Baptism: a sign of unity?

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In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul mentions baptism as one of the unifying factors of the church.  He writes,

4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 

-Ephesians 4:4-7

When addressing the deeply divided church of Corinth, Paul calls on their baptism to unite them:

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

– 1 Cor. 12:13 (cf. also 1 Cor. 1:13-17)

In today’s church, we often see baptism as one of clearest signs of division in the church: infant baptism vs. believer’s baptism, with no room in the middle.  Yet we see that one of the functions baptism served in the early church was to unite the people of God.  All have been baptized in Christ, and as members of his body, we are to look to him.

Regardless of one’s view on infant or believer’s baptism, the baptism is into the name of Christ, something that all believers share in common.


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