Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Baptism is proof that you mean business about believing in Jesus. You can’t be a casual Christian and be baptized.
Baptism is final. It is irrevocable. Once you’ve been “placed into” Christ, you can’t “unplace” yourself.
Baptism in conjunction with the Gospel of Welcome seals the deal. Jesus includes this in His commissioning address to His followers because it is vital to the process of transformation. You can’t be casual about following Christ when you include baptism as the outward sign of an inner decision. And in the New Testament, accounts of baptism in the Book of Acts happened immediately upon placing one’s faith in Christ. There’s something real and compelling about that.
I was “baptized” during a church service when I was nine years old. It was pre-arranged. At the designated time in the service, I went forward and the pastor dipped his hand in water, placed it on my head and baptized me “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” It was called being “sprinkled.” It may have been good enough for the church, but it wasn’t good enough for me.
Thirteen years later when we were preaching the gospel and baptizing people on the spot in Lake Lagunita at Stanford University, I went into the water and got dunked. I felt like Peter when He objected to Christ washing his feet, and Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me,” to which Peter blurted out, “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:8-9)
Lord, I don’t want to remember a little water sprinkled on my head as a sign of my commitment to you; I want to get all wet. I want to go down under the water and come back up. I want to die and be born again, and even if I don’t fully know what that means, I want it to happen to me, so that some day, I will.
In the New Testament, when you got baptized, you didn’t bring a towel and change of clothes to the baptismal service in brother Bill’s jacuzzi. You found the closest body of water and got dunked. They put you down under and brought you up in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And you went home wet.
There’s something pure and simple about this, but something also real and gritty and downright inconvenient. Something you can always remember as happening to you. Something you can’t go back on. Something humbling, and maybe a little embarrassing, especially in a public place when you weren’t planning on having this happen to you.
And there were no towels provided.
From Mark, a MemberPartner of the Membership Committee – Day 8
Another reason why John and Marti are not the perfect pitchmen…
You will not hear John list the reasons why you come to the Catch, because every citizen has a different reason for drawing closer. I can promise you, John is not going to discontinue his direct approach nor polish up the Gospel of Welcome with hype or sensationalism; nor is he going to unnecessarily cut corners, reduce his Biblical studies, or look to make the shareholders happy. The Catch does not have shareholders. The Catch has a God-fearing Board of Directors and the Catch has you — our readers, our contributors … our MemberPartners.
As a MemberPartner of the Membership Committee, I ask you to assess for yourself what we have done, what we are rolling out over the next few months, and what it means to the furtherance of the Gospel of Welcome, and decide if it is worthy of your support.
No, you cannot save the Catch; John would tell you the Catch is not worth saving. But what the Catch is doing is everything John lives for: teaching the Word, equipping individuals in their faith, identifying with the poor, embracing one’s sin in order to offer forgiveness, redefining faith for the 21st century — all toward the furtherance of the Gospel of Welcome to everyone, everywhere.
If this makes sense – read on…
Catch MemberPartnerships offer a pain-free way to help further the Gospel of Welcome. It is a Brilliant idea whose time has come. It is simple to enroll. It is an uncomplicated approach to achieve a vital ministry. It is Simply Brilliant.
Every time a new MemberPartner is activated, the Gospel of Welcome message extends farther beyond the 139 countries we are presently serving, new enrichment programs are added, and our services are expanded to members, contributors, and readers.
What’s more, a real, tangible economic advantage is offered to all Catch citizens, irrespective of financial capacity:
To keep it simple, rich or poor, if there is a “readiness” to give – a built-into-the-heart desire to give, “the gift is acceptable, according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”(2 Corinthians 8:12).
For those without the capacity to give, MemberPartner sponsorships are available.
Together with this, opportunities exist to register friends and family tax free MemberPartnerships or honor a loved one through an honorary PartnerMembership in his or her memory.
Here is how to sign up:
The easiest way to become a MemberPartner or find out more about becoming one, is to click on the Simply Brilliant logo.