Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Thanks, But No Thanks
A coin always has two sides. Those two sides bear the image of the head and foot of the fleeting vestigial image con-figured by the whole of the coin. The figure con-figured by the coin is not fleeing and vestigial because of the coins rusting away into oblivion. The figure is fleeing, because one side can never bear the whole image of the figure. We can only reflect upon one side at a time. The coin is vestigial, because our one sided reflection upon it serves as a didactic representation of the human condition.
The image on the visible side of the coin appears to us as an expression of the substance which composes the coin. But the truth is the image was first made to appear by means of an impression. This impression is made by an original of the image that stands outside of and beyond the coin, and from which many other coins can be formed. That original is the TEMPLate. Noah entered INTO the ark; we go INTO Christ through baptism.
A modern building is a configuring of modern man, with a modern plan of action. An ancient baptistery is a configuring of ancient man, with an ancient plan of action. Baptism is a configuring BY God, which reveals His plan (of salvation). The believer IS the figure.
A plan of a modern building has Nothing at its center. Modern man says, “I think, therefore I am.” An ancient plan as something in its center. In the center of an ancient baptistery is a baptismal font, of the Campidoglio is an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, of a room in the Parthenon is a statue of Athena. The existence of an ancient was not defined by his thinking. An ancient Greek was defined by his deeds; his actions left his legacy after he was gone.
The ancient Jewish man is not so simple and easy to read. There was Something at the center of the garden (a couple of trees, you may remember). The ancient Jew was also a man of action (unlike modern man). What occupied the center of the garden, however, inherently displaced man from the center of his world. The purpose, the end, of the Greek man’s glorious deeds, however was to give others something by which to remember him. The “telos” of his action was for his name to live beyond his short, fragile life. An ancient Greek man’s glorious deeds in politics or in military valor made him immortal, like a god.
Contemporary religion is a coin. The “heads” side bears the image of Calvinism. It is modern religion. “Faith alone” (Calvinism appears to me as the logical extension of current Lutheranism) does not refer to affirming ACTS of faith, like those of David in the STORIES of the Hebrew scriptures. I recently encountered the “tails” side of the coin in the Church of Christ. Think of something “Reformed”; the Church of Christ is probably opposed to it. Confusingly, the Church of Christ is not ancient. Only modern coins are in circulation these days.
The images that appear on both sides of the coin are the result of impressions from the same God. Baptism is the revelation of one plan. The Baptized believer is con-figured by one God. I grew up in neither church (I mean “grew up” here both spiritually (so far) and physically), and I don’t really associate myself with either side of the coin. And yet, when I associated with the Church of Christ, I was expected to choose between those two sides of a particular fleeting and vestigial figurative coin that bears images that have been being formed by the sands of thousands of years.
More specifically, actually, I was told I was not saved, because I don’t bear the image of the believer on the Church of Christ side of the coin (figuratively speaking). Being told I am not saved initiated quite the journey for me. I printed out 160 pages of research on a wide variety of topics for a wide variety of reasons. I have dug deep into scripture in a very rigorous way, asking myself at every questioning step how or where the possible answers correspond to scripture.
Since being told I’m not saved, I have learned more about and intimately connected with more scripture than I ever have in that short of a period of time. I would also say that, as a result of my time with the Church of Christ, I have taken my giving “every effort” to a whole new level. I am giving my whole self to Christ, over an extended period of time, in a way that I never have before, not only by my action or inaction, but by my desire to commune with and get to know God’s son through His Word. I truly believe that, for these reasons, God lead me to The Church of Christ. So, both to God and the Church of Christ, thank you. I also truly and genuinely am thankful to the brothers in the Church of Christ who poured their time, energy, and care into me. It was a considerable amount of time, energy and care, actually, a fact not lost on me. Again, thank you.
To the Church of Christ, however, no thank you. I cannot commit myself to you. In response to the previously mentioned time, effort, and care you poured into me, I feel I owe you an explanation as to why.
Lines always divide. When I was told I am not saved, I had to ask two questions: where was the man coming from who made that statement, and what, really, is salvation? What is the bigger figure to which the line that I’m not saved belongs, and on which side of the line will I stand?
The claim of the Church of Christ is a return to the first century church, but the figure that appears there is drawn along very modern lines. Fittingly, one of the key leaders who started the movement from which the Church of Christ came – Alexander Campbell - was a student of and heavily influenced by key Enlightenment thinker John Locke! Their hermeneutical approach is also historically heavily influenced by the methods of Francis Bacon, one of the very fathers of modern science! Locke’s voice is heard through Campbell’s desire to “REDUCE religion to a set of essentials upon which all reasonable persons might agree.” Those “essentials” are arrived at by an analysis of commands and examples in the New Testament, which lead to supposedly NECESSARY inferences (here we see traces of Francis Bacon).
I see these lines being taken necessarily in the Church of Christ. I do not often or even usually see the necessity of the inferences. In fact, I stand strongly against the use of modern science to interpret the bible and against the use of modern scientific methods in apologetics. Many of the lines drawn by the Church of Christ, therefore, necessarily put me, at least in this way, on the outside of the figure of the man drawn by the line.
Baptism is a configuring by God. The believer is the figure. Figures are drawn by lines. Lines set definitions. Modern man is defined by tension between the ghost and the machine; the line between them is difficult to trace. The churning operation of the modern machine obliterates the fleeting appearance of the figure (figuratively speaking). As stated by Alexander Campbell, “The Bible is a book of facts, not of opinions, theories, abstract generalities, nor of verbal definitions.” Mature believers come to appear on the horizon of the church through growth, like fruit. Facts are not so nebulous, as are fleeting and vestigial figures. Facts are the concrete, shiny, metallic parts of a machine that churns along in perfect synchronicity and uniformity. How facts appear can seem just as mysterious as ripe fruit, but, also being vestiges, concrete, factual machine parts give a much less complete picture of man than do fruits. With the locomotive force of fact, the figure that appears on the ancient Temple’s face is shattered by a heap of cinder blocks, glass panes, and metal panels.
A coin always has two sides. Those two sides bear the image of the head and foot of the fleeting vestigial image con-figured by the whole of the coin. The figure that appears in the Church of Christ very definitively and one-sidedly falls on the tails side of the whole of the coin that is the figure of modern man. The head of the figure of modern man is the ghost; the foot is the machine. The facts he uses as his blueprint serve as solid, precise, and reliable pieces of his mechanical church. His HEAVY emphasis on acts of obedience adds weight and solidity to the parts of his machine. His actions are operations; he is like unto a crane operator. His obedient operations save him, give him eternal life. As a disclaimer, I am aware that this statement, taken purely at face value, is an over-simplification. My point here is one of emphasis, not of doctrinal exposition.
There are no gaps in the operations of modern machinery; machine parts have very definitive edges. For the Church of Christ, salvation DEFINITIVELY occurs in a moment in time (when we do something) rather than as a process of fruition. God planted the seed, but from a distance. Scripture has evidence for both moment and fruitional process. Falling so decisively on the tails side of the coin, the Church of Christ takes salvation to very DEFNITIVELY not occur by faith alone; salvation requires obedience.
I might lean towards agreement with that, to a degree (if I use the term “requires” loosely), but scripture also emphasizes faith as THE means of salvation pretty heavily. The man in the Church of Christ is very definitively NOT “once saved, always saved” because of his emphasis on works of obedience (and because of the intolerance for gaps in properly functioning modern machines). As another disclaimer, the works of obedience of the man in the Church of Christ spring from faith. I am presenting what I take to be a picture of this man that is heavily WEIGHTED on one side, a figure that heavily emphasizes one side of the coin. Again, for me, the question is not one of doctrinal truth NECESSARILY. It is a question of emphasis weighted on particular lines in the bigger figure.
I was told by the man at the Church of Christ that I’m not saved, at least partially because my salvation didn’t turn along the steps of their process presented by the essential facts necessarily and scientifically inferred from the commands and examples found in the New Testament. A key cog in my supposedly broken mechanical operation is that I was baptized as a baby rather than as part of the process of my salvation.
The problem is, I’m not so sure that this baptism is such an absolutely NECESSARY cog in the process. If being baptized “for” my salvation NECESSARILY meant “in order to get” my salvation, a different Greek preposition would have been used (“hina”), rather than the “eis” that was used. The Greek word actually used in Acts 2: 38 for “for” actually means “because of” or “on the ground of”; neither the Greeks nor the Jews were modern machinists who only sought to understand material causation. Ancient man understood formal cause; that’s why he made figures appear in his scriptures, as well.
Baptism is not one of the gears of a clock, nor one of the station points in an assembly line to heaven. There is a recent trend in the Church of Christ towards emphasizing more heavily the transformational aspect of baptism rather than con-figuring it as nothing more than a legal requirement or a sign of something that had already happened in the past. The very fact that this trend was “necessary” reveals the weight and direction of the Church of Christ. That original figure still predominantly appears there, as far as I have been able to discern. The lines that draw this mechanical figure say that faith is the how we are saved, and baptism is the when. These lines necessitate a precise time stamp on each individual’s salvation. I can’t tell whether the clock stands against the figure of the dove, or if, in modern man’s having interwoven himself with his machines, the clock and the dove sing in presumed silent harmony.
I was also told by the man at the Church of Christ that I’m not saved because of the sin in my life that has been there since I feel I was saved; I was told that I need to repent. I genuinely and sincerely thank that man for helping me to see again the need to repent, as well as for helping me to see that necessity in particular places in scripture.
Another reason cited for my lack of salvation by that man at the Church of Christ is that I haven’t been making disciples. Again, I genuinely and sincerely thank that man for leading me to a place of desire and hunger in which I have and am still seeking for an understanding of salvation that is clear, powerful, truthful, and scriptural enough to more effectively pass onto others. It has been a dizzying and exhausting search, but AS FAR AS I CAN TELL SO FAR, the idea of salvation presented by the Church of Christ is too one sided for me to accept. My lack of full ability to accept it, I now know, leads me to be unable to commit to the image of salvation expressed on their heavily weighted tails side of the coin.
As part of his reaction against a Calvinism that I do not follow, my experiences that I take to be from and with God not only carry no weight with the man in the Church of Christ, but he, with the necessary force of a scriptural command with examples in mind, instructs me not to base my idea of salvation on those experiences of divine Grace. What about the other side of the TEMPLE into which we enter, the Inside, which lies beyond the curtain that was torn in two? “....let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
Necessity has a very pragmatic meaning for modern man. Necessity, however, is death. What is necessary is that which is inevitable; without necessities, we die. Pragma is a material concern and harkens back to the Greek word for “a thing done, a fact.” This is why concern for “methods and procedures” is expressed on the tails side of a coin that is a con-figuring of modern man. This is also partially why a prescribed (like a blueprint), formulaic and sequential process of salvation that occurs in a precisely defined moment is expressed on the tails side of the coin.
