Born of Water Expanded

BaptismofJesus2Last night, I got an unusually good night’s sleep, and I woke up realizing that I failed to conclude the book with a practical applications chapter. And so I added new chapter 14.

And then I added chapter 15 (excerpts from Campbell’s Lunenburg letter correspondence) because it seemed like a good idea.

I mean, he and I come to very similar conclusions. I just didn’t want to build the book on Campbell as though he were an apostle. But still he sometimes says things very well.

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Profile photo of Jay Guin

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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10 Responses to Born of Water Expanded

  1. David says:

    My baptismal theology basically comes from Campbell. His describing baptism as “(God’s) sensible (tangible) pledge” struck a cord with me after studying all the baptism passages. There is no other immediate, tangible evidence that we, personally, have received remission of sins, salvation, and the Holy Spirit, except by baptism. That is, unless maybe we receive miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Baptism, being the tangible evidence, is said to convey salvation, even though it is not the cause, or even the exact moment of salvation. I liked the way you brought that out in the marriage ceremony analogy. The ceremony is said to marry a couple even though the cause or the exact moment of the marriage is not the ceremony, but in the hearts of the couple.

    However; I see a serious flaw in the marriage ceremony analogy, if we are assuming Campbell’s description of baptism as “a sensible pledge” correct. I can not imagine anyone choosing a life partner with the marriage ceremony being the main personal tangible pledge. It does happen in arranged marriages, and marriages of convenience, but in those cases the whole analogy flops. And also, I think Campbell meant baptism was God’s sensible pledge to us, not so much a mutual pledge. God doesn’t need a sensible pledge from us, He reads our minds.

    That is why I think the property deed analogy is simpler and better. Your wealthy uncle, the King of Alabama, in his grace, announces he is giving a portion of his property to all his nieces and nephews. He urges his heirs to go to his agent who will deliver a deed in his name, giving each of them their part of the property. Your uncle, being the king, is not subject to any regulations governing deeds or transferring of property. The only conditions for owning the property are your uncle’s good favor and being a niece or nephew. You obtained the deed, and to your uncle’s delight, immediately began building a 20,000 sq ft house on the property.

    your uncle – God/Christ
    nieces and nephews – those with faith
    uncle’s agent – the church
    deed/personal and tangible pledge of ownership – baptism
    20,000 sq ft house – good works

    I suppose we are trying to decide what happens if a cousin builds a house on the property without obtaining a deed. I would say that if it was in the mind of the uncle to give the cousin the property, it is his. Several Biblical passages suggest that the purpose of baptism is to cause one to build on his salvation. If someone is already building on his salvation, perhaps that’s good enough. But as with the marriage analogy, that’s not a good way of doing things.

  2. David says:

    PS: The serious flaw in my analogy above is that Jay could never really stop being his uncle’s nephew. He could lose faith in the validity of his deed and/or abandon his property. In other words, in the application of the analogy, one could never lose the simple belief by which he was saved. He could lose his desire for salvation. The other flaw is that in the analogy, there is no necessity for a continuing relationship between the uncle and the heir. On these two counts the marriage analogy is better. But we are drawing both analogies out past their intended use for explaining how baptism saves.

  3. Dwight says:

    Baptism covers many concepts at one time, cleansings/washings, covenant, burial/resurrection. Salvation is directly tied to baptism on the same level as faith, as repentance, as calling on God.
    They are all aspects of one another.
    Our problem is separating them from one another and pitting them against each other.
    What you don’t find is God saying to those in the OT, you must have faith, but rather do this and according to what we read in the NT this was based on faith. God expected an expression of faith in action. And yet baptism has very little action to it done by the recipient. They present themselves and are baptized by another. It is surrender to God. And then God does the cleansing, God agrees with the bond you are making with him, God raises you up from your sins….literally.

  4. Johnny says:

    I have tried to explain my view of baptism via a marriage as well.
    Marriage Ceremony is held (profession of faith). However in many states the marriage is not truly a marriage until it is consummated (baptism). A couple who goes through a ceremony with no intent to consummate the marriage is perpetuating a fraud, the marriage is a shame. However should a couple with the full intention of consummating the marriage be unable to do so, (car accident, military deployment, physical impairment, death on the way to the honeymoon) then I know of no one who would say that the couple are not married. The intention of the heart was to follow through.

    A person who makes a profession of faith and willfully and knowingly refuses to be baptized is committing a fraud. His profession is meaningless. However if a person makes a commitment of faith, and dies before he is baptized, is in a prison where he is not allowed to be baptized, or makes a commitment in a desert where there is not enough water to immerse. I view his profession as sound and God judges the heart.

    I profess I may be wrong but that makes the best sense of the scriptures in my mind.

