1) only recognized licensed, credentialed pastors can baptize
2) only sinners who have first straightened out their moral lives can be baptized
Closely related to these two, would be a third reason:
3) pastors/leaders unwilling to release those God has entrusted to them as legitimate Jesus-commissioned disciples to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.
In the cases where believers are released to go fishing, they are instructed to bring everything they catch back home where the newly caught fish are made to look everyone else.
In my book--or my understanding of God's Book--all these are extra-biblical requirements that go beyond what Scripture actually teaches. It wouldn't be so bad, except these beliefs are keeping us from effectively bringing in the harvest.
Obviously, though, my understanding is flawed in some way because 19 out of 20 pastors/leaders we deal with hold to all three positions and no amount of talk, dialog or Bible Study seems to change their mind. If I sound a bit frustrated, it is because I am a bit frustrated!
Ecuador is a harvest field. There are few places on the planet as responsive to the Gospel as this country. Yet, the greatest barriers to bringing in this harvest are not political, any lack of resources, or even other religions. We are the problem! We who profess to be Christ followers are the dam holding back the rising river waters.
Yes, I believe, sooner or later the Lord of the River will do one of two things: the rising waters will eventually build so much pressure that the dam bursts; or, the river will take on a new course around the dam.
Right now neither of these two alternatives have taken place. But eventually something MUST give way. I guess I am the eternal optimist and am holding out for both to happen. I just hope it is within my life time!
Thank you for pausing a minute and praying for God's Spirit to do something in our midst that has nothing to do with any of us, or the dam. Something that only God can do to bring this nation unto himself.