Question from a Reader

Image result for questionI get emails —

I really enjoy your stuff. The first thing I read of yours I had to stop and see where you grew up I thought it was the church I grew up in. I am still at that church. I would be considered the young married group, and I’m a couple of decades to old; so you get the picture.

The preacher said he told a girl he wouldn’t baptize her because she lived in sin. I understand what he was saying, but would you ever tell someone not to be baptized? 

I’ve had readers get upset when I’ve suggested that it’s common practice in the Churches of Christ for the leadership to refuse a baptism in some circumstances. Other readers have been upset over Churches agreeing to baptize children who are too young or others who aren’t truly ready or penitent.

So when is it appropriate to refuse a baptism, if ever?

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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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42 Responses to Question from a Reader

  1. David Himes says:

    I cannot imagine ever declining to baptize someone

  2. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    This is a good question. And one that I have personally witnessed. I suppose my answer is…it depends. I wouldn’t baptize someone who had a significant misunderstanding of faith or who is unrepentant. By withholding baptism based on a significant deficiency in faith or repentance, my hope would be that the person would continue studying and learning and seek to be baptized at a later time. A baptism based on deficient faith or repentance may lure the person into a state of complacency, and the person never fully accepts the Way.

  3. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    …May never fully accept the Way.

  4. Gary says:

    Lloyd Cline Sears wrote a biography of James Harding, the namesake of Harding University and first president of Nashville Bible School which became what is now Lipscomb University. Sears wrote of how a Presbyterian woman asked James Harding to baptize her by immersion even though she was clear that she planned to remain a Presbyterian. Some CoC ministers and elders even today would refuse to baptize such a person. But Harding baptized the woman and only asked that she always follow her understanding of God’s will for her life. I believe this occurred in the late 1800’s.

    By the way, the biographies of James Harding and J.N. Armstrong that Lloyd Cline Sears wrote reveal some of the best of our heritage in Churches of Christ. The biography of Harding is entitled Eyes of Jehovah. The biography of Armstrong is entitled For Freedom. Armstrong was Harding’s son-in-law and the president of Harding College in the 1930’s and 1940’s when ultra-conservatives were pushing Churches of Christ in an ever more rigid and less tolerant direction. Armstrong stood firm against these right wing radicals at great personal cost. Thus the title of Sear’s biography of Armstrong, For Freedom. The principles Harding and Armstrong stood for provided a foundation that others like Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett later built on.

  5. Ray Downen says:

    I agree with Kevin. A requirement prior to baptism is repentance, which is turning away from known sin and seeking to avoid future sin. If the person states a desire to live for Jesus and like Jesus, then he/she is saying he/she is repentant, so regardless of past sin, the person should be baptized INTO CHRIST.

  6. laymond says:

    I think everyone who comes to be baptized should be read the following, and be asked “are you sure”.especially those of 20 years and over.

    Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
    2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    I doubt that any of the above, applies to those under the age of accountability. 20 years.
    another reason for me objecting to child baptism.

  7. If she believes, I will baptize her. It is not for me to establish prerequisites– no matter how noble they sound– that God has not established. It is an honor to be asked to baptize someone. We are not doing them a personal favor. If that is our attitude, perhaps it is we who are not ready to participate.

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    Thanks for that story.

    I was once in a Bible study group that was trying to be evangelistic. A couple we met with was in an “evangelistic” Bible study with a Presbyterian. They persuaded their friend to be baptized by immersion, but she refused to then leave her Presbyterian Church, declaring that she felt called to teach baptism to her Presbyterian friends. We struggled mightily to decide whether this counted as a successful “conversion.”

    Yep. We converted her to baptism but not to the Churches of Christ.

    I’ve had to repent of many things.

  9. Chris says:

    Jay,

    I heard some people in the COC say “I used to be a Baptist, Methodist, etc. but I converted to the Church of Christ.” I’m not quiet sure what to make of this phrase. Are they saying they were converted to a different denomination? I always think of conversion as following Christ or “getting saved.” I’m not trying to get caught up on semantics or split hairs, but I just feel uncomfortable with that statement for some reason. Sometimes I think people get confused about joining a church and true conversion. It’s like when a Baptist minister used to say at the invitation, “please come down to the front if you would like to join the church or pray to receive Christ.”

