Baptism: “Repent” in Acts 2:38

[This is a bit long but doesn’t easily break into pieces. Next post will be Friday (Lord willing), to give time to reflect (and watch football. Roll Tide!)]

baptism of JesusLong-time reader Royce asks in a comment,

True repentance means one turns away from something and toward another. Can anyone explain why “repent” isn’t the key word in Acts 2:38 rather than “baptized”?

Excellent question, and one I’ve been pondering these last few days.

Repent

Consider this. In Peter’s Acts 2 sermon, prior to v. 38, he does not charge the audience with moral failings or failure to obey God’s commands. Rather, he accuses them of failing to recognize Jesus as Messiah and therefore crucifying him.

(Act 2:36-37 ESV) 36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord [king or YHWH] and Christ [Messiah], this Jesus whom you crucified.” 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?”

In support of his argument that Jesus is Messiah, he argues that the now-occurring outpouring of the Spirit heralds the dawn of the Kingdom per the prophets. It’s all about Jesus being Messiah and the Spirit being outpoured, all as promised by the prophets.

(Act 2:16-21 ESV) 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;

20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [YHWH] shall be saved.'”

The Jews in Jerusalem for Pentecost were devout men and women. Many had traveled there for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage that took months of travel or else  very perilous, very expensive sea travel. They weren’t in need of moral reformation. They were in need of faith in Jesus and the outpoured Spirit.

So repent from what? Well, unbelief. “Repent” is indeed used at times to refer to repenting from a particular sin or from a sinful lifestyle, but in this case, “repent” means change  from your unbelief to belief in Jesus as Messiah and Lord.

The same use of “repent” is true of Peter’s sermon in Acts 3 and in Acts 5:29-32. And compare —

(Act 11:15-18 ESV)  15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  17 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?”  18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

“Repentance”? From what? Cornelius was a good man, a God-fearer. Not a moral reprobate. He needed to give his allegiance to Jesus, to change from being a near-proselyte to an actual believer committed to following Jesus. (A God-fearer was a Gentile who’d not been circumcised to become a proselyte Jew.) “Believed in the Lord Jesus Christ” is parallel with “God has granted repentance that leads to life.” After all, Peter did not preach against Cornelius life of sin, just his need to believe in Jesus.

There is no dichotomy. It’s not binary. That is, “repent” on the lips of an apostle doesn’t mean either “believe” or “stop sinning,” one or the other. Both ideas are there, with a greater emphasis on one or the other in various passages. To the apostles, to have “faith” in Jesus meant following him, meant being faithful, meant giving him one’s loyalty, meant living according the will of Jesus, meant striving to become like Jesus. It’s all in there. “Repent” includes “take up your cross and follow me.”

But that doesn’t lend itself to a Five-Step Baconian Enlightenment reduction of Christianity, and so we don’t see what is plainly there. In fact, we don’t even bother to read the sermons — because we already know the answer.

Most likely, our understanding of “repent” comes from the Frontier Revivalism of the Second Great Awakening, which gave birth to several denominations, including the Churches of Christ. Preachers often did preach to moral reprobates who really did need to give up a life of sin. (And they should have, and the preachers were right to insist.)

In short, the Churches of Christ (and most other denominations) reduce “repent” to “become moral,” thereby eliminating the relationship with Jesus anticipated by the word. “Repent” isn’t just being good. It’s about adopting the commitments and understandings that the gospel demands. It’s essential to entering the kingdom. It has a moral element (as John the Baptist taught) but also includes following Jesus (as John the Baptist taught).

(Luk 3:10-14 ESV) And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” 11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

(Luk 3:15-16 ESV) 15  As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ [Messiah], 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

In short, “repent” incorporates the first four of the Five Steps and much more. Yes, it’s more important than “be baptized.”

Joel on Repentance

It was common for Jewish rabbis to quote a portion of an Old Testament text, assuming that his audience would be familiar with the context. That doesn’t work with most modern Christians. And so we should take the time to better understand the passage. In Joel Peter quote follows —

(Joe 2:12-13 ESV) 12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”

It’s a plea to repent. Later in the chapter, Joel urges his readers to “call on the name of the Lord.” We can’t separate the two. Calling on the name of the Lord assumes repentance. Indeed, in context, it’s to submit to the changes YHWH is bringing about.

The distance from Ezekiel can be recognized in that Joel never once describes any guilt from which Jerusalem is to turn away. While the Deuteronomistic historian lamented primarily apostasy from the Mosaic Torah and demanded a turning towards it, for Joel return is necessary because cultic, pious self-sufficiency has caused the prophetic word of the Day of Yahweh, directed against Jerusalem, to go unheard. This calls for a rending of hearts, not of clothes (2:13a). Return essentially means for Joel that one face, on the basis of the prophetic proclamation and with fear and trembling, the completely new acts of God towards Jerusalem. This is his central “kerygma” on the forgotten general theme “Day of Yahweh.”

Hans Walter Wolff, Joel and Amos: A Commentary on the Books of the Prophets Joel and Amos (Hermeneia; ed. S. Dean McBride Jr.; trans. Waldemar Janzen, S. Dean McBride Jr., and Charles A. Muenchow; Accordance electronic ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1977), 13.

In other words, “repent,” in the context of Joel’s message, means to leave self-sufficiency and to instead rely on the Lord. Sounds very much like “faith” — from Abraham to the Second Coming, it’s about yielding self to the will of God.

The Name of the Lord

Notice also this parallel —

(Act 2:21 ESV) 21 “‘And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

(Act 2:36 ESV) 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

(Act 2:38 ESV) 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.”

Peter quotes Joel’s prophecy that everyone who calls upon the “name of the Lord” will be saved. He then identifies Jesus as “Lord.” He then urges his listeners to be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” “Saved” parallels” forgiveness of your sins.”

In short, baptism is when believers call on the name of the Lord! (Compare Acts 22:16 ESV: “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”) And so, according to Joel, the essential element is calling on the name of the Lord.

Sounds a lot like —

(1Pe 3:21 ESV) 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, 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 … .

So Peter kept preaching the same thing after Pentecost. Baptism is not so much about the water as responding to Joel’s plea to call on the name of the Lord.

Conclusions

In our preaching, we badly over-emphasize baptism — making it nearly the fourth member of the Trinity — and badly under-emphasize repentance — treating it as a call to be nice. That turns Acts 2:38 on its head and inside-out.

Moreover, if we read Acts 2:38 in context, we see that Peter is doing midrash (commentary) on Joel 2:28-32, and Joel insists that salvation comes to all who call on the name of the Lord. Peter reveals that the “Lord” is Jesus. And so, calling on the name of Jesus in repentance (as above defined) is the heart and core of the sermon, and Acts 2:38. Joel says nothing of baptism.

“Repentance” is a word that encompasses far more than “change to become a good person.” In requires faith in Jesus. How can you submit to someone you don’t believe in, or aren’t faithful to, or don’t trust?

Therefore, there is no inconsistency between Acts 2:38 and Rom 10:9-11:

(Rom 10:9-13 ESV) 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.”

Notice that in this seminal passage, Paul also quotes Joel 2:32. Confessing that “Jesus is Lord” is the same thought as being baptized in the name of Jesus in response to a promise to save all who “call on the name of the Lord.” To “believe” (have faith) includes “repent.” “Repent” in Acts 2:38 includes faith.

The Five Steps of Salvation theory errs in adding together those things that are really the same (albeit viewed from different perspectives). This is a problem because we haven’t done a careful job of understanding and teaching what the steps each mean.

The only distinction between the two passages is baptism. Paul says nothing about it in his very detailed, “step by step” presentation of how one becomes saved. We should be leery of trying to be smarter than Paul. It’s obviously quite permissible — even apostolic — to preach salvation without mentioning baptism in the same breath. Paul did. So did Jesus. So did John. It’s wrong to freak out and cite 50 proof texts anytime someone speaks as the apostles did.

On the other hand, obviously, Paul was not against baptism. He taught and practiced baptism. I have no doubt but that he insisted that every single convert be baptized for forgiveness. But plainly enough, Paul elevates faith far above baptism, so much so that he can explain how people are saved in detail repeatedly speaking of faith in Jesus as sufficient and not mentioning baptism.

(And, no, I’m not teaching Southern Baptist baptism theology. Baptism is designed by God to be the moment when we call on the Lord and when we are saved. God expects baptism of every single believer. But grace will cover baptismal error, because God has promised to save all who call on the name of Jesus in repentance. And God keeps his promises.)

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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63 Responses to Baptism: “Repent” in Acts 2:38

  1. Grace says:

    Jay said, “In short, baptism is when believers call on the name of the Lord!”

    The people didn’t have the book of Acts written at that time. They had the Hebrew Scriptures from which “call on the name of the LORD” is referenced from.

    Genesis 4:26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

    The meaning of the name Enosh means frail, mortal man. Enosh realized his frailty and mortality, and the vanity of human life without God. So, he began to call on the name of Jehovah, the Hebrew word for Lord.

    The name Jehovah means I am that I am. Jehovah is the eternal God, the only One who is. Enosh, this frail mortal man realized he needed the eternal God.

    Throughout thousands of years people have cried out from the depths of their being to God, to draw near to, to cry out to, and to have a relationship with the omnipotent One. Calling on the Lord began with the earliest generations of mankind recorded in the Bible that comes from the deepest part within man.

    Here are references of how people “Call on the name of the LORD” that come from the very same Hebrew Scriptures Joel 2:32 comes from.

    Genesis 4:26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

    Genesis 12:8 Then he went from there to the mountain east of Bethel. He put up his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.

