Are We becoming lazy in following Christ?

Estimated read time 3 min read

In Thessalonians Paul warns Christians that they must work hard to transform the world for Christ’s return. Are falling baptism rates a sign of a weakening faith commitment?

The classic American Christian tradition of baptism is becoming rarer then ever before. Hard numbers are difficult to come by but all Protestant and the Roman Catholic denominations report the number of baptisms performed are dropping exponentially over the past few years. For a country where the vast majority of Christians felt that was once a absolute necessity for their children that feeling no longer remains .

Contemporary America is not the same spiritual America seen after World War II. Numerous studies by the Pew Research Center and others have shown that Americans participation in denominational Christian worship is falling to well below fifty percent of the population. Although many people feel a sense of spirituality it is often poorly defined. Self directed vague spiritual literature is popular and it easily outsells Bible study publications.

Even though the Christian canon traditionally looks at baptism as the route of entry into the Christian community many families and individuals feel it is no longer necessary. Whereas in the past this initial step of Baptism was necessary to partake of communion and become an “official member” of the body of Christ through the church some are saying it is outdated.

In the Episcopal Church and Roman Catholic Church the Canon remains based upon Scripture and Tradition that that taking Communion requires Baptism. However some churches and some individuals now say that these requirements are obstructions to inclusion rather the conventional view that baptism empowers the Holy Spirit to interact with Christ. The concept of a Baptism by faith has taken hold as an alternative to the conventional sacrament even though it is not documented by Scripture.

There is an unspoken truth that having baptisms during worship lengthens the service significantly keeping the congregation in church longer. The concept of instant Christianity by letting new Christians just take communion without baptism means you do not have to provide education classes for families or adults. Instead of focusing on building a community of faithful there is a “Laissez-faire” attitude to just let them discover for it themselves.

My personal opinion is that the process of becoming a Christian is well defined in the Gospel and in Acts. Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist before beginning his ministry. In Mark 16 Jesus calls for the faithful to teach converts and baptize them so that they can be saved. Finally in 2 Thessalonians Paul warns Christians that they must not get lazy in their work to help the world transform. They must work hard. Jesus laid out the path for all Christians to join the Corpus Christi and did not say he allowed shortcuts. If Christianity is failing let it not be because we did not make the effort to do God’s will.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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