Baptism-only an outward sign?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Emily, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Emily

    Emily
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    This is probably a dead horse I am kicking, but it is something I have thought about a whole lot.

    Both my husband and I come from a Catholic background. We both got saved in a charismatic church before we were married. (I was saved in 1995, my husband in 1999)

    Anyhoo.. My husband has never been baptised. I encourage him to do so, but its like he gets really scared.. I tell him its something he has to do as commanded by God. He will say yes, but when they have the invitation at church, he wont go. He gets nervous and afraid and wont go up there.

    Well.. since I am doing the encouraging, its good to know what I believe on the subject.. right? and truth be told, I know that I believe that it is an outward sign of salvation, but I dont know why. Perhaps I am wrong?

    I have a church of Christ friend who says that we need baptism to save us... because it says that in the bible and that kind of scares me.. I probably am wrong!.....sooooo......

    is it in the bible anywhere that it is only an outward sign?
     
  2. Johnv

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    Well, salvation is not contingent upon baptism, so there it's a non-issue. It is, however, and outward sign of belonging to the Christian community.

    Just my two cents, I don't think he should br pressured into it. He'll want to get baptized when he's ready. That might not be for several years, but he needs to be ready. Obviously, some churches require a believer's baptism as compulsory for membership. But if this is not the case in your church, then I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  3. gb93433

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    In the early church they did not separate water baptism and salvation. They were under persecution. In naming Christ as their Lord it meant that they renounced the emperor as their lord. Some of the emperors saw themselves as divine. To claim Christ as their Lord meant the emperor could have you executed. Baptism was not a dunk in the water but a time when you named Christ as your Lord. If one were to face possible execution when baptized it would also make sense that they have named Christ as their Lord and would be saved. But often today I do not see the same context.

    The thief hanging next to Jesus was not baptized. Was he saved? I would think so.

    Paul did not come to baptize but to preach the gospel.

    But we are commanded to be baptized.
     
  4. Emily

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    My church does require it for membership, and we are going through the membership class next month.

    It seems to me that baptism is a command from God though, and its not really our choice if we are to be obedient followers of Christ..

    Does that mean that my husband probably isnt saved if he doesnt want to do this?
     
  5. LaRae

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    Maybe the question you should ask him is this....Jesus commanded we be baptized. Is his refusal to be baptized obedient?


    LaRae
     
  6. Michael Wrenn

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    Emily,

    I believe he is saved.

    Water baptism isn't a work we do in order to add something to our salvation.

    If your husband is saved, he has already been baptized--by the Spirit and into the Body of Christ.

    So, water baptism witnesses to spiritual baptism and is a sign and symbol of it.

    God bless.

    Michael Wrenn
     
  7. thessalonian

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    Everybody always likes to bring up the theif on the cross as "proof" that you don't need to be baptized. Well he died before Jesus resurrection, basically under the Old Covenant. Now that covenant looked forward to Christ of course but would anyone ever say you don't have to believe in the resurrection to be saved. No. Today a "christian" must believe in the resurection to be saved. The point is that the great commission had not been given, where the Apostles were told to baptize all nations, i.e. everyone they converted to Christ. From that point on don't see one "Christian" mentioned in the Bible who was not baptized. 3000 were baptized on the day of pentecost. It would seem noone was left out. 4000 shortly after that. Cornelius and his crew, Lydia, the Eunuch, the jailor and his family. I don't see anyone saying, well, you don't really have to do it. We can go round and round about the salvific effects of baptism but I see no justification for someone stubbornly refusing it because he "thinks" he is saved or we "think" he is saved. If he is rejecting a command from Christ, at some level he is rejecting Christ.

    By the way with Paul's statement about not baptizing anyone (with a few exceptions), Paul says "I planted, Apollos WATERED, but the Lord made it grow". Note Apollos watered (i.e. baptized). Paul came to many places as the first messanger of Christ. Many times he labored with people and his message was not accepted. He "planted seeds" that eventually grew in to faith after he was gone. Not everyone gets hit by a bolt of lightening when Christ is preached to them. In fact the majority that I have seen take time in coming to him.

    Blessings
     
  8. Carson Weber

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    Emily,

    To enter into a covenant, it is necessary that one take an oath, which is the entrance to a covenant, so to speak. In the Latin, the word for oath is sacramentum, and this is what baptism is. It is the oath by which we enter into the New Covenant family of God.

    If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to check this website out: http://www.catholicoutlook.com/glenn1.html
     
  9. Doubting Thomas

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    I have to agree with the Catholic posters here.

    I believe that it has only been in the last 400-500 years, that anyone has proposed that Baptism is only an outward sign with no inward salvific efficacy. I believe that Zwingli was the first major proponent of this view, and he butted heads with Luther and Calvin over this. If you look at the writings of the early Church Fathers, though they disagreed on some issues, the regenerative nature of baptism was not one of them. Knowing this, it certainly makes it much easier for one to accept certain texts regarding baptism at face value (Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-10, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:21...)

    BTW--Carson's link is a good one.
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

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    At face value? Oh, then you would also include, I'm sure, the passages which speak of Jesus's brothers. Funny thing, though, many Catholics don't take that one at "face value."
     
