Mentoring the New Believer - Lesson 5


In this lesson on baptism, you will gain a deeper understanding of the importance and role of baptism in the Christian life. You will explore the biblical basis and symbolism of baptism, as well as the different forms it can take, such as immersion, sprinkling, and pouring. The lesson also delves into the relationship between baptism and salvation, emphasizing the importance of faith. As you prepare for baptism, you will learn about the commitment involved, the significance of sharing your personal testimony, and the elements of the baptismal ceremony.

Bill Mounce
Mentoring the New Believer
Lesson 5
Watching Now

I. The Importance of Baptism

A. Biblical Basis

B. Symbolism

C. Role in the Christian Life

II. Different Forms of Baptism

A. Immersion

B. Sprinkling

C. Pouring

III. Baptism and Salvation

A. Relationship between Baptism and Salvation

B. Role of Faith

IV. Preparing for Baptism

A. Understanding the Commitment

B. Personal Testimony

C. Baptismal Ceremony

  • In this lesson, you'll discover the origin of the New Believers Class, created out of frustration with the lack of resources for new Christians, and learn how the class is structured around the "life as a journey" metaphor, emphasizing the importance of following Jesus on this journey.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insights into the process of Christian conversion, its influencing factors, and the importance of mentorship for new believers' spiritual growth.
  • By studying this lesson, you grasp the concept of salvation in Christian mentoring, explore its elements (justification, sanctification, and glorification), and learn practical applications for guiding new believers.
  • This lesson teaches you about the key elements of salvation and the Holy Spirit's role, equipping you to effectively mentor new believers in their faith journey.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the importance of baptism, its various forms, and its relationship to salvation and faith in the Christian life.
  • In this lesson, you'll learn the significance of confession in spiritual growth, how to practice personal and corporate confession, and its impact on the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the vital role of listening to God, the Holy Spirit's guidance, and various ways to listen, while overcoming common obstacles and implementing practical steps to improve your listening skills.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the importance of prayer and worship in a new believer's life and discover how to mentor them effectively in these spiritual disciplines.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the incarnation and deity of Jesus, supported by biblical evidence, and learn to embrace His dual nature as Savior and Lord in your personal faith journey.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about the Holy Spirit's role, work, gifts, and how to cultivate a Spirit-filled life for spiritual growth and maturity.
As a new believer begins their walk with God, a mentor can help them understand what a relationship with God is like and what they can expect along the path. By listening to the comments of the new believer as they interact with the New Believer's curriculum, a mentor can help correct some misconceptions and guide the new believer to get started in the right direction. The New Believer's class is entitled, Life is a Journey. You can find this class in the Foundations section. Click on Class Resources heading on the class page to see the links for the resources. This class will help prepare you for the types of questions the new believer may ask, and give you answers and resources to continue the dialogue with them. This is the first time Bill has taught this class, and he plans to update it. We are missing the last several lectures.

Dr. Bill Mounce
Mentoring the New Believer
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. The speaker is Dr. Bill Mounts. More information is available at WW w dot Biblical training dot org. Okay, we get going again in an hour. But the other thing that will come up in this discussion is the issue of baptism. And I don't I don't really know how important it is for us to discuss. And this is something that you all have made your own quality decisions in your church. And so I don't I don't know that there's a whole lot I have to say to help on this. Wayne has chapter 49 on baptism. It's a good thing to read. He talk about differences in mode. You dip your poor, you sprinkle in. Doesn't matter. I've been in churches where if you didn't, don't come. They said you weren't baptized. And that's certainly one of the decisions you'll have to make. It's really weird. We when we started the church, we were part of the Baptist General Conference and I made an information packet just so people would come in. They were seeing this new church and the number one question we were getting is, Oh, you're Baptists, You're the people that believe if you're baptized, you automatically go to heaven. And it was fascinating because, you know, it's the exact opposite in our information pack. It was the first thing that you saw is what's a Baptist? And I hated putting it in there, but it was the number one question we got. People thought that we were because we're Baptist, we believe in baptismal regeneration. And we'd say, no, Actually, the history of Baptists is that we fought against the doctrine of baptism or regeneration, that babies were not regenerated when being baptized, but rather baptism was only for people who could express their own faith.

