Galatians: A Lesson from Acts, Part 2 (Acts 10, part 2)

(Act 10:19-22 ESV)  19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.  20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”  21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?”  22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.”

God was making the meaning of the vision abudantly clear. God approves the unclean — and the first approved unclean person is Cornelius — a Roman centurion.

(Act 10:23-26 ESV) 23 So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him.  24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.  25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.  26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

No proper Jew would have invited a Gentile, much less a Roman soldier, into his home, and so we see that Peter is beginning to understand the gospel.

Cornelius evidently knew the day Peter would come, and so prepared by gathering an audience of Gentiles to hear the Jewish apostle.

The offering of worship to Peter is a sign of Cornelius’ lack of understanding. Caesar would have gladly accepted such worship, but Peter refuses it.

(Act 10:27-29 ESV)  27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.  28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

Remarkably, Peter responds to the worship with an apology — because until the preceding day, Peter admits he would not have gone to Cornelius’ house but for the vision from God.

The Law of Moses does not forbid such associations, but the Jew may well incur uncleanness — not a crime but an significant inconvenience. The practice of refusing to associate with Gentiles was seen by the Gentiles as arrogant and anti-social. It greatly harmed their reputations.

Of course, the same is true today. When Christians refuse to associate with non-Christians and when congregations refuse to associate with other churches, the reaction will inevitably be negative. We come across as arrogant and insulting when we withdraw into our own cocoons of piety.

(Act 10:30-33 ESV) 30 And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing  31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.  32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’  33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Cornelius reveals that this meeting has been orchestrated by God.

(Act 10:34-43 ESV) 34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,  35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.  36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),  37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:  38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,  40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,  41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.  43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Notice Peter’s sermon. The conclusion isn’t, “Come forward to be baptized for forgiveness of your sins,” but Jesus “is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” and “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” It’s centered entirely on faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Peter chooses to emphasize Jesus’ place as judge of the living and the dead. To a Jew, this surely put him in God’s place. To a Roman centurion, this places Jesus above Caesar, who was the highest judge in Rome. Remember: Paul appealed to Caesar. There was no separation of powers in the ancient world. The highest judge was also the highest king.

Thus, to preach Jesus as judge was to preach Jesus as king, the highest power in the universe, before whom all must bow, even the Roman army.

Before Peter preached forgiveness, he preached Jesus as Messiah. He didn’t even mention baptism, but rather, taught the Great Confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

(Act 10:44-46a ESV)  44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.  45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.  46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God.

We’ll never know what else Peter might have preached. When he got to faith, God ended the sermon by giving his Spirit to those who believed.

Notice two verbs used by Luke regarding the Spirit.

* “Fell” is the same work used in Acts 8:16 of the Spirit being received by the Samaritans. Some want to argue that this event — the baptism of the Spirit — was only received at Pentecost and by Cornelius — but the Samaritans received the same gift.

* “Poured out” is a verb used of the Spirit by the prophets (such as Joel, as quoted in Acts 2:17-18). Paul uses the same verb for the Spirit all Christians receive in Titus 3:6.

And notice Luke’s use of “gift of the Holy Spirit” — borrowed straight from Acts 2:38, where it refers to the gift received by all Christians.

Luke is making the point that (a) the outpouring and falling of the Spirit is the same thing that happened at Pentecost and (b) it’s the same Spirit received by all Christians when they are baptized. It’s the gift described in Acts 2:38.

Those who speak of different “measures” of the Spirit are imposing a 20th Century human construct on the text. That teaching is just not in the Bible.

That leaves the obvious question, which is: why don’t we all speak in tongues and prophesy when we are saved? and the answer is: God didn’t always evidence receipt of the Spirit that way in the First Century. The Spirit blows where he wills and gives what gifts he wishes when he wishes.

We want to turn the Spirit into a formula or a magic spell: If we do X and say Y, God will be compelled to give us Z. But God is not magic, and the Spirit’s gifts aren’t in our control.

(Act 10:46b-48 ESV)  Then Peter declared,  47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Notice Peter’s logic. We think we control God and that God can’t save anyone unless we baptize them in water. But Peter sees God in control. Therefore, when he sees the gift of the Spirit given, he can hardly refuse to baptize with water!

The order and process of conversion is not to be taken as normative, but neither should it be taken as unrepeatable. That’s not our call. Rather, the clear lesson is that, should we find a believer in Christ who plainly has already received the Spirit, we should baptize him with water — not so that he’ll receive the Spirit or be approved by God, but because that’s what God wants us to do. (We’ll consider this further when we get to the end of Gal 3.)

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354 Responses to Galatians: A Lesson from Acts, Part 2 (Acts 10, part 2)

  1. Price says:

    Acts 11:14 The Angel’s words to Cornelius…”Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. ” Seems that Jesus as Lord and King is the message that saves…

  2. Ray Downen says:

    Jay imagines, “Notice Peter’s sermon. The conclusion isn’t, “Come forward to be baptized for forgiveness of your sins,” but Jesus “is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” and “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” It’s centered entirely on faith in Jesus as Messiah.” What is being imagined? Why, it’s being imagined that people are saved and receive God’s Spirit as a result of belief. And that’s not in harmony with what is revealed. Of course the sermon didn’t call for repentance or baptism. The sermon was about GOD’s part in conversion. There’s no need for us who now preach the gospel, nor was there need for Peter to instruct his hearers in what they needed to do in response to the gospel until he had first preached the gospel to them. Just as on Pentecost, the sermon told of God’s offer of salvation. As the sermon concluded, the proper response was called for because the hearers wanted to know what they needed to do IN RESPONSE.

    Jay also suggests that any time “gift of the Spirit” is mentioned it must mean exactly the same gift or gifts. This is not provably true. It obviously is not true, based on the stated results at varying times. Baptism in the Spirit was promised only to the apostles. On Pentecost as the church began, only the apostles were baptized in the Spirit. The signs of God’s acceptance which led Peter to be willing to baptize into Christ these Gentiles were given, not to “save” or empower Cornelius, but to convince Peter and the other church leaders. We do well to read and understand what was written for our edification.

  3. Ray Downen says:

    I wrote, “There’s no need for us who now preach the gospel, nor was there need for Peter to instruct his hearers in what they needed to do in response to the gospel until he had first preached the gospel to them.” I should have included in the sentence “or for us to instruct until we have” first preached the gospel to them.

  4. Price says:

    Ray, Peter said that the H.S. fell on Cornelius and his household as it had on the Apostles at the beginning. He recalled Jesus’ own words in Acts 1 regarding immersion in the Spirit versus John’s immersion in water. I’m afraid I can’t agree with your assertion if Peter contradicts it.

    And, Cornelius received the evidence of salvation prior to baptism… apparently just like the Apostles.. Normative or not, it’s how it happened. I agree with Jay that our attempts to categorize the H.S. into levels of inspiration or indwelling does little to instruct us. He is what He is and does what He wishes to do regardless of the “box” we attempt to place Him in.

  5. Ray Downen says:

    Does God accept all who are “unclean”? Is that what we and Peter should believe based on the vision given to Peter of clean and unclean animals? I think not. But the time had come for GENTILES to be included in Christ’s church which until that time had not been opened to Gentiles. Gentiles were no more apt to be unclean physically than were Jews. But for many centuries Jews had avoided contact with non-Jews in order to not be “contaminated” by such contact. And all the Christians up to that time were Jews. No Gentiles were invited or accepted. The vision was, as well as other signs were, to open Peter’s eyes to the fact that non-Jews could become Christians. And to convince the other apostles and other church leaders that the Way was not open only to Jews. It’s clear that unclean sinners of any kind can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus as sins are washed away in baptism into Christ. And we who are in Christ are not defiled by touching non-Christian people or things.

  6. Price says:

    Or, perhaps it was a clear example of how faith in Jesus as Lord is what God considers clean…

  7. Jerry says:

    Note that Peter took witnesses with him – six Jewish brethren from Joppa. Why did he do this (2 – 3 times as many witnesses as required to establish a charge in court!)? I suggest that he did it because he knew his brethren (see chapter 11). As soon as they saw him after hearing about this, they jumped him – about like similar people would today.

    Had he laid hands on Cornelius for him to receive the Spirit (as in Samaria) or merely accepted them for baptism (as at Pentecost), would the Jerusalem church have accepted the Gentiles as fellow believers? I really doubt it. They had a hard enough time accepting them as it was. Had Peter taken the initiative without the sign from heaven, there would have been much more difficulty in the early church.

    But Peter obeyed the heavenly vision. When he arrived at Cornelius’ home, it is possible that he anticipated what would happen, though perhaps not how God would make His will known. When the sign from heaven came, Peter was ready. The sign caused those with him – and the church back in Jerusalem as well – to accept that Gentiles had also been granted repentance unto life!

  8. laymond says:

    Jay said, “Thus, to preach Jesus as judge was to preach Jesus as king, the highest power in the universe,”

    Is Jesus the supreme authority , well if he was he didn’t know it.

    Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
    Jhn 10:29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.
    Jhn 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
    This is but three times where it is written that Jesus submitted to a higher power. But actually Jesus’ life was lived in submission to God, so much so that God told him what to say, and do.

    1Cr 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
    1Cr 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

    Paul had no difficulty understanding what was meant, when it was said

    Hbr 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

  9. Jerry says:

    Laymond wrote:

    Jay said, “Thus, to preach Jesus as judge was to preach Jesus as king, the highest power in the universe,”

    Is Jesus the supreme authority , well if he was he didn’t know it.

    Laymond, “the universe” is God’s creation. As the Creator, He is outside the universe. Jesus’ submission to His Father does not negate Jay’s statement. This is a hobby horse you have ridden on this blog in the past. You need to pay attention to more than just a few “pet” texts.

  10. laymond says:

    Jerry, pardon my ignorance, I didn’t get the message you were hired to represent Jay.

  11. Jerry says:

    Laymond,
    I do not represent Jay – but I can recognize truth when it is taught.

    I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:21-23

    To attempt to separate the Father and the Son, as if we could worship and serve one without at the same time worshiping and serving the other, is not a true teaching of Scripture. When Jay said that because Jesus is Christ He is the king who is greater than Caesar, he spoke nothing but truth. It is the truth that I defend. I merely remarked that Jay’s statement still stands in the face of your objection.

    Unless, of course, you maintain that the Creator is a part of that which He has Created. He does fill the universe – but more than fills it. As Solomon declared, “The heavens themselves cannot contain Him.” However, in that He has given authority to His Son, we deny Him if we deny the Son. Conversely, since the Son has His authority from the Father, if we deny the Father we also deny the Son.

  12. Royce Ogle says:

    Can someone explain that of all the conversion stories in the NT how did Acts 2 come to be the one that is “normative”? The is something odd about that to me. Especially given Peter’s words there and later when he defended baptizing Gentiles.

    (I’m limited here in a hotel room without my usual technology, so I’ll say this from memory)

    When Peter explained that what had happened that day (Pentecost) he quoted Joel’s prophecy endin with this “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”. Why is this not “normative”? I believe it is.

    As Peter preached to Cornelous and his crowd, near the end he said ” all the prophets agree that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness…” Why isn’t this “normative” ? It is in my view. And he said of those Gentiles “they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have”. Who is “we”? That’s Peter and those who were with him, or Peter and the other apostles.

    Peter has to defend baptizing Gentiles. He told the story of his vision, being sent for, nd his defense was this. ” God gave them the sme gift he gave us….when we believed..” Why is this not “normative”? It is! This was chapter 11. Now to chapter 15.

    Peter and others met with the “men of the church” at Jerusalem some of whom insisted on circumcision. Peter set the straight. “God decided that through my preaching the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe” Then he said “God who knows the heart confirmed them by giving them the gift of the Holy Spirit and just like us He cleansed their hearts by faith”. “Normative”? Absolutely!

    Jesus and all the apostles taught the same truth. So it’s “normal” for God to save those who trust Christ and he gives them the Holy Spirit. It is then also normal that those people should be baptized in water just as Peter, Philip, and other NT preachers did it.

  13. Ray Downen says:

    Royce wants, apparently, to ignore what Peter actually said as recorded in Acts 2:38. It would be better to let the apostle speak his piece, and then believe that he spoke truth as it was revealed to him. Why do some want to explain away the clear statement made by the apostle in response to the query, “What shall we DO?” The answer is not confusing. It’s clear as can be. “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus saves. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to the former sinner who now because of faith in JESUS has turned away from sin and has been baptized in water as Jesus commanded. Saved by faith alone? Nonsense! Sinners are saved by obeying what the gospel calls for us to do. which is to turn away from sin and to Jesus as Lord and to be baptized “into the body of the Christ.” Peter later points out that sins are washed away in baptism (he speaks of being saved by being baptized, which agrees with what Saul was told by Ananias about sin being washed away). Why, oh why, do some who love Jesus seek to oppose the baptism which Jesus commands shall accompany the preaching about Him everywhere in the world?

  14. Price says:

    Ray … Wasn’t Royce just asking why the other 57 verses that speak to salvation by faith are ignored because of one verse that speaks to immersion. Simple question that doesn’t deserve rebuke. It deserves an answer that isn’t regurgitation of acts 2:38. We’ve read that passage. What gives it preference over the overwhelming number of others that speak to salvation without mention of water ?? If you have a polite response it would be interesting to hear.

  15. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce asked,

    Can someone explain that of all the conversion stories in the NT how did Acts 2 come to be the one that is “normative”?

    Mainly because Paul routinely assumes that water baptism and Spirit baptism are concurrent. For example –

    (Rom 6:3-4 ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

    (1Co 10:1-2 ESV) For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

    [The assumed fact being the Christian baptism is "into" Christ."]

    (Eph 4:5 ESV) 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

    [An odd thing to say if Spirit baptism and water baptism are not normatively concurrent.]

    (Col 2:11-12 ESV) 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

    [The circumcision "made without hands" is circumcision of the heart by the Spirit, of course. "Having been buried" is an aorist participle, meaning that the burial in baptism precedes the circumcision made without hands.]

  16. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    Upon his resurrection, Jesus was granted “all authority.” You err for not understanding the notion of co-regency. Daniel 7, for example, speaks of there being two thrones in heaven —

    (Dan 7:9 ESV) 9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.

    (Dan 7:13-14 ESV) 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

    God and Jesus are co-regents, Father and Son.

    Is Jesus subject to God? Of course. But God is not part of the Universe, having made it (with the Son).

    Augustus adopted Tiberius, his wife’s son, in A.D. 4 and gave him proconsular and tribunician power. He married his heir to his daughter Julia. In 13, Augustus made Tiberius co-regent. When Augustus died, Tiberius already had imperial power.

    http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/romanempire/p/ImperialSuccess.htm

    And most OT scholars believe that the Judean kings routinely appointed their sons as co-regents to assure a secure succession along the same lines as Augustus. That is, it was a very familiar practice in the ancient world.

  17. Royce Ogle says:

    Jay, you said; “Mainly because Paul routinely assumes that water baptism and Spirit baptism are concurrent. For example –”

    Not one of the examples proved your point. You have made strong arguments in the past that those who put their trust in Jesus are saved and quoted many passages to prove up your point. Now it seems to me you have reversed what you taught then. I don’t think we get to have it both ways. Either God can save a sinner anywhere anytime, by himself. Or, he can only save a sinner at water deep enough to immerse a body and he needs someone willing to help. I just can’t accept any limitations on God.

  18. Jerry says:

    Judean kings routinely appointed their sons as co-regents to assure a secure succession along the same lines as Augustus.

    David was the first to do this, as he had Solomon crowned while he himself was on his death-bed. This trumped Adonijah’s unauthorized seizing of the throne, even though Adonijah was likely David’s oldest surviving son (1 Kings 1:1-53).

  19. laymond says:

    Jay, I understand the purpose of co-regent quite well, it is a guard against a king, or dictator loosing power if he becomes incapacitated, unable to do the job, surely you don’t think “God” was ever in that situation.

    A modern day example of a co-regent is found in Cuba. When Fidel Castro became ill, his brother Raul took the presidency with his brother’s authority. While Raul is president, Fidel still remains in the picture and his wishes need to be taken into consideration.
    and let me add, if Fidel ever regains full capacity Raul is out.

    Besides if my memory does not fail, I seem to remember you are one who teaches tri-regency.

  20. Ray Downen says:

    Why does Acts 2:38 remain true when there are many places where it’s mentioned that in order to be saved we must believe in Jesus as the risen Lord? Which of those many passages claim that faith alone saves? Not a one. So how does Peter’s inspired reply get outnumbered so that we can ignore what he said? Every passage agrees that sinners are saved through faith in JESUS. But obeying the gospel is required for salvation, and Peter explains it as Jesus led him to do. Anyone who thinks there is a baptism by the Holy Spirit is urged to read my study at my web site, “Should Any CHRISTIAN Ever Be Baptized?” http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. Or I can mail a copy upon request to me at P O Box 265, Joplin, MO 64802-0265. It seems odd that anyone would claim that two equals one as is done by Jay. Two baptisms are not one baptism! That God is three in one is uniquely true. That doesn’t change mathematics so that two equals one.

  21. Price says:

    Ray…Was Jesus mistaken…”for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

    Was Peter mistaken…And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” Acts 11:16-17

    Was the Holy Spirit mistaken.. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 It’s not a question of “faith only”…it’s a matter of “Jesus only”

  22. Ray Downen says:

    A brother wants us to agree that sinners are saved by faith alone. I surely cannot agree. Nor should anyone who is genuinely interested in Bible study. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 is one passage in particular where the apostle points out that only those who OBEY the gospel will be saved. Acts 2:38 points to how sinners can obey the gospel. It’s by turning to Jesus as Lord and accepting the baptism in water as commanded by Him. Any contrary ideas are ignoring simple truths shared for our edification. Further study informs that when we are brought into the church of God we are gifted by Him with His Spirit to live within us if we welcome and accept His help in living for Jesus. I suggest that anyone interested in understanding conversion to Jesus might learn more by reading http://missionoutreach.org/pb-Z01.pdf. Or order from me the book “Raised Into New Life With Christ” which is identified as Viewpoint pb-Z01. The Spirit is given to help Christians live for Jesus and to help Christians win others to Jesus.

  23. Price says:

    Ray, I believe if you are speaking to me that you misrepresent my pov. I believe that we are saved by GRACE alone and that through faith in Jesus…

  24. Monty says:

    Our world today is a world of unbaptized believers(have to wonder why). It was not that way in the 1st century. There was no such a thing as an unbaptized believer(perhaps in terms of minutes or hours, certainly not a perpetual state,(even in Cornelius’ case, as Peter saw to that when he “commanded” they be baptized), regardless of desert or waist deep water(see Ethiopian Eunech-”see there is water”), scholars are in agreement on that.

    There were believers who had only been baptized but had not “yet” received the Holy Spirit(Samaritans)and had to wait for the Apostles to lay hands on them to receive Him(not normative) but IMHO it had to do with the transition of the gospel from Jew to Samaritans(hated half-Jews) and eventually to Cornelius(Gentile). The message was always the same, believe (on Jesus)and be baptized for remission of sins. Sometimes the order was delayed or reversed but it was always to prove those who had been previously regarded as “unacceptable” as now being approved and being part of the one body of Christ. When we make “believe” a necessary thing and “be baptized” a non-necessary thing we twist the response that all are required to make to the good news. The question is why do that? I suppose some see some kind of strawman they didn’t see in the 1st century.

    If believers in Christ aren’t commanded by God to be baptized then Peter greatly erred in commanding Cornelius and company. To comand that CHristians be baptized when it isn’t “necessary” is the Galatian heresy all over again.

  25. laymond says:

    I have never understood why anyone would pick one step of “Christian” salvation over the other in importance.

    God, being God, I have no doubt that he can save anyone he wishes for any reason he deems worthy. But that is not the path we were given.

  26. Royce Ogle says:

    I am not aware of a Christian tradition that does not baptize in one way or another. They might not be right about it but I know of no Christian group that tells people not to be baptized.

    Ray warns about Christians being baptized, and it seems Monte agrees. According to Jesus’ definition saved people are believers and lost people are unbelievers. Not only Jesus but all the apostles use the same basic definition. According to the Bible and the historic Christian faith, Christian baptism is for believers, not unbelievers. I can’t think of one Bible command to baptize lost people. It is always “believers” baptism and believers are saved. What supposedly happens to a person’s faith when he is baptized? Is baptism faith? No. Just as John’s baptism was not repentance, so baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is not faith either. If a person did not have saving faith when he went into the water he is not likely to have it when he comes out of the water.

    Someone tell me where to find an example in the Bible where anyone decided who was and who was not saved, not a Christian, based on baptism in water. Belief, faith, love, walking in the light, looking for the coming of the Lord, and many other markers sort out Christians from non Christians but not baptism in water. Of course all Christians in the Bible were baptized (or we assume their baptism, a correct assumption I believe) but I don’t ever remember baptism being a boundary marker in the Bible the way we use it. Why? Because a person can be baptized and still lost as we all know.

    Ray, get a good concordance and go through the New Testament and read every passage (in context) that mentions the words “obey”, “obedience” and any of their derivatives. What you will find is that to “obey the gospel” is to believe it and to disobey it is to not believe it. That to “obey the gospel” means to be baptized is not in the Bible, not even hinted at. Something is true if the Bible says it in context. Repeating something you have always heard does not make it true if it cannot be defended by scripture.

    Jesus command that Christians make disciples, baptize those disciples, and to teach them to obey all he said. Water baptism is essential for anyone who has faith in Jesus and who knows about it and is physically able. The idea that God is restricted from granting forgiveness and giving life to someone who hears the gospel on radio, or reads a gospel tract, and is in solitary confinement, in an ICU unit in a hospital with tubes and wires everywhere, and dozens of others circumstances is nutty and unscriptural. Every believer should be baptized at once if at all possible as soon after they put their trust in Christ. But, baptism is not THE response to the gospel, it is one response to the gospel. Of course any beginning Bible student knows that. Repentance, loving, forgiving, praying, caring for the needs of others, and confession are some of those faith driven, obedient, responses.

    Let me know if after reading all of those “obey” passages you find one I missed. You can google “obey the gospel, gracedigest.com” and save some time if you so wish. Truth is important enough that we should diligently search for it in my view.

  27. Price says:

    Royce… I can think of an example where baptism was conditionally allowed based on faith…The Ethiopian eunuch. He was allowed to be baptized in water IF HE BELIEVED. Acts 8:36
    I can’t recall where, conversely, one was restricted from having faith until they were baptized… Good point.

  28. Ray Downen says:

    It’s not clear to me why some who say they love Jesus are so eager to suppose He didn’t mean it when He said that new believers were immediately to be baptized “into Him.” Was baptism something first suggested by Peter on Pentecost? No, it was part of the commission given to the apostles just prior to Jesus ascending back into Heaven. It’s by command of JESUS that believers are baptized INTO Christ. The believers can believe all they want to but they are not IN Christ until they are baptized in water as Jesus commands is to be done. That’s if Jesus IS Lord of all and head of the church. Baptism isn’t something men thought up. It’s practiced because the Lord says it is to be done. And apostles make clear that baptism is INTO Christ. Read 1 Corinthians 12:13 carefully and notice that in every translation it speaks of being baptized INTO the body of Christ (His church). Read Galatians 3:27 and note that Paul agrees with Peter that baptism is the point at which salvation of sinners happens. This is God’s gracious plan for man’s salvation. We point to Acts 2:38 because that’s when the plan was first announced. It was never changed. It will never be changed, regardless of how few may believe the revealed truth. Grace offers salvation to those who will repent and be baptized because of faith in Jesus. Baptism not based on faith in Jesus is no baptism at all. Of course belief is mentioned often. But those who love to think it’s the ONLY step in conversion may fail to note that not even ONCE is it stated that salvation is by faith ALONE. And it’s all based on God’s grace. That’s how we know what we must do to be saved. God has told us. Some don’t want to comply with what God has told us, so they offer salvation on other terms.

  29. Price says:

    Ray…you haven’t addressed why you think Jesus was the one who distinguished between the baptism of water by John and the baptism that He would provide by the Spirit…I don’t believe that I’m ignoring what Jesus said when I quote him.

    Romans 8 says that you don’t belong to Jesus unless the Holy Spirit dwells in you.. So, can a believer receive the H.S. before water or is water necessary to receive the Holy Spirit? Cornelius is an example of BEFORE water. Who is to say that the people that repented on the day of Pentecost and believed in Jesus didn’t receive the H.S. before they were baptized?

  30. Ray Downen says:

    Author: Price
    Comment:
    Ray…Was Jesus mistaken…”for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5

    Was Peter mistaken…And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” Acts 11:16-17

    Was the Holy Spirit mistaken.. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 It’s not a question of “faith only”…it’s a matter of “Jesus only”

    Acts 1:5 was a promise to the apostles. Indeed they WERE baptized in the Spirit just as Jesus promised. Acts 11 shows to all who read carefully that whereas baptism in the Spirit empowered the apostles to perform miracles there is absolutely no mention made of any miracles performed by the household of Cornelius. They spoke in tongues. They were immediately baptized in water whereas the apostles are never spoken of as being baptized in water. Enough sign was given to persuade the Jewish leaders that Gentiles also could be baptized into Christ. But these Gentiles were not given apostolic powers by receiving baptism in the Spirit as the apostles did.

    How eager some are to believe that Peter was mistaken and Paul was mistaken in teaching that the new birth of water and spirit was completed in baptism in the name of Jesus by immersion in water and being raised up into new life. It’s marvelous to behold that Bible students can see the need for faith in Jesus but always suppose that faith alone saves when that is specifically never even once stated as being true.

    The new birth begins when sinners hear the gospel. If they believe in the risen Lord Jesus and seek to be saved by Him, they then say so and are immediately baptized if the Christian who told them about Jesus is following apostolic example and teaching. Why baptized? Because Jesus said so! So of course we obey our Lord and baptize the new believer. Don’t we? And then we note in Romans 6 that we have buried in the water a man of sin and have raised up from the water a newborn babe in Christ. Or was Paul mistaken? Was he mistaken there and in Galatians 3:26,27 where he affirms the same truth? Some surely believe so, for that’s what they teach, that sinners are saved the instant they believe! Which is total nonsense if we believe what John reports that Jesus said about the new birth of water and spirit. But some do not believe.

  31. Royce Ogle says:

    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
    26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you?

  32. Ray Downen says:

    Price asks:

    Author: Price
    Comment:
    Ray…you haven’t addressed why you think Jesus was the one who distinguished between the baptism of water by John and the baptism that He would provide by the Spirit…I don’t believe that I’m ignoring what Jesus said when I quote him.

    Romans 8 says that you don’t belong to Jesus unless the Holy Spirit dwells in you.. So, can a believer receive the H.S. before water or is water necessary to receive the Holy Spirit? Cornelius is an example of BEFORE water. Who is to say that the people that repented on the day of Pentecost and believed in Jesus didn’t receive the H.S. before they were baptized?

    I’m puzzled by the first question. Baptism in water is what Jesus commanded. Baptism in the Spirit is what Jesus did for His apostles. The baptism in water Jesus said was to be performed by His disciples. The baptism in the Spirit could only be performed by Jesus. How could anyone confuse between the two? I’m puzzled that there is need to point out that one was performed by Jesus alone and the other is performed by those who love and serve Jesus. Only the apostles were promised they would be baptized in the Spirit. Only the apostles were baptized in the Spirit. Jesus clearly taught that His followers were to baptize in water every new believer. He was not going to do the baptizing. He called for us to baptize in water. How can anyone misunderstand it?

    Peter promised, as he was taught to do by Jesus, that every sinner who believed in Jesus and turned to Him as Lord and was baptized would receive both remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Yes? So when is the Spirit given? If we believe Peter was in fact baptized in the Spirit and led into all truth, we’ll not question his knowledge of when the Spirit is given, will we? I think I’ve explained fully why I believe as I do in my study available at my web site, Should Any CHRISTIAN ever be baptized? http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. I hope you will read that study and let me know if you find any scriptural mishandling in it!

    I admire the thinking and teaching of Jay Guin, by the way. That he is willing to study and seek truth is to be highly commended. That he has found a way to help others learn as well is good. And several who speak to what he has written are thinking also, as is evident. That’s the merit of a blog or any study where students can reply to the teacher! It’s granted that the most polite way to reply is to ask a question!

  33. Ray Downen says:

    Author: Royce Ogle
    Comment:
    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you?

    Did Peter believe it when he pointed out that the new birth of water and spirit which Jesus said was essential happened through the believer repenting toward Jesus and being baptized as Jesus commanded? I think Peter surely DID believe it. I also believe it. And I see that believing alone is deadly. It accomplishes nothing until it’s joined by doing what the One in whom we believe calls for us to do!

  34. Price says:

    Ray… I believe Royce might be right. You tend to repeat things that have been long discounted as irrelevant. Nobody is arguing for faith alone as being salvific. Grace alone is salvific. We are saved by Grace. Jesus saves.. Their is no substitution for Jesus.

    We accept this free gift by our faith.. Saved by Grace THROUGH faith… not, saved by Grace through water… The Eunuch wasn’t even allowed to enter the water to be obedient until his faith was confirmed.. The believers at Pentecost had to believe before they were baptized. Why…We accept our salvation by Grace through faith… Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.. how precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first ____________

  35. Price says:

    Ray…I’m not sure you’re paying attention or I’m terrible at making a pretty clear point. It was Peter that made Jesus’ statement in Acts 1 applicable to his experience with Cornelius. Peter didn’t say that he remembered what Jesus said but that was only for he and the other Apostles. The Cornelius experience caused him to know that the same baptism in the Spirit was for all…As far as I know Cornelius wasn’t an Apostle at the time he received the Holy Spirit…

  36. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce said,

    You have made strong arguments in the past that those who put their trust in Jesus are saved and quoted many passages to prove up your point. Now it seems to me you have reversed what you taught then. I don’t think we get to have it both ways.

    We in the Churches of Christ have debated the Baptists about baptism for so long that we assume that there are but two possible positions:

    * The Zwinglian view that baptism is purely symbolic and accomplishes nothing but is nonetheless commanded (an “ordinance”)
    * The sacramental view that God will not save those with faith unless we perform the baptismal rite exactly by the rules and for exactly the right reasons.

    I reject both views — because I think the baptism verses are entirely true and the faith verses are entirely true. I refuse to pick one set of verses over another or to set them in supposed contradiction.

    Therefore, in an effort to submit myself to the text, I conclude that water baptism and Spirit baptism are normatively concurrent. That is, in the ordinary case, that’s God’s desire and how he in fact acts.

    However, I further conclude that errors made by the church in baptizing too soon, too late, with not enough water, or using the wrong words will not result in the damnation of the believing convert. The ignorance of the baptizer will not stand to frustrate the promises of God to save a convert who approaches him with faith.

    I mean, the notion that a new convert, who knows only enough to have faith in Jesus, will be damned because his new church did the rite wrong is like the Medieval Catholic Church burning the corpses of heretics figuring that can deny them God’s grace by destroying the body.

    We just don’t have that kind of control over God. God keeps his promises — all of them — and he’s promised to save those with faith. But God really does expect us to baptism converts and converts will normatively receive the Spirit at that time — but we cannot so foul up the baptism that we prevent God from saving someone with faith in Jesus.

    This is one reason, for example, that Peter water-baptized Cornelius, even though he already had the Spirit. We’ve been quite plainly commanded to baptize our converts. Therefore, we baptize our converts.

    And the water symbolizes the falling and outpouring of the Spirit, who is normatively received at that moment (as in the case of Jesus’ own baptism).

  37. Royce Ogle says:

    And I agree. I have never held the position that converts should not be baptized as some here have asserted. What I strongly disagree with is that God only saves through baptism in water and that is the split second of regeneration. So on this you and I have little if any disagreement. I’ll keep preaching and teaching Christ and his work for sinners and baptizing those who believe. This has been my method for longer than most who read this has been alive and the best I can tell its the same way the apostles did it.

  38. Ray Downen says:

    How wise is the one who seeks to practice as did the apostles of the Christ. I will once again point to a study where the question is answered, “Should Any Christian Ever Be Baptized?” It’s at http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. Only by ignoring apostolic teaching and practice can anyone teach that salvation is by grace through faith alone. Of course it’s by grace. That’s not in question. Of course it’s by the sinner coming to faith in Jesus as Lord. That’s not in question. But some say it’s then by grace through faith ALONE, and that’s absolutely out of the question for anyone who has read Acts where conversions are reported. I am accused of repeating arguments that some have said are incorrect and therefore of no account. How odd it seems to me that what apostles have taught is in any way incorrect and therefore of no account.

  39. Ray Downen says:

    Price may want us to count how many times a truth is mentioned in the Word before we decide whether or not the truth is true. Does that seem good logic? Not to me.

  40. Ray Downen says:

    Price
    Comment: Ray…you haven’t addressed why you think Jesus was the one who distinguished between the baptism of water by John and the baptism that He would provide by the Spirit…I don’t believe that I’m ignoring what Jesus said when I quote him.

    John prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit. Jesus said He would baptize the apostles with the Spirit. He did so. Jesus commanded that converts to Him were to be baptized by those who had told the convert about Jesus. He did not say HE would baptize the converts. He doesn’t baptize the converts. People baptize the converts just as Jesus commands is to be done. Paul makes clear there is ONE baptism for the Christian system. One is not the same as two. Jesus commands that baptism is to be performed by people. Why would anyone decide Jesus would also baptize converts with His Spirit. He never said He would do such a thing. He commands that MEN (or women) are to do the baptizing. Why would He make such a command if the baptizing was going to be done by Himself? The record makes clear that baptism IN the Spirit was accompanied by significant signs and sounds. The event happened only once. I urge interested readers to read my study at my web site on the subject: http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. And then comment if they fail to understand what is there claimed.

  41. Ray Downen says:

    Jay writes:

    We in the Churches of Christ have debated the Baptists about baptism for so long that we assume that there are but two possible positions:

    * The Zwinglian view that baptism is purely symbolic and accomplishes nothing but is nonetheless commanded (an “ordinance”)
    * The sacramental view that God will not save those with faith unless we perform the baptismal rite exactly by the rules and for exactly the right reasons.

    I reject both views — because I think the baptism verses are entirely true and the faith verses are entirely true. I refuse to pick one set of verses over another or to set them in supposed contradiction.

    And I agree 100% that neither of those views are correct. What the Bible teaches is that Jesus calls for us to carry the good news about His offer of salvation everywhere we go in this world and then for US to baptize all new believers. In water, of course. How else? Neither of the views listed by Jay fit what Jesus teaches and what independent non-sectarian Christians practice. We DO baptize. Because Jesus commands that we are to do so. We don’t charge for baptizing. We don’t regulate who can do the baptizing. We recognize that those who are baptized are then members of the church of God they want to serve with.

    Jay is right that neither of the views he lists are correct. What might be pondered is why the list doesn’t include the correct scriptural reason for baptizing. Peter, the apostle whose sermon is mentioned by Luke as one representative of what all the apostles were preaching on the first day the church existed, invites new believers to repent and be baptized (obviously in water) in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins and in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s a method of baptism Jay doesn’t list. But it’s the method we have historically chosen when we agree to work together for Jesus as independent Christians in non-denominational congregations. Baptists then and now proclaim salvation based on faith alone, or with a “sinner’s prayer” totally unknown to apostolic Christianity. And some of “us” have begun teaching Baptist baptism, it seems. But still there are many of us who want to follow apostolic teaching and practice, which is none of the two Jay lists or that Baptists practice.

  42. Price says:

    Ray…Just so I understand…Jesus Himself baptized the Apostles at Pentecost with the Holy Spirit… But, He has never baptized anybody with the Holy Spirit again…I think that’s what you are saying…You based that point of view on your understanding of John. So…why does Peter recall the words of Jesus in Acts 1 where Jesus HIMSELF said he would baptize them with the Holy Spirit to then describe the events of Cornelius to the leadership in Jerusalem ?? It seems either your interpretation needs some work or Peter was confused about the conversion of Cornelius because Peter says Cornelius received the H.S. just as he had in the beginning.. That he makes crystal clear. I think Jay mentioned earlier the difficulty of trying to define the movement of the H.S. and I think that’s what you’re doing here by trying to define what is a “baptism” and what is not. Clearly, with Cornelius the receipt of the H.S. and his baptism in water were TWO separate events in time..But, you seem intent on avoiding the correlation that Peter made so let’s move on…

  43. Ray Downen says:

    It was remarked:

    Author: Price
    Comment:
    Ray … Wasn’t Royce just asking why the other 57 verses that speak to salvation by faith are ignored because of one verse that speaks to immersion. Simple question that doesn’t deserve rebuke. It deserves an answer that isn’t regurgitation of acts 2:38. We’ve read that passage. What gives it preference over the overwhelming number of others that speak to salvation without mention of water ?? If you have a polite response it would be interesting to hear.

    I apologize if my responses have not been polite or helpful. I’ve tried to point out that one statement of fact is not denied by 57 or 97 or 127 statements which do not contradict the fact. Many verses speak of the need for faith by sinners seeking salvation. Surely no one denies that this is an essential need indeed. Not one of them states that faith is all it takes to become a converted child of God. Many thousands repeating the same need would not contradict the one verse where by the authority of the Lord Jesus the apostle points out the need for converts to be baptized. But it’s not the one verse alone which explains the new birth of water and spirit. I point to many on the subject in my study http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. I saw no need there to try to prove it was necessary to have faith in Jesus in order to be saved by Him. Surely that’s not in question. But many seem willing to question whether or not the apostles Peter and Paul are correct in placing water baptism prior to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit which is promised to all who are “in Christ.” So that’s the question I address in the study.

  44. Jerry says:

    Ray,
    When Peter commanded Cornelius and those with him to be baptized (after he said they had received the Holy Spirit “just as we did at the beginning,” was he baptized in water to receive the Holy Spirit? Or had God already given it to him? That was the issue that began this thread of discussion. Peter said that Cornelius had the Spirit. He said this before Cornelius was baptized in water. Did he have the Spirit? Or did Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 mean that Cornelius did not have the Spirit because he had not been baptized? Or was Peter confused? Or is it possible that we may be confused when we expect God to be absolutely consistent?

    No one on this thread has denied the importance of baptism in water. (Or if they did, I missed it!) Royce, Jay, and others have said they teach converts to be baptized – and they baptize them. So, where’s your beef? If God chose to give Cornelius the Holy Spirit before he was baptized by Peter, what difference does that make to what Jesus said about making disciples and baptizing them? Does this “invalidate” baptisms by those who believe what Peter said in Acts 2:38 and in Acts 11 when speaking about what happened in the home of Cornelius? Everyone on this thread has maintained that the normative way people come into Christ and into His body is with penitent faith and baptism.

    Is the problem that you are afraid that the very words Peter used in Acts 2:38 are not always used when people are baptized into Christ? I have known some who insisted that if the words “for the remission of your sins” are not used, the baptism must be done over. Is that your position?

  45. Jerry says:

    Ray,
    You make much of Jesus commanding us to baptize our converts (actually, the Holy Spirit’s converts, since He is the one who convicts men of sin, rightousness, and judgment to come) in water and that He (Jesus) baptized the apostles in the Holy Spirit as a different baptism, never to be repeated.

    Have you ever considered that there may be one baptism in two elements? That as we baptize in water, Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit? You and I have discussed 1 Cor 12:13 in the past. It still says “In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body.” The Greek is en, the usual word describing where you are after you go into the house but before you go out of the house. This is the same word John the Baptist used when he said the Messiah would baptize “in [or with] the Holy Spirit” while John himself baptized only “in [en] water”. If Paul used the same word John the Baptist used (Matt 3:11), the same word Jesus used (Acts 1:5), and the same word Peter used (Acts 11:16) when talking about being baptized en one Spirit, do you think it just possible they might all be talking about the same thing?

    Yes, Paul also said “there is…one baptism”. There is one new birth, which is “of water and of Spirit.” One birth; two elements. 1 Corinthians 10:1ff describes Israel’s baptism into Moses “in the cloud and in the sea.” Were there two baptisms there? If not, why could Christian baptism not be in the Spirit and in the water? Moses led Israel into the sea; God was leading them by the cloud. Moses baptized them in the sea; God baptized them in the cloud. Colossians 2:12 says that our baptism (I’m thinking in water) also involved “the operation of God” (I believe by baptizing us in the Holy Spirit).

    That last text is in a context that speaks of our being circumcised with a circumcision not made by hands. Is this the circumcision of the heart that the prophets promised? In terms very parallel to their speaking of God pouring out His Spirit.

    What is inherently wrong about the concept of one baptism in two elements: water and Spirit?

