Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.'"
Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
"I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
A Post-Baptist World
Now, before I say anything else, I don’t want you to misunderstand the title. I’m not talking about a world without Baptists. And I’m not saying that the influence of all the different Baptist churches are in decline and that a focus on dunked believers is giving way to sprinkled infants. As a matter of fact, I really not talking about Baptist as church at all. Rather I’m talking about Baptist as person, namely John the Baptist. And what I’m suggesting is that, whether we like it or not, we’re all living in a post-Baptist world, because the one whom John expected, we believe came as the individual Jesus Christ. And because he came, some of the stuff John said to prepare the people for his coming just don’t apply anymore. For example, although confession and repentance will continue to be important for Jesus, the meaning changed. You see, rather than being seen as a means to escape punishment, it’s now a way to offer thanks. And baptism is no longer a sign of what a person has done, rather it’s a reminder of what God is constantly doing. You see, I think it’s important to reinterpret John’s message, since we live in a post-Baptist world.