Is Baptism a Work, Part 6B, Part 1

baptism of JesusA few days ago, I asked a series of five questions regarding baptism, urging the readers to narrow the discussion to just these five questions.

I had several reasons for doing this, one being in hopes of ending the constant drone of “My verse beats your verse” argumentation — which is a colossal waste of time and energy.

I also wanted to encourage the readers to seek answers from the text rather than their denominational heritage. I mean, when you answer that the baptism is part of the gospel because baptism is essential to salvation and the baptism is essential to salvation because it’s part of the gospel, well, you’re reasoning in circles. (And the Baptist side makes just as many circular arguments.)

Christians deal with the text honestly — which means they admit the difficulties and the existence of passages that argue against their preferred position. But when it comes to boundary issues, those topics that define one denomination as against another, we feel that any argument is a good argument. The goal is victory — which is never the right goal. The goal should always be faithfulness. God gives the victory.

So here are my answers. But please pay attention more to the method than the answers.

1. Imagine that you live in the late First Century. Someone gives you a copy of the Gospel of Luke, and this is the only New Testament resource you have. Can you, by reading Luke, find salvation? Does the Gospel of Luke offer enough information to its readers so that they can be saved?

The answer surely is found in reviewing Luke itself.

Let’s first look at what Jesus says about the Kingdom of God.

(Luk 8:1 ESV) Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

Luke nowhere mentions Christian water baptism, only John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism with the Spirit. And yet Jesus was able to preach the “good news.”

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains how people may receive salvation:

(Luk 8:12-13 ESV) 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.

According to the parable, salvation comes by faith. Jesus taught the same lesson repeatedly,

(Luk 7:47-50 ESV) 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven– for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

But Jesus also teaches that salvation is found in following him.

(Luk 9:23-24 ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

(Luk 14:26-27 ESV) 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

And, obviously enough, these verses ask for a commitment or loyalty to Jesus.

As we’ve covered countless times, the Greek pistis, translated either “faith” or “faithfulness,” includes all these thoughts.

In short, if you were to read Luke as it was written — as a stand alone book about Jesus, you’d come away believing that faith in Jesus — a faith that includes a commitment to be faithful to him — would be sufficient to save.

Some might object that Jesus was teaching before Pentecost and the coming of the church, but this would ignore almost the entirety of the book! Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom soon to come. He is preparing for the new age about to dawn. He is not teaching a doctrine destined to last a few months and then expire.

A better objection would be that Luke was written in anticipation of Acts, and Acts includes Christian water baptism as an important theme. True enough, but it seems odd that a “Gospel” that mentions “gospel” 10 times and speaks extensively of how to enter the Kingdom says nothing of baptism.

And if baptism was as central to Luke’s theology as it is to traditional Church of Christ theology, why does he never record Jesus speaking of it? Matthew does. John might (exegetes disagree). Mark only does if you consider the longer ending original (the majority of scholars do not).

Indeed, given the utter absence of water baptism from the Old Testament, including the many Kingdom prophecies, and the near absence of baptism from the words of Jesus, with faith being an important theme of both, it’s hard to treat baptism as co-equal with faith in scriptural importance or emphasis.

That hardly negates baptism, but it does require us to restore faith in Jesus to its central place in the Bible’s teaching on salvation.

On the other hand, John’s baptism of Jesus looks ahead to Christian baptism.

(Mar 1:4-5 ESV) 4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

(Mar 1:7-8 ESV) 7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

(Mar 1:9-11 ESV) In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke first records John baptizing with a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” “For the forgiveness of sins,” in the Greek, is identical to Acts 2:38.

John next promises that Jesus will baptize with the Spirit in contrast to his baptism with water. The main distinction between Christian baptism and John’s baptism is the Spirit.

Next, John baptizes Jesus, and Jesus receives the Spirit. Clearly, this is a harbinger of Christian baptism — in which Christians become sons of God, well-pleasing to God, and receive the Spirit. But the emphasis in the text is much more on the Spirit than the water — not that the water can be ignored. It just can’t be made co-equal with God’s gift of the Spirit.

In short, yes, the Gospel of Luke teaches enough to be saved. How we deal with baptism vis-à-vis faith will be addressed in response to the next question

2. There are dozens of “faith is sufficient to save” verses. There are several “baptism is necessary to save” verses. How do we reconcile these seemingly inconsistent passages? You MAY NOT insist that your verses somehow magically “explain” or otherwise override the other verses. The question is whether there is an understanding that makes ALL the verses true, not just the ones that support your denominational position.

