I’ve just been reading a discussion on the House2House forum re modes of baptism. Some well formed arguments on both sides – but I’ve come to wonder lately whether the ‘right’ mode is really the ‘right’ issue. And here’s why.

As you know, I’m a chaplain in our local prison and for logistical reasons we are not allowed to have full immersion (my preference) baptisms. So, rather than ask guys to wait untilthey get out, we’ve made a compromise acceptable to all the other chaplains and, I believe, to the Holy Spirit.We use a kiddies pool with about six inches of water in it and a couple of buckets. While we pray over the guy being baptised a couple of fellow inmates slowly pour water over him until he is well and truly drenched. And well and truly blessed as well. God’s presence is there every time and the testimonies that follow are exciting.

One prisoner later testified that he feared that he would not have the sense of death and burial normally associated with immersion. However as the water poured over him he felt that he was being washed of all his sins. Then when he stood up he found himself under the air-conditioning and he was so cold he felt he was in the grave. When he then stepped back into the chapel office and got changed he had the experience of taking off the old and being clothed in the new. He came out of the office with perhaps a fuller experience of death and resurrection than he might have had in a more ‘proper’ baptism.

Trouble is that I am enjoying this mode of baptising so much I may find immersion a bit tame in comparison. We shall see. I have a river baptism this Sunday. Maybe I can merge both styles in together. Certainly I’m starting to think that the Holy Spirit does not quibble about these things half as much as we do.

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