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What The Bible Teaches About Baptism

African American citizens attend a baptism

I just added an article about baptism to my repository of essays and Bible studies. It’s a pdf called What The Bible Teaches About Baptism.

Here’s an excerpt:

Why Should I Be Baptized?

“Why should I be baptized?” is a reasonable question, but I prefer the question asked by the Ethiopian eunuch: “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’” (Acts 8:36). Getting baptized is something that Christians do – it should be your default decision for the following reasons:

1) I Should Be Baptized To Obey Jesus

Jesus commanded his apostles to baptize people as they proclaimed the gospel (Matthew 28:18–20), and so we see that he expects new believers to be baptized as part of the process of becoming his disciples.

2) I Should Be Baptized To Identify With Jesus

Being baptized is a proclamation of our spiritual union with Christ. Colossians 2:12 says that Christians are “buried with [Jesus] in baptism” and that we are then “raised with him through our faith in the working of God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead.” Another way to approach this point is to recognize that Jesus, though without sin, was baptized and thereby identified with us, and we complete the cycle when we are baptized and likewise identify with him.

3) I Should Be Baptized To Proclaim My Devotion To Jesus

In 1 Peter 3:21, baptism is described as “the pledge of a clear conscience toward God” (that’s the NIV: some other translations phrase it as “an appeal to God for a good conscience”). Whichever is the better rendering in English, it is clear that baptism is an act of formally giving ourselves to God.

And so if you name Christ as your Lord and have not been baptized, then seize this opportunity and be baptized.

Read the rest of the pdf.

Race and Grace in a Broken World

UPDATE 12/4/2014: Last night was our first Chi Alpha gathering since the Ferguson non-indictment – the same day as the NYC non-indictment. As a prelude to the sermon, I gave a more comprehensive take on race and the gospel. If you’re interested, check out the first few minutes of xastanford.org/sermons?sermon_id=52

I emailed this to the students in my ministry earlier today and they seemed to find it helpful. I share it in the hope that it will also prove useful to you.

I know many of us are reflecting on racism and justice this week. As a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to remember that the journey Christians are on is a journey alongside “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.”

Why should we remember that fact? Because it reminds us that racial unity is one of the outcomes of the gospel. Christ brings people together by drawing them to Himself.

So I urge you to think in a Christian way about these issues. Here are some resources to stimulate you.


If you are wondering where the church has been in the midst of all of this, the answer is front and center. I mention this because it is frequently overlooked:

Thabiti Anyabwile has some useful things to say in this eight minute video. He is speaking before the grand jury’s decision was revealed. If you want to read more of him, he blogs at http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/.

White Christians in particular will find Ed Stetzer’s thoughts helpful –  http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/november/decision-in-ferguson-how–should-evangelicals-respond.html


If you have more time this Thanksgiving break and want to go beyond reading an article or two, pick one of these books and dive in:

  • Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian (John Piper) [like many (all?) of Piper’s books it is free on his website as a PDF – http://www.desiringgod.org/books/bloodlines )
  • From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race (J. Daniel Hays)
  • Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Emerson and Smith) [this book is quite critical of the church – it is painful but helpful reading]

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, and may the Lord continue to heal this broken world.


I really do wonder if our society’s legal structure is untenable. There comes a point when there are so many laws that people are forced to ignore or disobey that people must begin to disparage the law more generally. We are certainly there in some people’s minds – how long until contempt for the legal system undermines our ability to function as a society?

No One is Innocent

I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I

Indirect validation of the church planting assessment process.

Google Interview Questions

The famous Google interview questions? They don’t work. Here’s Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google: On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an