my child to your predestined history writing from a perspective of “Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts” attitude. It is hard to understand
why God’s chosen people Israel; was chosen under his covenant and yet as Paul said, “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”
This is an important and interesting conversation; but for me, whose daughter is far away from the Lord right now, I not only dedicated my daughter to raising her in the Lord; which I didn’t do perfectly but did well because I brought her to the throne of God and introduced her to Jesus. But now I must trust in the Covenantal God who is writing history and knows where she is and what plan he has for her life.
In summary; you need to understand I respect both arguments of either for or against Infant Baptism. I do not judge anyone whose convictions are different from mine. The PIER is a church that practices both and I don’t believe that there is any heresy in the direction we are taking. Both must be a beautiful picture of what God is doing in our world today. I pray that if there has been any confusion in anyone’s mind about this subject; I hope you can find peace in the direction your leadership is guiding you. If you have strong convictions one
way or another, may the Holy Spirit guide you to peace and rest in your soul.
Thank you for reading this note and have a blessed Day!
Pastor Wayne Ondersma