Born of Water: The “faith was sufficient for Abraham and Israel” argument, Part 1

BaptismofJesus2For many years, Paul has been read as saying that the Jews were saved by works under the Law of Moses, but Christians are now saved by faith. And Paul certainly wrote extensively on law versus faith in Gal and Rom. But recent scholarship has concluded that we’ve badly misread the NT.

First, we’ve assumed that the dispensations – Abrahamic (or Patriarchal), Mosaic, and Christian – each repeal and replace the previous dispensation. This teaching largely comes from the study notes in the Scofield Study Bibles sold beginning in the 19th Century.  In the Churches of Christ, many were converted by use of the Jule Miller filmstrips, which taught Scofield’s dispensational theory. Even those not converted using the filmstrips likely saw them in Bible class.

Scofield was, of course, correct to note the series of dispensations and that God’s relationship with his people changed in each one. But he failed to realize that the old covenants weren’t so much repealed as fulfilled and transformed by God over time. In fact, the NT is quite clear that we are saved today under the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham. This is the point of Gal 3 and Rom 4. It’s also clear that the Jews under Moses were also saved by faith due to the promises given to Abraham. Paul makes this point in Rom 4 and Eph 3, and it’s especially clear in the “rollcall of the faithful” in Heb 11, which repeatedly declares that the heroes of the OT were saved by their faith. We will cover these passages shortly.

Second, this means we misread the Gospels when we assume that Jesus is repealing the Law of Moses and legislating new laws. Rather, Jesus is often explaining how the Torah (Law of Moses) should have been understood by the Jews all along or else anticipating the fulfillment of some of these commands through the cross. But he’s not legislating.

For example, in Matthew, Jesus twice quotes Hos 6:6,

(Matt 9:13 ESV) “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

(Matt 12:7 ESV) “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.”

Hosea predates Jesus by hundreds of years. His point is not “The rules are changing” but “You’ve misunderstood God for centuries”!

Now, if the Patriarchs were saved by faith, and Israel was saved by faith, and Christians are saved by faith – all thanks to the promises God made to Abraham – then clearly our thinking about salvation needs to center on faith.

Moreover, if we’re saved by faith because of God’s promises to Abraham, where does baptism fit in? Abraham wasn’t baptized. There was no baptism for atonement, forgiveness, or receipt of the Spirit under the Law of Moses. Did God further condition his salvation? Did he add baptism to faith? Or are we looking at things the wrong way?

We need to first go over the passages that explain how faith worked to save before Jesus, and then we’ll return to these questions.

1. Romans 4

In Rom 1 – 2, Paul demonstrates that both Jews and Gentiles need a Savior and that works cannot ever be sufficient to save. In Rom 3, Paul declares that we are saved by faith in Jesus. And then in Rom 4, he proves that faith is sufficient to save because we’re saved by the same promises that saved Abraham.

(Rom 4:1-4 ESV) What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

At first glance, we might think that Paul is using Abraham as an example or type. That is, we tend assume that we aren’t saved exactly as Abraham was saved, but under a different dispensation that happens to have some similarities to our own. But let’s let Paul tell us what he means, rather than assuming.

First, Paul tells us that Abraham was justified by faith, not works. His faith was treated as righteousness.

(Rom 4:4-8 ESV) Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Verses 5 and 6 summarize what Paul just said about Abraham and set up David’s declaration from Psa 32:1-2, speaking during the time of the Mosaic covenant. We tend to imagine that under Moses sins were forgiven periodically by sacrifices offered under the Levitical system. But in Psa 32, David celebrates living in a state of continuous forgiveness! How is this possible?

(Psa 32:10 ESV) Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

David says this blessing is for the one who “trusts” God. Remember that Abraham’s faith was trusting God’s promises.

(Rom 4:9-12 ESV) Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Paul explains that Abraham was saved by faith long before God asked him to be circumcised. Therefore, circumcision is not required as a condition of salvation by faith. Rather, circumcision is a “sign” and a “seal” of justification that predates his circumcision.

Abraham is therefore the father of “all who believe” (v. 11), whether or not circumcised.

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

Paul then denies that the Torah (or Law) brought “the promise” to Abraham. Rather, salvation by faith came by the “righteousness” of faith. After all, if the Law is required for salvation, the promise to Abraham would be voided. Therefore, Paul implies, the Jews under Moses were actually saved by faith.

