What was it like to go on a pilgrimage? How did it feel the first time you spoke in tongues? Where did the experience of a week-long meditation retreat take you?
The CNN Belief Blog will occasionally share the spiritual journeys of others and begins with this one from Jascinth Hall, a 26-year-old wife and mother of three who was baptized - along with 109 others - on Saturday, May 8, at Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. This is her account of the experience, in her own words.
There’s a generation of people in our churches, in all churches, that never left the church but left the church. You're there every week, you hold down a pew, but sometimes you're not even listening to the preacher.
My father’s a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, so I was raised Seventh-day Adventist. When you’re a child, you do as you’re told. But as an adult I wanted to make an independent decision of my own to be re-baptized.
It had been a long time since I'd prayed. It had been a long time since I read the Bible. But it's never too late. It's only too late when you give up on yourself.
Re-baptism is a common thing in the church. As a teenager, even as an adult, I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve sinned. I wanted to just give my life completely over to Christ again and say, “Lord I know I’ve made mistakes. But I know that you forgive me for my sins. I know that you’ll take my life and make it worth something - make it of some value.”
I hadn’t told anyone I was getting re-baptized. I wanted it to be a surprise. I'd been praying about it, and I knew it was something I needed to do just for my own soul.
When I woke that Sabbath morning, I just felt that the Lord was saying, “I can see in your heart that you're good, and this is me giving you a clean start. It may not be the end of all of your mistakes, but I'm here, and I always will be here.”
Having that feeling that you have a God that's always going to be there for you and always going to care for you and just loves you is a good feeling.
We wore nice white robes. Even though before you may have sinned, it signifies that when you come out of that water you're going to be clean. Every sin you've made in the past is gone. So even if you can't forgive yourself, it's as far as the East is from the West with the Lord.
Before you join our church, there are beliefs or foundations that we want you to understand. We [those being baptized] don't recite them, but they go over them and you agree to them in front of the congregation.
You go up to the baptismal pool. It's an indoor baptismal pool – not a big space, but it's enough space for you to get three people in and baptize side by side. It’s located behind the choir loft, and it's lifted up and seen by all.
It's like a little journey in that traveling time going up the steps. I just thought about a lot of things. My children. My husband. The choices that I’ve made. How I'm seen as a person. Who I come off as, and who I want to come off as.
I was waiting to go into the water, standing at that window, just looking out and thinking. I do hear the Lord talk to me. We do have conversations. So at that time, I was having another conversation. There was just a moment when I looked out the window and I was like, “Lord, I don't know what the next step for me is. I don't know what you want me to be in life. I'm not perfect, but if you'll have me, I'm coming back to you.”
Going in the water, it feels very tranquil, like a bath, like a warm bath. When I read the Bible, you hear about Christ baptizing in the Jordan River. You could just imagine how great that water must have felt. We don't have Jesus baptizing us, but it still feels that same way. You’ve got people who support you there at the church standing up, and they're singing, and there's music. The pastor’s got this great smile. It's almost like going into a concert and being the featured guest. It's just a great feeling to go in there, and when you go into the water it’s just like peace when you come up.
It was quick. It's probably all of maybe five or 10 seconds, but it feels like forever when you're waiting.
That experience is one of the best experiences that you can possibly go through. If it’s one time or five times, it's a great experience because every single time you go into that water you feel that pressure, or that burden of guilt, just lift and it's gone.
I felt happy – a real sense of the word happy. It's not a material thing. It’s not something that you can buy. It’s not something that you can render to somebody else. Only the Lord can give you that sense of peace and that's what happiness is, I think.
CNN’s Jessica Ravitz, who interviewed Hall, condensed and edited the transcript for length and clarity. Most of the featured photographs were taken by CNN’s Robert Johnson, who attends Hall’s church. If you want to share your own spiritual journey, tell us about it in the comments section or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Baptist/evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ,
I ask you to consider these points:
1. When God said that he would preserve his Word, what did he mean?
Did he mean that he would preserve the original papyrus and parchment upon which his Word was written? If so, then his Word has disappeared as none of the original manuscripts remain.
Did he mean that he would preserve his word in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek only? He would not preserve his Word when it was translated into all the other languages of the world?
Or did God mean that he would preserve his Word…the message/the words…the Gospel: the free gift of salvation, and the true doctrines of the Christian Faith? Would God allow his Word/his message to mankind to be so polluted by translation errors that no translation, into any other language from the three original languages, continues to convey his true words?
2. There IS no translation of the Bible, from the original ancient languages, into any language, anywhere on earth, that translates the Bible as the Baptists/evangelicals believe it should be translated.
No Bible translation on earth translates Acts 2:38 as, “Repent and believe in Jesus Christ every one of you and you will receive the Holy Ghost. Then be baptized as a public profession of your faith.”
