As most know, I am a staff writer for the website GotQuestions.org, and I received a question that I wanted to share as well as the answer that I provided. The question had to do with baptizing someone who appears to be still living in sin. Can they be baptized? Is there room at the cross for them? How do we handle this issue in the church when we might not have all the facts? How do we approach our leaders when we disagree? Thank you for reading and God bless you.
Please help. My pastor just baptized a woman who is living with a man who is married to another woman. The woman has just had a child with this man and they recently came to our church. My pastor baptized her during morning service and asked her if she had repented of her sins (even though he, and everyone in our church knows of the adulterous living arrangement which has not changed and no sign of repentance. My question is: Is there ANY scriptural justification for this action? We are really worried about his decision to do this, but need to know what the scripture directs. Thank you all so much.
Thank you for writing to us. Issues like this affect all churches and are a matter of church leadership having to decide which standard they will follow – the standard of the Lord or the worldly standard of compromise. I will be the first to admit that I only have your side of the event and cannot come to a complete conclusion (for example: perhaps they’ve talked about resolving this adulterous situation which should NOT be for church-wide publication), but I believe I can help shed some light to assist you in this.
I believe that the Lord has laid this on your heart as a burden, primarily because you believe this is against what God would command, and therefore I want to encourage you to schedule a time, in private, to discuss this with your pastor and allow him to hear from one of his flock. This would be following Jesus’s command in Matthew 5:23 as it is obviously become an issue in your heart, and needs to be resolved.
It is important to remember that everyone, regardless of where they come from, deserves grace and an opportunity to be forgiven, multiple times. Remember, no one can come to the Lord spotless, and even in our sin we were accepted into the church (where we hoped no one would find out how bad we really were). Grace covers a multitude of sin, as does love, and we must always remember that God does the work of cleaning them up … we in the church are called to lift them up, to walk with them, and to share in their burdens and sufferings as Christ shared in ours (see Galatians 6). People today need to know that the church is not the central repository of “holy rollers” who shun those not like them — but rather, it is a place of safety to find grace, love, and be taught how to live for Christ.
So as a pastor, allow me to give you some advice on approaching this: These types of discussions need to be had with grace, and in private, to allow you two to come to a level footing and work towards a resolution. This is not something to be discussed on Sunday morning (either before or after the sermon), but on a time that works for both of you so you can freely chat. Lastly, in your approach, I would recommend heeding the advice of Proverbs 15:1 and allow the Holy Spirit to lead your words, and even your body language. Grace needs to be shown, and remember your pastor is human – and deserves the same amount of love and respect that you would want to receive as well.
God bless you. ~ Rev TJ