[00:01:55] And baptism was not a means by which you are saved, but it's your first act of obedience. Something to that effect. But it was fascinating what the people's misunderstanding was. I remember one of my kids went to a private schools in Spokane, and the school was in a church of a certain denomination. I can't remember exactly which one it was, but they believed in not only baptismal regeneration, but they believe that if you weren't baptized, you went to hell. And so we were concerned about the kids going to a school in this church and with that teaching get into the school and we were assured that it wouldn't. But in the process, we were in their worship center and at least they carried through on their beliefs. There was a communion table, and if there was an altar call, my kind of altar go and I got to sit in on every single time that somebody would come down, they pushed the top off the communion table and the water was hot and they dumped till they believed you had to be baptized to get to heaven. And so as soon as someone expressed faith, they wanted to baptize as quickly as they could. No, our class in preparation, let me tell you. They just want it all. No, All the way in All the way. And and I thought, well, at least they're carrying through. They're being consistent. But I remember asking the pastor, I said, So if I came to this church. And I was truly repentant. And truly have faith in Christ. And if I was walking down front to be baptized and filled dead, I would go to hell. And he said, Absolutely. Wow. So wide ranging of people's images of baptism and what it means.

[00:03:43] Whatever you end up doing, the person needs to understand what it is that is an act of obedience is nothing by which you earn your salvation. One of the really interesting questions that I think any church, what we find is, by the way, is we did what we call position paper, wrote a ton of these things just to try to clarify what our belief was and some of the position papers were like on what salvation and there was. If you're going to be a member in this church, you had to believe it. There were other position papers that were optional, just an elder position paper or a pastor position paper just to kind of let people know what we believed in general. It became the document we used in our baptismal class. Somebody would express a desire to be baptized or that the person became a Christian. The girl who had the bathroom ministry or the guy that normally walked with new Christians, they knew it was important to me and they honored that to as quickly as they could. As soon as they were sure the conversion was true, to explain to them what baptism is and to let the church celebrate the joy of a new believer. But we used the position paper as what baptism is and what baptism isn't as our kind of our teaching tool that we use. We just walk people through it. The funny story behind is that we were doing a building expansion and the architect who went to the church asked that the people who gave the money not be able to pick up the colors in the carpet and the please just let us design the church. And I said, Fine. I said, I'm going to have final say on some things, but this isn't a joint project.

[00:05:27] And so we were in the architect's office and I was getting ready to sign the final paper saying, Build it, and we're going to go $1.8 million in debt. And I'm sitting here looking at the plans and I was praying. I said, Lord, there's something I'm missing here. Let me know. I made it. We changed the color of the carpet, but that was about it. And I was literally getting ready to sign the paper. And all of a sudden I said, You know, my charismatic buddies from my Foursquare church would saying, to get the voice of the Lord just said to you, I say. It just occurred to me that I looked at the plans. I said, We're going to be the only Baptist church without a Baptist church if we're going to put a Baptist tree in the church. And everything was all done all right. So we stopped it, didn't sign it. And some of the people that were working with us said, oh, we'll just use a neighboring church or we'll do down the river. And I said, Under no circumstances. I said, There is nothing that breathes life into a church than watching new people come to Christ. We're not going to take the baptisms and put them off on Sunday night. And some church that thought about having a Baptist tree and have 20 people show up. We wanted to celebrate new life, and so we were about two months late in getting started, and we had to figure out how to pop out the back of the sanctuary to put a baptismal in there. But those are the kinds of decisions that you need to make beforehand. And then I think it's just a matter of explaining to the people, this doesn't save you, it's obedience.