The hermeneutic approach of the Church of Christ is even primarily FUNCTIONAL. Facts arrived at with an analysis of commands, examples, and necessary inferences function as cinder blocks of the church. Even the Holy Spirit is taken to operate functionally. Historically, they hold to the rationalist idea that the Holy Spirit works ONLY through the influence of inspired scripture to draw people to salvation. Again, this was a conscious reaction against the opposite side of the coin, which emphasized nebulous Spirit-induced and emotion laden conversion experiences. Major historical strains in the Church of Christ even pragmatically intended or hoped to hasten the millennium through human progress, supposedly spurred along by this return to first century Christianity. The head is immersed in a cloud with the Holy Ghost. The tail is a well-oiled machine. Can they not become one man, one (Baptized) figure?
As I stated multiple times above, the point, for me, is one of emphasis rather than of explicit, absolute, or prescribed doctrinal truth. I see the value in their doctrinal stances. After my research, I might even tend to lean in that direction in some instances or in some ways. I must, however, take my stance outside the line. I can’t give myself to the bigger figure to which belongs the line that states I’m not saved. I can’t commit to a way that claims so strongly and necessarily to be THE way as to consider me unsaved.
The man at the Church of Christ draws that line, because his way is so much different from much of what I’ve been taught, which is expressed on the heads side of the coin. The point at which I realized I couldn’t place myself on his side of the line, however, was when I realized that the whole of the figure of the man at the Church of Christ, although composed of individual lines taken literally from scripture, is directed by modernity (in ways that I not only can’t accept but stand against). On top of that, the modern direction of the lines that compose the whole of the figure appears to influence the line stating that I’m not saved. To say it pragmatically, I can’t continue a process of salvation in a church if I believe I’m already saved.
I have studied many scriptures that (supposedly or not, depending on which side one stands) stand for or against faith alone, the perseverance of the saints, imputed righteousness, imparted righteousness, salvation in a moment, salvation as a process (yes, some scriptures do potentially support the idea), baptismal regeneration, baptism as a public proclamation of faith and of new life with God (rather than as a “necessary” component of salvation), and the “New Perspective on Paul” (N.T. Wright). In most of these, I’m not so sure scripture presents such an either/or picture as is usually supposed (by both sides). I also re-studied Pelagianism. I don’t plan to rehearse all of that here.
My intention was to make clear, if I could, why I can’t commit to the Church of Christ, considering how much time, energy, and care they have poured into me. Also, my reason for being unable to commit to the Church of Christ is not a desire to hold onto my sin. I don’t. I like that the Church of Christ is discipleship driven, more locally governed and (in some cases) more concentrated on local mission. I like that I was challenged by their emphasizing obedience more than the tradition(s) to which I am accustomed. I like that the leadership and preaching is more dispersed, the heavy emphasis on trying to do things the biblical way, and the lack of a big, expensive building. Some of those things drew me to be interested in the Church of Christ, and I found that I liked some of them as I began to attend. Considering the bigger figure formed by all those lines, though, I must necessarily say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Just got back in town and got your message. I will respect your decision and I also just read your article. Without going into too much detail, the issues that we had were not about "baptism" but rather about sin and repentance. Baptism was one of the doctrines but surely not the main issue. And yes, unapologetically, I believe that every believer must obey God (that is biblical even Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 'teach them to obey') and at the same time I believe that we are save by grace through faith(that is also biblical- Ephesians 2:8). These are not two sides of the same coin but rather make up the entire coin. This is not a church of Christ or Calvinist issue but rather an issue of man's biggest problem--Sin, his response to the cross, his belief and faith in Christ, his turning from his sins and his sins being forgiven. To focus on Baptism as our main issue, is to send a false message to people on deeper issues that were discussed in our studies. I pray that you continue to study out the scriptures and discover God's will for your life.
I do care about you and if you would like to study and talk in the future, I will make myself available
Can you also attach this to your blog since you are making the issue 'baptism' so that your bloggers can also read what the early Christians and arguments against baptism? I am only attaching this because you made 'baptism' the main issue and also stated your view of its role in salvation. Also, I pray that your school studies are going well. Talk to you soon.
110-165 AD Martyr "As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all... And for this we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe." (Justin Martyr, "First Apology," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 183)
110-165 AD Martyr The "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles" also refer to John 3:5. There, the one who refuses to be baptized is to be condemned as an unbeliever, partially on the basis of what Jesus told Nicodemus…. "He that, out of contempt, will not be baptized, shall be condemned as an unbeliever, and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says: 'Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned.'" (Justin Martyr "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, pg. 456-457.)
110-165AD Martyr "there is no other way [to obtain God's promises] than this-to become acquainted with Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the remainder, to live sinless lives." (Justin Martyr, Trypho chap. 44)
110-165AD Martyr "Those who are convinced that what we teach is true and who desire to live accordingly are instructed to fast and to pray to God for the remission of all their past sins. We also pray and fast with them. Then we bring them to a place where there is water, and they are regenerated in the same manner in which we ourselves were regenerated. They then receive the washing with water in the name of God (the Father and Lord of the universe) and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ said, 'Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"' [John 3:5]. (Justin First Apology chant 61)
115-188 THEOPHILUS "On the fifth day the living creatures which proceed from the waters were produced, through which also is revealed the manifold wisdom of God in these things; for who could count their multitude and various kinds? Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men's being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration, as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God." (Theophilus, "To Autolycus,", Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pg. 101)
115AD Second Clement "For, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest; but if otherwise, then nothing shall deliver us from eternal punishment, if we should disobey His commandments. . . . [W]ith what confidence shall we, if we keep not our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of God? Or who shall be our advocate, unless we be found having holy and righteous works?' (Second Clement 6:7)
120-205 AD IRENAEUS "As we are lepers in sin, we are made clean from our old transgressions by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord. We are thus spiritually regenerated as newborn infants, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'" Irenaeus, "Fragments From Lost Writings", no. 34, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 574)
120-205 AD IRENAEUS "This class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole faith." (Against Heresies, bk. 1, chap. 21, sec. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 345.)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "After the world had been hereupon set in order through its elements, when inhabitants were given it, 'the waters' were the first to receive the precept 'to bring forth living creatures.' Water was the first to produce that which had life, that it might be no wonder in baptism if waters know how to give life." (Tertullian, "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, page 670)
140-230 AD Tertullian "Baptism itself is a corporal act by which we are plunged into the water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from our sins" (Baptism 7:2).
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said, 'For Christ sent me not to baptize;' as if by this argument baptism were done away! For if so, why did he baptize Gaius, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas? However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize. But these words were written to the Corinthians in regard of the circumstances of that particular time; seeing that schisms and dissensions were agitated among them, while one attributes everything to Paul, another to Apollos. For which reason the 'peacemaking' apostle, for fear he should seem to claim all gifts for himself, says that he had been sent 'not to baptize, but to preach.' For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior. Therefore the preaching came first: but I think baptizing withal was lawful to him to whom preaching was." (Tertullian, "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 676)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life! A treatise on this matter will not be superfluous; instructing not only such as are just becoming formed in the faith... The consequence is, that a viper of the Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism. Which is quite in accordance with nature; for vipers and asps and serpents themselves generally do affect arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes after the example of our ikhthus, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water; so that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes, by taking them away from the water!" (On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 669.)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "How mighty is the grace of water, in the sight of God and His Christ, for the confirmation of baptism! Never is Christ without water: if, that is, He is Himself baptized in water; inaugurates in water the first rudimentary displays of his power, when invited to the wedding; invites the thirsty, when He makes a discourse, to Himself being living water; approves, when teaching concerning love, among works of charity, the cup of water offered to a poor child; recruits His strength at a well; walks over the water; willingly crosses the sea; ministers water to his disciples. Onward even to the passion does the witness of baptism last: while He is being surrendered to the cross, water intervenes; witness Pilate's hands: when He is wounded, forth from His side bursts water; witness the soldier's lance!... True and stable faith is baptized with water, unto salvation; pretended and weak faith is baptized with fire, unto judgment." (Tertullian, "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 673, 674)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "The prescript is laid down that 'without baptism, salvation is attainable by none' chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, 'Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.'" (On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 674-675)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "What more disgraceful than immodesties? If, moreover, even from a 'brother' who 'walketh idly' he warns the Thessalonians to withdraw themselves, how much more withal from a fornicator! For these are the deliberate judgments of Christ, 'loving the Church,' who 'hath delivered Himself up for her, that He may sanctify her (purifying her utterly by the laver of water) in the word, that He may present the Church to Himself glorious, not having stain or wrinkle' - of course after the laver - 'but that she may be holy and without reproach; thereafter, to wit, being 'without wrinkle' as a virgin, 'without stain' (of fornication) as a spouse, 'without disgrace' (of vileness), as having been 'utterly purified.'" (Tertullian, "On Modesty," 217 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, pg. 94)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN This is in agreement to the context of the words of John the Baptist when he prophesied of the baptism of fire. Referring to Jesus, John said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (comment on Matthew 3:11-12).
150-200 AD CLEMENT "Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal... This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing. Washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly." (Clement of Alexandria, "The Instructor," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pg. 215)
150-200 AD CLEMENT "But when the time began to draw near that what was wanting in the Mosaic institutions should be supplied, as we have said, and that the Prophet should appear, of whom he had foretold that He should warn them by the mercy of God to cease from sacrificing; lest haply they might suppose that on the cessation of sacrifice there was no remission of sins for them He instituted baptism by water amongst them, in which they might be absolved from all their sins on the invocation of His name." (Clement, "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, pg. 88)
150-200 AD CLEMENT "Now God has ordered every one who worships Him to be sealed by baptism; but if you refuse, and obey your own will rather than God's, you are doubtless contrary and hostile to His will. But you will perhaps say, 'What does the baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God?' In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to us with an oath: 'Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it he is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation." (Clement, "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, pg. 155)
150-200 AD Clement "This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing. Washing, by which we cleanse away our sins. Grace, by which the penalties of our sins are canceled. And illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly." (Clement Instructor bk. 1, chap. 6)
150-200 AD CLEMENT "We are washed from all our sins, and are no longer entangled in evil. This is the one grace of illumination, that our characters are not the same as before our washing... In the same way, therefore, we also, repenting of our sins, renouncing our iniquities, purified by baptism, speed back to the eternal light, children to the Father." (Clement of Alexandria, "The Instructor," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pg. 216-217.)
150-200 AD CLEMENT "When he had given them these and such like precepts, he made proclamation to the people, saying: 'Since I have resolved to stay three months with you, if any one desires it, let him be baptized; that, stripped of his former evils, he may for the future, in consequence of his own conduct, become heir of heavenly blessings, as a reward for his good actions." (Clement, "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, pg. 132
181 AD Theophilus of Antioch "Moreover, those things which were created from the waters were blessed by God, so that this might also be a sign that men would at a future time receive repentance and remission of sins through water and the bath of regeneration all who proceed to the truth and are born again and receive a blessing from God" (To Autolycus 12:16).