    It was then I realized how some folks may have believed they were saved by shaking the preacher’s hand and putting their name on the membership roll rather than actually making a decision to follow Christ. I believe that when you become a disciple of Christ, you automatically become a part of the body of Christ. But I see nothing wrong with joining in a local body of believers and I believe believers should. I just think it’s important to magnify Jesus instead of one’s denominational leaning. I hope this makes sense.

  10. Chris says:

    Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not meaning to question anyone’s faith. I used to say “I’m pentecostal,” but then I grew very tired of labels and being labeled.

  11. Neal says:

    Learned the hard way, Never Ever Stop Someone Who Wants to Be Baptized.

  12. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Neal, my problem with the never, ever position is that there are always good exceptions. A man in OK wished to be baptized because his wife wanted him to be baptized. He didn’t “really believe in all that stuff.” He just wanted “to get my wife off my back.” To baptize the man, in my opinion, is to endorse and legitimize the charade. It may also have given the wife false hope…”Well, he hasn’t changed, but at least he has been baptized.” Block checked. This does more harm than good in my opinion. Both the husband and wife walk away feeling as if something spiritual has occurred, but in reality, all the man did was get wet. Wife figures he is saved, and the husband thinks he has checked a block “just in case.” I think it is dishonest and dangerous on our part to go along with the lie rather than attempt to teach / encourage. If we are not successful, we should politely refuse and explain WHY.

  13. Dwight says:

    I think we need to baptize people who are desiring of God and wanting to be in Christ, not just with a church, system or people or peer pressure.
    But I would not keep a sinner from being baptized as we were all sinners upon baptism and even afterwards. The point is being in an following Christ.

  14. Royce says:

    Hmm, baptize those who have repented? Or, baptize those who agree to repent? Peter said repent and be baptized. And immediately many, many were baptized. They didn’t have much time to repent did they?

    We teach about Christ and what he as done for sinners, we baptize those who believe, and then teach them to obey what Christ commanded the disciples.

  15. Alabama John says:

    Baptize them and if they feel later it was too early like I have seen some do, baptize them again.

    Where is the number of times limited?

    It might not be necessary, but if they, who among us would better know their heart, request being baptized again and yet again, would refuse?

    Facing death, its not too uncommon.

  16. Dwight says:

    I think turning to Christ is repentance and thus qualifies baptism.

  17. David says:

    Baptize all who say they believe, unless we know for a fact they are not telling the truth. Confession relieves the church from the responsibility of having baptized the unrepentant or unbeliever. Even Simon the sorcerer got himself baptized.

  18. Dwight says:

    Just because Simon sinned directly after being baptized didn’t mean that he hadn’t turned to Christ, which I think was shown in his asking for forgiveness.

  19. Tamie says:

    My question is where in the bible does it give authority to judge someones decision to be baptized.

  20. David says:

    Simon’s request was that he not be punished, which may or may not be a sign of true repentance. Its evident that he believed in the miraculous power of Christ, but he lusted or began lusting for some of that power to use for his own glory. Simon was either unrepentant or a flash-in- the- pan Christian. Early church tradition says Simon became an enemy of the church, and there is probably some truth to that. The point is that Phillip could not read Simon’s mind or predict his future and thus baptized him. We are unable to do any more than Phillip did.

  21. Charlie says:

    Good question – I’ve been in that position as an elder advising our “preacher”. After discussing with this with several other elders and Bible teachers my conclusion was … it’s up to the person requesting baptism — if they are willing to “make the good confession” then as best I can tell that’s all Jesus expects of us in “administering” baptism. However it also depending on what I know about the person I would and have recommended delaying the baptism until we can have a “heart to heart| about “are you sure you have counted the cost”?.

    (I also need to say that I have taught for a long time that the Bible teaches about “big R” repentance which is turning away from self or the world (Satan) as the driving force in your life and turning to Jesus (accepting His Spirit) as the driving force. Once we have confessed that repentance by faith and (as a consequence) been baptized there will be a whole bunch “small r” repentances of specific sins with the help of the Spirit on an ongoing basis as we are transformed (towards) the image of Christ and (sometimes its repent 70 times 7) for a given sin – ask yourself do you maybe have an anger problem or a gossip problem or a heart hardened against the poor and down trodden or a lack of will to maintain a healthy live style — and so on – refugees illegal aliens — etc. etc that you are still working with the Spirit to resolve?)