    Genesis 26:25 So Isaac built an altar there. And he called upon the name of the Lord. He put up his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

    Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

    Psalm 116:3-6 The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul! Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.

    To call on the name of the Lord does not mean baptism neither in Hebrew or Greek.

    Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “call” means “to call, cry, to utter aloud, call out, call upon, or call upon someone for aid”. In both the Hebrew and Greek it is to call a person by saying their name.

    Romans 10:12-13 This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to Him. As the Scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

    Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!

  2. Gary says:

    Repentance is a turning toward the Lord that is distinct from the presence or lack of it of sin in one’s life. Cornelius apparently had little sin to turn away from. The same would be true of a ten year old child who is baptized into Christ. But for many folks the consequences of repentance do include a change in one’s life that results from turning away from sin and turning towards good works. We know from Luke 3:8 that we are expected to produce fruits that are worthy of repentance. While Cornelius certainly still needed the Gospel of Christ it is significant that his good works and charity ascended as a memorial for him before God and obtained for him an apostolic presentation of the Gospel

  3. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace wrote,

    The people didn’t have the book of Acts written at that time. They had the Hebrew Scriptures from which “call on the name of the LORD” is referenced from.

    Yes, but the Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost also had the inspired words of Peter. They cannot be erased by proof texting. And God’s revelation did not end with Malachi. All the verses matter. We don’t get to pick and choose. And the verses that come after Pentecost just reinforce what Peter said at the institution of the Christian age.

    Note carefully that I said “when” not “how.” Baptism is something one receives. Calling on the name of the Lord is something one does. They are not the same thing, but they are tightly associated by the passages I quoted.

    The lesson just posted supports neither the traditional Church of Christ nor the traditional Southern Baptist point of view. Hopefully, it encourages the readers to think outside the old false dichotomy and be open to other possibilities.

  4. Grace says:

    What in the text says that the people were to have a different concept of “calling on the name of the Lord” than what God had given from the beginning? God’s salvation is from the beginning of the foundations of the earth since He first created man.

    To call on the name of the Lord does not mean baptism neither in Hebrew or Greek.

    Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “call” means “to call, cry, to utter aloud, call out, call upon, or call upon someone for aid”. In both the Hebrew and Greek it is to call a person by saying their name.

    Romans 10:12-13 This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to Him. As the Scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

  5. Royce says:

    Interesting Jay. I think you clairfied better than I could ever the connection to repentance and faith. I even agree that in a sense when one is baptized they are making an appeal to God. And, I can’t imagine a true believer in Jesus refusing baptism, IF THEY HAVE BEEN TAUGHT THEY SHOULD.

    We immerse a lot of people at our church. Not many weeks pass that someone is not baptized. And, I believe that almost all of those people have faith in Jesus. I also believe most all of them are already justified when they step into the water. I am thrilled and applaud loudly each time someone is immersed witout regard to what they have been or have not been taught. The bottom line is God saves sinners and I don’t think he nees any assistance.

    When I was 15 years old I had been convicted for weeks. I knew that I was lost, that I was a sinner. One day my cousin’s husband said to me “Sit down there Royce, I have something to talk to you about”. He proceeded to tell me the good news about what Jesus had done for me. I believed what he told me and with all my heart. The next day I went to church at Grassy Branch Baptist Church and preacher Jay Blankenship preached a message that was seemingly directed to only me. At the first note of the invitation I walked the long walk from the rear of the building and in front of perhaps 300 or so people I declared my faith in Jesus. Somehow I knew I needed to be baptized. But the pastor told me there would be a baptism on the North Fork River a few weeks from then and that I should be there. (I think it was Easter Sunday a.m.) I was baptized and not once from age 15 to now age 69 1/2 have I ever doubted my salvation. I didn’t know any church of Christ folks so during those weeks from my confession of Christ as Saviour I told friends the good news and one of them was baptized the same day I was.

    My mother came to faith in Christ at a Presbyterian Bible School when she was 8 years old. She had a robust prayer life with regular answers to prayer and joy in her heart. She loved Jesus just as her mother and father did. She told me when she was past 80 that “It made me so mad, they made me wait ’til I was 12 before they would let me be baptized”. Never, not even close, have I ever met a more godly, holy, soul winning women than my mother. Do I believe she was lost from age 8 to 12? Not in a million years.

  6. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    And so you’re suggesting that your verses overrule the ones I cited? In your theory, what is the significance of the verses I cited that associate calling on the name of the Lord with baptism? Do we just erase them from our thinking?

  7. Grace says:

    I’m asking you, Jay:

    Again, What in the text says that the people were to have a different concept of “calling on the name of the Lord” than what God had given from the beginning? God’s salvation is from the beginning of the foundations of the earth since He first created man.
    To call on the name of the Lord does not mean baptism neither in Hebrew or Greek.

    Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “call” means “to call, cry, to utter aloud, call out, call upon, or call upon someone for aid”. In both the Hebrew and Greek it is to call a person by saying their name.

    Romans 10:12-13 This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to Him. As the Scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce,

    Thanks for the comment. I was baptized at 8 myself. Seems to have taken. Some would disagree … 😉

    BTW, I think Jacob Arminius messed up when he equated the age of faith with the age of accountability. That is, when God first holds a child accountable for his or her sins may be much later than when a child can come to saving faith. There’s no reason the two ages must be the same.

    The Torah sets the age of accountability at 20 (as I recall). Too late to look it up. And American law does the same. As do most nations. Strange that Arminian churches hold children to a higher standard than the government — for sins that are much less serious than what the government is dealing with. I mean, the government will forgive a 14 year old’s theft in most jurisdictions, wiping his slate clean, whereas we picture God damning teenage boys for lust. Strange that we’re more merciful at the ballot box than at church.

    In fact, recent brain science shows that our brains don’t fully develop the ability to act on foreseen consequences until about age 20 — which is why teenagers do stupid things. God has been ahead of the theologians for centuries — and we should have expected no less.

  9. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    A. The verses I cited.
    B. The fact that I never said that baptism IS calling on the name of the Lord, but WHEN we call on the name of the Lord.

    Now it’s your turn to answer MY question.

  10. Grace says:

    We call on the name of the Lord when we have faith in Him as our Messiah or Mashiach. The Lord who is Jesus or Yeshua in Hebrew which means “salvation” or “the Lord is salvation”. The Lord who spoke in the Hebrew Scriptures.

  11. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    I answered your question. Please answer mine.

  12. Grace says:

    I did. We call on the name of the Lord when we have faith not when we are baptized. When we are baptized we are answering that we have a good conscience, we are already in good standing with God when we had faith in Him before we were baptized.

    Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

    Romans 4:5 But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him.

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    You stated your position, which you’ve already done twice before. I was aware of the argument before I wrote the post.

    Saying the same thing over and over does not answer my questions. I will not debate this. Do not waste your time by repeating your position. I’ve read it and understand it. I wish to know your answers to my questions. If you can’t answer, just say so. There’s no sin in not knowing all the answers.

  14. Grace says:

    Jay you ask me to agree with your position of your interpretation of Scripture which I do not.

    I answered with my position: [rest of comment deleted because Grace has already plainly stated her position.]

  15. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    I’ve not posted your repeated statement of your position. I did not ask you to agree with my position. I asked you to explain your position by answering some questions. I’ve answered yours. You’ve refused to answer mine. I’m sorry that this conversation cannot progress, because I believe the readers would be edified by our discussion – but not if you only repeat what you’ve already argued. Everyone here knows the verses you cite. We don’t know how you reconcile them with the verses I cite.

  16. Ray Downen says:

    I also quote Jay’s simple and obviously incorrect conclusion In short, “repent” incorporates the first four of the Five Steps and much more. Yes, it’s more important than “be baptized.”

    And I have to differ. “And” does not join items of differing importance. That’s NOT the way we ever would speak. “REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED” joins TWO EQUAL ACTS. Those who say that repentance brings salvation are differing with apostolic teaching and ignoring the simple command of Jesus that every new believer is to be baptized.

    I point to two passages which make this clear. The first is Galatians 3:26,27, where Paul makes clear that seekers are baptized INTO CHRIST, not because they are already IN Christ. The second is Romans 6:3-8 where Paul makes clear that it’s a seeker who is buried in baptismal waters and then RAISED UP INTO NEW LIFE. Those who ignore those two passages do so at their peril. They then teach in opposition to the apostles of Jesus Christ. Jesus thought baptism was important. These folks are saying repentance is much MORE important. The apostles say repentance (which is turning TO JESUS AS LORD) and baptism (which is being buried and raised up into NEW LIFE WITH CHRIST) are both important.

    Those who turn baptism into a meaningless act may think they’re pleasing Jesus by so doing, since they’re saying that repentance is vitally important. But Jesus didn’t speak about repentance in giving the great commission but did speak about baptism, and made clear that every NEW BELIEVER was to be baptized. Jay is wrong in saying repentance is more important than what Jesus said was to be done! And those who heard the apostolic prescription for the remedy for sin on that first Pentecost had no other apostolic writings to compare with what the apostles taught that day, which was that seekers needed to REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED. We do not do well to say what they REALLY needed to do was repent and then they would be saved, as I think I hear Jay saying!

  17. Grace says:

    [Further repetition deleted.]