190 AD Irenaeus of Lyons "`And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'" (Fragment 34).
200 AD CYPRIAN "But what a thing it is, to assert and contend that they who are not born in the Church can be the sons of God! For the blessed apostle sets forth and proves that baptism is that wherein the old man dies and the new man is born, saying, 'He saved us by the washing of regeneration.' But if regeneration is in the washing, that is, in baptism, how can heresy, which is not the spouse of Christ, generate sons to God by Christ?" (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 388)
200 AD Cyprian of Carthage "While I was lying in darkness . . . I thought it indeed difficult and hard to believe . . . that divine mercy was promised for my salvation, so that anyone might be born again and quickened unto a new life by the laver of the saving water, he might put off what he had been before, and, although the structure of the body remained, he might change himself in soul and mind. . . . But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by means of the water of rebirth, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and now pure heart; afterwards, through the Spirit which is breathed from heaven, a second birth made of me a new man" (To Donatus 3)
200 AD HERMAS "And I said, 'I heard, sir, some teachers maintain that there is no other repentance than that which takes place, when we descended into the water and received remission of our former sin.' He said to me, 'That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case.'" (Hermas, "The Shepherd," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pg. 22)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Aurelius of Utica said: Since the apostle says that we are not to communicate with other people's sins, what else does he do but communicate with other people's sins, who holds communion with heretics without the Church's baptism? And therefore I judge that heretics must be baptized, that they may receive forgiveness of their sins; and thus communion may be had with them." ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 569.)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Caecilius of Bilta said: I know only one baptism in the Church, and none out of the Church. This one will be here, where there is the true hope and the certain faith. For thus it is written: 'One faith, one hope, one baptism;' not among heretics, where there is no hope, and the faith is false, where all things are carried on by lying." (The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian, September, 258 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 565)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Marcellus of Zama said: Since sins are not remitted saved in the baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion with a sinner." ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian,", Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 570)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Nicomedes of Segermae said: My opinion is this, that heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, for the reason that among sinners without they can obtain no remission of sins. ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 567)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Victor of Gor said: Since sins are not remitted save in the baptism of the Church, he who admits a heretic to communion without baptism does two things against reason: he does not cleanse the heretics, and he befouls the Christians." ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 568)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE "Victoricus of Thabraca said: If heretics are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins, wherefore do we brand them with infamy and call them heretics?" ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 568)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE Dativus of Badis said: We, as far as in us lies, do not hold communion with heretics, unless they have been baptized in the Church, and have received remission of their sins." ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 567)
200-258 AD CARTHAGE Felix of Bagai said: As, when the blind leads the blind, they fall together into the ditch; so, when the heretic baptizes a heretic, they fall together into death. And therefore a heretic must be baptized and made alive, lest we who are alive should hold communion with the dead. ("The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 567)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "But as often as water is named alone in the Holy Scriptures, baptism is referred to, as we see intimated in Isaiah: 'Remember not,' says he, 'the former things, and consider not the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, which shall now spring forth; and ye shall know it. I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry place, to give drink to my elected people, my people whom I have purchased, that they might show forth my praise.' There God foretold by the prophet, that among the nations, in places which previously had been dry, rivers should afterwards flow plenteously, and should provide water for the elected people of God, that is, for those who were made sons of God by the generation of baptism.... Christ... cries and says, 'If any man thirst, let him come and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' And that it might be more evident that the Lord is speaking there, not of the cup, but of baptism, the Scripture adds, saying, 'But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.' For by baptism the Holy Spirit is received... As also, in another place, the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman, saying, 'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall not thirst for ever.' By which is also signified the very baptism of saving water, which indeed is once received, and is not again repeated.." (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 360)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "But if the baptism of heretics can have the regeneration of the second birth, those who are baptized among them must be counted not heretics, but children of God. For the second birth, which occurs in baptism, begets sons of God." (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 393)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "For he who has been sanctified, his sins being put away in baptism, and has been spiritually re-formed into a new man, has become fitted for receiving the Holy Spirit; since the apostle says, 'As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.' (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 387-388)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "Moreover, Peter himself... has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved, except by the one only baptism of one Church. 'In the ark,' says he, 'of Noah, few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water, as also baptism shall in like manner save you.' In how short and spiritual a summary has he set forth the sacrament of unity! For as, in that baptism of the world in which its ancient iniquity was purged away, he who was not in the ark of Noah could not be saved by water, so neither can he appear to be saved by baptism who has not been baptized in the Church which is established in the unity of the Lord according to the sacrament of the one ark. (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 389)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "Since, therefore, from the preaching and testimony of Christ Himself, the Father who sent must be first known, then afterwards Christ, who was sent, and there cannot be a hope of salvation except by knowing the two together; how, when God the Father is not known, nay, is even blasphemed, can they who among the heretics are said to be baptized in the name of Christ, be judged to have obtained the remission of sins?" (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 383.)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "What then, say they, will become of those who, coming from the heretics, have been received without the baptism of the Church?... But they... should be baptized with the baptism of the Church, that they may obtain remission of sins, lest by the presumption of others they remain in their old error, and die without the completion of grace." (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 395)
200-258 AD CYPRIAN "Wherefore baptism cannot be common to us and to heretics, to whom neither God the Father, nor Christ the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, nor the faith, nor the Church itself, is common. And therefore it behooves those to be baptized who come from heresy to the Church, that so they who are prepared, in the lawful, and true, and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God, may be born of both sacraments, because it is written, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'" (Cyprian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 384)
200-258 AD Cyprian, said of his own baptism, "Considering my character at the time, I used to regard it as a difficult matter that a man should be able to be born again.... Or that a man who had been revived to a new life in the bath of saving water could be able to put off what he had formerly been-that he could be changed in heart and soul, while retaining his physical body.... For as I myself was held in bonds by the innumerable errors of my previous life, from which I did not believe that I could by possibility be delivered, so I was disposed to acquiesce in my clinging vices, and because I despaired of better things, I used to indulge my sins as if they were actually a part of me, inherent in me. But later, by the help of the water of new birth, the stain of former years was washed away, and a light from above-serene and pure was infused into my reconciled heart. Then through the Spirit breathed from heaven, a second birth restored me to a new man." (Cyprian To Donatus sec. 3, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 276)
203 AD Tertullian "[N]o one can attain salvation without baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says, `Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life'" (Baptism 12:1).
215 AD Hippolytus "And the bishop shall lay his hand upon them [the newly baptized], invoking and saying: 'O Lord God, who did count these worthy of deserving the forgiveness of sins by the laver of regeneration, make them worthy to be filled with your Holy Spirit and send upon them thy grace [in confirmation], that they may serve you according to your will" (The Apostolic Tradition 22:1).
217 AD Hippolytus "The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the Spirit of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism" (Discourse on the Holy Theophany 8).
240 AD Testimonies Concerning the Jews "That unless a man have been baptized and born again, he cannot attain unto the kingdom of God. In the Gospel according to John: 'Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [John 3:5] . . . ' Also in the same place: 'Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall not have life in you' [John 6:53]. That it is of small account to be baptized and to receive the Eucharist, unless one profit by it both in deeds and works" (Testimonies Concerning the Jews 3:2:25-26).
248 AD Origen "The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. For the apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which are washed away through water and the Spirit" (Commentaries on Romans 5:9).
250 AD Ignatius of Antioch "Let none of you turn deserter. Let your baptism be your armor; your faith, your helmet; your love, your spear; your patient endurance, your panoply" (Letter to Polycarp 6).
253 AD Cyprian of Carthage "[When] they receive also the baptism of the Church . . . then finally can they be fully sanctified and be the sons of God . . . since it is written, `Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (Letters 71:1).
256 AD Council of Carthage VII "And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with his divine voice, saying, `Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' . . . Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ" (VII Carthage).
256 AD Cyprian of Carthage "[I]t behooves those to be baptized ... so that they are prepared, in the lawful and true and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God . . . because it is written `Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (72:21).
260-315 AD METHODIUS "For thus will it be most certainly agreed that the Church is formed out of His bones and flesh; and it was for this cause that the Word, leaving His Father in heaven, came down to be 'joined to His wife;' and slept in the trance of His passion, and willingly suffered death for her, that He might present the Church to Himself glorious and blameless, having cleansed her by the laver." (Methodius, "The Banquet of the Ten Virgins," 260 to 312 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 6, pg. 319)
340 AD Aphraahat the Persian Sage "From baptism we receive the Spirit of Christ. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and he descends and rests upon the waters, and those who are baptized are clothed in him. The Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of rebirth, and then they receive the Holy Spirit. . . . [I]n the second birth, that through baptism, they receive the Holy Spirit" (Treatises 6:14:4).
345 AD CYRIL "The Lord... has granted repentance at Baptism, in order that we may cast off the chief - nay rather the whole burden of our sins, and having received the seal by the Holy Ghost, may be made heirs of eternal life." (Cyril of Jerusalem, "On Baptism," Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, pg. 16)
345 AD CYRIL "When going down, therefore, into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Ghost: for without both thou canst not possibly be made perfect. It is not I that say this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter: for He saith, 'Except a man be born anew' (and he adds the words) 'of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Neither doth he that is baptized with water, but not found worthy of the Spirit, receive the grace in perfection. Nor if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but receive not the seal by water, shall he enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Cyril of Jerusalem, "Catechetical Lectures," Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, pg. 15.)
350 AD Cyril of Jerusalem "Since man is of a twofold nature, composed of body and soul, the purification also is twofold: the corporeal for the corporeal and the incorporeal for the incorporeal. The water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul. . . . When you go down into the water, then, regard not simply the water, but look for salvation through the power of the Spirit. For without both you cannot attain to perfection. It is not I who says this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter. And he says, `Unless a man be born again' and he adds the words `of water and of the Spirit' `he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' He that is baptized with water, but is not found worthy of the Spirit, does not receive the grace in perfection. Nor, if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but does not receive the seal by means of the water, shall he enter the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine; for it is Jesus who has declared it" (Catechetical Lectures 3:4).
360 AD Athanasius "[A]s we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened" (Four Discourses Against the Arians 3:26).
375 AD Basil the Great "This then is what it means to be `born again of water and Spirit': Just as our dying is effected in the water [Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12-13], our living is wrought through the Spirit. In three immersions and an equal number of invocations the great mystery of baptism is completed in such a way that the type of death may be shown figuratively, and that by the handing on of divine knowledge the souls of the baptized may be illuminated. If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the Spirit's presence there" (The Holy Spirit, 15:35).
381 AD Ambrose of Milan "Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated from the Father and-the Son. There are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born again in God" (The Holy Spirit 1:6[75-76]).
381 AD Ambrose of Milan "The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ's blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism (Col. 2:11-12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism. . . . `Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'" (Abraham 2:11:79-84).
381 AD Ambrose of Milan "The Lord was baptized, not to be cleansed himself but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of baptism. Whoever comes, therefore, to the washing of Christ lays aside his sins" (Commentary on Luke 2:83).
