Baptismal regeneration - help needed

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Matt Black, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    On another site where I post, an RC has raised up various Scriptures which he says support baptismal regeneration and forgiveness of sins through baptism. If I had time, I would research and refute each of these as arguments, but presently I am pressed for time and would appreciate whatever help other BB members can contribute. Here are the verses:-

    ...In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 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,

    1 Peter 3:20-21

    Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 2:38

    And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

    Acts 22:16

    Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Mark 16:16

    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.

    Romans 6:3-4

    Those are verses that speak directly about the sacrament, here are verses that speak of "water" and "washing" that have traditionally been interpreted as pointing toward baptismal regeneration

    Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

    John 3:5

    he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

    Titus 3:5

    And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    1 Cor. 6:11


    Many thanks in advance

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Um...bump...is no-one interested in refuting baptismal regeneration? Here's what I've attempted so far:-

    "The significance of the Acts 2:38 passage is that it includes repentance as a precursor to baptism. Without repentance, baptism is null and void.

    Will endeavour to respond more substantively to the other verses when time permits. Suffice it to say on the Acts passage, that repentance is clearly a prerequisite, and I would like to know how a new-born can repent. If an infant repents, then they may be baptised. I believe the order is 'repent/ believe', then 'baptised'; this is borne out by Mark 16 ('whoever believes and is baptised' etc)


    ....

    I Cor 6:11 - I think we would relate the 'washed' to that awful-sounding old-fashioned evangelical phrase "Washed in the blood of the Lamb" ie: penal substitutionary atonement+faith/ repentance=justification. It is significant IMO that the word 'baptism' is not used here and I would submit that this verse is not about baptism at all...

    Titus 3:5 - basically what I said re I Cor 6:11.
    "
    Further help would be appreciated!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    Here are some brief replies:

    The 1 Peter passage is clearly talking about spiritual baptism, which water baptism symbolizes.

    Having majored in English, I can definitely say that the events in the Acts 2 passage don't have to be taken sequentially--that is, the passage can mean, "Repent for the forgiveness of your sins, and be baptized..." This would harmonize with other scriptures.

    The other Acts passage: The washing is symbolic of what happens spiritually.

    The Mark passage does not occur in the most ancient manuscripts.

    The Romans passage: Spiritual baptism--death, burial, and resurrection--which water baptism (immersion) pictures.

    John 3: The context is contrasting natural birth and spiritual birth.

    Titus: Again, spiritual rebirth, which water baptism is the outward sign of.

    1 Cor.: Spiritual washing

    All of these verses just show what the 1 Peter passage is trying to get across: that water cannot cleanse the spirit--water cleanses flesh, Spirit cleanses spirit. And for spiritual cleansing to take place, repentance, conversion, and faith is necessary.

    No amount of water, or words, or priestly incantations, or formulas, or church decrees, or dogma, or traditions can cleanse the spirit.
     
  4. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    6
    Where does it say that this is spiritual baptism that saves?

    Rather, would harmonize with your way of interpreting other scriptures.

    Again, where does it say "the washing is symbolic of what happens spiritually"?

    Where does it say in this passage that this baptism is merely spiritual and divorced from the act (or occasion) of water baptism?

    Where does it say that? You are not suggesting that the water here is "amniotic fluid", are you?

    Again, why do you insist on separating spiritual rebirth from the water baptism in which it takes place, other than it doesn't agree with your theology?

    [ February 20, 2004, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Doubting Thomas ]
     
  5. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, Michael. Do you mind if I use your arguments/ reasoning on the other site?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    No, I dont mind.

    Thomas,

    And where does it say that physical water regenerates, except in your mind?

    Read Galatians 3; that might convince you, if you'll do some research--but I doubt it (pardon the pun, "Doubting Thomas").
     
