Baptism in Jesus’ Name:
Let me introduce myself. I am now Brother John Effingham, of Christmas Valley, Oregon.
I was born in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1944. My parents, being Anglican, had me baptized at some early age, like 3 months or so. This would have been done by way of sprinkling, I’m sure.
We left Canada due to my mother’s health, in 1952, and I was raised in Arizona as a Lutheran. I did the whole thing, including Catechism, as a youth. Later I served in the USMC in Vietnam and eventually found myself in Portland, Oregon, and soon relocated to the small farming community of Christmas Valley.
In 1982 I was introduced to Jesus as Lord and Savior and on August 22, 1982, I was re-baptized by full immersion, according to Matt. 28:19, and for the next 30 years or so felt I was “good to go” as they say.
At some point a few years ago, I discovered “oneness” from a Pentecostal persuasion and once I realized that there was an issue concerning this I began to dig. Eventually I began to question the validly of my baptism. I am not the smartest person in the county but this wasn’t rocket science, as they say. Rather to me it became “fundamental”. Mark 16:16 tells us (as I understand it) that a believer’s baptism is essential to salvation. Our Lord insisted on it. Disciples that only had the baptism of John were re-baptized. Paul was baptized “in Jesus name” for the remission of sins and this left me searching. I asked myself: he who believes what? As I read 2Thes 2: 11-12, it left me fearing that I may have been deceived.
I prayed daily that God would help me with this and show me the truth. I prayed for understanding and knowledge, knowing that it would result in wisdom.
I found a web site that I spent a lot of time on (http://www.churchhistory101. com/) and soon discovered, as I read the history of the early church, that the Trinity was a doctrine of a state religion established by Constantine in the fourth century, to make the people happy and not the truth according to scripture. That may not be exactly the way it was presented on the web site but that is what I understood.
1st John 5:12 is one of my all time favourite verses: KJV “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” I realized that the Son of God that the Disciple that Jesus Loved referred to was not the Son of God that I was baptized into. I was deceived, I felt awful and unclean.
At that point I did a search for “the truth” and got the video series
“Events Subsequent to the Return of Christ”
by Bro Jim Cowie, and my eyes were opened. That was about a year and a half ago. Since that time I have immersed myself in Christadelphian truth.
In doing so, I felt convinced that I should be baptized according to Acts – not the Catholic version. Rev. 18 instructs us to “get out”; and I wanted out. I wanted to be washed and baptized “in Jesus name, for the remission of sins”.
I know the Bible gives the Matt. 28 version, and Robert Roberts even uses it, but my concern was this: was the Savior that I accepted as LORD, “God the Son”, or the “Son of God”?
Was my Lord and Savior the Son of God that the Disciple that Jesus Loved referred to in 1st John 5:12 written in the late first century, or a different lord with the same name that did not exist until the fourth century?
I found several Christadelphian web sites but this one was the most help:
www.bibletruthandprophecy.com – part of the www.christadelphianvideo.org network. I was able to use the search tab and dig into so many topics that I had never thought about, but rather just took for granted that the pastor knew more than I did, so I accepted what was being taught (Big mistake).
Before long “thy Kingdom Come” had a whole new meaning. One day in July 2016, after my having spent months studying, there appeared a “chat box” on the web site. I sent a note; however, there was no live person to chat with, due to my being in the US and the host of the site being in the UK. But the next day I did get a follow-up email and I was introduced to Art Courtonel.
Art was very gracious and put up with me for a few months and then, about September 2016, he asked if I would like to talk to a Christadelphian in Oregon. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed at the time; Art had had enough and was passing me on. I enjoyed our overseas relationship and, being a bit claustrophobic, 7,000 miles was a comfortable space; nevertheless, I consented.
Soon I was introduced to Mark Seagoe in Portland, Oregon and he was, in a word, “frightening”.
Not so much Mark himself but my comfort zone just took a huge hit. Mark sent me a questionnaire and we began the process of seeing where I was in relation to the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith (BASF). My having read three of Enoch’s books and having a great sense of patriotism associated with twenty years of military service, Mark had his work cut out but we got through it and eventually agreed that I could be baptized if the interview committee agreed.
My comfort zone kept getting smaller but no one wanted to be baptized “in Jesus’ Name for the Remission of Sins” more than me and if I needed to face the inquisitors then so be it.
Luke Barratt and Sean McLeod of the Portland Ecclesia were given the challenge and they were very kind and gracious as well as respectful of my age; soon I won them over and they consented.
Later that day, May 7, 2017, I was baptized at the Portland Ecclesia according to Acts and the struggle was over for me. Now I have only to grow in knowledge and faith and wait for the return of our Lord and Savior, the Son of God, to return and establish his Father’s Kingdom on earth.
I am writing this knowing that it may be published on this site…
Recollections: Memoirs of personal accounts of how Christadelphians came to be Baptised.
and I am thrilled to be used by God to help share the Truth. Let me encourage anyone reading this to become absolutely, positively convinced that the Lord and Savior that they acknowledge is in fact the True Son of God and not the “look-alike” as later developed by Constantine. Salvation is only in The Son spoken of by the Disciple John and throughout the New Testament; the one spoken of by the Apostle Paul in 1st Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.
Reproduced here with the kind permission of Bro John Effingham