After Baptism Gone Wrong, Court Weakens Church Protections

"Nearly a year ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided 5–3 that a Muslim convert to Christianity—whose baptism nearly got him killed—couldn’t sue First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa for inadvertently alerting his would-be murderers with its online announcement of the baptism. Ten months later ... the justices changed their minds, issuing a 5–4 decision that the man could, in fact, have his day in court." CToday

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Maybe this is another reason to rethink the Baptist tradition of baptizing first and membership later. Is there really any reason the two can't be simultaneous, as was surely the case in Acts 2 and 4?

But the religious liberty issue here is ominous.

Add to that: should any convert to the faith expect to keep their faith secret? The case raises so many questions.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that if a man is living for Christ, there ought to be some paper trail connecting him to Him, no?  One might obscure it (e.g. Saul becoming Paul, Cephas becoming Peter) with a name change, but the long and short of it is that a good detective ought to be able to figure it out.  Was it Bill Bright who asked if we were tried for being Christians, would there be enough evidence to convict us?

It is a good warning, really, for churches to be careful when ministering to refugees.  They are here, after all, because the "rules of the road" in their home countries made it dangerous for them to be there.  We ought to respect that.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

I'm not clear on all the details, and so maybe the church is not at fault. But it seems to me if the man requests that his baptism not be publicized for safety reasons, the church could (1) not baptize the man out of principle that baptism by its very nature is supposed to be public, or (2) baptize him and keep it quiet. What you don't do is promise to keep it quiet and then post it on the Internet!

Bert Perry's picture

AndyE wrote:

I'm not clear on all the details, and so maybe the church is not at fault. But it seems to me if the man requests that his baptism not be publicized for safety reasons, the church could (1) not baptize the man out of principle that baptism by its very nature is supposed to be public, or (2) baptize him and keep it quiet. What you don't do is promise to keep it quiet and then post it on the Internet!

Andy, we always say it's a public profession, but the question arises about whether the early church not only immersed new members, but also decided to be "in your face" by inviting Roman magistrates and soldiers to the ceremonies.  I've heard claims on both sides; that baptism was the real indicator that one ought to be admitted into the church (but then what about 1 Corinthians 14:23?), and also that the fish sign was made as a quiet way of saying one was in the faith. Are there any real Biblical signs that baptism ought to be necessarily public outside the church?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.