  7. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    6
    God regenerates in the baptismal font. (The water in and of itself does not have "magical" properties.) Or so the early church believed and practiced. And so everyone believed for the first 1500 years of Church History. So apparently it has been in more minds than just mine. [​IMG]

    In 1 Peter 3:20-21, Peter is comparing the physical water of the flood (the type) with the physical water of baptism (the antitype). He of course clarifies that it's not the physical removal of dirt from the flesh that saves, but it is Christ's resurrection, as baptism is the occasion in which we are buried and raised with Christ. If Peter had in mind some spiritual baptism that was divorced in time from water baptism, then he would have further differentiated between physical and spiritual baptisms as type and antitype respectively. Yet Peter does not split the two in the text. If Peter was indeed only concerned with spiritual baptism then it would make no sense speaking about the flood as the type of baptism, in which eight people were "saved through water", ie simultaneously with the flood. As they were saved through (physical) water, and not by the water, so one is saved through (or simulataneously with) the water of baptism, but not by it.

    Again, for your allegation that this is only in my mind, I refer you to the Church Fathers who were unanimous on the subject. I'll take them over Zwingli any day. [​IMG]

    "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:26-27

    A couple of comments:
    1. The early church saw no conflict between salvation through faith and being born again at baptism.
    2. The early church did not separate "spiritual" baptism from the occasion of physical immersion in which the spiritual baptism took place.

    This is why early Christians accepted these Scriptures at face value and didn't have to go through interpretive gymnastics to avoid the plain meaning of the text. This is partcularly true of the Galatians passage above in which "faith in Christ" and "baptism into Christ" are joined closely together.

    Perhaps the following OT illustration would be helpful. In 2 Kings 5, Naaman was instructed by the prophet of God to dip in the Jordan seven times to be healed of his leprosy. After initial resistence, he complied and was healed. What saved him? Ultimately it was God. However, God used the physical medium of ordinary water (which in and of itself lacked the power to heal leprosy) as the occasion for His healing of Naaman. Faith was also certainly involved, for it Naaman didn't have faith, he would not have stepped into the Jordan to be healed. Likewise, the one who has faith in Christ will have no problem in following the command to be baptized so that he may be raised anew with Christ, realizing that it is God who does the saving.
     
  8. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    0
    Doubting Thomas, aka dt:
    You need to go on back down to the "Other Religions" forums with your Roman brothers who believe it's in the tub and not in the blood. Heresy has always taken a man through the water first, truth takes a man through the blood (by faith only) first and then to the water. What could you offer a man who could not be physically immersed? A man in prison or in a nursing home? Oh, believe me, I know your pat answer, I have debated enough Campbellites to be informed on your line of wresting the scripture. It is an oddity though you speaking about the early church. What about the church in the year 1500? Where was the "christian church" or "church of christ"? I know it "suddenly" reappeared about 1830 right? I've got a bridge for sale too!
     
  9. Russ Kelly

    Russ Kelly
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    1 Peter 3:20, 21: In my opinion Matthew 3:11 (also Luke 3:16) is the most important verse in the Bible about baptism. John the baptist said "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The very instant a person has saving faith the Holy Spirit “washes” that person with this “baptism of fire” and indwells His new temple, our body. That, my friends is the “baptism which saves us” by giving us the “good conscience” of First Peter 3:20, 21. This is the “conscience” of the “un-baptized by water” of the Gentile believer in Romans 2:15. As a previous person said, this is the REAL “spiritual” baptism that supercedes the
    symbolic physical act.

    Acts 2:38: "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The word, “for” is the same Greek word translated “into” or “unto” in the KJV of Matthew 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.” Since John’s followers repented BEFORE being baptized, even so the “remission” of Acts 2:38 comes BEFORE the baptism. By extension, the text can be explained as “Repent and be baptized ‘for the result of,’ or ‘because’ your sins have already been forgiven [through faith and repentance]. Acts 2:38 does not contradict Romans 10:9-13.

    Rom 6:3-4: Again, this is spiritual, not literal, truth. Since we have not literally died, literally
    been buried, and literally been resurrected, the spiritual application is evident. It would be
    inconsistent to say that baptism must be “literal” while death and resurrection remain “spiritual.”