[00:07:01] You're going to have to tell people. What happened. And again, let me really encourage you to do that. I was baptized when I was in fifth grade and my dad was the interim pastor of the church. And I don't think I was much of a ham, but I wasn't shy either. I was kind of somewhere in the middle, and I can remember my dad making me stand up on Sunday night in front of the church and telling everyone how I had become a Christian and why I wanted to be baptized. I was scared shitless. I was terrified. Just terrified. It is one of the most important things I ever did. Why? Public proclamation of your faith. Yeah. We've always had this rule that you would go through the rotation process, right? Well, and then you don't take communion yet, right? Yeah, that's right. And so one Sunday I was sort of commuting. One of the. From participating. Tie the. Apparently she had a slow start with a relapse. He probably wasn't there for. You baptized in? She said, Oh, I did this morning. About to baptize your son in the bathtub. Yeah. Wow. And so I looked at and I said. I can't. I love that man. But the decision. It's so intimidating. Yeah. You know that She was serious. She was serious. Yeah. Yeah, I. You know, I would love to offer that woman a chance to baptize her son again and give the church the joy of watching new life. But, yeah, at baptism is a proclamation of faith. That means you got to proclaim it to someone. And, you know, if your mom's the only person around. Phillip Well, we don't know if Phillip is the only person around who probably was a driver and other people.

[00:09:24] Right. We talked about that, but that's hard. And I mentioned earlier today, I guess, that one baptism I did with the young man couldn't explain what a Christian was, which means the baptism meant nothing other than perhaps launching him into a sense of complacency. And so these are all just things that are good to decide on. I really encourage you and again, I don't know in your traditions what you do on this. Do you allow people other than ordained ministers to baptize? The church. Church deacons can. Yeah. Yeah. What's the reason behind that? Participate. They can be with them. Okay. Just wait. They can't do it without a party card. Okay. Get in to water. What is the reason for not allowing, like, a dad to baptize his son? Well, why does it have to be clergy or a deacon? Is it a tradition thing, or is it a theological conviction thing or tradition? Is it? Yeah. I'm not hearing an answer. So I suggest that the officers that are. Great. Yeah. Minister's office. Yeah, well, if you are down Florida, you could, as the father, could participate. I would not be opposed to the pool without, you know, just someone to assist me. You don't have to be arguing for that has occurred. All right. All right, Bob. Coming out from where he was in Florida. He was a Baptist. Believe him. Okay. All right. How about that? Yeah, I could see if you weren't a baptized believer, it would make any point to be the one doing the baptism. I never really thought about this till I visited a church once, and I watched the first church discipline I'd ever seen. And then I watched a father baptize his daughter. And it was kind of opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of experience.

[00:11:32] And I found out later the daughter had just given her parents just fits and had been and everyone knew it. And after years, she had come back to faith and had come back to a relationship with her parents. And so all the people that knew her in the church, I mean, this was an incredible time of celebration. And they actually put their baptistery really high. It was about 40 feet up on the back wall so everybody could see it and the dad did it. And I'd never seen that before. And I really like it. I don't know any biblical reasons why that would convince me that only a clergy could do it. Be interested in some time to find out. There's a whole discussion on that. But the danger of people looking to the church. Um. Yeah. Yeah. For me a very specific views from the churches, and I don't ever identify the church or the institution or anything that's visible. And so I don't see baptism as admission to the church. And therefore, there's no reason for me to have the leaders of the church doing it. It's a huge issue. It's just me. Read it with the people you do with people and the person who has left the person. How many people here give us take a whole series of how many people here would be comfortable if someone led. Okay, I'll give you an example. Thursday. What is today? Tuesday. Wednesday. My wife is baptizing somebody. She's never done this before. She's just freaking out. But she helps lead a Bible study in the church. Robin has walked with this girl. She's been an intimate part of her life. She actually gave the gal my book that I'm writing. And when he got to this chapter in the book, she got convicted and baptized.

