Acts 2:38

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Olivencia, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Olivencia

    Olivencia
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    Barring those Jews who believed in the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:4) the command to be water baptized in the name of the Lord for the forgiveness of sins only applies to the Jews of this time period (Acts 2:38 cf. Acts 22:16) for they were more responsible for the death of Christ.

    Objections
    1. But God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) and all are equally guilty for the death of Christ.
    Response: God is not a respecter of persons in regards to whom He saves. The gospel is for everyone.
    In John 19:11 Christ said the greater sin involved "delivering" (paradidwmi) Him up to Pilate. But in Acts 3:13 Peter tells the thousands of Jews in his audience that it was they who delivered (paradidwmi) Christ up to Pilate. Thus they were guilty of committing "the greater sin".
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    2. But there is only one gospel
    Response: Saving faith is a synecdoche that encompasses belief, confession (Romans 10:10) and repentance (Acts 17:30). For the Jews of this time period their repentance included their water baptism.
    If two men wanted to come to Christ and one was a murderer and the other man never murdered the man who murdered would have to repent of his murder(s) while the other man would have no need to. Two different gospels? No, simply their repentance was different based on what they did or didn't do.
    a. Kittel: "In Paul metanoia is comprised in -> pistis, the central concept in his doctrine of salvation" (TDNT 4:1005, metanoia).
    b. Kittel: Citing 2 Corinthians 9:13, "Paul can call believing confession of the gospel" (TDNT 6:206, pisteuw).
    c. Kittel: Finally one finds in Jn. 3:18, cf.. 1:12; 2:23 the formulation "faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." This emphasises even more firmly the fact that a specific confession is contained in the predicate and that deliberate utterance of the name in acceptance of God's unique acts in Jesus is decisive (TDNT 8:387, huis).
    d. Kittel: The fact that metanoia is a work of the Spirit (cf. Ac. 11:18 with 11:15ff. and 10:45) is to be explained only on the assumption that Jesus fulfilled John's promise of a baptism of the Spirit (TDNT 4:1004, metanoia).
    e. Kittel: Under John's baptism, "Bound up with confession of sin, baptism is in the first instance an expression of repentance" (TDNT 1:537, baptw).
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    3. Acts 2:39 states that the promise is to those who are "afar off" and to as many as the Lord our God shall call. This promise also refers to the Gentiles(Ephesians 2:17).
    Response - To you (Jews), to your children (Jews), those who are afar off (Jews of the Diaspora -> Daniel 9:7) - as many as the Lord our God shall call would encapsulate the previous groups he just mentioned. In fact, this "promise" could not possibly refer to the Gentiles for they received "the gift of the Holy Spirit" before they were water baptized (Acts 10:45, 48) and not as a "result" of being water baptized as is the case here.
    Jews - be baptized - receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
    Gentiles - receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - be baptized (Acts 10:45, 48)
    Things that are different are not the same.
    In fact, there is not one clear cut case of any Gentile ever being water baptized for the forgiveness of sins in the name of the Lord nor do we read of any submitting to such a command.

    Thank you
    Olivencia
     
    #1 Olivencia, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  2. Baptist Believer

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    Thank you for your exposition, but I think the solution to this issue is much simpler than that.

    Acts 2:38 is the response to the question asked in Acts 2:37:

    37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

    The question is not "What must I do to be saved?" That question is asked and answered in Acts 16:30-31:

    He then brought them [Paul and Silas] out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."

    What Peter said in Acts 2:38 was what Baptists have always said to the question "What shall we do?" when confronted with the gospel. Repent and follow Jesus in baptism (the public sign of commitment and identification).
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Am I reading this correct? The OP actually advocates not baptizing people who are not Jewish according to the flesh?

    Are you kidding me?
     
  4. Olivencia

    Olivencia
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    Thanks for your input.

    When Peter responded to them in Acts 2:38 he mentioned about the forgivenss of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit both of which if one is devoid of means they are not yet saved so Peter did pronounce a salvation message. And the way for them to attain both of these was for them to be water baptized.
    In Acts 16:31 these were Gentiles so there was no need to tell them to be water baptized for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins.

    -------
    I never asserted that no one else should be water baptized. Where do you read that from my first post? All are to be water baptized. Acts 10:48 is commanded and rightfully done. 1 Peter 3:21 refers to water baptism.
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    - please delete -
     
    #5 Baptist Believer, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Here:
    Obviously by your clarification, I misunderstood you.

    Added in: I don't think there is justification to limiting the range of Acts 2:38 to Jews only. God calls both Jews and Gentiles.
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    Baptism has never been necessary for salvation, but it is a command of the Lord for all who follow Him.

    If you continue reading in Acts 16, those who responded to Paul and Silas gospel message were baptized:

    "At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized." Acts 16:33
     
  8. Olivencia

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    Yes in Acts 16 they were water baptized but not for the forgiveness of sins. They weren't Jews.
    Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16 shows that water baptism was necessary for these Jews to be saved - not so with any Gentile as the conversion in Acts 10 (Cornelius) clearly demonstrates.
     
  9. ReformedBaptist

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    This is actually is a very abberant teaching. One in fact, I have never heard before. And, of course, one inconsistent with the Scripture.