  18. Ray Downen says:

    Jay asks, Can anyone explain why “repent” isn’t the key word. And I surely can do so. A conjunction joins two EQUAL things. As urgent is the need to repent, and Jay is right that it is very urgent and important, and it surely does involve turning to JESUS AS LORD rather than only turning away from known sins, but the apostles (Note that Luke is not saying ONLY PETER preached that day–it’s obvious that all the apostles preached, but Luke chose to record only the gist of what they said and put it in Peter’s words) informed seekers that what they needed to do in order to have sin remitted and in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit was to REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED. He didn’t say REPENT and receive the Spirit. He didn’t say REPENT and be saved (have sin remitted). He said REPENT AND be baptized and the gifts would follow.

  19. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    You cannot out-stubborn me. I’ve raised four sons. Repetition will not get through.

    Anyone can say “My verses overrule your verses,” and both sides of this debate have done so for 6 months now. It’s not edifying anyone. Tell me HOW your verses reconcile with the verses I’ve previously cited. After all, to simply insist on one’s preferred verses against someone who insists on other verses is to say (a) the Bible contradicts itself and (b) I get to pick which verses win. I’ve made the same point to Laymond a day or two ago — and so I’m imposing the same standard on both sides. Neither side gets to pick some verses and ignore others. All sides must explain how their verses are consistent with the other verses. Or else let’s end this conversation.

  20. Grace says:

    [repeated argument deleted]

  21. Royce says:

    Ray, it was Jesus who instituted the Lord’s Supper. He said of the bread “…this is my body” and of the wine “this is my blood..” not one of us believes that we are to take that literally. We know it is symbolic. We eat a cracker and remember the Lord’s body. In baptism the old man symbolically dies. The reason I know is that Paul said in Romans 6 ” now consider your selves dead” if the old man was literally dead there would be no reason to say that nor to warn about yielding to unrighteousness. Just so being baptized “into Christ is just the same as being baptized into his name. The Lord’s Supper and water baptism are twin symbols that are not the reality but point to the reality who is Christ. Both are demonstrations of the gospel, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said to eat the supper. I eat it. Jesus said to baptize. I do it and was myself baptized.

  22. Royce says:

    That’s fair and reasonable.

  23. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ray,

    The Greek is more subtle that the English shows.

    38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    “Repent” is plural. “Ya’ll repent” in my native tongue. “Be baptized” is singular. It’s singular because it’s subject is “every one of you.” “One” is singular, too, of course. “Repent” does not have a stated subject. It hangs on the implied subject “you” (Or better yet, “you all”). We thus should punctuate so that “repent and be baptized” don’t sound like they’re joined by a conjunction in parallel.

    38 And Peter said to them, “[You all] Repent[,] and let every one of you [singular] be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your [singular] sins, and you [all] will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    The middle phrase is parenthetical. And that is a subordinate form of expression. It’s still true, of course, but it’s phrased to be less emphatic than the “repent” and the “gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    (We had a robust discussion about the Greek grammar of Acts 2:38 here a few years ago. I learned a lot from my opponent.)

  24. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    [I’ll not repeat mine either.]

  25. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    I just edited my comment to Ray. It’s late. I’m making too many mistakes. I’m going to bed. Happy New Year!

  26. Ray Downen says:

    I want to speak again to commend Jay for letting me speak even repetitiously! I suspect we are agreed that what the apostles teach is to be obeyed! And surely we all realize that the ones (3,000 obeyed–we don’t know how many heard) who heard Peter’s exhortations did NOT have ready access to the Scriptures. Scrolls were precious, not affordable for most people, and only available at synagogues usually. So those who heard the apostles’ sermons (Acts 2) had only whatever they could remember of Jewish teachings to compare with what they heard. No Bibles available. No tablet computer Bibles. With many OTHER WORDS which Luke doesn’t record, Peter (and the other apostles) exhorted the hearers to SAVE THEMSELVES by obeying the gospel. And 3,000 did that day with another 2,000 the next day. And the church began! God brought the crowd there to hear the gospel, and the apostles did the rest.

    I think it important to point out that the Spirit was not said to select the 3,000 and reject any others. The gift of the Spirit followed obeying the gospel of JESUS, turning to JESUS. It was all about JESUS and HIS offer of eternal life to those who would repent and be baptized. And yes, being baptized was just the first step in following Jesus. But it WAS the FIRST step. (I speak of the act of accepting baptism as first even though it was preceded by the internal change of repenting to make Him Lord, which wasn’t external as is baptism). Luke doesn’t say that even one of the 3,000 questioned the necessity of being baptized, as so many people nowadays do. The apostles said REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED and they did so. If we spoke as the apostles did (and many are doing so today) then many WOULD be baptized and thereby brought INTO CHRIST (Galatians 3:27). I promise that no one is brought into Christ in some other than the apostolic way, regardless of how smooth is the speech of the false teachers.

  27. Ray Downen says:

    I didn’t realize how late in the day it was already! I applaud Jay for being able to discipline himself to get the rest humans need every day!!! I’ll stay up long enough to point out that the “be baptized” is passive because it is done TO the convert whereas “repent” is done BY the convert. Of course they are handled differently in the language. But they are still joined by “and.” And BOTH are said to be necessary for the remission of sins and to receive the gift of the Spirit. And the apparent (obvious, can’t be denied) fact that in every case baptism immediately followed upon discerned faith, which is totally different from the practice of those who believe baptism really isn’t important since sin is washed away somehow by simply believing in Jesus (and turning to Him, but Al Maxey omits the repentance which Jay and I realize is essential, and the Baptist position is that salvation is by FAITH ALONE (which is Al Maxey’s position also if I’m understanding him correctly). We do NOT believe INTO CHRIST. We do not repent INTO CHRIST. We are BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST (Galatians 3:27). Or was Paul mistaken? Jesus says we who tell others about Jesus are to baptize those who believe. He didn’t say when to baptize except that it was to follow the person believing in Him as Lord and wanting to accept His offer of salvation. But the apostles practiced and taught baptism IMMEDIATELY upon belief.

  28. Grace says:

    [repetition of previously stated position deleted]

  29. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace, You just repeated your original comment. Everyone here already knows your position. Repeating it does not advance the discussion. Nor does my answer to your question have to persuade you for it to be your turn to answer questions. I’ve given you my answer, and that’s all I can do. If you want to persuade me or anyone else here, you need to be willing to answer my questions.

    You are welcome to comment on other matters here, but as to this thread, please either advance the discussion by attempting to respond to my questions or move on to another topic.

  30. laymond says:

    Next post will be Friday (Lord willing), to give time to reflect (and watch football. Roll Tide!)]

    Jay, do you still think your team should be #1 after TCU defeated the team that beat yours, so badly ?
    SEC not doing so good.

  31. Grace says:

    You did not answer my question. But you won’t give me fair opportunity to say that here. That’s being deceiving, Jay.

    Jay, You are trying to say the people had the concept that “calling on the name of the Lord” is when we are baptized.

    I disagree.

    [repeated argument deleted; personal attack on my character allowed so readers understand why I’m deleting all other comments you make on this thread. I’ve warned you before that ad hominem arguments are against blog policy. The fact that you disagree with my answer does not mean that I did not answer nor does it justify your refusal to advance the discussion by answering my questions. All future comments on this topic will be deleted entirely.]

  32. laymond says:

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    The big question around here has been “Is baptism a work”
    It absolutly is, It is a work of the body, and repenting is a work of the mind. And if we notice Peter said do both. Peter did not say repent OR be baptized. Peter said if you have gained faith in Jesus , who spoke the words of God, go to work doing something about it.

    Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

  33. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond, I think the playoffs will decide the question. No more polls until it’s all over. 1 or 4, doesn’t matter. Just glad to have a chance.

    Must say that the Mississippi teams are regressing to the mean. Very disappointing day yesterday. But SEC has 12 teams in bowls, and so far, we’ve lost 3 (LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss) and won four (Ark, Ga, SC, and TAMU). Five to go (Aub, Ala, Tenn, Mo, Fla). 9-3 remains a distinct possibility — and hopefully Alabama was watching the Miss teams embarrass themselves yesterday. Not good enough just to show up in SEC uniforms. Hopefully, we beat OSU so badly that TCU has a really good case that it should have received an invitation.

    Frankly, I’d favor an 8-team playoff. First game on home field of higher seeded team. Not many years when this many teams have a legitimate claim to be national champ, but it happens, and I think it’s going to happen more at HUNH and spread equalizes talent.

  34. laymond says:

    “And so you’re suggesting that your verses overrule the ones I cited?”

    Jay’s favorite come back when he can’t explain the “seemingly” difference in two verses, when they do not contradict , they are just incomplete statements .

  35. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace wrote in the Contact section,

    I’m sending my comment to other people that are on your blog so they can see that you didn’t answer my question and your deception by hiding my comment addressing your unwillingness to have a fair dialogue, even with someone who disagrees with you.

    Or you could just answer my questions.

    My answer is posted publicly for all to see.

  36. Dwight says:

    What I see here is an attempt to clarify what is most important in regards to salvation…faith…repentance…baptism, etc.
    Well, Jesus is most important. HE is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIGHT. HE is the DOOR. No man can come to the Father, but through Jesus. He is the reason that salvation can be achieved.
    Now beyond that we come to the responses of man to Christ.
    Faith…Repentance…Baptism
    Mark 16:16 argues for ‘Faith and Baptism”
    Acts 2:38 argues for “Repentance and Baptism”
    Even while the only consistent word is baptism, we must not disclude the fact that baptism is linked with other things…Faith and Repentance and they are done on equal basis.
    Mark 16:16 “Believe and be baptized for salvation”
    This is like saying “PB and J makes a PB&J sandwich”, but of course you need bread too, but since PB and J are argued for in the making of the PB&J sandwich, to leave one out will give you something less than the PB&J sandwich. Also the PB, is not more important than the J, since they are both vital in the making of the PB&J sandwich.
    Until the scripture points to one (faith, repentance, baptism) as being the most important, like love is done in I Cor.13 over hope and faith, they are all vital in the plan. To disclude one or place one over another is to destroy the relationship of why they are there in the first place, which is our reaction to Jesus. Note: In Acts 2:38 Peter never says, “believe, repent and be baptized”, but this doesn’t mean that Peter is arguing for no faith, but Peter is arguing for repentance and baptism in the faith that is showing itself.

