You see, I could not understand how someone can claim to be a Christian whilst not living their life as a Christian. That simply did not make sense to me until I discovered they were Baptists.
It would seem, from my limited research, that each church is separate from another, there is no central body controlling what they do. Further, each member of the congregation is free to decide for themselves their personal interpretation of the bible. Now, I read that from several different sources so I presume it to be true.
As I take that, yes, they have to be baptised, full immersion is the way they do it. They have to acknowledge Jesus as the one true saviour and that’s about it. They are meant to prey, sing hymns etc but, other than that, have the freedom to cal themselves Christians without having any understanding of what that means.
In effect, as long as a member of the congregation can claim they don’t know certain bits of the bible, they can ignore them and still call themselves Christians. If they choose to interpret the bible in such a way that there is no forgiveness, not love of strangers and no charity then, that seems to be OK, it is their own understanding of it and they can still call themselves Christians.
More so, they can just ignore everything when not in church and be just about as anti Christian as possible and, still call themselves Christians because they got baptised.
So, to relate this to a recent event by someone saying they are a Christian … If they steal something belonging to someone else and they get caught out for their wrong doing they do not apologise. What they do is steal more as revenge for the victim having found them out. From another Christian … if they tell enough lies and enough people choose to believe them then, they have done nothing wrong because a believed lie is, apparently, as good as the truth. Better yet, even if the ones acting on the lies knowing they are lies don’t change, that is OK because, they choose to believe the lies to be the truth so they are, therefore, not living a lie … yes, I know, it makes no sense.
It does make sense in this respect though … freedom to choose is all well and good if people can set their own barriers and know the difference between right and wrong. If they do not then they do need someone to show them but, if the organisation they belong to in their Baptist church does not have leadership, does not show guidance, then those congregation members shall just continue to perpetuate their own troubled existence.
You see, the reason I got baptised and became a priest in 1987 was because I truly believe in the essence of the bible, in the fundamental teachings in it which do clearly define right from wrong and, if read properly, will leave such a deep imprint that just never goes away of the way to treat other people. That others should be treated with respect and generosity. That we take responsibility for our own actions. That we do not put ourselves foremost. I believe that we should have as our motive the betterment of others at all times. That it is good to always try and see good in other people and help them to value themselves.
Yes, I am agnostic but, I am also a Christian in many respects and, that is not a contradiction to me. I need to try and understand others who claim to be Christian but, who do not seem to deserve the title and, this is why I examined the make up of the Baptist church.
To me, if we are our own church and see ourselves as such then this is OK, we don’t need leadership. If we don’t really know who we are and where we fit in, we do need leadership. I just see potential for the Baptist church to have a pastor and deacon who need leadership but, they won’t get it and, if they don’t get it then they cannot give guidance to those who most need it in their congregation.
With the situation of the Baptists I know, those I consider to not be true Christians, I am happy for God to make the decisions on whether they are right or wrong. I have experienced some assistance from somewhere else before in my life when I needed it, I know and accept it exists. I hope, very much so, that one day those people may wake up and see the error of their ways and just why it is, they are not yet anywhere close to being true Christians because, quite simply, if they had to explain themselves to Jesus, he would shake his head and be ashamed that these people claimed to act in his name.
Lies are perhaps the start of pure evil