381 AD Ambrose of Milan "You have read, therefore, that the three witnesses in baptism are one: water, blood, and the Spirit (1 John 5:8): And if you withdraw any one of these, the sacrament of baptism is not valid. For what is the water without the cross of Christ? A common element with no sacramental effect. Nor on the other hand is there any mystery of regeneration without water, for `unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'" (The Mysteries 4:20).
382 AD Gregory of Nyssa "[In] the birth by water and the Spirit, [Jesus] himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by his own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things he became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to his own by water and the Spirit" (Against Eunomius 2:8).
387 AD John Chrysostom "[N]o one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? These [priests] truly are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head" (The Priesthood 3:5-6).
388 AD Gregory Nazianz "Such is the grace and power of baptism; not an overwhelming of the world as of old, but a purification of the sins of each individual, and a complete cleansing from all the bruises and stains of sin. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths" (Oration on Holy Baptism 7-8).
390 AD CRYSOSTOM "In the Law, he that hath sin is punished; here, he that hath sins cometh and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he liveth, being delivered from the death of sin... For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table." (John Crysostom, "Homilies on Second Corinthians," 390 AD, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 12, pg. 307)
419 AD Augustine "Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ--it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism. For he that said, `If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,' made an exception for them in that other statement in which he says no less generally, `Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven'" [Matt. 10:32] (The City of God 13:7).
75 AD The Letter of Barnabas "Regarding [baptism], we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Jer. 22:13; Is. 16:1Letter of Barnabas 11:1)
80 AD Hermas "'I have heard, sir,' said I, 'from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.' He said to me, 'You have heard rightly, for so it is'" (The Shepherd 4:3:1)
FIRMILIAN "But indeed you are worse than all heretics. For when many, as soon as their error is known, come over to you from them that they may receive the true light of the Church, you assist the errors of those who come, and, obscuring the light of ecclesiastical truth, you heap up the darkness of the heretical night; and although they confess that they are in sins, and have no grace, and therefore come to the Church, you take away from them remission of sins, which is given in baptism, by saying that they are already baptized and have obtained the grace of the Church outside the Church, and you do not perceive that their souls will be required at your hands when the day of judgment shall come." (Firmilian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, pg. 396)
PHILIP "Nicanora having thus spoken, the Apostle Philip, along with Bartholomew and Mariamme and those with them, prayed for her to God, saying: Thou who bringest the dead to life, Christ Jesus the Lord, who hast freed us through baptism from the slavery of death, completely deliver also this woman from the error, the enemy; make her alive in Thy life, and perfect her in Thy perfection." ("The Acts of Philip," Author unknown, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8, pg. 498)
Baptism in the name of Jesus?
Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
70 AD The Didache "After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days" (Didache 7:1).
170 AD Tatian the Syrian "Then said Jesus unto them, I have been given all authority in heaven and earth; and as my Father has sent me, so I also send you. Go now into all the world, and preach my gospel in all the creation; and teach all the peoples, and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and teach them to keep all whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you all the days, unto the end of the world" (The Diatesseron 55).
211 AD Tertullian "When we are about to enter the water--no, just a little before--in the church and under the hand of the bishop, we solemnly profess that we renounce the devil and his pomps and his angels. Thereupon we are immersed three times" (The Crown 3:2).
215 AD Hippolytus "When the one being baptized goes down into the water, the one baptizing him shall put his hand on him and speak thus: `Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And he that is being baptized shall say: `I believe.' Then, having his hand imposed upon the head of the one to be baptized, he shall baptize him once. Then he shall say: `Do you believe in Christ Jesus . . . ?' And when he says: `I believe,' he is baptized again. Again shall he say: `Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?' The one being baptized then says: `I believe.' And so he is baptized a third time" (The Apostolic Tradition 21).
248 AD Origen "Why, when the Lord himself told his disciples that they should baptize all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, does this apostle employ the name of Christ alone in baptism, saying, `We who have been baptized into Christ'; for indeed, legitimate baptism is had only in the name of the Trinity" (Commentary on Romans 5:8).
250 AD The Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena "Then Probus . . . leapt into the water, saying, Jesus Christ, son of God, and everlasting God, let all my sins be taken away by this water. And Paul said, We baptize thee in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost. After this he made him to receive the Eucharist of Christ" (Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena 21).
323 AD Eusebius of Caesarea "We believe . . . each of these to be and to exist: the Father, truly Father, and the Son, truly Son, and the Holy Ghost, truly Holy Ghost, as also our Lord, sending forth His disciples for the preaching, said, "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ." Concerning Whom we confidently affirm that so we hold, and so we think, and so we have held aforetime, and we maintain this faith unto the death, anathematizing every godless heresy" (Letter to the People of His Diocese 3).
350 AD Cyril of Jerusalem "You were led by the hand to the holy pool of divine baptism, as Christ was carried from the cross to this Sepulcher here before us [the Tomb of Jesus at Jerusalem]. And each of you was asked if he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And you confessed that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and again ascended, and in this there was suggested by a symbol the three days of Christ's burial" (Catechetical Lectures 20:4).
361 AD Athanasius "And the whole faith is summed up, and secured in this, that a Trinity should ever be preserved, as we read in the Gospel, 'Go ye and baptize all the nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' (Matt. 28:19). And entire and perfect is the number of the Trinity (On the Councils of Arminum and Seleucia 2:28).
375 AD Basil the Great "Faith and baptism are two kindred and inseparable ways of salvation: faith is perfected through baptism, baptism is established through faith, and both are completed by the same names. For as we believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, so are we also baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; first comes the confession, introducing us to salvation, and baptism follows, setting the seal upon our assent" (The Holy Spirit 12).
379 AD Ambrose of Milan "Moreover, Christ Himself says: "I and the Father are One." "One," said He, that there be no separation of power and nature; but again, "We are," that you may recognize Father and Son, forasmuch as the perfect Father is believed to have begotten the perfect Son, and the Father and the Son are One, not by confusion of Person, but by unity of nature. We say, then, that there is one God, not two or three Gods" (The Faith 1:1[9-10]).
380 AD Gregory Nazianz "But not yet perhaps is there formed upon your soul any writing good or bad; and you want to be written upon today . . . I will baptize you and make you a disciple in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; and These Three have One common name, the Godhead. And you shall know, both by appearances and by words that you reject all ungodliness, and are united to all the Godhead" (Orations 40:45).
382 AD Jerome "[S]eeing that a man, baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, becomes a temple of the Lord, and that while the old abode is destroyed a new shrine is built for the Trinity, how can you say that sins can be remitted among the Arians without the coming of the Holy Ghost?
400 AD Augustine "Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost has Christ for its authority, not any man, whoever he may be; and Christ is the truth, not any man" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:24).
408 AD Augustine "O Lord our God, we believe in you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the Truth would not say, Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, unless Thou were a Trinity" (The Trinity 15:28).
412 AD Augustine "In this manner then the three things by which they are signified came out from the Body: of the Lord: like as from the Body of the Lord sounded forth the command to "baptize the nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." "In the name:" not, In the names: for "these Three are One," and One God is these Three. And if in any other way this depth of mystery which we read in John's letter can be expounded and understood agreeably with the Catholic faith, which neither confounds nor divides the Trinity, neither believes the substances diverse nor denies that the persons are three, it is on no account to be rejected" (Against Maximin 2:22:3).
444 AD Theodoret of Cyr "And what need is there of many words, when it is possible to refute falsehood in few? We provide that those who year by year come up for holy baptism should carefully learn the faith set forth at Nicaea by the holy and blessed Fathers; and initiating them as we have been bidden, we baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, pronouncing each name singly" (Letters 145).
1. All you have to do is believe and or confess to achieve salvation.
2. Baptism is a work and works do not save us.
3. Water doesn’t wash away sins; only the blood of Jesus does that.
4. The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized and he went to heaven.
5. If baptism destroys your sins, then why did Jesus get baptized?
6. Salvation is a free gift; therefore you don’t have to do anything for it.
7. Baptism doesn’t save; only God’s grace saves us.
8. Why doesn’t it just say, “Be baptized or go to hell,” if it is that important?
9. What if a man got killed in a car wreck on the way to be baptized? Is he going to heaven? What if you lived in the desert where there wasn’t any water? Are you going to hell?
10. After someone believes and repents his sins are forgiven and therefore he is going to heaven.
11. “Dunking yourself in water isn’t going to make you a Christian, you have to just believe in Jesus dieing for your sins, and then you are forgiven. Isn’t him dieing on the cross enough to cleanse your sins from you, why must you do something for it?”
12. After you confess Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven.
13. If baptism destroys your sins, then why don’t you have to get baptized every time you sin?
14. Abraham wasn’t circumcised and was saved anyway; therefore we are saved without baptism.
15. Mark 16:16, “It doesn’t say ‘…but he that believeth not and is baptized not shall be damned.’ it only says ‘…but he that believeth not shall be damned.’”
16. Acts 2:38, “The word ‘for’ in the verse stands for ‘because of’ and therefore we are baptized because we have forgiveness of sins.”
17. Baptism is a symbol, an “outward expression of an inward grace.”
18. “If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to "lose my salvation" and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?”
19. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)
20. “Sprinkled, poured, or immersed, why does it matter?”
21. “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17)
22. Can and should someone be baptized again?
The argument here isn’t the fact that belief and confession are essential to salvation, the argument here is people say that belief and confessing Jesus Christ is ALL you have to do to achieve salvation. For someone to pick one verse out of context and use it to tell people that ALL you have to do is believe and confess to go to heaven, is outright dishonest. More than likely, if you ask, people that use this theory are getting it from Romans 10:9-10.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The misinterpretation of this argument is the verses they use never say, “This is all you have to do,” or “Only do this and be saved.” This is a good defense my friend used on me to use against this argument in a question/answer format:
Question: “What does 1 John 2:17 say?”
Answer: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Question: “So if I do the will of God, then I will abide forever, right?”
Question: “What is the will of God? Turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:3 please.”
Answer: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
Question: “So ALL I have to do is abstain from fornication and I will abide forever. I don’t have to love God, love Jesus, love my neighbor, or anything else, just abstain from fornication, right?”
Answer: “NO! You have to do all those things too!”
Question: “Right! So I can’t find the will of God in one verse? Guess what? I can’t find the answer to be saved in one verse either. In fact, here are some verses to look up for finding out what we are saved by:”
**See chart below.
Notice from the chart below the “pieces” that we are to understand in the scriptures. All the will of God isn’t in one place, and the like manner, all the ways we can be saved isn’t in one place. When someone tries to state that we are saved by just one verse, tell them that the will of God would therefore be in one verse by the same reasoning. This can’t be logical! No one with a sincere heart will argue with that, it just helps them understand what they are reasoning with themselves.
Do the will of God What is the will of God?
(The Pieces…) Be Saved How can I be saved?
