Danish Immersion Camp

June 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Anyone who has seen the Veggie Tales video “A Snoodle’s Tale” has heard of Danish Immersion Camp. I’m sure you’ve heard of it even if you never saw the Veggie Tales video. It’s often used as a punch line of some kind. It’s real though, believe it or not.

Danish, or any kind, of immersion camp is an intense immersion into the culture, language and customs of whichever culture you are immersing yourself in. I suppose in Danish immersion, you eat a lot of Danishes, build stuff with Legos, and learn about Vikings.

I went through a similar experience when I started attending church at Gateway. You see, I was raised Baptist, went to a Baptist college, a Baptist seminary, served in Baptist churches for about 15 years. Gateway is not Baptist. And it was a little strange for me at first.

Gateway is a large, non-denominational, charismatic church. You may have heard of Gateway. They produce a lot of worship CDs, do a lot of missions, several pastors have written books, and they have helped a great many people in a multitude of ways.

The first Sunday I was there, they were talking about “water baptism.” That’s the only kind I knew about at the time. You get saved, you get baptized, you rock and roll. But what I learned, and it took a long time to sink in, is that there is another baptism – baptism in the Holy Spirit. It took a while for me to accept this teaching. It’s not mentioned in the Baptist Faith and Message. Not the 1963 version (which I used to have about 1000 of), not the 2000 version (which I only read because I had to). Not even the 1925 version.

What the BF&M does say is, “At the moment of regeneration [The Holy Spirit] baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ.” On this I think we all agree, but that’s as far as I was ever taught. Except for that the Holy Spirit doesn’t enable us to do things like it says in the bible anymore – no healing, no prophesying, especially no tongues. Anything but that last one.

Going to Gateway was a liberating experience for me. I learned that there is more to life, faith and the Holy Spirit than what I was taught in school. Here’s a few things I learned, by immersion -

You don’t have to be afraid of the Holy Spirit. He wants to empower you to live the life you were created and redeemed to live.

Believing in the Holy Spirit, and talking about him, doesn’t make you weird. Pastor Robert Morris has stated several times that it’s not like you will just break out into tongues in the supermarket check-out line. The Holy Spirit is not weird, the people who talk about him aren’t weird, and he won’t make you weird.

You invite him in. You surrender to him. And when you do, amazing things happen.

The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ, and Christ baptizes us into the Holy Spirit. At least that’s what John the Baptist said. Take it up with him.

Now for some specific Scripture references -

All of the gospels speak of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. See Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33.

Jesus, as in all things, is our example. The Spirit came upon him, and remained upon him, after his water baptism by John. John 1:33, Matt 3:16.

Many verses throughout the book of Acts talk about the baptism in the Holy Spirit – Acts 2, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10, Acts 19:1-7.

Many people point to Paul’s words about speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 as a prohibition. He is not prohibiting it, he is putting its usage into proper perspective. With tongues, we edify ourselves – and there’s nothing wrong with that! But in public, we should build others up.

1 John 5 talks about three witnesses – the Spirit, water and blood. Christians are saved by the blood of Christ; water baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and the death of our old selves, and being raised a new, whole person in Christ; and the Spirit, who dwells inside us and give us the power to be witnesses and live as God intended – free and whole.

This is foreshadowed in the way the tabernacle was set up in the Old Testament. There were three parts to the tabernacle – the outer courts, the holy place, and the most holy place. To get to the most holy place, you had to do three things -  you had to sacrifice a lamb on the altar, you had to wash with water, and you had to be annointed with oil. Only then could you enter into the presence of God. The lamb represents Christ and his sacrifice for us, the water represents baptism, and the oil represents the Holy Spirit.

It may seem like you have been immersed after all the Scripture I have referenced. I used my notes from church last weekend as the foundation for this post, and believe me, Pastor Robert really brings it – you can tell that the Holy Spirit is all over him – you can watch the sermon online here.

Last weekend, many thousands of people made a decision to be baptized in the Spirit. I have never seen anything like it in my life.  Please watch it for yourself, read the Scriptures, pray about it, seek God and the truth of his word. What is he saying to you about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Rich Nifong

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I love Jesus, my wife Cheryl, my girls Trinity and Zoey, Gateway Church, long walks in the rain and anything on Discovery.

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