Why I am getting baptised

Friends, it may come as a surprise to you that I am going to get baptised. I say this because if you have read some of my blog posts, you will see that I have had a lot of intellectual problems with Christianity over the last few years.

Even through my struggles with Christianity, I have always believed in God. I have been going to Westminster Cathedral once or twice a week to pray for several years, but I haven’t felt comfortable attending Mass because there were aspects of the liturgy that I found puzzling and nonsensical. For instance, I had problems with the idea of original sin and I couldn’t believe that we have free will. I should add that this never stopped me having a deep awe for God and for Jesus. But I didn’t feel I could become a committed Christian.

When I was living in Wandsworth Town last year, there was a small group of Christians from a local church who used to congregate by the shopping centre every week on a Saturday for ‘outreach’. They would sing songs about Jesus and hand out leaflets encouraging people to explore the Christian faith. I used to chat with them, buy them the occasional coffee, and share with them the struggles that I was having with Christianity. And I asked them to pray for me.

I know that other friends and family have been praying for me too. I have been to several churches in the past and met some wonderful friends who have kept me in their prayers even while I was blogging about why I couldn’t bring myself to commit to Christianity. Despite all these prayers, I began to think of myself as a ‘post-Christian’ thinker, and had an ongoing struggle in my spirit regarding the role of Jesus in my life.

In recent weeks I have been reading the Bible every day, and watching sermons by amazing Christian speakers like Nicky Gumbel and Bishop T.D. Jakes online. All the while I felt the strong pull of faith, but also the intellectual resistance to some of what these preachers were saying. I was beginning to think I would have to live with this struggle for the rest of my life.

But something amazing happened on the 27th August. I had been reading the Bible and was sitting quietly in bed ready to switch off the light and go to sleep. I was suddenly overtaken by a strong conviction and these words sprang into my mind: ‘You are going to get baptised’. I felt shock, but it was also an amazing feeling and I knew these words were coming from God. Before I could recover, another conviction came to my mind: ‘You are then going to take Holy Communion’. I was overcome with a feeling of great peace and joy. I stayed awake all night in excitement and prayer, and I felt overjoyed by these revelations.

Since that night the conviction that I am going to get baptised and take Holy Communion hasn’t left me. In fact, God has been setting the wheels in motion and all the preparations for my baptism are in place. I am getting baptised this Sunday, 6th September, in the baptist church from where the outreach team that I met outside the shopping centre came.

Despite all of my struggles with Christianity, I know that Jesus shed his blood for me, and for all of us. I know that the crucifixion was an atoning sacrifice and a declaration of God’s love and forgiveness for humanity. I know from my Bible studies that there is so much more to existence than this short earthly life, and it’s important to live with eternity in mind.

I believe baptism is a sacrament from God, allowing people to be cleansed of their sins and to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I’m aware that baptism marks a commitment to the Christian faith, and I feel that I am being called to put aside my intellectual difficulties with Christianity and step into a new phase of my life living by faith in Jesus.

If you are a believer, please pray for me that my faith remains strong and my baptism goes well on Sunday. I’m very grateful to you for reading and feel free to leave a comment below.

11 comments

  1. I am praying brother Steven that your baptism fills you with the Holy Spirit and the old man that you were is dead and the new you can say with conviction, ” I no longer live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.. May the Lord almighty, God, the Father, Son and Holy spirit, protect and love you always. Your brother in Christ Peter.

    1. Thank you so much, Peter! I have been thinking of you and I was really hoping that you would read this post and leave a comment. I’m so grateful for all your comments and encouragement. I will pray for you too. Take care brother!

  2. Steven, I am glad that you now recognise Jesus Christ as He would have you know Him. When God calls us, He does so in order that we begin an intimate relationship with Him, so we gradually come to know Him in absolute truth as our Creator, our saviour, our loving Father and very best friend. He knows of your struggles.

    In ‘you’ deciding to get baptised, you have proved to yourself that contrary to your former belief, we do indeed have free will as a gift from God. Being invited; with freedom to decline the invitation, is vastly different from being forced into accepting by leaving you no other option.

    Peter, your friend, is right: Christ will move into your life so you will be ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ the world. You will be filled with peace and hope … even though you will still struggle with certain things from time to time. To commit yourself to Christ is one thing; staying the course against inevitable opposition to God’s true teaching is another.
    But we; who have long since come to know God intimately, will be with you every step of the way to give you strength and support.

    Your sister in Christ Jan

  3. Hello Steven!

    I’m pleased that you are taking some steps towards accepting Christ as co-substantial with His Father. Have you given any thought on the Holy Spirit too, as the third co-substantial part of the Trinity? This is just a question and not a request that you should. Any sort of coercion is likely to fail because God is not coercive and we are configured to be good (in His image).

    I am very happy that you are feeling good and more at peace with yourself. I hope you do not try to change yourself too quickly. Like rapid dieting, moving too fast to the acceptance and imitation of Christ can lead to failure!

    May I ask what caused you to start reading the Bible and when exactly? I recall asking you to read Psalm 50 from your bible several months ago, because of the message at the end that God requires no material sacrifice (burnt offerings), but a spiritual sacrifice (of praise). You wrote me that you had a Bible, but found it easier to check the Psalm on line, and that you had no comment to make – it hadn’t moved you then, in the way it moved me, and still does.

    You have held for a long time to the view, as I do, that God is panentheistic (everything exists within Him, including the universe). Now that you are reading the Bible regularly, I invite you to read Ch.17, vs. 27-28, as Paul addresses the Athenians – “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ ” I have always found the whole chapter interesting and comforting, particularly from v. 16 to the end.

    I’m thinking and praying for you Steven, and I hope to make it to your Baptism – it all depends on whether my sister will look after my mother for some of the day.

    Brother in Christ,
    Saviour of all mankind,

    Dinos Constantinou

  4. Hi Dinos,

    Many thanks for your comment. You asked about the Holy Spirit. I will be baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I have been told by several people that one of the fruits of baptism is the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have often been filled with the Holy Spirit during praise and worship (at least that’s how I understand it!).

    I have been reading the Bible on and off for many years, so there is not only a single reason why I have been reading the Bible every day in recent weeks. I just felt inspired to do so.

    I just re-read Psalm 50. It talks about ‘thank offerings’ that please God (in the NIV version), and I suppose giving financially to the church is a kind of thank offering. Perhaps there are other thank offerings too?

    I still believe in the panentheistic God described in the verses from Acts that you quoted. But my focus in the run up to my baptism is on the cross and the redeeming blood of Jesus, and I’m trying not to get too caught up in the theology because I am doing this by faith, and not so much because of an intellectual understanding.

    It would be lovely if you are able to attend on Sunday. Speak to you later on.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Steven

  5. Pleased that you have found what you have been looking for, peace of mind. You being baptised tomorrow has spurred me on to go to church tomorrow. Like you I have dithered about it for a number of years but feel I would like to revive what faith I had. I don’t think you can examine Christianity with mere intellect because we are looking at this great mystery with human ideas. Like you I have been analysing the bible, but in the end you have to take a leap of faith. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and I hope you are truly blessed by the experience. My regards Sophia Harris from North Wales.

  6. Dear Sophia, thank you so much for your comment, which is a real blessing. My baptism today was a wonderful occasion and I’m so pleased to have been through it. I’m aware that being a Christian is hard work so I will now have to prepare myself for the journey ahead. But I pray Jesus will be with me all the way.

    Did you go to church today? If so, how did you find it? Feel free to leave another comment or if you would like to speak more privately my email address is on the ‘Contact’ page. Best wishes, Steven

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