Matt. 7:21 Flee Fornication (1 Thess. 4:3) 1 Tim. 2:4 Jesus’ Death (Rom. 5:8-9)
Eph. 6:6 Put ignorant men to silence (1 Peter 2:15) Acts 2:40 Grace (Eph. 2:8)
Col. 4:12 Give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18) John 5:34 Hearing the gospel (1 Tim.4:16)
1 John 2:17 Everyone to have everlasting life (John 6:40) Rom. 10:1 Believing (John 3:16)
1 Peter 4:2 Be not unwise of the will of God (Eph. 5:17) 2 Thess. 2:10 Faith (Luke 18:42)
Mark 3:35 Repentance (Luke 13:3)
Confessing (Rom. 10:9)
Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2)
Baptism (Mark 16:16)
Enduring (Matt. 10:22)
Communion (John 6:54)
Hope (Rom. 8:24-25)
We are saved by these “pieces”:
1. Hearing/Listening to the gospel-1 Tim. 4:16, Acts 2:40-41, Acts 11:14, 1 Cor. 15:1-2, John 5:24
2. Believing- Acts 16:31, Rom. 10:9, Heb. 10:39, Luke 8:12, John 3:16, John 5:24
3. Faith- Luke 7:50, Luke 18:42
4. Calling on/Confessing- Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:9, Rom. 10:13, 1 Cor. 1:2, Matt. 10:32
5. Hope- Rom. 8:24-25
6. Grace- Eph. 2:5, Eph. 2:8, Acts 15:11
7. Enduring- Matt. 10:22, Matt. 24:13
8. Baptism- 1 Pet. 3:20-21, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Rom. 6:22, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16
9. Communing/Lord’s Supper- John 6:54
10. Repentance- Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, 2 Pet. 3:9, Luke 13:3
11. Jesus dieing for us- Rom. 5:8-9
12. Works- Matt. 3:10, James 2:24
13. The Gospel-1 Cor. 15:1-4
Also notice that Paul rebukes the church at Rome for not continuing in the life of righteousness after they had been baptized into Jesus Christ in Romans 6, which is 4 chapters before Romans 10 where the misused verses lay.
From the bible we can find several different kinds of works:
1. Works of the Law of Moses (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:20)
2. Works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21)
3. Works of merit (Titus 3:4-7)
4. Works resulting from obedience of faith (James 2:14-24)
Believing is a work
Consider the following example from Jesus’ statements in John 6:28-29:
“They said therefore unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
Within this context, Christ made it clear that there are works which humans must do to receive eternal life. Moreover, the passage affirms that believing itself is a work (“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”) It therefore follows that if one is saved without any type of works, then he is saved without believing, because believing is a work. Such a conclusion would throw the Bible into a great confusion!
Repenting is a work
In addition, it should be noted that repentance from sin is a divinely appointed work for man to perform prior to his reception of salvation. Acts 26:20:
“But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
For example, someone that was a murderer accepts the Christian life, turns to God, and repents of his sins. He carries on without any murders in his life until about a year later. He repented for that year but as soon as he begins to murder again, then he is no longer repenting. So in order to repent of your old ways, you must do something different, you must do works in order to repent, or it is not repentance, just being a hearer and not a doer.
Baptism is a work
Baptism is a work, but it is not a work of man, it is a work of God A good example of this is looking at King Naamen (2 Kings 5:9-14). The bible says that a prophet told him to dip down into the Jordan river seven times and he would be cleansed of his leprosy. He was angry at what the prophet said because he didn’t believe that this was all he had to do. Anyway, God healed King Naaman of his leprosy, after dipping into the river seven times, because of his faith in what the prophet had told him. Him dipping seven times into the water had nothing to do with it, it was just what God had told him to do and he did it. The rewards were him being healed of his ailment. Baptism is the same way with us today. We can’t wash away our sins with all the water in the ocean if we dipped 1 million times. By us having faith that Jesus will wash away our sins by being immersed under water, this will bring cleansing power to our souls.
o For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
• 1 Peter 3:21
o The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
From these two verses we can conclude: We can’t do anything ourselves to save us, and baptism saves us. So we must logically conclude that baptism isn’t a work of man (trying to earn salvation), but it is a work of God.
Many people hate the idea that we have to “do” anything to be saved. Lets look at Cornelius’ story. An angel of God came to Cornelius and told him to call for Peter, and that he was going to tell him what “he oughtest to do.” (Acts 10:6).
Definition of “oughtest” by Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon:
“It needs, there is need of something that is absent or wanting; it is necessary from the nature of the case, one must; it is right and proper, one ought. (Commonly rendered by a change of construction, e.g. ‘he must go,’ for ‘it needs that he go.’)”
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
Did you notice that Peter never told them what they “oughtest to do” until the very end of the speech when he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Here is the point. Acts 11:14, “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” Peter was told to tell Cornelius and the other Gentiles in his house about how to be saved. So we see that one verse says that he will tell them about “what to do” (Acts 10:6), but then in another place it states that he will tell them “how to be saved.”(Acts 11:14) WE MUST DO SOMETHING TO BE SAVED! YOU MUST OBEY GOD’S COMMANDMENTS! Please note the following verses:
• Matthew 7:21
o Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
• Luke 6:46-47
o And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
• James 1:21-22
o Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
• Revelations 22:14
o Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
• 1 John 1:7
o But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
• Revelations 7:14
o And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
• Revelations 1:5
o And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
• Matthew 26:28
o For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
From these verses we can conclude that Jesus Christ washes you in his blood to wash your sins away. Let me ask, RIGHT THIS MOMENT, is everyone in this world’s sins forgiven? Of course not, we must do something to achieve this forgiveness, every denomination will agree to that. Whether we believe, confess, or repent, etc., we must do something to achieve forgiveness. Just because Jesus died on the cross, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to heaven, we must obey our Lord to inherit eternal life. So we see that his blood will cleanse us of all our iniquities, but how do we contact his blood?
Contacting the blood of Christ
There are many benefits by being in the body of Christ. The forgiveness of sins is just one of the many blessings and promises we have in his body. We all know that Jesus’ blood cleanses us from sin and his blood is in his body. So the question is, “how do you get into his body?” Belief alone will not get you into the body of Christ, even the devils believe in Jesus (James 2:19). Please note the following verses:
• Ephesians 1:7
o In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
• Galatians 3:27
o For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
• Romans 6:3
o Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
• 1 Corinthians 12:13
o For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Could the scriptures make it any clearer? By obeying the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism, it puts you into the body of Christ, contacting his blood, and washing away all your sins. You cannot do anything yourself to wash your sins away, Jesus washes your sins away when you have faith in him and obey his commandment by being baptized into his body. Please see Figure 2.
We are saved by water in the same sense that the blind man of John 9 received his sight by water. Jesus told that blind man to wash his eyes in the water of the pool of Siloam. When he did so, he received his sight. Of course, the Lord Jesus gave him his sight. The water of the pool did not give him his sight, but Christ gave him his sight when he did what Christ told him to do. His doing what Christ told him to do involved water.
Even so, water does not wash away the sins of one when he is baptized in water. Christ takes away his sins when he does what Christ tells him to do by being baptized in water. His doing what Christ tells him to do involves water. That is the only sense in which water saves sinners.
• Peter told the Jews how to get into the body of Christ (the church) on the day of Pentecost.
o Acts 2:38- Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
o Acts 2:47-Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
• Ananias told Paul how to wash his sins away.
o Acts 22:16- And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Many people bring up the “thief on the cross” to make baptism vain. (Luke 23:39-43)
1. How do we know that the thief wasn’t baptized? He answered to Christ, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” He must have been taught previously about the kingdom or how would he have known anything about it? He must have heard about Jesus being the Son of God because he called him “Lord.”
2. The thief on the cross was still under the Law of Moses and therefore baptism was not required yet. They weren’t under the New Covenant till Christ was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14).
3. Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6), so he immediately forgave the thief’s sins upon him confessing him as Lord (Luke 23:42). Therefore the thief had no purpose to be baptized, since baptism washes away sins.
4. How could you be baptized into Jesus Christ’s death (Rom. 6:3-6) as we are commanded (Mark 16:16, Acts 10:48) if Jesus hadn’t even died yet? Obviously this is not possible!
5. He died 40 days before Mark 16:16 was first commanded! How could he obey a command not given? (40 days comes from Acts 1:3, and Jesus stated these commandments before he was ascended up into heaven.)
In regards to this question, I find it troubling that many would argue this point. Jesus being a sinless man has no need to wash his sins away, so therefore baptism isn’t “for the remission of sins.” So we find an argument, what if Jesus didn’t get baptized? People would then argue, “Jesus didn’t get baptized, so why should we?” You can find an argument anytime you are looking for an argument. Let’s examine the scriptures on the matter:
• Matthew 3:13-17
o Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Notice that Jesus answered this question himself when he answered John in Matt. 3:15, “to fulfill all righteousness.” Our Christian baptism is same in shape and form, but it does something different; it washes away our sins. By Jesus dieing, being buried, and rising from the dead, he creates the gospel; GOOD NEWS. The good news is that we can have all our sins forgiven IF we obey the gospel.
Jesus established his church by conquering death (Matt. 16:18). So when we are baptized, it places us into the body of Christ, because the church (body of Christ) is established by the gospel. When Jesus was baptized, it obviously wasn’t for washing his sins away, but was for fulfilling the law. God always has a plan and Jesus fulfilled that plan by everything he did. All the miracles, healings, speeches; Jesus’ life and death, was all according to God’s will. When Jesus was baptized, he was completing God’s will. We can obviously see the difference between John’s baptism and our Christian baptism. He “baptized unto repentance” (Matt. 3:6, 11) before Christ came; our baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) because Jesus has now created the gospel. The reason that the Ephesians got baptized again was because of this reason in Acts 19. In conclusion, Jesus was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness”, we are baptized into Jesus (Gal. 3:27); two different reasons to be baptized.
This is a very common phrase I hear among many denominations. They use such verses as:
• Romans 3:24
o Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
• Romans 6:23
o For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
• Ephesians 2:8
o For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
• Romans 5:15
o But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Salvation is a free gift and the gift was the Son of God. “That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom.5:8).” For example, if Wal-Mart is handing out free shopping sprees, you still have to go to Wal-Mart and get it. The blessings in Jesus Christ are our shopping spree. You have to obey Jesus’ word and commandments in order to have access to these blessings. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:9). If you aren’t in the body of Christ then you have no hope of eternal salvation.
• Ephesians 2:12-13
o That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
So you must “do” something to get into the body of Christ. Believing is “doing” something. Confessing is “doing” something. Repenting is “doing” something. Baptism is “doing” something. Anyone that says that you don’t have to “do” anything for salvation, will contradict themselves very quickly.
If you were drowning, and a man threw a life-ring to you, and said, “Grab hold and save yourself!” Would your answer be “No, for there is nothing one can do to save himself and I wouldn't want to boast that I saved myself and earned my salvation." Jesus has thrown us the life-ring (given his life), but we must grab on to it to be saved from death!