This is hardly an easy question, but its difficulty doesn’t excuse the efforts of both sides of the debate to erase the other side’s passages. All the verses matter. All the verses are true.

The Great Commission of Matthew 28:19, several of the conversion accounts in Acts, and several Pauline passages plainly associate water baptism with salvation, forgiveness of sins, and receipt of the Spirit. These passages cannot be read out of the text by merely recanting — often and loudly — the many verses teaching that faith is sufficient to save, as though the texts were contradictory and we get to pick the verses we like the best.

The texts only become contradictory — arguably — when converts aren’t baptized shortly following their confession of faith in Jesus. Clearly, this was the early church’s practice, and no one was greatly concerned about when salvation happened. Indeed, an argument can be made from Acts that the Spirit (and hence salvation) wasn’t received until hands were laid on the convert immediately following baptism (Acts 8:17-19; 9:17; 19:6. Compare 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6.). But this is inconvenient for both sides of the baptism argument and so ignored by both sides, since winning is so important.

I mean, neither Baptists nor the Churches of Christ lay hands on those they baptize (as a rule; there are exceptions), and unlike the Catholics and Orthodox, neither treats chrismation (laying on of hands to receive the Spirit) as a sacrament that should follow baptism.

The point is that the early church saw confession, baptism, and laying on of hands as essentially simultaneous and gave no thought as to which accomplished which element of salvation — and so credited all of salvation to all elements without the least concern for what would happen if someone died in between. They didn’t have revival meetings where the goal was to terrify the audience into a quick baptism or Sinner’s Prayer. (And that’s an important lesson in itself.)

Baptism separated from faith

So what does God do when baptism is separated from faith by weeks or even months? Consider churches in frontier Alaska where baptisms were delayed until the water thawed in the spring. If someone died after confessing faith but before the warmth of spring, would they be damned? Does that mean they were saved in the meantime? Then what’s the significance of baptism?

Those who imagine that God is so rule-bound that he’d damn a person of faith because the water was frozen haven’t read their Bibles — especially their Gospels.

To me, it’s as simple as this.

1. It’s God’s intention that baptism immediately follow confession of faith in Jesus, and that we should see the baptism as picturing the salvation that is taking place.

2. I don’t think God or his apostles were interested in the question of when salvation occurs – at confession, at baptism, at arising from the baptistry, or at the laying on of hands, should that even happen.

3. If a person with a genuine faith in Jesus delays baptism or misunderstands the theology of baptism or is baptized the wrong way — not enough water — well, this is a new convert, a babe in Christ. The error is on that person’s teacher. The convert is only accountable for faith in Jesus at this stage of her spiritual journey.

Therefore, God will honor his many, many promises to save all with faith in Jesus despite bad teaching by the evangelist on baptism.

(Rom 10:9-11 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.”

Paul seems to consider the Old Testament promises of salvation to all with faith — going back to God’s covenant with Abraham — to be entirely true, and yet he also teaches baptism. He doesn’t think he’s contradicting himself.

(to be continued).

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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24 Responses to Is Baptism a Work, Part 6B, Part 1

  1. laymond says:

    Luk 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
    Luk 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
    Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
    Luk 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

    Luke wrote about things that had already happened, and he had heard about, not something he had saw or heard in person. Tell me what made his writings any different from those today, such as yourself who claim to ” carefully investigated everything from the beginning,” Luke admits he was no more an “eyewitness” than you or I. Other versions state that Luke carefully investigated what he wrote about, I certianly hope that writers of today would do the same. It is hard for me to believe that Luke wrote two books only for informing one man Theophilus. But that is what he said, so I doubt he had it in mind to save the lost, only to inform the righteous.

    One who was by the side of Jesus spoke the following. concerning baptism.
    1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us ——-

  2. Ray Downen says:

    Jay’s conclusion about salvation based entirely on Luke’s gospel is of course irrelevant to anything, but it’s obviously incorrect. He writes, “the Gospel of Luke teaches enough to be saved. How we deal with baptism vis-à-vis faith will be addressed in response to the next question.”

    Since Luke wrote Acts, if we are sensible we’ll not look to the gospel of Luke to understand how we today should or could become saved by Jesus Christ. The gospels are written to explain JESUS, not to explain how Jesus saves sinners. The book of Acts is written to explain how Jesus saves sinners. So why would anyone seeking truth look only in Luke for the answer to a question it was not written to answer?