  5. Larry Cheek says:

    In your first comment above you provided us with an example that the church would be acting as the agent of God/Christ. (uncle’s agent – the church). I have never found where the church has been given that authority. The position that you have described, I believe is being fulfilled by Christ and the physical messengers who are promoting Christ. These are any and all followers individually. Each and every follower of Christ is empowered by The Word which they have excepted to teach and lead any lost to Christ, including assisting that individual in immersion (baptism) into Christ. Churches (organized bodies of believers have desired to have power over this action, as well as many other concepts they have implemented to control believers who will submit themselves to them), but that was never the concept of Christ’s instructions. Individuals submitted to Christ and his concepts and became his body, the church being his body is any and all of those who have committed to Christ.
    Christ has not setup differing churches, there is only ONE body. The leaders of this body are called ELDERS and they have been given instructions as to their responsibilities, but have never been given the power to construct rules and regulations even in a local body. Christ has given all of the rules that are necessary. The following message to believers was with the concept that Elders were guides who were supervising the obedience of Christ’s instructions being followed by believers. There is never an instruction that an Elder is not empowered to guide any Christian in any contact that he has with any Christian. This idea that an Elder is only a guide to a particular portion of Christ’s body which meets at one location, I cannot find. I believe they will be accountable to Christ for any Christian which they would observe committing a sin which needs correction, which they knew of and did not attempt to communicate for reconciliation.
    Heb 13:17 ESV Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
    Many churches and organizations of church have instilled the practice that the Elders are under their control. Wrong, the scriptures never suggest that.

    Churches were never given the responsibilities which were given to Elders.
    Churches have usurped authority which belongs only to Christ. We can see many churches which believe that they are the savior and want to be in charge of your salvation. They believe that they have the authority to either save or condemn any one who will submit to their power.
    I would guess there is some truth in that concept. It could be that if an individual submits to the power of one of the churches who have become like the majority of the churches in Revelation, would that individual also receive the same judgment.

    Would you ever guess that I have had some very ugly encounters with some churches?

  6. David says:


    When I wrote “the church” I was not thinking in terms of an institution. The church are the disciples of Christ. As far as I can determine all of Christ’s disciples have the authority to baptize in his name. They are all priests and agents of Christ. In the record where Jesus gave authority to baptize, it was only to the apostles, but we also find that Phillip, not an apostle, baptized. And, Paul seems to suggest that others, who were not apostles, baptized.

  7. Dwight says:

    In some ways marriage and baptism are exactly right, in that we form a bond and become part of the family, in both. But not, in that even before marriage, they were able to become man and wife. And yet the marriage sealed the fact of man and wife. Marriage was to be a reflection of man and wife. Those that married were to be man and wife.
    It has nothing to do with ceremony, but the giving of one to another or one taking the other.
    Philip and the eunuch were probably in the middle of nowhere when they met and when the baptism occurred, it created little fanfare and there was no assumption of witnesses to watch.
    It was not a symbol or ceremony, it was baptism.
    One difference is that one could be man and wife and not be married, (Mary and Joseph).
    But one could not be buried in and be in Christ without baptism.

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    It sounds like we are on the same page. Praise God!

  9. David says:

    Another PS:

    I am probably making too much of this and boring people, but here I go again as new thoughts pop up.

    Concerning the deed analogy:
    If Jay’s uncle is the King of Alabama and not subject to any laws or regulations enforcing deeds, what advantage is there in obtaining a deed from him? And, If a cousin can build on the property he received from the uncle and not have it taken away, why go to the trouble of obtaining a deed?

    Answer: The deed is a pledge given to each cousin, personally, that he owns the property, and the uncle is one who never goes back on his pledges. The deed is also an acknowledgement that the cousin receiving the deed is, without question, his niece or nephew and due some of the property.. Without a deed, a cousin would be in somewhat of a state of limbo. Baptism allows one to “draw near to God in full assurance of faith”

  10. Dwight says:

    I’m not sure of all of the familial analogies (cousins, uncles and nephews oh my), but the scriptures state that baptism places one into Christ. It should be just that simple. We spend so much time wasted on the point of salvation, that we miss the point of Jesus, which was to bring people to God and faith in Christ, repentance to Christ, baptism in Christ and living in Christ was how this was done in application. You don’t find people retreating from baptism to just faith or retreating from faith to just baptism in the scriptures, once they are confronted with what they are told to do.
    The concept of baptism was ingrained in the Jews thinking from cleansings to conversions to being a Jew, this concept of converting to Jesus and baptism being a part of it was a natural progression. They didn’t divide between faith and baptism, as faith was baptism and baptism was faith.
    We are the one who have issues with it.

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