  11. Doubting Thomas

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    I generally don't buy the whole "brothers = cousins" argument either. However, there is a very early tradition which maintains that Jesus' brothers were sons of Joseph by a previous marriage which would make them His older stepbrothers, FWIW. But that is another topic...(BTW--I'm not Catholic.)
     
  12. Emily

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    I am starting to lean towards baptismal regeneration..

    It seems like it is said very bluntly.
     
  13. Bro. Curtis

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    Where did you get that ? I've never heard it.

    Another thing, if Baptism saves, and you lose your salvation, is re-baptism required ? Why, or why not ?
     
  14. gb93433

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    What do you do with the thief on the cross next to Jesus?
     
  15. Michael Wrenn

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    Emily,

    Please don't swallow that. It is NOT said very bluntly. Go to the Baptist Theology forum and read my response to Matt on this topic.

    Jesus spoke of spiritual things and others thought he was speaking of the physical--even his own disciples couldn't understand Him at first. He used metaphor, puns, and other things to get across spiritual truths.

    Those who believe in baptismal regeneration would also have us believe that at the Last Supper Jesus multiplied Himself thirteen-fold, and His disciples and He dined on Himself. "This is my body" is a metaphor used to represent a deeper, inward, mystical, spiritual event and truth.

    If your husband is never baptized in water, he has already been baptized and reborn by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.

    "The Spirit bloweth where it listeth," not where man listeth that it should blow.
     
  16. Brother Adam

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    gb- He was under the old Covenant OT.

    Emily, part of faith is obedience. Christ basically said point blank "Go into the world making disciples and baptizing them". In Acts believers are baptized after hearing Paul preach. The eunich was baptized and recieved the spirit after the gospel was explained by Philip.

    Yes, the evidence is strong, but it must be recieved on faith.

    I don't believe though that it is impossible to be saved if you aren't baptized. Not at all. People may be killed or have another reason that they could not be baptized after deciding to become a disciple of Christ.
     
  17. Chemnitz

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    Personally I wonder about somebody who claims to believe and then refuses to be baptized. However, If your husband was raised Catholic then he has already been baptized and so there is no reason to be re-baptized. God doesn't remove his mark just because we refuse to accept it.

    Some people refuse to recognize the power of the Word and in Baptism the Word is present with the water. So baptism is more than an outward sign (rm 6:3-8).
     
  18. Carson Weber

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    Michael,

    The passages concerning Jesus' adelphoi in no way necessitate a full blood relation because in first century Jewish culture, adelphoi was used to refer to brothers, nephews, cousins, half-brothers, and kinsmen. This is because the Jewish culture is Semitic; in Hebrew, there is no distinction in language between brother and cousin, and when Alexander the Great Hellenized the Mediterranean, this linguistic feature stuck among Greek-speaking Jews.

    Reading Scripture face value entails reading it at its face value in the first century.

    Doubting Thomas,

    Which part of Orthodoxy do you practice in?

    Emily,

    I suggest the following text for you. I read it four years ago and have found it to be one of the best expositions of baptism in the light of the Early Church I have read so far, and I was able to personally meet the author the day before yesterday and have him autograph my copy:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0898705770/qid=1077313449/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-3082200-4280133?v=glance&s=books

    Curtis,

    The tradition that Jesus' adelphoi were his half brothers through a previous marriage of Joseph is attested to in writing as early as 120 A.D.

    To answer your second question, if someone commits a mortal sin (1 John 5) after baptism, the sacrament of penance is available (John 20:21-23). In the Early Church, this was often referred to as a "second baptism".

    Baptism is the means by which one is reborn out of the family of Adam and into the family of God through the only Son of God, Jesus. When one commits a mortal son, he/she loses the status of divine sonship as the Prodigal Son and returns to the family through the sacrament of penance. This is why Jesus gave his ministers the authority to forgive sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    gb93433,

    While water baptism is the normal means of entrance into the New Covenant, God is not bound to the sacraments. He can save through what is termed "baptism of desire" by incorporating into the New Covenant family of God those who have not formally taken the baptism oath.
     
  19. Doubting Thomas

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    Carson,

    I'm not Orthodox, I'm (officially, at least) Southern Baptist :D

    I'm about to head out of town for the weekend. I'll drop by later.... [​IMG]
     
  20. Bro. Curtis

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    Carson, where may I view that writing ? I have never heard it, and I don't believe I have ever seen you write about it either. I see time and time again where you've said "cousins" when referring to Christ's earthly family.

    Secondly, Chemintz says this...
    "If your husband was raised Catholic then he has already been baptized and so there is no reason to be re-baptized. God doesn't remove his mark just because we refuse to accept it."

    The you say....
    "When one commits a mortal son, he/she loses the status of divine sonship as the Prodigal Son and returns to the family through the sacrament of penance.

    Is that a basic difference in the Lutheran/Catholic teaching ? Or are you both saying the same thing ? What I'm getting at, is if mortal sin does break the covenant, what good did baptism do ?
     

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