    Does anyone dispute the need for faith in Jesus? We all agree that faith in Jesus is necessary. We note that Jesus requires us who tell others about Him to BAPTIZE those who believe. So why are some so eager to believe baptism isn’t important and doesn’t really change anything? I’m disappointed in Jay’s answer to his first question in this series. I’m surprised that anyone would today be asked to understand conversion based only on the ministry of Jesus while on earth. It wasn’t until AFTER HIS RESURRECTION that He commands Christian baptism. All baptizing prior to that time were with John’s baptism of repentance for Jews. The gospel of the risen Lord was not preached until after the Lord had been buried and had risen from the dead. Christian baptism, a burial and resurrection, was first practiced on the Day of Pentecost reported on by Luke in chapter two of Acts. We have no business seeking light on conversion in the gospel according to Luke.

  3. Ray Downen says:

    Jay asks, “There are dozens of “faith is sufficient to save” verses. There are several “baptism is necessary to save” verses. How do we reconcile these seemingly inconsistent passages?” And the fact is they are not in any way contradictory!

    Surely every Bible student will realize that faith in Jesus is essential for entry into His kingdom. But never even once is it stated that FAITH ALONE saves. So when it’s pointed out that we are baptized INTO CHRIST, there’s no conflict at all with verses which speak of the necessity of faith in Him. The only conflict is with the theory some advance that salvation is by faith ALONE. And THAT theory is totally foreign to apostolic writings.

  4. Ray Downen says:

    We do well to understand the purpose for which the gospels were written. It was to tell about the ministry of Jesus ON EARTH. Jay writes, “Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom soon to come. He is preparing for the new age about to dawn. He is not teaching a doctrine destined to last a few months and then expire.”

    It’s good for us to realize He was not ahead of time teaching how sinners could be reborn of water and spirit. He never mentioned that obvious fact except in one private conversation which John tells us of long after it happened. Jesus did NOT offer new birth to anyone at all ever at any time while He was on earth performing occasional miracles and frequently teaching. The message heard as recorded in Acts chapter two was NEW and DIFFERENT from anything ever before preached. No one until that time had ever been told they should repent and be baptized and that then they would receive remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus was preparing for FUTURE preaching. He was not already preaching the message of the risen Lord. The gospel message was NEW when it was first preached in Acts, chapter two.

  5. Ray, you overlooked the question Jay had asked:
    “1. Imagine that you live in the late First Century. Someone gives you a copy of the Gospel of Luke, and this is the only New Testament resource you have. Can you, by reading Luke, find salvation? Does the Gospel of Luke offer enough information to its readers so that they can be saved?”

    He did not ask for a complete theology of baptism. He simply asked if there is enough information in Luke for a person who had no other gospel resource to be saved. Your response seems to indicate that you believe that if one had only Luke’s gospel the answer would be, “No.”

  6. Buckeye Chuck says:

    I believe Jay has correctly answered the question as stated. I find it very disappointing that some feel that it is so necessary to interject a salvation by baptism discussion into a question that did not ask for a complete theology of baptism or of salvation. It is because some believe that the gospel is baptism. Some are so afraid to honestly view Scripture that provides the details of God’s reconciliation to sinful mankind. That is what you can read about in the Book of Luke. That is EXACTLY what the “Gospel” is.

    I personally believe that baptism is very much a part of the salvation process and is required as obviously stated in many Scriptures. But, the Gospel is NOT baptism. If Luke does not provide the entire Gospel as presented by the writer as led by the Holy Spirit, then why do we refer to it as the “Gospel of Luke?”

    Ray Downen said: “We do well to understand the purpose for which the gospels were written. It was to tell about the ministry of Jesus ON EARTH.” I certainly agree that the gospels do tell about Jesus’ ministry on earth, but what Ray fails to recognize is that the ministry/life story itself IS the good news. Luke details the birth, ministry, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle Paul defines the “gospel” in I Cor. 15 as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Just what part of this reconciliation of sinful man to God is not included in Jesus’ story on earth as reported by Luke?

    It’s discouraging that some remain intent on making the Gospel ONLY about defending a doctrine that teaches baptism alone yields salvation that they simply cannot see the forest for the trees. It is no wonder that Baptists and others define that type of doctrine as “saved by works” because as Ray presented above and others have defined it throughout this discussion, it actually becomes a work to merit salvation. I do believe you are my brother in Christ because of the grace of God as presented by Paul in both Galatians and I Cor. 15; not by adherence ALONE to a specific doctrine about baptism.

  7. Royce says:

    Ray, The Gospel of John is a “gospel” book isn’t it? It was among the last books written and by John the brother of Jesus who was an elder in Ephesus. He gave a very specific reason for writing the book. ” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30,31) John didn’t talk about water baptism but rather over and over about faith in Christ. Surely John had knowledge of the other writings yet says clearly that those who read his gospel can have life by believing in Christ.