There is no translation that translates, into any language, Acts 22:16 as, “ And now why tarriest thou? arise, believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Then be baptized.” Not a single translation in the entire world translates that verse in any way remotely resembling the manner in which Baptists believe it should be translated.
Isn’t that a problem?
And this verse, I Peter 3:21 as, “Asking Christ into your heart in a spiritual baptism, which water Baptism symbolizes, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
And Mark 16:16 as, “He that believes will be saved, and then baptized, but he that does not believe will be condemned.”
Why would God allow EVERY English translation of the Bible throughout history to be mistranslated or use such confusing language as to suggest that God forgives sins in Baptism? And not only all English translations, ALL translations of the Bible have retained these “mistranslations or confusing wording”.
Do you honestly believe that God would allow his Word to be so polluted with translation errors that EVERY Bible in the world, if read in its simple, plain interpretation, would tell all the people of the world that God forgives sins in water baptism??
3. Why is there not one single piece of evidence from the early Christians that indicates that ANYONE in the 800-1,000 years after Christ believed that: Water baptism is ONLY a public profession of faith/act of obedience; sins are NOT forgiven in water baptism? Yes, you will find statements by these early Christians that salvation is by faith, but do Baptists and evangelicals really understand how a sinner obtains saving faith? THAT IS THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION, MY FRIENDS! Does the sinner produce faith by his own free will or does God provide faith and belief as a gift, and if God does provide faith and belief as a free gift, with no strings attached, when exactly does God give it?
4. Is it possible that: Baptist-like believers, at some point near or after 1,000 AD, were reading the Bible and came across verses that read “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” and “Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved” and established their doctrine of Salvation/Justification first, based on these and similar verses alone, and then, looked at the issue of water baptism, and since the idea that God forgives sins in water baptism doesn’t seem to fit with the verses just mentioned, re-interpreted these verses to fit with their already established doctrine, instead of believing the “baptism verses” literally?
Is it possible that BOTH groups of verses are literally correct?? If we believe God’s Word literally, he says that he saves/forgives sins when sinners believe/call AND when they are baptized? Why not believe that God can give the free gift of salvation in both situations: when a sinner hears the Gospel and believes and when a sinner is baptized?
Should we re-interpret God’s plain, simple words just because they don’t seem to make sense to us?
Dear Baptist/evangelical brothers and sisters, your doctrine is very well thought out and very reasonable…but it is wrong. Do you really believe that God would require an education in ancient Greek or a Greek lexicon to understand what he really wants to say to you? And do you really believe that Baptist “Greek” scholars understand Greek better than the Greeks themselves? If the Greek language, correctly translated, states in the Bible that Baptism is only a public profession of faith as Baptists say, then why do the Greek Orthodox believe that the Greek Bible plainly says, in Greek, that God forgives sins in water baptism? Somebody doesn’t know their Greek!
Please investigate this critical doctrine further. Do you really want to appear before our Lord in heaven one day and find out that you have been following a false doctrine invented in the sixteenth century by Swiss Ana-baptists?
God bless you!
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Thank you CNN for sharing this with us. What a breath of fresh air.
While I don't personally believe in RE-baptism for most cases ... I respect the belief to do so. The only Biblical reason for re-baptism is if the actual baptism was administered incorrectly.
As a baptized person ... you will still fail. You don't even understand God. You are just making a statement that you desire to walk with Him. You desire to learn more of Him. And you accept Him as your Saviour of your past and future sins. So, when you fall back and when you sin .... you know who forgives. If you get RE-baptized you are in some ways indicating that the actual baptism is what saves you. And the way I see it ... you are in some ways making a statement that you felt He couldn't forgive your most recent sins and lack of understanding.
Actually ... instead of RE-baptism ... the rite of footwashing was what was meant to serve the purpose RE-baptism. It is a regular act that served as a mini-Baptism.
No respect? Christians don't have any respect. The don't respect people of other religions, they don't respect people who are different, they don't respect people who actually think for themselves.
Sure we do Talon! We are being nice to you aren't we? Let me invite you to partake of our wonderful saviors offer, to die in your place for your sins! Just confess with an honest an open heart that you want him to come into your heart, and into your life! You will be saved, and all the angels in heaven rejoice!
What a load. Wasting your Saturday (or Sunday) dunking yourself in water and listening to bad poetry is a shame. Go outside, enjoy life, read a book, play with your family. Dain Rudolph thinks you're going to hell because you're "not baptized in the New Name", Muslims think you're going to hell because you don't worship their way, Buddhists think you'll be reincarnated because you haven't learned their way, yadda yadda yadda. Hell is other people's wishes and warnings to you. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." Just enjoy your life, be kind to others, and ditch religion, which only seems to make you feel superior to others because you took a bath in public
We are just happy Christians Sean! Thats all. We are laying our treasures up in Heaven, where there is no corruption, such as happens when the body dies. We will then enter into the presence of our Father, Jesus C-h-r-i-s-t-! The body will turn to dust, but our spirits will not. Someday, when he returns, he will raise up an incorruptible body, perfect like his own. Won't you join us? Jesus loves you!