  37. Dwight says:

    Laymond,
    While we can say baptism is a work, because it is action, we don’t recognize that faith is in itself a work as that it is a response by man to God. Faith is something we must develop and produce and we can grow it and we can even shrink it. Peter showed great faith when he stepped out of the boat, but this fear crushed his faith to where it became little.
    Scripture itself argues for faith as a work.
    Gal.5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
    I Thess.1:3 “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,”
    Both I believe are written by Paul.
    So in Romans where Paul is arguing that faith saves and works don’t, he is not arguing against works, and just faith, because he would then be arguing against faith as well, since Paul understand faith to be a work. So Paul must be arguing for a particular sense of work, which is a work that justifies by doing the things of the Law or any Law just for the sake of doing them. Hence doing sacrifice in and of itself gains nothing, but man must have faith, but since faith is a product of man, then this kind of work will result in us doing God’s will and James reflects that faith is dead without works, so faith itself can lack meaning without acting it out.

  38. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    Most translations and most scholars reject the long and short endings of Mark, meaning that Mark 16:16 is not inspired.
    The NET Bible translator notes explain,

    The Gospel of Mark ends at this point in some witnesses (‌א‎‏‎ B 304 sys sams armmss Eus Eusmss Hiermss), including two of the most respected MSS (‌א‎‏‎ B). The following shorter ending is found in some MSS: “They reported briefly to those around Peter all that they had been commanded. After these things Jesus himself sent out through them, from the east to the west, the holy and imperishable preaching of eternal salvation. Amen.” This shorter ending is usually included with the longer ending (L Ψ 083 099 0112 579 al); k, however, ends at this point. Most MSS include the longer ending (vv. Mar 16:9-20) immediately after v. Mar 16:8 (A C D W [which has a different shorter ending between vv. Mar 16:14 and Mar 16:15] Θ ƒ13 33 2427 Û lat syc,p,h bo); however, Jerome and Eusebius knew of almost no Greek MSS that had this ending. Several MSS have marginal comments noting that earlier Greek MSS lacked the verses, while others mark the text with asterisks or obeli (symbols that scribes used to indicate that the portion of text being copied was spurious). Internal evidence strongly suggests the secondary nature of both the short and the long endings. Their vocabulary and style are decidedly non-Markan (for further details, see TCGNT 102–6). All of this evidence strongly suggests that as time went on scribes added the longer ending, either for the richness of its material or because of the abruptness of the ending at v. Mar 16:8. (Indeed, the strange variety of dissimilar endings attests to the probability that early copyists had a copy of Mark that ended at v. Mar 16:8, and they filled out the text with what seemed to be an appropriate conclusion. All of the witnesses for alternative endings to vv. Mar 16:9-20 thus indirectly confirm the Gospel as ending at v. Mar 16:8.) Because of such problems regarding the authenticity of these alternative endings, Mar 16:8 is usually regarded as the last verse of the Gospel of Mark. There are three possible explanations for Mark ending at Mar 16:8: (1) The author intentionally ended the Gospel here in an open-ended fashion; (2) the Gospel was never finished; or (3) the last leaf of the ms was lost prior to copying. This first explanation is the most likely due to several factors, including (a) the probability that the Gospel was originally written on a scroll rather than a codex (only on a codex would the last leaf get lost prior to copying); (b) the unlikelihood of the ms not being completed; and (c) the literary power of ending the Gospel so abruptly that the readers are now drawn into the story itself. E. Best aptly states, “It is in keeping with other parts of his Gospel that Mark should not give an explicit account of a conclusion where this is already well known to his readers” (Mark, 73; note also his discussion of the ending of this Gospel on 132 and elsewhere). The readers must now ask themselves, “What will I do with Jesus? If I do not accept him in his suffering, I will not see him in his glory.”

    sn Double brackets have been placed around this passage to indicate that most likely it was not part of the original text of the Gospel of Mark. In spite of this, the passage has an important role in the history of the transmission of the text, so it has been included in the translation.

    Not interested in debating this, as we covered this ground about six months ago in the Apologetics series. Bottom line is that there are very serious doubts about the text, and so it’s not a good place from which to draw doctrine, especially a doctrine that would require us to treat 99% of all believers in Jesus as damned.

    I’ve already shown in a comment last night that the “Repent and be baptized” does not produce a parallel in the Greek grammatically. Obviously, Peter insists that his audience do both, but the sermon is about repentance and the Spirit, not baptism. The emphasis in the entire sermon is plainly not on baptism. Rather, baptism is in response to what is emphasized. Read the entire sermon and this should become clear.

    Notice that John’s audience, presumably familiar with John’s baptism, would have taken baptism as symbolic of repentance. Hence, the text would have been heard something like, “Repent, and show your repentance in baptism, and …” Emphasis is repentance, which as used in Acts 2:38, is hardly distinguishable from faith. They are the same thing viewed through different lenses, as I attempt to show in the main post.

    John also taught that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit when the Kingdom comes. Thus, the preaching on the Spirit and repenting and being baptized into the remission of sins naturally result in the receipt of the Spirit – another emphasis of Peter’s sermon.

    We have to read the passage in light of the over-arching narrative of Luke-Acts. JohnTB baptized for repentance for the remission of sins, and promised a baptism of the Spirit to come with the Messiah and the Kingdom. Acts 2:38 fulfills the promise — not the promise of a new water baptism (no such promise was given) but a promise of the Spirit, forgiveness, and the Messiah.

    This is not to take the Southern Baptist position on baptism. I think God meant for us to be saved at the moment of baptism. Water baptism and Spirit baptism should be simultaneous. But God will not deny salvation to a believer because he is badly instructed about baptism.

  39. Royce says:

    Jay, You said “I think God meant for us to be saved at the moment of baptism. Water baptism and Spirit baptism should be simultaneous. But God will not deny salvation to a believer because he is badly instructed about baptism”.

    I think I have mentioned this to you before but why would God deny salvation to a believer who is on his way to be baptized? I just am not able to follow your logic. If person X hears the good news about Jesus, repents and believes and is NOT taught about biblical baptism he is saved because God keeps his promises. Person Y hears the good news about Jesus, repents and believes and IS taught about baptism, I think it is your position that person Y is lost until he gets in the water.

    You simply can’t have it both ways. Either both are saved at the point of repentance/faith or neither is saved. As you have correctly said again and again God will save those with faith in Jesus because all those verses about salvation by faith are true and God keeps his promises. He doesn’t just keep his promises about those with faith who have not been taught properly about baptism. If faith in Jesus saves, it saves, period.

    I have never shared the gospel (that I remember) that I didn’t tell them that if we truely believe in Jesus God expects us to “say it” and “show it”. We are to tell someone, give a confession with our voices. And, just as important we are to “show it” in baptism in water and with good works and turning away from sin so that our lives fit our confession. I am for baptism 100%. I have baptized many people whom I have shared the gospel with. Some of them were sincere believers and are still today walking with God. A few were not and soon went back to their old lives of sin. I can’t see their hearts so the ones who give a good confession I baptize. God does know the heart and cleanses them by faith. The power is not in the messenger but in the message and the message giver.

    The only time I am aware of when Jesus talked about baptizing people in Matthew 28 in a section we call the Great Commission. Make disciples, baptize those disciples you have made, and then teach them about all Jesus commanded. What did I miss?

  40. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce,

    You write as though God is book of rules badly written. But he’s a person with freedom to choose — limited only by his character, his love and his integrity. He does not break promises. He can and routinely does more than he promises. He’ll surely do all that he has promised.

    Assume a man comes to faith and walks to the nearest Greek bath to be baptized. He is run over by a chariot and dies, filled with faith and a penitent heart but having received no baptism. May God still save him if he was unsaved at the moment of the chariot collision? Of course. Nothing says God cannot save someone of faith when they die.

    In fact, the early church taught exactly this. Early Christians often delayed baptism to near death for fear of losing a one-time forgiveness. (They didn’t get grace any better than we sometimes do.) When such an unbaptized believer was martyred, the early Christians taught that they were saved by baptism of blood, an exception to the general requirement for baptism of water.

    I think it’s much, much simpler. God has promised to save all with faith, and he will do exactly that. Every single time. As I’ve consistently taught, God will do this regardless of how badly we foul up the baptism. Even we fail to look both ways before crossing a chariot lane.

    This is not having it both ways. It’s giving respect to the many verses that tie the time of salvation to baptism along with the even greater number of verses that promise salvation to all with faith. Nothing says that salvation has to come the moment of faith or the moment of baptism or not at all. That comes from rule-book thinking. The Baptist and Church of Christ positions are not the only two possibilities. God is not bound by our theories.

  41. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jay,
    I think you are on to something.

    You said: “…he does not charge the audience with moral failings or failure to obey God’s commands. Rather, he accuses them of failing to recognize Jesus as Messiah and therefore crucifying him.”

    I think this is exactly right. Some in the crowd in Acts 2 were no doubt present several weeks earlier in Mark 15:
    11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
    12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
    13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
    14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
    15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

    Clearly those present (and by extension Israel as a whole) did not recognize or accept Jesus as the Messiah.

