Elevation Church “Spontaneous Baptisms”

This past week Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC  started a series called “Follow.” Before I get into this post I just want to say I have benefited from the ministries of Elevation Church via Elevation Worship and the preaching/teaching of their lead pastor Steven Furtick. The more I listen to Steven Furticks preaching the more I see a man who has a passion for God’s Word and a passion to see people come to Jesus. He truly is a role model and a Christian leader I look up to. His church is doing awesome things in the city of Charlotte and this past week as they started their new series they did “spontaneous baptisms.” Basically, the challenge is to follow Christ and Steven Furtick asked people to decided to follow Jesus and on the spot get baptized. I absolutely love this! Before I go on watch this video that was on Steven Furticks blog showing what took place this past week. Be encouraged as you see people decided to follow Jesus!

There are two things I love about this video and about the “spontaneous baptisms” they are doing at Elevation Church. First, it is sad that baptism has fallen on hard times in our culture. Baptism is sadly not preached and taught as much as it should be. If you read in the Bible you will see that baptism is an outward act displaying an inward reality. It is a way to show others Christ has saved you and you are now identifying with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection and will follow Him the rest of your life. I am encouraged to see Elevation Church clearly teaching baptism Biblically and making it a huge deal because it should be! Secondly, I like the fact they are doing “spontaneous” baptisms. It seems that most churches today have baptism classes and things you have to go through before you get baptized. I am not against that, but is that really following the model the Bible gives us. In the book of Acts we see that when someone accepted Christ they were immediately baptized. In Acts 8:35-38 we see that Phillip shared the Gospel with Ethiopian eunuch and the man asked “what prevents me from being baptized?” Phillip responded and said that he had to be saved first. Then the next verse records Phillip baptizing the man. We do not see a class or a few sessions taking place here, we see someone getting baptized as soon as they accept Jesus. I am not against baptism classes, honestly I would probably do them, but I do think we need to remember all that needs to be done before someone is baptized is them accepting Jesus.

My goal in this blog is not to stir up controversy about baptism. It is an important doctrine that needs to be protected and uplifted in our church today. I regret that I waited so long after my salvation to get baptized, but we need to encourage people to take the “first step of obedience” as soon as they are saved. I hope you are encouraged by the video and what Elevation Church is doing for God’s kingdom. You can read more about the baptisms and series on Steven Furticks blog here.

Steven Furtick and Elevation have put together a kit that gives your church everything they need to do “spontaneous baptisms.” You can find that here.

Published by Austin McCann

Austin is the student ministries director at Redemption Chapel in Stow, OH. He has a BA from Piedmont International University and a Master of Arts in Religion with a Christian leadership focus from Liberty University School of Divinity. Austin enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball and golf, and spending time with his family.

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  1. I appreciate the fact that it is not your goal to stir up controversy about baptism through your blog. It is not my goal either. However when there is a difference of opinion it is not wrong to discuss it, right? I differ about a few points you brought up here. I think Christians really need to develop more precise ways of describing theological ideas and stay away from speaking “christianese” or using expressions that are well known perhaps among Christians but leave the unsaved a bit mystified about what we are talking about. One point is using the term accepting Jesus. I used to say that almost exclusively when talking about salvation and I still catch myself. What could be wrong with saying that? I think it places an overemphasis on who is doing the saving. Is Christ a Savior that sits by wringing His hands hoping that we will give Him the nod to come into our lives? That view of God robs Him of His sovereignty. Furthermore the term is not Biblical. There is nowhere in the Bible that talks about doing this. The two things that are mentioned in terms of salvation are rarely mentioned. Repentance (Acts 2:38) and faith or trust in Christ (Acts 16:31) are often left totally out of the equation, all to the peril of the prospective convert. Imagine someone who thinks he needs something extra in his life, maybe he even recognizes that Christianity is the key, but when it comes down to brass tacks he is unwilling to forsake all and follow Christ. Maybe there is a sexual relationship that he has no intentions on giving up, maybe some ill gotten profits from his business dealings that would cramp his style and his income if he had to give it up but he thinks that he can simply add Jesus to assuage his guilt and everything will be alright, then he will “find his purpose” in life. Will God accept that man with no mention of sin and repentance, just repeating a formulaic prayer of asking Jesus into his heart or accepting Jesus? God knows that man’s heart that he is unwilling to come to terms with God. But the man thinks otherwise and perhaps in the sometimes contrived emotionalism of the moment he is going to be good with God, he repeats the prayer, he is assured that if he said those words he is now saved and then to seal the deal he rushes down to be spontaneously baptized. From this point on he is a self deceived false convert, headed for Hell unless God really gets a hold on his heart. I think you could walk the halls of many of this country’s seminaries and find some who don’t understand the Gospel and are not saved. Is this claim hyperbole? No I know of some of them. Austin I would like to know your thoughts on this, please email me at steveandfern87@gmail.com.

    1. Thanks for this thought provoking comment. I think I agree more with you than you realize, but will send you a e-mail soon and explain in more detail. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment.

      Austin McCann

  2. Quick question…I hear a lot about water baptism at Elevation. Although baptism is very important and should be done as soon as possible, I don’t think it seals our salvation in any way. Does Elevation believe baptism is necessary for salvation? Just curious. I think Elevation is a great church and know some great folks who go there but I haven’t heard a specific sermon that dealt with baptism and was just interested in what the church taught on that subject.


    1. Joey, I agree with you that water baptism is not a part of salvation. No where in the Bible does it say that one must be baptized to be saved. Like I said in the post, baptism is just a picture that we have been saved, a outward sign of an inward reality. As far as I know, Elevation Church and Steven Furtick, does not believe baptism is a part of salvation. Furtick is pretty traditional in his theology and doctrine so could not see him being someone who would believe, or promote, that baptism is a part of salvation. In the sermons of the series “Follow” he makes it pretty clear he does not believe in baptism being part of salvation. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment.

      Austin McCann

  3. The reason some churches have classes before baptism is to give the new believer a chance to confirm their understanding. I have never met the person who listens to one message and really understands the gospel message of sin, justification, saintification, atonement, the nature of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the purpose of the law, grace, judgement, discipline, and the authenticity of the Bible.

    A few things for you to consider about the example you gave of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch. We do not know how much the Ethiopian knew of the Hebrew faith and of Jesus’s ministry before speaking to Philip. We do not know how much time (hours) was spent in conversation. Philip was an Apostle.

  4. Baptism “ Outward expression of an Inward reality (or Change) “ Being saved is not the Inward reality or change.
    May I ask you whats the inwards reality or change ?

    1. Hi Roy,

      The inward change is the miracle of the second birth (salvation). God raises a person from death to life, from darkness to light. That’s all an inward things that will eventually show itself outwardly as someone grow in their relationship with God.

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