[00:13:21] She has Robyn, a baptized here on Thursday, but she remained baptized in front of the church. She wants him baptized in front of about 100 women that come to Bible study because that's kind of those are the people that know her. In that scenario, how many of you would let my wife baptize this gal all by herself? No one else in the baptistery. Half. How many would let Robin participate if an elder deacon or the pastor were there with her and actually doing it? So almost all of your find, at least at some level of having participation with a non clergy. I used to attend Antioch Church in Hutcherson. Yeah. Pastor there I worked at a high school with at risk youth, and I had led one of the students there to Christ, and he started coming to church with me. He was from Mongolia, and so he learned all these things, but brand new. Yeah, he had a Buddhist background and he got really excited when he heard about baptism and he wanted to do it. So I said, Well, they have a class that you have to go to. You know, you need to really make sure you understand it. And so I kind of just kind of turned him over to the church. And when it was coming down, you know, like, hey, we're going to be doing it. The ash came up to me and he said, You know, I think you should do it. The particular baptism, they're using that one day, actually, nobody really got into the water with them, you know, outside of it. And oh, yeah, baptism there. But, but yeah, they, you know, and I wasn't going to argue with kid, you know, but it was some kind of new me as well.

[00:14:57] So I baptized him. Nobody was there with me other than the pastors were around. Yeah but, but yeah, it was really powerful, It was really meaningful to him and it was kind of a new issue for me to the extent. And it was I didn't see anything like biblical that would say, Well, you're not clergy at this church. No. Or you know, you need to be. Yeah, I didn't see anything. Yeah. Is that just. With regard to baptism or it. Simons Or is that friendly or just I'm thinking primarily baptisms. Not not. Well, I just get in. Church governance has nothing to do with the class, but that doesn't matter. Oh, okay. I'm sorry. No, that's okay. Let's get your keep going this direction. You keep wanting to talk about stuff. That's that's a good thing. Gordon, featured in one of his books, talks about this, that we're the church and the only one outside the church. Gordon's a raving Pentecostal. I don't know if you know Gordon, but outside of the church is Christ and everyone else has gifts within the church. And some of those are gifts of healing, Some are gifts of teaching, some are gifts of leadership administration. But they all exist together now. The gift of possession of elder Ring or whatever you call it in your tradition. There naturally is a hierarchy of authority, but the point is you're all together. It flattens the hierarchy. Other views, the church put all the different gifts here, and they put Christ here and they put the pastor there and then they almost they put him outside the church in the sense that he has a level of authority that other gifts don't have. And this is me. Now, understand, I'm not a Congregationalist.

[00:16:47] I've read the arguments for congregational rule and I've written from John Piper and Mark Devers, and I said, You're completely and totally wrong, but that's just me. So I believe in authority in the church. The teaching elder is the one with the authority that you guys under the authority of Christ. But because I do this, this is where baptism comes in. I don't see in my theology any reason to not allow the person to lead the person, Lord, to baptism funerals. I don't know. I it's I don't think it matters to me at all. But preaching is the specific gift. And I don't want people preaching that don't have the gift. So what is this? This is how I look at structure. It's in our church. It was bigger stuff. I mean, it was once our leader and the church was big and we had a lot of new converts. But it just unpractical for a senior pastor to be baptized the room. And also people would see a festival that was not the person they spent a lot of time with in the big church. It's their home leader that they always call to the priest, right? That knows all their life, all their troubles. And the senior pastor for them is just the preacher on that screen, right? Yeah. Yeah. I think small groups are really healthy. The church doubled in size every decade up until it became the official church of the Roman Empire. And it did it all without a single church building until. Church buildings. Large assemblies were not part of the church. The first several hundred years I've stood in the ruins of ancient homes. You can't get much more than 20 people in them. And so everything was house churches.

[00:18:33] And so, you know, you can talk about the Church of Philip II or the Church of Philip I men in a lot of different houses and what have had a teaching elder over everyone. We call them small groups today. Especially if your church is committed to small groups. There's all kinds of stuff like baptisms, that you get that kind of look at again and wonder, because the last thing you want to do is baptize someone you don't know. But yes, sir, it would be very hard. My church is very rarely very large. Yeah, I don't think that that the deacons that they happen to have a meeting with that has some ten, 15 seats. Yeah, At one particular time I have this special significance to your past. You that. And in fact, his funeral for you there. Yeah. I don't care if you got three bad deacons. 1000. Yeah, they they pass it and it is just an African-American thing. I don't think it's an African-American thing. I think it's but it's just there are different traditions. And it is hard, though, isn't it, guys? Should you sit there and you preach and you're a vital part of hundreds of people's lives, even when you don't know them and you want them when they're hurting. To go to the small groups because those are the people that know them. But you also want them to know you and trust you enough to listen and and do all this stuff. I mean, I remember John Piper saying he said he lost track of how many weddings and funerals he did at first because he just he he was their pastor and the church was growing, but he was the pastor and they wanted him involved in weddings and funerals.