    The point of this distinction is to make it clear that “transformation” WILL follow “conversion” — and the issue isn’t whether there is “sin in your life” when you are baptized but rather the question is “do you know that once you have surrendered to Christ and are being ruled by His Spirit you will be moved to change — and if there is a “glaring public sin in your life” are you ready to deal with it? I Because as far as I can tell being baptized without any intent to (work with the Spirit to “be transformed” (and that’s way more than going to church regularly and trying to be a “good” person – by the world’s definition of good))

    So ultimately it’s up to the person – if they have been taught the full scope of the gospel — that it’s not “being saved” so that one day they’ll “go to heaven” — it’s about being redeemed (by the blood of the lamb) so that they can cast off the bondage (REPENT) of sin and become a part of the Christ’s church – God’s kingdom here on earth and join Jesus in His mission to expand the boundaries of that kingdom to the “whole world” and that requires that you become a “disciplined soldier” (changing metaphors) for the lord) who is always “polishing the armor” as well as being out on the battlefield every day “doing what ever we do” in the name of the Lord. We will have “Jesus first” because serving him is the driving force behind everything we do at home, at work, at play and in our assemblies.

    Sorry I guess I’ve gone to preaching but it seems this question has touched a chord in my desire to move myself away from a legalistic view of baptism towards (what I believe is) a more spirit driven grace-filled view.

    God bless us all as we seek Him through love. (Gal. 5:6)

  22. laymond says:

    Tamie says:
    February 29, 2016 at 12:55 am

    My question is where in the bible does it give authority to judge someones decision to be baptized.

    I am not saying anybody should be denied baptism, what I did say is they should not be allowed to make things worse, by not knowing the responsibility they are taking on. don’t baptize anyone out of ignorance. I believe it as Paul who said “the time of ignorance is over” I believe it is Hebrews, and 2nd Peter that says if you are baptized into the Lord’s church, then decide to disavow it, there is no salvation left for you. be certain you know what you are doing. You can not return to a life of knowledgeable sin, and expect forgiveness over, and over again. you will be judged by the fruit you produce, you can’t wait until the last minute and look for and buy that fruit from a produce market. nor by saying the sinners prayer. all sinners will pray in those last days. along with gnashing of teeth. There are no “on again, off again true Christians. There is no switch that I know of to turn that light on and off and on again, once that light is turned on it should burn brightly the rest of your life.

  23. Terry says:

    Tamie I see no one answered your question, whether rhetorical or not. I would add that if we follow the example of Jesus we will go to those that are deep in sin. Jesus said that is why he fellowshiped with sinners. Jesus didn’t command or expect those that came to him to repent of all sins before he saved them. If we think about it and are honest with ourselves we didn’t fully repent of every sin before being baptized. What we did do is believe in Him as our Savior that died for our sins. We believed in the promise of salvation and a better life in Him. Recently saw a video at a worship service of man being baptized after 4 days of being clean of drugs; he has now been clean for 8 months. He didn’t do that (be clean for 8 months) by himself. Hopefully all of us are stronger and better equipped to withstand temptation as we grow in faith and spirit after baptism. Telling someone that they are living in sin and cannot be baptized is the opposite of what Jesus would do. But it goes along with the legalism in the cofC that we must earn the right to be baptized and that we must earn our salvation. Legalism poisons the heart.

  24. laymond says:

    Tamie, I believe both John the Baptist and Jesus, asked that some who came to be baptized, prove they were worthy.

    Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
    Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
    NLT
    Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.

    Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

  25. Mark says:

    In liturgical churches, the following is used before baptism. This is from 1662 but little has changed.

    Question Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
    Answer I renounce them.

    Question Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
    Answer I renounce them.

    Question Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?
    Answer I renounce them.

    Question Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Saviour?
    Answer I do.

    Question Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
    Answer I do.

    Question Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?
    Answer I do.

    Celebrant. Do you believe in God the Father?
    People I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    Celebrant Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
    People I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
    and born of the Virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried.
    He descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again.
    He ascended into heaven,
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

    Celebrant Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
    People I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting.

    Celebrant Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and
    fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the
    prayers?
    People I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant Will you persevere in resisting evil, and , whenever
    you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
    People I will, with God’s help

    Celebrant Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
    News of God in Christ?
    People I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
    your neighbor as yourself?
    People I will, with God’s help.

    Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all
    people, and respect the dignity of every human
    being?
    People I will, with God’s help.

    People means all who are present so everyone gets reminded of this whenever there is a baptism.

    Only after all the questions are answered out loud is the person baptised.

  26. Dwight says:

    Wow Mark, this exactly what Peter commanded happen in Acts.