*** Please see question 3 above for further information on “doing” something for salvation.
When someone states that baptism doesn’t save, they are contradicting what the word of God says. For example:
• Mark 16:16
o He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
• 1 Peter 3:21
o The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
The act of baptism is so mistreated in today’s society, I don’t know how questions like this can even be asked. If someone has a good heart, they aren’t going to try and make the bible fit their beliefs. The bible says, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved;..” Belief + Baptism = Saved; You cannot interpret this any other way, why argue about it! Many will say, “it doesn’t say if you aren’t baptized then you are damned.” A perfect question to ask someone that says something like this is, “Do you believe?” If they say “Yes” then tell them that Jesus said, “if you believe and are baptized, you shall be saved.” It doesn’t say what they want it to say, “He who believes and is not baptized shall be saved.” Please don’t be fooled by such ignorance and deceivableness.
I found a very intriguing study of Mark 16:16 on the internet and I tried to sum up what it says below.
A. THIS VIEW IS HELD BY MOST WHO PRACTICE "INFANT BAPTISM"
1. By "baptizing" (actually sprinkling, not immersing) infants incapable of faith...
• They indicate that faith is not essential to salvation
• Some (esp. Lutherans) try to get around this by saying that God imparts saving faith to the infant so baptism can still save
2. By sprinkling or pouring instead of immersion, they also indicate Jesus did not mean what He said
B. SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, WE MUST POINT OUT...
1. That faith is a necessary prerequisite...
• For baptism - Acts 8:35-37
• For salvation – Rom. 10:9-10
2. That sprinkling or pouring is NOT Bible baptism...
• The Greek word used in the Bible is "baptizo", and it means "to immerse"
• This is why baptism is described in the Bible as a "burial" Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12
• Sprinkling or pouring was substituted in the place of baptism (immersion) hundreds of years after Christ and His apostles
• By keeping the "tradition of men" by sprinkling or pouring, we fail to keep the "command of God" concerning baptism - cf. Jesus' condemnation of displacing God's commands by traditions of men, Matt. 15:3-9
3. That baptizing infants is without scriptural precedent
• There are no commands or examples of infant baptism
• Since the prerequisites of faith (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37) and repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30) are beyond the infant's capability, they are not suitable candidates for baptism
I am confident that those who hold to the view of sprinkling infants are honest and sincere. But despite their honest sincerity, they are practicing something the bible never mentions. By adding to God’s perfect plan, you are not just creating your own commandments but you are misleading others to error.
But there is another view sincerely held by many, and that is...
II. HE WHO BELIEVES AND "IS NOT BAPTIZED" WILL BE SAVED
A. THIS VIEW IS HELD BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY FAITH
1. That one is saved BEFORE baptism
2. That baptism is not essential to salvation
-- This view is held for all practical purposes by most members of various denominations
B. BUT JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES CLEARLY TAUGHT DIFFERENTLY...
1. That faith "alone" cannot save
• As declared by Jesus - cf. Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46
• As taught by His apostles - cf. Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:9; James 2:14,17,20,24,26; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 2:3-5
2. That baptism is essential to salvation
• According to Jesus - John 3:5; Mk 16:16; Mt 28:18-20
• According to His apostles - Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12-13; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21
People who believe this are usually very sincere and honest, but sincerity and honesty will not get you into heaven. Please note story of the “man of God” in 1 Kings 13. This man was sincere and honest but was still eaten by the lion. The story of Uzzah in 1 Chronicles 13 is also a good example of someone that meant well, but was punished by death for disobeying God. I plead with you to just meditate and pray about your interpretations and beliefs on baptism if you hold this view. There is no need to argue and twist about what Jesus said. Just listen to what he says and stand by it.
This leads us to the third and final view, one that I believe we are compelled to accept...
A. THIS VIEW TAKES THE WORDS OF JESUS AT FACE VALUE...
1. No explanations are necessary
2. Jesus says what He means, and means what He says
B. WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN PREVIOUSLY THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES...
1. That one must "believe" - cf. Ac 8:36-37
2. That one must be "baptized" to enjoy the forgiveness of sins
- cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
Which of the three views of Mark 16:16 do you hold to?
• He who "does not believe" and "is baptized" will be saved?
• He who believes and "is not baptized" will be saved?
• He who believes and is baptized will be saved?
-- It should be clear that there is only view which is in harmony
with Jesus' words, as there is only one which does not involve
"tampering" with the clear statement of Jesus!
There isn’t any confusion in God’s word, we put the confusion there. God didn’t put this phrase in the bible, but He did say, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” Why don’t we worry more about how to be saved and go to heaven, than worry about how to be damned and go to hell?
*** Please see question 7 above for further information on this question.
9. What if a man got killed in a car wreck on the way to be baptized? Is he going to hell because he wasn’t baptized? What if you lived in the desert where there wasn’t any water to be baptized in? Are you going to hell?
Many denominations today would love to make the exception the rule for their beliefs. In fact some of them do. If this view was actually held logically you would realize that it would contradict the Holy Scriptures. For example, what about some 5 year old boy, in a tribe in Africa, that has their own language that can’t be interpreted, who dies by a snake bite before he hears about the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is he going to heaven because he doesn’t believe in something he has never heard? Most denominations will say you have to believe and confess to be saved, what if you don’t get the chance to? Are you still going to go with the “exception as the rule?” EXCEPTIONS ARE NOT THE RULES ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE!
Many denominations will say that once you believe and repent your sins are forgiven and you are “saved.” Recall the study about Paul’s life above in the “How to be saved” study. We know that Paul believed in Jesus because he called him “Lord”(Acts 9:6) and submitted himself to his command. We also know that Paul repented of his crimes against Jesus and other Christians because he fasted for three days (Acts 9:9). Yet after believing and repenting, he must have still had sins because Ananias told him to “be baptized, and wash away thy sins,” (Acts 22:16) when he found him.
*** Please see question 4 above for further information on this question.
11. “Dunking yourself in water isn’t going to make you a Christian, you have to just believe in Jesus dieing for your sins, and then you are forgiven. Isn’t him dieing on the cross enough to cleanse your sins from you, why must you do something for it?”
Jesus dieing on the cross is enough to cleanse our sins, this isn’t the argument. It’s the fact that we must obey his commandments in order to achieve this forgiveness (Heb. 5:9). The apostles knew the commandments of Jesus because he told them to them (Acts 1:2), so why would Peter command the Gentiles to be baptized if it wasn’t a command of Jesus himself (Acts 10:48)?
*** Please see question 6 above for further information on this question.
12. After you call upon Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven.
The verse that is typically used to support this belief is Rom. 10:13. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
*** Please see question 1 above for further information on this question.
We know that Jesus washes away our sins when we obey his command in baptism, and therefore this question can arise. There aren’t any examples of anyone being baptized numerous times for forgiveness of their sins. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Therefore when we are baptized into the body of Christ, we have access to God’s forgiveness by confessing and repenting of our iniquities. Notice that Simon was told to “repent and pray to God” to be forgiven (Acts 8:22) after he was baptized (Acts 8:13). He wasn’t told to be baptized again. If we aren’t in the body of Christ then our body of sin will hide God’s face from us. God chooses not to hear the prayer of sinners, and that is why it is crucial to have your sins washed away! Note these verses:
• John 9:31
o Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
• Isaiah 1:15
o And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
• Isaiah 59:2
o But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
• Proverbs 28:9
o He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
• Proverbs 15:29
o The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
• 1 John 3:22
o And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
• 1 Peter 3:12
o For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
Did you notice that the idea of the “sinner’s prayer” might contradict the scriptures. We know from the above verses that God doesn’t hear the prayer of sinners, but we still want to tell lost souls to pray the “sinner’s prayer” to be forgiven. Isn’t that contradictory to God’s word?! When did the apostles ever tell anyone to just pray the “sinner’s prayer” to be forgiven? Why didn’t Peter tell the Jews in Acts 2 to just pray this prayer and you will be forgiven of your sins? These questions are probably making you uneasy if you have a good heart. So the bottom line to remember is this:
• Once you are baptized, you are put into the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:13)
• Once you are in the body of Christ, you have access to the forgiveness of sins. (Eph.1:7)
• You must repent and confess your sins to God to achieve forgiveness of your sins after you are in the body of Christ. (1 John 1:9)
I have come across the argument that since Abraham wasn’t circumcised, and baptism is our circumcision in the new law, then we can be justified just like Abraham, without baptism. Before we start the study of this argument, please realize that this question is really nontrivial. Abraham was much earlier than even the Law of Moses which commanded circumcision. Actually if you were going to use this argument, you might as well use Adam and Eve or Noah. The scriptures never mention that Noah was circumcised; therefore we don’t need to be baptized. See the ignorance in this question? By the same token, I could use the Old Law priests as a type for backing up baptism. Since the priests had to wash themselves in the laver before entering into the tabernacle, or death would strike them, in the same sense, if you aren’t baptized you can’t enter into the church. “Romans 4” is usually where they pick up this argument so let’s study it.
• Romans 4:9-10, 23-25 “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Notice that the entire context of this chapter is based around the Gentiles vs. the Jews. Paul was trying to get across that even though you are a Gentile (uncircumcision), you can still have the promise of having your sins forgiven (Rom. 4:24, 7). Notice the end of chapter 3:
• Romans 3:29-30, Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
15. Mark 16:16, “It doesn’t say ‘…but he that believeth not and is baptized not shall be damned.’ It only says ‘…but he that believeth not shall be damned.’”
***Please see question 7 above for a complete study on this question.
There are 2 Greek words for the English word “for”: “gar”=because of and “eis”=unto, in order to
What does “for” (Greek: “eis”) mean in Acts 2:38
Passage Action “because of” “in order to” Result
Matt. 26:28 Blood shed X Remission of sins
Rom. 10:10 Believe X Righteousness
Acts 11:18 Repentance X Life
Rom. 10:4 Confess X Salvation
Acts 3:19 Repent & converted X Sins blotted out
Acts 2:38 Repent & baptized X Remission of sins
54 Translations That Do Not Render Acts 2:38
"Because your sins have already been forgiven"
1. American Bible Union Version unto the remission of your sins
2. Amplified NT for the forgiveness of your sins
3. Anderson In order to the remission of your sins
4. Authentic (Schomfield) for the forgiveness of your sins
5. Authorized version (KJV) for the remission of sins
6. Berry's interlinear for remission of sins
7. Centenary Translation for the remission of sins
8. Challomer Rheims for the forgiveness of sins
9. Douay for the remission of sins
10. Emphasized version into the remission of sins
11. Emphatic Diaglot for the remission of sins
12. English Revised unto the remission of sins
13. Englishman's Greek NT for the remission of sins
14. Ferrar Fenton for the remission of sins
15. First German Bible for (in order to, unto) the forgiveness
16. French Translation in order to obtain the remission of sins
17. Geneva Bible for the remission of sins
18. German Translation (for, unto) in order to forgiveness of sins
19. Good News for Modern man in order to have your sins forgiven
20. Goodspeed in order to have your sins forgiven
21. Hackett (commentary) in order to the forgiveness of sins
22. Haweis (1795AD) for the remission of your sins
23. Indian Translation in order to the forgiveness of sins
24. Italian Translation into the remission of sins
25. Jerusalem Bible for the forgiveness of your sins
26. Knox to have your sins forgiven
27. Literal Translation (Young) to the remission of sins 28. Living Bible for the forgiveness of sins
29. Living Oracles in order to the remission of sins
30. Macknights Translation in order to the remission of sins
31. Modern English for a release of your sins
32. Modern Speech with a view to the remission of sins
33. Moffatt for the remission of sins
34. H.B. Montgomery (1924) for the remission of your sins
35. Moulton's Modern Reader's Unto remission of sins
36. New American Standard for the remission of your sins
37. New Catholic Version for the forgiveness of sins
38. New English Bible for the forgiveness of your sins
39. New International version for the forgiveness of your sins
40. New King James Version for the remission of sins
41. New World Translation for the forgiveness of sins
42. NT in the Basic English for the forgiveness of sins
43. Phillips Modern English so that you may have your sins forgiven
44. Revised Standard Version for the forgiveness of your sins
45. Rothermham unto the remission of your sins
46. Spanish Translation for the purpose of remission of your sins
47. Syriac Version for the remission of sins
48. Twentieth Century Translation for the forgiveness of your sins
49. Verkuyl (Burkeley Version) for the remission of sins
50. Warrell's Translation unto remission of your sins
51. Wesley's Translation for the remission of sins
52. Weymouth for the remission of your sins
53. Williams that your sins may be forgiven
54. Wycliffe (1308) into the remission of youre synnes
Lets take a look at the “symbol” of baptism and then it may clear up some questions regarding it.