  8. laymond says:

    Royce said , and he said rightly. “Surely John had knowledge of the other writings yet says clearly that those who read his gospel can have life by believing in Christ.” But what does that statement mean to Royce ? Does it mean to believe in the word of God that Jesus spoke, or only the miracles that God performed through Jesus. Or the miracle of death and resurrection also performed by God as per his own will.
    Do we believe in what Jesus said such as- Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
    Luk 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
    Or maybe what Jesus said about baptism-Mat 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
    Mat 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
    Mat 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

    Or maybe what we should work toward-
    Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
    Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  9. Jay Guin says:

    Ray wrote,

    “But never even once is it stated that FAITH ALONE saves.”

    Ray,

    That is not a fair reading of the scriptures. It is a familiar argument made by those in the Churches of Christ. And, yes, it’s true that “faith alone” as a phrase does not appear in most translations. But so what? That’s a pure strawman argument. No one has suggested otherwise. Rather, what I said is that there are many verses teaching that faith is sufficient to save. Dozens of such verses fill the New Testament.

    In my post, I gave as an example —

    (Rom 10:9-11 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.”

    This is a classic proof text for the CoC Five Step Plan of Salvation, except we combine it with Acts 2:38. But the church in Rome did not have a copy of Acts 2:38. Acts had not yet been written. And yet Paul surely expected to be understood.

    Paul offers as support for his statement quotations from the Old Testament promising salvation to all with faith: “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    Now, either “everyone” means everyone, or else it means “everyone who has been baptized as a believer by immersion with the intent to obtain forgiveness of sins.” I’m pretty sure that the Greek dictionaries will give the first definition, not the second.

    So my position is pretty simple. God inspired the apostles to promise salvation to all with faith in Jesus (“faith” being defined as including faithfulness as well as belief that Jesus is the Messiah). Hence, repentance is included within “faith” as normally used in the NT.

    But baptism is not part of the definition of “faith.” Faithfulness is, and so a person of faith who’s been properly instructed will surely be baptized.

    Nonetheless, it strikes me as very conservative and very true to the text to take “everyone who believes” to mean everyone who believes.

    As I’ve done many times before, I could post another 30 verses to the same effect, but it’s bigger than counting proof texts. Paul in Rom 10 is summarizing what he argued in Rom 3-5 — that faith is both essential and sufficient — going back to Abraham.

    Amazingly, he then refers to baptism in Rom 6, not to argue that baptism is just as essential as faith in Jesus, but to remind his readers about what baptism means. And yet baptism does not come up again. Not once. But in Rom 9-11, he repeatedly and insistently argues for the sufficiency and necessity of faith in Jesus — and concludes that most of his Jewish contemporaries are damned for their lack of faith and that the Gentiles are being grafted into the Kingdom because of their faith.

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

    Now, this is not to say that the faith verses overrule the baptism verses. We are to baptize those we convert, and baptism remains for the remission of sins. That’s God’s will. But God keeps his promises. All of them. And he has promised to save everyone who believes in Jesus, and I trust God to keep his promises. And that is a position that honors the scriptures as inspired and authoritative — and refuses to ignore or argue against the scriptures.

  10. laymond says:

    https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/266-who-was-john-the-baptist

    Luk 7:27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
    Luk 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
    Luk 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
    Luk 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

  11. laymond says:

    Jay wrote;
    “So my position is pretty simple. God inspired the apostles to promise salvation to all with faith in Jesus ”
    Of the twelve apostles two were named James, evidently the one who wrote the book of James did not get the message.
    Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
    Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

  12. Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    Yet another “my verse overrules your verse” argument. Why is James (as you interpret James) more true than Paul? You’ve not made an argument. You’ve only pointed out a superficial, apparent contradiction. Until you attempt to explain how James is in fact consistent with Paul and John and Matthew, you’ve not demonstrated anything. Anyone can argue that X verse contradicts Y verse and Y is therefore true because it’s the one I like better. But it’s meaningless. Rather, show me a reasonable interpretation that takes both X and Y into account.

  13. laymond says:

    I thought I was commenting on the difference in Jay’s and James’ positions.

  14. laymond says:

    Actually, I thought James had answered the question Ray had raised about “faith alone”.

    Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

  15. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Royce, as a side note to the conversation, you stated that the author of the Gospel of John was John the Elder and brother of Jesus and not John the Apostle. I recognize that there is some uncertainty about the author. However, a consensus of early church historians attribute the writing to the Apostle Paul. So much so, that most contemporary Christians have considered no other possibility. There is no specific identification given other than “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” What can you share about your certainty that the author is not John the Apostle?