Seriously why is the crap on the front page of cnn, I don't care about people getting baptized or their spiritual journeys.
Religion is and always will be a crutch for the weak minded
Oh yes you do, Jared! Otherwise you would not be here just to tell us this, right? Deep down inside, something drew you to this.I think,jmo, it could be that still small voice within yourself, that draws you to the light and love of Jesus! Just let it happen!
Is this for Catholics or all People who believe in Jesus and God?
For all people Brent! Jesus is God and he loves everyone!
When I read and hear stories such as this, I think I am extremely lucky to be an atheist. It was like a weight coming off my shoulders realizing that giving up a 'belief' in the supernatural and a god that doesn't exist makes life so much easier now. I take full responsibility for my actions. Descended from primates and still a primate, but assisting fellow humans along the way is what its all about, just for the sake of helping. No heaven or hell above or below us. We come from dust we return to dust.
We come from dust we return to dust...So nice to hear you quoting Jesus! It is true, the body will turn to dust, but your soul will go right to Jesus! He called it Paradise, to the thief on the cross. Then on Judgement day, we will all stand before him. I can't wait! Praise the Lord!!
I guess for people need to turn to obedience of imaginary instructions when they don't have the willpower to make decisions for themselves
Ahh..but I have turned to the Love of God, and I still have my decision making abilties, but I have him to help me, what an even GREATER life I have! You should give it try!
"Only the Lord can give you that sense of peace and that's what happiness is, I think." Your thinking is flawed and filled with egocentric hubris. It's true fantasy can be an anti-dote for the harsh reality of human life, but for you to say your religious myth is the panacea is absurd. Numbing your mind via religion is mental laziness. Develop critical thinking and a curious rational mind. Maybe you'll discover the natural is so super, you don't need your supernatural fantasy
It is not a fantasy. Try putting your critical thinking skills aside for a moment, and let God show you that man operates in body,mind and spirit! Let him fill you with his awesome love and peace. Try it, you'll love it, and you will be set free from your relentess prusuit of justifying your unbelief!
Show me one bit of reliable evidence that supports this belief and I'm all with you...until then, what you say is just one more kooky claim among a cacophony of craziness. Can't you understand that reasonable people can't tell the difference between your myth and everybody elses's? Please show me one piece of evidence that makes the existence of Jehovah any more likely than Zeus, Allah, Odin, Shiva, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Here you are: http://christianthinktank.com/copycatwho1.html Praise The Lord!!
We live in a world thats not perfect and riddled with sin! That where all the bad comes in. Jesus C-h-r-i-s-t can save you, He
Why do you unbelievers have to come under this story and try to throw your unbelief all over the place? Can't we just have some peace without that? I cite:
All religions are one big pile of dung!
Many would prefer sticking their heads into it; few avoid it; kids are forced to eat it. And the putrid stench perpetuates!
I feel sorry for you ybs. I will say a prayer and ask God to bless you with his wonderful love. Mayby then you can join us in peacefulness, as only the Lord can give!
Wow for someone with no dog in the hunt you sure have a lot to contribute.
Many would prefer sticking their heads into it; few avoid it; kids are forced to eat it. And the putrid stench perpetuates! :(
Praise God you decided to be Re-baptized. Baptism is from God and when you are moved by the Holy Spirit to be Baptized, you have EVERY Angel in Heaven rejoicing, at every baptism.
Jesus Christ, God, The Holy Spirit.....Awesome....I have died with Christ (in Baptism) and I have raised with Christ to a new life. I was a drug addict for 9 years, together with other more serious things that I can not even mention, and after trying everything else...I was left with only God...and He is so real....Had several near death experiences, and miracle upon miracle. O, how He loves us...if you ever need physical evidence...baptism of the Holy Spirit (fire)...speaking in tongues, praising God....this can not be faked. He made me new! Hallelujah...It's so sad to read the comments of the non believers... May they find redemption before Jesus returns to fetch His bride. Maranatha, Our God Reigns...
You saved yourself. If there is a good, merciful god, there would be no addictions, no pain, no babies born with deformities, no hunger and no suffering. Louis Wiese Reigns!!!!
"the Lord was saying, “I can see in your heart that you're good"" This is complete heresy. No one's heart can be good, that's the whole purpose of Christ. Through Christ dying and defeating sin can one be considered holy or good. Man is sinful to the core and will remain with that sinful nature until they die.
People that are baptized go to hell everyday....water cannot save the soul.
Then it became evening and there was morning is the correct interpretation. The Seventh Day adventists misinterpret the scriptures. the seventh day doesn't explain there was a morning of the 8th day signifying the 7th day ended in the evening. Common sense people dont be misled. I guess then we should all wake up at 9:00 P.M. and drink some coffee and go to work if the seventh day adventists are correct.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.