    John 3:5: If this were a literal truth, then John the baptist would have said in Matthew 3:11 that
    both his baptism by immersion and Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit were essential for
    salvation. Many believe that this verse is referring to the first physical birth through breaking of the water bag and the second birh, “born again,” through the indwelling Holy Spirit – therefore, water baptism is not even mentioned.

    Tit 3:5 Again, this refers to the very moment one accepts Christ. Ask your RC friends why they
    wait many months until after catechism, blessing by the bishop and confession to a priest before
    they allow new converts to be baptized if they really believe that those converts are lost without baptism. If they really believed what they say, then they would have almost instantaneous baptisms as soon as one professed faith. There are times in their history when new converts had to wait for years!

    1 Cor 6:11 Look at the deliberate reverse word order! In reality, justification comes first, the
    sanctification of the indwelling Holy Spirit second and the washing of baptism third. Paul is
    merely reminding the believers that they were washed because they were first sanctified, and they were sanctified because they were first justified. The text proves just the opposite of what is claimed for it.

    Matt 3:15 “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” For me at least, this text teaches that the one baptism which becomes the righteousness of God which is imputed to the believer is Christ’s baptism and not out own. Thus, every believer instantly receives Christ’s baptism as his/her own righteousness the moment they believe. Thus the thief on the cross received Christ’s baptism and was spiritually baptized.

    I have never put these thoughts into writing until challenged by this forum. Thank you. I
    appreciate your comments.
     
  10. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Russ, cheers for that! Can I use your post too?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  11. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt, First of all, let me say that I hope I can help you. I am about 99 and 44 one hundredths percent literalist. I believe that proper interpretation requires that we must look at the natural usage of words and phrases first, apply them as such and then and only then can we spiritualize. That will keep us from wresting the scripture. The most common example today must be the "tongues" of the Bible. It literally means languages, yet the natural usage is automatically passed over to make it spiritual and something God never intended it to be - bable. That is a very common mistake made today by the Charismatics. The verses in I Pet chap. 3 are as such:
    1 Pet 3:
    20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
    21 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:

    Let me ask you a couple of easy questions. First of all, all who died in the flood that Peter is referring to, died where? In the water, right? Water is a picture of death here, very plainly. Those that were spared were spared because God provided an Ark. What would have happened if by chance Noah had been in the water (like the water dog American Campbellites want to be)and calling and pleading and begging God to save? He would have perished like all the rest. Water can never save.

    Secondly, pay attention to the way that they answer your question on the thief on the cross, who by the way went into glory with Christ immediately after dying without being baptised. They will say that that is a different time period and that Christ had not died on the cross yet, so the thief is a different situation. Yet, they will preach that you must be baptised according to John chapter 3. Why would Christ teach baptism in John 3 and yet it not be instituted until after His death. Then all who died without Christ during his three year ministry are in hell. If you want to further this conversation and I can be of any help just PM.
    Thanks ------Bart
     
  12. Matt Black

    Matt Black
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good points! I'd already raised the Penitent Thief point - so far no takers!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  13. Caretaker

    Caretaker
    Expand Collapse
    <img src= /drew.gif>

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    0
    Justification is the legal declaration by God upon the sinner where God declares the sinner righteous in His sight. This justification is based completely and solely on the work of Christ on the cross. We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way. If we could, then Christ died needlessly. "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21). Because righteousness cannot come through the Law (through our efforts of merit), the Bible declares that we are justified before God by faith:

    • "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
    • "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
    • "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).


    http://www.carm.org/catholic/gospel.htm

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith." This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification. The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.

    "No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027).

    The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life." You cannot merit grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Merit is according to the CCC, par. 2006, "...the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment..." CCC 2006. This means that merit is something owed. By contrast, grace is something not owed. Therefore, the RCC is teaching contrary to God's word regarding grace and justification.

