Vol.XI No.XI Pg.4
January 1975

Baptizing A Boy--Man

Robert F. Turner

Young man, you have asked me to baptize you, and I want you to know how this has thrilled my soul. I am so happy to baptize you into Christ. But you must have noticed my hesitation, and wondered about it; and that is why I am taking this time for explanation. Suddenly, from my view, I see you becoming a man, beginning to think for yourself, and facing the greatest decision a man can make; and Oh, how I want this to be right!

The hesitation is not because I have a right to dictate your move — in fact, there is no decision here for me to make. There is no way for me to read your innermost thoughts. I do believe your faith is as deep as your capacity. You have learned faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, and can recite Acts 2:38 with the best of us. You tell me you want to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

But you are becoming — just beginning. It is so easy at this stage to speak the right words, and do the proper things, in imitation of those you respect, yet lack the maturity and understanding that make the words and deeds truly yours. I tremble at the magnitude of your decision, and marvel at your youthful confidence.

We talked about repentance, and you seemed a bit uncertain on that subject. But I am not asking you to learn that lesson so you can repeat someones definition of the word. You can not really know its meaning until it expresses toward God a deep sorrow which you feel because of your sins (2 Cor. 7:10). I can not lay this feeling of sorrow upon you. I can speak to you of the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4), but only you can respond to the leading of His goodness. You must turn and go to serve God (Matt. 21: 28-32) as an independent individual, or there is no real conversion.

An independent individual — that brings us to the core of the matter. From birth, you have been taught dependence upon and subjection to adult authority. This is right (Eph. 6:14), in its very nature. But your parents and your teachers have been grooming you for the day when you would no longer depend upon them. We long to see you a mature, independent individual — and have checked your early efforts to do your own thing only because we could see, through experience, that you were on the wrong road. While we made your decisions we were responsible for your actions. But now you propose to make a decision that will affect your life here, and in the world to come. Are you ready to accept the responsibilities that go with such a step?

Are you, or are you not, a self- responsible individual; accountable before God for your sins, and because of them, guilty and lost? Are you ready now to shift allegiance and dependence from parents, teachers, and human peers (as respects your eternal destiny) and place your trust in the One true Savior, Jesus Christ?

Your parents, teachers, and the whole church join me in trying to impress you with these points. We will rejoice to hear you publicly confess your faith in Jesus Christ. But in this decision, you must stand alone.