  46. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jerry,

    I agree that the “one baptism” is a reference to concurrent water and Spirit baptism. However, I don’t think that means they are necessarily concurrent. After all, in a book likely later than Ephesians, we have –

    (Heb 6:1-2 NIV) herefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

    Certainly, Hebrews was written well after the conversion of Cornelius, and so why speak in terms of “baptisms” unless the author considers baptism with the Spirit (normatively concurrent with water baptism) as an elemetary doctrine — and, indeed, it should be. This is only complicated because of a human construct imposed by H. Leo Boles in an effort to reduce the Spirit to a set of natural laws.

    In fact, if we take “baptisms” to refer to water and Spirit baptism (it’s the same word as in Col 2:12), the order makes sense –

    * Repent (turn toward God) from dead works
    * Faith
    * Baptisms
    * Laying on of hands
    * Resurrection of the dead
    * Eternal judgment

    That’s easily seen as the order in which these events are experienced by the Christian, as in ancient times, converts received the laying on of hands after baptism.

    Does this establish a pattern? Does it mean that a failure to lay hands damns the convert for failure to follow the plan? Of course, not. We’re saved by grace through faith. But to those steeped in the 20th Century Church of Christ teachings, this should be a very scary thought. Perhaps we messed up by not laying hands on our converts — and damned millions in so doing!

    No wonder Paul refers to legalism as slavery.

  47. Jerry says:

    With one day with God being as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day, it is strange that we get so hung up on time and sequence. If Jesus is the Lamb of God who was slain from before the foundation of the world, yet did not actually die for thousands of years after the Garden of Eden, why are we overly concerned if two particular actions are concurrent or if one or the other precedes the other by the space of a brief amount of time in the human scheme of things? After all, we are dealing here with the God who dwells in eternity.

    We used to debate the Baptists about whether faith or repentance came first. Yet, when they are mentioned together in Scripture it is invariably in the sequence you note from Hebrews 6. Yet, philosophically we have difficulty understanding how we can repent toward God without first believing that He is. Perhaps this is just another of the ways that we are the slaves of modernism. I do not believe that one not locked into a linear way of thinking would have difficulty accepting that concept.

    I know I used to frustrate my mentor, Richard Rodgers, as he was attempting to get me to grasp the concept of grace as opposed to works. In fact, he once told me that he knew exactly when I “got it” because he could see it in my eyes. Since that day almost 46 years ago, the grace of God has become more and more precious to me – and I more and more see myself as unworthy of it. And even though I began to grasp the concept, I still do not know the depths of the riches of His bounteous love and patience with me.

    I have greatly enjoyed following your blogs for the past few years. They are rich and challenging (though sometimes I get frustrated with the exaltation of the Crimson Tide! Ha & tongue in cheek!). You have taught me much – and I still regret that the one time I was able to visit the University CoC you were out of town for your mother-in-law’s funeral. Maybe one day we will be able to meet face to face. I will greet that day with joy.

  48. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Thanks, Jerry.

    You know that the Tide is presently national champion in four sports – three of them women’s sports. This is a great place for a sports fan to live — except for, you know, the occasional tornado.

    I assume that, living in Florida, you have a loyalty to one of their several Division I programs. Who’s your team?

  49. Larry Cheek says:

    Brother Ray, I know that you are because I have met you and can testify of your desire to be pleasing to God. With that said, I notice that some of your communications about the Baptists, are following the same pattern that I was programmed with. I would like to explain what I learned as I was conducting many studies ( cottage meetings) with Baptists. I was using the Visualized Bible Study by Jule Miller. I believe that you teach the same message that was explained in those studies, many of the Baptist church members that understood the plan portrayed in the lessons also agreed that that was the reason they were baptised, of course I could not agree that they could possibly have been baptized correctly, because I was informed just as you must have been about what the Baptist church taught. Many assured me that they had been baptized exactly as the studies had portrayed. I began to communicate with more Baptists that had not seen the video and asked them to tell me what was taught in the church that they went to. Many times they explained the exact pattern that the video and I was teaching. Now I really had a problem, does this mean that I have to accept that they became my brother in Christ when they followed the exact pattern that I had believed and followed? On what basis could I refuse their testimony? Then I remembered as we testify of our beginnings, some of the men that we fully except especially Alexander Campbell was a Baptist prior to his baptism, and retained that identity for years later even publishing the Millennial Harbinger which I have understood was started before his baptism as a Baptist news letter. I recently have read documents written by some of our brethren that portray a different story than I had understood by reading some of his writings. My conclusion became that there are 57 different types of Baptists. And even beyond that if someone attending a Baptist church and being taught in their services wrongfully that baptism is a sacrament and it was given to the church to administer to portray the dedication or identity of becoming a member of the church after salvation, learns and disagrees with that concept, yet submits to being baptized there with his understanding of what is taking place, because he has never encountered a member of the Church of Christ. How could I deny that he became my brother. Do your own research I believe that you will find that many Baptist churches and preachers teach baptism correctly. Do we have a right to classify all in the same category? If so, what do we do about Churches of Christ, are all in unison? Isn’t Baptism for the correct reasons a universal worldwide door into the brotherhood of Christ’s disciples?

  50. aBasnar says:

    Great summary on Hebrews 6:1-2, Jay!

    Do you have any idea, why it is so enormously difficult to make brothers of our fellowship at least consider the possibility that God really wants us to lay hands on the converts, as it is described in Acts and listed in these “basics” in Hebrews?

    In other words: This list of “basics” in Heb 6:1-2 was it made up by the Apostles trying to find a proper way of doingf things? Or were they instructed by the Risen Lord to do it this way? Is laying on of hands a human invention or a divine ordinance? Does Heb 6:1-2 reveal the Will of God or an outdated Early church tradition?

    Seriously: Is the (true) statement that we are saved by faith through Grace a sufficient excuse NOT to do what is written, as insignificant as it may seem to us? Or would Faith not rather lead us to do it even though we don’t (yet) understnd the significance of it?

    Laying on of hands is just one example. Even more surprising is our non-fasting (I just today received an intersting e-mail on this matter). Or the eating of blood that we (obviously) stopped discussing a few threads earlier. Or the headcovering (my favorite). Or the washing of feet (how very down to earth!). Or celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a full meal (great book by John Mark Hicks BTW). Or … or … or … How can anyone say with confidence that we are a fully restored New Testament Church????? We play games with a God who cannot be fooled!

    Pleaso note carefully: I don’t believe we are damned when we leave out one or more commands out of ignorance. But Christ had something to say about those who loosen one of the least commands, and James speaks about a stricter judgment for teachers. This is not an approach of legalism, but of faithful obedience. respecting ALL that Christ has commanded us to do (Mat 28:20).

    Alexander

  51. Bob Brandon says:

    Alexander wrote: “How can anyone say with confidence that we are a fully restored New Testament Church?????”

    The old inside-the-fellowship joke comes to mind: “Which church are we restoring? The Corinthian church? The Laodicean Church? The Galatian Church?”

    To paraphrase Landon Saunders from many years ago, the Christ did not come to earth to “restore the first century church”; He came to restore men and women to God.

    As for not setting aside commandments, the Christ Himself mentioned that the entire law and prophets hung on the commands of putting God first and foremost and the second of doing likewise unto one’s neighbor. Take care of the agape love, Jesus says, and the law is fulfilled and we do what is written.

  52. laymond says:

    Jerry says: (talking to Ray)

    “When Peter commanded Cornelius and those with him to be baptized (after he said they had received the Holy Spirit “just as we did at the beginning,” was he baptized in water to receive the Holy Spirit? Or had God already given it to him? That was the issue that began this thread of discussion. Peter said that Cornelius had the Spirit. He said this before Cornelius was baptized in water. Did he have the Spirit? Or did Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 mean that Cornelius did not have the Spirit because he had not been baptized? Or was Peter confused? Or is it possible that we may be confused when we expect God to be absolutely consistent? ”

    What if, when it is said that Cornelius ” received the Holy Spirit just as we did at the beginning” that Peter was talking about an action on Cornelius’ part and not that of God.
    When Cornelius came to believe, he accepted/received Jesus as his Savior. (just as we all must do, first things first) then Peter instructed him further to complete the conversion by repenting, and being baptized. ( I suppose instructed him is a little mild, he commanded him to be baptized) Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. ——–.
    Cornelius accepted the “holy Spirit” it was not thrust/forced upon him.

    2:38 And Peter said to them, “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.

    I can’t recall ever reading where one was added to the church before baptism.

  53. Jerry says:

    Jay,

    I do not really follow any sports consistently (I almost said religiously), though I enjoy most of them. Giving up following sports is one of the ways that I have laid down my life for my wife out of reverence for Christ. The Olympics, Tennis, and Skating are the only sports my wife will watch – so those are my sports as well.

  54. Ray Downen says:

    Jerry asks what is wrong with the concept of one baptism being two baptisms? He wrote

    Ray,
    You make much of Jesus commanding us to baptize our converts (actually, the Holy Spirit’s converts, since He is the one who convicts men of sin, rightousness, and judgment to come) in water and that He (Jesus) baptized the apostles in the Holy Spirit as a different baptism, never to be repeated.

    Have you ever considered that there may be one baptism in two elements? That as we baptize in water, Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit? You and I have discussed 1 Cor 12:13 in the past. It still says “In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body.” The Greek is en, the usual word describing where you are after you go into the house but before you go out of the house. This is the same word John the Baptist used when he said the Messiah would baptize “in [or with] the Holy Spirit” while John himself baptized only “in [en] water”. If Paul used the same word John the Baptist used (Matt 3:11), the same word Jesus used (Acts 1:5), and the same word Peter used (Acts 11:16) when talking about being baptized en one Spirit, do you think it just possible they might all be talking about the same thing?

    Yes, Paul also said “there is…one baptism”. There is one new birth, which is “of water and of Spirit.” One birth; two elements. 1 Corinthians 10:1ff describes Israel’s baptism into Moses “in the cloud and in the sea.” Were there two baptisms there? If not, why could Christian baptism not be in the Spirit and in the water? Moses led Israel into the sea; God was leading them by the cloud. Moses baptized them in the sea; God baptized them in the cloud. Colossians 2:12 says that our baptism (I’m thinking in water) also involved “the operation of God” (I believe by baptizing us in the Holy Spirit).

    What’s wrong with it is that Jesus knew nothing of, or at least spoke nothing of His baptizing converts with (in) the Spirit and no (absolutely NO apostolic writing) passage speaks of such a thing. I urge attention to my study available at my web site on the subject http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. Jesus promised the apostles THEY would be baptized in the Spirit. They were baptized in the Spirit. No other person ever received the empowering gift of baptism in the Holy Spirit. No other person claimed such powers. No other person demonstrated such powers.

    This theory of a dual (two but really only one) baptism is totally foreign to apostolic teaching. It’s granted that 1 Corinthians 12:13 is translated by some to speak of a baptism by or in the Holy Spirit which brings sinners into the church of God. I fully explain in the cited study why the correct translation of the passage removes any possibility of it creating a second baptism for Christians. And that one verse as incorrectly translated is the ONLY verse which speaks of any baptism by the Holy Spirit. As for Jesus baptizing each convert in the Spirit, if He were going to do that, why does anyone suppose He would have commanded that we who tell others about Him are to baptize the ones who believe? The theory makes no logical sense. One baptism is enough. There’s no need for two! Jay speaks of concurrent baptisms, which need not be actually concurrent, he says. No apostle speaks of such a thing. Search the book which tells of conversions as we might, we will find not one mention of converts being baptized twice except when the Jewish leaders had to be convinced that Gentiles also could receive baptism into Christ. And they certainly were not concurrent. The entire theory of a baptism by the Holy Spirit is unknown to the apostles of Jesus Christ.

    I do expect God to be consistent. Always. And He always can make exceptions to what He normally requires. So of course He can save persons who have never heard of Jesus, as is suggested by some. But why would we think He WOULD do so? Wishful thinking? As for Cornelius receiving the Holy Spirit prior to being baptized into Christ, it should be noted that there are obviously differing gifts of the Spirit! We do not do well to expect every gift of the Spirit to be identical. The purpose of the apostles being baptized in the Spirit was to empower them for the work to which they had been called and for which they had been prepared. The purpose of the Gentile household being baptized was clearly to prove to the Jewish Christians that Gentiles also could be baptized into Christ and at that time receive the same “gift of the Spirit” which is promised in Acts 2:38. Other differing gifts of the Spirit were often seen in the apostolic age, with some able to speak in unknown-to-them languages, others being able to understand the unknown-to-them languages, some being able to heal, others being able to speak with a word directly from God. We realize that no one in that day had a Bible as we do. So prophets were used so that brethren could receive instruction directly from the Lord in addition to the words given through the apostles.

    I repeat that yes, I have considered that some speak of two separate baptisms, one performed in water by order of Jesus and one performed by the Holy Spirit. And I’m confident that two is not one. Two never has been one. It never will be one. The Spirit is given by God to each convert to Jesus who is baptized in water. But no teaching is given by the apostles that would describe that “gift of the Spirit” to every convert to the Christ as being a baptism either in or by the Spirit. Please read my cited study to understand why I make that claim.

  55. Ray Downen says:

    I didn’t comment about this comment by Jerry:

    You make much of Jesus commanding us to baptize our converts (actually, the Holy Spirit’s converts, since He is the one who convicts men of sin, rightousness, and judgment to come) in water and that He (Jesus) baptized the apostles in the Holy Spirit as a different baptism, never to be repeated.

    Should we believe that the Spirit decides who can be saved? That’s what would be the case if indeed converts were created by the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that’s the way it is. Not for an instant. Jesus says that WE are to carry throughout the world the message which convicts men of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. It’s the WORD which is the seed from which life springs up. And Jesus commissions US to spread the word. If indeed the Spirit is doing the work rather than the Word doing the convicting and converting, why would Jesus have told MEN to spread the word? The Spirit helps us, but never does the work for us! Or will someone cite examples where converts were made without human interaction? I observe that converts are made when the gospel of Jesus Christ is heard. Do others know of converts who had never heard the gospel but who decided to become followers of Jesus because of some direct action by the Holy Spirit? So far as I know, the way the Spirit is involved is in His helping Christians evangelize. In Acts, do we read of hundreds of converts in lands where the gospel had NOT been preached? In our personal experience, do we know of anyone who decided without hearing the gospel that they should obey the gospel?

  56. Ray Downen says:

    Price comments Author: Price
    Comment: Ray, I believe if you are speaking to me that you misrepresent my point of view. I believe that we are saved by GRACE alone and that through faith in Jesus…

    Words are wonderful. Words can be understood. Sometimes they can be made to say something they don’t really mean. Anyone who believes that “sinners are saved by grace alone and that through faith in Jesus” is saying that salvation is by faith alone. The phrase makes equal sense if the “alone” is placed after “faith” as after “grace.” And the reason no one should have that view is that Jesus makes clear that only through a new birth of water and spirit can any mortal be saved. The new birth is not just what we think. Peter was baptized in the Spirit, led into all truth thereby, and when asked what sinners needed to do to be saved gave a clear answer. He did not say the sinners had to believe. If they had not believed why would they have asked what they now needed to do? But Peter told them they needed to change and to be baptized. Many suppose Peter was mistaken. So they believe salvation comes by grace through faith alone. If they believed Peter was speaking for Jesus, they would surely never believe that salvation comes by grace through faith alone or by grace alone through faith (alone). How marvelous it is when we read the Bible seeking truth, and apply common sense to what we read.

    One rule for right reading is that we look in the right place for answers to particular questions. It makes no sense to look in Old Testament books to learn how converts to Jesus are made. Nor is that the theme of Revelation, nor in fact any of the apostolic letters to Christians. It’s not the theme of the gospels. But the book of Acts tells of how the gospel was preached and how converts were made to Christ. Why then do Baptists look in John or Romans to learn how converts are made while they ignore the examples in Acts? Perhaps because of a perverted point of view. They seek for proof of what they want to believe, and suppose they can find it in John or in Romans. I spoke of common sense. I believe we need to use it!

  57. Ray Downen says:

    Price: Author: Price
    Comment: Ray…you haven’t addressed why you think Jesus was the one who distinguished between the baptism of water by John and the baptism that He would provide by the Spirit…I don’t believe that I’m ignoring what Jesus said when I quote him. Romans 8 says that you don’t belong to Jesus unless the Holy Spirit dwells in you.. So, can a believer receive the H.S. before water or is water necessary to receive the Holy Spirit? Cornelius is an example of BEFORE water. Who is to say that the people that repented on the day of Pentecost and believed in Jesus didn’t receive the H.S. before they were baptized?

    Price makes a good point, that the Spirit is involved in salvation from sin. And Luke has made record of Peter’s explaining how the Spirit is given. Some want it to be in other ways and at other times. But Peter explains that believers who repent and are baptized will THEN receive the Spirit as God’s gift. Baptism in the Spirit was not for the remission of sins. It was to empower the apostles. It did not wash away the sins of the apostles or of anyone who ever received a baptism in the Spirit. That’s why when Peter saw that Gentiles had been visited to God in a similar way to what the apostles had received (the only spoken of “proof”was speaking in an unknown tongue), he immediately had them baptized for the remission of their sins and to receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit of God. Their baptism in water followed their hearing and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ who alone can save from sin.

    Shall we believe Peter or not believe? He said that it was AFTER the repenting and being baptized in water that the Spirit would be given to the 3,000 and all later converts. The few exceptions are clearly shown to be exceptions to the normal. And the gift which follows baptism into Christ is not what was seen in the exceptional times. Those exceptions speak of “signs” given for a particular purpose. The gift promised to every new Christian is that the Spirit will come to live within. No “signs” indicate His presence.
    Baptism into Jesus Christ IS for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The baptism ordered by Jesus is in water. It means nothing unless it’s based on faith in Jesus who ordered it. The gift of the Spirit always follows the new birth and results from the convert experiencing the new birth of water and spirit. Are there exceptions? In the first days when the church was just begun, many events took place which were never repeated. The Samaritans who “didn’t receive the Spirit” when they were baptized is an example of an exception. The fact is what they did not receive was any sign convincing of their conversion and acceptance by the Lord Jesus. The Samaritans were not exactly Jews. Until the apostles showed acceptance by laying on hands to anoint (some don’t like that word used for the laying on of hands) them and then they did receive special spiritual gifts, Jewish Christians were not certain that Samaritans were acceptable for conversion. The later acceptance of Gentiles was equally hard to believe for ones who had supposed that the Way was for Jews only.

  58. Price says:

    Ray, you may wish to trust in your own ability to save yourself but I’ll stick with grace. And yes I do absolutely and unequivocalbly trust in Jesus alone. I resize that is not using common sense by your definition but you don’t save anybody. So I’ll stick with Jesus and Grace through faith and that not of yourself. I guess that means just Jesus alone, huh ?

  59. Ray Downen says:

    Price to Ray:

    Author: Price
    Comment:
    Ray…Just so I understand…Jesus Himself baptized the Apostles at Pentecost with the Holy Spirit… But, He has never baptized anybody with the Holy Spirit again…I think that’s what you are saying…You based that point of view on your understanding of John. So…why does Peter recall the words of Jesus in Acts 1 where Jesus HIMSELF said he would baptize them with the Holy Spirit to then describe the events of Cornelius to the leadership in Jerusalem ?? It seems either your interpretation needs some work or Peter was confused about the conversion of Cornelius because Peter says Cornelius received the H.S. just as he had in the beginning.. That he makes crystal clear. I think Jay mentioned earlier the difficulty of trying to define the movement of the H.S. and I think that’s what you’re doing here by trying to define what is a “baptism” and what is not. Clearly, with Cornelius the receipt of the H.S. and his baptism in water were TWO separate events in time..But, you seem intent on avoiding the correlation that Peter made so let’s move on…

    Speaking of Cornelius and his household, they received signs which Peter felt proved that God was approving the baptizing of Gentiles. He commanded then that the Gentiles should be baptized at which time they received the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit which is promised to all who experience the new birth of water and spirit. This is not the baptism in the Spirit which was given only to the apostles, as is proved by the signs which accompanied the baptism in the Spirit and which followed that baptism. Miracles were performed by the apostles. Nothing is reported of any miracles performed by the household of Cornelius, but the signs did convince Peter and later the other apostles and other church leaders that Gentiles were to be accepted as equal members of the Lord’s church which until that time had been strictly Jewish and Samaritan. The Samaritans had to have special apostolic approval also before the Jewish Christians were convinced they could be Christians.

    Any Bible student should realize that this Cornelius household experience was a one-time exception to the many thousands of conversions earlier reported. So there’s no sense in trying to build doctrine for normal conversions based on the exception. Why do some want to do so? The normal was preaching the gospel, then baptizing into Christ those repentant sinners who came to belief in Jesus as Lord as the gospel teaches.

  60. Jerry says:

    Ray,

    By saying that the Spirit is active in conversion I am NOT saying that the Calvinist concept of “be converted” is correct. All I am saying is what Jesus said in John 16:8 regarding what the Comforter would do after Jesus went away:

    Whe he comes, he will covict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (NIV).

    I do not know just how he does this. I do know that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. How the Spirit uses that word to cut men to the heart, I do not know. I do believe that there is an interaction between the Holy Spirit of God and the heart of the sinner that is beyond the mere words of the preacher. The same words will convict one and not touch another sitting beside him. The difference between those two sinners is in their interaction with the Spirit of God.

    Not for a moment do I believe that the Holy Spirit has power over a man against his will. We can resist the Holy Spirit – just as we can resist the Devil. If we resist the Devil, Peter said he will flee from us; what happens when we resist the Holy Spirit?

  61. Price says:

    Ray… Cornelius received the indwelling Holy Spirit at time of water baptism.. ?? Why, if you are a serious Bible student do you have to make stuff up? There is not the slightest indication that Cornelius received anything additional as a result of his water immersion. None.

    You mention there is no record of Cornelius performing any miracle. So. What has that got to do with anything at all ? Being indwelt by the Holy Spirit doesn’t make one God Himself. As Jay said in the original post…”Those who speak of different “measures” of the Spirit are imposing a 20th Century human construct on the text. That teaching is just not in the Bible.” You’re basing a theology of baptism and the Holy Spirit on a premise and proof which does not exist and on things which you have to make up.. If that’s what you mean by Bible student, I think I’d flunk.

  62. Nancy says:

    Jerry wrote: “Not for a moment do I believe that the Holy Spirit has power over a man against his will.”

    Did you mean to write this? Maybe you meant that you don’t believe the Holy Spirit will exercise His power over man’s will.

  63. Jerry says:

    Thank you Nancy. I meant that the Spirit does not – and as far as I know, will not – exercise power over the human will.

  64. Nancy says:

    :-) Jerry, I thought so…that seems to be more in line with your view of God’s sovereignty as I understand it.

  65. Ray Downen says:

    It was written:

    Author: Jerry
    Comment: Ray, By saying that the Spirit is active in conversion I am NOT saying that the Calvinist concept of “be converted” is correct. All I am saying is what Jesus said in John 16:8 regarding what the Comforter would do after Jesus went away:
    Whe he comes, he will covict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (NIV).

    I do not know just how he does this. I do know that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. How the Spirit uses that word to cut men to the heart, I do not know. I do believe that there is an interaction between the Holy Spirit of God and the heart of the sinner that is beyond the mere words of the preacher. The same words will convict one and not touch another sitting beside him. The difference between those two sinners is in their interaction with the Spirit of God.

    Not for a moment do I believe that the Holy Spirit has power over a man against his will. We can resist the Holy Spirit – just as we can resist the Devil. If we resist the Devil, Peter said he will flee from us; what happens when we resist the Holy Spirit?

    So the Holy Spirit decides who will answer the gospel call and who will not do so, if I understand what is written. I disagree. I’m sure that every person is free to become a Christian at any time. It doesn’t take a special action by the Spirit to enable a sinner to obey the gospel! I DO understand what is written. It is not correct that the Spirit lets one person obey the gospel while He prevents another from doing so.

  66. Ray Downen says:

    It is written:

    Author: Price
    Comment:
    Ray… Cornelius received the indwelling Holy Spirit at time of water baptism.. ?? Why, if you are a serious Bible student do you have to make stuff up? There is not the slightest indication that Cornelius received anything additional as a result of his water immersion. None.

    You mention there is no record of Cornelius performing any miracle. So. What has that got to do with anything at all ? Being indwelt by the Holy Spirit doesn’t make one God Himself. As Jay said in the original post…”Those who speak of different “measures” of the Spirit are imposing a 20th Century human construct on the text. That teaching is just not in the Bible.” You’re basing a theology of baptism and the Holy Spirit on a premise and proof which does not exist and on things which you have to make up.. If that’s what you mean by Bible student, I think I’d flunk.

    I didn’t make up Acts 2:38. I believe Peter was led by the Spirit in giving that instruction. It seems that not everyone agrees. Some are insistent that Peter must be wrong!

  67. Monty says:

    Be interested to know if those posters on here who believe that Baptism has nothing to do with the “remitting of sins” if you would “command” baptism for believers, like Peter did? (I know you say you teach that believers “should”, but that is quite a different thing than command). Curious to know what you would instruct a believer to do who was seriously afraid of water? Wouldn’t it be OK to say, “don’t worry about it? since you say it isn’t salvic.

    No matter how we tip toe around it, if baptism is “commanded” then it’s necessary; If it’s not commanded, then we’re all hagling over something irrelevant. In the case of the Philippian jailer why get the whole family out in the night air and get them wet, if it’s just some symbolic thing? Why not everyone just say “we believe and we’ll wait til tomorrow morning so we don’t have to go back to bed with our hair wet?” A more opportune time, it’s what Baptist do today. Save em up til theres a big crowd.

    Why did the Eunech get all happy and emotional(rejoicing)after his baptism instead of before it, if he was already saved prior to? Surely he already believed before they found water, or are we to believe that he didn’t believe what Philip taught him prior to seeing water? What in tarnation of ” he preached unto him Jesus” have to do with baptism and his being anxious to find water? His excitement when he saw water is palpable(I don’t get the feeling that the way some on here teach conversion that water would of had anything to do with preaching Jesus, as Philip did.) Certainly the way some present it on here if “they” had taught the Eunech he wouldn’t of slammed on the breaks and made a beeline for the water. “It’s OK Philip, I’ll get baptized when I get back to Ethiopia, no need holding you up.” Philip’s job wasn’t complete til he baptized the Eunech. I wonder if some on here consider their job completed before they baptize someone they teach or after?

  68. Price says:

    Monty, I don’t know anybody that believes that we are saved by Grace through Faith that doesn’t believe in the importance of baptism. Everyone I know thinks it is clearly a command and they teach it as such. Most believe it is somehow more “holy” and special than just any other command given us. I can’t think of a single convert in the N.T. that wasn’t baptized. I can’t imagine that one who understood that Jesus felt it was that important would refuse to do so and claim they have faith.

    It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t say when to baptize someone. There is plenty of examples of it being done right away which suggests that was the custom. But, there is no clear “command” as to when. I know some people who are new converts who wanted to know more about baptism and it’s significance before they did it. Perhaps we live in a distrustful society…perhaps it was different when you were able to witness miracle after miracle with your own eyes… Perhaps it’s because they believe they are indeed saved by Grace through Faith and they want to understand what baptism is all about before just jumping in the water…

    One question I have for the water salvation crowd…why do you baptize children? No one I know thinks a child is lost to hell… What 8 year needs to be baptized? What real difference is that and infant baptism? If you’re not lost why would one need to be saved?

  69. aBasnar says:

    It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t say when to baptize someone. There is plenty of examples of it being done right away which suggests that was the custom. But, there is no clear “command” as to when.

    That’s a bit weird, since baptism is connected with repentance. We can also ay that Christ did not say “when” to prepent from our sins. But what scripture makes abundantly clear is that – not AFTER someone became a Christian one might eventually apply for baptism (just to fulfill yet another more or less important command) – BUT that Baptism is the way tpo experess repentance and to be cleansed from sin by the Grace of God.

    So the “when” of baptism is defined by the “when” of repentance and the “when” of becoming a Christian.

    As soon as we empty baptism from its meaning and purpose, we come up with “delaying” baptism or even calling it (de facto) optional. When say baptism is “important” this does not fit, because “loving our enemies” is important, too. Baptism however is the first step into the Kingdom the new Birth of water and Spirit which enables us to walk in the rest of Christ’s commands.

    We don’t become Christians by just a simple prayer, neither by just a sincere wish to follow Christ. Both are important; but it is baptism to which the promise of forgiveness is tied.

    One question I have for the water salvation crowd…why do you baptize children? No one I know thinks a child is lost to hell… What 8 year needs to be baptized? What real difference is that and infant baptism? If you’re not lost why would one need to be saved?

    I also think 8 years is in general too young. But on the other hand – depending on the background – 8 year olds are fully capable of lying, stealing and insulting. I am not sure at what age one eats his forbidden fruit, but I think it differs greatly from person to person. I’d rather have the kids go through adolescence first. Before that believe they are too young for such a serious commitment. If however they show to be serious about their repentance I would not refuse them at a younger age, but have a longer conversation with them before baptism.

    Alexander

  70. Larry Cheek says:

    I have a question for all that have expressed here of the urgency of following belief or faith with baptism? I will explain my own experience, and the experience of many other members of the Church of whom I am aware. First, and probably as many of you, I was reared in the Church from my birth, I was being taught about God, Christ, The Church, Sin, the plan that we see to wash away sins, Heaven, Hell and all the aspects of living the christian life, which also covered all the scare tactics about what you will endure if you don’t commit your life to Christ. I will assure you that I had a faith and belief in God, Christ and all of the things taught in the scriptures, a long time prior to my commitment. As I have previously mentioned I know others that were in the same position that I was. You see we became conditioned by the lack of being able to respond to teaching as early as we had believed and had faith; we were too young to be allowed to make that commitment. Do you know anyone that procrastinates? Well, there were many times that the family did not make it to church for some reason. There were 10 in our household, parents, grandmother, uncle, 6 children, this was a chore just to be able to arrive anywhere on time, and there was not always enough vehicles to transport all of us to the same destination.
    Of course we were all taught that it was a sin to miss any of the gatherings for worship at the church. I can remember worrying about, not being able to attend all of the services, if I became a Christian. Our family was not as rich as some, but my father dealt in used cars and was a mechanic, a car that needed a lot of repair became mine. I was not old enough to obtain a drivers license. But, one of my friends at church and I made a commitment to make that dreaded step and walk the aisle to the front of the church after I got my driver’s license, you see then there would be nothing that we thought would be able to keep us or at least me from being able to attend every service. On a predetermined date, actually Feb 8, 1958 we did just that.
    Now, I listen to members of the church, and I need to explain that I also was programmed to explain, we’ll say to the Baptist’s that were putting off baptism at the moment of their commitment to a later date was invalidating the baptism, and is sin, and it surely has to be done again to correct this error. What they had done was only getting wet, was not baptism at all because it did not follow the pattern. Yes, I don’t know how many Baptist over the many years of teaching individuals with Bible Videos, I have condemned to Hell because they could not see the pattern as important as I did. Yet, as you read my story and I presume that many of you have similar stories, should we be instructed that we now need to be baptized again because the first one wasn’t correctly done?
    We’ll, I’ll explain that I now believe that there is nothing prior to baptism that will invalidate a baptism as long as one has belief and faith in Christ when it is done. So what about those that have belief and faith but have not been baptized yet? I believe that there are many scriptures that support that, prior to baptism a man is lost and that the borne again action is accomplished during baptism. There is no example in scripture after the day of Pentecost of anyone being saved without it.

  71. Price says:

    Alexander…my point was that unlike some of the very specific aspects of the “law” wherein certain things had to be done by certain times…there is no specific instruction as to when baptism should occur. 24 hours ? 48 hours? Not that we can’t glean something from the examples given but just pointing out there is not specific instruction by which we can condemn another for not following… I mean it’s doubtful that Philip waited on the Eunuch to run into town and get the white robe while the servants sang two stanza’s of his favorite baptism song… or while they loaded up the wagons and ran down to the nearest river…We all have our ceremonial habits and traditions… Let’s not beat up everybody because theirs is different from ours. We already have the Hatfields and McCoys to deal with..:)

    Larry.. Cornelius was saved prior to baptism and I believe that was after Pentecost. In fact, all that were with him were saved prior to water immersion. It seems that even Paul’s conversion and subsequent receipt of the Spirit was prior to water immersion. And, it took him 3 days once he believed to be baptized.. Was Paul lost before he got in the water. Was he lost when he received the Holy Spirit prior to his immersion? Doubtful. Was Cornelius lost before immersion. Peter pointed out that he, Peter, was not going to “resist God.” God had already accepted Cornelius and his family. To me that means saved. I don’t see the Holy Spirit being given to an unsaved unbeliever. In fact, there is some doubt as to whether or not Peter even told them about water immersion until he saw that God had poured out His Spirit on them. But, it is quite obvious to any reader that once one is saved by Grace through Faith, then they should be baptized to express that faith in EVERY instance.

    Alexander…kids will be kids… sure they all act out…At what point does scripture say that one must make a decision? Surely, it is as a grown person capable of rationale understanding… 8 years , 10 years old…nah, that’s infant baptism to me. And, I was 10 when I was baptized…All i knew was that I didn’t want to go to hell and they baptized me..

  72. People keep trying to impose their own measurements of time about these things, not because they don’t know “when to repent” or “how soon to be baptized”, but simply out of a tradition of judging the repentance and baptism of others. They even use such silly terms as “validating” or “invalidating” baptism, as though their judgments have that power. Jesus does not say “when”, but that does not stop us. This is why I don’t believe in sola scriptura– because nobody, and I mean nobody, who claims to believe it actually practices it. It’s a blanket hypocrisy.

    Alexander argues in a circle. He suggests that once we strip baptism of its salvific meaning, we then feel free to treat it as just another obedience, which treatment strips baptism of its salvific meaning. If we respond to God’s call for baptism, but we do not respond in a way befitting why they responded, then we we have not really responded at all.

    I am reminded that when I was nine years old , I asked my CoC minister dad if I could be baptized. He wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing, so he gave me a series of little lessons to study and to be tested on. I passed, and I was baptized the Sunday after I handed in my last test. Now, if I was in present danger of hellfire (as I clearly had been taught that the unbaptized are), then why did my father delay my baptism, even for a day? Whatever happened to “that same hour of the night”? Was he not afraid that I as a cognizant sinner might get hit by a bus and go straight to hell? Clearly he was not. If I did not “need” to be baptized the very minute I expressed belief, why not? If I had been 29 instead of 9, would that make everything different?

    I remember playing in the schoolyard where the little girls would play house, lining up rocks in the dirt to depict the walls of a house. A little boy would wander across the arranged pebbles, and the girls would invariabley cry, “Stop walking through our walls!” We never knew what the ruckus was all about; we didn’t see any walls. Some people still draw lines of their own making and insist that we treat them as reality.

  73. Royce Ogle says:

    That’s an excellent point Charles.

    Many, many, times I’ve seen people say or heard the preacher or someone else say “so and so here came to me a few weeks ago wanting to be baptized so after we have studied several times he is now going to be baptized.” One thing you can bet the farm on, nothing in Scripture even hints that anyone needs to study anything to be be baptized. I think a two to three sentence explanation should be sufficient. Over these many years my experience is that when I tell people Jesus said new believers should be baptized and what it represents I don’t recall one person being hesitant or wanting more study on the subject.

    I think baptism should be as soon as possible and as public as possible. (after a person has confessed their trust in Christ).

  74. Monty says:

    Maybe, we should suffer the little children to come to Jesus, especially if they haven’t been brow beaten and scared to death, just maybe they are being led by the Spirit. I think we would all be proud of our 8,9,10 year olds for saying Mom, Dad, I desire to do what God says. I was asked as an 11 year old by a Baptist woman, (mother of my best friend) at a neighborhood gathering in their house if I wanted to accept Jesus as Lord. I said yes. I was led to a private bedroom where she had me get on my knees and repeat after her the sinners prayer, and I did. If she would have said I needed to be baptized I would have been willing to do that too. I sincerely wanted to please God. I was never instructed that I even should be baptized. Later on in the 11th grade I had another close friend who was a member of the church of Christ and he kept(not preaching or teaching) but literally just kept pointing out verses like Acts 2:38 or Mark 16:15-16 and just asking me what they meant. I knew what he was getting at but I resisted initally by saying “they don’t mean I need to be baptized.” I had Baptist friends who scheduled me a meeting with their youth pastor, so I met with him and told him my situation that I had a friend who was showing me scripture that seemed at least to suggest that I needed baptism to be forgiven of sins, he of course said, “thats not how we teach it”, but he never once said we do teach baptism and you really should be baptized for obedience sake. I left his office a little miffed at his lack of a caring spirit. I was soon baptized into Christ. I have heard many a local Baptist preacher bafoon preachers(referring to the church of Christ) who teach that water baptism has anything at all to do with conversion.

  75. Price says:

    Monty…I guess it depends on what one believes about baptism. If one believes the purpose of baptism is to save somebody from hell then one must believe that an 8 year old is going to hell to justify baptism. If one believes that it is a command of obedience once one has decided they believe Jesus is Lord and Savior, (Philip/Eunuch) then it seems appropriate at the point one does in fact believe. It’s sad that you experienced people who did not appreciate the clear and unambiguous teaching on baptism but my personal opinion is that God would not have cast you into hell for lack of proper teaching, especially as a youth and your declaration of faith to Him, who knows your heart.

  76. Alabama John says:

    Many church of Christ parents encourage, push, their very young children to be baptized before they get old enough to disobey and not be under the parents influence nearly as much. The thinking is even if that child later on is disobedient and leading a sorry life, it is still now and always will be a child of God. This means at the last minute, regardless of how its life has been, can on the way down from driving off a cliff it can ask for God to forgive it of all wrongs and God will, since it has been baptized and is in the kingdom as one of Gods children.

    On the other hand, if not baptized, not in the kingdom, and falling off the same cliff, it doesn’t have time, regardless of how bad it wants to get forgiveness and do right and be baptized and do all the 5 acts so it is destined for hell fire.

    No wonder so many get baptized at youth camps and very early. What a relief for the parents!

  77. Johnny says:

    John,

    I feel certain that same logic lead to infant baptisms.

  78. Monty says:

    I feel quite certain, (cause I’ve been there) that just as many Baptist parents and teachers in summer youth camps urge their kids to say the “sinners prayer”(baptism for CofC) for fire insurance. The pressure is the same, just the “how to” (the response) to God’s grace is taught differently. Both teach, trust in Jesus, CofC adds be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

  79. Ray Downen says:

    Price is convinced and is also wrong as can be. He writes:

    Cornelius was saved prior to baptism and I believe that was after Pentecost. In fact, all that were with him were saved prior to water immersion. It seems that even Paul’s conversion and subsequent receipt of the Spirit was prior to water immersion. And, it took him 3 days once he believed to be baptized.. Was Paul lost before he got in the water. Was he lost when he received the Holy Spirit prior to his immersion? Doubtful. Was Cornelius lost before immersion. Peter pointed out that he, Peter, was not going to “resist God.” God had already accepted Cornelius and his family. To me that means saved. I don’t see the Holy Spirit being given to an unsaved unbeliever. In fact, there is some doubt as to whether or not Peter even told them about water immersion until he saw that God had poured out His Spirit on them. But, it is quite obvious to any reader that once one is saved by Grace through Faith, then they should be baptized to express that faith in EVERY instance.

    Are all Baptists unable to read and believe Acts 2:38 and the several other passages which show the truth Peter understood that day? If we once see that the way sin is washed away is in baptism, we’ll not be confused about Cornelius and household being saved prior to their becoming Christians. The baptism in the Spirit was not then and not ever for the remission of sins. Peter makes clear that baptism in water is for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Spirit which accompanies salvation. If Peter had thought Cornelius and household were saved already, why can anyone imagine he would have immediately allowed and required that they be baptized for the remission of sins and to receive the indwelling gift of the Spirit. The signs God sent were to let Peter know without doubt that Cornelius and other Gentiles were worthy to be baptized into Christ.

    And no, Saul was not saved before his sins were washed away. That’s good Baptist doctrine. It’s not truth. It’s encouraging to note that I’m not the only one who reads Jay’s blogs to know that Baptist baptism is not Christian baptism. Baptist doctrine has baptism being performed on already saved people. Christian doctrine has sinners being baptized INTO Christ. As Paul clearly points out in Galatians 3:27. Have the Baptists on this blog never read Galatians 3:27 or Acts 2:38? They speak as if those truths were unknown to them. Worst of course is that they think they’re speaking truth when they insist sin is washed away before the water is applied. God’s grace is seen in that He offers salvation to all who will obey the gospel. Only those who do obey the gospel will be saved (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Acts 2:38 is where obedience to the gospel is called for, and it’s not by praying or only believing true facts about Jesus who is Lord of all.

