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Baptism and the Afterlife


Question & Answer

Q: By A Reader

Is baptism some kind of guarantee that u will be included in the afterlife?

A: By Rev. Matthew Syrdal

Dear Readers,

Baptism was once originally a part of a much larger, more in-depth rite-of-passage. It was the community of the “faithful” witnessing the completion of the tasks of the ‘first half of life’ of an individual and signifying the initiate was now ready to take hold the mysteries of the Christian faith—the ‘mystagogue’. In the patristic era, before the act of Baptism was split from the rite of Confirmation, the baptized person was expected to lead an entirely new, life free from sin (there are vestiges of Baptismal rites and hymns in many of Paul’s letters) and able to practice contemplation.

Baptism is not a ‘magic’ guarantee of the afterlife. Rather it is a transformative milestone and ‘sign’ of salvation that can assure us of God’s gracious act to us through Christ. In other words, it is a visible sign of invisible faith—a confidence in God’s promises to us. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is spoken of in Scripture as a “deposit” (or “guarantee” in a certain sense) that testifies to our salvation.

~ Rev. Matthew Syrdal

This Q&A was originally published on Progressing Spirit – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives (including all of Bishop John Shelby Spong), and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q&A. Click here to see free sample essays.

About the Author

Reverend Matthew Syrdal M.Div, lives in the front range of Colorado with his beautiful family. Matt is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian church (USA), founder and lead guide of WilderSoul and Church of Lost Walls and co-founder of Seminary of the Wild. Matt speaks at conferences and guides immersive nature-based experiences around the country. In his years of studying ancient Christian Rites of Initiation, world religions, anthropology, rites-of-passage and eco- psychology Matt seeks to re-wild what it means to be human. His work weaves in myth and ceremony in nature as a way for people to enter into conversation with the storied world in which they are a part. Matt’s passion is guiding others in the discovery of “treasure hidden in the field” of their deepest lives cultivating deep wholeness and re-enchantment of the natural world to apprentice fully and dangerously to the kingdom of god. Matt has been coaching, and guiding since becoming a certified Wild Mind nature-based human development guide through the Animas Valley Institute and is currently training to become a soul initiation guide through the SAIP program.

Visit Matthew Syrdal’s website here.

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