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Lucas DeFalco


I am in total agreement with your concern over spontaneous baptisms and the demotion of the Lord's Supper to an afterthought in many churches. It demeans and degrades the criticality of both of these events instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ. For the record, the SBC church where I am a member has made no steps in that direction for either observance. If my memory serves me, a number of independent fundamental baptist churches have been practicing instant baptisms for decades (having been a member of one church myself where it was commonplace).

I think if you did a deep dive into the instant baptisms movement you will see two common root causes at churches which practice them: 1. The constant pressure on the pastor/staff to produce baptismal numbers, and 2. The unbiblical "decision=regeneration" philosophy of ministry.

Lucas DeFalco

And if I may add, no pastor in the SBC has more pressure on them to produce high baptismal numbers that the President of the SBC. I apologize if that sounds overly cynical, but when was the last time we elected an SBC president who wasnt a megachurch pastor, other than Paige Patterson?

Darby Livingston

It seems to me faithfulness to Scripture would demand: 1) baptism is an initiating right into a specific local church and shouldn't be done apart from that understanding, and 2) it's great if a person or even group of people is spontaneously being baptized upon profession of repentance and faith, so long as they know they are agreeing to point number 1.



You often warn your readers about the dangers of reformed theology in the Southern Baptist Convention, but in this instance I imagine you share a common concern with these same brothers. I hope you see that those in the reformed camp have a strong desire to preach the Gospel clearly and use sound methodology. In fact, it has often been the reformed camp that first sounds the alarm at the weak Gospel being preached and the poor methodoly being employed.

I agree with you that if the answer to "fixing" the SBC is larger numbers at whatever cost, we are indeed in trouble. Good article.

With that, I am...


What IS the central form of worship of the Southern Baptist people?

Steve Lemke

What that Lemke fellow said in the article really makes sense to me (:-)

Wyman Richardson


To my absolute and utter amazement, I agree with you completely. (I marvel even as I type the words!)


You are 100% correct here.

I think one of the problems with this kind of thing is the propensity of some to take descriptive passages in Acts as ecclesiologically normative when in fact some of them are exceptional (i.e., the Ethiopian eunuch).

Wyman Richardson

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

I am with that Lemke fellow in the article. :) In reading the article I saw good and bad points being made.

First the good. It appears that spontaneous baptisms is an effort, by those interviewed, not to just raise their ACP numbers. It also appears that a concerted effort is made to disciple those baptized after the event. We also see, in those interviewed, a desire to encourage obedience to Christ as the model of baptism. The article also revealed a genuine desire to make the relationship with Christ first and foremost. As Dr. Wright stated;

"“As we preached from the pulpit and then counseled people as they came forward, they were being asked to be baptized out of obedience to Christ first and foremost. Using Acts 2:38-41, 8:25-39 and 10:47-48 as our guide, we asked everyone to get their relationship right with Christ first, then follow through in obedience with baptism."

Now for the bad. The statement by Ben Smith at FBCW;

"We knew that many believers at our church had not taken that step of obedience."
This statement is antithetical to the meaning of salvation. How does one know they have believers in their church unless they have surrendered to fully following Christ? Certainly no one believes baptism saves you, but certainly no one believes someone can confess Christ and refuse baptism either. The statement by Brian Bloye of West Ridge;
"It (the spontaneous baptismal service) is for people to step out in faith and identify with Christ. We have a lot of attenders from other denominations who are more comfortable participating in this way."
Identifying with Christ also means becoming apart of His church. It seems that baptism is being separated from church membership. When that happens then we are practicing spontaneous baptisms for not other reason but to increase ACP baptismal numbers.

After reading the article I can see a legitimate opportunity to enjoy a spontaneous baptismal event and may even do so in my own church. If I were to do one there would be some guidelines I would follow. First, as Dr. Wright has eloquently articulated, I would ask for my leadership to be much in prayer leading up to the event. Second, I would announce to the congregation the service date and give them scriptures to study leading up to that service. Third, I would preach a message on the day of the event on the Scriptural truth of Baptism. Fourth, those who came forward for baptism would be instructed that they were being baptized into Christ through the local church named Ebenezer Baptist. Fifth, each candidate would agree to attend follow-up discipleship classes on walking in Christ.

If any of the five, especially either 4 or 5, were not agreed to then the candidate would not be offered baptism. It would mean that discipleship was not tied to baptism and according to the Great Commission people are only getting wet if it is not tied together.


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