  80. Alabama John says:

    Monty,

    That is why baptist and all our “denominational friends” must be re baptized when they want to become real Christians.
    They were baptized into the various denominations and not for forgiveness of sins and then were ADDED to the only true church.

  81. Price says:

    Ray, you continue to ignore the passage and try to impose Acts 2:38 on Cornelius. Sorry Brother but the story doesn’t read as you say. To deny that Cornelius was accepted by God is to deny the scripture.

    Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as [he did] unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

    Clearly, God Himself gave Cornelius and his family the Spirit just like he had done with the Apostles and perhaps everybody else when they BELIEVED…I don’t see water in this passage. In fact, Peter distinguishes God’s involvement in the matter as having to do with the Spirit IN CONTRAST to the water used by John the Baptist.. Now I guess God can do as He wishes but it seems rather absurd to assume that God chose to impart His own Spirit into Cornelius and his household when they were still heathens and full of sin. Don’t know of another instance of that happening in scripture. I know it disrupts your fascination with Acts 2:38 but the passage says what it says. Clearly. If Acts 2:38 is to be applied to this story as Peter tells it, you have to make stuff up. Peter doesn’t even mention to the group that he baptizes them in water. He focuses entirely on the Spirit… I guess his statement that “what was I that I could withstand God” could suggest that he was obligated to baptize them but God had already given them His Spirit which you claim doesn’t happen unless water is involved.

    See Ray, IMHO, Acts 2:38 could read, Repent and ___________and you will be saved. Doesn’t matter. Since we are saved by Grace through faith, the clear indication is that salvation is unmerited. But, a true saving faith will call a person into obedience. Peter could have said repent (how does one repent unless they have believed?) and love your neighbor and you will be saved and it would be true. Repent and Obey My commandments and you will be saved would be true… And, it’s consistent with Cornelius’ conversion story and I don’t have to rewrite the narrative.. The Angel told Cornelius that he would be saved by what he heard. Acts 11:14 “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” He listened and before Peter even mentioned baptism he received the Holy Spirit. Peter clearly saw that God had accepted Cornelius and his household… That’s the story without having to rewrite a thing. In fact, the story of Cornelius more closely supports the idea that the “for” in Acts 2:38 should be translated “because”…

  82. Ray Downen says:

    It is written:

    Author: Alabama John
    Comment: Monty, That is why baptist and all our “denominational friends” must be re baptized when they want to become real Christians. They were baptized into the various denominations and not for forgiveness of sins and then were ADDED to the only true church.

    Question: If the one being baptized thinks he/she is being baptized because Jesus calls for believers to be baptized, who is to say that the baptism is invalid even if the baptizer is mistaken about its purpose? If the person feels the baptism is just to gain admission into an earthly church, then they do of course need to be baptized–not REbaptized, for they weren’t really baptized if it was for a purpose other than the remission of sins, were they? But many who were baptized by people who believed only that baptism was a good thing to do by Christians weren’t well enough taught to believe other than that they were baptized because Jesus said they should be baptized.

    I think if the person being baptized was doing it to honor Jesus and obey Jesus, they were truly baptized “into Christ” even if the baptizer had different ideas. I think also we should be honest and admit that those who think they are baptizing already-saved persons are not in fact obeying Jesus or showing love and respect for Him. Fortunately for such persons, I’m not the judge!

  83. Ray Downen says:

    Price is willing to rewrite Acts 2:38 to agree with his ideas. Are we all agreed that it’s fine to rewrite the Word if we don’t agree? Peter knew what sinners needed to do to be saved. When asked, he told them exactly what they needed to do. Why do some who claim to love Jesus and believe that Jesus empowered His apostles with the Spirit who would lead them into all truth then resist believing those apostles? No apostle ever taught that the Holy Spirit was our Lord and Savior. Why do some now try to make Him replace Jesus?

  84. Ray Downen says:

    The angel’s message to Cornelius was that Peter would bring to him a message by which he would be saved. That message included baptism for the remission of sins. The words of the message couldn’t save. The words couldn’t believe anything. Words are inanimate. They have no feelings, no doubts, and no faith. People believe and are saved through obeying the gospel message. They did then. They do now, when the gospel is preached. The words of the gospel are indeed powerful to save. That’s why Jesus commissioned first the apostles and now all of us to tell others (words) about Him AND to baptize those who believe. Jesus thought baptism was very important. It’s sad to see many who feel baptism is not really very important and certainly is not necessary for salvation.

  85. Royce Ogle says:

    Ray and others,

    Just curious, of course you don’t have to answer. Are you willing to share the gospel with someone, to preach Jesus and his work for sinners, and not mention baptism? Or is baptism part of the gospel in your view? This isn’t a trick question. I’ll give you a hint, Paul defined the gospel clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6. He said the gospel is of FIRST importance. It is not second in importance. And he said of this gospel in Romans 1:16,17 that it is “the power of God unto salvation…”

    Many people who claim to be gospel preachers do not preach the gospel. Unless a man actually preaches the gospel his should not lie and call himself a gospel preacher. Why is it that many church of Christ preachers preach on the church of Christ, baptism, against instruments, against denominations, etc. more than they preach the gospel? I suppose the answer is they don’t really understand the gospel and don’t believe that Christ alone can make a sinner fit for heaven. I have read here in comments on this blog where men readily admit that Jesus is not enough in response to my questions.

    What Christ accomplished in his body is what reconciled men to God. What we do is only a response to that accomplishment and each of us comes to God with absolutely no merit. We are saved wholly upon the merit of Jesus. Some people are converted to a church, a set of rules, or an ideology. Christians are saved by trust in Jesus and for God’s glory.

    We consider a man “sound” if he is right about our view of baptism, about a cappella singing, about the Lord’s Supper each week, that everyone in a denomination is lost, etc. I have never heard anyone ask “What do you believe about Jesus? What did his work accomplish?” to find out if a person is “sound”.

    I’d like to know what you think about Jesus? That’s what I’d like to know. I know what you think about baptism, but what about Jesus? Does your Bible have more than one page?

  86. Royce Ogle says:

    Well Ray, I see that my previous post was not necessary. In your last comment you exposed your unbelief. You don’t believe there is power in the gospel. You said of Peter’s message to Cornelius,

    “The words of the message couldn’t save. The words couldn’t believe anything. Words are inanimate.”

    The Bible stands in stark contrast to your unbelief. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be communicated and it is communicated with words, not just any words though, but the living Word of God. When you reduce the gospel, the work of God for sinners, to submission to baptism only, (as you seem to do here…) you deny the Lord Jesus.

  87. Price says:

    Ray, I regretfully have to agree with Royce. I don’t believe you know what the Gospel is… Read what Peter preached to Cornelius… Acts 10:34-43… The Gospel is Jesus….ending in verse 43 Peter says this…

    “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who BELIEVES in him receives FORGIVENESS OF SINS through his name.”

    Those “inanimate” words of Peter, about the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were believed by Cornelius and his household and they were saved and forgiven of their sins by grace through their belief in Jesus. Jesus saves. Powerful words Ray. Powerful words.

    Furthermore, Peter didn’t even get to finish his message before the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius. It wasn’t until then that Peter even mentions baptism. We know this because the GOSPEL message that he preached was recorded for those of us that might occasionally get confused as to what the GOSPEL message is.

    See Ray, the TRUTH is so good that one doesn’t have to rewrite it to make it into something else.. It’s good enough as it is… Amazing Grace, how Sweet the Sound !!

  88. Alabama John says:

    Ray,

    You have one thinking right and one wrong in your examples.

    In every case I know of, they both believed the same and both were wrong in regard to their reason for baptism. They were in opposition to how we in the COC have believed and taught. Doing it over and right is required by most COC.

    I agree its how and what the one being baptized is believing and obeying that matters. Doesn’t matter what the one doing the baptizing thinks, or even if drunk or not as their physical or mental state doesn’t matter.

  89. laymond says:

    Mat 25:31 through Mat 25:46 tells of judgment day, and how Jesus who will judge, determines the saved from the lost, believe it or not it is all about the works we do, or not do.

  90. Larry Cheek says:

    I am very glad to see that many have understood that what is taught leading to and during baptism is not the factor that God is going to judge the person being baptized by, it is the knowledge and understanding of the one being baptized.

    Price, since you promoted this very heavily, that “Larry.. Cornelius was saved prior to baptism and I believe that was after Pentecost. In fact, all that were with him were saved prior to water immersion.”
    I see the need to ask you, exactly where in scripture you have found the message that, “Cornelius was saved prior to baptism”, and that Paul was saved three days prior to baptism? To address the account of Cornelius, if he was truly saved, then you must believe that the baptism that Peter commanded was of no value. Let me explain further, if there was no purpose for it why would Peter have commanded it to be done? I therefore must assume that you believe that baptism is only the outward show of what has taken place in a man, as I have been informed of others. So, could that have been the purpose for it, in this event? How could it have been a greater testimony of what happened to those that received the Spirit? Peter and all of those with him fully understood what had happened. If as you contend they were forgiven during the receiving the Spirit, Peter commanded this baptizing saved people for what?
    Now, notice Saul, during the three days prior to Ananias speaking to him, did he act like he understood that he was saved? If you believe that he did, have you ever seen a newly reborn Christian that had to endure circumstances that he did? If he was already saved as you state, seeing his dedication to the Lord as he prayed and fasting as both he and the scriptures later states. What could the instruction from the Lord through Ananias to be baptized, serve. There were no other persons there to witness the baptism and if they had been they would have already been just as convinced of Saul’s commitment as Ananias was. Yet, in this event Ananias gave Saul the Lord’s message. Surly, you would not believe that The Lord did not direct this message.
    (Acts 22:16 NIV) And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
    Baptism, began at the preaching of John, he was sent to prepare the (way) for the arrival of the Messiah. His message was water baptism for the remission of sins.
    That concept continued through out the Gospel message, except those that Jesus personally saved before his death, and was used in every conversion in Acts. Peter the same man that was given the keys to the kingdom later made this statement to confirm it’s purpose.
    (1 Pet 3:20 KJV) 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.
    (1 Pet 3:21 KJV) 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:

    (1 Pet 3:20 NIV) who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
    (1 Pet 3:21 NIV) 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 Pet 3:20 NRSV) who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
    (1 Pet 3:21 NRSV) And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    Do you really believe that this scripture can be reconciled in any fashion with the concept that baptism in water, does not save? Could it be that you are saved when you believe and again when being baptized? Paul also in Romans communicates about baptism in water.
    Jesus gave us a message that is also hard to place within your message.
    (John 3:5 KJV) 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.
    (John 3:5 NIV) 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 NRSV) Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
    In fact, Jesus gives you the answer for baptizing Cornelius and Saul in water.

  91. aBasnar says:

    To say Corneliues was saved just because he had received the Holy Spirit is turning a part of the salvation/conversion process into the whole of it. Baptism was never optional, nor did it “add” to the salvation of Cornelius – rather: It completed the conversion. When we speak of faith, repentance, Baptism in Water and the Gift ofthe Spirit, then we must acknowledge that they all belong together. You cannot take one of these out and say you still are saved.

    Alexander

  92. aBasnar says:

    @ Royce

    Just curious, of course you don’t have to answer. Are you willing to share the gospel with someone, to preach Jesus and his work for sinners, and not mention baptism? Or is baptism part of the gospel in your view? This isn’t a trick question. I’ll give you a hint, Paul defined the gospel clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6. He said the gospel is of FIRST importance. It is not second in importance. And he said of this gospel in Romans 1:16,17 that it is “the power of God unto salvation…”

    There are a number of Gospel summaries in Paul’s writings and the whole NT. You cannot take just one of these and say: That’s it. For instance: Where is the Kingdom in 1Co 15:3-6?

    1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
    1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
    1Co 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    1Co 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

    No Kingdom here. But we know from other texts that Paul preached the Gospel of the Kingdom; for instance:

    Act 28:30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,
    Act 28:31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

    There is a different Gospel-summary in Romans:

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
    Rom 1:2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
    Rom 1:3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
    Rom 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
    Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

    That’s more like the Kingdom-message, yet other aspects aee missing.

    See, Royce, we need the whole story not just excerpts, chosen by theological preferences for the sake of an argument. Many do the same with “salvation by faith”, picking out one of the 150 veres that only speak of faith, ignoring the verses next to these that mention baptism, obedience, perseverance, faithfulness, confession, repentance, …

    The Gospel is both a complex and a simple message. But we must not oversimplify it by leaving out the parts that take a little more time to present.

    As for your question whether (for instance) I would present the Gospel without mentioning baptism: That dependes on the context. When I am in a conversation with someone, I normally through out bits of the Gospel to see how he or she responds. In the end, baptism would be mentioned, but not at the beginning. If on the other hand I were to give a Gospel sermon, I would most certainly mention how we are called to receive this forgiveness of sins Christ offers us: By faith in Christ, repentance from sin and in baptism.

    Alexander

  93. Price says:

    Alexander… Not trying to be the “expert” here..I just have my opinion, you have yours. But, when I read Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name,” then I believe it. I’m not sure of the official church position of what “saved” means, but surely, forgiveness of sins is a significant part of the definition.

  94. Price says:

    Larry, you ask me what purpose does baptism serve…Wow, I don’t know that I can answer that except as an assumption on my part. I couldn’t answer why circumcision was commanded either? All I know is that God commanded both to be done. I don’t believe that circumcision or baptism saves. I believe that we are saved by Grace… But in each case, circumcision and baptism, it was done publicly.. It’s never done alone. Annanias was present at Paul’s baptism to witness it. Jay suggested, if I understand him correctly, that circumcision was also sort of a public declaration against the sexual immorality of the day. I see baptism as a command from God. I don’t understand why He does what He does nor does He owe me an explanation before I comply. However, the overwhelming amount of scripture speaks to us be actually saved by Grace. And, in the case of Cornelius, Peter’s clear message to him was that forgiveness of sins was based on belief in Jesus. Why did Peter baptize him? Because Jesus had commanded that they do so. That’s enough for me. My personal opinion is that it’s a public declaration of one’s faith to the church. God already knows the status of one’s heart.

    As far as your reference to I Peter 3:21 I simply offer up Al Maxey’s discussion of this. He’s much more informed than I.
    http://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx217.htm

  95. Ray and Alexander present Cornelius as a man who, at one point, has received the Spirit of God and is STILL damned for all eternity. This state of being seems more than a little oxymoronic to me. In fact, a stream of more direct adjectives spring to mind to describe such a POV, but let us eschew them in the interest of civility.

  96. Alabama John says:

    Price,

    One thing for sure, there would be no immoral or otherwise sexual activity for a while after a circumcision of a grown man. Throughout the world, I don’t know of any other peoples but the Jews that did this.

    Many through out history worshiped God in different ways particular to their moral inborn association with GOD. GOD is in three persons we that have the bible know, so when those that never heard of Jesus or the HS worshiped GOD they WERE and ARE worshiping all three. WE do too as I never hear anyone mention in prayer the HS, only prayer directed to God which even among us includes the HS or, do we contend unless mentioned by name the HS is excluded from our prayers?

    I too am a great admirer and follower of Al Maxey.

    This months lesson after he had visited a baptist church and the comments is so like I lived with for most of my life, I at 11 years old was called before the elders because I went into a Baptist church basement classroom during the week for the monthly Boy Scout meeting. I was sinning.

    At my granddaughters funeral 5 years ago, (she was 7!/2 years old) there was one of our COC elders that wouldn’t enter the building and attend. The crowd was anticipated from the friends and community to be larger than our small funeral home building could hold so the largest building in town was graciously offered and it was the Baptist church building. We accepted under criticism.

    Its such a shame we get off on these tangents and totally miss what is really important.

  97. laymond says:

    There is a lot going on in the following scriptures that speak to baptism. It seems to me that although Phillip was a power filled apostle just as Peter, and John were, he either didn’t know about regular Christians recieving the indwelled HG or he didn’t think they deserved it, can anyone tell me why Phillip didn’t “lay hands” on these converts.
    .
    Act 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
    Act 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into [fn] the name of the Lord Jesus.
    Act 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
    Act 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money
    question; How many here who claim the indwelled “HG” had hands laid on them by the apostles? (you would need to be pretty old)

    Question; was the way by which one recieved the “HG” changed after the “Trinity” was agreed on. or was this verse changed from the original. (look it up)
    Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

  98. Price says:

    Alabama John… Amen !!

  99. Nancy says:

    AJ wrote: “I at 11 years old was called before the elders because I went into a Baptist church basement classroom during the week for the monthly Boy Scout meeting. I was sinning.”

    Another sad example of bad doctrine. I had a similar experience at age 5. I remember it like it was yesterday (and it’s been several decades).

  100. laymond says:

    Price, how come you ignore my request for an explanation of Act 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into [fn] the name of the Lord Jesus.

  101. Price says:

    Laymond. I’m at work so I don’t have time to respond immediately to every post. However, I don’t have a clue as to why God does what He does at times. It could be that there was so much animosity between the Jews and Samaritans that the leadership needed to confirm their belief. It could be that they were not baptized in accordance with Jesus’ instructions to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and H.S. The passage seems to indicate that there might have been some inconsistency with the baptism but I just don’t feel confident enough about it to know exactly. Amongst the well informed, opinions vary.

    Romans 8:9 says …Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Apparently being immersed in water in the name of Jesus wasn’t sufficient. As to the cause, I really would have to guess.

    The account is similar to the Ephesians in Acts 19 who had not heard of the Holy Spirit and who were baptized by John the Baptist. They were rebaptized in the name of Jesus and once again hands were laid on them and they received the H.S.

    It seems that the importance of the H.S. role in baptism is certainly emphasized in these two narratives beyond that of the water.

  102. laymond says:

    Jay, and Price, please clear up my confusion on how the indwelled “HG” works. After reading many post, and comments on the subject, one might come to the conclusion that some are the possessor of a more powerful “HG” than others. Tell me if I am wrong please explain. How does the Jay Guin “HG” submit to the Anglican bishop Nicholas Thomas Wright”s “HG”? Or How does the Price “HG” (if I knew your name I would honor you by saying it)
    submit to the Al Maxie “HG”? Jerry’s “HG” seems to submit to these two men also.
    1Cr 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
    1Cr 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
    1Cr 3:20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
    1Cr 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
    1Cr 3:23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ [is] God’s.

    NIV 1Cr 3:21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours,
    1Cr 3:23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

    NLT 1Cr 3:21 So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—
    1Cr 3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

  103. Price says:

    John 3:8 The wind* blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    I Cor 12:4-11 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

    Laymond, I think it’s pretty clear that there are differing gifts and expressions. How that’s done and why that is done is up to the H.S. I guess the expert on that would be Him…

  104. Price says:

    Laymond, I reread your post… Look, there are people are gifted by the H.S. to teach. Should we not listen to them? Elders are given the responsibility to rule and instruct the church. Should we not listen to them? One could misread the intent of your post and think that you believe that you have no need to listen to or be instructed by anyone.. that would make you quite unique.

  105. laymond says:

    Price you give me way to much credit, I was not the one who said that.
    Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: ——–.

  106. aBasnar says:

    Ray and Alexander present Cornelius as a man who, at one point, has received the Spirit of God and is STILL damned for all eternity.

    NONSENSE! Cornelius is like begotten boy not yet born! The conversion was triggered, New Life was on its way! But it was not born, yet!

    Oh, how I abhorr such black and white discussions! This inflexibilty to see conversion as a process that might take hours, days or even years. This need for pinpointing it to one specific fracture of a second in our biography – how human! I can only say that baptism is necessary for salvation, because it is the means to receive forgiveness of sins. Show me from scripture that this is not the case! And as long as Cornelius was not baptized he had no promise of salvation – but that does not mean he was still damned either. He was on his way to be born, Charles!

    Alexander

  107. aBasnar says:

    Alexander… Not trying to be the “expert” here..I just have my opinion, you have yours. But, when I read Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name,” then I believe it. I’m not sure of the official church position of what “saved” means, but surely, forgiveness of sins is a significant part of the definition.

    And how do we obtain forgiveness of sins? In baptism, Price! It has been this way ever since John the Baptist, and Christian Baptism is no different in this respect. The main fallacy among Evangelicals is to take verses that only speak about faith and interpreting them in the frame of “faith alone”, which is – in almost all cases – directly against the context of each of these verses. And these few verses that are left are still to be understood in the light of all that is said about salvation. Faith alone is a heresy, I stand up against strongly. It’s misleading, provides false assurance and belittles large portions of God’s Own Word. Cornelius’ baptism therefore was a MUST. It was not simply an adition or testimony to his salvation, it was completing his conversion.

    Alexander

  108. Royce Ogle says:

    Price,

    You can learn something here every day can’t you. I have never heard of a girl who was sort of pregnant. And, I have never read a birth announcement in the news paper of a baby who was kind of born..

    Alexander said, (I can hardly believe he said it but he did):

    “NONSENSE! Cornelius is like begotten boy not yet born! The conversion was triggered, New Life was on its way! But it was not born, yet!

    Oh, how I abhorr such black and white discussions! This inflexibilty to see conversion as a process that might take hours, days or even years.”

    I am amazed at the ends people will go to defend a sacramental view of water baptism. Here is an example of a nice guy who no doubt loves the Lord just making stuff up. The NONSENSE is your trying to impose a rigid rule about water baptism that isn’t there. That is so far away from scholarship that it’s sort of comical. You can do much better than that Alexander. Give it another go.. He had a pulse and a heart beat, and was breathing fine (Holy Spirit) but wasn’t completely born? WHAT? LOL

    You aren’t alone though. I learned almost 12 years ago that in the minds of some coc people that some Baptists and others were “sort of saved” but not completely. This is similar to what you are trying to impose on Cornelius. Maybe it’s like a coc pergatory or something. Your imagination is interesting but not even close to being true.

  109. Price says:

    Laymond… I pointed out that God Himself gifted people to teach. To whom should they teach if every one is to ignore them? God decided that it would be appropriate to appoint Elders to Shepherd the church. If every man, woman and child were to ignore their instruction, teaching and guidance it would be difficult to imagine that this defiance could be supported by your supposed application of the Jeremiah passage… Seems illogical to me.

  110. Price says:

    Alexander. You once again bring up the straw man argument of faith alone. No one is arguing for faith as being salvific. It’s GRACE that save. Jesus saves.

    But, back to your main point… When one reads the actual passage of Cornelius’ conversion and the message that Peter preached…There was no mention of baptism.. The focus on the message was on Jesus..and as I pointed out earlier and no one seems to dispute, Peter said “Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name,” It is at this very moment, according to the text, that the Holy Spirit comes upon Cornelius. Is that happenstance? I doubt it… While one can’t help but assume some things which is highly objectionable to some, one can only imagine that when Cornelius heard these words, he Believed. And, according to Peter’s own message, he was saved. His sins were forgiven. To not believe that, according to Peter, was to go against God Himself. I understand your need to work baptism into the actual event of Cornelius’ salvation but unfortunately it’s not there. Surely, one can’t imagine that Cornelius’ sins were forgiven, he was accepted by God as demonstrated by the outward manifestation of an indwelling H.S., and assume that something else must be done. How saved can one get? How accepted by God does one need to be ? Royce is correct…there is no partial salvation. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to partially save anybody. When He said it was finished, He meant it.

  111. Price says:

    Can Acts 2:38 really be in direct contradiction to these verses?

    (John 1:12-13) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his
    name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of
    natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    (John 3:14-18) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of
    Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal
    life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
    whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did
    not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world
    through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever
    does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in
    the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    (John 3:36) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever
    rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

    (John 5:24) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him
    who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over
    from death to life.”

    (John 6:29) Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one
    he has sent.”

    (John 6:40) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and
    believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    (John 6:47) “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

    (John 7:38-39) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams
    of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

    (John 8:24) I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

    (John 11:25-27) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who
    believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and
    believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

    (John 20:29,31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the
    Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his
    name. Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

    (Acts 2:21) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

    (Acts 8:36-38) Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    (Acts 10:43) “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes
    in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    (Acts 13:38-39) “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through
    Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone
    who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by
    the law of Moses.”

    (Acts 16:31) They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be
    saved—you and your household.”

    (Rom. 1:16-17) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of
    God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for
    the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a
    righteousness that is by faith from first to last (Beginning and Ending in Faith), just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Hab 2:4)

    (Rom. 3:20,22-24) For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

    (Rom. 3:25-28) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his
    forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did
    it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one
    who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is
    excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that
    of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from
    observing the law.

    (Rom 3:30) since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

    (Rom 4:3) For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15:6) James (Gen 22)

    (Rom. 4:4-5) Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a
    gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts
    God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

    (Rom 4:6-7) just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; “blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

    (Rom 4:11-12) He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

    (Rom 4:13-14) For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.

    (Rom 4:16) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

    (Rom 4:20-25) No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

    (Rom. 5:1-2) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we
    have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we
    have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And
    we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

    (Rom 9:30-33) What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    (Rom. 10:1-4) Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    (Rom 10:8-11) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    (Rom. 10:13-14) “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will
    be saved.” But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

    (Rom 11:6) But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

    (Rom 11:20) That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

    (Rom 16:26) but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—

    (I Cor. 1:2) To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

    (I Cor. 1:17) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

    (1 Cor. 1:21) For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom
    did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was
    preached to save those who believe.

    (I Cor.1:30-31) …. Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    (I Cor. 3:5) What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

    (I Cor. 4:6) I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

    (I Cor.15:11) Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

    (II Cor. 3:5-6) Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    (II Cor. 5:18-19) All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

    (II Cor. 5:21) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    (Gal. 2:15-16) “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

    (Gal 2:20-21) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

    (Gal. 3:1-3) O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

    (Gal 3:5) Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith ??

    (Gal 3:6-7) just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

    (Gal 3:8) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

    (Gal 3:11) Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    (Gal 3:14-15) so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.

    (Gal. 3:22) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of
    sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ,
    might be given to those who believe.

    (Gal 3:23-25) Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,

    (Gal 3:26) for (Eis) in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    (Gal. 5:6) You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

    (Eph. 1:13-14) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the
    word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were
    marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit
    guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s
    possession—to the praise of his glory.

    (Eph. 1:19) And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

    (Eph. 2:5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    (Eph. 2:8-9) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this
    not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can
    boast.

    (Eph. 3:11) This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

    (Eph. 3:16-17) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—

    (Phil 3:9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

    (Col 2:11-12) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

    (II Thess. 2:12-13) Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

    (1 Tim. 1:16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the
    worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an
    example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

    (II Tim. 1:9) who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.

    (Titus 3:4-7) But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    (Heb. 3:14) For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

    (Heb. 3:18-19) And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

    (Heb. 4:2-3) For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    (Heb. 10:39) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but
    of those who believe and are saved.

    (James 2:5) Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

    (I Peter 1:5) who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    (I Peter 1:8-9) Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    (1 John 3:23-24) And this is his command: to believe in the name of his
    Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those
    who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we
    know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

    (I John 4:15) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

    (1 John 5:1) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,
    and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

    (1 John 5:3-5) This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his
    commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the
    world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who
    is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the
    Son of God.

    (1 John 5:13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son
    of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

  112. Price says:

    Alexander.. Note I John 5:1 above… those who believe ARE BORN…not partially born.

  113. aBasnar says:

    Price, Straw Men have the big advantage that they don’t hide or evade when shot at. It’s always a clear hit ;-) OK, let’s call it “grace alone” – equally wrong.

    Now, to whom was 1 John 5:1 addressed? To baptized Christians, Price. There is no new birth promised without the water (John 3:3-5). That’s what i mean: It is of no use to isolate soingle verses or passages and interpret them agains the sum of what ios said about salvation and the new birth. That#s terrible theology.

    Alexander

  114. Price says:

    Alexander.. What does the verse say? It says that “everyone who BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… doesn’t matter to whom it was said, it’s still truth. Cornelius believed and he was born…not partially born. It does NOT say that everyone who is baptized… Surely you’re not suggesting that those that had become Christians through water baptism must now believe to be born of God !!!

  115. Price says:

    Alexander….then I can only speak for myself. Jesus is entirely enough for me. Whatever you wish to add is up to you.

  116. aBasnar says:

    Alexander.. What does the verse say?

    Price, it’s not what this verse says, but where this verse fits in the big picture. I’m through with proof-texting. First, we need to understand the way of salvation based on ALL the NT reveals about it, and then we can say what a single verse means, and how it relates to the rest of the story.

    Do I “add” Acts 2:38 to 1 John 5:1, Price? If you call that “adding” to faith, then shall we call using 1 John 5:1 to counter Acts 2:38? After having read ALL waht the Scriptures teach on baptism, and how baptism relates to forgiveness and the New Birth, 1 John 5:1 CANNOT stand on its own anymore, but requires all other texts as background reading for proper understanding.

    Alexander

  117. Ray Downen says:

    The gospel is about Jesus. It has been made clear by me and others that baptism is taught as a RESPONSE to the gospel. A necessary response. An essential response. Acts 2 shows how it should be done. Peter preached about Jesus. When asked what sinners should do about their sin, he told them. The problem with contemporary preaching is that most who are asked the question don’t know the right answer. So when sinners do as they are told by these ignorant brothers their sins are not washed away and they are not added to the Lord’s family.

  118. Ray Downen says:

    Price asks questions that seem to make no sense. What is clear is that when believing sinners ask what they should do to be saved, they should receive the same reply that Peter gave in Acts 2:38. Why is that so hard for some to see? No, it is not true that all it takes to be saved is to believe in Jesus. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 and note that Paul makes clear that only those will be saved who OBEY the gospel. Acts 2:38 tells simply how sinners can save themselves by obeying the gospel. It doesn’t have to be changed by anyone at all. It stands complete to describe what sinners who seek to be changed into followers of Jesus must do.

  119. Ray Downen says:

    It has been pointed out, but apparently not understood. There are many verses which speak of salvation through faith. Not a one of those passages claim salvation is by faith alone. The “alone” is added by believers in salvation by faith alone. But the inspired writers never make such a claim. Can Acts 2:38 really be in direct contradiction to these verses? asks Price. Of course it doesn’t contradict even one of them! None of us are saying salvation is apart from Jesus. The first step toward salvation is to hear the gospel and believe it. Only those who do believe it can repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. We make no promise to those who do not believe in Jesus but are baptized. They just got wet. Baptism apart from Jesus is of no value. It must be preceded by faith in Jesus and turning toward HIM as Lord in order to bring remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So why all this furor as if we had claimed that baptism alone could save? Do some really not understand English? Should we need to remind that the church didn’t exist, and no sinner could be saved by the risen Lord until He had indeed risen from the dead? Acts 2 is the birthday of the church. All the passages that Price piles up about salvation by faith in Jesus are surely true. But none of them were known by those who heard Peter on that memorable day. They just supposed he knew what they needed to do, so they did what he said they should do. Why do some today give different answers which commonly contradict the truth spoken by Peter?

  120. Nancy says:

    Yeah Price…would you please quit with all that “salvation by faith” stuff. (sarcasm intended).

  121. Price says:

    OK, Ray. We accept that you believe Cornelius was headed to hell before he was baptized despite having been accepted by God Himself as demonstrated by the Holy Spirit being poured out on him the very second that Peter said that his sins would be forgiven if he believed. Jesus – Faith – Forgiven – headed to hell

  122. Price says:

    Sorry Nancy.. Royce made me do it…:)

  123. Ray Downen says:

    I observe that several who contribute to this study-blog have not chosen to read the http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf study where I explain at length why Al Maxey is regretfully wrong in supposing salvation is by faith alone. I surely wish you would read that study before insulting us further because we believe that Peter was speaking for Jesus when he is quoted by Luke in Acts 2:38. As for Cornelius being saved by the signs God gave to convince Peter it was alright to baptize a Gentile, can anyone who believes the Bible is inspired suppose Luke would have inserted two conflicting accounts of conversion in his recital? Do you really want to disagree with Peter and try to make him inconsistent about the need for water baptism? Obviously some do want to erase Acts 2:38 from their Bibles. Their words prove the desire.

  124. laymond says:

    Price says:
    Alexander….then I can only speak for myself. Jesus is entirely enough for me. Whatever you wish to add is up to you.

    Evidently Price you do not believe in Jesus enough to do what he told you to do. It is not so hard to understand that if you are bleeding to death, and a doctor tells you where to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, if you believe, trust the doctor, and you want to live you will apply the pressure to the point where the doctor said to. Are you going to tell the doctor “that is your job” As Jesus said why do you call me lord, and ignore what I have told you to do. If you believe Jesus is the physician of your spiritual life, you will do as he told you to do. Instead you say that is not my job, that job belongs to Jesus. When God talked to Noah, did he say “I will build you an ark” no he did not, but Noah
    had enough faith in what God said to start building.
    Everyone of those verses you quoted tells us what WE must do, one of those things is “be baptized for remission of sins”

  125. Alabama John says:

    How hard we make the love of Jesus and God for man. We sure make God the author of confusion by our different interpretations and picking scriptures out that meet our agenda. The letters given us are to be read, or, even read to us, as simply letters as most from the beginning of time were very under educated compared to today.

    Maybe we are too smart to get down to the level of understanding this was written to.

    How many of us are sincere, but like John in our zeal of straightening others out.

    I recall Jesus answering John in Luke 9:49-50.
    49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name: and we forbade him, because he followed not with us,
    50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

    Instead of intellectually sending each other to hell for differing with us on various debate points which by the way have never come to a final conclusion in hundreds of years, it would be better if we joined hands and be more like that thinking: “one that is not against us is for us.” Quoted not from a writer, apostle, preacher, elder, or computer debater, but from Jesus Himself and quoted in two places by two different folks that were there and heard it. One by Luke above and again by Mark, 9:38-40.

    That is how I want to be judged by Jesus, God and the HS on judgment day.

  126. Royce Ogle says:

    Consider this question. Is it harder, easier, or about the same to be saved after Jesus died and was raised from the dead than before?

    The best answer is “about the same”. According to many of you it if much more difficult, but you think is is much easier.

    Or this question. Which of the 5 (or 6) steps to salvation is most important? Is one step more important than the others? Which one? Or, are they all of equal importance.

    Finally, this question. What does Jesus contribute to our salvation? What role does he play?

  127. Price says:

    Laymond…It would be nice if you would pay attention to what is said before you make accusations. I have NEVER suggested that one should not be baptized. NEVER… One might not agree with my position of being saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ but it’s an entirely huge waste of your time to argue against something that I didn’t say.

  128. laymond says:

    Price said on this very day “Why did Peter baptize him? Because Jesus had commanded that they do so. That’s enough for me. My personal opinion is that it’s a public declaration of one’s faith to the church. God already knows the status of one’s heart.”
    Price what I meant was you need to care for Jesus enough to believe what he said. His father had sent a messenger to preach baptism for remission of sins, Jesus said my Father and I are one.. Mar 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
    John said be baptized for remission of sins, not for “show and tell”. So just how are you preaching the baptism that Jesus taught.

  129. Price says:

    Laymond, as far as I can tell, John’s baptism, every time it’s mentioned in the N.T. post-Pentecost was described as insufficient… Even though it was for the remission of sins it was lacking empowerment by the Spirit… and the Apostles that were called to address it felt compelled to correct it so that the Spirit became involved…

  130. laymond says:

    Price, you mean to tell me that , John the baptist, Jesus, and his apostles went around baptizing people for three years with no good purpose.

  131. Larry Cheek says:

    Price said,
    Laymond, as far as I can tell, John’s baptism, every time it’s mentioned in the N.T. post-Pentecost was described as insufficient… Even though it was for the remission of sins it was lacking empowerment by the Spirit… and the Apostles that were called to address it felt compelled to correct it so that the Spirit became involved…

    Price, in the statement above, I notice that you recognize that the baptism that John performed was, “Even though it was for the remission of sins”. So you are capable of understanding that, baptism in water did wash away (remit sins). But, you have fully denied that it does the same after Christ’s death while being administered by the apostles or anyone else.
    I also notice in your statement that you surly believe that the Spirit was the agent that remitted sins. I am really positive that I can, and you could, identify scriptures that prove beyond any doubt that it was Jesus sacrifice of shedding his blood that performed that action. The scriptures have never attributed that power to the Spirit. You have claimed that power for the Spirit in your portrayal of the events of Cornelius and Saul.

    You also have fully denied the statement of Jesus in the following.
    (John 3:5 NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
    You do that by stating that an individual can be saved outside the kingdom. Jesus states that no one can enter the kingdom except that he completes both parts of his instructions.

    (Acts 2:46 NIV) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
    (Acts 2:47 NIV) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
    God adds all of the saved to the kingdom only after following his son’s instructions.

  132. aBasnar says:

    Consider this question. Is it harder, easier, or about the same to be saved after Jesus died and was raised from the dead than before?

    There was no gift ofthe Spirit nor the new birth before His resurrection, Royce. So how can you say:

    The best answer is “about the same”.

    If so, then the Spirit of God is irrelevant. And I can imagine why some might even think so, when I try to answer the question you propose at the end in two ways:

    Finally, this question. What does Jesus contribute to our salvation? What role does he play?

    Some might say: Well, Christ paid for all our sins once and for all; therefore we stand forgiven and not condemned – we cannot add to the salvation He offers.

    But that is just a fraction of what He does – and it overlooks that forgiveness can be taken back again for reasons clearly stated by Christ (namely, if we are unforgiving).

    He rose to a new life, ascended to Heaven and poured out the Spirit, regenerating His disciples to a life of divine nature and power. He does that to enable us to fulfill the righteousness God demands, to overcome sin and grow in holiness (without holiness, we won’t see God). Here salvation is FAR MORE than a once-and-for-all cleansing from sin, but transformation into the image of Christ.

    The role baptism plays in this picture must not be underestimated, because it is this act by which we become one with Christ’s death and resurrection, to which the promise of forgiveness, regeneration and the gift of the Spirit are tied.

    Now back to the first question: The New Covenant is called a “better” covenant in Hebrews, because it has the better sacrifice and the better salvation, the better High Priest and King. But this New Covenant started at Pentecost. Salvation in OT times was salvation, but by far not the same as in the New Covenant.

    Alexander

  133. Larry Cheek says:

    Price,
    But, back to your main point… When one reads the actual passage of Cornelius’ conversion and the message that Peter preached…There was no mention of baptism..
    and
    one can only imagine that when Cornelius heard these words, he Believed. And, according to Peter’s own message, he was saved. His sins were forgiven. To not believe that, according to Peter, was to go against God Himself. I understand your need to work baptism into the actual event of Cornelius’ salvation but unfortunately it’s not there. Surely, one can’t imagine that Cornelius’ sins were forgiven, he was accepted by God as demonstrated by the outward manifestation of an indwelling H.S., and assume that something else must be done.
    Notice, verses 36 and 37 Peter in his message states that Cornelius knew about baptism and the way it was administered. Will you oppose Peter?

    (Acts 10:32 NIV) Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” 34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached–

    And
    (Acts 10:37 KJV) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 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.

  134. aBasnar says:

    Or this question. Which of the 5 (or 6) steps to salvation is most important? Is one step more important than the others? Which one? Or, are they all of equal importance.

    Each one is equally important in the sense that we cannot leave out one of it in order to receive the promise. Yet faith in CHrist is the foundation of all other steps – or better: Faith is not a step, because it is not a one-time-action.

    This means – back to Cornelius – baptism was necessary for him to be saved, even through the gift of the Spirit in his case preceded his forgiveness of sins in baptism. The reason why God – in this specific case – reversed to order, is obvious from the situation. But to claim that Cornelius was saved prior to his baptism is saying: The step of baptism can be ommitted. Because if was was saved before, then baptism was simply added as a “testimony” for salvation, not as a necessary step to salvation.

    By this – let me reüpeat – I do not say that Cornelius was damned to hell in the few minutes/hours between his receiving the Spirit and Baptism. This is the same STUPID arguing about the state of those who die on their way to the baptistry.

    Alexander

  135. aBasnar says:

    An observation:

    I see there is a great difference in understanding. Price, Royce and others seem to have adopted a Baptist/Evangelical understanding of baptism and salvation. And this is contrary to the position held/hold to by the churches of Christ. In the discussions they try to “force us” to statements like “Baptism alone” saves, which would be really nonsensical. Yet in discussions, especially the more heated they get, statement can be made that could be understood this way, which then can be quoted out of context in order to paint a very ugly picture ofthe opponent (this goes in both directions BTW).

    Such debates tend not only to be endless, but even more: They push us farther and farther apart. Or: They reveal how far apart we already are. Seeing so many brothers go in a theological direction where I came out of after long and hard struggles makes me feel quite downhearted. The Progressive-Conservative split seems to be about way more than the use of instruments: It is about Evangelical versus Biblical understanding of salvation and faith. The Evangelical understanding of salvation, brothers, is dangerously flawed – please! – don’t adopt this theology!

