Counting Baptisms and Praying for more
ESV Acts 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Whenever I hear pastors and other Christians discuss this verse, often around Pentecost Sunday, someone wonders out loud “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Holy Spirit still worked so emphatically in our world today? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see 3000 converts in one week?”
The Holy Spirit is living and active, working “when and where it pleases God”. Current estimates are that there are about 2.2 billion Christians around the world. Demographics listed at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary website estimate that there are 79,000 new Christians baptized or converted everyday. If that estimate is accurate, that means there are 533,000 new Christians every week, or 26,645,000 every year. We do not personally get to see 3000 or 533,000 baptisms every week because they are spread across millions of congregations around the world. But they are happening. We can and should pray that the Holy Spirit will increase the number of baptisms, both adult and infant, in our own local congregations. We can and should share our salutary Lutheran teachings with other Christians so that their consciences will be less burdened by their heterodoxy. But may we never doubt that the Holy Spirit is working less energetically now than he was that first week in Jerusalem.