When Zac Hess and I prayed for Dr. David Plaster today, he used the phrase "Plaster-ite" for his loyal band of disciples. As VP of Grace College, Plaster seized the opportunity to mentor myriad of young leaders. We were a ragamuffin crew: athletes and addicts, chaplains and chumps, promising pastors and apparent failures.
My freshman year my closest friend Casey told me, "You have to meet with Plaster." Casey was a man of imperatives. (I recall the imperative to attend Grace, otherwise my salvation was in jeopardy.) This call to action was non-negotiable.
By the end of my freshman year, Dr. Plaster and I regularly dialogued in his office. The discussion lasted for four years. Two of my greatest insecurities were part of an ongoing confession. He provided assurance and a sense of normalcy. "I cannot relate to people," I admitted when considering a future in pastoral ministries. "Neither could I," he responded, "but I learned to push the button." His band of Plaster-ites would suggest that button has rarely been unpushed.
My second insecurity emerged when I started dating my wife-to-be. Often I felt like a relational imbecile: selfish, guarded, horny, and incapable of spiritual leadership. "The hallmark of your relationship," Plaster affirmed, "is your willingness to communicate. That is key." Perhaps I'll author his book on marriage: communicate. In the style of my friend Casey, it will be an imperative.
I found out about Dr. Plaster's sickness last Sunday morning. I was getting ready to preach on faith without works, which is dead (James 2:14-26). As an illustration I intended to flaunt my baptismal certificate as a sure sign of my vibrant faith. (This was a great improvement from earlier markers: Christian tee-shirts and D.C. Talk cassette tapes.)
Baptism is a ordinance that names (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). Trinity names are conferred upon the person immersed in the waters. The baptized, baptizer and witnessing church likewise apply their names to the holy union. Then we frame a document and make it official.
Dr. Plaster baptized me, making me a certified Plaster-ite. In this fact I take pride. Perhaps I resurrect an old argument from 1 Corinthians 1 about the baptizer, but I wonder if our arguments for mode are any less embarrassing. I suppose Plaster would be the best guy to ask; he wrote a book titled Ordinances. At this point, though, we need to resurrect bodies, not theological arguments.
So we, Plaster-ites (or not), pray...in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.