George Booker
A New Creation

1. Introduction

This small book tackles some of the questions of life in the Truth that normally arise during preparation for baptism, at baptismal interviews, and especially in the first months and years of a new believer’s life.

The last thing any brother of Christ should want to do is to lay down laws for his fellow-believers. Our faith is a faith of liberty, not of bondage. One of our greatest privileges, in Christ, is the privilege of setting our own standards, consistent with the example of our Lord, and free from the fear of being judged by another man’s judgment. The matters discussed in this manual are, in many cases, no more than suggestions of lines along which each person must think for himself, coming to his own conclusions. It is my intention to provide guidelines, not edicts.


The baptism of a repentant sinner is a very joyous occasion, made all the more important in that heaven, as well as the ecclesia, rejoices, for as Jesus said: “I tell you, there will be greater joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent...there is joy among the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7,10).

Most ecclesias appoint brothers and sisters for the careful instruction and interviewing of those who wish to be baptized, and it is extremely important that those chosen for this task should be members who are of a deep spiritual character and outlook.

The details of doctrinal errors, developed through the centuries by the various apostate churches, make it desirable that applicants for baptism be taught in greater detail than was necessary in the case of first century converts. But a very real danger is that in teaching candidates the doctrines of our Faith, the spiritual implications may be overlooked, or at best referred to only incidentally.

Preliminary instruction and the interview itself should be used to emphasize above everything the Gospel of the grace of God which Paul preached, for as he wrote: “By grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Thus the preparation of an applicant needs the best and most discerning instructors who will make clear not only the details of doctrine, but the guiding hand of God and His love that sanctifies us. This deeper conception of “the Truth” should supplement and enhance the rather “factual” preparation and “examination” type of interview.

The symbolic experience of crucifixion, death and resurrection in baptism should arouse feelings of great exaltation in the new believer. But the days that follow must sometimes seem an anti-climax.

Sometimes after the initial enthusiasm expressed at the baptismal and memorial services, the new member is left very much on his own, it being assumed that his attendance at meetings and the help of brothers and sisters will be adequate to his needs. Nothing could be further from the truth. The interview before baptism achieves little more than agreement on doctrine: it does very little to draw out the implications of the new life.

The new member is one whom Paul describes as a “babe in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1) and it will be quite some time before he will be able to feed on the meat of the word (Heb. 5:12-14). Therefore, the casual care of brothers and sisters in feeding him with “milk” will only result in spiritual malnutrition. Such a “babe”, if left to his own devices, may well be perplexed at some of the problems that face him, and will seriously err in some decisions that he may have to make. Yet his salvation may depend on the care and food given him at this vital early stage of his spiritual life. Often, difficulties that arise in the ecclesia in the later lives of such babes can be traced to the lack of spiritual care in their early years.

In the pages that follow an attempt is made to fulfill in part this responsibility to “babes in Christ”, by offering constructive counsel. Everything discussed herein, both positive and negative, should be evaluated in the light of the following “pledge”, a copy of which one Christadelphian preacher always gives to new believers:

We sincerely believe and declare that the ideal of the Christadelphian community is not merely that of a sect which glories in the possession of right doctrines; nor is it merely that of a friendly church whose members enjoy each other’s company — it is the ideal of power-filled, love-bearing, Bible-based Christianity at its purest and best. We also believe and declare that those who try to live by these ideals are happy people, since there is a deep and lasting joy in the creative work of serving God with which the shallow pleasures of the selfish life cannot compare.

Therefore we solemnly promise before God that we will do our utmost to rise to this great opportunity, and thus testify to all that the power of Christ’s love really can change men’s lives.

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