This Saturday, the City of Defiance, Ohio, will hold its annual Halloween Parade. Three of our grandchildren with be marching with their respective school bands in the parade. Several of our children and their families will be street side to watch the parade. While there, they, along with other bystanders, will have the opportunity to:
The Gathering Place, a local charismatic church in downtown Defiance, is reaching out to the masses this Saturday, offering saints, sinners, and snarky atheists walk-in baptisms by immersion, along with hot dogs, hot chocolate, and candy.
Who thought up this nonsense? Did he or she bother to consider the theological implications or Biblical justification for baptizing people off the street? Imagine going to the parade, and while standing streetside with your family, you decide to get baptized (a rite of initiation into Christianity, an outward sign of an inward act). Do the folks at The Gathering Place really think someone is going to do this? I suspect if anyone is baptized, it will be people who are already affiliated with the church. This is an increasingly common practice in Evangelical churches. Members who are already baptized (supposedly a one-time act) get baptized again. Why? Because they want to or it makes them “feel” good. After all, worship is all about “felt needs,” right?
Just when I think I have seen everything . . .
Maybe I will go get baptized on Saturday. Not for salvation, of course, but I sure do love hot dogs (oh wait, the church is likely using $1 hot dogs from Aldi, so maybe not), hot chocolate (with whole milk, please), and candy. Lots of candy. 🙂
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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