    The sad result is that in Roman Catholicism, justification before God is a process that is maintained by the effort and works of the Roman Catholic. This is a very unfortunate teaching since it puts the unbearable burden of works righteousness upon the shoulders of the sinner. By contrast, the Bible teaches that justification/salvation is by faith.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    Romans 10:
    9: 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.
    10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    11: For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    12: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Eph. 2:
    8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.


    We are justified ONLY through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He and He alone is our righteousness from the very instant of belief and confession.


    A servant of Christ,
    Drew
     
  14. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Doubting Thomas,

    So, you prefer the "Church Fathers" over Zwingli? I guess that would include Irenaeus. Irenaeus claimed that he had received an apostolic tradition that Jesus was forty to fifty years old, contradicting the scriptural record. It is also well-known that the church fathers have claimed many other apostolic traditions that are unfounded.

    Sorry; I'll stick with scripture and the spiritual meaning of it taken as a whole, and not some verses taken out of context and interpreted according to "traditon."

    The whole point of the Galatians passage, that I was trying to get you to see, is this: we are united to Christ through faith and baptized by the Spirit into Christ; this is something which happens inwardly. It cannot be produced by physical water or anything outward. That is the whole point of the chapter.

    "He is not a Jew who is one outwardly."
     
  15. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    6
    I have officially been taking this time off of the Baptistboard to prepare myself for the Pascha season. However, after reading some of the "interesting" replies to my last thread, a few comments are in order:

    1. No one has even bothered to meaningfully interact with my comments, particulary regarding 1 Peter 3:20-21. That the same pat answers are being repeated shows that no one actually read the comments I made regarding that passage. I suppose that's understandable, as I've used those same pat answers many times myself.

    2. Several of the replies posted betray a quasi-Gnosticism which posits a radical dichotomy between spirit and matter. More can be written on this, but I'll wait until after Easter--and I'll do it in the "Other Religions" section to which I have been recently consigned by the "son of Timaeus".

    3. The implication that one erroneous assertion by Irenaeus is somehow the basis by which we can summarily disregard Patristic consensus on the significance of baptism is pretty weak. On this issue early Christians--indeed Christians of the first 1500 years--were unanimous. (If anyone can find a statement from a Christian even within the first five centuries AD which separates chronologically the spiritual rebirth from the waters of baptism in which it normatively takes place, I'd be delighted to read it.) Now, I suppose we can pretend that they all got it wrong and that after all these centuries we can interpret Scriptures better than them. However, after doing that for the first 30+ years of my life, I decided that I'll stick with scripture and the spiritual meaning of it taken as a whole, as understood by the undivided Church, and not some verses taken out of context and interpreted according to novel Baptist "tradition".

    4. As I apparently am now a "Baptist" in name only, I will respectfully refrain from posting in the "Baptist only" sections of the Baptistboard when I return after Easter.

    God bless. [​IMG]
     
  16. Russ Kelly

    Russ Kelly
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt
    Yes, you may use anything I post.
    Another thought about the text from First Peter 3:20, 21. If this text proves that water baptism is essential for salvatiion, then it muddles the spiritual truth. Those in the ark were dry above the waters while those in and under the water were dead and dying sinners.
    This is also true of Exodus and the Red Sea. Those who went through the waters were dry had been saved at the Passover while those in and under the water were dead and dying Egyptians.
     
  17. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    909
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  18. mortenview

    mortenview
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did not have time to read all the post on this subject...basically skimmed through them.

    Below are some things that may be of help.
    Bear w/me as I copy and paste from my word processor.

    Hope it helps. I am taking from a thesis I am finishing up on Eternal Security... ft notes are not complete so you might find a few sketchy things here and there.

    Is Baptism Essential For Salvation?