    Further, your point about Cornelius is well taken. I preached on the conversion of Cornelius a few years ago, and I highlighted Cornelius’s many outstanding traits: a devout man, a God fearing man, a compassionate man, a prayerful man, a devoted family man…and yet, he and his household were lost (Acts 11:14). Why? Despite his superior moral character, Cornelius was still a sinful man (regardless of how infrequent), and those sins had separated him from God. Only God’s grace and the blood of Christ can reconcile sinful man. Cornelius needed to hear the Gospel (Rom 1:16). Prior to Peter’s arrival, Cornelius, although a good and godly man, was still a servant of sin (Rom 6:17). He had not been crucified with Christ that his body of sin might be destroyed (Rom 6:6).

    You said that we frequently “…reduce “repent” to “become moral,” thereby eliminating the relationship with Jesus…”
    That’s a great statement. I seldom hear repentance defined in terms of changing our mind from non-believer to believer. I think the idea of changing from non-believer to believer is often assumed by the fact that the person is responding to the Gospel, but it is not that simple. At the heart of repentance is TRULY believing. True repentance WRT faith in Christ will lead to repentance and obedience in all other areas (Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”).

    There is a difference between a faith that fails to obey and a faith that leads to a life of obedience, and this disparity defines whether one is lost or saved. The leaders or scribes of Jesus day provide an excellent example from scripture. In John 12, “…many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Lest anyone suggest that the leaders didn’t have faith, it is interesting to note that John used the word pisteuō here in reference to the leaders…the leaders pisteuō in him. As you all well know, that’s a significant term. This episode stands in stark contrast with the scribes of Acts 6:7c (“…a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”). Both believed, but the resultant responses and associated repentance were very different.

    “In our preaching, we badly over-emphasize baptism — making it nearly the fourth member of the Trinity — and badly under-emphasize repentance — treating it as a call to be nice.”
    I totally agree with you here. Baptism is vitally important, but without repentance, we are just getting wet. Baptism is no panacea or silver bullet…there is no such thing as baptismal regeneration. Just so, a faith without obedience & repentance is useless.

  42. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jay,

    “On the other hand, obviously, Paul was not against baptism. He taught and practiced baptism. I have no doubt but that he insisted that every single convert be baptized for forgiveness. But plainly enough, Paul elevates faith far above baptism, so much so that he can explain how people are saved in detail repeatedly speaking of faith in Jesus as sufficient and not mentioning baptism.”

    I forgot about this in the above post.

    I agree, but I think there is more to it than that. Typically, when Paul discusses belief or faith, the assumption is that his addressees possess a saving faith. Paul cannot conceive of a true believer who has not repented or has not been baptized. That’s not conceivable for him. True belief / true faith demands love and obedience.

  43. Chris says:

    Jay, I’ve recently read “Believer’s Baptism, Sign Of The New Covenant In Christ.” It’s an excellent book with various authors contributing. Are you familiar with this book? The most interesting contribution to me was the chapter submitted by Robert H. Stein, “Baptism in Luke-Acts.” Stein is a senior professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    His chapter closely mirrors your take on the subject. I was a bit surprised too, as he teaches at a Southern Baptist Seminary, but it reads like someone who teaches from a COC background.

  44. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I broke my own rule about not reading Grace’s posts due to Jay’s post about her “sending comments to other people” that are on the blog.

    Nothing new here, of course. Same old repetitive, useless diatribe and posting style. Good luck getting an answer to your simple questions, Jay.

    Nevertheless, the discussion (or rather lack thereof) would be quite interesting.

    Calling on the name of the Lord.
    Acts 2:21 reads, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
    Grace contends that the passage means, “Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “call” means “to call, cry, to utter aloud, call out, call upon, or call upon someone for aid”. In both the Hebrew and Greek it is to call a person by saying their name.”
    It’s not that simple. Notice the words of our Lord as recorded by Matthew, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

    Clearly, whatever “calling on the name of the Lord” is, the act involves more than a verbal plea. Repentance is involved, as is obedience. Jay, I think you are exactly correct WRT Acts 22:16 – “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
    Ananias clearly ties calling on His name with baptism. No verbal plea is anywhere indicated in the context. In fact, Paul had come to a faith in christ days earlier. If “calling on the name of the Lord” merely equated to a verbal plea or faith, Paul’s “calling” would have happened on the road to Damascus when, upon realizing that he was conversing with Jesus, Paul asks, “What shall I do Lord?”

  45. Chris says:

    Some of my post didn’t appear. I’ve also found an article on the web by Stein titled “Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament.” Both are excellent reads, and like your writings, help make sense of everything. May God bless you and Happy New Year!

  46. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Chris,
    I have that book on Logos. I think Jay has mentioned it, or maybe that was John Mark Hicks…

  47. Dwight says:

    Jay, I know you question the veracity of Mark 16:16 and yet what is it that Peter does in Acts when the people ask about what to do to be saved? Peter does exactly what is said or not said in Mark 16:16. This shows that Peter understands Mark 16:16 as also Phillip. So while Mark 16:16 might have been added later, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t taught by Jesus and added later because it was true and it does show up in some documents, as opposed to none.
    You state, “I’ve already shown in a comment last night that the “Repent and be baptized” does not produce a parallel in the Greek grammatically. Obviously, Peter insists that his audience do both, but the sermon is about repentance and the Spirit, not baptism.”
    But the text says, “repent and be baptized”, so it is showing at least a flow of thought and command in response to the question posed by the people who ask, “What must we do to be saved.” So to argue that the sermon is about repentance and the Spirit and miss that baptism is right there in between those two concepts is strange and unnerving.
    This is rewriting the scripture at this point to better reflect what we wish to focus on.
    This is like me saying, “Peanut butter and Jelly makes a sandwich that you can eat” and then you saying, “Well, the peanut butter and jelly are not equal concepts and the point of the eating that will happen is about the peanut butter and the sandwich.” HUH? Did you miss the Jelly part? Without both the Peanut butter and THE JELLY you don’t have the PB&J sandwich. Grammer, order and common sense dictates this reality. And if you left out the Peanut Butter you would have the same problem of not having a PB&J sandwich.

    In regards to the question of salvation by the people Peter includes both repentance and baptism.
    But ironically Peter did not mention faith at any point, so if baptism which is mentioned, is not on equal footing with repentance, then faith must be really a third stringer or not even on the map in regards to salvation, except that Mark 16:16 which you disallow includes both faith and baptism. If your argument is true in regards to baptism, then Peter obviously doesn’t believe in faith here having any part in salvation.
    Either you must argue that repentance and baptism is part of the salvation that they are asking about and faith is implied
    or
    just repentance is only involved in salvation without baptism (which is placed conspicously by Peter alongside repentance and after it in order) and/or faith (which is not mentioned).
    To argue against baptism in regards to salvation as Peter understands it, even though Peter mentions baptism in relation to it, is to argue against faith in regards to salvation as Peter understands it as well, which was not mentioned at all in relation to it.
    I can follow Peter’s direct statement and logic (who is speaking by the direct power of the HS), but I am having a hard time following yours in regards to Peter’s statement to the question of salvation, with or without Mark 16:16.

  48. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    I’m going to respond to your comment in detail. Please take the time to read my responses carefully.

    Jay, I know you question the veracity of Mark 16:16

    Me and the overwhelming majority of Christian scholars. Don’t minimize the objective reality. You cannot persuade informed students with this argument.

    and yet what is it that Peter does in Acts when the people ask about what to do to be saved? Peter does exactly what is said or not said in Mark 16:16. This shows that Peter understands Mark 16:16 as also Phillip. So while Mark 16:16 might have been added later, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t taught by Jesus and added later because it was true and it does show up in some documents, as opposed to none.

    Your argument was based on the GRAMMAR of Mark 16:16. You argued that the parallel “repent and is baptized” suggests that the two are of equal weight in the eyes of God. The parallel is almost certainly not inspired and so irrelevant to this discussion.

    The fact that the apostles routinely baptized their converts is not inconsistent with what I’ve been teaching. I teach that God intends that believers be baptized into remission of sins. This is taken from the same verses you refer to. We agree to that extent. Therefore, the history of Acts supports what I teach. Remember your point: that repentance and baptism are equal in God’s eyes — and you’ve said nothing to demonstrate that point so far.

    You state, “I’ve already shown in a comment last night that the “Repent and be baptized” does not produce a parallel in the Greek grammatically. Obviously, Peter insists that his audience do both, but the sermon is about repentance and the Spirit, not baptism.”
    But the text says, “repent and be baptized”, so it is showing at least a flow of thought and command in response to the question posed by the people who ask, “What must we do to be saved.” So to argue that the sermon is about repentance and the Spirit and miss that baptism is right there in between those two concepts is strange and unnerving.

    You are ignoring everything I said about the Greek of Acts 2:38. I’ve already answered this argument in my earlier comment, and you’ve chosen to ignore my answer.

    This is rewriting the scripture at this point to better reflect what we wish to focus on. This is like me saying, “Peanut butter and Jelly makes a sandwich that you can eat” and then you saying, “Well, the peanut butter and jelly are not equal concepts and the point of the eating that will happen is about the peanut butter and the sandwich.” HUH? Did you miss the Jelly part? Without both the Peanut butter and THE JELLY you don’t have the PB&J sandwich. Grammer, order and common sense dictates this reality. And if you left out the Peanut Butter you would have the same problem of not having a PB&J sandwich.