Figure 11. Figure 12.
Please notice from these comparisons that they are very similar by form. When we obey the gospel in baptism, we are symbolizing the following:
1. We are dead in sin, and want to be crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:8)
2. We are buried with Jesus Christ (Col. 2:12, Rom. 6:4)
3. We are raised in a new life, dead to sin (Rom. 6:4-5, Col. 2:11-12, Col. 3:1, Rom. 6:11)
4. We become a new creature with our sins washed away in the body of Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)
Notice how these pictures harmonize perfectly with each other and there is no confusion. Imagine how the picture would look if the view of “dead in sin, then we believe and confess to be raised in a new life, then we are buried with Christ in baptism” was correct. This picture would not harmonize with the picture that the bible gives us of the gospel. (Die to sin, Raised in new life, then Buried)
18. “If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to "lose my salvation" and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as too be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?”
The answer to this question is quite simple. The person who drowned in the baptistery was never raised with Christ by the operation of God (Col. 2:12). He/She was never raised in a new life (Rom. 6:4-5). Aren’t questions like this hilarious?! Actually I found this question on the internet, I was never actually asked this one. People can be misled by the blind, and be led straight into hell by ignorant questions and “what if” statements. Please beware of people like this.
19. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)
The argument here is that Jesus’ word cleanses us of our sins and since he has already spoken his words, then we are already cleansed of our sins. First of all, we must read the entire context into which this verse is taken out of. Jesus says,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
If this was saying that we already have our sins forgiven because of what Jesus has said, then why did Peter tell the Jews on Pentecost to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) if they were already clean of his previous words about Jesus? They weren’t “clean” of their crime until they repented and were baptized.
Secondly, we must understand that Jesus is talking to the apostles right here. It says in verse 3 that “ye are clean”. Who is clean in this case? The apostles are clean; the apostles are whom Jesus chose and ordained (John 15:16). The apostles were placed in the church, the body of Christ, by God. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:28) When we are placed in the church by God, we are cleansed of all our iniquities by the blood of Christ.
Here is the conclusion to this study:
• Jesus was talking to his apostles in this context (John 16:17)
• Jesus chose his apostles and ordained them, therefore we are not apostles today (John 15:16)
• The apostles are clean because they were set in the church by God (1 Cor. 12:28)
• They were “in Christ” or in the body of Christ when Jesus was talking to them, so they were “already clean” (John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you.”)
20. “Sprinkled, poured, or immersed, why does it matter?”
The following is a segment taken from the HISTORY OF THE CHURCH THROUGH THE AGES, Robert H. Brumback, pgs. 34-35.
250 A.D. Sprinkling First Practiced
Novation was the first person, so far as history records, to have water sprinkled upon him as a substitute for baptism. Eusebius, in speaking of Novation said,
“Who aided by the exorcists when attacked by an obstinate disease and being supposed at the point of death was baptized by aspersion, in the bed on which he lay; if, indeed, it be proper to say one like him did receive baptism.”
—Ecclesiastical History-Eusebius, Chapter 43, pg. 266
The historian, Neander, remarks,
“In respect to the form of baptism, it was in conformity with the original institution and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as a sign of entire baptism into the Holy Spirit, of being entirely penetrated by the same. It was only with the sick, when the exigency required it, that any exception was made; and in this case baptism was administered by sprinkling. Many superstitious persons, clinging to the outward form imagined that such baptism by sprinkling was not fully valid; and hence they distinguished those who had thus been baptized by denominating them the clinici.”—History of the Christian Religion and Church—Neander. Volume 1, pg. 310
Sprinkling thus originated in the baptism of the sick but did not come into general use until after the eighth century when it was legalized by Pope Stephen.
“The first law for sprinkling was obtained in the following manner: Pope Stephen III, being driven from Rome by Astulphus, king of the Lombards, in 753, fled to Pepin, who, a short time before had usurped the crown of France. Whilst he remained there the monks of Cressy in Brittany consulted him, whether, in a case of necessity, baptism, performed by pouring water on the head of the infant, would be lawful. Stephen replied that it would. But though the truth of this fact should be allowed, which some Catholics deny, yet pouring or sprinkling was only admitted in case of necessity. It was not till 1311, that the legislature, in a council held at Ravenna, declared immersion or sprinkling to be indifferent.”—Edinburg Encyclopedia—Volume 3, pg. 236
The teaching of the apostles shows that New Testament baptism was a burial in water.
• Rom. 6:4, Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life
• Col. 2:12-Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
In his comments upon these scriptures, Adam Clarke, a profound Bible scholar, said:
“We are buried with him by baptism into death. It is probable that the apostle alludes to the mode of administering baptism by immersion, the whole body being put under water.”—Clarke’s Commentary—Volume 4, pg. 78
And again in discussing the second chapter of Colossians he said,
“Alluding to the immersion practiced in the case of adults, wherein the person appeared to be buried under water as Christ was buried in the heart of the earth.”
—Clarke’s Commentary—Volume 4, pg. 78
This change from baptism to sprinkling did not take place in a day or even in a year. It came slowly and not within all churches. Some of the churches rejected it and declared that no fellowship existed between them and the churches which accepted and practiced these departures from the truth. Only when the church left the word of God and went into apostasy was it possible for this change to be made.
753 A.D.—Pope Stephen authorized sprinkling when necessary*-pg. 77-78
The first departure from apostolic teaching and practice was the case of Novatian who in the year 251 received clinic baptism at the hands of the elders of the church. Being, as he believed, about to die he requested that they pour or sprinkle water upon him for baptism and if recovery was made he would then be immersed.
Certainly this practice did not come into common use until after it received the endorsement of Pope Stephen in 753, of which the Edinburgh Encyclopedia said,
Stephen replied that it would. But though the truth of this fact be allowed—which, however, some Catholics deny, --yet pouring or sprinkling was admitted only in cases of necessity. It was not till the year 1311 that the legislature, in a council held at Ravenna, declared immersion or sprinkling to be indifferent. In Scotland, however, sprinkling was never practiced in ordinary cases till after the Reformation (about the middle of the sixteenth century). From Scotland it made its way into England in the reign of Elizabeth, but was not authorized in the Established Church.” (Article on Baptism.)
Dr. Whitley, a distinguished preacher of the Church of England said, “Immersion was religiously observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and was approved by the Church of England. And since the change of it into sprinkling was made without any allowance from the author of the institution, or any license from any council of the Church (of England), being that which the Romanist still urgeth to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity, of general use.” Indeed the writings of the apostles show the baptism of the New Testament to be a burial. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Col. 2:12) It cannot be shown either in the Old or the New Testament that the sprinkling or pouring of water alone upon a person was in any way connected with salvation.
The testimony is indisputable that for thirteen hundred years from the time of the apostles immersion was universally practiced until license was granted by the Pope to practice sprinkling by the authority of the Catholic church. It was bound upon the people against their wishes, though they later yielded to the ecclesiastical decree. Here, too, is a practice and doctrine that must be surrendered if the churches of Christendom are to get back to the Bible.
Here are the conclusions to my studies on sprinkling, pouring, and immersion:
• The bible has no examples of anyone ever having water sprinkled or poured on them for baptism. The only examples we have of baptism are of immersion.
o Jesus’ baptism
• And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
o Ethiopian Eunuch
• And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
o Administered by John
• And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
• And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
People will try to pull this out of context to make it look like baptism is a “bad” thing. Or to make it look like baptism isn’t essential.
Let’s look at the entire context from which this statement is taken out of:
• 1 Corinthians 1:12-17
o Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
By reading the context you can see that the church at Corinth was having problems with giving too much glory to Paul and Apollos, when they should have been giving the glory to Jesus. Paul made the statement, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Paul was trying to get across to them that Jesus was what was important here, not himself.
By taking the other side, if Jesus sent Paul out to preach the gospel and NOT to baptize, was he sinning in doing something that Jesus said not to do? Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”(Matt. 28:19) Why would Jesus tell his apostles here to “GO, Baptize!” and then tell Paul, “Don’t baptize!”?
Also notice Paul’s conversion. Jesus told him to go to Damascus for someone to tell him what to do to be saved. Ananias caught up with Paul and asked him, “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Do you think that Paul would think that baptism is bad if he washed his sins away and received his sight back? I don’t think so. So by reasoning of both views, it looks like the most logical is just to see it as the Corinthians were putting to much emphasis on who was baptizing and not on Jesus’ gospel.
The scriptures say, “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)
So if you were originally baptized without having faith it would wash away your sins, then you were doing it for the wrong reasons. If you weren’t baptized “for the remission of your sins” then you obviously didn’t have faith of the cleansing power of baptism, and therefore weren’t cleansed of your sins. Just like King Naaman, he had to have faith in dipping himself into Jordan or it wouldn’t have cleansed him of his leprosy.
Ephesians 4:4-6 states, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” The “one baptism” isn’t referring to how many times you are baptized, it is referring to one “kind” of baptism; the baptism into Jesus Christ.
This ends the answers to the arguments I have encountered. I hope that they were clear and understandable to you. I hate that I had to write a paper on the defense of baptism, it shouldn’t be like this at all. With all the different denominations out there, it seems to me that baptism is the most controversial. That is why I chose to write this paper, to help everyone understand the harmony of the scriptures.
Now I would like to just show you some interesting facts about baptism in the scriptures. We will begin with the “Great Commission.”
