Baptism: Regeneration or Symbol?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Mark-in-Tx, May 22, 2002.

  1. Mark-in-Tx

    Mark-in-Tx
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    I have a friend at my church who was raised in the Church of Christ tradition. She has a great deal of questions about baptism and whether or not it is a part of the saving process. I would like to hear reasons for both points of view. I know I will probably get more of one than the other but if you have a point of view that states that Baptism is part of the Salvation experience I would like to hear reasons you believe that.
    Thanks.

    Mark-in-Texas
     
  2. MissAbbyIFBaptist

    MissAbbyIFBaptist
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    I beleive that Baptism is a symbol. It's not the water that saves a person, It's by God's grace we are saved. the Bible teaches "Not of works, lest any man should bost." Baptism is a work. It is something that is "done", but with salvation, God does the saving.
    Baptism is biblical. It is an act of obediance that saved people shoul do AFTER they are saved. Baptism is a symbol of death, burial, and resurection.
    Without salvation before it, it dosn't make sense.
    Does that help any?
    **Abby** [​IMG]
     
  3. Jarlaxle

    Jarlaxle
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    I was born and raised in a Church of Christ. Actually I still attend a Church of Christ. However, I no longer believe many of their legalistic views on theology. I would argue with Baptists about whether baptism was essential for salvation or not and I had convinced myself that I was correct. After all, many verses strongly imply that baptism is the point where sins are forgiven. It is my view now that Baptists do not put enough importance on Baptism, while the Church of Christ puts way too much importance on it.

    I offer an analogy to try and demonstrate the importance of baptism without making it so important that one would get the idea that it was essential for the forgiveness of sins.

    Baptism is to becoming a Christian what a ring is to becoming married in my culture (USA).

    The ring is not essential for me to get married, yet I would not have dared to have gone through the ceremony without it when I got married. To put baptism off until a later “convenient” date is like going through a marriage ceremony and then purchasing the rings later. Certainly there are circumstances in real life where a couple will get married without them (i.e. can not afford them or something), but those are not the circumstances I am comparing baptism to. I am comparing baptism to the general or normal union of man and wife in my culture.

    When I placed the ring on my wife’s finger, I made a pledge to her while doing so.

    1 Peter 3:21 “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

    My Church of Christ brothers would of course say, “Now see? Its right there in black and white. Baptism saves you!” Well, ya, their correct, but what exactly is Peter saying baptism is? Peter says there are two parts of baptism. The physical water washing part, and the pledge part. Kinda like the ring and vow I made at my wedding. The physical ring symbolizing my “endless love” and the vow or “pledge of a good conscience toward her.” Is the ring essential? In her eyes it may have been, but technically speaking my vow is all that matters. If not, then I had better hope the ring never gets lost!

    Likewise, Peter says that removal of dirt is not the part that saves. The part that saves is the pledge of a good conscience toward God. With this analogy in mind, lets look at a verse by Paul that is often referred to by “Church of Christers.”

    Romans 6:3-4 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    This would be like saying, “Or don’t you know that all of you who have had wedding rings placed upon your fingers have been engaged in a relationship of endless love? You were therefore joined together by these rings in the holy matrimony.” Worded this way, it makes is sound as if the rings are essential for a couple to be bound together, when in fact it is not. So even though many verses in the Bible imply that baptism (removal of dirt from the body part) is essential, it is in fact not so because Peter says that part is NOT the part that saves.

    In my opinion, this is a good analogy but I believe that the dunking part of baptism is even more critical or important to becoming a Christian that the rings are to becoming married. I don’t think it is essential in the sense that it actually cleanses you of sin, only the pledge of a good conscience can do that by the resurrection of Jesus. But, just as I would not dare delay in getting a ring for my bride, even more so I would not dare delay getting baptized to become “engaged” with my Savior. What else would explain why seemingly each case in the Bible where people were baptized they did not delay?

    Hope this helps,
    Jarlaxle
     
  4. Mark-in-Tx

    Mark-in-Tx
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    Thank you for Jarlaxle. I am going to share this with my friend. She is very much where you are as far as I can tell. You have articulated a beautiful statement about where you are and will be very helpful for my friend. One thing that she really struggles with is that her mother a strong Church of Christ believer puts pressure on her. I am trying to help her by sharing with her reasons that both views have some merrit.
    Thanks Mark
     
  5. Grasshopper

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    Is Baptism necessay for salvation? Yes, BUT what is baptism? Baptism is identifying with Christ. Scripture says "repent(turn from sin) and be Baptized(identify with Christ)for the remmission of sin. Then you are water baptized for the symbol of what has happened.

    Now if Church of Christ people quote the above verse for the necessaty of water baptism for salvation then they believe all you have to do is be sorry for sin and get baptized. Where is the acceptance of Christ? Where is the turning to Christ for salvation? It's contained in the word Baptism. Identifying with Christ. To sum up, I believe the Baptism mentioned in the above verse is an inward baptism not an outward one. So baptism in this usage is necessary for salvation.
     
  6. tyndale1946

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    We never accepted Jesus Christ until he accepted us first. Baptism is following Jesus Christ in discipleship by being immersed in the liquid grave. We have left our old self in the water and have now risen to a new life in Jesus Christ in a symbolic example. We have crucified the old man and are ready to take the new man into the service of the Lord. To take this ordinance set up by John The Baptist and Jesus Christ and say it has eternal saving properties is to use it for a purpose it was never intended. The sinless blood of Jesus The Christ is the only thing that eternal saves his children... To use the ordinance of baptism in an application it was never intended for is gross error and false doctrine... Brother Glen :eek:
     
  7. Michael C. Lewis

    Michael C. Lewis
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    Hi Guys,
    Here's the way I look at it:
    Neccesity-- We must be "born of the Spirit" (ie. saved, "born again") John 3:3-5.
    Ordinance(ie. an act of obedience) -- 1.Water baptism by total submersion.
    2.The Lord's Supper.