  27. Alabama John says:

    Mark, your post is so one sided. You left out all of the correct words the one doing the baptizing must say before the one being baptized goes under.

    Of those that have not had the proper wording said by both parties before going under, they must be baptized again correctly for it to do its job.

    Many that come from other churches are asked the words said before going under and are rebaptized correctly as a matter of course if the right words were not spoken.

  28. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Mark,

    Thanks. This is, of course, quite impossible for a Church of Christ. The Apostles Creed is, of course, a creed. We don’t do creeds.

    On the other hand, on those occasions when I get to baptize someone, I ask them whether they repent of their sins and agree to submit to Jesus as Lord of their lives. May not be formally required, but I think it’s a good idea since so many in this age don’t realize that “believe in” includes faithfulness.

    Then again, am I adding to the scriptures since the scriptures are silent on asking a convert whether he repents? (CENI can take you to the strangest places.)

  29. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Terry wrote,

    Jesus didn’t command or expect those that came to him to repent of all sins before he saved them. If we think about it and are honest with ourselves we didn’t fully repent of every sin before being baptized.

    If by “repent” you mean “defeat” then you’re right. Obviously, we don’t come out of the water able to live sinlessly. And some CoC preachers argue that if you’re still committing the sin, you haven’t repented. But they’re wrong. If that’s the standard, then no one other than Jesus has ever repented of his sins.

    But “repent” really means to turn away. The idea is to change loyalties, from loyalty to the flesh and Satan to faithfulness to Jesus as Messiah/King. And if someone is not willing to submit to Jesus, they are not a candidate for baptism. Of course, no one submits perfectly, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to genuinely intend to follow Jesus.

    I readily admit that under any standard, we’ll sometimes err and baptize someone without real faith. But that doesn’t justify not even trying to make the distinction.

    I certainly agree with you that no one should have to earn their salvation. They don’t have to reform themselves pre-baptism. But they do have to have faith in Jesus. They must change loyalties. Then, after baptism, with the help of the Spirit and encouragement of their new brothers and sisters, they begin the process of turning a shift in loyalties to a changed life.

  30. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charlie,

    Thanks for making the important big R/little r distinction. Our anti-instrumental music arguments, damning those who use instruments for failing to “repent”, circle back around and blow us up, like the torpedo in The Hunt for Red October. Our arguments damn us all because, by that standard, no one has ever repented of all sin and so we’re all going to hell — and Matt 7:1-2 becomes terrifying.

  31. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    All,

    Am I the only one who took “she lived in sin” as likely referring to living with her boyfriend?

    So what if the person wishing to be baptized had a live-in boyfriend, regular sexual union with him, and a plainly stated intention to continue so doing despite having been raised in church and knowing that God disapproves. Do you baptize such a person?

  32. Mark says:

    Alabama John, the rest of it is:

    N., I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
    and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  33. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    If that was the case, a live in, and if we required them to cease the practice prior to baptism. Should we not also require a thief, a liar, a whore, a bar tender, a night club attender, a stripper, a scrooge, a drug addict, a drug pusher, a pimp, a crooked business owner and so forth to also give evidence that they mastered their departure from those ways of life, prior to baptism? I ask that with Zacchaeus in mind, did his changed life come prior to his commitment to Christ or after? Do we read about any of the conversions in scripture demanding any restitution of their prior lifestyles as a prerequisite before their conversion and baptism into Christ, except John The Baptist’s statement? In other words we could be setting up a situation that would require an individual to overcome all their sins without the help of the Spirit, which has a specific function in helping us as disciples to be able to see, comprehend and overcome sins in our lives. Some give the appearance that we have a responsibility foresee the future actions of a newborn disciple. This concept that you only have one chance to get your life right is not what I see the scriptures teaching. Many will spend years of their lives with some failures and recovery prior to their departure from this life. If that was not true we would not need a savior after our conversion, we could do it on our own.
    But, then I guess I need to offer another statement, that being, the following message.
    Heb 6:4-6 ESV For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
    But, I believe that this statement has to be in unison with the statement following.
    Luk 18:26-30 ESV Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” (27) But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (28) And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” (29) And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, (30) who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
    What is the difference between these two concepts, the actions of the individual who is repenting of the falling away. Nobody, but the individual, no other man or God can restore them without the turning about of the individual who had fallen away. In other words the individual must repent of (crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt).