    You are arguing from the English translation. I argued from the apostolic, inspired Greek. You’re completely ignoring what I said. Please take the time to read my earlier comment before we continue this part of this discussion. If there is a useful parallel, it will be found in the Greek Luke wrote, not in the English. And I’m not the one re-writing the text. You’re the one taking an imprecise translation and seeking to overrule the inspired Greek.

    In regards to the question of salvation by the people Peter includes both repentance and baptism. But ironically Peter did not mention faith at any point, so if baptism which is mentioned, is not on equal footing with repentance, then faith must be really a third stringer or not even on the map in regards to salvation, except that Mark 16:16 which you disallow includes both faith and baptism. If your argument is true in regards to baptism, then Peter obviously doesn’t believe in faith here having any part in salvation.

    Please imagine my frustration: THE MAIN POST ARGUES THAT “REPENT” IN ACTS 2:38 IS INCLUSIVE OF FAITH. And you entirely ignore the post. I question whether you’ve read it. Please read the post carefully before continuing this line of discussion.

    Either you must argue that repentance and baptism is part of the salvation that they are asking about and faith is implied or just repentance is only involved in salvation without baptism (which is placed conspicously by Peter alongside repentance and after it in order) and/or faith (which is not mentioned).

    Again, you entirely ignore the entire post. Please be courteous enough to read the post before you respond to it.

    To argue against baptism in regards to salvation as Peter understands it, even though Peter mentions baptism in relation to it, is to argue against faith in regards to salvation as Peter understands it as well, which was not mentioned at all in relation to it.
    I can follow Peter’s direct statement and logic (who is speaking by the direct power of the HS), but I am having a hard time following yours in regards to Peter’s statement to the question of salvation, with or without Mark 16:16.

    I apologize, but I have no idea what point you are making here. First, I’ve NOT TAKEN THE BAPTIST POSITION. I’ve not “argue[d] against baptism.” I think God intends that believers be baptized into the remission of sins. I just also believe that grace will cover an error in baptismal theology or practice. But it will be an error and therefore not to be condoned or encouraged.

    Please understand that there are more possibilities than just the COC and SBC positions on baptism. I’m not in either camp. I am in favor of baptism as the very moment when forgiveness occurs and the Spirit is received. But God has promised to save all with faith, and so he is not limited by our mistakes in baptism. That does not make the Baptists right. They are mistaken. But grace is all about covering mistakes.

    Please read my responses carefully and do not react instinctively as though I were arguing the SBC position. I am not, as should be obvious from how very unhappy with me Grace is. Read the main post regarding the meaning of “repent” in Acts 2:38 — carefully — so that you understand that I’ve argued that “repent” in context includes “believe that Jesus is the Messiah.” And read my earlier comment regarding the Greek of Acts 2:38 — which is about the inspired words. The translation is not the inspired words but a translation of the inspired words. If you want to find a parallel, it has to be in the Greek or else it’s merely a translation error — and proves nothing. Here’s the link: http://oneinjesus.info/2014/12/baptism-repent-in-acts-238/#comment-112965.

  49. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    If we observe the Baptism of John should we attempt the same type of separation between repentance and baptism as being applied here? I see a complete parallel. If we desire to place salvation and forgiveness of sins within a border of (repent) prior to baptism on this side of the Pentecost, would that not be the same as an application of John’s teachings of (repent) to anyone who repented but was not baptized by John? In the messages that John taught both repent and baptism was tied together as a completed action. John’s message was very strong on both baptism and evidence of repentance.
    I have never encountered anyone claiming forgiveness of sins was applied to those who repented through John’s teachings prior to John baptizing them.

  50. Dan Harris says:

    Thank you all for this discussion. My comments may be reductionist, but I do better with simple things.

    Since repentance involves more than just turning away, — belief in Jesus is necessary, a desire to accept a new kind of philosophy and morality is necessary, confession -even proclamation of Jesus as Christ- must be included so that others know that our change is a result of our new belief system; —– since repentance involves all these things which, in fact, may be considered “calling on the name of the Lord”, then why is it not possible that baptism involves more than just one thing?

    Obviously we are not saved by the washing of water, or by immersion in water. The Jews were used to many washings, even immersions, for their purification. Some were in the scripture. The Pharisees had imposed others. Even under the old testament it wasn’t the dirt being washed away which pleased God. It was their willingness to submit to God. It was their testimony through action that “I need the Lord and call upon Him alone for my salvation”.

    So then, what is baptism? Ray (I think) mentioned that it is something done to us (I understood you to mean, done to us by another person dipping us under the water). To me; not exactly……. yes, today we stand in water and the preacher immerses us; apparently John the Baptist did something similar in form. But we think of baptism as a symbol for washing away the sins we have committed and ,in fact, even putting to death the corrupt and mortal nature of our being and creating a new incorruptible nature within us. Does the preacher do that? Does the water do that? Does our obedience do that? —- No, no, and no. but God is the washer of souls; God is the killer of death itself, and God is the giver of life in changing our nature into something incorruptible. Yes, baptism is done to us, but by no man (except as an outward form, a shadow of inner workings or convenience). Saving baptism and its cleansing and renewing is done to us by God Himself as an expression of his love and grace which we have accessed through our faith. ……for without faith it is impossible to please Him……. So, God is really the one who does the actual baptizing. If God is not the one who does the baptizing then it is just a bath; a dip to wash away the filth of the flesh. And the thing that permits God to do the baptizing is our faith in Jesus of Nazareth as His son, AND his vast grace. So then, baptism is a way of our calling on the name of the Lord. —– a way of showing we need God, that we submit to God, that we are incomplete without God. It seems to me that we must be calling on the name of the Lord when we are baptized or it is no baptism at all. Likewise for repentance. And likewise for every single day of our lives that we strive to do His will. We call on Him in many ways every day and will never stop (unless somehow we decide to turn away from Him). We must call on His name every day (even maybe if we haven’t thought about it that way).

    So if I call upon the name of the Lord daily; that is, I acknowledge my insufficiency, His grace and and goodness, His wholeness and love——- on what day, of the many that I call upon the Lord, am I accepted by God? —-and this is the point of contention, is it not?—– Why wouldn’t I be accepted by God on the day that I called upon him? on the day that I professed faith? on the day that I acknowledged my sin? on the day that I turned to live a new life? ……. “Today if you will hear (that is believe) His voice, Heb. 3, 4, 9…… Is baptism calling on the name of the Lord? …. surely it is…. Is it the only way to call upon the name of the Lord? Just as surely it is not. Can I refuse to be baptized and expect to stay in God’s grace? ….. how can one stay in God’s grace if he refuses to submit to God? Can I wait till God fills up the creek so I can be baptized? —– I don’t see that I have a choice. Ultimately it is God that does the real baptizing, not man, and it is God that does the washing of sins. Is it possible that God washes us before we are immersed? Is it possible that God washes us long after we are immersed? Obviously God washed Cornelius before he was immersed and God wanted Peter to know that. Peter’s response? “how can I forbid water?” ……. neither should we forbid water. The biblical question was never, “why do I have to be baptized?” ——- but “why can’t I be baptized?”

    What is the point in arguing with someone who does not want to be baptized? They have proclaimed their own lack of belief. And what is the point in arguing if someone had their sins forgiven by God, if they have plainly done all they could to call on His name? Is this our calling of God?……. To tell others that someone who waited a day to be baptized (perhaps because of illness, plumbing problems, or drought) was not a Christian for that one day? How can I know that he was not baptized (washed, cleansed, renewed) by God before I realized he was? It happened to Peter. God had to work a miracle before Peter for him to realize Cornelius was saved and that he should not forbid water. Am I smarter than Peter?

    I think we have bigger fish to fry.

  51. Royce says:

    Was the baptism of John actual repentance? Is that your position?

  52. Dwight says:

    Jay, my point is that you can include faith in repentance, but the fact that Peter doesn’t say faith, should argue that turning to God is more important than faith, after all people can turn in mind just like they can be baptized without faith, so why should turning have a place over another action.
    You have included faith without it being represented by Peter in the statement in regards to salvation and yet not made baptism a part of salvation that is mentioned by Peter in regards to their question of what must they do to be saved, which is the point of Peter’s answer. You can say, “I’ve argued that “repent” in context includes “believe that Jesus is the Messiah.””, but the text itself doesn’t bear the weight of this conclusion. You would have to pull this context from somewhere else as repentance should have faith behind it, but it might not. I can turn my mind towards a corporation and work there and get paid, even though I do not have faith in it.
    Mark 1:15 “Repent and believe the good news.” which makes it clear that faith is not tied up in belief, but is separate, they are separate actions, and here repent is even place before belief, unless the grammar of course is wrong.

    I assume Peter answered the question of “what must we do be saved”, with the appropriate answer of “repent and be baptized.” Grammar should not nullify any part of the answer to the question. They were not worried about the gift of the Holy Spirit, unless that gift was salvation, which is what they asked about. We should not separate the answer from the question and then dissect the answer as it all applied to the question.

    I actually have read on the position of the grammar point from: http://carm.org/baptism-and-acts-238
    and yet this article misses the point as it pulls in arguments that they would not have understood at the time Peter spoke to them as Peter didn’t say, “Baptism, then, is the outward identification with being a Christian for those who have already repented ”
    All Peter said was “Repent and be baptized”, as a directive to the question of what must they do to be saved. They didn’t understand all of the ramifications that would be given later, that baptism was a burial into Christ. They were commanded to do something and they did it and they assumed that their response in their repentance and baptism did what they wanted.
    This has the people asking “what must we do to be saved?” and Peter saying, “Well repent and be baptized because baptism, although not saving like the repentance, shows that you are saved.”