[00:20:19] I don't know if there's an answer to that, but as far as new believers are concerned, obviously the thing that's important, I think, is that they understand it's not baptism or regeneration. It doesn't say them. It's an act of obedience. You're proclaiming publicly the interchange that's happened. They need to be able to express that either like I did where I had to say it or, you know, maybe they're so terrified of being up in front of people that you can go through and have the pastor go through a confession of faith and have them say yes. I think there's is that probably if you're going to baptize 15 people, you're not going to have them telling, just each one telling a testimony, I would guess. Or do you have until testimony before the baptized, they go to the membership or so they do it in the context of the class and the entrance into the congregation. Now, when they come forward during the invitation of the call, Yes, yes. After the sermon, they walk up, they in their account says, we're standing there. They come to put that make sure they don't need prayer, make it through all of those, whatever they need. Mm hmm. Sometimes people can maybe 70 people come six. Some come back after prayer. And the others have been enjoying the church. They go to the class competition. They may not come back. I mean, that's going to the next Sunday, and they are assigned a class. If they are. If they are adults, they call one person. If they are if they're teenagers, the coach and their children, they go to another. They go through the six week orientation. They have one meeting with me. I've been on Fridays from 3 to 5, and they and I meet with those families and I'll make sure that they're so they don't get when you take them out to the baptism and baptisms down with Sunday.

[00:22:01] Hmm. And the third thing, you know, we have seven days and an hour after I do, I think I like to go to your church. I like. I like it when a church has thought up. I don't agree or disagree with that. I like it when the church is thought out. I applaud you for that. As every Saturday baptism for Sundays. Yeah. And that's what we do with the part of our worship that starts at 1015 to level 15 at BAPTIZE. And then after the baptizing we go to the second service and that's what we do and that's good. So do you do do you have an earlier service in? Okay. So you're doing it between services on Wednesday first and second, third and fourth. Then we have two service. I like that. The services are much like, Yeah. How do you view and chapter two 4142. How do you do that? Those those are the 3000. Yeah. And how do you view it As well as. When they were baptized in the Apostles. Dr.. And Jesus, where he gave them the Great Commission. How do I view it in terms of how would it have happened? No, as far as baptism communion, it must have been an interesting time in 3000 people and instruction going on. And I'm sitting here thinking. I wonder how they were baptized. They must have been sprinkled. There's no Baptist trees on the Temple Mount, but they had to do it. Are they in the river when they're being baptized or they're. I don't know. It's, you know. But in terms of setting out in terms of what was left out, the players took that to audiences. Yeah. In the Baptist church, the tour and the baptism and the Lord's Supper.

[00:23:50] Yeah. Yeah. Two direct commands from God. But I wouldn't feel that I had to do it the same way it happened the first time. I don't think I would feel any theological compulsion to say. However, those 3000 were baptized. That's how I'm going to do it. Now, if I had 3000 converts at one time, I might find that I needed to. But part of the argument, I would say is they got baptized into right away. What I struggle with theologically is this is just me and I could be wrong. I mean and I don't mean that the church is invisible and I resist institutionalizing the true church. And so baptism is a sign of. Admission into the true invisible church. And when it's made a sign of admission into the visible church, I struggled a bit with that. When I was in high school, I went to a Free Methodist church because they had the best softball team in town and we loved to go to State. When I was in college, I went to a different church and it was a church that was on the court, the other side of the tracks, and they just desperately needed people to come down and help. And it's the first place I ever preached. I can still remember standing there, I had a gold striped shirt on with a sleeveless gold sweater on. It was baggy, and I was sweating like I never I could just feel ripples of sweat pouring down my back. I was scared shitless of going, What am I doing up in front of these people? And it was a church that I loved and I served. And my grandma, who at that time Scott had been 85 years old, used to come down with me and we look like the odd couple, let me tell you.