    You are desribing a salvation that is different for one group (Jews) than it is for another. This is false and destructive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Acts 15:8-9
    And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

    And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

    God puts no difference between Jew and Gentile. The same Gospel of grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone, is the same for both groups.
     
  10. Olivencia

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    God doesn't put a difference between Jews and Gentiles.
    Both are purified by faith. But saving faith is a synecdoche. Romans 10:9, 10 declares that confession is necessary for salvation and Acts 17:30 declares that repentance is necessary for salvation. For those in Acts 2:38 their water baptism is necessary for salvation. It was part of their repentance.
    If I committed murder I would have to repent of murder. If you never committed murder then you would not have to repent of murder. There is a different aspect of our repentance.

    Matthew 26:28 - Christ's blood was shed for the remission of sins
    eis aphesin hamartiwn
    Acts 2:38 - water baptism is for the remission of sins
    eis aphesin hamartiwn

    Same exact phrase. Was Christ's blood shed for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins or because of (they already had) the remision of sins?
     
  11. Jim1999

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    If you care to read a little further in Acts, but in the same context, we read: Acts 3:19..."Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.." Funny thing. Same people, the Jews, but no mention of baptism in relation to salvation.

    Just maybe we must go back to 2:38 and reread that verse and read: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be immersed everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Olivencia

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    Neither though is there mention of confession even though it is necessary for salvation (Romans 10:10). In every conversion we don't need an author to tell us every time all that was said and/or required. In fact, sometimes Luke tells us that upon their conversion a person receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-47) while at other times he chooses not to (Acts 16:30-34).

    Thank you Jim
     
    #12 Olivencia, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
  13. ReformedBaptist

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    Before I continue this conversation, what is your denominational affiliation if any? What is your statement of faith and that of the congregation your submitted to?

    RB
     
  14. Olivencia

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    It's listed in my profile :flower:
     
  15. ReformedBaptist

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    Then why are you teaching a message different from the Baptist Faith and Message?
     
  16. TCGreek

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    No one should try to build doctrinal positions from the narrative of Acts. It's not that kind of book.

    It's transitional in nature.

    We should look to the more didactic writings, the Letters of Paul and so on.

    We cannot make the Acts disagree with Paul and so on.
     
  17. Olivencia

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    My former SBC pastor believed the same thing. I believed it years before I heard him mention it.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    I also agree that Acts is transitional in nature. For that reason I see no problem that certain things could be different that what Paul later wrote about. We see what is expressed in Acts 2:38 also found in Acts 22:16. I know it is another narrative but Luke records for us that the Jews always received the Holy Spirit (forgiveness of sins) after their water baptism. In fact, when Paul recounted his conversion Luke mentions the importance of his water baptism to Paul's Jewish audience (Acts 22:16) but he chose not to with his Gentile audience in Acts 26. I believe the evidence is more than just coincidental.

    Thank you

    Olivencia
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    So that's two...but doesn't answer why you or a pastor would teach contrary to the statement of faith of one's own denomination. You don't have to answer me.

    This new doctrine your bringing I have never heard before. Where in history has this been taught by others? Or is it new with you and a few folks you know?

    Also, I would like to see you answer TC in reconciling the didactic teaching of the apostles and what you think was done in practice. It does appear you are teaching that the apostles practiced and taught differently in Acts from what they did in their letters.
     
  19. Olivencia

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    I go by the words, grammar, context etc of the text. I let that dictate my theology. I don't let theology dictate what those things ought to be.

    New doctrine? Not really. Do you have access to the TDNT? Even Thayer states it means "for the forgiveness of sins" in reference to Acts 2:38.

    Have you ever read G.R. Beasley-Murray (a Baptist): Whatever the relation between baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit elsewhere in Acts, there appears to be no doubt as to the intention in Acts 2:38; the penitent believer baptized in the name of Jesus Christ may expect to receive at once the Holy Spirit, even as he is assured the forgiveness of sins (Baptism in the New Testament, page 108).

    I have addressed the didactic aspect of this passage. The same thing is said in Acts 22:16 (it also being didactic).
    Luke offers no other clear cut case as to when a Gentile receives the Holy Spirit...before water baptism (Acts 10:44-48). Now aside from the laying on of hands which does not occur today to impart the Spirit (Acts 8:17 and Acts 19:6) can you show me anywhere that Luke tells us a Jew received the Holy Spirit before he/she was water baptized.
     
    #19 Olivencia, Mar 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2009
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    Why would I need to show how the Holy Spirit in Acts teaches or shows us something different from what He shows us in the rest of the Scriptures?

    Olive, you are trying to prove your case. But I am seeking to honor the Lord and hold fast the Gospel. What I am hearing you teaching is a new doctrine. That there is one manner of salvation for the Jews, and another for the Gentiles. That the Jews require water baptism to be saved while the gentiles do not. This is a new doctrine.

    What I think you might be doing is making much ado of nothing, simply because of your background and what you came out of. These texts you are referencing are not even about baptism. This doesn't mean we can't learn something from them, but the teaching of the text isn't baptism - it is the inclusion of the gentiles in the promise of God.

    RB
     

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