  34. Larry Cheek says:

    The toughest sin to define in my estimation is this.
    Mat 12:31-32 ESV Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (32) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
    Is it just words or a lifestyle? Evidently, it must not be similar to denying the existence of God or any atheist could never make amends for their actions and be saved. Its a little hard for me to comprehend how anything could exceed the offence of denying the creator of the universe. Could that offence be someone who has accepted Christ but refuses to accept that he has been given a portion of The Holy Spirit to indwell in his life?

  35. Mark says:

    I am thinking that “blasphemy against the Spirit” means something like denying the work/actions/indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It may not be a denial of the Holy Spirit’s existence.

    Jay, The “living in sin” designation was what my late grandmother called “shacked up with.”

  36. Alabama John says:

    Mark, you’re close but no cigar.

    I have seen many folks required to be rebaptized that have had the words you state upon being baptized. Especially those of some denomination other than the COC wanting to start attending, join, and be a part of us.

    The very important words left out were “For the forgiveness of your sins”.

    Baptism for admittance into (joining) a church is not right, it is for the forgiveness of your sins.

  37. Mark says:

    I know what you mean. I was baptized in a cofC baptistery by a cofC minister and I guess he used the correct formula. No one else witnessed it.

    For joining a liturgical church, you merely state that you were baptized and where and when if you know/remember.

  38. laymond says:

    Jay asked, “Am I the only one who took “she lived in sin” as likely referring to living with her boyfriend?”

    Maybe you were Jay, and as a lawyer you should know better, jumping to conclusions is a dangerous practice especially for lawyers. as you should know there is a very legal union known as “common law marriage” more than likely the same union of one man and one woman was practiced in the bible. Jay do you believe a legally married couple are not married in the eyes of God if they are nor married in the church. Paul didn’t.

  39. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    Married is married. In this state, common law marriage is just as much a marriage as if you have 20 preachers and 500 bridesmaids. We are a little old-fashioned that way.

    But shacking up is not common law marriage. You have to intend to be presently married. Sex and cohabitation do not a marriage make in any state — unless you intend to be presently married.

  40. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry Cheek wrote,

    If that was the case, a live in, and if we required them to cease the practice prior to baptism. Should we not also require a thief, a liar, a whore, a bar tender, a night club attender, a stripper, a scrooge, a drug addict, a drug pusher, a pimp, a crooked business owner and so forth to also give evidence that they mastered their departure from those ways of life, prior to baptism?

    Larry,

    You’re confusing defeating sin with a change in loyalties. Two very different things.

    Case 1.

    A couple who are living together (shacked up, living in sin) request a preacher to baptize them. The preacher has heard about their sexual relationship and advises them of Jesus’ instructions regarding sex before marriage. The couple agree to separate until they can marry, but it will take a year before parents in the military can return for the marriage, and they need to save money for the ceremony, etc.

    Despite the best of intentions, they sometimes fail and have sexual union in violation of the known will of Jesus. When this happens, they repledge themselves to Jesus and seek his strength to delay sex until marriage.

    Have they repented? I think clearly so. Even though they’ve not defeated the temptation, they are committing to following Jesus.

    Case 2.

    A couple who are living together (shacked up, living in sin) request a preacher to baptize them. The preacher has heard about their sexual relationship and advises them of Jesus’ instructions regarding sex before marriage. They advise the preacher that they very much wish to be saved and not go to hell, but how they live their sex lives is none of his business. They declare that they will continue to live together but wish to be baptized so they’ll go to heaven when they die.

    Should the preacher agree to baptize them?

  41. Dwight says:

    Sexual union constitutes marriage, but not man and wife. Shacking up doesn’t constitute man and wife, unless they recognize each other as such for eternity.
    We often point to this verse for marriage “two become one flesh” (Mark10:8), which is true, but then Paul argues that “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” (I Cor.6:16).
    Although I Cor. might argue for marriage, it doesn’t argue for man and wife. Shacking up is basically what Samson did after his wife was killed, as they after her were never called his wife. Adam and Eve although it appeared as though they were just shacking up were committed to each other, which is the point of man and wife and marriage. Just shacking up doesn’t carry the commitment that man and wife implies.

  42. Monty says:

    If baptism is simply the outward reenacting of what has already taken place inwardly,(the person’s already a saved believer) then who could ever deny it or question if someone should be allowed to experience it? Yet, that is precisely the question Peter asked his companions when they witnessed Cornelius and family speaking in tongues. ” Can anyone forbid water?

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