Last night’s fall of snow has put the kybosh on walking on the Sandstone Ridge, so I have time to attempt to unravel the confusion I have caused. I hope I manage it to some extent at least!
I seem to have given four wrong impressions:
1) you are proud that so many people have be taken from the Catholic Church and have become Protestants.
2) you hold personal beliefs to be what is most important.
3) your linking of what you call "Believers Baptism" with the success in Brazil ( and I assume other places) in making converts, implying that the success of Brazilian Protestants was due to Believers Baptism
4) your assertion seems to be that "believer's baptism" must be true, and God must be blessing it (rather than those who also practice infant baptism).
It’s easier to start at #2. I think it is terribly important to hold orthodox Christian beliefs, most importantly of all concerning the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. There has always been room for variation within Protestantism on issues that are not considered central, and in those I think that what is most important is not personal beliefs in the head but the attitude of the heart towards God in Christ, especially repentance, faith, submission, obedience. One Orthodox poster wrote of Augustine’s reference to ‘non-essentials’, another (ialmisry, I think) wrote of the theolegoumena. So: adherence to essential orthodoxy; engagement of the heart through Christ with God the Father.
Regarding #3, the thing got started like this:
1) I wrote that I find a mystery in this (to me) seeming paradox, that the Bible teaches only believers’ baptism, but the vast majority of men God has used in bringing people to know Himself in Christ have been pædobaptists.
2) KatherineofDixie replied that I ought to perceive this as a clue to the rightness of infant baptism.
3) I replied that this argument doesn’t hold water, because these days the majority of people God is using to bring people to know Himself practise believers’ baptism. (I only have books and articles to go on, I have not personally visited these mainly southern-hemisphere places – but assuming the reports are true.) Therefore I said, God’s use of mainly pædobaptists in the past, and mainly credobaptists at present, cannot be taken as a clue in either direction.
4) Therefore, whichever is right, it seems God is prepared to wink at the other as perhaps less important than we take it to be. Here, to me, is a significant part of the mystery, for to both me and you baptism is of real importance.
5) Certainly success in evangelism cannot be ascribed to which form of baptism one believes in, as God has used, and still uses, people from both camps.
I think that answers #4 as well, as it seems to be essentially the same idea.
Now to the more troubling idea, namely #1. If I am proud of anything, I am wrong. God forbid. I assume that those Brazilians, SE Asians (and others) who are coming to know the Lord through the Pentecostal movement did not find him personally in their previous context. That is not something that makes me proud, but if people are being born again through faith in Christ, then I am of course glad and hope it will long continue.
Finally, and not directly linked with the confusion, was the post which pointed to the character of some religious movements which practise believers’ baptism, namely a “Sugar-Daddy” approach to God. Here I replied that we find this every bit as deplorable as you do, and we see it as a perversion of true religion. My guess – and it is no more than that – is that this kind of distortion finds its most eager reception in materialistic western societies (like America and Britain) and may not be part of what is happening in poorer countries; though even then I am aware that western missionaries may be spreading this deformed offspring of Protestantism. I almost never come across it first-hand, so I cannot comment from personal experience or knowledge.