How Baptism has affected a Christians life

In this part of my coursework I will use my personal research to show how baptism has changed a particular persons life. I will explain how it changed their lives, and why I believe this person is a good example to use for my coursework.

Laurence Hull Stookey.

Laurence Hull Stookey was born in Texas, in 1953. He grew up, as many Texans did at that time, on the streets. He quickly became involved in street crime, and it was not long before he had joined an infamous street gang called the ‘Latin Kings’. The crimes this gang committed were tedious. Murder, rape, and G and ABH were routine for this gang.

One day, Laurence and his gang were involved in a shoot and drive-by with another local rival gang. Although none of the opposing gang members were harmed, Laurence’s best friend, Fredrico Marzechi was shot 3 times in the head, and was killed instantly. Laurence was too shot in the head, but he amazingly survived. The bullet passed through his left eye socket, and lodged itself in part of his brain, destroying his sense of taste and smell. Many surgeons advised him to take leave of his ‘gangster’ lifestyle, but he ignored their advise, and as soon as he was discharged, he was back in the gang.

He did, however, get baptised during his stay in hospital, because he believed it was a way of repaying God for saving him on that tedious day.

3 months after Laurence was out of hospital, he was involved in another shoot-out, with the same gang. Again, he was shot. This time the bullet lodged itself in his right thigh, paralysing his right leg.

This time, Laurence decided that getting baptised had saved him from being more grievously wounded. He decided that it was time for him to make up for his sins, and begin a new life devoted to God.

He became involved in working with his local church, where he found he had a talent for getting people to listen to him and his views, so he became involved in political religion, and gave speeches on what he believed.

A famous quote of his was: “Baptism has changed my perception of the future. The same God who claimed me before I could understand, through that very act gives me hoe for a future that I cannot comprehend.” Laurence now warns against seeing Baptism as a magical act, and recently quoted: “This is not something that should be seen as a transformative act that works independent of the intentions and meaning attached to it by the individuals and community participating. However, there is a fine line that is often crossed between the theory of baptism and the practice of baptism. There is no greater comfort on earth for me than that I am baptised, and part of the family of God, the body of Christ.”

I believe that this is someone who has had their life truly changed by their baptism. This conversion can be clearly connected with the miracle of St.Paul. The way Stookey’s life was altered was a true miracle. If you could show a random person the quotes Stookey recently made, they would not have guessed that 5 years prior to this, he was a murderer and rapist.

This proves what St Paul said, and God wishes us to realise which is; “We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink,” {1 Cor 12:13 NIV}. Notice how he emphasizes twice that all believers were baptized into one body. We were placed into Christ.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. {Rom 6:1-4 NIV}

This is a good example to use because it is identifying the extremes. A potential murderer and rapist was converted to a preacher and follower of Jesus and God.

However, it should not have to take an act of realisation like being shot to realise that God is the divine and saviour, and that being baptised is the way to belonging to his divine family.

We could take into account in our daily lives how a man who, in his life, reputation is everything, managed to defy his whole lifestyle, and all his friends, to become a member of God’s community. We could all learn a lesson from this because everyone knows how hard it is to turn your back on a whole life, just for God.

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