June 23, 2015

Undoing Baptism?

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.”

—  Luke 15:20

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He has taken the church to court because it refused his request to nullify his baptism.

He grew up in a church family and says his mother once hoped he’d become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free-thinkers. And after he didn’t believe in God anymore, he thought it would be more honest to leave the church. So he wrote to his diocese and asked to be un-baptized.

Though marginal, the de-­baptism movement is growing, observers say.

In a way, we can be sympa­thetic. No one wants to be tied to a group they no longer support. Who wants to get letters from a political party we’ve ditched, or an insurance company we’ve left, or a school we were dissatisfied with? Who doesn’t delete countless advertising emails pleading for our attention?

Still, baptism into the family of God is different. It gets to the core of who we are, and it comes with an inheritance.

Hearing of this story from France, a friend asked, “What does it say about an unbeliever that he believes enough in the sacrament of baptism to try to undo it?”

Father, thank you for looking for us down our well-worn road of independence, and never giving up on us. For those who have left you—please bring them back to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kevin Adams

Dr. Kevin Adams has served as a church planter/pastor in the Sacramento, California, area since 1991. He and his wife, Gerry, began Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, and this congregation has helped to nourish several other church plants. Kevin also serves as a director of the Sierra Leadership Network, a training program for new church leaders.

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