    Alexander

  136. aBasnar says:

    Good points, Larry! But the argument will surely boil down to 1 John 5:1 (or an equivalent) … if one does not want to understand he won’t understand. If he can’t answer anymore he won’t answer; yet it will be “back to the beginning” in a new thread a few days later. And again some will try to show the big picture, the context … and again will face the impenetrable wall of a single verse that seems to settle everything. A tiresome experience …

    Alexander

  137. Price says:

    Laymond…I didn’t say that it was of no good purpose.. If you want to argue with things people haven’t said you continue to make yourself irrelevant. I simply stated that the Baptism of John was deemed insufficient in the post-Pentecost era.

  138. Price says:

    Larry, yes I disagree with your understanding of Acts 2:38. I believe Peter clarified his earlier remarks in I Peter 3:21 wherein he makes the statement that the water “was not for the removal of dirt(sin). I just showed you above in Peter’s message to Cornelius that Peter says that BELIEF in Jesus forgives sins. I don’t understand why you would choose one passage over the other if you believe both are true. I believe that “because” instead of “for” is the most consistent interpretation of that passage when compared to the entirety of the other passages regarding Grace through Faith. But, of course I still believe in the command to be baptized. So, I guess one can castigate another believer for not understanding the role as you do but I think that is highly divisive. But, the CoC seems to relish in it’s divisiveness.

    I don’t believe I said that the Spirit was the agent for the removal of sins. I believe that I said that the receipt of the Spirit was a clear indication that one’s sins had been forgiven. That is consistent with Peter’s message to Cornelius.

    Regarding John 3:5.. This debate has been going on for centuries. I’m not convinced that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about things that were to happen years from then to teach him in the present. I think most people try real hard to work baptism into this passage.

    No one is denying baptism is a command. I haven’t said that one should not do it. I just said that Jesus saves by Grace through Faith. You wish to add baptism. Alexander wishes to add a whole host of things to form some sort of progression of salvation which is totally absent from scripture.

    Cornelius was surely aware of what John taught. And what the Pharisee’s taught about ceremonial cleansing. What has that got to do with the fact that Peter never says to Cornelius that he must be baptized to be saved. Why does he say that belief in Jesus is what is necessary to be forgiven of his sins if baptism did that? You are confusing John the Baptist’s baptism with the new covenant baptism even as you believe in it… I quoted it above. Faith in Jesus forgives sins..

    Are you saying that faith in Jesus doesn’t forgive sins? Did Peter lie to Cornelius ? Did the prophets of old get it wrong ? I don’t think so.. His sins were forgiven at belief, he received the H.S. and then he was baptized as a statement of his faith and in obedience to the command. That’s how the narrative is written. If you have a problem with the narrative, then it’s not with me. I didn’t write it.

  139. Price says:

    Alexander, I really don’t see the purpose of trying to categorize everybody that doesn’t agree with everything you say into some sort of group that you can denigrate. You really ought to step up to a higher plane of interaction with people. I’m sure you’re capable.

  140. Monty says:

    The question that I don’t think has been raised or answered is why command baptism at “that point” in time to Cornelius and his family(it’s not like Peter and company were rejoicing with them -their mouths seemed to have dropped open in astonishment) or that they sat down and ate a meal with them and then decided it was time to make a public confession of faith (as some would suggest). Why did Peter even bother to ask his fellow Jews if they could think of any reasonable objection that they should not baptize them?Who would hardly forbid such a symbolic thing as an outward expression of an inmost feeling(especially if it had already taken place anyway)? Surely no Jew back then, if they believed such nonsense. I’m sure some on here will try to come up with frivilous explanations, but to me I see in this the tether that ties baptism to the forgiveness of sins but not only that but also entrance into the body of Christ(the church). Baptism meant the entrance and acceptance of Gentiles into the one body of Christ. Getting back to the purpose of the “out of the norm” sequencing of events, the reception by the HS prior to baptism was for dramatic purposes, so that these Jews would be without a resonable objection for baptizing them, not to teach that 2000 years later we don’t have to baptize believers or that they are saved before baptism but that Peter and his group had no reason to “not” baptize them, which again, in my little pea brain only places more emphasis on baptism, not less. To miss Peter’s raising the question of the concern over baptizing them(immeditealy upon their speaking in tongues) is to miss it’s purpose. It is the clothing oneself with Christ, it is sins remitted and washed away, and it is the door into the one body where all are equal, neither Jew nor Greek. To be in Christ was to be in the one body, “don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death.” Because we have been raised with him(baptized into his death) we have newness of life. Our identity with CHrist is tied to our baptism into him and the being raised with him. Only when we place the proper significance on baptism do the scriptures make sense such as :being baptized the same hour of the night, or “here is water what doth hinder me from being baptized?” or Peter commanding Cornelius and company to be baptized after consulting 1st with his fellow brothers in CHrist, immediately upon their reception of the Spirit to see if there were any who could think of a reason not to. The reception of the Spirit meant they HAD to baptize them. Duh! Modern men try their best to separate baptism from the salvation experience, the scriptures though would have none of that.

  141. laymond says:

    Price said , “Laymond…I didn’t say that it was of no good purpose.. ”
    But just a few comments earlier Price said this; “My personal opinion is that it’s a public declaration of one’s faith to the church.”
    Question; What church Price. What church was around when John came to baptize.
    Take your time, but please tell me what church existed before Jesus ‘ church.
    did the Christian Church, exist before Christians did?

  142. Price says:

    Monty, I don’t know anybody, although it wouldn’t surprise me if some do, that teach that baptism isn’t necessary. I would find it without scriptural authority to say that. I can’t think of a single convert that wasn’t baptized.

    The question at hand, and the disagreement for decades, if not centuries, is whether or not baptism is part of the “salvation” experience or if it is part of the “conversion” experience. I think there is a distinct difference between being saved and being transformed. What troubles me is that we can get so fixated with our positions that we divide the church and restrict our assembly with one another over whether baptism saves us from eternal damnation or whether or not being baptized is being appropriately obedient. The spiritual divide is creates seems to me to defeat the purpose of unity within the body of Christ.

    That being said, I think it’s healthy to have theological discussions wherein we don’t have to call people names. So, when you say that the purpose of the narrative of Cornelius’ conversion was different because it was a sign to the Jews that it was OK to baptize them may be correct but that doesn’t take away from the unambiguous statement by Peter that faith in Jesus resulted in the forgiveness of sin. It would be odd for Peter to make this statement if he believed that only baptism did that. But, Peter was still commanded by Jesus Himself to make disciples and to baptize them. So, he did.

  143. Price says:

    Laymond, I have no idea what point you are trying to make which makes it impossible to respond. John was commissioned by God to do what he did. I assume therefore it was good. However, it’s clear that from at least Pentecost forward that John’s baptism was insufficient.

  144. laymond says:

    Price you said baptism is a public declaration of one’s faith “in the church”
    Unless I am mistaken this is Baptist teaching.

    I know from conversing with you that you are NOT, an ignorant man. so pretending you don’t know what I am saying, might gain a little more time, but that does not do away with the question. If the baptism of John was a declaration of faith in “church” what I am asking is simple, what church.
    Since baptism, existed before the church, how can you be right.?

    Let me give my opinion, John’s baptism was to prepare people for the church to come, by cleansing them of past sins. I believe baptism has not changed it’s purpose from early days. It still prepares one to live in a way that pleases Jesus Christ.

  145. Price says:

    Laymond, I believe it is a mistake on your part to equate the baptism of John with post-Pentecost baptism. John’s baptism was preparatory in nature according to “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

    Acts 19:1-5 (Ephesians) Paul asks them if they had received the H.S. which they had not and when asked about their baptism, they said they were baptized by John and didn’t even know about the Holy Spirit. Paul felt that insufficient and re-baptized them. That makes sense as Jesus had commanded (after John’s death) that the disciples baptize in the name of the Father, Son AND Holy Spirit. John was not aware of this command. It would also be highly unusual to be symbolically baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ before he died..

    Even Jesus distinguished His baptism from John’s in Acts 1:5 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Peter applied this passage to Cornelius and his household as well…

    It is clear that the two are separate.

    Those who insist that baptism is the sole means for remission or forgiveness of sins refuse to accept Peter’s message to Cornelius. “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    To me it’s odd that Peter, if indeed he believed that baptism was the ONLY means FOR the remissions or sins instead of BECAUSE of the remission of sins by Grace through Faith in Jesus would tell Cornelius something that he didn’t believe to be true. The Holy Spirit, according to Peter would receive the Holy Spirit once their sins were forgiven. According to Peter this would occur for everyone who believes in Jesus.. The Holy Spirit was given to Cornelius so obviously he believed. God confirmed his belief. The sins of Cornelius and his household were forgiven. Before he was immersed in water. That’s clearly what the narrative says. This narrative is consistent with Peter’s belief in how one is saved according to his statement in Acts 2:38 if one translates the “eis” as “because” instead of “in order to receive (for).

    My conviction is that baptism is a public declaration of faith and obedient submission to the lordship of Christ so that the church will know. It is the way the church accepts a new believer into the church who has already been accepted into the Kingdom.

    Best I can do bro.

  146. Alabama John says:

    Not going to jump in this debate as I had it hundreds of years ago in another life and each one after it and we never came to an agreement. LOL

    I do want to bring to attention something else monumental that happened when Gods accepted people went from circumcision to baptism.

    Of course only men could be circumcised to be accepted in Gods family back then.
    Today, the biggest, most important to more people, change although seldom mentioned and mostly glossed over is Cornelius’s “household” participating too. This was a BIG deal. WOMEN!

    In the NT, Women can, do, and must participate in the same act of baptism as the men to be accepted and recognized as obeying God.

    That is a huge change, difference, and its seldom, if ever mentioned. Wonder why!

  147. Royce Ogle says:

    This thread of comments just gets more weird. Alabama John, do you think women in the Old Testament could not be saved because they couldn’t be circumcised? And further, did circumcision make a person one of God’s chosen people? Of course not, circumcision declared who they were, it did not make them who they were. Paul was circumcised when he was 8 days old, hardly an act of faith on his part.

    Laymond and Price, John’s baptism was for those people who had repented. The act of immersion did not repent for them, they repented and were then baptized. Jesus had the same exact baptism and of course it was not about ridding him of sin, he had none. It was with him and the others a public identification with the people of God, and public demonstration of their choice to follow John and the others who were looking for the Messiah Jesus.

  148. Price says:

    A.J. but they still can’t pass the collection plate !! :)

  149. Alabama John says:

    Today, many will reject any thinking presented if it is the accepted teaching of “our erring brethren” or “our denominational friends”.

    The real purpose of honest debate is to see if each of us can learn something from the other. Gleaning and seeeking should be the real goal!

    It is not a contest to see who wins.

    How many debates have I attended to support my champion when the crowd for both sides sitting divided by an aisle stood and shouted or clapped while scowling at the other side each time their side made a point of long standing. Never saw a single one where anyone present changed their mind one bit and I asked the question of many.

  150. Alabama John says:

    Royce,

    Of course women could be saved in the OT. Like today, I bet far more were religious and obedient than the men.

    They just didn’t have the public SIGN by going forward and being baptized as they do today.

    I also agree if you and I were in a crowd in OT days and an apostle asked who present was one of Gods chosen people and could show the sign, you and I would not reach for our zippers! Women wouldn’t of reached for anything. Today ask in a crowd who has been baptized and both men and women raise their hands, probably more women than men in my experience.

    No one else cut themselves like that, who in the world would think of such a thing, but God and those obedient to God from His chosen people. Most non Jews would rather cut an ear, scar their faces as many nationalities do or something else that both men and women can do. Of course that is why God chose circumcision, to make His people stand out from all the rest.

  151. Ray Downen says:

    Price suggests Alexander. You once again bring up the straw man argument of faith alone. No one is arguing for faith as being salvific. It’s GRACE that save. Jesus saves.

    Everyone is obviously wrong who claims (incorrectly) that sinners are saved by grace alone through faith and that doesn’t mean by faith alone. God’s grace is seen in that He enables sinners to save themselves by obeying the gospel. When asked what sinners had to do, Peter was led by the Spirit to demand that they repent and accept baptism into Christ in order to receive remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. What a pity it is that some insist that salvation is by faith alone. They don’t know the Word or else don’t believe it. And those who teach it deny that that they teach it! What an impossible claim.

  152. Ray Downen says:

    Is Price sure that John wants to disagree with Jesus and Peter? He urges that we look at a passage and think it’s arguing with the truth.

    Author: Price
    Comment: Alexander.. Note I John 5:1 above… those who believe ARE BORN…not partially born.

    The truth is that those who believe in Jesus and obey the gospel ARE BORN. John didn’t spell out the complete fact. Nor did he write “only believe” as Price implies. It is obviously true that salvation is based on faith in Jesus as Lord, risen from the dead, now offering salvation to all who will obey the gospel. Salvation is never offered on the basis of faith alone. It is never offered except to those who do believe in Jesus as God. Price has multiplied instances where faith is spoken of as necessary for salvation. Not even ONCE in those many citations does any writer say salvation is by faith alone as some now want to believe. As MANY now want to believe. But the number who believe a lie doesn’t change in any way the fact that a lie is not the truth.

    If I believe that if the thermostat were set higher the temperature would rise but do not set the thermostat higher, does my faith change the temperature? No more does faith not joined with obedience change status from lost to saved. And how sad it is that some pick up scriptures and attempt to make them conflict with other scriptures or misunderstand them as if they did conflict. The Bible does not disagree with itself. Truth doesn’t change from day to day or from speaker to speaker or from writer to writer. The truth remains true.

    We do well to read Acts 2:38 and believe that those who heard it understood it as Luke reports they did, and with the results that Luke reports. If we believed it, would we seek to prove it untrue? If we believed it, would we try to rewrite it?

  153. Price says:

    Ray… you just said,

    “God’s grace is seen in that He enables sinners to save themselves by obeying the gospel.”

    That’s perhaps the most incomprehensible and personally reprehensible statement that I’ve ever heard concerning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ out of the mouth of someone who claims to be a Christian.

  154. Ray Downen says:

    Alexander is not attempting to defend a sacramental view of baptism. He’s attempting to explain the fact that Cornelius was not in any sense saved prior to his being baptized into Christ. No one ever has been saved prior to being baptized into Christ in water as Jesus commanded was to be done. But Alexander’s point is that the new birth is not instantaneous. It’s not something that is done TO the sinner in the blink of an eye. It’s by hearing the gospel (perhaps repeatedly) and believing the gospel (finally or quickly) and obeying the gospel. Paul makes clear that only those who OBEY the gospel will be saved. John won’t disagree! Peter won’t disagree! No one should disagree. Obviously some do disagree.

    The first step toward salvation is to believe in Jesus as redeemer and Lord. Often the first step is spoken of as if of course the believer did OBEY the gospel when in fact the believer has not yet done so just by believing. It’s required that a sinner turn away from love of sin and instead love Jesus. Only those who do repent become Christians. And it’s made clear in apostolic writing that repentant believers must be baptized as Jesus commanded was to be done. And THEN the baptized repentant believer is added to the church and is part of God’s family. Why do some disagree with what is rather plainly stated? Is it only because they don’t want to know the truth? No, it’s because they were taught otherwise and can’t realize truth when they hear it since it disagrees with what they thought was true about conversion to Christ. That’s an optimistic view of the ones who fight against believing what Acts 2:38 and other verses clearly teach.

    We surely can agree that faith in Jesus is important and essential to salvation. What the Word teaches is that faith alone is useless. And those who claim they don’t teach salvation by faith alone when that is exactly what they DO teach should be ashamed of themselves.

  155. Royce Ogle says:

    Peter didn’t demand anything. He preached Christ, many of the listeners were convicted (“cut to the heart”), and those who had repented, (the first part of Peter’s answer..), those who “received his word” (about Jesus and his resurrection), those whom God had called to himself, were baptized.

    37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “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. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:37-39

    The truth is, we don’t know everything Peter told those who heard him preach. (Acts 2:40) But, this is always the order. God draws to himself those he will (John 6:44), they repent and believe the gospel, and only then are they baptized.

    Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.” (It might be a good idea for us to believe Him and practice what he preached.) “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” John 6:63. And he also said,
    “37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

    So who or what makes a sinner whole? Peter preached that the Son had been given the Promise (Holy Spirit) by the Father and that this was what was poured out.

    In the lives of the 3,000 who were baptized, Peter preaches the Son, the Father draws them to himself, the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces them (cut to the heart..) and they received the Holy Spirit as promised. God saves sinners. “It is the Spirit who gives life..”

    It’s always the same, “make disciples” by preaching Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and baptize those who repent and put their trust in Jesus. If the goal of your preaching is baptism you will likely preach baptism instead of Christ and him crucified. Yes, after God has done his work in their hearts we instruct them about baptism and we baptize them just as Jesus said to do it. Our duties are 1. preach the gospel (make disciples), baptize those who believe, and then teach them to obey everything Jesus said to do.

    It is God who commands all men everywhere to repent.

  156. Royce Ogle says:

    Ray,

    Give me one Bible reference that says that to “obey the gospel” is to be baptized. I am not interested in your or anyone else’s subjective opinion. I want to know where the Bible says it. The truth is, it does not say it. The Bible is consistent, to “obey the gospel” is to believe it and to be disobedient is to not believe it.

    Don’t you think that if we use that terminology that people might think that all they need do to become a Christian is to be baptized? I think that even you don’t believe that. I think it would be a good thing to use Bible names for Bible things don’t you? As I said before here, you can super impose your opinion into a verse to make it say what you want said but it an’t Bible! Some passages are very clear and some are not as clear. We ought to be satisfied to not go further than the Bible goes on any matter. All of us are temped to make that mistake to try to reinforce our point of view but if I do it or if you do it it’s still wrong. As a challenged before read every passage that talks about obedience and disobedience, obey and disobey, and you will find that I am not lying to you.

  157. Ray Downen says:

    A brother writes and I wonder why he speaks exactly so: That is how I want to be judged by Jesus, God and the HS on judgment day.
    The Word makes clear that judgment is in the hands of the Son, not the Father and not the Holy Spirit. Yes?

  158. Ray Downen says:

    Royce thinks salvation didn’t change after Jesus was resurrected. I marvel. He writes:

    Author: Royce Ogle
    Comment: Consider this question. Is it harder, easier, or about the same to be saved after Jesus died and was raised from the dead than before? The best answer is “about the same”. According to many of you it if much more difficult, but you think it is much easier.

    Or this question. Which of the 5 (or 6) steps to salvation is most important? Is one step more important than the others? Which one? Or, are they all of equal importance.

    Finally, this question. What does Jesus contribute to our salvation? What role does he play?

    Jesus didn’t offer salvation to everyone prior to the Day of Pentecost following His resurrection and ascension. He chose to “save” a couple as a demonstration that He could do so. But in order to be saved prior to the events recorded in Acts 2, sinners had to obey perfectly the law of Moses. That was very hard indeed.

    Beginning at that Pentecost, Jesus saves, we’re told by Luke through obeying the gospel after hearing it. Acts 2:38 is the exact formula, and it expresses equal importance to new believers repenting and being baptized. This makes three things of equal importance. First, after hearing (or reading) the gospel, believing the gospel. Then turning (away from and toward) away from sin and toward Jesus as LORD, and then submitting to the baptism Jesus commands. Difficult? Not really at all difficult. The promised result of these “steps” is remission of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit to live within the cleansed sinner.

    They must, of course, be done in the listed sequence. First, hearing, Second, believing. Third, turning. Fourth, being baptized as Jesus commanded was to be done. Human birth is similar. First, hearing words of love or desire. Second, fertilizing the egg. Then a process of growth which normally takes nine months, after which the new life as a separate person can begin. But the baby is not born full grown. So growth continues until slowly more cells die in the person than are created and ultimately the person’s earthly walk is completed. Isn’t the Christian life very like human life? The new Christian is born with lots of living and learning to do. Just as babies learn to walk and talk and then tackle larger problems, new Christians learn to love more and live more like Jesus as the days pass. But the Christian life can only begin after the “new birth of water and spirit” is complete. Peter in Acts 2:38 describes how Christians are born. Much is taught about how Christian later live and learn after the new birth.

    It would be good for those who believe in salvation by faith alone to explain how faith alone is a new birth of water and spirit and is obeying the gospel. And it would be good if those who believe salvation is by faith alone would apologize for denying that’s what they believe and teach. And for claiming that Acts 2:38 is offset and proven wrong by other scriptures! It’s as if they didn’t realize that it was the Lord Jesus who commands that those who preach/teach the gospel should baptize each new believer!

    Some have said they don’t know the purpose of baptism. So they believe it must not be important. But faith, they say, is very important and is sufficient for salvation. Isn’t that what they’re saying? I don’t want to misrepresent or misunderstand!

  159. Ray Downen says:

    Why did John baptize and why did his disciples and the disciples of Jesus baptize prior to Pentecost after the resurrection? It is asked:

    Author: laymond
    Comment: Price, you mean to tell me that , John the baptist, Jesus, and his apostles went around baptizing people for three years with no good purpose.

    The announced purpose was to prepare for the coming kingdom. That was a very good purpose. It remitted sins but did not replace the necessary obeying the Law of Moses by those Jews who received the Baptist baptism. The baptism ordered by Jesus AFTER His resurrection had a dual purpose, the remission of sins AND receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Of course then it was necessary to “rebaptize” those who had been baptized with John’s baptism even if the Baptist baptism had been performed by disciples of Jesus. Christian baptism is done in the name of Jesus. John’s was done in the name of John.

    It’s a fact that those who imagine they’ve received the Holy Spirit prior to when the Lord says the Spirit is given may not really have been baptized. Surely the Spirit is not given in the same measure twice, although being “filled with the Spirit” obviously can be done more than once as Luke records in Acts. This filling obviously is temporary rather than permanent. The gift received at baptism needs not to be redone!

  160. Ray Downen says:

    Price feels, he says:

    when you say that the purpose of the narrative of Cornelius’ conversion was different because it was a sign to the Jews that it was OK to baptize them may be correct but that doesn’t take away from the unambiguous statement by Peter that faith in Jesus resulted in the forgiveness of sin. It would be odd for Peter to make this statement if he believed that only baptism did that. But, Peter was still commanded by Jesus Himself to make disciples and to baptize them. So, he did.

    It is well for us to realize that Peter never in any way taught that only baptism (baptism alone) resulted in the forgiveness of sin. It’s equally obvious that Peter never in any way believed or taught that “faith in Jesus” alone resulted in the forgiveness of sin. How good it is to have several speak up on Jay’s blog to testify that the new birth of water AND spirit is essential for birth into Jesus Christ. We are not saved by faith alone, however we dress up the claim. We are not saved by any act which some say will save if it’s not based on faith in Jesus as supreme Lord over all. Apostolic writers emphasize repeatedly that we must believe in Jesus to be saved. None of us disagree! No apostolic writer claims we are saved by faith alone. Some of us disagree and claim that indeed we ARE saved by faith alone, however they want to word their belief.

    My study http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf, explains how some do believe in salvation by faith alone or by some unseen action by the Holy Spirit based on faith alone. I surely wish every reader would read that study and ponder it well. The Word is clear. We hear the Word. If we believe it, we then are ready to obey the gospel, and the Word tells us how that’s to be done, which is not by reciting a prayer! I’m sorry to note that on this blog some are so confused that they insist Acts 2:38 must be ignored since they don’t want to believe Peter knew what sinners needed to do to be saved.

  161. Ray Downen says:

    Price continues:

    Those who insist that baptism is the sole means for remission or forgiveness of sins refuse to accept Peter’s message to Cornelius. “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” [RAY: I know no one who insists that baptism alone is the sole means for remission or forgiveness of sins. Who teaches that? Nor did Peter believe that all it takes to be saved is to believe in Jesus as God. That is not what his words about what "all the prophets" means. No prophet ever taught and no apostle ever taught that all it takes to be born again of water and spirit is to believe in Jesus.]

    To me it’s odd that Peter, if indeed he believed that baptism was the ONLY means FOR the remissions or sins instead of BECAUSE of the remission of sins by Grace through Faith in Jesus would tell Cornelius something that he didn’t believe to be true. The Holy Spirit, according to Peter would receive the Holy Spirit once their sins were forgiven. [RAY: I think Price intended to say that sinners, according to Peter, would receive the Holy Spirit "once their sins were forgiven" which Price thinks was when they believed.] According to Peter this would occur for everyone who believes in Jesus.. The Holy Spirit was given to Cornelius so obviously he believed. [RAY: Did Cornelius not believe when the angel told him to send for Peter? It appears to me that Cornelius knew and believed the gospel and wanted to be baptized but was not allowed to do so since he was not a Jew.] God confirmed his belief. The sins of Cornelius and his household were forgiven. Before he was immersed in water. That’s clearly what the narrative says. [RAY: What Price reads INTO the narrative is NOT what the narrative says.] This narrative is consistent with Peter’s belief in how one is saved according to his statement in Acts 2:38 if one translates the “eis” as “because” instead of “in order to receive (for). [RAY But only if we ignore verse 37 and the question Peter was answering in verse 38.]

    My conviction is that baptism is a public declaration of faith and obedient submission to the lordship of Christ so that the church will know. It is the way the church accepts a new believer into the church who has already been accepted into the Kingdom.

    Wow! The truth is out, or the one believer’s view of truth is out at least. I had wondered what caused Price to think Peter thought salvation was through faith alone. This time I caught what he was saying. Peter preached about the need to believe in Jesus in order to be saved. Price thinks he meant that faith alone was all that was needed, so he wants Acts 2:38 to not mean what it says in plain speech. Peter did NOT think that salvation was by faith alone. Neither he nor any apostolic representative ever taught that. Did we read an “alone” into what Peter said? Why didn’t Peter say the “alone”? It’s because it would have been untrue rather than true!

    Peter’s words in Acts 2:38 are clear as words can be. The gift of the Spirit FOLLOWS repenting and being baptized because of faith in Jesus. That’s not what Price says Peter said, but it IS what Peter said. Al Maxey and anyone who teaches that Baptist doctrine of the gift of the Spirit preceding baptism is simply wrong. The “sign” was given to convince Peter and other Christian leaders that Cornelius could be baptized and brought into the church as a now-saved person even though he was not a Jew. The sign was not to save Cornelius. It didn’t save Cornelius. It was not in any sense a new birth of water and spirit, which Jesus said was essential for entrance into His kingdom. The promise to the apostles (Acts 1:5) did not say they would be saved by receiving the Spirit. It said they would receive POWER through the baptism. We see no evidence that Cornelius was empowered to perform miracles by the sign Peter saw that day as the apostles were by their baptism in the Spirit, but the sign convinced Peter that Cornelius was worthy to be accepted into the kingdom. Cornelius became a Christian through baptism into Christ. That’s the only way it could or can be done.

  162. Ray Downen says:

    If I understand what Royce is saying, I can’t agree. He wrote:

    Laymond and Price, John’s baptism was for those people who had repented. The act of immersion did not repent for them, they repented and were then baptized. Jesus had the same exact baptism and of course it was not about ridding him of sin, he had none. It was with him and the others a public identification with the people of God, and public demonstration of their choice to follow John and the others who were looking for the Messiah Jesus.

    John recognized that Jesus was different from all others who came seeking baptism. Why? Because Jesus had not sinned. This writer links them all together “It was with him (Jesus) and the others a public identification with the people of God.” So baptism was NOT for remission of sins in the case of John’s baptism, is the claim. Why then did John want to NOT baptize Jesus since he knew Jesus hadn’t sinned? Why would anyone claim Jesus was baptized just the same as all the others? It seems obvious that John thought his baptizing WAS “for the remission of sins,” that is, to take away the guilt of sin.

  163. Ray Downen says:

    Wow! If the truth hurts, complain. Right? Price wrote,
    Author: Price
    Comment: Ray… you just said, “God’s grace is seen in that He enables sinners to save themselves by obeying the gospel.” That’s perhaps the most incomprehensible and personally reprehensible statement that I’ve ever heard concerning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ out of the mouth of someone who claims to be a Christian.

    Peter started the incomprehensible and reprehensible act as anyone can see by reading his sermon in chapter two of Acts and noting that Luke reports that the apostle urged his hearers to save themselves. Then he told them, when they asked, how they were to save themselves. But you don’t like Acts 2:38, so I suppose that’s why you didn’t see that I was just making reference to what the apostle said that you think is incomprehensible and reprehensible. That does say something about you and your understanding of the grace of God shown in Jesus!

  164. Alabama John says:

    I was always taught the “gift of the HS” in Acts 2:38 was not the HS Himself, but eternal life and salvation. Those who believed already had the HS.

    This is the most quoted verses used for that opinion and stance.

    Romans 6:23
    23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Also Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5.

    No wonder folks got upset and sermons preached because of the man at the football games holding up sign saying John 3:16. He should of held up Acts 2:38 to cause folks to be saved. Count the times it has been referenced or quoted in this topic.

  165. Ray Downen says:

    A brother writes,

    Ray, Give me one Bible reference that says that to “obey the gospel” is to be baptized. I am not interested in your or anyone else’s subjective opinion. I want to know where the Bible says it. The truth is, it does not say it. The Bible is consistent, to “obey the gospel” is to believe it and to be disobedient is to not believe it. [RAY: The brother obviously has never read Acts 2, the report on the very first day the church existed. When asked what sinners needed to do (obey) the apostolic answer was that they needed to repent and be baptized. I have never stated that all it takes to obey the gospel is to be baptized, for I don't believe that's true. I'm sorry you would quote me as saying what I don't believe.]

    Don’t you think that if we use that terminology that people might think that all they need do to become a Christian is to be baptized? [RAY: I never use that terminology. If I did, you're right that some might think that was what I thought.] I think that even you don’t believe that. [RAY: So why say I said it even once.] I think it would be a good thing to use Bible names for Bible things don’t you? As I said before here, you can super impose your opinion into a verse to make it say what you want said but it isn’t Bible! Some passages are very clear and some are not as clear. We ought to be satisfied to not go further than the Bible goes on any matter. All of us are tempted to make that mistake to try to reinforce our point of view but if I do it or if you do it it’s still wrong. As a challenged before read every passage that talks about obedience and disobedience, obey and disobey, and you will find that I am not lying to you. [RAY: I think you meant to write (but I'm not sure), "As I challenged before, ..." I point you again to chapter two of Acts where Peter was asked what sinners needed to DO (obey, that is) and he gave them the short list of what they HAD to do to be saved and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I'm sure you do not intend to lie any more than I intend to lie or misrepresent anyone ever.]

  166. Royce Ogle says:

    LOL Ray says of using the term “Obey the gospel”, and I quote:

    “RAY: I never use that terminology. If I did, you’re right that some might think that was what I thought”

    Is there any sane person familiar with the Restoration Movement and especially the churches of Christ who does not know what the term “Obey the gospel” means? It ALWAYS means water baptism. Ray uses the term in almost every post but pretends he doesn’t. Wow!

  167. laymond says:

    Royce said, “Jesus had the same exact baptism and of course it was not about ridding him of sin, he had none.”

    Where is it written that Jesus never committed even one sin.?

  168. Larry Cheek says:

    Price said;
    unambiguous statement by Peter that faith in Jesus resulted in the forgiveness of sin. It would be odd for Peter to make this statement if he believed that only baptism did that. But, Peter was still commanded by Jesus Himself to make disciples and to baptize them. So, he did.
    How do you reconcile this message?
    (James 2:19 KJV) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    (James 2:19 NIV) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
    (James 2:19 NRSV) You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder.
    I must assume that your concept of the term, one God, in the preceding verses excludes believing in his Son Jesus.
    But notice; (Acts 19:13 NIV) Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
    (Acts 19:14 NIV) Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
    (Acts 19:15 NIV) One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
    (Acts 19:16 NIV) Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
    (Acts 19:17 NIV) When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

    It appears that many of the evil spirits knew and believed in Jesus and even Paul, they understood the power that Jesus had over them. They even obeyed commands issued by followers of Jesus. The message here in it’s context does not express that Jesus gave these men the power to cast the demons out. In fact, if he had, this evil spirit could not have accomplished this action. The message that you have delivered many times, that belief implements forgiveness of sins and saves. Why was it not consistent and follow the pattern that you have prescribed here with these demons? This proves that there is other action that is required by the one that believes other than just belief.

    Using your pattern or terminology and Paul’s knowledge about Agrippa, you would be required to accept Agrippa as a saved Christian.
    (Acts 26:27 KJV) King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
    (Acts 26:27 NIV) King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
    (Acts 26:27 NRSV) King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” 28 Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?”

    But, it is fully visible here that Agrippa refused to do what was expected of him to become a saved Christian, even though he believed. Your story says that when you believe your sins are forgiven and you are saved.

    Price said;
    Larry, yes I disagree with your understanding of Acts 2:38. I believe Peter clarified his earlier remarks in I Peter 3:21 wherein he makes the statement that the water “was not for the removal of dirt(sin). I just showed you above in Peter’s message to Cornelius that Peter says that BELIEF in Jesus forgives sins.

    First, I see that it is necessary to draw your attention to the fact that Peter in the delivery of his message to Cornelius was interrupted by the spirit, prior to the completion of his message. It is completely out of place for you to assume that he would not have continued his instructions with the message that he consistently stated in other of his writings.

    This is a very consistent action with individuals that promote a doctrine that cannot proven by their supplied text. They just use a portion thinking that no one will notice. But, keeping the message in context, these verses state exactly the opposite of what you intended. Would you try to explain to Peter here that he was not consistent with the message that he preached at Pentecost? Or would you attempt to make him believe that he has the message stated wrong and that baptism does not save.
    (1 Pet 3:21 KJV) 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:
    (1 Pet 3:21 NIV) 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 Pet 3:21 NRSV) And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    For further study I would suggest that you read the message the Paul gave to the Romans in chapter 6. These were Christians that had already been saved, yet they obviously did not understand all of the actions that were being performed as they were baptized. I am not able to see how you can implement all of those actions into belief. Notice; that Paul is using the present tense of the actions being completed while being baptized. Notice again; if those actions were being completed in the baptism, and you baptized someone that was already a Christian, it seems that a Christian is required to do the same rebirth the second time just for a show. You did I believe state that baptism was commanded and not optional.

  169. aBasnar says:

    I believe Peter clarified his earlier remarks in I Peter 3:21 wherein he makes the statement that the water “was not for the removal of dirt(sin).

    Price, this is very odd. Why do you add “sin” in brackets, when Peter simply states that baptism is not a bath, meant for cleansing our physical bodies? In fact he clearly says it is for a good conscience, which means: It clearly is a cleansing from sin. (BTW: The word translated sometimes as “answer of a good conscience” is better translated as an appeal or earnest request for a good conscience.)

    The baptism of John was for for the remission of sin but lacked the Holy Spirit. Were the sins of the penitent forgiven simply by faith in John’s message ob by stepping into the water in faith?

    The Christian baptism is also for the remission of sin, but with the promise of the Joly Spirit. Are our sins forgiven and are we regenerated simply by faith or by stepping into the water in faith?

    Alexander wishes to add a whole host of things to form some sort of progression of salvation which is totally absent from scripture.

    You want to make salvation a one-time-event then? Something like “I prayed that prayer” or “I was baptized”? OK, maybe you would not focus on what we do, let’s say: “I was born again on [date, time] and therefore I am saved.” This makes salvation an event in the past with unconditional assurance in the future. I disagree with that – knowing full well that there are verses that speak of salvation in this sense. But this is only part of the salvation “process” as I call it.

    You have to shove all the texts that speak of perseverance to the end under the rug! What about our pursuit for holiness without which no one will see God? What about fruit and lack thereof – how does God judge our lives in the end? Will He ask: “Did you say that prayer?” or “Where you baptized?” or “Can you tell me day and hour of your regeneration?”. No. He will say “I know your works.” And since works are the standard on judgement day, we cannot rest assured on a single event in the past!

    Ray is absolutely right: Forgiveness of sins, baptism, the New Birth, the Holy Spirit are given for a purpose:

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and of death.
    Rom 8:3 For what was impossible for the law to do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
    Rom 8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    If we don’t walk according to the Spirit, but according to the Flesh we have a promise that is the direct opposite of Rom 8:1

    Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you shall die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.

    Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are: adultery, fornication, immorality, lewdness,
    Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,
    Gal 5:21 envies, murders, drinking bouts, revelries, and the like; which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    If our salvation is dependent on our works, done in faith and in the power of the Spirit (!), then we cannot say our salvation has been settled once we turned to Christ. That’s only the beginning of a New Life under new conditions. Of course this is salvation, too. And we can say: We have been saved FROM sin. But this is like the Israelites being saved FROM pharao. This aspect of salvation alone brought not one Israelite into the promised land. Ahead of them was a journey, a way the had to walk in order to be saved INTO their inhertance.

    Cut that out and you end with an impression of salvation that sees no point in all these years between “the prayer” and “the resurrection”. Because none of these ways, trials, burdens do add or diminish the salvation we took hold of when we turned to Christ on that specific day in that glorious hour. He could have taken us out of this world right away, couldn’t He?

    Salvation does not work that way, Price.

    Alexander

  170. Alabama John says:

    Price,
    Right, no collection!!!LOL

  171. Price says:

    Alexander…you ramble… You say that salvation is by works.. phooey… Unless you count the work of Christ on the cross. God doesn’t owe you salvation my friend. It’s by Grace. You’re not that good. Go back and read the last few chapters of Job… But, if you going to base your salvation on how good you are.. just ask me and I’ll tell you what’s going to happen..No need to wonder…

    Rom 8… make up your mind…either there is no condemnation or there isn’t.. How do you not walk in the flesh.. vs. 9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” If you’re saved you have the Holy Spirit. That much you and I agree on.

    Can one grieve the HS..Sure.. Are we perfect ? No. Can we ever be ? No… Why live in fear of the judgement? He has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry out ABBA FATHER !! Is that who I should walk in fear of all my life hoping that I measure up ENOUGH to get by on my own abilities? Are you kidding me? :You and Ray can go work on saving yourselves. Good luck with that.

    If you think that Peter’s remarks in I Peter 3:21 aren’t symbolic you need to do some more reading. I doubt you will because you’ve already made up your mind and have no need to increase your understanding but it’s there. Try Al Maxey among many others. He’ll walk you through it. It doesn’t come close to saying what you want it to say.

    And, nobody has yet argued against the logic I presented regarding Cornelius. You just keep going back to insisting on Acts 2:38 being FOR the remission of sins in total indifference to the majority, make that overwhelming majority, of passages that speak to salvation by Grace through Faith. You’ve dug in your heels all the way to your knee caps and you’ll use anything and everything to force your pov into the passages. It’s old and it’s tired logic.

    Peter either lied to the people at Pentecost or he lied to Cornelius and his household. You can’t have the narratives of being saved only by baptism Acts 2:38 or simply by faith in Jesus Acts 10:43 line up in agreement. They don’t. Or, acts 2:38 doesn’t say what you want it to say… The only way the passages agree with one another is if you translate “eis” as BECAUSE…Then the passages would be consistent. You can ignore the Cornelius conversion story, or add and subtract from it to make it be what you want it to be if you wish. I choose not to.

    Peter preached Jesus… He told Cornelius that his sins would be forgiven if he believed. He believed. His sins were forgiven. The Holy Spirit joined with Cornelius. Cornelius was baptized when Peter THEN told him he should be. Sounds like Repent and be baptized because you sins have been forgiven doesn’t it… Peter repeats himself.. or perhaps he is indeed a liar and Cornelius is going to hell because he got baptized “out of proper order.”

    Good Grief… Jay, let’s move on.

  172. Royce Ogle says:

    Laymond,

    Heb 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, Heb 9:14, 1 John 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    If he had committed even one sin he would have been guilty of the whole law disqualifying him as a perfect sacrifice.

    It amazes me yet that you go under the banner “Christian” and yet at every opportunity you take pot shots at Jesus. If Jesus was only a man as you claim his death was a meaningless hoax. You should study the word “Christ”. You don’t believe he is the Christ of God so why not show some honesty and stop calling yourself a Christian.

  173. gt says:

    Where is it written that Jesus never committed even one sin.?

    Uh, Heb 4:15 springs to mind. 1 Peter 2:22. He was the Lamb-holy, spotless, without blemish.

    Laymond, there is spirited debate on here regarding a number of issues that never everyone agrees. But despite that I believe we all consider ourselves bretheren. I agree wth Royce. If all I’m following is a mere man I’m not interested. My friend, I believe your view to be blasphemous.

  174. laymond says:

    Royce,
    I was talking to someone who doubted that Jesus was sinless, was my reason for asking the question.
    I am going to give you one example that was given me, give me the answer, and I will be prepared next time.

