Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:52 AM

Wider and Deeper

Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:52 AM
Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:52 AM

It appears from Acts 2 and from other examples in the New Testament church (such as the Philippian jailer, the Ethiopian eunuch, and Paul himself) that baptism was administered shortly after the profession of faith.

Yet in the early church, an early noncanonical document that describes early Christian practices of ministry, which French scholars date around a.d. 50, there was a delay in baptism. This delay was probably established because some converts fell away from the faith due to having no background to the meaning of their commitment either in believing, behaving, or belonging. This was the case for Simon (Acts 8:9–25) and the falling away of believers dealt with by the writer to the Hebrews (Heb. 5:11–14).

The problem of converts falling away from the faith was not only an early church problem but one addressed by the International Consultation on Discipleship. “Our zeal, to go wider has not been matched by a commitment to go deeper.”[1]

Large seeker Churches seem to go wider (as many converts as possible), while small Churches seem to go deeper (a commitment to instruction in the faith). This new paradigm is producing a Christianity that is a mile wide and an inch deep, and we see it in the lives of Christians…no peace.

[1] Webber, R. (2003). Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community (50). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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