May 16, 2022: Meaning of Baptism

Robert E. Webber

In most evangelical churches of the Enlightenment, baptism is seen as my witness to my salvation. The divine action of God’s work in baptism is often neglected. The biblical meaning of baptism is that through identification with Christ we are called to put to death everything that is sin in our lives and bring to life a new person shaped in the image to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is not a once-for-all my-witness-to-the-world action. It is the ritual that initiates us into the body of Christ and begins our lifelong pursuit of holiness, which takes place in the accountability of God’s community on earth, the church.

-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 144.

About the author

Alumni Director, Practicum Professor, and DWS graduate.