Baptism is not overrated when it is viewed as a powerful sacrament and a transformative means of experiencing grace. And I recognize that many of my Baptist and Anabaptist forebears were persecuted, suffered, or died for the right to baptize adult believers as they saw fit according to their local congregation. Nevertheless, baptism is overrated anytime it is used as a barrier to Communion or even as a barrier to church membership. Open Communion to all without exception is both what Jesus did and what Jesus’ followers should be doing. I strongly support churches offering the practice of baptism as one among many spiritual practices — albeit a practice that is typically undergone only once — but I am not convinced, despite my Baptist heritage, that baptism is central to either Jesus’ public ministry or to the way of Jesus.
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