Friends, it may come as a surprise to you that I am going to get baptised. I say this because if you have read some of my blog posts, you will see that I have had a lot of intellectual problems with Christianity over the last few years.
Even through my struggles with Christianity, I have always believed in God. I have been going to Westminster Cathedral once or twice a week to pray for several years, but I haven’t felt comfortable attending Mass because there were aspects of the liturgy that I found puzzling and nonsensical. For instance, I had problems with the idea of original sin and I couldn’t believe that we have free will. I should add that this never stopped me having a deep awe for God and for Jesus. But I didn’t feel I could become a committed Christian.
When I was living in Wandsworth Town last year, there was a small group of Christians from a local church who used to congregate by the shopping centre every week on a Saturday for ‘outreach’. They would sing songs about Jesus and hand out leaflets encouraging people to explore the Christian faith. I used to chat with them, buy them the occasional coffee, and share with them the struggles that I was having with Christianity. And I asked them to pray for me.
I know that other friends and family have been praying for me too. I have been to several churches in the past and met some wonderful friends who have kept me in their prayers even while I was blogging about why I couldn’t bring myself to commit to Christianity. Despite all these prayers, I began to think of myself as a ‘post-Christian’ thinker, and had an ongoing struggle in my spirit regarding the role of Jesus in my life.
In recent weeks I have been reading the Bible every day, and watching sermons by amazing Christian speakers like Nicky Gumbel and Bishop T.D. Jakes online. All the while I felt the strong pull of faith, but also the intellectual resistance to some of what these preachers were saying. I was beginning to think I would have to live with this struggle for the rest of my life.
But something amazing happened on the 27th August. I had been reading the Bible and was sitting quietly in bed ready to switch off the light and go to sleep. I was suddenly overtaken by a strong conviction and these words sprang into my mind: ‘You are going to get baptised’. I felt shock, but it was also an amazing feeling and I knew these words were coming from God. Before I could recover, another conviction came to my mind: ‘You are then going to take Holy Communion’. I was overcome with a feeling of great peace and joy. I stayed awake all night in excitement and prayer, and I felt overjoyed by these revelations.
Since that night the conviction that I am going to get baptised and take Holy Communion hasn’t left me. In fact, God has been setting the wheels in motion and all the preparations for my baptism are in place. I am getting baptised this Sunday, 6th September, in the baptist church from where the outreach team that I met outside the shopping centre came.
Despite all of my struggles with Christianity, I know that Jesus shed his blood for me, and for all of us. I know that the crucifixion was an atoning sacrifice and a declaration of God’s love and forgiveness for humanity. I know from my Bible studies that there is so much more to existence than this short earthly life, and it’s important to live with eternity in mind.
I believe baptism is a sacrament from God, allowing people to be cleansed of their sins and to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I’m aware that baptism marks a commitment to the Christian faith, and I feel that I am being called to put aside my intellectual difficulties with Christianity and step into a new phase of my life living by faith in Jesus.
If you are a believer, please pray for me that my faith remains strong and my baptism goes well on Sunday. I’m very grateful to you for reading and feel free to leave a comment below.