Pastor Kyle Lake was electrocuted while baptizing a new member. Pastor Lake at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas on October 30, 2005, grabbed the microphone while standing in the baptistery and was electrocuted. Doctors who were in the service tried unsuccessfully to revive Pastor Lake with chest compressions for 40 minutes. The woman, Lake was baptizing was not hurt. Pastor Kyle Lake leaves a wife and three children.
Most of us do not think of baptisms being life threatening. But baptisms can be more dangerous spiritually than physically if not properly viewed. There has been and still is much confusion about baptism. A proper understanding of Jesus’ baptism, however, will clear up the confusion. Such churches teach
1. Infant baptism. When churches make pedobaptism necessary for salvation they mix works with grace which is contrary to the doctrine of Justification by grace alone (Romans 3:28). Jesus was not baptized as an infant.
2. Baptismal regeneration. Entire denominations teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. Then you have some in Baptist churches who practically believe in baptismal regeneration. They are credobaptist only in theory. You ask them if they are saved and they proceed to tell you when they got baptized as if baptism washed away their sins. Obviously, Jesus was not baptized to be regenerated.
3. The mode of baptism is not important. Jesus was baptized by immersion as well those baptized by the early church. Jesus was not sprinkled nor poured. A few years back there was a debate between Wayne Gurdem and John Piper over the requirement of baptism by immersion for church membership. Piper took Grudem to task for saying baptism by immersion should be a requirement. I agree with Grudem.
4. Baptism is not important just as long as you are saved. You have ultradispensationalist of the Grace Movement, such as Charles Baker, who even say that baptism is not an ordinance for today. Then why was Jesus baptized? Why did Jesus baptize more converts than His disciples? Why did Jesus commission the church to make disciples by baptizing converts in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? I know that moderate ultradispensationalists like Baker reject water baptism because it is a ritual. But they don’t reject the Lord’s Supper which is just as much a ritual.
Matthew, in his account of Jesus’ baptism, jumped 30 years of Jesus’ life to what he considered the next important event in Jesus’ life after His virgin birth. Matthew skips the “hidden years” of Jesus’ life in Nazareth. Matthew did not mention Jesus’ circumcision when Jesus was eight days old nor Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem when he was 12 years old. Matthew like all the Gospel writers (Mark, Luke, and John) writes about His baptism. After the virgin birth of Christ, Matthew highlights Jesus’ baptism.
Part of the confusion about baptism maybe the fact that there are different baptisms in Scripture. There are four different baptisms in story of Jesus’ baptism.
The first is the baptism of John (Matt 3:6). Matthew is the Kingdom Gospel and John’s baptism was a kingdom baptism. The recipients of John’s baptism were identifying with his kingdom message concerning Christ’s offer of the kingdom to Israel. Believer’s baptism today is not the same as John’s baptism of repentance for the nation of Israel. Because John’s baptism was an OT baptism, Paul required the believers at Ephesus who had been baptized by John to be re-baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:1-7).
John mentions two future baptisms that involve no water. The first was a baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) which was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. This Spirit baptism happens today at the moment of conversion and identifies the new convert with the Body of Christ or the universal church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The next future baptism was the baptism of fire (Matt 3:11) which is a baptism of judgment for the unsaved. Obviously there is no water in this baptism or immersion in the Lake of Fire. Last, there is the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3:13) which is in a category of its own. While Jesus identified with John’s kingdom message, He did not need to repent. This was the reason John refused to baptize Jesus.
The importance of baptism is seen in the baptism of Jesus for the these two reasons which we will discuss in the following posts:
I. The Prerequisite for Baptism (Matthew 3:1-6)
II. The Person who was Baptized (Matthew 3:7-17)