  16. Jay Guin says:

    Laymond wrote,

    I thought I was commenting on the difference in Jay’s and James’ positions.

    Again, not remotely. You were commenting on the difference between what John, Matthew and Paul repeatedly say (faith is sufficient) and what you believe James wrote (faith is not sufficient). But unless you are arguing that James is a higher authority than the others, why do your verses prevail not the others? What makes James true and John, Paul, and Matthew false? Why does James (as you interpret him) get to be “right”?

    A responsible exegete has to explain how the verses ALL fit together. No one has the right to say that their verses override the other guy’s verses. You have to offer an explanation for why the rest of the Bible says what it says.

    If God intended us to understand that faith only saves when works are added, then why did God inspire so many verses that say that all who faith in Jesus will be saved? Are we misunderstanding these other verses? If so, in context, what is really being said?

    My objection cuts both ways, of course. I have to have a reasonable explanation for why James says what he says. But I’ve on that topic many, many times. It now the turn of those who disagree to put cards on the table and explain how James fits with John, Paul, and Matthew.

  17. laymond says:

    Jay asks the question, “If God intended us to understand that faith only saves when works are added, then why did God inspire so many verses that say that all who faith in Jesus will be saved?”

    Because there are multiple places where Jesus said (if you have faith in me, you will do what I say, paraphrase )

  18. Jay Guin says:

    Laymond wrote,

    Because there are multiple places where Jesus said (if you have faith in me, you will do what I say, paraphrase )

    That is exactly correct, I think. Exactly.

    Therefore, if someone has faith, he will he be obedient and he will be saved. No contradiction there. He will also be baptized however he has been instructed. People with faith submit to baptism — if they’ve been instructed in baptism.

    If they’ve been badly instructed in baptism, they still have faith and they are still obedient. And they’ll do what Jesus says — to the extent they’ve been correctly taught.

    James merely points out that true faith produces obedience. Of course. “Faith” includes faithfulness, and those who are faithful will obey as well as they’ve been taught. Paul never says otherwise.

  19. Royce says:

    Laymond, You must have me confused with John, the writer of the gospel that bears his name.

  20. Royce says:

    Just the fact that the book is called “the gospel of John” and included in the canon is pretty good evidence of his authorship. But, that is not my best reason. The fact that the gospel John is so simular to 1 John is alone enough to convince me. It is nothing.like Paul’s writings. Also, many of the references to the author do not fit Paul at all. I suspect that some have tried to assign Paul as the author of John is because, like Paul, John emphacized faith in Christ. I have no doubt that John wrote the gospel that bears his name, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and the Revelation.

  21. Royce says:

    One last thing Buckeye Chuck. You said “a consensus of early church historians attribute the writing to the Apostle Paul. So much so, that most contemporary Christians have considered no other possibility”. Wow! That statement is not even remotely true.

  22. Alabama John says:

    Jay, I agree.

    When a person changes from his bad ways and now has faith in Jesus he will want to be baptized and not only that obedience but many other things that obedience requires that he is aware of. key is “aware of”.

    Repeating myself but saw many years ago only have the book of John and they will be judged by God according to the knowledge they gleaned from John alone.

    All of us can only obey what we know to obey. Anything missed out of ignorance will be overlooked by our loving father on judgment day.

    If I didn’t believe this, I would probably quit trying as having it all just right is against the odds that we have missed or misunderstood something.

  23. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Royce, I’m sitting here laughing at myself. Of course, I meant the Apostle JOHN, not Paul, was the writer of the Gospel of John, the 3 John epistles and Revelation. Sorry about that that misstatement. Please re-read my post/question given that correction. I realize the greetings of the 2nd and 3rd Epistle of John identify the writer as “The Elder”, but is that title inconsistent with John the Apostle the son of Zebedee? Revelation identifies the writer as John.

    Please let me restate my question so that you can respond appropriately, why do you believe the writer of the 4th gospel was John the Elder and brother of Jesus and not John the Apostle?

  24. Royce says:

    John the Apostle (Aramaic: ܝܘܚܢܢ ܫܠܝܚܐ‎ Yohanan Shliha; Hebrew: יוחנן בן זבדי‎ Yohanan Ben Zavdai c. AD 6 – c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr’s death. The Church Fathers consider him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, and the Beloved Disciple. The tradition of many Christian denominations holds that he is the author of several books of the New Testament.

    I agree with this reference at Wikipedia

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