Getting Our Feet Wet

[audio:https://davidajr.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/baptism-17.jpgwp-content/uploads/2010/09/Psalm-147_12.mp3|titles=Psalm 147:12]

 

 

Today, September 16, 2010, was a very special day for me.

This morning just before 11 o’clock, with a handful of my friends looking on, I was baptized in the tradition of my faith.

Then, before I had time to really process the moment, I was baptized again.

And again.

And…again.

Hopefully persistence counts for something.

The scene might have been a little odd to passersby, but it was a great experience for me and my fellow Divinity School students. Understanding the purpose and practice of baptism is included in the curriculum for our Life and Work of the Minister course, and practicing baptism means getting in the water.

The mission statement of Campbell Divinity School is “to provide Christ-centered, Bible-based, and Ministry-focused theological education.” These three elements are represented, to some extent, in every course the school offers, but the three-fold purpose also guides, in a larger perspective, the multi-facted approach of the entire Master of Divinity program. Most of the courses required for the M.Div. degree can be classified as either a spiritual development course, a course in classical theological education, or as a practical, vocation-driven course. Balancing these three aspects of theological education really allows students to grow spiritually and academically as they work to discern God’s call on their lives, and it is something Campbell does very well.

It’s amazing how my experiences in and outside of the classroom continue to build on each other. Just last week, in Church History I, our discussion was focused on the baptismal practices of the early church. Very quickly in the life of the early church, baptism became such an important part of the spiritual development process that a waiting period of at least three years was implemented for catechumens in order to give them sufficient time to contemplate their own faith experiences and develop healthy practices of discipleship that would allow them to contribute to the church once they became full members. Understanding this influenced our discussion on the spirituality and theology of baptism in Life and Work of the Minister. With this discussion still fresh on our minds this morning, we waded into the water to practice the practical aspects of baptism before we are called on to lead a formal baptismal service. The M.Div. degree at Campbell is really almost like three degrees in one — and at 90 hours, it often feels like enough work to earn three separate masters degrees — but there isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life.

Having professors and peers that I know are genuinely concerned about my spiritual growth is an indescribable blessing. Having courses that keep me challenged academically makes every day fresh and exciting. And besides, where else could I go to get my feet wet, knowing all the while that a quick hand is there to catch me if I slip off into rough water?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About David Anderson, Jr.

I'm a wandering pilgrim anchored in the Baptist tradition, tossed about by the anabaptist current. I am a minister at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and a recent graduate of Campbell Divinity School. I am the husband of a beautiful woman, and the father of a blond-haired boy. I am a work in progress, struggling to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. View all posts by David Anderson, Jr.

2 responses to “Getting Our Feet Wet

  • Amanda

    I believe the last picture should be entitled “Amanda’s Baptismal Victory.” Thanks for your thoughts & images from today, David. I always appreciate your perspective.

    • David

      Amanda, I’ll be sure and sketch out that title for my next gallery showing. Hopefully when you find yourself in the baptismal waters again, you won’t have as tough a case as Tyler to deal with. That’s ministry for you, though!
      I appreciate your perspective as well. You really bring a lot to our discussions, in and out of class.
      Have a great weekend!

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