He Is Risen!
by ChinaSource Team | March 16, 2016
Easter Sunday (“Resurrection Day” in Chinese) is a high point for Christians in China, as it is for followers of Christ the world over. Not only do Chinese believers celebrate the resurrection of Christ; they also celebrate the new life experienced in Christ by those who have come to faith within the past year. Easter Sunday baptisms are an important part of church life. In some larger churches hundreds of new Christians may celebrate their spiritual rebirth through baptism on a single day.
This Gospel Times account, “What Questions Need to Be Answered at Baptism?” translated and posted last year on Chinese Church Voices, provides a window into this Easter Sunday experience at two large urban churches. The article, published originally on the Internet in China, looks at the steps new believers take in preparation for baptism and the questions they answer prior to being baptized.
Most Three-Self churches in China conduct baptism services on Easter Sunday each year. In this translated article from the Gospel Times, the writer shares questions that the pastors at two large churches in China ask each person being baptized.
What Questions Need to Be Answered at Christian Baptism Services?
How does a person become a Christian? We often say that “the heart believes, and the mouth gives recognition.” Simply pray the Sinner’s Prayer and you can be called a Christian. However, for the church and Christian believers, baptism is an important symbol of a person becoming a Christian.
Normally, a person who is preparing to be baptized will study certain lessons prior to baptism and will meet with one of the pastors. Moreover, the baptism service is usually conducted in public, and those that take place in a church normally take place during the Sunday worship. Before being baptized, the person ready to receive baptism will be asked to publicly respond to a set of questions. After the pastor receives a positive response, he will officially baptize them.
The manner in which a person being baptized answers the pastor’s questions varies from church to church. In some churches the pastor asks the questions and all who are being baptized answer together. Some churches instead ask each person individually; that is, before each person is baptized they are asked the set of questions. After they have responded in the affirmative, they are baptized. The pastor then asks the questions of the next person, and then baptizes them.
Not every church asks the exact same questions.
The following are four questions Pastor Li Peiying simultaneously asked to all believers about to be baptized this year during the Easter Sunday worship service at Beijing’s Chong Wen Men Church (崇文门堂):
Do you promise to offer yourselves to Jesus Christ, to recognize him as Lord and Savior, to follow his example, to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength according to that which he has spoken, and to love others as yourselves as the standard of your lives?
Do you promise through your words, deeds, and lives to bear witness to that which is true faith?
Do you promise to often make use of such spiritual practices as prayer, Scripture study, meditation, and church worship to grow closer to the Lord God?
Do you promise to follow the commands of the Bible, to serve the community to your utmost, and promise to not harm or oppress others by any means?
Each of the questions received a reply in the affirmative. Pastor Li Peiying then said, “With these promises, we now baptize you in accordance with the commands of Christ and the sending of the church.”
In another setting, prior to receiving baptism, Pastor Joseph Gu of Hangzhou’s Chong Yi Church (崇一堂) asks believers the following five questions:
Do you acknowledge that God created all of creation and human beings, and that we humans are made in the image of God?
Do you acknowledge that all have sinned, and that the wages of sin is death? Do you acknowledge that Jesus is the only Savior of mankind, and only Jesus can save all sinners? And do you willingly accept Jesus as the Savior of your own life?
Do you acknowledge the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in your life; that the Holy Spirit illumines, guides, and moves you to accept Jesus as your Savior? Are you willing after your baptism to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to walk in obedience to God’s will?
Do you acknowledge that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? That it is the standard for every Christian according to which we should conduct ourselves? Following your baptism, are you willing to regularly read the Bible, to love the Bible, and to follow the teachings of the Bible?
Upon your baptism, you will be a member of the Lord’s church (Chong Yi Church), a member of the body of Christ.
Are you willing, after receiving baptism, to love the church as you love your own family, to participate in the ministry of the church, and together with the brothers and sisters of the church to build the Lord’s church (Chong Yi Church) together, and to increase the glory of God’s name on the earth?
As you celebrate the resurrection may you be encouraged by this testimony of God’s faithfulness among his people in China.
Ways to Pray…
Pray for China’s leaders as the National People’s Congress—China’s legislature—holds annual meetings this month in Beijing.
In an atmosphere of increased social pressure, believers in China find themselves under greater pressure.
Pray for Pastor Joseph Gu, a prominent leader in China’s officially recognized church who was detained in January.
Pray, too, for Zhang Kai, a Christian lawyer who was forced to make a confession on national television and who also remains in detention. Both men spoke out strongly against the forced removal of crosses from hundreds of church buildings in China.
Last month ChinaSource sponsored a week-long spiritual retreat for a dozen local believers who lead ministries among the marginalized in China’s cities.
Pray for lasting impact in the lives of these leaders and in the organizations they serve.
Pray for the ChinaSource Board of Directors as they meet in Hong Kong this month.
He is Risen indeed!
The ChinaSource Team