    Lev 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
    ( it is plain the penalty for adultery was death)

    Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
    Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    (lust is a human temptation, and Jesus said lusting after something, was as if you had done it)
    question, , asked of me. ” Did Jesus not have sexual lust.? if not how can it be said that he truly was “tempted” in all points like men”

    Hbr 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. (plainly states Jesus had the same feelings we do)

    Jhn 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
    Jhn 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    question ask of me and I pass to you, “did Jesus ignore “God’s Law” or did he rewrite it”and “what authority did he have to override God’s law”?

    The base of the argument was, “if Jesus had human emotions, he sinned” and if he didn’t , he wasn’t fully human. If he was not human, he was not an example we could follow. It seems to me that some on this comment section agrees, that Jesus set an example which was impossible for humans to follow.
    Any and all explanations are greatly appreciated.

  175. gt says:

    Should have said ” that not everyone agrees”

  176. laymond says:

    Oh by the way Royce and gt. don’t jump to conclusions before you know the whole story. I believe I gave every verse that you did, Then I was asked ” did he sin before he was baptized, the scripture refer only to after he was baptized for his sins, to give him all righteousness.

  177. laymond says:

    Royce you called for me to be honest, maybe you should look in a mirror, why do you call yourself a church of Christ , Christian, why do you attend church with a congregation where you despise nearly everything they do.? think about it, I’m sure there is a Baptist church down the road.

  178. laymond says:

    Price, said “Good Grief… Jay, let’s move on.”

    Price I believe Jay moved on some time back :)

  179. Doug says:

    “Walking according to the flesh”… I am going to call it like I see it. I see a lot of “Walking according to the flesh” right here on this blogsite. We argue with each other under the banner of Jesus Christ while all the time we really just want, maybe need, our point of view to be declared correct. Maybe we need to ask ourselves if what we are writing is really Spirit led because it might be our flesh doing the leading. I think most of us, maybe all of us still have some dying that needs to be done.

  180. aBasnar says:

    Price, Here’s what you read:

    Alexander…you ramble… You say that salvation is by works.. phooey…

    Here’s what I wrote:

    If our salvation is dependent on our works, done in faith and in the power of the Spirit (!),

    And here’s what Christ said:

    Joh 3:20 For everyone that does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works be exposed.
    Joh 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”

    Joh 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice
    Joh 5:29 and shall come forth–those who have done good, to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to a resurrection of condemnation.

    Read what is written, Price! Salvation will be ultimately determined by our obedience, by our walk according to the Spirit. I could even call this: “Salvation by faith”, because faith works – but this is too misleading, since so many see faith as contrary to works.

    Alexander

  181. aBasnar says:

    God doesn’t owe you salvation my friend. It’s by Grace. You’re not that good.

    Rethink the meaning of Grace, Price. Grace is way more than forgiveness of sin! It encompasses also our transformation into righteous people fully equipped to do what is pleasing and acceptable to God. And this is part of the salvation! In fact by Grace I am “that good”. I may fall, I may make mistakles, but I do grow, make progress and perform acts of righteousness in His power. That’s the reason the Holy Spirit was given to me.

    And that makes “walking in the Spirit” a condition for salvation as i tried to point out to you earlier.

    Alexander

  182. Price says:

    Alexander, in light of Doug’s post above, let me say that it is highly likely that I misread your intent.

    My concern is that some people tend to make judgement day and thus our eternal salvation entirely dependent on our ability to do what we are supposed to do. I don’t think this is the same as a an outright rejection of Christ which I would agree would be a huge negative on judgement day. :) But, if our salvation is dependent on performance then please tell me what the scriptures say regarding what percentage of performance gets me into heaven and below which I’m destined for hell. Without that knowledge I’m left to live in fear of having not done enough. Lord knows that has been the unfortunate remark of many experiencing their last moments here on earth.

    On the other hand, if my confidence is in Christ, in whom I place my confidence and faith, then I am as Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” Notice his confidence was in whom he BELIEVED…not in his personal performance.

    However, Paul did remark about having “fought the good fight, having finished the race and having kept the faith” so certainly one can have some inward knowledge of having done their best but even here Paul ends with having “kept the faith.” While certainly not perfect, Paul seemed quite confident in not having to wait on judgement day to know whether or not he would receive his crown.

    It seems that having a real faith in Christ brings confidence whereas having to depend on whether or not we’ve done enough brings fear and trepidation.

  183. aBasnar says:

    And, nobody has yet argued against the logic I presented regarding Cornelius.

    Probably you should check your web-brouser, maybe it doesn’t show all the answers you received.

    Alexander

  184. Alexander, I would note that you do not so abhor “black and white” discussions as to avoid just such conclusions about exactly when one becomes born again. If I may borrow your analogy, the child who is begotten and has not yet been born (a completely extrabiblical extension of the metaphor, but let that ride) is ALREADY a child of his father. He experiences no change of status just for hitting the atmosphere.

    Cornelius was not simultaneously filled with the Spirit AND “dead in trespasses and sin”. This is a simple absurdity. These are mutually-exclusive states of being. You seem to suggest a transitional phase during which Cornelius was both alive and dead, filled with the Spirit and damned for his sins. (Or perhaps he was neither?) I’m going to need some biblical support for this idea.

    Your statement seems to suggest that Cornelius was rather like Pinocchio, and was not a “real boy” until Peter dunked him. Sorry, but you have consistently opined a black-and-white point at which we are saved –immersion– so the problem is not that the discussion is black and white, but that I find your definition implausible in the face of this event.

  185. laymond says:

    Price said; “if our salvation is dependent on performance then please tell me what the scriptures say regarding what percentage of performance gets me into heaven and below which I’m destined for hell. Without that knowledge I’m left to live in fear of having not done enough”

    1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear:

  186. aBasnar says:

    But, if our salvation is dependent on performance then please tell me what the scriptures say regarding what percentage of performance gets me into heaven and below which I’m destined for hell.

    Again we are back to quantifying works? You still don’t seem to undestand that it is about attitude and direction not about 100% perfection. You (in an metaphor) ask: How many whiskers make a beard? Beards can be longer or shorter, fuller or thinner, partly shaven or completely untrimmed – either way: Each person wearing a beard can be recognized as male.

    But there are lists of things Christ will look at, for instance:

    Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    Mat 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
    Mat 25:36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

    Look at it: Salvation will be determined by this “check-list” (and there are other texts that add to it). Now do apply the beard metaphor to it:

    Is it enough to once have helped a needy person? Does one single whisker make a beard?
    What if we missed a few occasions where we should have helped? How many whiskers doe we have to take out of a beard until it is no longer recognizable as a beard?

    Attitude and direction. A beard does not happen accidentaly, it is a decision to let grow what God has planted. No man can “create” a beard, it’s God’s work in our faces. We can shave it, we can disfigure our faces, we can scoff at God’s idea of male appearance … but we cannot make the beard grow.

    Good works are done in the Spirit and His power, by His prompting. We cannot “produce” them, because God has prepared them. Yet we have to follow His prompting, be obedient, do as we are told. A Christian without works is like a man who shaves. Christians without works will not inherit the Kingdom.

    Alexander

  187. aBasnar says:

    CHarles, i don’t know how often I have said that baptism is an essential and necessary part of the conversion process which encompasses hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, baptism, regeneartion, the Gift of the Spirit. Leave out one of these and it remains unfinished.

    Baptism without faith? not enough.
    Faith without repentance? not enough.
    Confession without regeneration? not enough.
    Hearing without faith? not enough.
    Holy Spirit without baptism? … why should that be enough?

    Alexander

  188. aBasnar says:

    @ Laymond: Good point (1Pe 1:17) :-)

  189. Price says:

    Alexander… if you are walking in the Spirit which you and I agree is appropriate, then it seems Romans 8:15 seems to apply. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

    You seem determined to avoid telling us how we can live with the same expectation as did Paul.. If you can’t tell us how we can live in confidence then we must assume you want us to live in fear of punishment. I don’t see fear as being ascribed to someone who is walking in the Spirit. In fact it seems fear is a sign that one is NOT walking in the Spirit. Is there a way that you could suggest that we don’t have to live in fear of judgement ? Again, maybe I’m reading more into your comments that you intended.

    As far as I Peter 1:17 goes Laymond… It seems that Peter is warning people to avoid walking in the passions of their former ignorance. vs. 14.. Telling someone that they should be fearful of saying they believe in God and continuing to act in total disregard to the moral obligations of a Christian seems appropriate. Telling a Christian who is trying to do what they believe God would have them to do, that they should live a life in fear of hell is quite another… and apparently in direct contradiction with scripture. Maybe I misunderstood your comments as well…

  190. aBasnar says:

    Price, have I ever said or given the impression that I live in constant insecurity? All I say: The race is not finished yet, the good fight is not fought to the end yet, I still have to keep the faith. I do pursue holiness, and therefore I do take seriously what is written two verses before Rom 8:15:

    Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you shall die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.

    There is a serious warning in here and a promise. we have to choose which way to live, and we do have this choice daily. We can forfeit everything and sell our birthright as firstborn just as Esau did. We need to be aware of that, but we need not focus on that. We shall keep our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus who already finished the race who set an example of perseverance and faithfulness by not only beginning but also completing. And the cloud of witnesses, humans, who by God’s guidance but even prior to Pentecost (!!!) lived faithful lives acceptable to God.

    Price, when being in war we must talk business. We must be aware where and who the enemy is and fight him with all of God’s might, else he will destroy us. If we live by the flesh we will lose everything. If we overcome the flesh by killing its desires, we will inherit the Kingdom.

    Therefore: Don’t count the chickens before they are hatched! The eggs are the promise of life, we can look at them and have hope and even look forward to the chickens. But the eggs can be trampled on by mistake, stolen and eaten by ferrets, become sick and dead … so they need care and protection in order to make it through. Our hope of salvation is no different.

    Now, when I look at these egges and care fore them: Do I do this out of fear or because of hope and forward looking? The latter, but with care and concern.

    Alexander

  191. Price says:

    Alexander… Would you correct Paul and say that he shouldn’t have anticipated his crown of righteousness ? It seems he counted his chickens.. I don’t see any doubt in Paul’s mind as to his salvation. What I see in your comments, which admittedly may be a misread on my part, is that you suggest that our mistakes takes us in and out of salvation. That we don’t really know if we are saved until we find out on judgement day. To that I would protest. If I have misread your comments then I am in the wrong.

    However, it seems that many here have experienced speaking with Christians who are quite uncertain of their final destination. Men and women who love the Lord and who are fighting the good fight… I think somewhere along the road, we have taught something other than the good news of Jesus Christ.

    Eph 2:5 says that “by grace, you HAVE BEEN SAVED…. !!!
    Eph 2:8 says “For by grace you HAVE BEEN SAVED through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

    As a Christian, should I have reason to doubt that ?

  192. aBasnar says:

    Price, did you read what I wrote?

    Now, when I look at these egges and care fore them: Do I do this out of fear or because of hope and forward looking? The latter, but with care and concern.

    HAVE been saved. this was true for all Israelites who HAVE been saved from Pharao. But the majority died in the wilderness anyway – you probably have heard about that.

    Salvation has more than one (past) aspect, Price; and unless you grasp this, you will never understand it. There is a way ahead of us, and we are not there yet. We HAVE been saved from sin and its power, but we AWAIT the salvation that is coming – we live in hope of a glory we do not see yet, we run, we right, we pursue, we keep, we persevere – all in love and faith (just so no one can say, I forget about that, its foundational to all).

    We will be judged according to our works.

    Alexander

  193. Price says:

    Alexander…

    While you say you don’t live in fear, it is clear that you await the judgement to see if “you made it.” I wish you well.

    My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

    When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh may I then in Him be found.
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.

    On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
    All other ground is sinking sand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

  194. Jerry says:

    Price,

    “For by faith are we saved through faith….”
    “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all those who believe….”
    “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

    The faith that saves us by Grace is also the faith by whichthe power of God guards us for the inheritance reserved for us.

    What do you suppose happens to those who shipwreck their faith?

    Paul in prison, as he neared the end of his life, looked back and said he had kept the faith. Having kept it as long as he had, he fully expected with great anticipation, which is the very definition of “hope” (much more than a mere wish without expectation), to receive the crown of righteousness. He had no reason to “fear” – yet he also spoke of some who made shipwreck of their faith and good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19). He was also fully aware of his own faith and good conscience. Hence, no need to fear.

    Can we fall from grace? Absolutely, for it is by faith that we have access into grace. Can a person who is living by faith fall? No, for it is when we shipwreck faith that we fall. Such a one is no longer living by faith.

    These things have been discussed frequently on this blog. A man, such as Alexander, who is living by faith and walking in the Spirit, does not fall in and out of salvation (though I know some who apparently do believe that we are now “in” and next moment we are “out,” so I can understand where your comment comes from). From what I have seen of Alexander in his frequent posts on this site, I cannot conceive of his being such a person. If you think of everyone who takes seriously the many NT warnings against falling as someone who lives in daily terror of falling from grace, I pity you – for you are not listening to what the vast majority (I will not say all) of those commenting here. By far the most common view expressed is at least similar to what I am trying in my feeble way to state again for your edification.

  195. Price says:

    Jerry. I appreciate the edification.. I was trying, in my own feeble way, to point out that Alexander and I agree on those that would, as you say, shipwreck their faith. Not sure how one would define that from scripture but it seems the extreme rather than the norm for most Christians. Alexander and I agree that one who would denounce Christ would be in great danger if he were to be depending on God’s grace.

    Where I believe we come to a disagreement is over when should we consider ourselves saved. If I understand him correctly, he believes we will find out on judgement day when our works are measured and that salvation is a process based on our works. I on the other hand stand firm in knowing that I am saved and look forward to standing before God in full assurance of my salvation. Although, he may take a moment or eon to point out the multitude of mistakes I have made.

    And, I have great respect for Alexander’s devotion to the Lord and not for one minute would I judge him personally or refuse fellowship with him no matter how wrong he is. :)

  196. Ray Downen says:

    Charles McLean suggests that Cornelius was saved by a baptism in the Spirit. I note that no scripture suggests such being true. The Word makes clear that obeying the gospel is required for washing away sin. For God to pour out His Spirit on Cornelius is in no way Cornelius obeying the gospel. The gift of the Spirit which brings the Spirit into the saved sinner’s life follows the new birth which Peter says is done by the sinner repenting and being baptized. Cornelius was no exception to the need for sinners to repent and be baptized. The gift of the Spirit follows conversion into Christ. We are assured of salvation by having received that gift by accepting Jesus as our Lord and through our repentance and being baptized. We are certain that the apostles were baptized in the Spirit. Jesus promised them they would be, and Luke records that they were. Were they lost in sin prior to that baptism in the Spirit? Surely not.

    But Cornelius was lost in sin until his sin was washed away. Receiving baptism in the Spirit is never said to wash away sin. Coming to faith in Jesus is never said to by itself wash away sin. But being baptized into Christ IS said to wash away sin. It’s too bad that some choose to ignore Acts 2:38 or try to dilute what the apostle said. Those who read it and believe it can be confident that their sins WERE washed away after they repented of sin and turned to Jesus by accepting the baptism HE commanded.

    Brothers do well to remind us that we Christians will be judged by our deeds. Those outside of Christ are judged by their being outside of Christ. We who are IN Christ will be judged by our deeds to know the degree of responsibility we can be trusted with in glory.

  197. Ray Downen says:

    Price speaks again,

    “Eph 2:5 says that ‘by grace, you HAVE BEEN SAVED…. ‘!!! Eph 2:8 says ‘For by grace you HAVE BEEN SAVED through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. As a Christian, should I have reason to doubt that?”

    It can’t be doubted that grace is God’s gift, and that those who obey the gospel by repenting and being baptized are now saved and “in Christ.” The writer of Hebrews in particular points out that those who are now saved may forfeit their salvation at any time that they so choose. We surely should be confident that Jesus can save us and will save us if we remain “in Him.” But we are free to walk out on Him at any time. And we will have lost our salvation if we make that choice.

  198. aBasnar says:

    Price, I appreciate your will to still fellowship me :-) I don’t disfellowship you either.

    Another try: I think Exodus is the best approach t understanding salvation. Really, try to envision those fourty years at length. There was a day of great rejoicing on the other side of the Red sea when pharao and his army was drowned. What deliverance! Now they were saved FROM slavery and the power of Satan. This was tremendous and inspired the to sing and dance on the shore!

    A few day later into the desert food supplies went down, water became scarce. Hungry and thirsty they became impatient with God and Moses. WERE they still saved? Yes! Nothing changed concerning their salvation FROM pharao. But now they had the need for further deliverance – otherwise they would not make it to the promised land.

    So God rained down Manna from Heaven and gave them water from the Rock. Paul explains two interesting facts in 1Co 10:1-13: a) Their crossing through the water and follwing the cloud was their “baptism” (in water and Spirit). b) The Rock they drank from was Christ, and the bread from Heaven (as our Lord pointed out in John 6) was Christ also. Pauls speaks therefore of spiritual food and drink they partook of – immediately after this discourse he speaks of the Lord’s Supper. The connection is obvious.

    So we have another aspect and means of salvation. Baptism, our crossing through the waters, redeems us from the bondage of sin and cleanses us. This is a one time event in the past. Then we travel on to our inheritance, and God further saves us, by sustaining us spiritually. Many Protestants have a far too low view of the Lord’s Supper, seeing it only as pointing backwards to our deliverance from sin. But it is more: It is spiritual nourishment, strengthening our inner man for the journey through the wilderness so we won’t starve or die of thirst. This also is part of salvation, Price – salvation in the Present! That’s why many view the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament where we receive Grace from God, Grace to move on.

    Them came the Amorites and battled the Israelites at Rephidim, and the Israelites prevailed through a strange way of intercession: When Moses prayed with lifted hands (thus forming a cross) the Israelites won, when he ceased praying, they were pushed back again. Had the Amorites won, the Israelites would have been butchered at Rephidim and not made it to the promised land. Were they delivered FROM pharao? Yes. But is this deliverance enough to bring them to the promised land? No, they needed further salvation, in this case: Salvation from the enemy.

    Do you see now, Price, that salvation is not just what happened back then when I turned to Christ? This alone would not bring me to Heaven. The Lord’s Supper, when we eat from the Altar (the Flesh and blood (!) of the spotless lamb crucified), is indeed part of God’s salvation, because it provides the spiritual sustenance we need to make it through the desert.

    And we need the intercessor Christ to save us from enemies along the way, from temptations that often seems so overwhelming. This is also part of God’s salvation.

    You see, we CANNOT reduce salvation to a one-time-event – God saves us daily, so to say. And along the way, we are challenged NOT to give in into idolatry (sitting down, and playing and dancing around the Golden Calf), NOT to fall in the fornication (incited by the Amalekites), NOT to murmur (against God or God’s appointed leaders). When the Cloud says: Move on, we have to go. When the pillar of fire says “Halt”, we must set up our tents again – Following Christ wherever and however he leads us is not “optional”, it is essential to remain within the “range” of salvation, because the Manna fell down only in a certain limited area around the camp. And without the cloud we had no idea how to get to our promised land. We are totally dependent on Christ. And yet unless we obey, hen called to obey, we won’t make it. Unless we fight while our Moses prays, we will be butchered by our enemies.

    Yes, we have been saved FROM pharao, and no one can ever take this from us. But there are many Israelites who died in the wilderness because of a combination of unbelief and disobedience (used synonymously in Hebrews).

    In the end those who did what needed to be done were saved, but not out of their own works alone. Without God’s continuous salvation all of their works and combined effort would not have been enough to even survive a week in the widerness.

    This this through, Price. It is a paradigm shift away from a “punctual” understanding of salvation to a “processual” understanding of salvation. But after that, you’ll see, scripture makes so much more sense, and you will experience a different, yet deepend confidence in God’s power to save.

    Alexander

  199. Doug says:

    Alexander, I have a comment about your postings and I want to tell you this as a brother in Christ. I can tell from your writings that you are a teacher and consider yourself a teacher. You strive very hard to give the basis of your teachings but then you write things like “Do you see now?”. I have noted that sort of “question” quite often from you and it’s seems to me that what you are really saying is “There, now that I have writen this, surely you see that you are wrong and I am right”. I don’t know about the rest of the people on this blog but for me, that is a downer. I really doubt that this is your intent but it is the still the way that I interpet it. The problem is that you are not talking to immature Christians. For the most part, you are talking to people who have been following Christ probably at least as long as yourself and who have had many difficult experiences and are well battle scarred as a result of following Him. I believe you consider yourself 100% correct about your religious beliefs but you really shouldn’t expect to convert people to your convictions by what you write on a blogsite. You are certainly right to defend your convictions but I think it would do more for your argument if you didn’t assume that your words had changed anothers mind. Maybe you could leave that to the Holy Spirit. I hope that this isn’t taken as mean spirited, it is not offered in that manner, I assure you. But, it is just something that I have noted quite a few times about your writing and I finally decided to mention it to you.

  200. Price says:

    Ray, Royce challenged you to produce a scriptural definition of “obeying the gospel.” Did you provide that ? I couldn’t find it if you did. Royce was pretty convinced that your definition of obeying the gospel being baptism was extra-biblical. I and many others tend to agree that the definition you use is man-made.

    I thought it was a good question so I tried my best and came up with this passage which seems to define it. Perhaps you would offer your comments. And, then if you disagree perhaps you will provide another passage we can view to see if it supports your use of the phrase.

    Here’s what I found. Romans 10:13-16 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Same thing Peter said)How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

    But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

    It appears to me that this passage not only links salvation directly to belief but that is defines obeying the gospel as belief.

    Perhaps you’ll provide a different passage for us to consider….

  201. aBasnar says:

    Thank you for pointing that out, Doug. I’m sure it makes a difference how you read it (which tone of voice you imagine). For me such phrases as you metioned are not a means to press my point but rather – like in a conversation – “do you get m point?” “is that clear” “shall I try it again with different words”? And as you propbably also noticed: I say the same things again and again. And I am always – unconsciously – thinking in German, so the way I translate is probably not the best style in written English. But I’ll keep an eye on that in my future posts.

    Alexander

  202. Price says:

    Anybody… The argument has been made that when the scripture says that we are saved by grace through faith, that it doesn’t mean that we are saved by grace through faith ONLY… I thought that was a rather odd way of looking at scripture. Specificity seems to be the determining factor rather than something the passage doesn’t say. However, I did a word search in the N.T. for the word ONLY.

    I was looking for instructions given us by God that were restricted or further defined by the use of the word ONLY. I came up with these. Perhaps there are some that I missed.

    Mark 5:36 But overhearing* what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

    Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him ONLY shalt thou serve.

    Luke 8:50 But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe ONLY, and she shall be made whole.

    I Cor 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; ONLY in the Lord.

    I Cor 14:27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be ONLY two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.

    Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but ONLY faith working through love.

    Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but ONLY such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    I Tim 5:23 (No longer drink ONLY water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)

    James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers ONLY, deceiving yourselves.

    Based on the logic of some comments that suggest we establish our understanding of God’s instructions by ONLY listening to and abiding by the examples, commands or instructions that are limited by the use of the word ONLY..the above passages are all we MUST do as is written. Except for the above passages (or others that you might find that I have missed) we can add our own interpretation and/or discretion as to whether we should do it or not. Does that make sense? Are the above passages the only instructions that we have received in the entire N.T. to which we feel an obligation to follow ?? Whether or not the discretionary use of this hermeneutic is by happenstance accurate in one instance does not make it a reliable and consistent pattern of determining how one might go about understanding scripture. If it can’t be used consistently, should it be used at all ?? Or is it reasonable to make up things as you go to suit one’s own private interpretation ?

  203. Price says:

    Alexander, I guess you see things I just don’t see. You have a knack for looking back at historical events and see events foreshadowing other events that often times I just don’t see. This is one of those times. I believe that when it says that by Grace through Faith that I AM saved, in other passages that I HAVE BEEN SAVED…I think it means what it says.

  204. laymond says:

    Price said:
    “I believe that when it says that by Grace through Faith that I AM saved, in other passages that I HAVE BEEN SAVED…I think it means what it says.”

    Paul said:
    1Cr 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

  205. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond said;
    I was talking to someone who doubted that Jesus was sinless, was my reason for asking the question.
    I am going to give you one example that was given me, give me the answer, and I will be prepared next time.
    This verse was used to show what the law stated was to be done.
    Lev 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
    ( it is plain the penalty for adultery was death)

    question ask of me and I pass to you, “did Jesus ignore “God’s Law” or did he rewrite it”and “what authority did he have to override God’s law”?

    The base of the argument was, “if Jesus had human emotions, he sinned” and if he didn’t , he wasn’t fully human. If he was not human, he was not an example we could follow. It seems to me that some on this comment section agrees, that Jesus set an example which was impossible for humans to follow.
    Any and all explanations are greatly appreciated.

    Laymond,
    In order to be better prepared you surly must understand the predicament that the Jews were attempting to place Jesus in by bringing the woman to him for judgment of the stated law. The action that the law required was that both were to put to death. These Jews had deliberately only brought the woman, it would not have been possible for them to have caught her in the very act if the man had not been there. They allowed the man to be exempt, and wanted Jesus to administer the law. If he had sentenced her to death he would also been a participant in their actions of allowing the man to go unpunished. The very reason that they all had sinned in this action and they knew it was why they did not stand up to their accusations. When they were not there to fulfill the accusations, Jesus would have had no legal reason to administer what the law said was the punishment. He did not alter the law in any fashion. We have the very same regulations in our judicial system, unless the accusers show up and testify of the deeds done, the judge has to drop the case.

  206. Price says:

    Laymond… really ?

  207. Norton says:

    Ray
    I Cor 6:11 “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.” It seems that the Spirit of God does the same thing that the church does when we baptize in water. Would not that be a baptism in the Spirit? The church baptizes in the name of Jesus Christ as his agents on earth. Christ himself baptizes with the Spirit. Who has the final say on who has a genuine faith and should be washed, sanctified, and justified, the church or Christ?

    Jay has rightly pointed out several times where Christ prempted the the church’s baptism in water by giving or not giving the Spirit. The case of Cornelius, the Samaritians, and possibly the apostles themselves, who may or may not have been baptized in the name of Christ in water.

    Yes, baptism in water by the church is for remitting of sins, and it saves. But, don’t you think we sometimes make mistakes in baptizing some who should not be baptized and not baptizing some who should? And don’t you think Christ corrects those mistakes by giving or not giving the Spirit?

  208. Larry Cheek says:

    Norton it is true, that Christ knows and does the proper action. But, we have never been given the responsibility to refuse a baptism based upon our judgment of the individual. Yet, many that are baptized may have just have gotten wet. I believe that if an individual responds and just got wet, his life will expose him later, when we see that it is obviously what has happened it becomes our responsibility to carefully try to redirect the individual into a proper relationship with Christ. He may later see his predicament.

  209. laymond says:

    Thanks Larry, sounds right to me.— Now what about the sin of human lust?
    Jesus said, if you have lust for a woman , you have already sinned. Now I was asked if Jesus was not burdened with human lust, how could he have experienced all the temptations of man?

    Logical answer on the judgment thing, evidently you have been asked some of the same questions I was asked. I don’t have the answers, Evidently Royce don’t either. hoping you do.

  210. Price says:

    Laymond…let me take a stab at it…feel free to disregard…

    A temptation isn’t a sin. Being tempted to steal is not the same as stealing.

    Jesus was tempted in the desert before he began his ministry. Satan offered him things which in his human flesh were appealing. I’m sure he felt the human emotion of being fed when he was hungry, exalting himself when he felt like a lamb to be slaughtered. But, feeling the emotion isn’t the same as giving in to the emotion.

    Seeing a beautiful woman might make a man’s mind wander but that’s not the same as sitting around day after day craving her attention and affection (lust)… I’m glad Jesus came down and felt the emotions that I feel. I’m also glad that He set an example of not giving in to them. He said that we could do as He did. One has to believe that. Even if He were God incarnate and had an unfair advantage over us, He still said we could do it if we tried…And to the extent we needed it, He’d help us overcome…

    That’s my best shot at it…

  211. Doug says:

    I’ve stayed on the sidelines for this posting discusssions and don’t really want to get balled up into this topic once again but what I am getting from the discussion is something along these lines: One side, Price being the principal banner carrier, find peace and comfort in trusting in the Grace of God and their Faith in God and Jesus for their eternal salvation security. They feel this is a biblical stance. The other side, Laymond, Ray and Alexander being the principal banner carriers, also trust in the Grace of God and their Faith in God but insist others things are necessary in order to secure eternal salvation security. They also feel this is a biblical stance. In a nutshell, that’s what I’ve gotten out of the 200+ comments to Jay’s posting. Price’s point of view is pretty simple in that God’s Grace can be always counted on and Price knows for sure if he has faith in God and Jesus. He feels secure. I guess what I am not getting out of this whole discussion is whether the other side has a similar security or whether they even think that such security is possible? I’d like to hear from Laymond, Ray and Alexander and any others on that side of this debate about whether they have security in their salvation and if so, what is that security based upon? This is not a trick question and I’m not trying to enter this debate. I just want to know if both sides of this debate end up at the same place or not?

  212. Alabama John says:

    Doug

    I believe both sides will end up at the same place (heaven) after judgment.

    I know my statement is against and contrary to the normal, far greatest percentage of COC belief and teaching.

    Maybe that makes me a third division in your categorizing.

    The only possible wrong I see is all the time spent debating each other that I consider heaven bound and studying for the next great answer (comeback) or are they (WE) also doing something to bring those of this world that are lost to Christ?

    It is far more entertainment than serious and we all need to laugh more!

  213. Royce Ogle says:

    Doug,

    There are only two choices. 1. You can trust Christ and rest in his sure promises. 2. You can trust Christ and yourself. All who take this choice lean heavier on their own goodness (self righteousness) than the do on Christ. The reason is that they believe their final destiny depends on them and that they must convince God by their personal goodness they deserve his reward. Not one of them will actually admit this but it’s true.

    The bottom line is a misunderstanding of what Jesus accomplished by his life, death, and resurrection. The true gospel is for them cheap and to good to be true. They can’t comprehend the depth of Gods love for ungodly, undeserving sinners .

  214. Ray Downen says:

    Price supposes people speaking for the Lord will contradict what others teach who are also speaking for the Lord. At least that’s how it seems. He writes:

    Author: Price
    Comment: Alexander, I guess you see things I just don’t see. You have a knack for looking back at historical events and see events foreshadowing other events that often times I just don’t see. This is one of those times. I believe that when it says that by Grace through Faith that I AM saved, in other passages that I HAVE BEEN SAVED…I think it means what it says.

    But it does not say ONLY and that’s what you read into what was said. Your reading causes the passage to contradict the fact that Jesus commands that those who receive the gospel (believe it and seek to obey it) must be baptized as part of obedience to the gospel. Are you sure that one inspired writer will contradict another, or that what is written in one passage can contradict what is written in another passage? You surely sound convinced! Do you also believe the Bible is inspired? Or is it only those passages you like which are inspired?

  215. Ray Downen says:

    Norton wonders: Yes, baptism in water by the church is for remitting of sins, and it saves. But, don’t you think we sometimes make mistakes in baptizing some who should not be baptized and not baptizing some who should? And don’t you think Christ corrects those mistakes by giving or not giving the Spirit?

    RAY: No, I don’t believe Jesus withholds the giving of the Spirit if any person at all repents and accepts baptism into Jesus Christ. And no, I don’t believe that the gift of the Spirit promised as a result of the new birth of water and spirit is a baptism in the Spirit. When Paul specifies that in the Christian system there is ONE baptism, I believe that means there is ONE baptism. Jesus commands that baptism is to be performed by people. He baptized the apostles in the Spirit. He gave convincing signs to Cornelius and his household. I know of no possible other baptisms in the Spirit. I see the Samaritans “not receiving the Spirit” as simply meaning none of those baptized received any special spiritual gifts which could be seen as proof of God accepting them into the kingdom. But special spiritual gifts were NEVER seen to follow baptism into Christ as resulting from baptism into Christ. When the apostles came and laid hands on some Samaritans, then signs were seen. Obviously, only the apostles had power to pass on spiritual gifts by laying on of hands. Signs were needed to convince Jews that Samaritans were acceptable to God as Christ-followers. But Peter’s promise was that those who did repent (because of faith in Jesus as Lord) and were baptized WOULD receive the Spirit, and I am confident the promise meant all who did or ever will repent and were or will be baptized DID or DO receive the gift of the Spirit of which Peter spoke. No exceptions.

  216. Ray Downen says:

    Laymond wonders if Jesus didn’t have to look upon a woman and lust in order to have the same experiences as every human. I think He shared our every temptation but is not guilty of giving in to even one temptation to do evil. Are we reading more into what Jesus said about lust than He actually said?

  217. laymond says:

    Doug, let me shine a small light on why I think there is so much disagreement in the CoC theology today. When we all carried the KJV we all saw things alike, the different versions brought different opinions on the meanings applied to scripture.

    Example
    KJV
    Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
    Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it].
    The KJV seems to say (to me anyway) we must remain faithful,to our hopes and patient for salvation. (not declare we are already saved.)

    NIV
    Rom 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
    Rom 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

    The NIV seems to say, we are already saved, so why waste your time hoping for something you already have. But verse 25 does not support vs 24 in the NIV, and it does in the KJV.

  218. aBasnar says:

    @ Doug

    You make an important observation, asking what is the difference now between these two positions. The way Royce explains it really saddens me to the core! He shows that he is fully unable to at least sum up “the other” position correctly. Both he and Price hold to an Evangelical understanding of salvation. I used to believe the same, but I don’t anymore.

    It is a question of VITAl imprtance, and that’s the main reason I do engage in this discussuion.

    I tried to make my point with the Exodus. Jay quite often makes mention of the “narrative”, the “story” of salvation. Proof texting is completely “out”, we need to understand the plot, the story first. Then can we put specific passages in their proper places.

    So I do believe in the Grace of God, the power of God as absolutely necessary for salvation. How necessary? As necessary as it was for the Israelites to be freed from pharao. None of these slaves could have accomplished this on his own.

    Yet what had they to do? They had to show faith in the Passover Lamb and be ready to go. Then they had to follow the pillar of cloud and fire. They had to pass through the sea. Could they have doe that on their own? No pillar, no guidance. No miracle of God, no passing through.

    I don’t want to repeat everything I wrote above, but HOW is it so difficult to understand that while
    A) EVERYTHING hinges on God’s power and mercy
    B) NOTHING will be won unless we move?

    No one can boast that because HE followed the cloud he was saved, because HE marched on and on for 40 years accomplished it. Yet without this marching and following he would not have reached his inheritance.

    It is that simple. The fly in the soup (for some): It completely rules out an understanding of salvation as a “one-time-event”. We must understand salvation as a process with past, present and future aspects. Everything else is in tension with the “narrative”.

    Alexander

  219. laymond says:

    Ray asked; “Are we reading more into what Jesus said about lust than He actually said?”

    I don’t know Ray, you deside.
    Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

  220. Ray Downen says:

    Doug wonders,
    Author: Doug
    Comment: I’ve stayed on the sidelines for this posting discusssions and don’t really want to get balled up into this topic once again
    whether those who believe in salvation by faith alone end up in the same place as we who see that only those are saved who obey the gospel. I am certain that Jesus saves all who love and obey Him. No doubt at all. I’m certain my obedience may not be perfect but that I’ll be saved by my attempts whether they are perfect or not. Jesus saves. Those who don’t seek to please Him by their lives are sure to end up lost. Those who lead others astray by promises which are false, such as that all it takes to become a Christian is to believe, are not apt to be in glory after the judgment day. We all recognize that the blood of Jesus takes away sin. Some think they can just pray and He will save them. He won’t. For what He put in place for sinner’s salvation is a “plan” which includes planting gospel seed and then burying the sinful person in water so that the person can be raised up into new life. Will those who baptize for some other purpose than the one the apostles knew of successfully wash away the sin of any person? God’s grace is offered to those who will trust and obey the unique Son of God who commands baptism. He may save those who don’t understand the plan. He promises to save those who DO understand and obey what He has commanded.

  221. Ray Downen says:

    Alexander makes a good point:

    I don’t want to repeat everything I wrote above, but HOW is it so difficult to understand that while
    A) EVERYTHING hinges on God’s power and mercy
    B) NOTHING will be won unless we move?

    No one can boast that because HE followed the cloud he was saved, because HE marched on and on for 40 years accomplished it. Yet without this marching and following he would not have reached his inheritance.

    It is that simple. The fly in the soup (for some): It completely rules out an understanding of salvation as a “one-time-event”. We must understand salvation as a process with past, present and future aspects. Everything else is in tension with the “narrative”.

    I affirm that conversion is a one-time event. Salvation is a lifetime with Jesus. But until one has experienced the new birth of water and spirit that person is outside the body of Christ, out of fellowship with the Savior. One thing we might have overlooked. Only two adults who began the trek to the promised land got there. All the others perished in the wilderness wanderings. Why? Because they murmured and doubted. The new birth includes hearing about Jesus and believing in Him as the risen Lord. It includes turning to Him as your Lord and giving up self-control as being sufficient. It includes burying the old “man” of sin and being raised up into new life through baptism. Only then is the Spirit given to the previous sinner. Only then is conversion completed. But it IS then completed. A Christian has been born. Life has begun. The “babe” in Christ will grow as it is fed and in time will become an adult Christian. At any stage of our Christian life, we are free to turn away from Jesus and give up our salvation. We are warned against doing so. The warning proves the possibility. But as long as we trust Jesus and seek to please Him, we are assured of eternal salvation. Some don’t ever start walking with Jesus because they’ve been assured there’s no need to be baptized as Jesus said must be done. So if they do accept baptism, does that make them into a babe in Christ? Perhaps not if they think they were saved without being born as He said was necessary. But He is judge, none of us can pronounce the fate of those who are baptized for some reason other than that Jesus commands it and that His apostle says it’s after baptism that the Spirit is given.

  222. Alabama John says:

    Ray,
    These wordings used by you:
    “not apt” or ” He MAY save” is a long, long, way from no one but those that see it just like me will be in Heaven, all others will be in Hell.
    Tells me we are moving toward the thinking others might be in Heaven besides a few of us that have it all from God understood just right.
    Far more about God is in man other than the Bible and I’m thinking of the Noah flood story and how at least 5 different civilizations tell it and have it as part of their ancient past and one is the Iroquois Indians here in North America.
    If all was written that happened, the world would not hold the writings.
    The Bible holds all we need for salvation, but, there is far more to be told.

  223. Ray Downen says:

    Royce wants to be sure whether we who understand that Jesus commands baptism that we can preach the gospel without mentioning baptism. Of course we can and generally do so. When baptism is the subject, we’re sure to point out that it is done because JESUS said to do it and because HIS apostles said it was to be done in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and that it’s “for the remission of sins.” I hope we ALL understand that the gospel is about JESUS. So if the subject is what Jesus said about the new birth of water and spirit, we’re sure to mention that we must repent and be baptized. Some of us will do so, that is. It’s agreed that all of us should do so. But some will not do so. It’s when we come to invitation time that we may mention baptism. It’s appropriate that we should do so whenever we invite a sinner to turn to Jesus for salvation. But some will not do so. Do they not know that Jesus commands it and His apostles taught it? And without fail practiced it? Some of “us” have decided that sinners are saved some other way than the New Testament shows that sinners were then saved. So only some of us speak of baptism as we invite sinners to save themselves. Only some of us believe the apostles knew how sinners were saved. It’s good that some do still read and understand the history book of the apostolic age.

  224. Ray Downen says:

    Royce may think there’s magic in words. I don’t. The SEED for salvation is in words. The seed must be planted. But anyone could listen to the gospel for a million years and not be saved. Hearing is not obeying. There’s no power in words even if some are influenced by words to act. It’s ACTS that produce results, not the words themselves. Words change minds. Minds cause action. Action produces results. It’s certainly right as claimed that I do not believe that words save.

  225. Doug says:

    Okay, so Alexander says that:
    A) EVERYTHING hinges on God’s power and mercy
    B) NOTHING will be won unless we move?
    I take this to mean that he believes that the life we lead after we have accepted God’s grace, repented of our sins, confessed our belief in Jesus as the son of God and been baptized is part of determining if we are ultimately saved. I am a bit unsure about how far and how fast we must move in order to be a winner but maybe we can figure that out later.
    Ray appears to come with a slightly less stringent life requirements saying “But as long as we trust Jesus and seek to please Him, we are assured of eternal salvation”. I see this as meaning that he believes there is no absolute bar set that we must atttain in our life but rather a general intent to live in a way that trusts and pleases Jesus.
    Laymond seems to be saying that if we’d all just go back to the KJV of the bible, we’d come to a quick agreement about all of this and be free to move on to other things?

    I guess I’m still wondering how I can feel sure about my eternal security if, after putting on Christ in baptism, the Christian Life I lead is part of the determining of that eternal security. Note that I said “Christian Life”… I am assuming that I do lead a life of trying model Christ in my life. It seems that I’d have to wait until judgement day to see if my life measures up or not?