    You says, “limited by our mistakes in baptism.” Mistakes in baptism? I have never heard of such a thing and even the scriptures never point to anything like this. There might be mistakes in our understanding, but baptism is immersion or immersed and you cannot do it wrong. You might do it for the wrong reasons, though.

  53. Dan Harris says:

    Royce, I’m sorry I don’t have a position exactly. I guess I don’t think that way. Sure John’s baptism was repentance and I would suppose a commitment to seek the Messiah and accept him once found. I think John preached ( in effect) for people to call on the name of the Lord; to be ready for the Messiah.

  54. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jay, my point is that you can include faith in repentance, but the fact that Peter doesn’t say faith, should argue that turning to God is more important than faith, after all people can turn in mind just like they can be baptized without faith, so why should turning have a place over another action.

    What the difference between turning to God and faith? How can I have faith and not turn to God? How can I turn to God and not have faith? I fail to see the distinction you are trying to make. Are you saying that faith is not only not sufficient but unnecessary? Surely not!

    I am full convinced that we must commit to a life of faithfulness to Jesus to be saved. I do not teach against repentance! Just that in some cases, “repent” is more about faith that Jesus is Messiah than leaving behind a sinful lifestyle. But the fact that “repent” in Acts 2:38 is not a reference to leaving behind a sinful lifestyle does not mean that we need not do that. OF COURSE we must. But that’s just not the point Peter was making in Acts 2:38. The point is made plainly enough in plenty of other places.

    You have included faith without it being represented by Peter in the statement in regards to salvation and yet not made baptism a part of salvation that is mentioned by Peter in regards to their question of what must they do to be saved, which is the point of Peter’s answer. You can say, “I’ve argued that “repent” in context includes “believe that Jesus is the Messiah.””, but the text itself doesn’t bear the weight of this conclusion. You would have to pull this context from somewhere else as repentance should have faith behind it, but it might not. I can turn my mind towards a corporation and work there and get paid, even though I do not have faith in it.

    I’m not going to repeat the arguments made in the main post. Merely asserting that you disagree does not advance your position. I have no idea what it would mean to “repent toward a corporation.” Apples and oranges. You have to work through the meaning of “repent” as it’s used in context — the entire sermon in Acts 2 as well as the sermons that follow. “Repent” does not inherently mean “repent of sin.” Obviously, that is one use of the word, but in the LXX, the word is almost always used of God changing his mind — and God does not repent of sin. Rather, he relents from a previously intended course of action. What course of action did Peter ask his audience to relent from? Well, their continued denial of Jesus as Messiah.

    Mark 1:15 “Repent and believe the good news.” which makes it clear that faith is not tied up in belief, but is separate, they are separate actions, and here repent is even place before belief, unless the grammar of course is wrong.

    As I said in the original post, “repent” and “believe” are overlapping terms from two different perspectives — and the meaning shifts depending on context. Sometimes “repent” refers specifically to a given sin. Sometimes to a sinful lifestyle. Sometimes to repenting from unbelief. Context matters.

    I take “repent and believe” to be a classic Hebraic parallel — that is, saying the same thing twice from two different perspectives as a matter of emphasis. Among Jews especially, saying “X and Y” often means that X and Y almost the same thing. The Psalms are built on exactly this concept, and it’s very common among NT writers.

    N. T. Wright famously comments on this verse:

    Josephus is describing an incident which took place in Galilee in around AD 66—that is, roughly when some of the synoptic traditions may have been achieving a settled shape. Josephus has gone to Galilee to sort out the turbulent factionalism there. A brigand chief called Jesus (there are twenty-one people by that name in the index to Josephus’ works; originality in naming children was evidently not prized highly among first-century Jews) makes a plot against Josephus’ life. Josephus manages to foil it. Then, he tells us, he called Jesus aside and told him

    that I was not ignorant of the plot which he had contrived against me …; I would, nevertheless, condone his actions if he would show repentance and prove his loyalty to me. All this he promised …

    ‘If he would show repentance and prove his loyalty to me.’ The translation is accurate enough, but could just as well have been rendered ‘if he would repent and believe in me’. Josephus is requiring of this Jesus that he give up his brigandage, and trust him (Josephus) for a better way forward. ‘Repentance’, in this sense of abandoning revolutionary inclinations, is found elsewhere in the same narrative; so, for that matter, is ‘belief’, in the sense of trust in and loyalty to a leader. I find it somewhat remarkable that, in all the literature I have read about Jesus of Nazareth, only one writer even mentions the incident involving Josephus and the brigand Jesus, and even he makes no comment about the meaning of ‘repentance’ and ‘belief’ in the light of it. It is, I suggest, of considerable significance. This is what those words meant in Galilee in the 60s; by what logic do we insist that they meant something rather different, something perhaps more ‘personal’, ‘inward’ or ‘religious’, in Galilee in the 20s and 30s? Why should we use that ‘religious’ sense as the criterion for assessing whether Jesus of Nazareth could have said such a thing? He may well have meant more than Josephus; that must be seen by further historical investigation. He is highly unlikely to have meant less.

    N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, Christian Origins and the Question of God (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1996), 250–251.

    Notice that “repent” in Josephus doesn’t mean “repent of a sinful lifestyle.” It means “give up your rebellion.” “Faith” means “become faithful.” These are two sides of the same coin. Just so, John was calling on his listeners to repent in order to believe — because you have to give up the old in order to take on the new.

    In Acts 2:38, the old is a lack of faith that Jesus is Messiah. In Acts 8, the old is Simon Magus’ misunderstanding of the Spirit and desire to make money off the Spirit.

    Now, I’ve not AT ALL rejected the necessity of repentance from sin. I just point out that sometimes “repent” is referring to something else. The term is not BY DEFINITION a reference to giving up sin.

    Thayer’s defines the Greek as —

    to change one’s mind, i. e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that,

    BDAG, the most respected NT Greek lexicon out, translates,

    1.change one’s mind …
    2.feel remorse, repent, be converted …

    Again, no specific reference to sin, although sin certainly can be in mind – in context. But we are not justified in asserting “from sin” regardless of context.

    I assume Peter answered the question of “what must we do be saved”, with the appropriate answer of “repent and be baptized.” Grammar should not nullify any part of the answer to the question. They were not worried about the gift of the Holy Spirit, unless that gift was salvation, which is what they asked about. We should not separate the answer from the question and then dissect the answer as it all applied to the question.

    The first half of Peter’s sermon was about the Holy Spirit being outpoured as the prophets had promised — as a sign of the coming of the Kingdom. Of course, the Spirit brings salvation. Of course. But the Spirit himself was the subject of the sermon. WHY, OH WHY, DO WE INSIST ON INTERPRETING ACTS 2:38 WITHOUT READING THE SERMON THAT IT CONCLUDES? This is a chronic error among the Churches of Christ (and not just us). We IGNORE the sermon and read Acts 2:38 as though it were a gift from God to defeat the Baptists. But it’s spoken by Peter at a critical moment in church history — the coming of the Kingdom and the outpouring of the Spirit.

    (Act 2:16-21 ESV) 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

    (Act 2:33 ESV) 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

    Peter is not just explaining the miracle of tongues. This is the moment when the Messiah is enthroned, the Kingdom is established, and the Spirit outpoured! This is the turning point in world history, the dawning of a new age!

    The presence of the Spirit shows that this is true, and therefore that Jesus is Messiah. They were struck to the heart because they’d crucified the Messiah! What to do? What to do?

    Repent! From what? Lust? Cheating on taxes? No, from the sin they were just charged with — denial of the Messiahship of Jesus!! They’d missed the most important moment in Israel’s history, committing an unspeakable crime. Repent!! How? By accepting that Jesus is LORD — and so calling on his name — relying on him for forgiveness.

    And because of God’s unspeakable grace, made possible through Jesus, forgiveness will come, but not just forgiveness — entry into the Kingdom marked by receipt of the same Spirit who has been outpoured. By accepting Jesus as Messiah (the major theme of the sermon), the Spirit will be provided. Of course, the Spirit can only be poured into those who’ve been cleansed from sin.

    This will all be accomplished at the moment of baptism — but a baptism better than John’s. Not just for repentance and forgiveness, but for receipt of the Spirit that marks entry into the Kingdom in fulfillment of Joel’s promises.

    The story matters. And the story isn’t: leave your life of sin and be baptized to be forgiven. It’s: You’ve sinned by rejecting God’s Messiah. Repent by believing Jesus is Messiah. Call on the name of Jesus, and he’ll respond in grace with forgiveness and the Spirit — all at the moment of a new, better baptism.

    I actually have read on the position of the grammar point from: http://carm.org/baptism-and-acts-238 and yet this article misses the point as it pulls in arguments that they would not have understood at the time Peter spoke to them as Peter didn’t say, “Baptism, then, is the outward identification with being a Christian for those who have already repented ”

    Again, I’m not arguing the Baptist position. The Baptists use a similar argument but to a very different conclusion. I agree that they err in so doing. I am not them.

    All Peter said was “Repent and be baptized”, as a directive to the question of what must they do to be saved. They didn’t understand all of the ramifications that would be given later, that baptism was a burial into Christ. They were commanded to do something and they did it and they assumed that their response in their repentance and baptism did what they wanted.
    This has the people asking “what must we do to be saved?” and Peter saying, “Well repent and be baptized because baptism, although not saving like the repentance, shows that you are saved.”

    Again, I’m not defending the Baptist understanding. Please direct anti-Baptist arguments to a Baptist.

