Baptism

I want to do it the right way!

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As the “designated” photographer for our Annual Session events, I have the fabulous privilege of capturing the “moments” that highlight the essence of our gatherings. And each “moment” is significant in and of itself for that one particular snapshot in time. So it is hard for me as a photographer to make qualitative comparisons between photographs because each represents its own unique context. That said, I would like to lift up one moment during our 2016 Pastors’ Academy and Annual Session weekend of celebrations as perhaps a moment that inspired and moved me most in a solitary way. It was one of the candidates during the ocean baptisms. Ed Borkowski is a member of FBC of Ledgewood, where the Rev. David Holwick is pastor. He is sickly and disabled, and had to be transported by wheelchair from the plenary hall to the boardwalk, and then onto a 4-wheel dune buggy that took him to the edge of the ocean surf. Since he was so frail, weak and heavy set, everybody saw that it was just going to be difficult for him to get immersed. It was suggested that he just stay in the wheelchair and have water be poured on him. But he insisted on “doing it the right way” and wanted to get in the water. It turns out that Ed became seriously ill last year with a brain aneurysm which put him in the ICU for 99 days, followed by an additional 200 days in rehabilitation. Ed’s wife has been attending FBC Ledgewood and pastor Holwick visited him in the hospital. A friendship emerged from those visits, and Ed expressed the desire to visit FBC Ledgewood when he became able. He began attending church and loved it. Surviving his near-death experience led Ed to feel that he was physically reborn. He now wanted the same experience for his soul. When he found about the ocean baptism at Annual Session, he wanted to be part of it! And so with the help of pastors Pete Ely, Joe Gratzel, David Holwick, and Camp Lebanon staff Donald Smith and Hilary Gierman, Ed was taken to the edge of the water. Him having to bend low enough to get in the water seemed impossible. But as he was lowered into the water gingerly, a wave of surf came and crashed over the group immersing all of them. It appeared to me that the Holy Spirit completed the task for Ed. The sight of those men taking him - arm in arm - in and out of the water was inspiring and a truly powerful witness!

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The Unexpected Baptism

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By: Dr. Lois Spitzer

Acts 22:16: “ And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (NIV).

As the ABCNJ Annual Session came to a close this year, the water baptism candidates were lining up. On their faces were expressions of pure joy and anticipation. As various ABCNJ pastors carried out the baptisms and lifted each believer out of the water, I noticed a mixture of emotions. One had tears of joy, one had a broad smile, and yet another seemed peaceful.

Baptism - Lee and Mia 2015 #1After Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer baptized the last candidate, Rev. Dr. Mia Chang, and the region’s newest Associate Regional Pastor, Rev. Miriam Méndez, was praying the final prayer at the close of this year’s Annual Session, I heard a small voice at my side saying, “I want to get baptized, please”. I looked at the young woman standing next to me and my first thought was, “Sorry. We just ended the meeting and everyone is out of the baptismal tank. Besides, the hotel wants us to leave now so they can clean up and prepare for the next group”. She saw my look of hesitation and I thought she was reading my mind! She persisted, “But I would like to get baptized now”. Acts 22:16 came to mind: “And now what are you waiting for?”

I quickly shared this opportunity with Lee and asked Rev. Dr. Edgard Nicholas to speak with the young woman, who was a member of his congregation. They both agreed to do this one last baptism and Lee got back into the tank inviting the young woman to join him. Edgard stood next to the tank and prayed for her. As Lee lifted this young woman out of the water, her face was beaming. All the thirteen baptismal candidates had proclaimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior and had dedicated their lives to Him! We all got a glimpse of heaven that day in New Brunswick.

 

 

Baptism and ABCNJ’s Korean Churches

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[label style="info" icon="comment"]Note[/label] [lead]This article was submitted by Rev. Joshua Pyon – Senior Pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church in Teaneck, NJ[/lead]


 

At the 2014 ABCNJ Korean Pastors Christmas dinner, our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, asked me about baptism in our Korean churches.

The Korean Bible translates the word Baptism as "SeRye." It means sprinkling, not as Baptist understanding of baptism, immersion. So, all Korean churches, including Roman Catholic, use this word SeRye. But Baptist churches in Korea use another word, "ChimRye" which corresponds to the biblical meaning of Baptism. So, whenever Korean Baptists in Korea read the word "Baptism" in the Bible, they pronounce the word ChimRye" instead of SeRye. This has now become a tradition and one of the marks of identity for Korean Baptist churches.

Here in Teaneck, I have taught my church members about the difference between the SeRye and ChimRye and the importance of ChimRye Baptism. My church uses only the word ChimRye when we read the Korean Bible.

Sometimes I meet Korean leaders in the United States who say SeRye when referring to baptism, even while visiting my church. This can make my church members feel uncomfortable or confused because some of them come from other denominations, such as Presbyterian or Methodist. So I think that American Baptist Korean churches need to clearly teach people the meaning and importance of Baptism by immersion, to strengthen our Baptist identity.

When Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910-1945, the Japanese government demanded that all Korean Churches worship according to the principles of Shintoism. All Korean denominations, including Catholic, obeyed the Japanese edict, except for the Baptist denomination, which rejected it. Baptists refused to worship idols. In 1944, the Japanese government disbanded the Korean Baptist denomination by force and imprisoned over 30 Korean Baptist pastors. Many of them died in prison. This is an important part of Korean Baptist heritage and history