Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: July, 2005


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Reflections on infant baptism and the voice of God

My father-in-law is an Anglican Priest. He is also a very godly man. Three years ago I would not have thought that those two things were compatible. I grew up in the Brethren Assemblies, and I’m rather thankful for that. I believe that the Assemblies have some good things going for them. It was in the Assemblies that I first heard the call of Christ and set my face to follow. I was baptized in an Assembly. I’ve been with them all my life and will likely continue to be with them when I’m in Canada. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing some common problems with our little denomination. Every problem that any denomination has always boils down to people. People screw things up; I think the Bible mentions that somewhere.
Anyway, many people I respected in the Brethren circles would not accept the idea that my dear father-in-law was a godly man and an Anglican at the same time. We’re rather stuck up that way. Every other sermon I hear from the Brethren platform has some sort of dig against this group or that group or some book or tradition. Now, I can see where criticism is needed against certain things, but not to the point where it’s the defining characteristic of our little group.
But I’m getting off topic before I even get on it. Yesterday we went with my dear father-in-law to a man’s house. This man has about six kids and a billion grand-kids all living in the same house. He’s a traveling, unpaid evangelist with a big heart. He’s also an Anglican. God gave him a new grand-child recently. A girl on May 18 at about 5:00pm (The exact same date and time Joseph was born). Like any good Anglican, he wanted this child baptized. I was the preacher at this little ceremony. Now, 4 years back I would have thought this whole thing was just plain awful. How dare they baptize this infant! The child doesn’t know what’s going on, how can she make a choice for herself? Geez, I bet they even think that this baptism saves her. I think I was a bit of an arrogant dummy 4 years back. In all honesty, I loved the service. I preached about how children are a gift from God, and how the most important thing a parent can do is to point their children in the direction of God. We sang a few songs, and then the parents brought the dear little child up to the front, where my father-in-law (Devraj) and I were sitting. He took the baby and blessed her. He prayed over her and then sprinkled water on her. The mother was almost crying.
I think I learned something there. There is a tendency for us to become racist. Not against other ethic groups, but other traditions and practices within the evangelical church. Not for a second did anyone in that room think that the water saved the child. This ceremony was a symbol of the parents giving the child up to God, of them consecrating her to His service. I think that’s beautiful. How could anyone argue against it?
Don’t think of this as a Brethren-bash. I love the little group I’m associated with. It’s full of lovely people. But, just like in any group, we run into unique dangers. Our danger stems from our belief that we exclusively practice New Testament gathering principles. We run the risk of assuming that any practice or tradition that we don’t do is simply unbiblical. I’ve been with the Christians here for a bit more than two weeks now and I find some of the things they do beautiful. The way they express their faith and run their meetings highlights different things. In our groups we highlight the simplicity of faith and priesthood of all believers and out direct access to God. And we do well to do that because these are all good things. But here I see something a little different. They highlight the solemn yet joyful worship of Christ, the holiness of God and His other-ness. They do well because these are all good things. We highlight His accessibility and they highlight His transcendence. We highlight His positional work and they highlight His practical work.
We aren’t against each other. We compliment each other. I used to think that denominations were a tool of the devil, but I think I’m drifting a little from that belief. Through the different outward styles people use we can see different parts of God highlighted. Through other people we can hear the distinct voice of God.
Food for thought.


What a wonderful country this is. I believe I’ve gotten used to it. I love walking down through the Bazaar and shops. The people are lovely and talkative. I’m very glad that I (and Ruth) am here.

Yes, she made it. She had a tearful reunion with her father and family and has begun to settle into life in Pakistan. The team is doing quite well, almost all the stomach oddities are gone and spirits are high. My sister-in-law Rakhel will be getting married next week and we’re all busy getting ready for it.

I took our dear little Joe to get some shots today (‘cuz Polio and TB are not good things). He didn’t like it one little bit. but I’m sure he’ll appreciate it in the future.

We took a trip to Kunri yesterday to see the school that Ruth will be teaching at. I think we also scored a lovely little house while we were there, things are going well!

The trip’s half-over (for the team), please pray for them as they go through this final stretch. Pray that God would show them more of Himself and His heart.

I’m very encouraged, I can live here. It has become normal to me. Praise God for that.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to blog on a more regular basis, but until then, just keep praying.

In Him,

Hey kids, Cook here!

You know, since we’ve been married Ruth and I have never been seperated for any extended period of time. I can’t tell you how much I miss her right now. Even though it sucks, I’m sure this experience is good for us, because all things work for good, right? I appreciate Ruth so much more now that she’s not here. Please pray for her, I’m scared about this long flight she’s on. Please, please pray.

We’re sitting here are the Internet cafe, struggling with the heat, incredibly slow Internet, noisy traffic outside. But I’m so happy that I’m finally here. The team is doing good, they send their love. Please pray for them too. The Internet is very slow, it was a miracle I could get to Blogger, my Gmail is giving me trouble, so I don’t know if I can get my Emails out. Please consider this a personal Email to anyone who wants one.

I suppose this is my first post from Pakistan. I don’t think I’ve got any words of wisdom…except maybe for two. 1 – A great wife is better than gold, rubies, cars, video games, or anything else that you may like. I suggest you find one and never ever let her out of your sight. 2 – Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. Because in the end true righteousness is worth more than anything you could possibly imagine.

So maybe you should keep that in mind and pray for my wife and son. I hope they’re both sleeping right now. God guard them…

Hello friends!
This is Ruth. Just wanted to update you all a little. :) Ok, here is what has been happening lately. As many of you know, the team and Matthew have arrived safely in Pakistan. Joe and I, on the other hand are still here in Cananda!! What happend, you may wonder. Well, we were all ready and on our way, showing our tickets and what not, the agent tells me that I cannot go! I asked why and he said that since I am not Canadian, I need a travelling pass or visa to travel through the European countries. That for sure was a shock to us. Something that we never expected to happen. To make the story short, we tried very hard right and then to get me another flight but no such luck. In doing all that, Matthew ended up missing his flight but thankfully got another one in a few hours without any extra charge. Both Joe and I ended up staying here. I was VERY upset, angry and frustrated. Then of course the people at the air-port aren’t the most friendly and helpful. Anyways, Thursday and Friday were very tiring. Lots of running around at the terminals inorder to find some help re my next flight.
As of now, I have talked to Matthew a few times. Everybody is doing good. Is safe and having a good time. Joe and I fly on this Wed around 11:40pm. First flight is from TO to Hong Kong (19 hours). 10 hours waiting at the air-port there and then final flight (9hours) to Karachi). Yes, a VERY long one but that seems to work for now. So please pray for us. I am a little nervous to travel with my little son. I have never done this before. So pray for the strength. God is good and has been teaching us to trust in HIM and know that He is faithful. Today I can say that whatever has been, it’s good becasue I know that we are in HIS Hands. He has a reason for all this. Praise God! Thank you all so much for your prayers, love and support.
God is good
Standing on His promises

Yodh and Mem

6 minutes left at the terminal in Heathrow. We’re well on our way. Some neat things have happened in the last 24 hours or so. Thank God He’s in control of it all.

Pray for the rest of the trip, especially for Ruth.

More when we make it to Karachi.