[00:25:41] And we came to the first time for communion and Grandma, for the first time in her life, was refused communion because she hadn't been baptized in that particular building. I was sitting here thinking, Why do I believe this? I said, I'm wondering how much of it is a reaction against that experience. It bothered me that they thought of the church as being that building, and it's not. The building is a building. The church is people. And so just by default, I that's that's why I'm this way. That's just me. Graham served there for a while, and then she said, I can't do this any longer. I can't keep serving in a church that denies me the Lord's Supper because I was baptized 60 years ago in North Dakota. Well, here's one of the interesting question, and we're going to leave it at this. In the church I helped start in Spokane, we merged with another church. And it was a Baptist church. And the church that we had started was kind of an independent CMA kind of church. When we were looking at merging, we were looking at our theological positions and were there any problems? And there was one insurmountable problem. It was baptism. And if you're going to be in the Baptist General Conference, you have to be baptized by immersion if you are going to join the church. That's a hard and fast rule. And the Baptist General Conference and no ways around it. At least 15 years ago, we had people in our church that had become true Christians when they were attending a Presbyterian church and they were sprinkled. And so they cannot be members of the new church. What would you do? Well, I will let them come by the church and teach them gratitude.

[00:27:38] Now. Learned it property. Would you re baptize him? The problem was that if they made that commitment right away for you, if they were not ill, the elderly, if they were ill or l. Okay. I would take a lot of credit over it because I had a man who could not eat with his heart. So every case is a case by case basis. If they were capable of being met, that yeah, Supreme Court. But they were method as way of they would be read that. But if they had health issues and they were older then they could not do it if they gave them that explanation. In that way it would always be a case by case. Okay. I mean, we're about a far away from the curriculum as we can get. But I find this this is this is one of those fascinating real life questions that we never discussed in theology class. The problem with re baptizing Colleen is that she was raised Lutheran and her parents would have been aghast and she didn't want to hurt her parents because she'd been baptized as a baby. Right. And I'd say, well, you understand, Colleen, that in my theology, that's not baptism. She goes, I don't believe it was either. That's why I was baptized when I became a Christian, and they sprinkled me. So she even baptized as a believer. Baptized is a baby and still could and joined the church. It was just interesting to all this. I just just make sure that the new believers understand what is going. But I would encourage get them out there and get them to share. Don't don't do it at a time of the year between services when people around those things are really good.

[00:29:19] Let people know the joy of what's going on. Let them know, Rumi says on 984, if she recognizes no, scripture simply does not specify any restrictions on who can perform. Right. Right. And three or four in the face of all believers, except for Peter June 14, it seems that there's no need in principle to perform that working person. Yeah, that is the theological argument for that view of the church is the priesthood of all believers, First, Peter, two and other passages. And so if we're all priests, we don't need a priest. We have one high priest. That's the only one there is. What it does, it flattens the hierarchy of the church anyway. That's it. Okay. Hey, here's what I want to do. We are going to accelerate tomorrow. I promise. I promise. These were the two hard chapters. These are the ones that, as you actually use the curriculum, it's highly doubtful that you will do this in two weeks. These questions are going to come, But the rest of the curriculum is really what are the fruits of the spirit look like and what are the kinds of things that we need to look at. Thanks for the day I gave. We wanted a lot, but it was fun. I enjoyed that. And I will see you tomorrow. And we'll talk about stumbling and sin and confession. Thank you for listening to this lecture brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Feel free to make copies of this lecture to give to others, but please do not charge for these copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit our website at W WW dot Biblical training dawg. There you will find the finest in evangelical teaching for use in the home and the church.

[00:31:14] And it is absolutely free. Our curriculum includes classes for new believers, lay education classes, and seminary level classes taught by some of the finest seminary teachers drawn from a wide range of evangelical traditions. Our mailing address is Post Office Box 28428. Spokane, Washington 99228 USA.