The Capranica

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Why I Am a Baptist - Part 1 - My Conversion

Just for fun, over the next few weeks, I'm going to post a few thoughts regarding why I am a Baptist-flavored Christian. I did not begin as a Baptist baby. I was actually christened into the methodical liberalism of the United Methodist Church; therefore, my initial hatred for Baptists was birthed through weekly attendance in a religious culture antithetical to any Baptist distinctives. Then came conversion. Not mine, but my parents. Yes, my parents came to Christ under the gospel preaching (expository preaching, mind you) of a Baptist pastor and church. I was steeped in self-imposed hatred for the church following fourteen years of watching weekly examples of religious hypocrisy. My hatred for the church was directly confronted by the new joy and zeal I witnessed in my parents. Though I uselessly fought them as they (almost literally) drug me to our new Baptist church (I can't speak to their ministry now), I was convicted week after week by the preaching of God's Word and the people converted to Christ. I would watch as people zealously and reverently worshiped Christ in song, prayer and attentive intake of the expository messages. It caused me to secretly study my Bible. I had a Baptist hang-up though. I knew, if I were to give in to the conviction of Christ, I would have to go swimming in their narrow pool, located prominently in the back wall of the sanctuary, high enough so all in the audience could see. I just knew that the only prize these baptistic zealots desired was another notch on the their gospel gun gained through my public soaking. So, I set off to privately prove to myself that my infant sprinkling was sufficient. I was desperately sick of my Godlessness and deeply convicted of my need for Christ to save me from my sinfulness - but only so long as I didn't have to make anything public, especially in the watery way the Baptists demanded. My agonizing study went on for about a year. The Bible proved fruitful. Not in confirming my passion to remain private and previously sprinkled, but in convincing me that truly converted people were publicly baptized. It only took a quick examination of the biblical terminology and the New Testament examples to convince me that sprinkling an unbelieving infant was not what the Bible had in mind for a truly converted pagan like me. My desire for Christ overwhelmed my passion for privacy and I completely yielded my life to the authority and converting power of Christ. My conversion, as a result of seeing the supernatural change in my parents and the injunctions of Scripture, was the beginning of my days not only as a Christian, but a Baptist-flavored one. Internal change of heart and mind; a growing hatred for sin and increasing passion for the holiness of Christ were the unstoppable results. For awhile, I was a content Baptist. But that would change (part 2 to follow).

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