There has been some interesting debate from folks on my "A dip in the water?" post. Mal York, a great Aussie gent (we haven’t actually met, so he’s still good in my books) noted that our discussion has moved slightly into a new discussion, which has also got me thinking – which comes first?
Where does our responsibly lie? Do we first seek to make true disciples and then baptize them as a symbol of their belief and faith in Christ? OR Do we baptism all those who come to us seeking baptism and allow the Holy Spirit to work and move in them. Is Article 27 written on the understanding that the family are believers?
A literalist might notice that both Matthew and Mark record Jesus as having said to make disciples first and then baptize – "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…" (Matthew 28:19a) & "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved…" (Mark 16:15-16a). Which could easily end this thought and indicate that the church has been in error for some time and has been lax in its mission to make disciples. One difficulty, for me, is that the punctuation is not consistent in both texts.
Simply following the Great Commission in Matthew can leave room to interpret that we are open to interpreter which Jesus believed to be of greater importance. Does that make it irrelevant which happens first as long as both occur at some point?