Baptism must be seen near the heart of our faith and presented as significant, but not allowed to separate Christians into groups of resentment or condescension. It must not become the "water that divides us" but the water that witnesses to our commitment to Christ.
As a pastor, I like to envision myself as a great champion of the Christian faith. I have always thought it would be nice to die a martyr for some great theological truth — to gasp out my final breath for the ultimate victory of orthodoxy over classic Arianism.
However, I pastor in suburbia, where volleyball leagues get more attention than questions about Christ's deity. So most of the time I find my life given to more ordinary things. After all, most suburbanites can't understand why I take Christianity so seriously when there are sod webworms and dandelion epidemics.
Yet doctrinal issues are basic to faith, even in suburbia.
In today's world, one of my challenges as a pastor is dealing with "private faith" — people ...1