    If water baptism is required for our salvation, then what happened to the thief on the cross? How could Jesus have promised that he would be with Him in paradise? He obviously wasn't baptised. I never have heard the Church of Christ's explanation for this.

    IMHO, adding baptism as a neccesity for salvation is the height of false teaching. It's an act of works! And as it's already been stated, salvation is a "gift of God, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).

    Let's not make an easy gift, a complicated endeavor!

    In Christ,
    Mike
     
  8. MissAbbyIFBaptist

    MissAbbyIFBaptist
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    I agree with ya'll, Brother Mike and Brother Glen!
    Great point about the thief in the cross.
    It's God's grace that saves us. A repentance of sin,and asking forgivness.
    When I got saved, it was on a friday. the following tuesday, my apendix almost ruptured and I had surgery that night. I had not yet been Baptized because my preacher was away preaching a revival.
    However, that night,as they prepared me for surgery, I had a wonderful peace because I knew that if I didn't make it out of sugery, I would forever be with my Savior.
    If Baptisum was esential for salvation,and I had not recovered from surgery,what would my fate have been?
    You can't add to something God had a perfect plan for. Baptisum is important because it was an ordanance from God. But not essential for salvation. Baptisum is a work. The Bible says:"not of works, lest any man should boast."
    Thank ya'll for reading this,
    **Abby** [​IMG]
     
  9. charles

    charles
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    I like the post by Jarlaxie.The Baptists don't treat it with the respect it deserves and the Church of Christ puts it on a pedestal it doesn't belong.

    1Cor15:1-5 tells us we are saved through the death,burial and resurrection of our Lord.The bible calls this the gospel.

    Baptism is not a part of the gospel,it's simply an act of obedience to test our faith.Who cares when we are saved,just do the whole deal which includes our obedience.Keeping in mind that the only cleansing agent for sin is the blood of Jesus.

    God bless,Charles
     
  10. Grasshopper

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    Church of Christ response to thief on the cross is that Christ and not died nor risen yet, therefore still under old Testament law.
     
  11. tyndale1946

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    There were two thieves on the cross... One he acknowledged... This day shalt thou be with me in paradise... the other he said nothing to! You who hold to Baptismal Regeneration who baptised the thief?... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ May 23, 2002, 03:15 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  12. ddavis

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  13. hrhema

    hrhema
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    The truth about baptism is deluded because we make it an requirement for church membership instead of what it was intended for.

    When John came baptizing it was a baptism unto repentance. This never changed. Baptism is not just a symbol of the death and burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but an outward sign of a repentant heart.

    Using the thief on the cross does not defend this but just shows that people do not pay attention to details. The thief died under the law not under Grace so if baptism was in reality a requirement of salvation it would not apply here.
    To use this for or against regenerational baptism
    is not advantageous to either side. Those who do believe in regenerational salvation will say that Jesus being God could take whomever he chose to Heaven at this time because the plan of salvation was not in effect until after Calvary.

    There are those who believe that Baptism is part of the salvation issue because it is a matter of obedience. It is not that the water saves you or that the water cleanses you of sin it is the fact that you acted in obedience to the command of Jesus and the Apostles. Yet, this opens up another avenue of argument. Matthew 28:19 versus the verses in Acts that says the name of Jesus was used for Baptism.
     
  14. hrhema

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    Baptism in itself does not save. Let me make that clear.
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Hrhema said:
    Then what you are saying is Baptism plays a part in the Salvation process?... Is that what you are implying?... Clear up what you made not clear... Brother Glen :confused:
     
  16. KenH

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    "Those who do believe in regenerational salvation will say that Jesus being God could take whomever he chose to Heaven at this time because the plan of salvation was not in effect until after Calvary."

    Of course a fallacy in the Church of Christ argument(I was born and raised in it) is that God does not save in different ways. Salvation has always been by grace through faith. It is just that after the Savior's life and death on behalf of His people we can better understand our dependence on God's grace and inability to be saved by law-keeping than the saints that lived before the Savior came could.

    The thief saved while on a cross, Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, etc., were all saved by God's grace regardless of what physical acts were instructed to take place during their respective lifetimes.
     
  17. Jarlaxle

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  18. hrhema

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    Yes, anytime anyone is saved whether it was under the Law or Grace it is God's amazing grace at work.

    I do not deny this but I find it a very poor argument to use the thief on the cross to say Baptism has nothing to do with salvation. There are many many more scriptures which teach this then turning to this event.
     
  19. Mark-in-Tx

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  20. Daniel David

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    Baptism is used to identify with someone or something. The Israelites were baptized into Moses. John preached a baptism of repentance. On the day of Pentecost, Peter exhorted people to repent and be baptized (identified with Jesus) for the forgiveness of sins.

    In Romans 6, Paul said that Christians are buried with Him (Christ) in baptized and raised to walk in newness of life. Obviously, this is Spiritual baptism.

    At the moment of conversion, a person is baptized into the body of Christ. Water baptism is to show that one has repented and believed in Christ. This should be a requirement for church membership. Who wants people as members of church that are not willing to identify with Christ? As a preacher, I might seriously question if that person has truly believed.
     

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