The best public confession of our faith is baptism?
Thank you for your question. It addresses the tradition of recent years. Traditions can be helpful. However, sometimes they can be put on the level of God’s Word. This can cause confusion.
When I served the Lord in full time ministry as an assistant pastor in the late 1980s, I was put in charge of the outreach training at our church. Over time, I immersed myself in soul winning courses and books, and many of these emphasized the need to lead a new convert to make what is called a “public profession of faith.” This event took place when new believers came forward in a public invitation at the close of service to let the church know they had been saved.
The supporting text used was Matthew 10:32, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” But the next verse says, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” What does that mean? The context is being unashamed of Jesus in persecution (Matt. 10:16-31) and the passage ends speaking of rewards. What we call a public profession of faith isn’t really what the passage is about.
The Bible does say, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Psalm 107:2). But again, this does not necessarily demand the modern concept of coming down an aisle to have the pastor announce one has been saved. I’m not saying the practice is wrong or bad. I just see it more as a tradition than a biblically mandated method.
What is clear in Scripture is believer’s baptism. Jesus spelled it out as the first step of obedience after salvation (Matt. 28:19-20). The narrative in Acts demonstrates this clarity. On this basis, I believe believer’s baptism is the public profession of faith.
Interestingly, back in the days when we made coming forward in public profession the first step of obedience after salvation, some individuals never followed through with baptism because we made such a big deal about “walking the aisle.” We had unwittingly made that more important than baptism, and in carrying out our well-intended tradition, we inadvertently made void what God’s Word clearly says about baptism.
What is clear in the New Testament is that baptism is the emphasized means of publicly declaring your new found faith in Christ.
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