    There are those who believe that baptism is essential for salvation. In other words, if a person is not baptized after their profession of faith in Jesus Christ, then they cannot go to heaven. Some have said that baptism seals salvation; completes salvation; applies the blood; etc. One of the most interesting books on this subject, that I have read, is the "Norris - Wallace Debate." This debate took place, in 1934, at the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. J. Frank Norris, pastor of the First Baptist Church debated Rev. Foy E. Wallace of the Church of Christ. Four questions were debated; two of which are helpful on this subject. The two are as follows: 1. "Baptism, to the penitent believer, is essential to his salvation from past, or alien sins." Rev. Foy E. Wallace affirming and Dr. J. Frank Norris, denying. 2. A child of God, one who has been saved by the blood of Christ, can so sin as to be finally lost;" Wallace affirming and Norris denying.

    On the subject of this entire debate, I read on page 4: "A short time after the debate my opponent went into the Federal court asking for an injunction prohibiting his side of the debate from being published." [ft note later pg 4] The reason is obvious after reading the debate because the Church of Christ minister could not prove his point on ANY of the four questions of that debate.


    To begin with, Dr. Norris posed the question that they went on to debate. "Baptism, to the penitent believer, is essential to his salvation from past or alien sins." Dr. Norris goes on to ask his opponent: "A man who believes and is baptized is saved -- I am talking about Mr. Wallace’s platform -- a man thus saved can fall away and be lost, and the man who believes, and is baptized, and is saved, if he falls away, he is in a lost state -- I am talking about Mr. Wallace’s position -- he will tell you what that man has to do now, after he has fallen away and is lost, is to repent and he will be saved again." "Now if baptism is necessary for salvation, I want my opponent to tell me why he doesn’t baptize him again?" [ft note pg 99]

    Another Scripture that many will use for baptismal regeneration is John 3:5. Dr. Norris asks Mr. Wallace about this Bible verse. "In the beginning, Mr. Wallace, I want you to answer this question: Do you believe in John 3:5: ‘Except a man be born of water’ -- ‘Does this mean baptism." [ft note pg 107] Dr. Norris goes on to challenge the Church of Christ minister on this verse. "I challenge him to speak on it tonight at the beginning. I say that he is under obligation to tell this crowd whether ‘Born of water’ there means baptism. I have heard all my life, his creed claims it does, and that is what this debate is for, to come to the truth on these questions ..."
    [ft note pg 107]

    I do not read where Rev. Wallace answers the question at all. Later, in the debate, Dr. Norris asks the question about John 3:5. I quote Dr. Norris: "I want you tonight to answer this question: Do you believe in John 3:5: ‘Except a man be born of water" - Does that mean baptism?" At the end of the paragraph, Dr. Norris states: "I am sorry my opponent declines to discuss John 3:5." [ft note pg 107]

    To answer the question of an explanation of John 3:5, I will stay with J. Frank Norris and his debate and give Dr. Norris’ answer to the Church of Christ minister. "Now I tell you why he runs from it. (1) If he says it means baptism, then he knows that I will come right back and say that it was before Pentecost and Jack’s house will come down. (2) If it means baptism then he has put baptism before belief or birth of the Spirit, and his position is belief comes first and baptism second. In that position he is correct as to order, but not to the design of baptism. (emphasis his). (3) The third reason why he is afraid to say "born of water" means baptism, he knows that the word "born" carries the phrase "of water and the Spirit." The preposition "of" occurs only once in the qualifying phrase, and does not occur in connection with the Spirit. Read your Bible and you will find that the second "of" in the expression "of water" is in italics. Therefore the correct rendering is "Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This clearly shows that the action of the New Birth, whatever the water means, take place at the time that "born of the spirit" occurs. And therefore my opponent can find no comfort in interpreting "born of water" meaning baptism." [ft note pg 107-108]

    I find something interesting here in John chapter three. Reading verse three, "Except a man be born again ..." No mention of water. Nicodemus answers in verse four with no mention of water
    or water baptism. Verse six talks about being "born of the Spirit;" no mention of water. Verses seven and eight speak of being "born again," and "born of the Spirit," with no mention of water.
    IF baptism is essential for salvation, then why is "water" mentioned only once here in these passages of Scripture? Could this not be the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit? If we go to verse 15 in this same chapter, we read: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." If "water" meaning "baptism" were a condition of man’s salvation, then I must ask the question: Why is it not stated here? The "water" in John 3:5 cannot possibly refer to water baptism.

