BreakPoint editor G. Shane Morris, who now believes in infant baptism, explains why most of his fellow evangelicals don’t. He says that the reason is not so much differences in Biblical interpretation, but rather the tendency to understand a conversion experience in sacramental terms. Thus the sacrament of conversion replaces the sacrament of baptism as the rite of Christian initiation. He goes on to discuss the difficulties with that.
Many evangelicals believe that a person becomes a Christian by making a “decision for Christ,” an act of the will, usually involving saying some version of “the sinner’s prayer,” in which the person “accepts Christ.” We Lutherans certainly believe in conversion, though not construing that as an act of the will, as such, but rather as the Holy Spirit’s creation of faith by means of Baptism and the Word of God. But some evangelicals treat the “decision for Christ” like Catholics treat Baptism, as being effective ex opere operato, apart from actual faith.
Anyway, lots of conservative Christians of every stripe have problems with Donald Trump. But James Dobson, who once opposed Trump but now serves on his evangelical advisory board, said that he was told that Trump was “led to Christ” by the controversial prosperity gospel TV preacher Paula White. That means that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate is a “baby Christian,” who doesn’t understand the language and practices of mature Christians, but who is a Christian nonetheless. The implication is that Evangelicals should cut him some slack while still being able to vote for him in good conscience.
Read about this after the jump. What do you think about it? [Read more…]
The militant Hindu political party won big in India’s recent elections. Now the party’s vice chairman is calling for a law in Nepal to ban religious conversions. Hindus would just not be allowed, by law, to become Christians. This is already the case in Muslim countries.
The thought of banning thoughts and inner convictions seems very odd, as if a person could turn off what he or she believes by force of law. For Christians, especially Protestant Christians, religion is a matter of what a person believes. Other religions are about what a person is. If you are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or animist, your religion constitutes your cultural identity. To change your religion is to reject your family and to commit a kind of treason against your community. Christianity, on the contrary, is a faith for people of “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), which is first manifested at Pentecost. [Read more…]