“The Great Commission”
In Harmony with the Scriptures
Matt. 28:19-20 Teach All Nations ………. …………. ………. Baptizing In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost …………. ……………
Mark 16:15-16 Preach Every creature, in all the world The Gospel Believe ………. Baptized ……………….. Shall be saved ……………
Luke 24:45-49 Preach All Nations ………. …………. Repent ………… In His name Remission of sins Beginning at Jerusalem
Summary Teach or Preach To all nations or every creature in world The Gospel Believe Repent Baptized In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or in His name Saved, or remission of sins Beginning at Jerusalem
The beginning Acts 2:1-41 Peter preached Jews out of every nation The Gospel Believed Told to repent And be baptized In the name of Jesus Christ For the remission of sins They were at Jerusalem
Notice from this chart the harmony of “the Great Commission” to the apostles by Jesus, with what actually happened at the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. If we take the entire conversation that Jesus had with his disciples, that day before he ascended into heaven, out of Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s account, we can see the harmony of the “pieces” of this conversation.
• Galatians 3:29- And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
• Galatians 5:24- And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
• Romans 6:6-Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
• Christ’s = Abraham’s Seed = heirs of heaven
• Christ’s = Crucified the flesh = Baptism
• From this we can see that Paul was reminding us of the fact that those who are Christ’s have surrendered themselves to Jesus’ life of righteousness. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and are heirs of the promise of eternal life. In order for someone to “crucify the flesh”, you must be baptized into Jesus Christ according to Rom.6:6.
“But ye are washed”
• 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
o Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
We can see that the church of Corinth had many different types of sins in their lives. But after realizing their condition, they were baptized (washed) and Jesus cleansed them from their uncleanness. Notice how Ananias told Paul to “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, ..” We “wash” away our sins in baptism.
Adam Clarke’s Commentary
But ye are washed] Several suppose that the order in which the operations of the grace of God take place in the soul is here inverted; but I am of a very different mind. Every thing will appear here in its order, when we understand the terms used by the apostle.
Ye are washed; ye have been baptized into the Christian faith, and ye have promised in this baptism to put off all filthiness of the flesh and spirit: and the washing of your bodies is emblematical of the purification of your souls.
Israelites vs. Christians
“These things were our examples”
1 Corinthians 10:11, Romans 15:4
Departure from Egypt Departure from Sin
Slaves to Egyptians (Ex. 1:13-14) Slaves to Sin (Rom. 6:16)
Moses the Deliverer (Ex. 3:7-10) Christ the deliverer (Acts 3:22-26)
Moses’ signs produced faith (Ex. 4:1-9) Christ’s signs produce faith (John 20:30-31)
Israel believed Moses (Ex. 4:29-31) Must believe in Christ (John 8:24)
Israelites left Egypt (Ex. 12:37; 14:9-12) Must leave sin-Repent (Acts 3:19)
Israel baptized unto Moses (1 Cor. 10:1-2) Must be baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4)
All Egyptians destroyed in the sea (Ex. 14:13-22) All sins destroyed in baptism (Rom. 6:5-7)
Israel saved that day (Ex. 14:29-31) Saved the day of baptism (Acts 2:41,47)
Journey to Promise Land-OVERTHROWN! Journey to Heaven-OVERTHROWN?
Lusted after evil things (Num. 11:4-35) Not to lust after evil things (James 1:12-15)
Neither be ye idolaters (Ex. 32:1-6, 19-28) Not idolaters (Col. 3:5, 1 Tim.6:6-10)
Committed fornication (Num. 25:1-9) Not commit fornication (1 Cor. 6:15-20)
Tempted Moses and God (Num. 21:4-9) Neither tempt ye Christ (Matt. 6:24-34)
Some murmured (Num. 16:1-35, 41-50) Neither murmur (Phil. 2:14, Jude 3-16)
They were overthrown (1 Cor. 10:5) Take heed lest ye fall (1 Cor. 10:12)
The Laver as a type for Baptism
Laver-Exodus 30:18-21 "You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it,for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them-to him and his descendants throughout their generations."
Notice these things from relating the types of the Laver vs. Baptism
1. They had to wash or they would die; We are to be baptized or die in sin (Rom. 6:23)
2. They had to wash before entering the tabernacle; Enter the kingdom by being baptized (John 3:5)
3. The laver consisted of water to wash with; Baptism requires water (John 3:23)
4. It was a commandment from God; Baptism is a commandment from God (Acts 10:48)
Every conversion after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, (the gospel) is written in the book of Acts. Did you know that everyone of these conversions was followed by baptism? Here are the examples.
1. Believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:41)
2. Converts in Samaria (Acts 8:12)
3. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:13)
4. The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:38)
5. Saul of Tarsus, Paul (Acts 9:18)
6. Gentiles at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:48)
7. Lydia of Thyatira (Acts 16:15)
8. Philippian Jailer and Household (Acts 16:33)
9. Believers in Corinth (Acts 18:8)
10. Ephesian Disciples (Acts 19:5)
Seeing something like this makes you wonder why baptism is so controversial.
• 1 John 5:6-8
o This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
• John 19:30, 34
o 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
o 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
• John 3:5
o Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Three that bare witness in Heaven: Father, Word, the Holy Spirit
Three that bare witness on earth: Blood, Water, the Spirit
When Jesus got stuck in the side by a spear after his death, he bled water and blood. Note: this was after he yielded up the Ghost/Spirit, --3 that bare witness on earth! Do you think that the water bearing witness on earth has something to do with baptism? I believe so.
Note what Albert Barnes had to say about 1 John 5:6:
By water. There have been many opinions in regard to the meaning of this phrase. See Pool's Synopsis. Compare also Lucke, in loc. A mere reference to some of these opinions may aid in ascertaining the true interpretation.
(1.) Clement of Alexandria supposes that by water regeneration and faith were denoted, and by blood the public acknowledgment of that.
(2.) Some, and among them Wetstein, have held that the words are used to denote the fact that the Lord Jesus was truly a man, in contradistinction from the doctrine of the Docetae; and that the apostle means to say that he had all the properties of a human being--a spirit or soul, blood, and the watery humours of the body.
(4.) Many expositors suppose that the reference is to the baptism of Jesus, and that by his "coming by water and blood," as by the latter there is undoubted reference to his death, so by the former there is reference to his baptism, or to his entrance on his public work. Of this opinion were Tertullian, Ecumenius, Theophylact, among the fathers, and Capellus, lieumann, Stroth, Lange, Ziegler, A. Clarke, Bengel, Rosenmuller, Macknight, and others, among the moderns. A leading argument for this opinion, as alleged, has been that it was then that the Spirit bare witness to him, (Mt 3:16,) and that this is what John here refers to when he says, "It is the Spirit that beareth witness," etc. To this view, Lucke urges substantially the following objections:
(a.) That if it refers to baptism, the phrase would much more appropriately express the fact that Jesus came baptizing others, if that were so, than that he was baptized himself. The phrase would be strictly applicable to John the Baptist, who came baptizing, and whose ministry was distinguished for that, (Mt 3:1;) and if Jesus had baptized in the same manner, or if this had been a prominent characteristic of his ministry, it would be applicable to him. Comp. Joh 4:2. But if it means that he was baptized, and that he came in that way "by water," it was equally true of all the apostles who were baptized, and of all others, and there was nothing so remarkable in the fact that he was baptized as to justify the prominence given to the phrase in this place.
(b.) If reference be had here, as is supposed in this view of the passage, to the "witness" that was borne to the Lord Jesus on the occasion of his baptism, then the reference should have been not to the "water" as the witness, but to the "voice that came from heaven," (Mt 3:17,) for it was that which was the witness in the case. Though this occurred at the time of the baptism, yet it was quite an independent thing, and was important enough to have been referred to. See Lucke, Com. in loc. These objections, however, are not insuperable. Though Jesus did not come baptizing others himself, (Joh 4:2,) and though the phrase would have expressed that if he had, yet, as Christian baptism began with him; as this was the first act in his entrance on public life; as it was by this that he was set apart to his work; and as he designed that this should be always the initiatory rite of his religion, there was no impropriety in saying that his "coming," or his advent in this world, was at the beginning characterized by water, and at the close by blood. Moreover, though the "witness" at his baptism was really borne by a voice from heaven, yet his baptism was the prominent thing; and if we take the baptism to denote all that in fact occurred when he was baptized, all the objections made by Lucke here vanish.
(a.) the "blood" is that which he shed; which pertained to him personally; which he poured out for the redemption of man; and it is clear that, whatever is meant by the phrase "he came," his coming by "water" is to be understood in some sense similar to his coming by "blood;" and it seems incredible that the apostle should have joined a mere ordinance of religion in this way with the shedding of his blood, and placed them in this manner on an equality.
(b.) It cannot be supposed that John meant to attach so much importance to baptism as would be implied by this. The shedding of his blood was essential to the redemption of men; can it be supposed that the apostle meant to teach that baptism by water is equally necessary?
(c.) If this be understood of baptism, there is no natural connexion between that and the "blood" referred to; nothing by which the one would suggest the other; no reason why they should be united. If he had said that he "came" by the appointment of two ordinances for the edification of the church, "baptism and the supper," however singular such a statement might be in some respects, yet there would be a connexion, a reason why they should be suggested together. But why should baptism and the blood shed by the Saviour on the cross be grouped together as designating the principal things which characterized his coming into the world?
This concludes my study on the topic of baptism. I am so thankful that you took the time just to look over this study, and I pray that it affected you in some, at least, minute way. If it did, then my goal was reached. I apologize for the length, but it needed to be this long for me to get all my thoughts wrapped up into one study.
Baptism is in the Holy Scriptures for us to learn about. It shouldn’t be something we try to avoid because it raises so much controversy. When I began studying the bible, I began to ask everyone I studied with about baptism. Usually they would get red in the face, close their ears, and not want to study on it at all. I don’t understand why that is. It seems to me that if you have two honest, sincere hearts, they should listen to each other till something gets worked out. Paul says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”(1 Cor. 1:10) As members of the body of Christ, Jesus doesn’t want us all having different opinions and interpretations. He wants us all to work our differences out and agree on God’s will. I realize sometimes that it might be hard to change; I was in the same situation. Just think of the great reward you will have on judgment day if you change to fit God’s will. You can stand before God and tell him that you didn’t listen to man’s commandments. You studied it for yourself and prayed He would give you understanding to the great mystery of the Holy Scriptures (Eph. 3:4). Don’t feel alone if you have a hard time understanding God’s will. Even Peter talked about how Paul’s writing in the letters can be hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:15-16). But the key is are you willing to not give up and fight against denominationalism, and bring the body of Christ together “in mind and judgment?” Are you willing to give up what you have been taught your entire life if it is contradictory to the bible? Please don’t close your ears and harden your hearts, your soul will thank you when you are standing before God at judgment. May God bless you in your efforts and give you the understanding needed to bring out the mystery of His will. I am looking forward to hearing any questions you might have on baptism or anything else, and I would love to get to know you if you have a hunger to feed on His word. (Matthew 5:6, Amos 8:13)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
---Paul the apostle
And I haven't read through all of those attachments, yet. It's like 40 pages of 2 word documents. That will be a project in and of itself. As far as I can tell so far, though, my research did involve at least some of the same material.
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