    So I’m still a bit stuck on the question I posed to Alexander, Ray and Laymond…”I guess what I am not getting out of this whole discussion is whether the other side has a similar security or whether they even think that such security is possible?”.

  226. Ray Downen says:

    Laymond notes that Jesus will judge some by their works. He’s right that Jesus will judge some by their works. Or all by our works. But there are two particular classes who will be judged in the last day. They are sheep and goats, the saved and the lost. And all who are “in Christ” will be sheepish that day. Our being born again of water and spirit brings us “into Christ,” says the apostle Paul and shows Peter and all the apostles on the day of Pentecost reported on in Acts chapter two. We cannot do enough good works to earn salvation. Jesus earned it for us if we love and serve Him here on earth. But there will be rewards in glory which vary depending on our “works.” And I think it’s implied there will be differing punishments in Hell depending on the works of those who are not in Christ. It seems to be important that we not think we have to earn salvation. That’s why the emphasis is often on God’s grace, His unmerited favor to every repentant sinner who turns to Jesus seeking salvation. That’s UNMERITED, unearned. But it is not given to those who only listen and don’t respond obediently to what was offered.

  227. Ray Downen says:

    Alabama John writes,

    GOD is in three persons we that have the bible know, so when those that never heard of Jesus or the HS worshiped GOD they WERE and ARE worshiping all three. WE do too as I never hear anyone mention in prayer the HS, only prayer directed to God which even among us includes the HS or, do we contend unless mentioned by name the HS is excluded from our prayers? I too am a great admirer and follower of Al Maxey.

    That God is three in one is obvious if indeed the Spirit is God rather than God’s Spirit just as each of us have a spirit. But to claim that all who have worshiped God have in their worship of God also worshiped the unique Son of God is a stretch indeed. All through the years of history recorded in the Old Testament writings, God was thought of as simply one God. And worship of God was worship of the one God we now know is God the Father. When Jesus taught how to pray, the prayer was addressed to the one God we now know as God the Father. Christians are not taught to pray to Jesus. So far as I can tell there is not even one example in apostolic writing of anyone praying to the Holy Spirit. So I think the theory that prayers directed to God are really being directed to three separate beings is an incorrect theory. I believe we pray to the Father with our prayer now being sent in the name of Jesus, God’s unique Son. But prayer to God is not done “in your name” as many now say, if indeed we are praying to the Father in the name of His Son who is loved by Him and by us.

    As for Al Maxey, we should recognize that people come in all flavors. And that only Jesus was perfect. Al is very right on most questions which come to Christians. And he’s totally wrong in teaching that 1 Corinthians 12:13 calls for baptism by the Holy Spirit being what brings sinners into Christ. We are saved by Jesus. We are baptized in the name of Jesus. Jesus takes away our sin and THEN gifts us with His Spirit to help us live for HIM. Al is wrong in thinking it’s the Spirit who saves and unites us. We all love Jesus and are united by our shared love for Jesus. May I again ask you to read http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf? It points out how Al is wrong and how Paul and Peter have it right that we are baptized into Christ in water just as He commands is to be done. JESUS is our Lord and Savior. We are baptized in water for salvation in the name of JESUS. Our judge for eternity will be JESUS. The head of the church is JESUS. Our loyalty is to JESUS. The Spirit is sent by God as HIS gift to each newborn Christian. If we all love Jesus, we will be united in HIM. That’s what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 12:13. I grant this is not in Luke’s history of the early church as would be most appropriate for this blog.

  228. Ray Downen says:

    Royce surely does believe that God selects who can be saved. He wrote, The truth is, we don’t know everything Peter told those who heard him preach. (Acts 2:40) But, this is always the order. God draws to himself those he will (John 6:44), they repent and believe the gospel, and only then are they baptized.

    Bringing in John 6:44 totally changes the account in Acts 2, and makes ridiculous the words of Peter calling for anyone at all who sought salvation to “repent and be baptized.” Shall we believe that only those could repent who had a special invitation from God to do so? I don’t think that’s the way conversion works. Try John 3:16 and 36 and note that “whosoever WILL may come.” Every hearer was free to repent and be baptized. It’s still true today that every sinner is FREE to obey the gospel and be saved. We are not picked out by God and saved. The gospel is to be preached to all. Any hearer (or reader) is welcome to respond and be saved!

  229. Royce Ogle says:

    Ray,

    Maybe some of us don’t know what you believe about Acts 2:38. Will you explain please?

  230. Royce Oglr says:

    1 Corinthians 1:27-30 Do you take it literally? Sounds like we are in Christ because of God’s actions.

    Faith comes by hearing the word of God. The messenger is sent (by God). The Father draws people to himself according to Jesus. (God’s work). Sinners are granted repentance (by God) ( that’s it Acts…). Jesus gives eternal life, god forgives, god gives the Holy Spirit as a promise of his ownership, God is at work in us both to DO and to WILL his good pleasure…. There’s more, much more in the Bible. Jesus’ talks about. His sheep, the sheep God gives him, and more… Yes, there’s more than you might think if you only focus on a few proof texts. It’s good to study it all and to see what the over all story is rather than the few lines you’ve heard all your life.

    I’m supposed to believe your version of a text but not others? You’re kidding right?

  231. Price says:

    My understanding is that a key theological element of Islam is the judgement day balance upon which one stands and is weighed.

  232. laymond says:

    Jhn 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    Jhn 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

    And what is Jesus saying in 6:44 ?
    Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
    Hbr 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
    Hbr 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, ————–

  233. Norton says:

    Ray

    “When Paul specifies that in the Christian system there is ONE baptism, I believe that means there is ONE baptism.”

    If baptism in water and baptism in the Spirit constitutes two baptisms, then do you believe that a man must be reborn twice, once of water and once of the Spirit, to see the kingdom?

  234. Norton says:

    Larry

    “Norton it is true, that Christ knows and does the proper action. But, we have never been given the responsibility to refuse a baptism based upon our judgment of the individual. Yet, many that are baptized may have just have gotten wet. I believe that if an individual responds and just got wet, his life will expose him later, when we see that it is obviously what has happened it becomes our responsibility to carefully try to redirect the individual into a proper relationship with Christ. He may later see his predicament.”

    I agree. All we have to go on is their confession. If they say they believe, we pronouce their sins remitted in the name of Jesus Christ.

    The Lord forgive me if I am judging wrong, but I have seen a man falsely confess and get baptized in order to get a construction job with my church. This happened many years ago and the elders did what any good elders should do. The man confessed, was baptized, asked for the job, was given the job, grossly overcharged, bought his girlfriend an expensive ring, and promptly left town. I haven’t seen nor heard of him in over forty years, but I hope his heart was eventually touched by the gospel.

  235. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond asked;
    Now what about the sin of human lust?
    Jesus said, if you have lust for a woman , you have already sinned. Now I was asked if Jesus was not burdened with human lust, how could he have experienced all the temptations of man?

    Price, responded and surprised me, I thought he did a great job in his explanation.
    I thought about the question more and came to the conclusion that someone who had asked Laymond the question did not understand the term “lust” as it was applied in the scriptures, therefore I present these verses which were helpful to me in determining the application of the word.

    (Prov 6:25 NIV) Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes,

    (Prov 6:26 NIV) for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

    (Mat 5:28 NIV) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    (Rom 1:27 NIV) In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    (Rom 7:7 NIV) What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

    (Gal 5:16 KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

    (Gal 5:16 NIV) So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

    (James 1:14 KJV) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    (James 1:14 NIV) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    (1 John 2:16 KJV) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

    (1 John 2:16 NIV) For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
    With the usage of the word above, do we associate this term with the courtship of our mate? I see a different attitude being expressed in the text above than what I experienced while courting my wife. I believe that Price explained the concept that I also see that is not the same. Lust would not be a burden unless you succumbed to it. Any man should have the power or ability to control this craving, but if a man could not, would God be just in condemning him for it? But, I am going to state it differently I believe that God has given all men the power to resist or he could not hold him responsible for falling victim to it.

  236. Larry Cheek says:

    Norton,
    I noticed that you mentioned that the individual falsely confessed, and brethren accepted him on the basis of them believing it was true, in other words they could not judge his heart, and I believe that is our only option.
    I would like to express that being a member of CoC for over 50 years and being programmed to be able to identify when one of our brothers have left the church, possibly driven away by some member, it was easy to condemn them because of their departure. I have asked many of our preachers etc; what would a man in this situation have to do in order to avoid being lost forever? Of course most all would explain that they would have to repent and come back to church showing fruit that would be expected of a Christian. My question then was as we have always taught that a death bed confession was of no value, could never change a lost person to a saved one. Wouldn’t an individual in this situation, and upon his death bed as the last breath of life was still in him, repent and ask Christ to forgive him with the expectation that Christ would forgive him. Most would tell me that they did not believe that would save the individual. See how we make our own rules? My response would be if a borne again Christian could not repent and be accepted in these circumstances, then we would have no hope either. I hope that no one would ever try to legislate for God in a situation like this.

  237. aBasnar says:

    I am a bit unsure about how far and how fast we must move in order to be a winner but maybe we can figure that out later.

    It’s clear when we read the story. The Iasraelites simply didn’t know. All they had to do is, gathering up God’s daily salvation (Manna), follow the pillar, learn to obey the commandments of the ecovenant, fight the enemies along the road and takle a strong stand against idolatry.

    When we ask the question: How long? How fast? How perfect? Aren’t we looking for a limit to obedience? Saying: When I have done so and so much, then I have done enough. I think is is our flesh urging for a pause.

    We are to persevere unto the end. We are called to do good works … when can we say that we have helped the needy enough? What is the sum total of alms we shall give, and am I free from alm-giving after I have given the last penny required? Think about it: This is striving for the minimum that is required of us.

    It is a question that leads in the wrong direction, Doug. It is a strange kind of assurance if we want to be saved barely by have done the minimum that is required.

    Alexander

  238. Alabama John says:

    Larry,
    My question to you is which man is the one in your question?
    The one who left or the one that caused him to leave? It could go either or both ways in being in error.
    Having been at death beds and heard that final confession and prayer to be forgiven, I believe they are in heaven.
    What I believe doesn’t matter anyway, God will do the judging, not me, so why not live with the positive thought instead of the negative.

  239. Doug says:

    Alexander, my question for those on your side of this debate was simply put as : “I guess I’m still wondering how I can feel sure about my eternal security if, after putting on Christ in baptism, the Christian Life I lead is part of the determining of that eternal security. “. I am not interested in minimum obedience requirements but rather, security in Jesus and the salvation that He promises to us. I can understand how those on the other side of the debate can feel such security but if my life is part of the security question, how can I ever reach the same secure feeling? My life is a delicate balance of taking care of family obligations, business obligations, and religious obligations. How can I feel securely that I have all of those obilgations in balance and in the balance that Jesus would have me place them? On one side Jesus says to put Him first and to leave Mother, Father, and family but on the other side I am also insructed to care for my family and told that if I don’t care for them I am worse than a dog. In order to care for my family I have to take care of business and that means taking care of business obligations. It seems that your side of this debate places me in an impossible position of balancing a life that is unbalance-able. The only way I can feel secure with my life is to self-declare that what I am doing is in balance and I can clearly delude myself into such a declaration. What kind of security is that?

  240. aBasnar says:

    I am not interested in minimum obedience requirements but rather, security in Jesus and the salvation that He promises to us.

    It might well be that you look for something that does not exist. If you want your salvation settled once and for all in the sense: I took it and I have it, then – sorry – that’s not what Christ offers.

    How can I feel securely that I have all of those obilgations in balance and in the balance that Jesus would have me place them? On one side Jesus says to put Him first and to leave Mother, Father, and family but on the other side I am also insructed to care for my family and told that if I don’t care for them I am worse than a dog. In order to care for my family I have to take care of business and that means taking care of business obligations.

    That’s probably why Paul in Ephesians and Colosians, as well as in 1 Timothy, and also Peter write about this balance. This I no secret we have no answer to, this is part of the apostolic teaching from the beginning. And – yes! – the way we handle these obligations will affect our salvation. Failure can cost us at least parts of our reward, but it can be worse than that, if we deliberately and continuously sin in these areas

    So you won’t find assurance this way, because Christ does not offer such a kind of assurance.

    When He says: Follow me and take up your cross daily, it is per defintion not to be taken and “possesed”. It is a way we have to walk till the end. Salvation is not defined by having been batptized, essential and necessary as baptism is – this is only the beginning of a life long journey. Salvation along this journey is something that occurs on a daily basis: Spiriual sustenance/nourishment so we can walk on, Christ as a pillar of cloud and fire to follow, Commands and ordinaces to walk in, forgiveness when we sin, deliverance from enemies, intercession in our spiritual battles and temptations … salvation happens daily. It is not a singular event in the past. Here’s my assurance.

    What Christ accomplished on the Cross is foundational, but it is not all He did and does and will do for us. How limited is our understanding of His salvation when we focus only on the forgiveness of sins and the new birth! Those who do that (the vast majority of Protetsants) therefore think: All is payed for, therefore I am eternally secure. Thus they speak and boast about their assurance as a “posession” no one can take from them (this is almost verbatim from a commentary!).

    But there is a lot of security along the way, as long as we follow the cloud and gather up the Manna and stay on the road with Christ. When we “remain in Him”. It is about an ongoing relationship, and salvation/assurance is based on that continuous faith. Therefore we can only speak of our present state: Yes, we are on our way with Christ, and therefore we have the assurance of being saved in the end. We are on track.

    But there is no security such as: “I crossed the Red Sea, therefore I will unconditionally enter my inheritance.” I have to walk through the desert in obedience to God and the leadership He ordained (Remember Corah’s rebellion). This does in no way diminish the deliverence we experienced by the Passover Lamb. It does not “undrown” pharao and his army. But these aspects of salvation are all in the past. We were not on our way had they not happened. In other words: Had Christ not paid the full price for our sins, had we not repented and been baptized, we would not even have started our journey. But salvation is about more than just forgiveness of sin. God is calling a people for His name, willing to live in His Kingdom and to give Him Glory, willing to be a living example of God’s righteousness and peace. Therefore he leads us through the desert, testing what is in our hearts.

    Is there any Israelite who would have loved to stay in Egypt under the whip? Oh no! Is there any one who really wants to go to hell? No. So there are aspects of the Gospel message no one really can refuse. But living under a new law? Becoming a covenant people? Enduring hardships for Christ’s sake? Living as a separated people? There are ten thousands of aspects in our salvation that our flesh deeply abhorrs. That’s our spiritual battle, this shows the need for transformation. This puts before us tests of our faith and committment on a daily basis.

    Many die in the wilderness. Either by open rebellion, or – maybe more common – by a theology that requires nothing of them, since “all is accoplished by Christ – your salvation in unconditionally assured” – they still feel saved by such false promises while they are condemned already by their works. Still, repentance is offered as to the churches in Asia Minor. But there is a limit to God’s patience, and when CHrist returns He will judge us according to … what? Works – even if some shudder at such a thought and cry: “Heresy!” Therefore we need to be sober and serious about our salvation.

    Alexander

  241. aBasnar says:

    A few examples for continuous salvation or futur aspects of salvation:

    Joh 1:16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

    Not just once, but over and over again.

    2Co 6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
    2Co 6:2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

    Paul speaks of receiving God’s Grace in the Present Tense here. It is something we receive … Today, because NOW is the day of salvation, no matter how long ago we have been baptized. We receive God’s Grace all days during our journey.

    Jas 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

    We receive His word continuously, and we have to deal ith our sin also continually. And this word will save our souls, regardless how long ago it is we have received it for the first time. It is an ongoing process.

    1Ti 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    Again, salvation is a work in progress.

    That’s just a sample of tzexts that point to present and future aspects of salvation. they are as true as Eph 2:8-10. The HAVE BEEN SAVED is undebatable, but we need to understand that this points to the past aspect of salvation, our “crossing of the Red Sea”. The other texts speak of our PRESENT and FUTURE salvation, and they are essential to grasp wht kind of assurance Christ offers and what kind of assurance He does not offer.

    Alexander

  242. Royce Ogle says:

    John 10 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
    26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
    27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
    28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
    29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
    30 I and the Father are one.”
    31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

    Never.perish means never perish. His sheep are a gift to the Son by the Father. They know him and will not fowwow another. They are safe in the Father’s hand. This is security like no other. I do not trust myself. I trust only He who is trustworthy.

  243. aBasnar says:

    But dependent on following Christ, Royce. We are secure when we remain with Him. This is a promise based on a liftelong relationship.
    Second: It is about “aggression” from outside. It says nothing about the sheep going astray themselves. This we can do, and it does happen. There is no life unless we ramain/abide in Him.

    Alexander

  244. Price says:

    Doug, did your question to Alexander, Ray and Laymond assume that they weren’t going to out right reject Jesus as Lord? There seems to be some confusion. I thought your question was aimed at the person who is in their own mind doing what they believe is right..and humbly admitting that they are indeed not perfect….

  245. Ray Downen says:

    It is suggested:

    Author: Norton
    Comment: Ray, I Cor 6:11 “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.” It seems that the Spirit of God does the same thing that the church does when we baptize in water. Would not that be a baptism in the Spirit?

    The only answer to this question has to be “No, it is not a baptism in the Spirit.” First if Paul is speaking of something done BY the Spirit, it can’t be baptism IN the Spirit which is performed by Jesus. And Paul doesn’t describe the washing or sanctifying as being “the same thing that the church does when we baptize in water.” Paul affirms that for this church age there is only ONE baptism. Why do some try to bring in a second baptism? Do they not believe the apostle? Do they think Paul would affirm there was only one and then speak of another?

    The Spirit is God’s gift to the newborn Christian who was washed and sanctified by a new birth of water and spirit which culminated in water baptism. The giving of the Spirit is to further sanctify and cleanse us sinners, but it is not referred to as being a baptism. The only baptism for the Christian age is in water. It’s performed by people who trust and obey Jesus as their Lord. It’s not performed by Jesus or by His Spirit. The only verse which can be twisted to speak of a baptism by the Spirit (that’s the ONLY verse in apostolic writing) is a mistranslation of 1 Corinthians 12:13 where Paul uses the phrase, “in one spirit” to describe how all Christians accepted baptism into Christ. He’s writing to urge us to love one another and realize we are one body “in Christ.” He is NOT trying to set up a second baptism not spoken of elsewhere in apostolic writings. The “one baptism” in the Christian age has to be the one commanded by Jesus. He’s the boss. No apostle would have contradicted Him by creating a second baptism to compete with the one commanded by the Lord Jesus. And if it were a second baptism which was “in the one Spirit,” it would have to be performed by Jesus for no one but He could possibly perform a baptism IN the Spirit. Do we see that Jesus commanded that baptism is to be administered by human hands? Why would some now try to bring in a second baptism to confuse the unity sought by Jesus for His one body? Was not Paul writing in the Corinthian letters to urge the believers in Jesus to love one another and recognize that they formed ONE body?

  246. Ray Downen says:

    Price wrote, and we may have earlier pointed out something about it, but in case we didn’t:

    Author: Price
    Comment: Anybody… The argument has been made that when the scripture says that we are saved by grace through faith, that it doesn’t mean that we are saved by grace through faith ONLY… I thought that was a rather odd way of looking at scripture.

    What Price is reading into the statement is an “alone” or “only.” Saved by faith alone. If this were the only passage which spoke to the question of how salvation comes, we might well read the “alone” into it and be understanding it rightly. But the passage is by no means alone in treating the subject. If anyone wants to understand HOW Jesus saves, the subject needs to be looked at through other passages than only this one.

    Jesus does save. We all see that Jesus is Savior of all who turn to Him and obey Him as Lord. In writing to brethren in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul makes clear his understanding that only those who “obey the gospel” will be saved. It’s Paul who wrote the passage quoted above. Price wants it to be a claim by the apostle Paul that all it takes to be saved is to believe in Jesus as Lord. So we need to question whether or not Paul taught that all it takes to be saved is to believe in Jesus, as Price reads the passage to teach.

    So I suggest the second passage on the subject. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 about the final judgment and makes clear that only those will be saved who have obeyed the gospel. Whatever “obeying the gospel” entails, it’s surely more than just changing your mind, your beliefs. So then we might bring into the study Galatians 3:26,27 where the apostle speaks of the change from sinner to saint. It does, he says, involved faith. But is it faith alone? No, verse 27 makes clear that it’s in baptism that the sinner is brought “into Christ.” So, does Paul believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone? He surely does not. Several other passages could be added, but why would they be needed? Paul does not teach that sinners are saved by grace through faith alone! The new birth is not simply changing your mind. It’s taking an action called for by Jesus Himself, based on a change of loyalty to make Jesus Lord of your life. Does anyone need additional proof? I invite you to read the study available on the internet at http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf.

  247. I wonder if, in our sharing of the Gospel to unbelievers, we trouble ourselves to really explain (or understand ourselves) the significance of water baptism, beyond a cursory explanation. Certainly, those who think they are saved by baptism simply teach their view. As for the rest of us, do we bother to make sure people understand why they are performing this old Jewish ritual or are we satisfied that they “just do it”? I try to put myself in the place of the new believer, and wonder just what the big deal is about a Gentile undergoing the mikvah? I would be baptized simply because Jesus called for it, and because everybody says it’s important, but I would hope for more.

    I know that if the Christians were demanding that I submit to circumcision, rather than baptism, they would sure have to do a MUCH better job clarifying the importance of that ritual before I “just did it”.

  248. Ray Downen says:

    Price makes a point (I think), but I don’t see what his point is, I’m sorry to say.

    Based on the logic of some comments that suggest we establish our understanding of God’s instructions by ONLY listening to and abiding by the examples, commands or instructions that are limited by the use of the word ONLY..the above passages are all we MUST do as is written. Except for the above passages (or others that you might find that I have missed) we can add our own interpretation and/or discretion as to whether we should do it or not. Does that make sense? Are the above passages the only instructions that we have received in the entire N.T. to which we feel an obligation to follow ?? Whether or not the discretionary use of this hermeneutic is by happenstance accurate in one instance does not make it a reliable and consistent pattern of determining how one might go about understanding scripture. If it can’t be used consistently, should it be used at all ?? Or is it reasonable to make up things as you go to suit one’s own private interpretation?

    He is responding to my pointing out that he is adding an “alone” or “only” to a statement by Paul, and thereby making Paul seem to say something other than what he actually said. I surely agree that we should be consistent in never adding words and claiming that with the addition, the apostle has said what we want the apostle to have said. Is Price agreeing? I can’t tell. I think what he wants us all to agree with is that Paul teaches that we are saved by grace through faith (alone), since he says we are saved by grace through faith. But faith causes us to obey the gospel and be saved by obeying the gospel. The faith itself doesn’t save by itself. It’s as the faith results in obedience that we have saved ourselves as Peter urged sinners in Acts 2 to do.

    So my point is that we are NOT saved by faith alone (or by grace through faith alone). The offer of salvation is by God’s grace. He didn’t need to offer salvation. He loves us so does offer us salvation based on faith and obedience to what the gospel requires. I’m sorry that some suppose that faith alone is sufficient for salvation in Jesus. He never makes such a proposal or invitation. Because of grace, salvation is offered. But when sinners inquire as to what response is needed, they are never told in the apostolic writings at least that what they need to do is to “only believe.” Many people today who claim to know Jesus do make the promise that if the sinner will only pray a “sinner’s prayer,” that Jesus will save them then and there. But that is not at all what sinners need to do to be saved by Jesus.

  249. Royce Ogle says:

    The really important thing behind what has become this very boring back and forth is two viewpoints of what Jesus actually accomished on the cross. Ray makes water baptism more powerful than Jesus and that is frankly insulting. The idea that the one in whom is all power in heaven and in earth, and the one who willingly died and was raised out of death can’t justify a sinner without a church of Christ person and several gallons of water is astonishing. Jesus who is the great I AM in the Bible is seen by some here as a man who must wait to see if a sinner is correctly baptized and if he lives good enough to see if he can be saved. God is stripped of his eternal attributes and is not Lord at all. I am thankful there is a growing number of coc people coming out of self righteousness into the grace and truth of Jeses. Keep trusting yourself and you will fall. You better run to Jesus and seek Him with all your heart. Only he can make a sinner fit for heaven. Not rites, not rules, but his life giving grace.

  250. Ray Downen says:

    Alexander suggests we learn about salvation in Jesus by looking back to an Old Testament experience. He writes,

    In the end those who did what needed to be done were saved, but not out of their own works alone. Without God’s continuous salvation all of their works and combined effort would not have been enough to even survive a week in the wilderness. Think this through, Price. It is a paradigm shift away from a “punctual” understanding of salvation to a “processual” understanding of salvation. But after that, you’ll see, scripture makes so much more sense, and you will experience a different, yet deepened confidence in God’s power to save. — Alexander

    Alexander has a good point that salvation in Jesus depends on what HE did and also on what WE do. He overlooks the truth that only two adults who were baptized into Moses survived to enter the promised land. But the point is good that we depend entirely upon God’s grace and the sacrificial atoning death of Jesus in order for us to be saved. But those who seek salvation in Jesus are converted by way of a new birth of water and spirit. Peter invites sinners to save themselves by repenting and being baptized. Some suppose Peter was wrong. They know better than Peter did what sinners must do to enter the kingdom. They boldly state that their way is better than the way the apostle points out. They are surely to be commended as being brave. But is it wise to think oneself better and more knowledgable than the Lord’s apostle?

  251. Price says:

    My guess is that Ray sees the point much more clearly than he wishes to. It seems he does acknowledge that we shouldn’t attempt to use a method of interpreting scripture which is inconsistent and only works when one wants to make it work to support their own personal point of view. I believe that is what he is doing when he chooses to apply a bizarre and highly questionable theory to being “saved by Grace through Faith” to somehow show that it doesn’t mean what it says at all.

    I have also shown him the scriptural definition of “obeying the gospel” as believing which he continues to ignore in favor or his own personal definition which is noticeably absent from scripture.

    One has to wonder how much weight to give a theory of salvation that is critically dependent on the use of highly questionable, inconsistent and flawed interpretive theory and the use of definitions that are imagined rather than taken directly from scripture. Surely, there is another way to defend one’s basis of belief in something so important as one’s eternal salvation. And sure Acts 2:38 isn’t the only verse in the Bible upon which one might expect to rely to confirm one’s understanding of the instructions and examples given us. In fact, one’s understanding of one passage should be supported by other’s that discuss the same subject matter. If not, then either the passages are in conflict and neither can be relied on or, one must adapt his/her understanding of what the passages communicate.. IMHO

  252. Ray Downen says:

    Charles McLean writes,

    Author: Charles McLean
    Comment: Alexander, I would note that you do not so abhor “black and white” discussions as to avoid just such conclusions about exactly when one becomes born again. If I may borrow your analogy, the child who is begotten and has not yet been born (a completely extrabiblical extension of the metaphor, but let that ride) is ALREADY a child of his father. He experiences no change of status just for hitting the atmosphere. Cornelius was not simultaneously filled with the Spirit AND “dead in trespasses and sin”. This is a simple absurdity. These are mutually-exclusive states of being. You seem to suggest a transitional phase during which Cornelius was both alive and dead, filled with the Spirit and damned for his sins. (Or perhaps he was neither?) I’m going to need some biblical support for this idea. Your statement seems to suggest that Cornelius was rather like Pinocchio, and was not a “real boy” until Peter dunked him. Sorry, but you have consistently opined a black-and-white point at which we are saved –immersion– so the problem is not that the discussion is black and white, but that I find your definition implausible in the face of this event.

    I affirm that the sign given to persuade the apostles and other church leaders that Cornelius and all Gentiles were suitable for baptism into Christ did not empower these Gentiles in any way as the baptism in the Spirit empowered the apostles. It did not save the Gentiles, as some are imagining. Nothing in the record indicates these Gentiles were saved by the giving of the Spirit prior to their baptism. Some are claiming they were immediately saved. There’s no reason any Bible student should get that opinion based on what Luke wrote. The angel said they would be saved by the MESSAGE Peter brought. Peter didn’t have the Spirit in his hip pocket. He brought a message of how sinners are brought into Christ and therefore saved. Gentiles were not prior to that day ever considered suitable candidates for baptism. God gave several signs, including this major one of providing a sign on the day (all that’s mentioned is that of tongue-speaking) that Peter arrived and shared the truth which was that Jesus saves and offers salvation to anyone who will respond by obeying the gospel. The Gentiles were baptized just like anyone else finally. And that’s when they received the “gift of the Spirit” which is promised to all new converts to Jesus.

  253. Doug says:

    Price, I thought I was pretty clear in my question: “I guess I’m still wondering how I can feel sure about my eternal security if, after putting on Christ in baptism, the Christian Life I lead is part of the determining of that eternal security?”. So yes, if one is living a Christian Life there is no outright rejection of Jesus Christ but they are rather living more or less what we’d call a typical Christian life… going to church, putting some money in the offering plate, taking communion, doing some undefined level of Christian work… they may have more Christian works or less Christian works than some other Christians. I am not sure what Alexander means by a Evangelical position but it may mean “once in grace, always in grace”. That is NOT the situation that I was discussing. I don’t know if that changes anything that side of the debate has said thus far but so far, the vibes I am getting from them are vibes of uncertainty about their salvation.

    In summary, what I have heard so far is that both sides of this debate believe that we ought to do the same things with regard to repentance and conversion and living a Christian life. But one side believes that their salvation is secure because of their faith in Jesus and the other side believes that their salvation is dependent upon their faith in Jesus AND their life lived. With the exception of Ray and based on what he wrote, I still don’t see how they can feel secure in their eternal salvation based on those beliefs.

  254. Price says:

    Royce… I happened to read this passage this morning in church… I think it underscores your most recent remarks.

    Romans 3:20-28 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, (Wow !!) since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through FAITH in Jesus Christ for all who believe. (Pretty Simple) For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, (A gift that is not earned?) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (should it say Christ alone?) whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by FAITH. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has FAITH in Jesus.
    Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the LAW OF FAITH. (Is there a law of Faith Alone?) For we hold that one is justified by FAITH apart from works of the law.

    If the Gospel isn’t about Jesus ALONE, then the story isn’t worth telling..IMHO

  255. Norton says:

    Ray

    I do not think baptism by/in/with the Spirit is a second baptism any more than I think being born of the Spirit is a second rebirth. Your argument that the one baptism in water excludes baptism in the Spirit is consistence only if you interpret “born of water and the Spirit” as being two seperate rebirths.

  256. Price says:

    Ray: “I affirm that the sign given to persuade the apostles and other church leaders that Cornelius and all Gentiles were suitable for baptism into Christ did not empower these Gentiles in any way as the baptism in the Spirit empowered the apostles.”

    Peter: “If then God gave the SAME GIFT to them as he gave to us when we BELIEVED in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”

    Paul (I Cor 12) Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; … All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

    Ray: “It did not save the Gentiles, as some are imagining. ”

    Peter: “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives FORGIVENESS OF SINS through his name. While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.”

    Ray: “Nothing in the record indicates these Gentiles were saved by the giving of the Spirit prior to their baptism”

    Peter: “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives FORGIVENESS OF SINS through his name.

    Paul:(Romans 8) “anyone who does not have the Spirit does not belong to Christ”

    Ray: “Peter didn’t have the Spirit in his hip pocket. ”
    Price: Peter doesn’t give the Spirit…God does Ray.

    Ray: “He brought a message of how sinners are brought into Christ and therefore saved. ”

    Peter: “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    Ray:”The Gentiles were baptized just like anyone else finally. And that’s when they received the “gift of the Spirit” which is promised to all new converts to Jesus.”

    Peter: “”Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who HAVE received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

    Peter: “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

  257. Larry Cheek says:

    Price, and possibly others,
    As I read time and time again the message that you portray about the Spirit being given to Cornelius and his family and insistence that they were forgiven of their sins and saved at that exact point in time prior to water baptism. The Spirit was given as interruption of the message that Peter was delivering, the very next words from Peter were to continue to the message that he was sent to preach to the Gentiles which as you know included baptism in water. Now, as I also understand in other of your communications, you believe that baptism is something that all must do. I understand that you believe that in all the accounts in the scriptures of men turning to or accepting Christ their sins were forgiven and they were saved the moment that they became believers. I am not sure how many accounts that you have found record of after Pentecost that display the message given, and the response by a lost individual to the Gospel of Christ. I have only found eight. Each of these contained all of the factors that are essential to entrance into the kingdom. I have seen a pattern or a design of events that each fulfilled in arriving into the kingdom. Not, that one was accomplished any different than another. As I understand your portrayal of the Gentile account, it has taken on a different pattern. The portion of this account that I have a problem with is, understanding how your interpretation is in synchronized with the message of Christ to Nicodemus in the following.
    (John 3:3 NIV) In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
    Jesus has specified that both elements are required to see or enter the kingdom. Are you attempting to say that a man is saved outside the kingdom? Then later when he is baptized in water would he be able to see or enter the kingdom?
    You have described one account in which you claim supports that forgiveness of sins and salvation proceeded baptism. You also totally destroy the message that Peter the same apostle that was speaking to the Gentiles made in 1 Peter 3:21
    (1 Pet 3:21 KJV) 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:
    (1 Pet 3:21 NRSV) And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    (1 Pet 3:21 NIV) 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,
    In a previous response you identified that baptism does not wash away sins. You attempted to connect (sin) with the message about dirt, but keeping the message in context dirt does not refer to sin. The context of dirt here is in relationship as to washing the body as to a bath.

    If you will search the scriptures for all forms of belie* and bapt* the results follow from NIV.

    (Mat 21:25 NIV) John’s baptism–where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’

    (Mark 16:15 NIV) He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
    (Mark 16:16 NIV) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

    Will these signs accompany those who believe that have not participated in the actions that are in the previous verses?

    (Acts 8:10 NIV) and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

    When these people believed, was it stated that they were saved?

    (Acts 8:13 NIV) Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

    (Acts 16:14 NIV) One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
    If you keep this in context, when did Lydia believe? Does it seem by her own admission that she was confident in her belief before she was baptized? Did Paul even ask her of her belief, prior to baptism? If he had why would she have asked the question?

    (Acts 18:7 NIV) Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

    (Acts 19:4 NIV) Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

    I believe that in the overwhelming communications in the scriptures that baptism in water and the Spirit is the action that all participated in after Pentecost that completed the command from Jesus for entry into the kingdom.
    I believe that Jesus own words state that the failure to complete that action leaves an individual outside the kingdom. Which is the exact goal of the master deceiver, this is his last opportunity to abort the new birth of the borne again procedure. This action resembles the birth process of a baby, hearing, believing, and repenting being similar to conception and maturing until the time of the birth. The spirit is said to be dead while separated from God and only alive after the new birth. If Satan can convince anyone not to be baptized, he has caused the abortion of that life.

  258. laymond says:

    Good lesson, Larry.
    Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.

    Do I actually believe that the snake in the desert, saved those who were bitten- NO. Do I believe Jesus saved us, without the help of God-NO. Do I believe the water of baptism, actually saves us-NO
    Without my belief, and faith in the powers of God, I would have no base to believe any of those things.
    Isa 12:2 Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation.
    Isa 45:5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
    Isa 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.

    Unless we first and foremost believe this there is no belief possible in Jesus Christ, or Baptism, nor the snake in the desert.

  259. laymond says:

    Price said the following, which, he said was in agreement with what Royce had said, and I understand it to be.
    “If the Gospel isn’t about Jesus ALONE, then the story isn’t worth telling..IMHO”
    Jhn 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    Jhn 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    Price do you believe the story of ” the serpent in the wilderness” was all about the snake?

    Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
    Jhn 5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

  260. Ray Downen says:

    Royce thinks God picks out who can be saved, it seems. Oddly, Jesus thought the Word should be carried throughout the world by people. Why would that be when God’s going to pick out who can be saved?

  261. Ray Downen says:

    Norton:

    Author: Norton
    Comment: Ray, “When Paul specifies that in the Christian system there is ONE baptism, I believe that means there is ONE baptism.” If baptism in water and baptism in the Spirit constitutes two baptisms, then do you believe that a man must be reborn twice, once of water and once of the Spirit, to see the kingdom?

    RAY: Thanks for asking. I believe that apostolic teaching calls for one rebirth, which is of water and spirit. As a result of the new birth of water and spirit, God gifts the new Christian with His Spirit. This is not a baptism in or by the Spirit. There is ONE baptism in the Christian system. It’s the baptism in water which Jesus commands shall accompany conversion and, following believing the gospel and repentance, effect conversion.

  262. Ray Downen says:

    Charles McLean speaks of baptism into Christ as this old Jewish ritual that he thinks is hard to understand. If we understand that this ritual is commanded by JESUS, are we apt to describe it as “this old Jewish ritual” as if “we” just borrowed it from Jewish practice? Paul who was Saul describes it well in Romans chapter six, for those who have difficulty understanding the purpose and practice of the new birth of water and spirit. It pictures the burial and resurrection of JESUS and our own death to sin and rising to walk in new life. Terribly difficult to explain, isn’t it? Or is it?

  263. Ray Downen says:

    One writer suggests,

    Ray makes water baptism more powerful than Jesus and that is frankly insulting.

    And I find the statement insulting and ridiculous. It’s JESUS who makes baptism essential for salvation. It’s JESUS who commands baptism. It’s unbelievers who deny that baptism is essential for salvation and who want to replace it with a “sinner’s prayer” or the like. The call for Christian action is that we are throughout the world to tell others about Jesus and to BAPTIZE those who believe. Woe to those who think they know more than Jesus knows about how sinners are saved by Him.

  264. Ray Downen says:

    Price proclaims,

    “Author: Price
    Comment: My guess is that Ray sees the point much more clearly than he wishes to. It seems he does acknowledge that we shouldn’t attempt to use a method of interpreting scripture which is inconsistent and only works when one wants to make it work to support their own personal point of view.”

    What I see clearly is that Jesus commands baptism for all who seek to enter His kingdom, and His apostles understood the command and obeyed it, and we now have a plethora of people who think they know more than Jesus and His apostles about how sinners become followers of the Way. What a pity that anyone would suppose they can improve on God’s plan for sinners to be saved and to then live with Jesus as faithful disciples. The gospel is for all. God doesn’t pick out who can obey the gospel. God doesn’t decide who will remain faithful. He knows ahead of time, but we have freedom of choice. That He knows what choices we will make does not mean that He forces us to decide as we do. Indeed, He invites all to live eternally. I imagine that anyone who thinks he knows more about my belief than I do may not have visited my web site or spent any time considering the many studies offered there. http://missionoutreach.org is the link.

  265. Ray Downen says:

    Price is thrilled to read of salvation apart from works. He quotes, Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the LAW OF FAITH. (Is there a law of Faith Alone?) For we hold that one is justified by FAITH apart from works of the law. And then he decides, If the Gospel isn’t about Jesus ALONE, then the story isn’t worth telling..IMHO

    And Price fails to note that the contrast is between salvation by keeping works of the law and being saved apart from the law (of Moses). Christians are urged to live for Jesus rather than for themselves. To love others more than self. To serve rather demand being served. And to live for Jesus. It matters how we live. We who are in Christ will be judged for eternity by how we lived here on earth. Should we then ignore what Jesus taught? Or should we study the Word in order to learn more and more about Him and His desires for us? Should we gather with other believers as often as possible, or can we “go to church” just when we must? Should we testify to non-believers about the One who loves them and can save them from eternal death? We are called to SERVE the Lord daily as long as we live. And I point to the way in which JESUS says we become part of His kingdom. Others say their way is better. I say His is the only way that leads to life. And that’s by obeying the gospel, then living for Jesus as best we are able through the rest of our lives. Some seem to doubt that I have pointed out what obeying the gospel means. Others realize that they just weren’t listening. Faith alone is dead. We are not saved by faith alone. Peter early explained exactly how seeking sinners are saved. Why are some so determined to not believe him?

  266. Ray Downen says:

    Norton, how I wish you would read the study available on my web site rather than telling me what I believe or don’t believe. You write,
    Author: Norton
    Comment: Ray. I do not think baptism by/in/with the Spirit is a second baptism any more than I think being born of the Spirit is a second rebirth. Your argument that the one baptism in water excludes baptism in the Spirit is consistence only if you interpret “born of water and the Spirit” as being two seperate rebirths.

    Do we think two equals one and that somehow we can pronounce that a second thing is the same as the first which is different? Who did Jesus say should perform baptism of new converts to Him? That’s not a difficult question. The answer is that those who TELL the convert about Jesus are to baptize those who believe. Who can baptize in the Spirit? Only Jesus can baptize in the Spirit. The inspired writers know nothing about any baptism BY the Spirit. But there is a baptism performed by Jesus IN the Spirit. It was reserved for the apostles alone, as is evident from the revealed fact that it was only the apostles who performed miracles after the baptisms in the Spirit. Jesus had told them they would be empowered BY the baptism. They were. No one else was.