    Dr. Norris quotes Rev. Wallace with the following Scripture of Mark 16:16; and then gives an illustration of that Scripture. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Dr. Norris tells us that Rev. Wallace failed to quote the entire verse and so Norris completes it. Quoting Dr. Norris: "It does not say the baptized person may be saved, if he does not apostatize; but it says ‘he shall be saved!" In the next paragraph, Dr. Norris goes on to say: "Baptism is essential to the perfect obedience the Lord requires of His people." "But baptism itself does not give salvation, and Jesus never intimated such a thing."

    In the following paragraph, quoting, again, Dr. Norris: "Note this parallel sentence: he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that entereth the train, and is seated, shall reach St. Louis. Now, suppose a man enters the train, but does not take a seat, won’t he go to St. Louis anyhow - if the train goes there? The taking of a seat involves his comfort, but does not involve going to St. Louis. So baptism relates to the privileges of a religious life, but does not secure such life. The believer has entered the Gospel train, and whether he ever takes a seat or not, he will reach heaven if the train does." "The contrast is between salvation and damnation. To what point of time does the damnation look? Evidently to the future. Then to what period does the word of contrast look? Also to the future. Then the salvation means salvation in heaven. Does Mr. Wallace believe that "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved in heaven? Of course he doesn’t. But Baptist do. Hence they take the language as it is." [ft note pg 106 N/Wallace debate]

    In this debate, it seems the Rev. Wallace was depending a lot upon Mark 16:16. Going on further in these writings, I read the following dissertation in which Dr. Norris shows the fallacy of baptism being essential for salvation. The Church of Christ, as do most religions beside Baptists, believe that the Church started on the Day of Pentecost. That’s where Dr. Norris uses the Church of Christ doctrine of Pentecost to disprove their teachings on Mark 16:16.

    "Now my Friend, that was written before Pentecost, and you are beginning at Pentecost." "Keep in mind that my opponent’s position is that there was not any Gospel preached before Pentecost, and here he, being the judge, declares that gospel actually preached before Pentecost. That ruins your Pentecost theory." [ft note pg 110]

    On the bottom of page 110, Dr. Norris continues on with Mark 16:16, since that, again, seems to be where the Church of Christ minister seems to cling to for his doctrines of baptismal regeneration. Quoting Dr. Norris: "Mark 16:16 does not show baptism is essential to salvation - it does not read: ‘He that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned.’ He might as well add many other things to ‘believeth’ and make it read: ‘He that believeth and is baptized, takes the Lord’s supper, attends church, brings his tithe, shall be saved,’ it doesn’t say the things that come after faith are necessary for salvation." Dr. Norris again reminds the audience that his opponent left off part of the verse in Mark 16:16 and Dr. Norris quotes the entire verse and then hammers away at the obvious misquote. Again, Dr. Norris states: "The very fact that it says: ‘He that believeth not shall be damned.’ Listen, my friend, if baptism is necessary to the soul’s salvation, do you think a great God would have left it out and made the mistake of not saying: ‘But he that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned?" [ft note pg 110-111]

    The next Scripture on the subject of Baptism being essential for salvation, as used in this debate, was Acts 2:38. I uses the verses from this debate because they are verses that have been used by preachers and folks from churches that believe that a saved person can be lost and that baptism is essential; necessary for salvation. As a pastor, I have heard them used over and over again, by folks trying to persuade or defend their erroneous position on this subject. 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."