    You says, “limited by our mistakes in baptism.” Mistakes in baptism? I have never heard of such a thing and even the scriptures never point to anything like this. There might be mistakes in our understanding, but baptism is immersion or immersed and you cannot do it wrong. You might do it for the wrong reasons, though.

    Or you might not be entirely immersed. Or you might pour rather than immerse. Or you might say the wrong words. There are lots of ways to baptize imperfectly.

  55. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the reference to Stein’s article. It can be downloaded at http://www.sbts.edu/resources/journal-of-theology/sbjt-21-spring-1998/baptism-and-becoming-a-christian-in-the-new-testament/ and is a good read. I particularly enjoyed his analogy to the wedding ring at the end of the article.

    It’s plain from this, and many other articles coming out of Southern Baptist academia, that their scholars are questioning their traditional baptism teaching — at least those scholars who aren’t pushing toward traditional Calvinism.

  56. Larry Cheek says:

    Royce,
    I thought you may have asked this question of me because I did not see anyone else using John’s teachings as examples.
    “Was the baptism of John actual repentance? Is that your position?”
    So to that question I will offer these as prof.
    (Mat 3:2 ESV) “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    (Mat 3:8 ESV) Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
    (Mat 3:11 ESV) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

    (Mar 1:4 ESV) John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

    (Luk 3:3 ESV) And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
    (Luk 3:8 ESV) Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

    (Act 13:24 ESV) Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
    (Act 19:4 ESV) And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”

    Do you believe that he did not teach repentance? Or was the repentance that he was requiring not available for him to offer? Would their repentance because of his teachings have no value?

  57. Royce says:

    Larry, Johns baptism could not repent for people, only humans can repent. They were baptized “for” repentance and “for” forgiveness of sins. That is they were baptized because they had repented and when John baptized them he called them to live as they professed. It’s like me saying ” I’m having a party for my wife’s birthday” The party does not make her a year older, the party celebrates and commorates her birthday. The party is “for” her birthday. If I try to do something “for” God’s glory my act does not cause God to be glorious.

  58. R.J. says:

    Before Peter’s address, the crowd(gathered that day) irrationally cried for His blood during Christ’s Crucifixion. They even started jeering by jesting that the disciples were drunk when the Spirit came. But after that inauguratory sermon, their calloused hearts were cut asunder! No longer hard but soft. The 2,000 turned from their disloyalty and hypocritical devoutness and became devoted followers of the Messiah!.

  59. R.J. says:

    Granting repentance to the Gentiles I don’t think specifically relate to Cornelius but to his household and the Gentiles at large. He did not need to repent of sin or from being disloyal(since you can’t betray someone you don’t know).

  60. R.J. says:

    Then again, how can God Grant repentance? If this doesn’t prove Calvinism then what do we make of this?

  61. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    RJ asked,

    Then again, how can God Grant repentance?

    (Act 11:18 ESV) 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

    I don’t think this means God reached into the Gentiles’ hearts and made them repent. I think it means that God opened the Kingdom to the Gentiles by allowing them to enter through repentance. Repent from what? A lack of faith — faith/faithfulness/trust in Jesus.

    (Luk 24:45-47 ESV) 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

    The missionary preaching of the early Church restated the call to repentance (e.g., Acts 3:19; 26:20). Such repentance not only brought one into faith, but was also demonstrated outwardly in baptism (2:38).
    In missionary preaching to Gentiles repentance was understood as a change of lordship that could be depicted as a reorientation from darkness to light (26:18). Evidence for such a theme of repentance in Paul’s missionary preaching is found at 1 Thess. 1:9, where he writes that the Thessalonians “turned to God from idols.” Generally, however, words for “repentance” are infrequent in Paul’s letters. Some scholars have viewed this as evidence for the eclipse of the idea of repentance in Paul. The apostle seems to have employed the word “faith” (Gk. pístis) when speaking to believers of the act of repentance and coming to Christ (e.g., Rom. 11:20; Gal. 3:25–26; Eph. 4:5).

    Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 880.

    In other words, God is allowing the Gentiles to be saved by faith in Jesus, just as had been true of the Jews.

  62. Larry Cheek says:

    Royce,
    I really think you have missed the point, I’ll try to offer a better explanation. After your comment.

    “Larry, Johns baptism could not repent for people, only humans can repent. They were baptized “for” repentance and “for” forgiveness of sins. That is they were baptized because they had repented and when John baptized them he called them to live as they professed. It’s like me saying ” I’m having a party for my wife’s birthday” The party does not make her a year older, the party celebrates and commorates her birthday. The party is “for” her birthday. If I try to do something “for” God’s glory my act does not cause God to be glorious.”

    I was attempting to show how in John”s baptism, repentance and baptism were connected as a finished product. If an individual repented as John was teaching and refused baptism he was rejecting salvation. I know this will be a point of disagreement that John’s baptism offered salvation but notice, by bearing fruit of repentance and being baptized they would flee from the wrath to come. That sounds like an escape to safety from something that they feared.

    Mat 3:7-8 ESV But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
    Luk 3:7-8 ESV He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

    Jesus a short while later helped to identify what is understood by the term brood of vipers.

    Mat 23:33 ESV You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

    The point here is that if individuals who brought fruit of repentance as they repented and were baptized by John they received an escape from the “wrath to come”. What was this “wrath to come”? I really have not seen that identified but, I would seriously doubt that anyone who had submitted to John’s baptism was in the crowd that was involved with the crucifixion. Further than that I just don’t know, because I believe that all those who were baptized by John who were there on the Day of Pentecost participated in the new baptism into Jesus.

    Now let’s see how Jesus spoke of the operations of John. Where did Jesus place priority?
    Mat 21:24-26 ESV Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. (25) The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ (26) But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
    Mar 11:29-32 ESV Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. (30) Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” (31) And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ (32) But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet.
    Luk 20:3-6 ESV He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, (4) was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” (5) And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ (6) But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”

    Jesus said not a word regarding their repentance, but he placed all the value on the baptism which was as he implied from heaven. He credited it with so much importance that he declared those who had not been baptized by John as rejecting God’s purpose for their lives.

    Luk 7:29-30 ESV (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, (30) but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

    Then we notice the following.
    Joh 3:22 ESV After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.
    Joh 3:25-26 ESV Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. (26) And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
    Joh 4:1 ESV Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

    It seems very odd to me that there is no mention of the message that Jesus and his disciples were teaching only that they were baptizing. Was their message the same as John’s? Were they communicating about repentance? If repentance was the priority as you suggest, why was baptism the object discussed? Why wasn’t the communication, that many were repenting? why not the mention of whom they were to following after baptism? Evidently, these were following Jesus, not John and it was a concern of John’s followers.

    Jesus also clarified the meaning of rejected as he spoke in these verses.

    Act 4:11-13 ESV This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. (12) And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (13) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
    Mat 21:42 ESV Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
    Mar 12:10-11 ESV Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; (11) this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

    Now for your definition of the birthday party being the equivalent of the baptisms of both John and those of his disciples. Is that really your definition of these baptisms? Can you give us a better picture of how the “party concept” fits the records in scripture?

  63. Dwight says:

    Jay, you say”As I said in the original post, “repent” and “believe” are overlapping terms from two different perspectives — and the meaning shifts depending on context. Sometimes “repent” refers specifically to a given sin. Sometimes to a sinful lifestyle. Sometimes to repenting from unbelief. Context matters.”
    and ”
    Thayer’s -to change one’s mind, i. e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that,
    BDAG, the most respected NT Greek lexicon out, translates,1.change one’s mind … 2.feel remorse, repent, be converted …”

    You said that repent and belief are overlapping and yet you remark that “you can repent from unbelief”, but can’t you repent from belief or change your mind from believing? If repent means to change one mind, then yes you can and thus repent and unbelief must be overlapping terms as well. Or not?

    Repentance might be done out of faith or faith might lead to repentance, but they are not exclusive of each other and if Acts 2:38 shows anything, repentance and baptism are overlapping terms s they are both works directed towards God. Again only repentance and baptism are mentioned here in the answer to the question.

    Now I am not arguing against faith, but arguing that while faith is not mentioned by Peter in regards to the question of “What must we do to be saved”, but “repent and baptism” are, then Peters response is pretty clear from what they heard and what they did. They might have had faith, but they were commanded to repent (turning is an action) and be baptized (also an action).
    One could argue that since they were convicted that they had faith and that in this faith they had turned, thus excluding the repentance from the command(as it was redundant) and making baptism the only real command given.

    I understand that supposedly the grammar of Acts 2:38 suggest that repentance is what a person does and baptism is what is done to a person, except in this context a person who has repented is involved in being baptized. Besides Jesus was buried, right, he did not bury himself, so does that make what He went through any less of a burial of Him? No! Jesus went to the grave and was buried, so a convert will go to baptism and be baptized due to his faith.

    Those in Acts 2:38 understood that they must do both things…repent…be baptized in response to the question of “what must we do to be saved.”

    The argument you make in this regards is a basic Baptist argument against baptism for salvation. is answered here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/77-acts-2-38-not-so-tough

    A similar construct is:“All who are departing for San Francisco, approach gate three and each of you must have his ticket available for the agent.”
    In the above, one group is being talked about here and that one group must do both things, even while there is a switch between the plural and singular in regards to the people. This doesn’t make the approaching of the gate and the getting of the ticket any less important than the other thing in regards to boarding the plane in that both have to be done. And they must do this out of faith in the announcer. If they have a ticket, but do not go to gate three or they go to gate three without a ticket they will not fly on the plane.

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