Family Lessons 7: Chipping Font

This is the font in which my 10 x great grandfather, James Dilworth, was baptised in 1577. The ceremony took place at St Bartholomew’s church in Chipping. The font itself was only about sixty years old when he was sprinkled. Around its exterior are carved some of the instruments employed in Christ’s atoning death, such as nails and whips.

David Ayer’s 2014 war film, Fury, is one of my favourites. The crew of a lone American Sherman tank take on an SS infantry division in the second world war’s closing days. The crew receives Norman, a new and inexperienced soldier. Boyd, the gunner, asks him if he’s saved.

“I’ve been baptised”, Norman replies.

“That wasn’t the question”, says another. “You were asked if you are saved”.

Awkward silence.

Baptism isn’t enough. Even believers’ baptism, freely chosen and understood by the recipient, confers neither grace nor salvation: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved”, said the apostle Paul to the Philippian gaoler.

At the judgement, no-one will be asked if they were baptised. That will not be the question. If Grandfather Dilworth knew the gospel and responded with belief, he and I shall meet before the throne. If he was merely baptised, it will not be enough.