    Quoting Dr. Norris on Acts 2:38, in the debate: "the use of the word,‘eis’ (for), can be translated two ways: 1. ‘in order to’ 2. ‘on the basis of’ - ‘because of’ - ‘with reference to." In the next paragraph: "Here is the correct rendering: ‘Ye (plural, second person) - repent and be baptized.’ The Greek word for ‘repent’ is in the second person, and plural number - ‘the Greek word for ‘to be baptized’ is the third person, singular number; and Mr. Wallace didn’t touch it; he didn’t deny it." "The Greek preposition ‘eis’ - for, unto, or into, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon - says it means ‘into’ when the IDEA OF PLACE is meant, but when the IDEA OF RELATION IS MEANT it means ‘with reference to’ - MOST CERTAINLY IN SALVATION THE IDEA OF THE RELATION IS EXPERIENCED. Hence, it cannot mean into or in order to in Acts 2:38."

    In the next paragraph, Dr. Norris gives a couple of illustrations to show his point regarding this preposition in relation to Acts 2:38. "Congress gives a man a medal for his bravery on the field of battle ... does Congress give him the medal in order for him to be brave in the future? No, but because he has already been brave. So in the case of baptism - ‘baptized for the remission of sins’ a person is baptized because he has already been saved."

    He goes on with another illustration: "A day laborer is paid $25 a week - now he is paid for the work he has done, not ‘in order to work’ in the future, but he is paid because he has already worked; therefore, a man is not baptized ‘in order to’ be saved; he is baptized because he has been saved."

    Another illustration of this by Dr. Norris, is as follows: "A man is electrocuted for murder, not ‘in order to’ commit murder, but because he has already committed murder. We are baptized for the remission of sins, not ‘in order to’ be remitted, but because they have been remitted or forgiven." [ft note later pg 119, 120]

    Over the years, I have obtained and kept various brochures and articles from other denominations. I like to read what they believe and teach regarding the various doctrines of the Bible including salvation. One such brochure is from the Christian Church. They write: "This congregation is a part of the restoration movement within the church of Jesus Christ that for over a century and a half has sought to return to the church as established by Christ in the New Testament." ( This was formerly a Church of Christ, as I knew the pastor and some of the congregation). The brochure goes on to state: "In following the New Testament example for Christianity, we follow it’s basic outline for salvation:" (the following emphasis is mine) "By grace; The basis of salvation. Through faith; The means of salvation; In baptism; The time of salvation; For good works; The purpose of salvation." [ft note later Sunneyview Christian Church, Oshkosh, Wi. 1994]

    Another Church of Christ publication states: "Sectarian preachers have been quite articulate in denouncing baptism! Man is saved without baptism! It is nonessential to salvation! But after men have argued against it, what does God have to say? What is written? Look to the commission Christ gave to His disciples (Mark 16:15-16). Now who did He say would be saved? How does this compare with what men have said? Do you remember what Peter told inquiring men on Pentecost? And what they did? (Read Acts 2:36-41). What was commanded of the household of Cornelius? (Acts 10:47-48). Where is eternal life to be had (II Tim. 2:10). And how does one reach that eternal life (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:26-27)? This also obtains remission of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14." [Ft. Note Gospel Minutes Vol. 27 No. 46 Nov. 17, 1978 Ft. Worth, Texas pg 3] I notice something interesting, both here and in the Pentecostal Theology Book I quoted from; they give some "one liners" and a Scripture. What stands out to me, as I read, is that they fail to explain the Scriptures to prove their point. The Scriptures are taken out of context and isolated from their text.

    Another booklet I have is from the Lutheran Church. Under the section entitled: THE MEANS OF GRACE, they explain their point. "We believe that also through baptism the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to sinful man, regenerating him (Titus 3:5) and cleansing him from all iniquity (Acts 2:38). The Lord points to the blessing of baptism when he promises, "Whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). We believe the blessing of baptism is meant for all people (Matt. 28:19), including infants, who are sinful (John 3:6) and therefore need the regeneration effected through baptism (John 3:5)." [ft. note later This We Believe Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod pg 15 1980]

    In answering the above; first, we have, in this paper, covered Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:15-16. Titus 3:5 does not say ANYTHING about baptism. The CONTEXT of Titus 3:5 does not say anything about baptism. Matthew 28:19 deals with the Great Commission and its CONTEXT does not teach nor imply that baptism is there for salvation or that "The Means Of Grace" is by baptism. John 3:5-6 is covered in the section where Dr. J. Frank Norris debates the Church of Christ and this passage is used.