    I have stated clearly that there is nothing taught in apostolic writing about any new birth of water and the Spirit. The new birth of which Jesus spoke was a new birth of water and spirit. How can we know this? By seeing how Peter explains it in Acts 2:38. It’s a spiritual revolution. A change in the human spirit which he calls repentance. A change of masters. Now the one reborn will serve Jesus as Lord. Before he served self or Satan. Now He serves Jesus. The new birth (one birth) is of water and spirit. It’s repenting and being baptized in water as Jesus commanded was to be done. And He said nothing about the water being magic. The change is in the human spirit which has turned from love of self to love of Jesus the Christ, with the new birth being completed by the act of burying the old man of sin and letting a new creature be raised up out of the baptismal water. When the babe in Christ is born, God GIFTS the new Christian with His Spirit, Peter promises. Do you believe it? Then don’t try to get the gift of the Spirit ahead of when the gift is promised!

  267. Ray Downen says:

    Price is sure that sinners are born of Christ through faith alone. He’s wrong, of course. What does the verse say? It says that “everyone who BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… doesn’t matter to whom it was said, it’s still truth. Cornelius believed and he was born…not partially born. It does NOT say that everyone who is baptized… Surely you’re not suggesting that those that had become Christians through water baptism must now believe to be born of God !!!

    What is said or written must be understood in the light of sensible rules of right reading. If a writer is attempting to state that salvation is by faith alone, that could be what is meant if he writes, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” But we understand Bible passages partly by how they fit in the overall scheme of teaching. We understand that the writer was NOT in this passage speaking of how sinners are converted and saved, but pointing out instead that it’s in JESUS that life can be found. But Jesus commands baptism. Why do some want to suppose He didn’t know what sinners needed to do to be saved? Jesus sent His Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth. The apostles taught that sinners needed new birth of water and spirit, as described by Peter in Acts 2:38. Therefore, we do NOT insert an “only” into the statement, as Price wants to do. If we believe Jesus we will accept the baptism He commands. Only if we believe Jesus is there reason to be baptized. But it’s tragic to teach against what the Lord commands, and some surely choose to do so!

  268. Ray Downen says:

    We’ve discussed and cussed about the purpose of baptism. Price wrote So, when you say that the purpose of the narrative of Cornelius’ conversion was different because it was a sign to the Jews that it was OK to baptize them may be correct but that doesn’t take away from the unambiguous statement by Peter that faith in Jesus resulted in the forgiveness of sin. It would be odd for Peter to make this statement if he believed that only baptism did that. It would be odd for any disciple to claim that only baptism saves. It’s equally odd for any disciple, in the light of what the apostles taught and practiced, to say that faith without baptism saves. It’s peculiar for anyone to assume that baptism is necessary but doesn’t accomplish anything.

    But it is good that some realize that baptism alone is of no more use for salvation than faith alone. I know someone who thought baptism (of a believer in Jesus) would wash away sin. I now know others who think it doesn’t do so. I know someone who thought baptism (as part of the new birth of water and spirit based on faith in Jesus) SAVES. I now know several who question that fact. We do live and learn. It has been thrilling to read notes by brothers (and sisters?) who understand Bible truth and don’t try to write out parts of the new birth of water and spirit but just accept it as written.

    Do some imagine we are saved by grace alone? They say they believe that, I think. But in fact they insist that the one receiving grace must believe. Yet they are sure that the belief which saves through grace is not alone. And some day the saved person must be baptized, they say. But of course the person is already saved so baptism surely is NOT the burial of a man of sin. It’s burying a newborn. So since it’s not burying a dead person, then the Christian must die in the water. Yes? And be reborn again? Why would we want to bury a live person? Does that make good sense? No, it’s a person dead in sin who is buried. It’s a Christian who has been raised up into new life. Note what Paul writes about baptism in early verses of chapter six of Romans.

  269. Ray Downen says:

    Royce says something strange, it seems to me. I never have said, but he says I frequently say that baptism is all it takes to obey the gospel. Is there any sane person familiar with the Restoration Movement and especially the churches of Christ who does not know what the term “Obey the gospel” means? It ALWAYS means water baptism. No, I’m sane and I assure you it does NOT ever mean water baptism alone, which is what you have written. What I teach is what the Bible teaches, which is that to enter the kingdom of Christ it is necessary to be reborn of water AND spirit. Peter describes this as repenting AND being baptized, but never is it claimed that baptism alone saves except for the one reference by Peter that compares what happened in Noah’s flood with the fact that we now are saved by baptism. He there does not mention the full new birth. But that’s the exception, not the rule. I never intentionally credit baptism alone with saving any sinner. It’s the culmination of the new birth which saves. It’s NOT baptism alone which saves. Please don’t misunderstand or misquote me! We are begotten by hearing the word about Jesus. If we believe His call to turn away from sin and accept HIM as our Lord, then we can be baptized. The baptism brings us INTO Christ, says Paul. But only as part of the new birth of water AND spirit, never baptism alone. I do not teach, nor do others teach to my knowledge as alleged, that baptism ALONE is obeying the gospel.

  270. Nancy says:

    You are the exception then Ray….my nearly 50 yrs. experience with various CofC’s has been that “obeying the gospel” equals immersion for the repentance of sins in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    You might wanna ask around to see what the others are teaching just to be sure.

  271. Nancy says:

    oops…meant for the remission of sins.

  272. Alabama John says:

    We teach you must hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. These are the 5 acts.

    To make the baptizing right, the one being baptized must beforehand make the good confession that they believe Jesus is Gods Son.

    The one doing the baptizing must be correct by saying you are being baptized for remission or forgiveness of your sins and in the name and by the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    Just going down in the water without this being done and said and agreed to is just getting wet.

    Those that were baptized into a denominational churches membership must do it over correctly to be a Christian.

  273. Price says:

    Uncle….

  274. Royce Ogle says:

    Sorry if I misquoted you Ray. You are the very first person I have ever heard of who doesn’t water baptism when the uses the phrase often “obey the gospel”.

    Are you aware that the nature of biblical “faith” is that it always is obedient? A belief that doesn’t include action is only mental assent and is not faith.

    Have you ever wondered hoe many people God saved between the day of Pentecost and when Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles and it was distributed? I’d say there were multitudes who were saved and never heard of a 5 step plan. The passages used to prove up those points were not written and distributed for several years either.

    Now that I think about it some coc doctrine didn’t. begin in the first century, it was in the early 1950′s before some of it was heard.

    Well I guess I agree with Price who said “Uncle”. Lol. I feel like I’ve been water boarded. ( no pun intended) :)

  275. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John said,
    The one doing the baptizing must be correct by saying you are being baptized for remission or forgiveness of your sins and in the name and by the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
    Brother, I taught that concept for years. I have been challenged to prove that anyone in the scriptures was told to, or an example of one using a formula for the baptizer to say before or during the act of baptizing. My searches have shown that there are no instructions in scripture that direct who is to perform or what they are to say at a baptism. I remember that Ray has mentioned several times that Christians, the one that has taught was given the responsibility to baptize. Of course we should remember that Christ told the apostles to baptize. What I have found is that the one being baptized is to understand the purpose and by whose authority it is being done. If the one being baptized understands the words or lack of words spoken by the baptizer does not alter the baptism in any way. In fact, I can remember a time when Bibles were flown into areas where Christians could not go, they were dropped from the air into populated areas. The intentions were that people in those areas could read and learn of God, directly from his word. But, if they learned what Christ and the apostles taught about baptism, how could they obey the instructions. Well, brother I am sure that if you will do a careful study with an open mind looking for instructions about this action . You will come to the same conclusion as I have found, that the one being baptized is all that matters to Christ. If an individual anywhere read the scriptures and decided to be baptized, the action of placing that individual under the water could be performed by anyone, Christian, non-Christian, atheist, or whoever that individual could convince to do the action. The action in baptism is only between the individual and the Lord. The borne again action is totally the Lord’s. No man that immerses the individual is in control of any part of that action, other than the immersion.
    If this is not true and you find scriptures that that can prove your point. I’ll gladly accept what can be proven.

  276. Larry Cheek says:

    Nancy,
    I too have been listening to CoC teaching for over 60 years. Obeying the Gospel as I understood it being taught was Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing your faith and baptism was then the completion of all of the instructions that required by all eight of the examples in Acts of the Apostles. Upon this Obedience the Lord added the saved to the kingdom. Acts 2:47.

  277. aBasnar says:

    There is nothing wrong with these five acts. Which of these can be omitted?

    Hearing? … no.
    Faith? … no.
    Repentance? … no.
    Confession? … no.
    Baptism? … weeeeelllll …

    Of course such “lists” look like a burden to some. Isnt’t there more flexibilty? Do we have to go by a list? Isn’t that “legalistic”? What they are inteded to be, however, is a summary of essentials, so we don’t miss out on anything. In modern day evangelism a lot is being left out. The Gospel is not presented in its fulness, so faith rests on only half of the message. Often the point is “Jesus will make you happy”, therefore repentance is – if it occurs at all – shallow and superficial. And who the heck needs baptism? Such conversions lack A LOT.

    Therefore I don’t scoff at these 5 steps of salvation, knowing they describe only what is necessary for a conversion. Have you ever heard the term irreducible complexity? It’s from “intelligent design” and says: Unless there are a minimum of certain elements (e.g.) a moustrap or a knee would not work. These elements must be there in place at the same time in order to make the system work.

    Again and again baptism is taken out of such lists. Be it Eph 4:4-6 – of course we need not debate the “one baptism” when speaking of fellowship with Christians from other denomination. What has the “one baptism” to do with unity? (sarcasm intended). The same with these perfectly scriptural five steps of conversion. No Evangelical, not even Price or Royce, would claim that the first 4 steps are debatable. What they do, they take baptism out of these five steps and “postpone” it as an important testimony that someone HAS BEEN saved, stating that baptism does not add to the salvation that only comes by grace through faith. That’s perfectly Evangelical, but it is not scriptural.

    Oh, of course there are numerous proof texts fortheir position. You know, a cake only needs raisins! I can proove it by picking out raisin after raisin from a cake: “See, a raisin!” And there are about 150 verses that speak of slavtion by faith, aren’t there? And they settle the matter: Salvation is by raisins (alone). This. brothers, does not work. Even an English Christmas Pudding needs more than just raisins …

    Alexander

  278. Price says:

    Alexander…It’s always nice to find out what you right wing conservative radicals call people like me and Royce. It changes from time to time but we appreciate you keeping us up to date. We wouldn’t want people labeling us incorrectly.

    Here’s how Paul summed up the “plan of salvation” ..

    Rom 10:8-17 ESV – [8] But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); [9] because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. [11] For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [12] For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. [13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [14] How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? [15] And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” [16] But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” [17] So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    I guess Paul didn’t know much about English Pudding…He forgot your raisins.

    Oh, I was so disappointed when I reread this passage the other day… Jhn 14:6 ESV – [6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Had it said that….. I am the ONLY way, and the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life….No one comes to the Father except through me ONLY…. then I could have counted on it as fact. Such a shame..it was such a foundational passage. Utter foolishness.

  279. Alabama John says:

    Uncle!

  280. Alabama John says:

    Price,
    We both cry uncle. You to my meaning and me to yours!
    You see to stick with either position there are texts that support that position. Neither one is correct or wrong but debates have raged for 100′s of years with no conclusion. Thank God at judgment God will look at the heart instead of a list.
    The COC position has been that baptism must be for forgiveness of sins and not like the baptist and most others that require baptism in order to be accepted as a member of their denomination.
    The COC always has stated, that there is no Baptism whos purpose is a joining. God ADDs you to His church at a correct Baptism, for cleansing one of all sins so they stand white as snow, and those that have been baptized otherwise must be Baptized with the correct purpose in order to be ADDED to the one true church by God.
    That has been the teaching up until the liberal movement of which many have joined.
    Someone mentioned dropping Bibles from an airplane to people in jungles.
    The thinking has always been that if you later came upon one of those folks, since they had no one to misdirect their thinking they would be worshiping just like us in the COC.
    Don’t you think we all are products to a big extent of how we were taught as we grew up? God will take that in consideration at judgment day I’m sure.

  281. Price says:

    A.J. I find it incredible that we could get to name calling and labeling over WHY one is baptized. No one on here as argued for not being baptized. It’s clear it’s a commandment. It doesn’t bother me so badly that someone would disagree with my understanding, as they might be using extremely good judgement not to agree with me but I do have a problem being castigated because I don’t agree with their opinion. IMHO that is most often the cause for what seems like an endless series of “splits” within the CoC. Each “group” has to have 100% commitment or they are sent packing to the next “group” that will accept them. Seems to me there is a much larger middle ground that would include all of us who are imperfect in our understanding of some of the particulars but have a unwavering loyalty to Jesus Christ as Lord.

    Luke 9 comes to mind.. John asks Jesus to stop people from telling others about Jesus because the weren’t apart of “us.” Jesus says, “”Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” Sometimes, it seems that we treat each other as enemies rather than brothers and sisters in Christ and the real enemy is laughing. The moment we begin to attack each other because they don’t agree exactly with “us” I think we are missing the mark. What binds us together is Jesus and if He was OK with our different associations, I don’t understand why we wouldn’t be.

    That’s not to say that we can’t or shouldn’t at times disagree. Iron sharpens iron. But, my guess is that it could be done in a much more polite manner. But, that is what I’m telling myself. Others will have to come to their own conclusions.

  282. aBasnar says:

    Why do you call it “name calling” when I state that you theology is maionline Evangelicalism? That’s a category you over and over demand to be put in, so I did you that favor …

    Alexander

  283. Ray Downen says:

    Alabama John suggests it matters greatly what the one doing a baptism says during the baptism. I think he’s dead wrong. He wrote,

    To make the baptizing right, the one being baptized must beforehand make the good confession that they believe Jesus is Gods Son. The one doing the baptizing must be correct by saying you are being baptized for remission or forgiveness of your sins and in the name and by the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Just going down in the water without this being done and said and agreed to is just getting wet.

    What’s this about a ghost involved in Christian baptism. Have we begun believing in ghosts? I surely don’t find in my ASV or ESV anything about such animals, and I would never choose to participate in a baptism where the baptizer believed in ghosts. Yet I’ve seen thousands of baptisms into Christ and hope to see many more in future days. I don’t believe what formula is pronounced by the baptizer has anything to do with whether or not the candidate is scripturally baptized. John might do well to notice in Acts what name (names were) was pronounced when converts were baptized in the apostolic age. The fact is that any believer in Jesus as Lord can properly baptize any convert, and what is said as the baptizing is done will make no difference in the fact that baptizing was done.

  284. Doug says:

    Alexander,

    What do YOU mean when you use the word “Evangelical”? I think you are using that word in a way with which we in the USA may be unfamilar. I am familiar with the 4 characteristics and 4 beliefs of Evangelicals but I’m not sure you are talking about the same thing. Are you just empathsizing, the one evangelical belief that salvation is though faith in Jesus and not good works?

  285. Ray Downen says:

    It was written:

    Author: Royce Ogle
    Comment: Sorry if I misquoted you Ray. You are the very first person I have ever heard of who doesn’t water baptism when the uses the phrase often “obey the gospel”. Are you aware that the nature of biblical “faith” is that it always is obedient? A belief that doesn’t include action is only mental assent and is not faith.

    I comment: James will be surprised to learn that he was mistaken. He spoke of dead faith that was faith but did NOT include obedience. Whenever I hear someone defend salvation by faith, I hear them claiming conversion is by faith alone. Faith is all they mention. Obviously they also believe in a “sinner’s prayer” or some equivalent–some act of obedience equally unscriptural. But they almost always stop short of calling for baptism into Christ, perhaps feeling that to allow someone to immerse you would be work and you can’t, they think, mix work with faith and create a saved sinner. I wish I were wrong and that they really do honor Jesus and realize that baptism is required because JESUS commands that converts are to be baptized. But most who believe in salvation by faith (alone) insist that baptism is for some purpose other than the remission of sin and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I must apologize for any of “us” who imagine that God cares greatly what formula is used by the baptizer! The apostles did it in the name of Jesus, as Luke in Acts makes clear.

  286. Ray Downen says:

    Price calls for us to love one another. Good for him. He writes, What binds us together is Jesus and if He was OK with our different associations, I don’t understand why we wouldn’t be. IF He is OK with us is key to whether or not we can work together for Him. We find it difficult to believe that Jesus is O.K. with anyone who claims the baptism He commands is optional or to be done to saved people when HE makes it part of the new birth which brings sinners into His body. We reject false teaching and false practice which is based on wrong thinking and understanding of truth. I once again point readers to my study on this subject, which can be read at http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. We don’t believe Peter was wrong when he answered seekers who sought salvation in Christ. Others obviously disagree with Peter who spoke for Jesus. They seek passages which they interpret to make Peter mistaken. And that’s faith? Pleasing to Jesus? Acceptable?

  287. Ray Downen says:

    Doug suggests that evangelicalism holds to “the one evangelical belief that salvation is though faith in Jesus and not good works?” The problem with faith-only proclaimers sometimes identified as evangelicals is that they believe that salvation is through faith alone and not through obeying the gospel. They imagine that Jesus is pleased when they claim to honor Him but ignore the practice of baptism which He commands and which His apostles clearly show is to be done “for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Some of them imagine the Holy Spirit is the Savior, and He comes when He chooses in order to bring salvation to a sinner. That’s to a selected sinner, a particular sinner, one chosen by God as one of the elect who can be saved. Is there a definition of “evangelical” which is honest and yet different from what I suggest? You can tell I don’t recommend that anyone be an evangelical.

  288. aBasnar says:

    @ Doug

    I was a conventional Evangelical Christian for about 20 years. in Austria, but most of our literature was translated from American authors (scary, huh?). We are therefore familiar with a wide range of authors from Mac Lucado, Bill Hybels, Joyce Meyer and others like Walvoord and Chafer from Dallas Theological Seminary, or John Mac Arthur or William Mac Donald, as well as Gordon Mac Donald, or Josh Mac Dowell to add another “Mac”.

    Yes, and their core message is salvation by grace through faith as opposed to works. And baptism as a mere symbol, in no way necessary or connected to the New Birth. All the basic reasoning of both Price and Royce fit perfectly into the (admittedly) broad spectrum of contemporary Evangelicalism – but they are at odds with a straightforward reading of scripture concerning these issues. And with the whole church of the second and third generation Christians. This does not mean that they are “bad Christians”, they just err in certain areas. They definitely would blend perfectly in a Baptist church, but they stick out like a sore thumb in moderate to conservative churches of Christ.

    And just to mention: I do interact with Christians from many other denominations. Tomorrow I would have gone to a pastors prayer meeting in our district (but I have to be at work tomorrow) – I can and do have fellowship with people from various backgrounds. But we must name things the way they are. Evangelical theology is evangelical theology, and there is a far better approach to scripture than that. And in a church of Christ we should hold fast to what we have learned in respect to salvation, obedience and baptism. We may learn from others in other areas (and certainly should). But here WE have something to contribute.

    Alexander

  289. Doug says:

    Ray, Doug didn’t suggest anything. He simply asked Alexander what he meant when He uses the term “Evangelical’ or refers to “Evangelicalism” as Alexander fequently refers to himself as a former Evangelical and is obviously no longer of the Evangelical tribe. Evangelical might have a different meaning in Austria than it does in America.

  290. Nancy says:

    Ray wrote “Alabama John suggests it matters greatly what the one doing a baptism says during the baptism. I think he’s dead wrong.”

    LOL! Ray, pay attention. AJ was summarizing the conventional CofC party line. I think AJ has moved on from this understanding…am I right AJ?

  291. Doug says:

    Alexander, actually I doubt Price and Royce would ” would blend perfectly in a Baptist church”. I attended a Baptist church a while back where my son-in-law was a member and a young boy answered the alter call. The preacher asked the congregation to raise their hands if they were in favor of allowing the young fellow to join the church. I can’t see Price or Royce fitting into that situation. Incidently, I raised my hand. ;-)

    Nancy, I know a fellow in my church who was telling me about his baptism, as a young boy, at a local Church of Christ. His Dad baptised him but after they got home became concerned that he had left out some of the “required” words. So they went back to the church and re-performed the baptism. You tell me which is the most bizarre, voting on whether to allow a baptism or re-baptising because a word or two was accidently omitted. I’m pretty sure that AJ was just having some fun.

  292. Alabama John says:

    Nancy and Doug,

    You have the Southern sense of humor figured out.

    Hope your comments gets me OK with Ray!

    THANKS!!!

  293. Alabama John says:

    Ray,
    Haven’t you ever seen the one doing the baptizing shake a bible held high in their hand and wave it to and fro when they say the last part naming the Holy Spirit or Ghost? It means by the authority of The Father, Son, and the Bible scriptures which now since he left is the representation of the HS or HG.
    Do you do and say this when baptizing?

    Price,
    We agree a lot! Keep trying!!!Please listen to “The Singing Cookes” singing about us being together or even entering heaven together on you tube. Also the Florida Boys singing “When He was on the cross, I was on His mind”.

    That’s the Jesus and God I want to know better.

  294. Royce Ogle says:

    I’m splitting my sides here. Are you guys now pretending that many conservative coc men do not insist that certain words be said when one is immersed? Are you saying it with a straight face? I saw with my own eyes a so called “conservative brother” (I am not sure he was even a brother..) complain that a baptism was not valid because the youth minister who baptized a young woman was wearing Bermuda shorts, and that he didn’t say the words “for the remission of your sins”. Another man baptized someone else in the same pool and said the required phrase above but they complained about him because he didn’t say “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. (that’s King James as you know Ray, why act as if you didn’t know?)

    I’d like to know where all the Evangelical churches are that omit water baptism? Can someone name some of them?

    It seems very odd, and I’ll say hypocritical, for some of you church of Christ guys to rail against Baptists, and those dreaded “Evangelicals” when any honest person who has been around the Stone-Campbell wing of the Restoration Movement knows that there have been splits and splits and the splinters have split because of absolute ignorance (I’m being kind). Raising hands in the assembly-condemned! Serving communion from the rear of the building-condemned, not authorized. And on and on the flesh led parade marches. All some people need to reach the plateau of self righteousness is a gold embroidered robe and a street corner where they can be seen well.

    If you are saved by your works boys you’d better get after it. I think you are behind the curve.

  295. aBasnar says:

    I admonished a young brother recently leading the Lords supper in Bermudas. There has to be a certain “dignity” in “holy matters”. That such customs/rules of dignity sometimes develop a life of its own, overshadowing their original purpose happens often enough and needs to be addressed, but not at the cost of dignity.

    When you read church history, esp. early church history, you’d not be surprized, because history repeats itself. Because baptism was viewed as and indeed is a saving act, the question soon arose what is a valid baptism. One of the biggest issues in the 200s was whether a baptism by a heretic was valid or not. This let to strong tensions between Rome and Carthage. Another issue was, whether an elder who had denied Christ during persecution could perform valid baptisms. Before you scoff at that, there is a (maybe strange kind of) reasoning behind that: Can one who does not have the Holy Spirit himself transfer the Holy Spirit to others? Seeing that the Spirit was prayed for under laying on of hands, this is a valid concern. The laying on of hands is also a symbol of “transferring” from one to another.

    Yet it puts the focus on the one performing the baptism instead of on the faith of the one being baptized. And that’s the problem. This makes the convert highly dependent on the worthiness of the baptizer. This is the root of Donatism.

    Seeing this as a dangerous aberration does not allow us – on the other hand – to have a “sloppy” practice of baptism or the Lord’s Supper. The way things ought to be done precicely are not spelled out in scripture, but there needs to be an agreement on the level of a local congregation. And a youth minister should be sensible enough to NOT wear Bermudas if that’s irritating; and we should strive for a “performance” of baptism that is through and through worthy, while emphasizing that the promise is tied to the faith of the one receiving baptism. The most “perfect” baptism profits nothing without the faith of the recepient. And again we must avoid the opposite trap, putting so much emphasis on the faith that baptism seems a mere symbolic addition to it.

    And yes, there are Evanglical churches who would omit baptism – not as a general rule, but occasionally. Often they receive into fellowship those with faith who still hold on to their infant-sprinkling. Methodists also don’t baptize (except a new convert asks for baptism), because they also practice the infant sprinkling. The same goes for Lutherans, Episcopalians … The Quakers don’t baptize at all (to my knowledge).

    Alexander

  296. Price says:

    Alexander…The Holy Spirit, writing through the Apostle Paul, did in fact sprinkle in His instructions words concerning orderly conduct in worship and the Lord’s supper as they celebrated it. I would agree with you that there is a certain reverence associated with God that should be honored. Let’s hope that the local congregations choose wisely about what “rules” they wish to add to the “proper observance” so that we don’t have to kick them out the door in the name of Jesus to some other church. You know how some “rules” of the local body become instruments of eternal judgement !! Some of it is cultural. I found myself being rather hypocritical about people coming to church in flip flops and shorts. I was looking on the outside… And, I guess to be honest, more people wore flip flops in Jesus’ time than they did wing tips or high heels.. Looks like I have to wear a robe most of the time in heaven.. And you’ll get to play your music on a harp..God is so good, He’ll even let us sing while you do it…:)

  297. Price says:

    Quick Rabbit Trail…..how far back does infant baptism go? Anybody know for sure?

  298. laymond says:

    Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    This has been a most controversal verse, causing arguments ever since man declared God a trinity. although we don’t have the original writings of Matthew on this, and haven’t for a very long time, we do have writhing of one who saw the original. There is a gap of over three hundred years between when Matthew wrote his epistle and our earliest manuscript copies.
    Intense studies have been done on the writings of Eusebius of Caesurae, also known as Eusebius Pamphili.
    Eusebius, said to be, the greatest Greek teacher of the Church and most learned theologian of his time…worked untiringly for the acceptance of the pure Word of the New Testament as it came from the Apostles….

    According to Conybeare:
    “Eusebius cites this text (Matt. 28:19) again and again in works written between 300 and 336, namely in his long commentaries on the Psalms, on Isaiah, his Demonstratio Evangelica, his Theophany …in his famous history of the Church, and in his panegyric of the emperor Constantine. I have, after a moderate search in these works of Eusebius, found eighteen citations of Matthew 28:19, and always in the following form: ‘Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in My name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.’”

    As we notice there is no mention of “baptism” or triune names.
    But we do notice one reference to one name, that of Jesus.
    And I believe Jesus conferms it here.
    Jhn 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

  299. Johnny says:

    http://gregscouch.homestead.com/files/Infantbap.html

    Price,
    here is an article that discusses the history at length, and gives differing opinions. Both sides seem to indicate 2nd or 3rd century as starting point

  300. Alabama John says:

    Nancy,

    YES!

  301. Price says:

    Johnny, thanks. Great article. Interesting that the debate concerning baptism is older than Ray…:)

  302. aBasnar says:

    Comparing Aland’s and Jeremia’s methodology, I’d say both took the wriong starting point:
    a) Jeremias started off of ancient culture
    b) Aland with Tertullian
    (and both were historical-critical scholars, Aland wasn’t even a believer)
    But first one must ask: “What IS baptism?” and then we see Tertullian hit the nail is his critical remarks on infant baptism.

    Alexander

  303. Ray Downen says:

    Royce suggests that none of us can be different from the rest of us, so we must all be guilty of demanding certain words to be said when we perform a baptism. But we CAN be different. He also questions by stating: I’d like to know where all the Evangelical churches are that omit water baptism? Can someone name some of them?

    I note that most churches which seek to honor Jesus as Lord do practice baptism, some of infants, some of dying people, and some of already-saved people. But valid baptisms are to bring sinners “into” Christ and His church. Should we believe it doesn’t matter WHY a person is baptized? The apostles thought it mattered. I agree that baptism is for the remission of sins AND TO RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Spirit promised to all NEW Christians. Many think they are saved before the Spirit is given. Shall we agree? I don’t. I explain why in the study anyone could read if they chose to do so at http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf.

  304. Alabama John says:

    Royce,

    When we emphasized the narrow road that only a few will enter in it started a contest.

    In seeing who can be the most worthy to be one of the few, we had to create standards that were more and more strict and righteous than those around us to look more scriptural and thus far more obedient and worthy. I once thought it was ego, but realize it was just a real desire to be more scriptural.

    Reminded me of the Seventh Day Activist who had a number that was going to enter heaven and that was a goal to be one of them until they had more becoming adventist than the number allowed and then it became a dog eat dog contest.

    This one up man ship got out of control in the 40-50′s and was carried way too far and does even more today. It makes us look foolish to those around us instead of more righteous. When its all boiled down it is ignorance.

    This competition carried over to the COC colleges as well. They are just as guilty if not more so for promoting this conservative we are the only ones thinking among preachers.

    Everyone with any gumption and common sense sees this enormous problem, but how to overcome it escapes us. I’ve seen folks try by getting all the COC preachers and elders together in one big meeting trying to get fellowship and in every case they failed.

    Any suggestions and advise from anyone?

  305. Doug says:

    Alexander, you wrote “That such customs/rules of dignity sometimes develop a life of its own… but not at the cost of dignity.” What are you trying to say? Was David, stripped down to his tidy whities and dancing in front of the procession bringing the ark of the covenent to the temple… dignified? Was the young man you admonished attempting to be “undignified” or was he just “young”. I guess that I am a bit surprised that you would feel the need to admonish over this incident. I am not aware of any CENI on dressing oneself. Maybe I missed “Thou shalt not wear bermuda’s while giving the communion meditation” someway. Was anyone else offended other than you? I guess if this was going to create a problem, I think I would have pulled the young fellow off to the side before the service began and told him not to take part in the service rather than letting him go ahead and then “admonishing” him. I wonder what you’d think of the Church I attend in Florida? Lots of shorts (men and women) and the preacher wears blues jeans with his shirt tail hanging out. Quite a few tats too. But, they are converting people like gangbusters. Now, what’s important?

  306. Royce Ogle says:

    Doug,

    The setting where the young man wearing shorts baptized a young woman was a sea side community, at the swimming pool of a local motel. There was absolutely nothing untoward about it. Most people don’t wear J C Penny suits to the beach.

  307. Norton says:

    Ray

    You are trying to avoid the obvious by quibbling over Greek prepositions. We are baptized in/ with/ by/of /water. We are baptized in /with /by/ of /the Spirit. Whether it is in, with, by, or of depends on which translation of the Bible you are reading. They all mean about the same thing. Here is another translation of I Cor 6:11:
    “But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.” (The group that put out this translation doesn’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit or even in the Holy Spirit period, but they seem to have faithfully translated the verse)

    You stated in your last post to me that only the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit. I have always thought that Cornelius and his household were baptized in the Holy Spirit as well. However; it does not specifically say Cornelius was baptized in the Spirit, but Peter does seem to imply that he was. It does specifically say Cornelius and household received the gift of the Spirit. Could it be that being baptized in the Spirit and receiving the gift of the Spirit are the same thing? Reread Jays blog. Normally the gift of the Spirit is given concurrent with water baptism, but God or Christ can give the gift of the Spirit anytime they see fit. The church controls baptism in water, but not baptism in the Spirit. As you stated, Christ authorized those who preach to baptize in water for remission of sins, but preachers should not think they have absolute control over whose sins are remitted and whose are not.

    John 3:5 does say, “born of water and Spirit”, but John 3:6 says, “….and what has been born from THE Spirit is spirit. Yes, there is a rebirth of THE Spirit.

  308. Royce Ogle says:

    If God had died last Monday many churches wouldn’t skip a beat. They could go right on teaching the same old things, doing the same things, and having the same results. The best real measure of a church or a ministry is transformed lives. I read something in the Bible about a church having the “form of godliness but denying it’s power”. Those churches have made it all the way to 2012. They teach a man centered gospel, they think they have a legal right to God’s favor because of what they do and what they believe, they love the praise of men, and they expend more energy trying to look righteous than they do actually being righteous.

    The answer is for each of us to see ourselves as we really are as opposed to who we want people to think we are, repent, and turn with our whole hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ.

  309. aBasnar says:

    @ Doug

    What are you trying to say? When David danced in his underwear was he setting a pattern for us? Or are the texts about how to dress (1Ti 2, 1Pe 3) not a clear indication that we – in all our life – should live worthily?
    The young man I admosnished is a fine brother. But sloppy. I don’t think such happens on purpose, which would be rebellious – at least he is not rebellious. Just sloppy. Actually he forgot that it was his turn, thus was completely unprepared … and that (I toöd him) is a queszion of attitude: “HOW do I come into the presence of God in the assembly (Heb 10 and Heb 12)?”
    I frequently address such issues. The brother who had the reading-lesson was absent, so I asked another brother. He said, he could not, because he was wearing his work pants … Well, how do we come? Another brother whom I asked for taking the reading forgot his Bible at home … Well, how do we come? Others come late, are slow to remove their abhorrable Baseball-Caps … Well, how do we come?

    I gave an address to the whole church a few weeks before the incident with the young brother because of the “sloppiness”, based on the following text:

    Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
    Heb 12:23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
    Heb 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

    How do we approach Queen Elizabeth from England? You know it: You can#t come in Bermudas, saying “Hi, old Lady!”. There is a certain “liturgy” to be observed. And much much more is our God? In His presence the 24 elders fall prostrate, while we … come late, forget our Bibles, are dressed unfittingly, and even forget our contributions to the service. It surely is a matter of attitude.

    The problem is: If they go by unaddressed, such incidents set a precedent. In the end, the ouitzward appearnace is like your church in Florida. The way you describe it would make me preach in “How a Christian should dress” for a whole year. It’s fine that many are converted, but that is no excuse or justification for sloppiness. And orderliness is no substitute for evangelism either.

    You know full well that such an attire would have been absolutely forbidden, let’s say 30 or 40 years ago! So what has changed? Culture has changed. In which way? In the way that chulture came to a point where dignities and authborities are ridiculed, which was the theme in the 60ies and 70ies, which was reflected in … sloppiness. And what do so many churches do? Follow their surrounding culture, thus adopting the outward symbols that reflect their view of dignity and authority.

    In fact, Paul insisted in the symbol of glory and headship in the assembly: The uncovered head of men and the covered heads of women. A symbol cast away around the same time or al little earlier (in the 1960ies). And now churches are completely unable and unwilling to giv 1Co 11 even half an ear! It has been succesfully reinterpreted/explained away to much the new feeling of our times.
    Let’s say this is a command and a pattern (a C and an E) that calls for the Necessary inference as to HOW will we apply all of this?

    Alexander

  310. Doug says:

    Alexander, Yes… I believe that David set a pattern for us when he danced. Not a pattern of what we should wear but how we should worship God unabashedly. If I feel a desire to lift up my hands to God in praise, what is that to anyone else? But some churches of Christ would condemn me for doing that, even if the song we are singing reads “Lift up your hands to God”. The fact that he stripped down to his underwear just tells me that nothing was going to get between him and his praising God.

    I don’t think the 2 scriptures you reference (1Ti 2, 1Pe 3) are contextually valid as a directive toward proper worship dress IMHO. They are a directive that tells us adorning ourselves inside rather than outside is what pleases God. It was apparently a practice for a women to adorn themselves outwardly in order to look good for others (and still is) but the Apostle is telling Christians that outward adornment isn’t what God wants… he wants us to adorn ourselves inwardly with grace and peace and love. It’s content over appearance.

    Adopting dress codes for worship services is just setting up once again a system of rules that your local church must abide by and just like many of the CofC rules we discuss around here, it will lead to quarreling and unrest and ultimately division within the church unless everyone is content to obey man made rules. Hint: They won’t be!

    If you preached about dress codes for a year at my Florida church, you would probably be preaching to a mostly empty church by the end of the year. Let’s see, emptying the church vs. converting people to Christianity, which should we do?

    This topic has so many comments that it’s now taking me excessive time to just load all of the comments. I’m not against discussing this dress code topic but maybe it should be restarted in a separate and different link.

  311. laymond says:

    I did not research this, I had it copied from somewhere , don’t remember where.

    should I always be dressed up, or should I go to church in my everyday clothes?
    These are the questions that were going through my mind. So I went to the Bible to try to find the answers. The following scriptures are all take from the New American Standard version of the Bible.
    James 2:2-4 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing fine clothes, and say,”You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man,”You stand over there, or sit down by my foot stool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
    What I get out of reading James 2:2-4 is that you should not judge people by their appearance, but treat everyone equally. Now comes another question, if when people judge you by what you are wearing makes them sin, should you dress in a manner that you think they won’t judge you to prevent them from sinning, or should you not dress up for them and rebuke them if they judge you to prevent them from future sin? Because it is possible that people might judge you regardless of what you wear.
    1Tim 2:9 Likewise , I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
    1 Peter 3:3-4 Your adornment must not be merely external braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
    1Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders: and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
    1 Peter 3:3-4 says that God doesn’t care about your outward appearance, but that it’s what is in your heart that counts. I feel 1 Peter 5:5 says to be humble, I feel that dressing up in your finest clothes is more prideful than humble.
    Jonah 3:5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
    2 Kings 1:1 And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD.
    Rev 11:3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
    Jeremiah 6:26 O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, A lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer Will come upon us.
    Daniel 9:3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
    Luke 10:13 Woe to you , Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
    The previous verses describe how people in the past dressed to please the Lord. They dressed in sackcloth to humble themselves before the Lord. Sackcloth is dark goat hair used in making sacks, and worn in times of mourning.
    The following are Bible verses have to do with those who dress up to impress other people.
    Mark 12:38 In His teaching He was saying:”Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places,
    Matt 23:5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
    The following verses state not to worry about what you wear, because all that is important is you seek the Kingdom of God, and follow God with your hearts, and not with the garments you put on your body.
    Matt 6:25 For this reason I say to you,do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing.28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field , which is alive today and tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying,”What will we eat? or”What will we drink?”or “What will we wear for clothing?” 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    Joel 2:12-13 “Yet even now ,” declares the LORD,”Return to Me with all your heart , And with fasting , weeping and mourning;13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
    2 Corinth 5:12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.
    The next few verses reminds us that we are all in Christ always, and 2 Corinth. 10:7 reminds us to look inwardly, and not outwardly, and that just as one person in a church is in Christ so are we all, and we should not judge other members of Christ’ body by only looking at them outwardly.
    2 Corinth. 10:7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we
    1Corinth 6: 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
    1 Corinth 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!
    We as members of Christ’ body are always in His presence, and there is no time that we are instructed to dress differently than any other time. I feel that God wants us to worship Him with our hearts and motives, not with the clothing we put on. This is my opinion based on what I understand of what I’ve read in the Bible. I am not saying that you shouldn’t dress up. You can dress however you like, I don’t think how you dress matters, but if you decide to dress up for church, I just think you should examine your motives, and not judge others by their appearance.God is the only judge, it is not our place to judge anybody, especially on merely their appearance. I would like to conclude with a verse Jesus spoke.
    Matt 11:6 ” And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me”

  312. Johnny says:

    I have laugh about the dress code, the church I grew up the men wore work clothes, jeans, or overalls. They were clean, but they were plain. The only man in church that had a coat and tie was the preacher. Clothing styles are purely cultural and as long as they are not meant to draw attention to themselves, or are not sexually provocative it should not matter. But hey if you want to wear top hat and tails like they do for the Queen’s diamond jubilee go for it.

  313. Ray Downen says:

    Author: Norton
    Comment: Ray, You are trying to avoid the obvious by quibbling over Greek prepositions. We are baptized in/ with/ by/of /water. We are baptized in /with /by/ of /the Spirit. Whether it is in, with, by, or of depends on which translation of the Bible you are reading. They all mean about the same thing.

    Really? If Jesus is to baptize “by” the Holy Spirit, exactly how would He go about doing this? Jesus can baptize in or with the Spirit. But a baptism “by the Spirit” is not performed by Jesus or by anyone other than the Holy Spirit. It’s performed by the Spirit, if indeed there is such a thing.

    No apostolic word would lead any reader to believe in a baptism by the Spirit. But we are clearly told of baptism by Jesus in or with the Spirit. And we see that Jesus commands that His disciples are to baptize in water, but not with or by water. I affirm that “in, with, by, or of” do not mean about the same thing as related to baptism.

    The Word speaks of baptism by John, a baptism “of” Moses in a figurative covering with water, a baptism in water by disciples of Jesus Christ, and a baptism by Jesus in/with the Holy Spirit. Why would we want to confuse between these differing baptisms and try to misunderstand the clear teaching that by order of Jesus converts (repentant believers in Jesus as Lord) were and are to be immersed in WATER and raised up into new life. Why would anyone want to confuse about baptism performed by water or with water when what is taught is immersion IN water?