    If baptism were essential to have one’s sins forgiven, to be saved, to go to heaven, etc. then there are a lot of people who were Godly, that served the Lord, that preached the Gospel, and are in hell, according to many religions. Dwight L. Moody was never immersed. He was a great evangelist and won, perhaps, close to a million souls to Christ; then he is in hell according to many religions. John Wesley, was a great Methodist preacher and soul winner; he must be in hell too. Dr. James Gray, was the president of Moody Bible College, he was never immersed. He was a great Bible expositor, author, and trained thousands of student for service to the Lord. He must be in hell because he was not immersed and not a member of a particular religion.

    I have known good men in the United Pentecostal movement, who believe that you must be baptized in Jesus Name only, in a U.P.C. church, in order to be saved. Those churches were not in existence until around the late 1800’s. Does that mean that the Gospel was not preached before that time? Does that mean that all who professed Christ before their movement began, are in hell? Does that mean that all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ since that time, and were never immersed; were never immersed in Jesus Name only; were never immersed in Jesus Name only in a United Pentecostal Church, are in hell or headed to hell?

    To answer the question of an explanation of John 3:5, I will stay with J. Frank Norris and his debate and give Dr. Norris’ answer to the Church of Christ minister. "Now I tell you why he runs from it. (1) If he says it means baptism, then he knows that I will come right back and say that it was before Pentecost and Jack’s house will come down. (2) If it means baptism then he has put baptism before belief or birth of the Spirit, and his position is belief comes first and baptism second. In that position he is correct as to order, but not to the design of baptism. (emphasis his). (3) The third reason why he is afraid to say "born of water" means baptism, he knows that the word "born" carries the phrase "of water and the Spirit." The preposition "of" occurs only once in the qualifying phrase, and does not occur in connection with the Spirit. Read your Bible and you will find that the second "of" in the expression "of water" is in italics. Therefore the correct rendering is "Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This clearly shows that the action of the New Birth, whatever the water means, take place at the time that "born of the spirit" occurs. And therefore my opponent can find no comfort in interpreting "born of water" meaning baptism." [ft note pg 107-108]

    I find something interesting here in John chapter three. Reading verse three, "Except a man be born again ..." No mention of water. Nicodemus answers in verse four with no mention of water
    or water baptism. Verse six talks about being "born of the Spirit;" no mention of water. Verses seven and eight speak of being "born again," and "born of the Spirit," with no mention of water.
    IF baptism is essential for salvation, then why is "water" mentioned only once here in these passages of Scripture? Could this not be the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit? If we go to verse 15 in this same chapter, we read: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." If "water" meaning "baptism" were a condition of man’s salvation, then I must ask the question: Why is it not stated here? The "water" in John 3:5 cannot possibly refer to water baptism.
     
  19. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think enough has been said and enough evidence produced that I need not offer very much else.

    But to Thomas I say: If you're depending on Catholic hierarchical consensus to determine correct doctrine and practice, then you are bound to accept many unscriptural things, seeing that doctrinal innovation is a RCC specialty.

    Based on that criteria, you would be required to believe that the diocesan monarchial episcopate is essential to the church and a valid ministry.

    Oh, and I'm still waiting for proof that the earliest Christians believed in baptismal regeneration and that water baptism was necessary for salvation.
     
  20. zucchini

    zucchini
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a note off the top of my head:

    Acts 22:16
    Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    Note that this statement is not balanced:
    "believes and is baptized" = saved
    "not believe" = condemned

    So this verse certainly does not say that lack of baptism implies condemnation.

    It appears more sensible from the texts as a whole that every one who believes is to be baptized, so therefore if you truly believe you will desire to perform that first act of obedience asap.

    Cheers!
    -dave
     

Share This Page

Loading...