    And why do many want to believe in a baptism by the Holy Spirit when such an immersion is never mentioned in apostolic writings? As I have pointed out before, the only time a “baptism by the one Spirit” is found in apostolic writings is in a mistranslation of the phrase “in one spirit.” The “the” is added by the translators as is the capitalization. To try to make the apostle contradict himself by the mistranslation is not what any Bible believer should do!

    ONE baptism is not two baptisms. Jesus commanded a baptism, but never said He would come along and baptize each convert Himself or send His Spirit to do so. The theory of a baptism by the Holy Spirit is entirely based on one verse where some translators try to make Paul contradict himself. They shouldn’t have done so, of course. But there’s no good reason why we would confuse ourselves by imagining there are really two baptisms when Paul quite clearly states there is only one baptism in the Christian Way.

  314. aBasnar says:

    Oh, for another nice subject to type about (Hey, Ray, there’s way more to argue about than baptism, would you like to join this one?)!

    Clothing is not only culture, but also context. Going to the opera house would require a different way of dress than going to the beach. Where we go, we should be dressed fittingly and accordingly. I have to wear our black T-Shirt with the company’s name on it at work. You bet that I won’t wear this to church. My work-pants are stained and torn in some parts. You bet that I won’t wear them to church.

    Now for my two favorites, the “twins” from Peter and Paul and the ordinance for worship:

    1Ti 2:9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
    1Ti 2:10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

    1Pe 3:3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—
    1Pe 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

    What is commonly taught today: It’s allright to be dressed up costly or sensually as long as you focus on the inward beauty and good works. But this is not a “both-and” text. Both Peter and Paul rule out the option of wearing expensive and shameless clothing that draws attention to wealth and sex. Therefore we are to dress in plain dresses that cover. This is espeacially a women’s issue (but it does apply to men also), and I frequently also address sisters, saying: “I want – at least! – church to be an oasis for mine eyes!” Clothes that are to tight, bare shoulders, skirts above or even way above the knees, leggins, shorts, … and sloppiness are a NO-GO.

    The second text:

    1Co 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
    1Co 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head (= Christ),
    1Co 11:5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head (= the man), …
    1Co 11:7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.
    1Co 11:8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
    1Co 11:9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
    1Co 11:10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

    (I left out verses 5b-6 to focus on the mainline argument). This is a sysmbol of headship and glory. We are to recognize Christ as Head and male leadership in family and church. It is also a testimony for the invisible world. Paul urges and commands to express our appreciation for God’s order and glory in our assemblies by obeying this Apostolic tradition/teaching that he himself did neither invent, nor take from the surrounding culture, but handed down as a command (1Co 11:17 – “But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse.”)

    Can you imagine a headcovering or prayer veil worn to tight leggins? Or to Daisy Dukes? OK, in our postmodern word anything goes, but with your right mind: What would be a fitting way to dress when you come with an expression of God’s Glory (by covering man’s glory) on your head (as a woman). And how should men, who remove their hats (or their Baseball-Caps) because of Christ’s headship and God’s Glory, dress without contradicting what they express with their heads? Be sensible!

    It is a Gnostic way of thinking to say what is outwardly is irrelevant. Christ himself submitted to the Jewish dress codes of the Law. We as His followers should cultivate a similar attitude, esp. since scripture is not silent on these matters. But we trample these texts under our feet, we play God by taking them (de facto) out of scriptures by neither teaching them (other than explaining them away), nor practicing them. Oh how proud! How presumptuous! I’m charging the majority of churches of Christ in this, who kicked out the headcovering in the 1960s and now wonder why there are discussions about female preachers and leaders what is yet another real and painful tearing down of God’s word. Christ, come soon! We make a church of men out of your Holy Assembly!

    I imagine the angels of God constantly shaking their heads when they see Christ’s church scoffing at His order. The very symbol that was (also) meant for them has vanished after 1900 (!!) years, and they turn to Christ with a confused expression in their faces. What do you think, His answer will be?

    Alexander

    P.S. I’d like to add that there indeed are weightier matters than these that we equally neglect and destroy. But if we are unable and unwilling to even hold fast to such minors (that don’t cost us much at all!), how shall we be able to stand for the big issues?

  315. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Great research on our dress.
    Now let me draw all of your attentions to a conclusion I have arrived at by careful searches. Almost all of my life I have been instructed to go to worship. Even the world outside has been programmed that Christians go to a meeting place to worship. Our children have been programmed that they worship at the gathering of the Church. On the first day of the week Sunday, and other times Gospel meetings, worship is specified, but we very seldom talk about Wednesday night service as worship, it is a prayer meeting, but hardly ever was prayer the focus of the meeting. You know the focus of this.
    Now, this is what I have found summarized.

    In the following you will notice a communication about worshipping in Jerusalem, and what Jesus said about the future.
    (John 4:20 NIV) Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

    (John 4:24 NIV) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

    (John 12:1 NIV) Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
    Reading on down you will find.
    (John 12:20 NIV) Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.

    (Acts 8:27 NIV) So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,
    Paul said.
    (Acts 24:11 NIV) You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

    (Rom 9:4 NIV) the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
    The Jews were commanded to worship at Jerusalem.

    (Heb 8:13 NIV) By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
    (Heb 9:1 NIV) Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.
    9:2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.
    There were regulations and an earthly sanctuary in the first covenant. But, the worship in the New Covenant was not to be a part of this creation.
    (Heb 9:11 NIV) When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

    As we create a physical place of worship, down the street, in the next city, at the building that we call the, “House of God”, the sanctuary, a place that we have disagreements about having a kitchen, or specified events, some even have called the designated building, “the Holy Place”. We have instituted a mind set in the world, our brethren, and our children that worship is over there, at that special time, and there are special attitudes, clothing, events and just about any other thing that can be thought of that must be done while we are assembled there. Of course there is a host of rules that have been invented that cannot be done there.

    The result of much of this has taught mankind that worship is accomplished in a specific time frame and is completed until the next appointed worship service.

    Brothers, this is not what is taught in the New Covenant.

    I believe that we should have been taught and be teaching that worship is intended to be a way of life, service to Christ 24/7, 168 hours @ week.
    I believe that the early Christians understood and lived their lives in that fashion. That is the evidence that proved to the world who they were. Today we can find members of large churches “Christians” that work for many years close to each other and never even know that they are brothers in Christ. The reason, they don’t see each other at church. To many times their worship is not with them on a daily on the job basis.

    We haven’t even portrayed to members of the church or our children that God’s Prophets in the past lived their lives 24/7 for God. Look at Moses, Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David etc; according to their accounts in the Bible would you think that they ever lived a dual life? We should not be seen that way by the world either. How much differently would the world view Christianity?
    When two or more are gathered together in his name he is with us, and since the church is within us this is a gathering of the church. When a large group of Christians are gathered together, they have not “come to church” they are the church assembled. Brethren, there are no rules stated of how to do an assembly in the New Testament. There are some instructions as what not to do in an assembly.

  316. Price says:

    Ray…you said, “No apostolic word would lead any reader to believe in a baptism by the Spirit.” what is your take on this verse of scripture…

    Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” —- “Jesus”

  317. Price says:

    Larry…good point. I agree. It should be a culture of worship not an assigned time.

  318. laymond says:

    I agree, Larry. The church building should not be the “place of worship”. The place of worship should be in one’s heart.
    I believe a good reference to a “church building” or any gathering place is a place of praise, or a place of teaching. yes we should always praise God within our heart, but no one hears that except God, and we are to spread the good news to others, the good news of a God who deserves our praise, our giving all glory to him. A common meeting place is a good place to reaffirm by communion and show others that we stand strong in Jesus Christ. As you said worship does not come and go with the seasons, worship is constant.

  319. Doug says:

    Alexander, you don’t need to explain the basis for your convictions, I understand them. But, I don’t go to Church to meet God. He has made his home within me. I was raised to dress for Church and I still do that. I no longer feel compelled to wear a suit and tie but I would feel uncomfortable coming to church poorly dressed. I don’t particularily care for shorts in church, on either men or women but I understand that those that dress that way aren’t necessarily being rebellious, they were just raised differently than me. The Lord dwells in them just as He dwells in me.
    As far as women and head covering, my mother always wore hats to church. But, they were very stylish hats. Women who wear scarves on their heads wear stylish scarves, beaustiful scarves. Are they still adorning themselves? I would say, yes. So now what do you do? Make a rule that only non-stylish hats and scarves are to be worn to church by women? Some women at my church still wear hats and because they do that, they now stick out. I think that may be the reason they wear the hats these days. So it seems that the original intent has become completely lost and hats are accomplishing the opposite of their 1st century intent. At some point a dress code just becomes localized silliness and something to separate your assembly from the one down the street. I see too much separation already from issues similar to dress codes.

  320. Ray Downen says:

    Larry Cheek has written truth which differs from the practice of most of us. How right HE is! How wrong most of us are in our terminology and thinking. We do NOT have shrines or holy places or centers of worship! We should not have. Some of us (most?) DO have.

  321. Ray Downen says:

    Price says:
    June 29, 2012 at 7:29 am — Ray…you said, “No apostolic word would lead any reader to believe in a baptism by the Spirit.” what is your take on this verse of scripture… Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” —- “Jesus”

    Are there some who suppose that a baptism BY the Spirit is the same as a baptism WITH the Spirit? I know better. I think every student of the English language should recognize that the words refer to different acts performed by different agents. Baptism BY the Spirit would be done BY the Spirit (only there’s nothing in the Bible which ever speaks of this). Baptism WITH/or in the Spirit is what John prophesied and Jesus promised and what Jesus performed. This question is answered at length in my study available at my web site: http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. I wish anyone unsure about the simple statements I’ve made to the blog would read that study. I make clear there why I think and teach as I do. And as every Christian should teach.

  322. Price says:

    Ray….You obviously need to teach Jay a thing or two. From his OP he said,

    * “Fell” is the same work used in Acts 8:16 of the Spirit being received by the Samaritans. Some want to argue that this event — the baptism of the Spirit — was only received at Pentecost and by Cornelius — but the Samaritans received the same gift.

    * “Poured out” is a verb used of the Spirit by the prophets (such as Joel, as quoted in Acts 2:17-18). Paul uses the same verb for the Spirit all Christians receive in Titus 3:6.

    And notice Luke’s use of “gift of the Holy Spirit” — borrowed straight from Acts 2:38, where it refers to the gift received by all Christians.

    Luke is making the point that (a) the outpouring and falling of the Spirit is the same thing that happened at Pentecost and (b) it’s the same Spirit received by all Christians when they are baptized. It’s the gift described in Acts 2:38.

    Those who speak of different “measures” of the Spirit are imposing a 20th Century human construct on the text. That teaching is just not in the Bible.

    Are you saying that Jay is wrong ?

  323. aBasnar says:

    @ Doug

    The flesh always finds a way … until it wins: OK, let’s forget about headcoverings, because our flesh mocks the purpose of them. OK let’s agree on dress that is a reflection our society’s immoral and anti-authoritarian attitueds (which is the case), because after all, we’ve been raised in this culture, are still a part of it, and thus we might (or even MUST) freely share in our culture’s ways to express themselves. I disagree, Doug. And I spare you the detailed explanations for my convictions ;-)

    Alexander

  324. Johnny says:

    Alexander,

    In all seriousness what dress code should we follow? I know people who live in tropical climates who wear shorts as normal attire, the farm community I grew up in all the men work work clothing, because that is all they had. We have third world countries that have traditional dress, should they all change to western style clothing with a coat and tie? Or should we move to the dress of those early church fathers who might have been in a tunic and robe? 150 years ago, in some areas a Top hat, waist coat and top coat might have been considered appropriate. I do not often wear a coat and tie to church, in fact at a previous church I made a point not to because I knew there were those who could not afford to dress that way, and avoided our church because it was the “rich” church.

  325. Ray Downen says:

    Price asks Ray Are you saying that Jay is wrong ? And the only true answer must be, Yes, I’m saying that Jay in this case is surely wrong indeed. Did anyone think he or anyone else is perfect and never wrong? I hope it’s possible to express disagreement kindly and not be thought rude and thoughtless. Yes, I disagree that there is a baptism by the Holy Spirit. I explain why in my study anyone can read at my web site, http://missionoutreach.org/OwensMaxey.pdf. The simple truth is that Jesus commands that humans shall baptize each new believer and the one who wrote the only verse which some translators use to make Paul contradict it we consider to be writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit says there is ONE baptism. Anyone who then creates a second baptism from a mistranslation of one verse written by that apostle is not teaching truth. Paul did not believe in or speak even once of a baptism BY the Holy Spirit. Some translators claim he did do so. But the phrase he wrote is simply “by/in the one spirit . . .” and it should be noted that EVERY person who has been baptized did so in a repentant spirit or was not baptized into Christ. Some translators seem to imagine that every mention of “spirit” in apostolic writings must refer to the Holy Spirit. But in fact in apostolic writings every contrast between flesh and spirit is between the HUMAN flesh and the HUMAN spirit. Every person does have a spirit. Or should I write, “IS a spirit?”

  326. Ray Downen says:

    I wrote a sentence difficult if not impossible to understand: The simple truth is that Jesus commands that humans shall baptize each new believer and the one who wrote the only verse which some translators use to make Paul contradict it we consider to be writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit says there is ONE baptism. I sought to point out that some try to make Paul contradict himself by in 1 Cor. 12:13 speaking of a baptism “by the one Spirit.” In light of the fact that Jesus commands that baptism into His kingdom shall be performed by humans, and the fact that apostles were led into all truth, I do not believe that Paul would contradict either himself (there is ONE baptism) or Jesus by here claiming that the Spirit instead of humans did the baptizing which brings sinners into Christ and His church. Did my sentence make that clear? I think not!

  327. aBasnar says:

    @ Johnny

    Your question is good (because it is serious). There are no “specifics” in the NT else than principles that are applicable in all cultures and climates (and differ therefore from one another):

    Modesty, shamefeacedness. We have to be covered, not exposed. We shall not enbtice lust by the way we dress, nor be provocative. There is no need to enhance our God-given beauty by any artificial means.

    Plain. We don’t pursue earthly riches, so we don’t display them either. We don’t go for brands and labels, but keep in mind that the money we spend on extravagant clothing could have been used to clothe the naked instead.

    I don’t recommend Amish or Mennonite plain attire, but I do recommend their seriousness about the matter. At least they do teach an application of these principles. Most other churches simply ignore them. But as soon as we become aware of these texts, we have to seek applications that are consistent, a church doctrine and not just up to the individual to decide (idealy offering a limited variety of styles and applications).

    Alexander

  328. Price says:

    Ray, you didn’t answer my question…what do you think of this passage of scripture?

    Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” —- “Jesus”

  329. laymond says:

    Price, read the context in which this was said and to whom. Seems to me this is the one and only time Jesus promised this to happen.
    It seems to me that this is the time at which Jesus transferred his holy powers ( given him, by God) to the apostles, so they could carry on with “God’s work”

  330. If you want your salvation settled once and for all in the sense: I took it and I have it, then – sorry – that’s not what Christ offers.
    >>
    Ah, but He does. Read John 5:24 and don’ t parse the simple language therein. Jesus spoke plainly, but some continue to struggle with his clear statement. It’s simply too good to be true, so they try to make it less simple so it can be true. That’s both common and sad.

    If you want the best analogy I know, these folks are like people who would tell newlyweds that they are not “permanently” married. Their argument is that since you might decide to divorce someday, your marriage is really only provisional until you die, at which time you will be able to know that you had actually been married all along. No wise person listens to such reasoning, as it is both wrongheaded and unhealthy for the marriage.

  331. So, Jesus “transferred his holy powers”? Picking my jaw up on that one. This is starting to sound more like Merlin the Magician than anything. Or perhaps Marvel Comics. It’s certainly not scripture. Wonder if you have to file such a large-scale transaction at the courthouse?

    When we reject the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, such supernatural working becomes entirely foreign to us. When the supernatural is foreign to everybody we know, those who have experienced the supernatural in the biblical record become legendary. When they become legendary, we lose our main connection with them and their lives. They are no longer real people to whom we can relate, but demi-gods with powers far beyond ours whose lives therefore have little relevance to us except as the source of Aesopian fables.

  332. Price says:

    Laymond… Read Acts 11:16-17 “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”

    Peter seems to give the context for the Acts 1 passage so that I don’t have to interpret.. Do you agree?

  333. As the father of many daughters, I am sympathetic to Alexander’s views on apparel. However, I would suggest that modesty is a character trait, not a mode of dress. Not drawing attention to ourselves is a matter of degree. In the US, for example, to dress as the Mennonites do is to actually draw attention to ourselves. (Not attributing that motive to my brothers at all, but merely noting the result in the community.) “Plainness” can easily lead to a foolish asceticism which defeats its stated purpose.

    Beauty is not to be eschewed as proof that we are concerned with more than the physical. Great art and architecture are not necessarily a waste of resources “which could have been sold and given to the poor”. Likewise, our freedom and our own clear conscience should not be used to please ourselves at the expense of our witness. Again (it always seems to come back to this) we need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit on a real tiime basis in following Jesus as HE would have us do.

  334. Royce Ogle says:

    I agree with much of what Alexander says about dress. However, I disagree that it’s important to dress for Sunday church in one way and somehow differently on Monday morning. Why would we do that?

    What is more dangerous than how Christians dress is that some self appointed critic would try to impose his idea of proper dress on everyone else. Not one of us could fairly fill that role, so why try?

    I think all of this discussion about attire started because of my story about a young man wearing shorts when he baptized a young woman, at a motel pool, in a sea side village. His shorts were well below his knees, he was not immodest, and by the way, he was a much more godly man than were his Pharisee like critics. When they saw that they couldn’t control the little church in that town they soon left to prey on someone else.

  335. Royce Ogle says:

    Ray said: “Some translators seem to imagine that every mention of “spirit” in apostolic writings must refer to the Holy Spirit. But in fact in apostolic writings every contrast between flesh and spirit is between the HUMAN flesh and the HUMAN spirit.”

    Ray has said some remarkable things here but this statement is the silliest. I have been studying, reading, listening to preaching and teaching well over 50 years and never have I heard anyone say something like this. Does he think “born of the Spirit” means a person is born again by their own spirit?

  336. Ray Downen says:

    Price either can’t understand English or else doesn’t recognize truth when he hears it. I fully answered his question by pointing out the difference between the parts of speech which are used with baptism to describe the baptizer and the one receiving the baptism. He says I didn’t answer. He just doesn’t recognize the truth when he hears it, apparently. Jesus told the apostles (only the apostles in Acts 1:5) that THEY would be baptized in the Spirit. Only THEY were baptized in the Spirit. I properly and correctly said that there’s no verse in apostolic writing which speaks of a baptism BY the Spirit. Price tries to link the correct statement with a verse which is speaking of a baptism other than what I spoke of. Did I somehow fail to make that plain enough to be understood? Jesus baptized IN or WITH the Spirit. No Bible verse speaks of anyone being baptized BY the Spirit. The baptizer was Jesus. But a baptism BY the Spirit, if such ever happened, would be performed by the Spirit, and who knows in what element.

    And another brother thinks the truth is silly. The spiritual rebirth is of water and spirit. Peter calls it repentance and being baptized. So yes indeed born of the spirit refers to a change within the person’s spirit, and that change must be made by the person himself or herself. God does not force anyone to be saved. Yes, some claim God picks out who can be saved and somehow saves them by giving them the Spirit. But that’s not taught in the Bible. Salvation is offered to all, but each sinner must choose to respond to the gospel in order to be saved by it. Peter calls this change repentance.

  337. Ray Downen says:

    Author: Charles McLean
    Comment: If you want your salvation settled once and for all in the sense: I took it and I have it, then – sorry – that’s not what Christ offers.
    >>
    Ah, but He does. Read John 5:24 and don’ t parse the simple language therein. Jesus spoke plainly, but some continue to struggle with his clear statement. It’s simply too good to be true, so they try to make it less simple so it can be true. That’s both common and sad.

    It can’t be doubted that no one can take a saved person “out of God’s hand.” But anyone is free at any moment to jump out and become lost. The writer of Hebrews makes clear that saved people can change their minds and become lost, some permanently other only until they change their mind again. Chapters 6 and 10 in Hebrews should not be ignored if we’re going to discuss “security of saints.” Jesus surely does save. He will save according to His expressed promises. Or He will send to Hell people who once were saved if they so choose.

  338. Ray Downen says:

    And while we’re on the subject of John 5:24 we better realize that many other passages expand on the fact that Jesus saves. It takes more than faith and it surely does take faith in Him in order to be saved. But faith alone is dead. Only those who obey the gospel will be saved by Jesus. This is made clear as words can make it. Why do some choose to not believe it? 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10. And other passages too numerous to name. Anyone who believes that Peter was led by the Spirit when he spoke what Luke records in Acts 2:38 will understand that faith alone gets a sinner nowhere at all. When the sinners asked what to do, Peter did NOT tell them all they had to do was believe in Jesus! Why would any Christian today make such a claim? Do some refuse to read Acts? Their words indicate total ignorance of how sinners were saved in the apostolic age. Every example we have of conversion is found in Acts. Why would anyone want to ignore how sinners were saved then?

  339. laymond says:

    Price lets look carefully at what Peter said. “If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,”

    I believe God did give the very same gift to “them”/ the Gentiles as he did to the Jews when they first believed. and as he does still today. That said Price do you think that Peter was speaking of, the day of Pentecost and what the Apostles received that day.

    Act 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
    Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
    Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    Price if this happened at your baptism, I need to try again.

  340. laymond says:

    Charles McLean said.
    So, Jesus “transferred his holy powers”? Picking my jaw up on that one

    Maybe you should pick up your bifocals instead Charles.

    Jhn 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    Charles what do you think he was doing here,? checking his breath mint.?

    Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.

    sounds to me as if Jesus thought it might work, why don’t you?

  341. Price says:

    Ray, I almost feel guilty for asking you the question. If I had known that you would embarrass yourself publicly by attempting to berate me and insult me I might have withheld my question. You belittle yourself brother.

    But, since you’ve already done it, there isn’t anything else that I can do but point you to what the Holy Spirit said through Peter. You can continue to ignore it as you have thus far by sending us once again to your study web site or you can make up something else.

    Acts 11:15-16 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

    Ray, however Peter was baptized by,with,in etc., by the Holy Spirit, so was Cornelius and his household. Peter makes sure that even the most stubborn among us…presumably….could see that Peter is making the direct connection between his receipt of the Holy Spirit and Cornelius’… You have to rewrite history and the Bible to have it otherwise.

    Now, you may come up with another way to avoid this passage and if so, then so be it…But, please, stop insulting me and others on this web site simply because we don’t agree with your POV. It’s an old habit used by some but it’s really been worn out. We would all agree that there is little to confuse about the passage in Ephesians that says, “Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth, but speak only those things which can be used to uplift one another.” Perhaps you’ve written something about that you would like to share?

    Laymond, I think most of us understand that when we receive the Holy Spirit it doesn’t entitle us to any particular gift. There are several passages that you’ve read countless times that speak to one having this gift and another having that gift and that we should all use our gifts to encourage, edify and exhort one another…Just because the Holy Spirit empowered Peter from time to time to do things doesn’t mean he could do it anytime he wished. Remember it was the angel that had to break him out of jail.. Paul had to tell Timothy to drink some wine to fix his stomach problems, he had other ministry associates that nearly died of sickness… At other times Paul was empowered by the Holy Spirit to some incredible things.. My point is that we shouldn’t try to categorize the Spiritual gifts..they are what He gives us. They don’t belong to us they belong to Him. If God wanted you to walk on water you’d be able to. Or, he might even allow you to lay hands on someone to heal them…How do you know? It is HE that determines that, not us..

    1Cr 12:7-11 NIV – [7] Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. [8] To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, [10] to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

    We do know that Cornelius spoke in tongues. It seems like I remember the Apostles at Pentecost doing the same thing… Agabus prophesied accurately about the future. I can’t recall any of the other Apostles doing that exact thing but I could be wrong and heaven knows what happened that wasn’t recorded…All I know is that there is One God and He’s in charge.. and He doesn’t like boxes.

  342. laymond says:

    “Just because the Holy Spirit empowered Peter from time to time to do things doesn’t mean he could do it anytime he wished.”

    That is strange isn’t it Price, The powers of the Apostles were controlled by the “Holy Ghost”, but they had the power to give it, (that same holy ghost) to another by laying on of hands. One might think the Apostles were in control of the gift, instead of the gift being in control of them.Who would a thunk it?

  343. Price says:

    Laymond….you said that the Apostles, regarding the Holy Spirit…”had the power to give it.” I can’t argue against that except sort of in principle. It does seem like they certainly to be a facilitator of the event from time to time. Yet, I can’t get my mind around God being controlled at the will of man. My guess is that they laid hands on people for a variety of things as was the custom of the day and trusted in God to do what God wanted to do… Maybe. But, that’s what makes the most sense to me.

  344. laymond says:

    Price the following is powerful evidence against what you are saying, please read carefully.

    Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
    Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
    Act 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

    Price, notice Peter never said what Simon said was wrong, as a matter of fact he confirmed it by saying “you can’t buy a gift”.
    Peter didn’t even say he couldn’t do it he said he wouldn’t do it, because of the lack of rightness of Simon’s heart.
    Whether Charles thinks it amazing that Jesus gave the same powers to his Apostles, that God had given him, actually he did.
    Why do you think Jesus said (speaking to, and about the Apostles)
    Jhn 14:12 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

  345. Price says:

    Laymond. I don’t know enough about why God chooses to do something to disagree strongly with you. I just have a reluctance to say that men control what God does. Certainly Peter and Paul had some sort of role in some receiving the Holy Spirit. Cornelius received it without it. God does what he wants. Even at Pentecost Peter didn’t say anything about the necessity of having hands laid on anybody for them to receive the Spirit… I’m not sure how or why it all happens, I just know that God is in control. Not man. Other than that, I can’t speak with any degree of certainty.

  346. Ray Downen says:

    Author: Price
    Comment: Laymond. I don’t know enough about why God chooses to do something to disagree strongly with you. I just have a reluctance to say that men control what God does. Certainly Peter and Paul had some sort of role in some receiving the Holy Spirit. Cornelius received it without it. God does what he wants. Even at Pentecost Peter didn’t say anything about the necessity of having hands laid on anybody for them to receive the Spirit… I’m not sure how or why it all happens, I just know that God is in control. Not man. Other than that, I can’t speak with any degree of certainty.

    It’s always good when we are modest and don’t speak about things of which we’re ignorant. But Price seems to choose to not believe what IS revealed since it doesn’t agree with what he wants to believe.

  347. Royce Ogle says:

    And some people skin their ignorance for the world to see. The advent of blogs and comments has really helped to shine the light on ignorance.

  348. Larry Cheek says:

    Actually, I have learned a lot about what different people believe in this blog that I never could have encountered in the local church or even in the community surrounding my life. It truly is not hard with the scripture search software that I have to determine how closely some have gleaned the proper understanding about any subject. Of course the opposite is just as easily determined. It seems by the statements that some make on this blog, that they have not delved into a careful study of some of the subjects they are trying to explain. One thing I firmly believe is that today with the aid of the computer and the software that is even free. Anyone today has more resources available to them, than all that have ever lived before us. If we use this search power and stay within the scriptures, it won’t be John Doe’s teaching that we receive, we will be fulfilling an instruction from the scriptures that promises us, seek and ye shall find. I have often wondered; are there any assemblies of the church that are actively teaching members how to study the scriptures with the aid of these search tools? I have suggested to some churches in this area about this type of instruction, with negative results. I fully think that most of the instructors in churches would not want their students to be so capable to analyze their messages. What do you think? Do any of you believe that you have been able to replace concepts that you once believed was truth, when you used computer aided studies and proved that they were wrong?

  349. laymond says:

    Anything to win!! We recently had one of the longest comment threads I remember participating in, and it was started because of a comment I made concerning something Jay had written.

    Jerry says:
    June 13, 2012 at 10:20 am
    Laymond wrote:
    Jay said, “Thus, to preach Jesus as judge was to preach Jesus as king, the highest power in the universe,”

    Is Jesus the supreme authority , well if he was he didn’t know it.

    Jerry responded with this logic.
    Laymond, “the universe” is God’s creation. As the Creator, He is outside the universe. Jesus’ submission to His Father does not negate Jay’s statement. This is a hobby horse you have ridden on this blog in the past. You need to pay attention to more than just a few “pet” texts.

    As I understand this logic given to legitimise, this false statement of Jesus being “the highest power in the universe,” we need to split God and his son up, placing them in not only different worlds but different universes.

    Then between 10:20, and 1:40 Jerry seemed to have a complete turn around.
    He said, “To attempt to separate the Father and the Son, as if we could worship and serve one without at the same time worshiping and serving the other, is not a true teaching of Scripture.”

    But in the same verse he separates Father and Son once again.

    Then Jerry goes on to say “. I merely remarked that Jay’s statement still stands in the face of your objection. Unless, of course, you maintain that the Creator is a part of that which He has Created.”
    My point is we become so intent on winning our argument that we will say about anything to do so,
    Unless I have lost my powers of reasoning, Jerry said that Jesus had to be a creation of God, in order to be the king of the world that God had created. But I am pretty sure he never intended to say that, but he did in order to win an argument.

  350. Larry said: “It truly is not hard with the scripture search software that I have to determine how closely some have gleaned the proper understanding about any subject.”
    >>>
    While such resources can expose some factual errors, basing our study on it tends toward the same concordance-based approach which has created more heat than light and more concatenation of scripture in preference to cohesive theology. “Here are all the scriptures on heaven,” we say, not knowing that much biblical thought about the hereafter does not even include that word. Strong’s Concordance and its high-speed offspring often lead us astray, leading us to unconsciously think we have a grasp on what the scripture says on a topic when we study the “26 results” which appear in BibleGateway.

    Neither Nave, nor Vines, nor Holman, nor Coffman are included in Jesus’ promise as to Who will “take what is mine and make it known to you”. While I do use such resources on occasion, I don’t build my own beliefs –nor judge anyone else’s– on what they say. There is Another who is here to teach me of Jesus.

  351. Larry Cheek says:

    Charles, Thank you for your comments, because they have helped me to see that I did not place enough emphasis on my concept of how to make use of those powerful programs. I touched base on it here.
    “If we use this search power and stay within the scriptures, it won’t be John Doe’s teaching that we receive, we will be fulfilling an instruction from the scriptures that promises us, seek and ye shall find.” The power of these programs that I am speaking of is to locate all text in scripture that contains any form of a subject matter, for instance type the form of the word bapt* using the * and it locates all forms of that word. In the search I have just mentioned you will find 115 words in KJV NT as you scan through those you will find 15 have reference to John the Baptist. There then are 100 references that can be used in your quest to determine the exact meaning as the authors used the words in their communications to those they were teaching. Therefore you will be learning directly from the authors, not any other man, commentator, or reference source. Sure you can have the ability to in the KJV to directly access Strong’s and Thayers but that option is not learning from the original inspired authors. There are several of these programs that will allow you to view multiple translations side by side synchronized and glean any differences that could be helpful from another translation. I was surprised to find the following from such a long time ago, it fits exactly with the methods that I use my computer for. You can find the complete sermon online.
    Evening July 2, 1893.
    —McGarvey’s Sermons
    What then is a man to do who does not understand Greek, who is a plain English scholar, and no more? I once heard (a good many years ago), a man of very plain common sense, with no scholarship, not even an accurate English education, make this remark: “If my mind were unsettled in regard to baptism, I would take this course:—I would take my own New Testament, and, beginning at the first chapter of Matthew, I would read it all the way through, watching for that word ‘baptism’; and everywhere I found it, I would examine carefully the passage in which I found it, and learn all I could about it; and when I got through I would put all of this together, and I would make up my mind on the whole subject of baptism that way. Then I would feel sure that it was God teaching me, and that he would approve my decision.” The remark struck me with great force, and I have from that day to this been of the opinion that it is the best way by which any man can proceed to settle this much controverted question. It does not involve a single word in any language but our own. It does not involve arguments and disputations on the subject from other men. It involves nothing but listening to the utterances of God’s word as you have it in your own vernacular, forming your own conclusions, and then taking up your line of action. Now, if that is not safe, I don’t know what is. —McGarvey’s Sermons

    So my suggestion is that each of you tackle any subject that you desire in this fashion and see if you arrive at a better understanding of that subject. You might even find it very easy to identify how and where many teachers in the past have missed a deciding factor in the understanding of that subject. Have fun and learn from the bible only.

  352. aBasnar says:

    I use e-sword which offers all and beyond what I need. But it’s the same as with Google. Unless you know how to look for a word, how to search for a phrase, you won#t make much of it or end up with overwhelmingly long lists. First you have to be familiar with the book, very familiar. You should have studied all basic topics without the computer before, then it is a good a time-saving tool. Most of the time I work like this: “Hm, there was this certain phrase that adds to the topic, but who was it again that said it?” And then I go for this phrase or a certain word. So the computer becomes an aid to my memory.

    But reading the Book itself is different. You see the whole page, you can flip back and forth a few pages in no time. And there was an interesting observation someone made: What you read on a screen won’t stick to your memory as well as what you read in a book. There are theories as to why that is so; maybe because our subconscience tells us that we can google it up anytime. But maybe there is another reason: It takes way less effort to get to the results. When I look for a verse in the Book, I normally remember the epistle and the chapter (+/-), and then I have to read all of it in order to find my verse. This makes it stick to my memory much better.

    I also prefer to go by a map than by GPS.

    Alexander

  353. Larry Cheek says:

    I recently found e-sword and it is a very good program, it allows to see many translations on the page at the same time in the paralleled mode. But, the old out of date Quick Verse for windows approx 1992 in my method of use excels my, Logos Scholar version, Quick verse 5 and 6, this E-sword, Bible explorer, Gateway Bible and several others that I have tried. Quick Verse allows me to do exactly as you mentioned, once that you have located a passage with your word in it, you can read forward or backward as far as your hearts desire and it will always remember exactly where you were and that location is one click away, I have not found another program that will do that.

  354. laymond says:

    ——————————————————————————–
    Please bear with me while I bring forward one of the best , if not the very best comment I have ever read on Jay’s blog about the necessity of baptism.

    From: adamcbevis@hotmail.com
    To: gharvey@shades.org; jackphausen@gmail.com; jordyh@charter.net; joe@joebeam.com; mgarnett@santarus.com
    Subject:
    Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 01:13:33 -0500

    I was thinking about Danny’s sermon on John 3, Jesus encounter with Nicodemus. Very controversial passage over the past 5 or 6 centuries but really not much a controversy until the last few centuries.

    Many argue that born of water in John 3:5 is physical birth. Certainly there is some context around this verse to make one think that especially in the 21st century. But how would the 1st century Jew understand this text to mean? and if Jesus wished to be understood then we have to consider this. Jesus is speaking in a way Nicodemus would understand. With that in mind, there is probably a stronger argument that born of water refers to water baptism, and I hope you will allow to explain this possibility.

    First keep in mind throughout that there is no evidence in Jewish thoughts and writings in Old Testament and New Testament times, that water was ever referred to as an element or a symbol for physical birth. One commentator Leon Morris in 1971 found some evidence that it can be a Jewish metaphor for conception, but Morris had to concede that Jewish thought never had water representing the process of birthing and the flow of amniotic fluid. This is not refuted that I am aware of even to this day.

    The disciples who knew and lived amongst the apostles wrote different commentaries and writing. I think we should atleast know what the mainstream church thought immediately around and after the apostles. The apostles and their contemporaries would have held in check these writers if in error and yet these writings were held in high esteem as noncanonical but accepted widely in the church. For example, in chronological order thru the first 500 years of post resurrection Christian writing, the writings of Justin Martyr (A.D. 150), Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hipplolytus, Cyprian of Carthage, Basil the Great, Ambrose of Milan, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Augustine (A.D. 412) all carried the same similar understanding of John 3.

    Another quick point is looking at the Greek New Testament, the original language that was adapted to the English Bible we have now. The Greek supports only one birth in mind at John 3:5. The unity of the two elements, water and Spirit, by use of a single preposition, “of water and Spirit” fits with previous and current understanding of the Greek language in the 1st century. The Greek is “ek” for our “of” and “by”. So it could read “of water and Spirit” or “by water and Spirit”.

    Now looking at the writer John, we know he referenced water often in his Gospel writing. Living water at the well with Samaritan, the healing water in the pool at Jerusalem, the washing of disciples’ feet, healing of blind man at the pool of Siloam, the blood and water from the side of Jesus. So water is found in a variety of contexts throughout Gospel of John, often as a symbol of the spirit, but also of Jesus himself, and in especially in passages where there is a call for a decision to believe.

    Now looking at John 3:3 and 3:5, keep in mind the ambiguous “born again” in John 3:3 or as Danny agreed “born from above” (its meaning in John 3:31 and John 19:11), and follow the emphasis on the Spirit in John 3:6-12, then Jesus’ statements concern primarily the divine begetting, and not the human rebirth, although the latter is implied if it’s not explicit. Certainly becoming a human born into this world would be a given, while the divine birth is not a given except for those that believe, confess, and repent (the very components of a saving faith). We know from John 6:63 that only the Spirit gives life.

    Anyway, from my understanding, John 3:5 became the most cited baptism text of the 2nd century and continued to be important afterward. I propose that despite the overwhelming historical and majority contemporary consensus, there have been insistent efforts to remove John 3:5 as a baptism text.

    I see the arguments on the different sides: for the argument against water as water baptist in John 3:5 to name a few:
    1. baptism could have no relevance to Nicodemus, 2. the entire focus of John 3 is the Spirit, 3. Jesus could not have expected Nicodemus to understand Christian baptism (see John 3:10), 4. there is no mystery if the work of the Spirit (John 3:8) is tied to baptism, 5. other references in John “depreciate” water baptism (e.g. John, 3:22, 3:25-26, 4:1-2; 1:26; 1:33). Another thought is water is figurative for the Spirit. When water is used figuratively in Old Testament it refers to renewal especially in conjunction with the Spirit. Danny brought out Ezekiel 36:25-27 talking about this cleansing of which water is the symbol.

    Now John 3:3 and 3:5 are parallel verses meaning they sound similar, by following the same pattern “Truly, truly . . . unless . . . . he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. The preposition, as I referred to earlier is “of” or the Greek”ek”, governs both water and Spirit; the birth has a water-Spirit source. This forms an unity. Keeping honest with the Greek text, there is only one birth, not two in John 3:5.

    So if there is one birth, why are the two elements (water and Spirit) mentioned if only one is meant? The arguments against water as water baptism aren’t strong enough. Why do I say this? The baptist of John the Baptist was relevant to Nicodemus and the text of John 3 continues with a description of John’s baptism (John 3:22-23; 3:25-25) and baptism activity of Jesus’ disciples (John 3:22; 4:1-2). The context suggests that the water of John 3:5 is the same kind of water as in John 3:23. The focus of John 3 is the Spirit, but does that eliminate the possibility that the Spirit might work in and through water?

    Now John was writing from a post resurrection view, which shapes the conversation of Jesus with Nicodemus in terms of Christian-Jewish debate of his own time (John 3:11). The familiarity of John’s baptism would flow into Jesus’ conversation where attention is brought to a rebirth involving the Spirit as well as water. Reading John 3:5 does not limit the work of the Spirit (God forbid it) to water. He can certainly work through any means.

    The four gospel does depreciate John’s baptism in comparision to Jesus’ baptism. What made Jesus’ baptist superior was it was accompanied by the activity of the Spirit and conferred the Spirit, the very thing that John 3:5 says of it.

    And water in John 3:5 can’t mean the Spirit, because then what would Spirit be a symbol of? It can’t be “born of Spirit and Spirit.”

    In the context of Judaism of the time, water would have been understood as literal and in no contradiction to activity by the Spirit.

    Again John 3:5 refers to a singular birth, because the grammar only allows for it; this adds to the argument that rules out a physical birth that is so commonly taught today. Again the Jewish audience would not have understood water representing physical birth; they would have understood water baptism as the meaning.

    Now the two elements are not equal; clearly Spirit’s work is greater than water baptism. The emphasis is on the Spirit’s activity. The water appears to be the means or the occasion, and the Spirit is the Mediator of it all.

    The Spirit is free to move at will (John 3:8) but with that freedom is included working in or through water.

    A moderate approach presents water and Spirit as separable components of the same experience. The Spirit is greatest and the priority is clearly to believing (saving faith).

    I think John 3:5 provides a combination of the ideas of baptism, sonship (new birth), and the presence of the Holy Spirit that we will find included in Paul’s baptism theology as well.

    Anyway, I bring this up for my own conscience sake and ask for advice/rebuke/admonishment/comments on what you think about this. My mind is not a ease with how we present John 3 in today’s teachings and I ask for your help if none of this makes much sense.

    Thanks and hope this comes as a brother asking for correction,

    Adam Bevis

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