(Rom 4:15-17 ESV) For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring – not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” – in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

The Law only brings wrath, and so “the promise” of salvation by faith comes by grace “to the one who shares the faith of Abraham,” Paul says speaking of Israel while under the Law.

In v. 17, Paul reminds us that God promised to bless “the nations” through Abraham. Therefore, the promise of salvation by faith is now given to the Gentiles as well as the Jews – with no need for circumcision.

(Rom 4:23-25 ESV) But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Now, if Abraham was saved by faith, then we’re saved by faith. And if we’re saved by faith by virtue of the promises made by God to Abraham, it would only make sense that the Jews would be saved by faith under Moses as well – which Paul said earlier in the chapter. But we struggle to believe this.

In Rom 5, Paul begins to explain the reasons for the Law and the need for abounding grace. In Rom 6 – 8, Paul explains the ethical implications of salvation by faith, that is, he answers the question, “Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?” He begins by reminding his readers of the significance of baptism for how they should live as Christians and finally culminates in chapter 8 with a discussion of the impact of the Holy Spirit on how we live.

Notice that Paul has a very high view of baptism, but he doesn’t mention baptism once in his discussion on how we’re saved. He doesn’t say that circumcision was essential but has now been replaced by the equally essential baptism. Rather, he says that circumcision was never essential and only mentions baptism to answer the question of how we should live now that we’ve been saved by faith.

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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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318 Responses to Born of Water: The “faith was sufficient for Abraham and Israel” argument, Part 1

  1. Chris says:

    Jay, to help clarify the difference between arguments being presenting pro and con on any given subject, and your views, could you please add at end of your posts something like -“my takeway from this,” or “my thoughts/views.” This will help me understand, and perhaps others, if your advocating for a particular interpretation or just presenting an opposing view. Thanks!

  2. Eddie says:

    Jay, I don’t disagree with your conclusion about faith justifying the OT Jews, but what about:

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

    Doesn’t “no longer on the basis of works” imply that works previously played a part in their salvation?

  3. Jeff Richardson says:

    We need to remember that the Jews who had been taught the Old law from birth were having a difficult time leaving it behind and accepting the new. They wanted to co-mingle them. Paul continues to stress how much more superior the law of Christ is. What is faith? faith is not a simple acknowledgement of facts. Those under the Old Law as well as we now, are to live by “faith”. Hebrews 11 shows us how they lived by faith. They were found faithful, because they followed through with the instructions given. By faith Noah, moved with Godly fear and prepared an ark. By faith Abraham went where he was called to go. “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:17. In other words, without works there is NO faith. Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God, but he is not faithful to the works of righteousness that God requires. Therefore he is not a believer, he does not live by faith.

  4. Jeff Richardson says:

    We are saved by “grace” through faith. God’s grace has appeared before all men. We saw His grace at Calvary. God has done His part. The ‘through faith” is our part. Hebrews 10:36 ” For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

  5. laymond says:

    Jeff, what is the “law of Christ” ?

  6. Price Futrell says:

    Saved by Grace through Faith… seems it has always been so…

  7. Monty says:

    Paul uses baptism as the line of demarcation between the old (dead)man of sin and the new man of righteousness made (alive) with Christ. Analogous to a marriage counselor teaching a newly wed couple that now they are married that old single life and single way of thinking has to die. A marriage counselor would point them back to their marriage and the commitment they had made to each other in that ceremony to put away the single lifestyle forever. One could argue perhaps that they were already committed to each other and loved each other before the actual wedding ceremony and that would no doubt be true but the marriage ceremony itself is the sealing of the covenant between them. It stands as the time and day(moment) that the two became one – in union with each other. It stand as the day that there was a legal change of status between the two.

    Paul simply, but forcefully, uses baptism as to the day they had passed from death(died to sin) and were “made alive” by God being raised unto new life in Christ. Paul brought their spiritual wedding day up as their reminder of their commitment to not live in sin any longer. If the grace of God is put on a greater display whenever there is sin for it to out-abound then why not continue sinning? Paul’s answer is, “Remember the day you committed yourselves to living righteously and there was a change of ownership?” They were once owned by sin and committed to sinning, but now(post baptism) they would be slaves to God and committed to righteous living.

  8. Christopher says:

    Jay wrote:

    Second, this means we misread the Gospels when we assume that Jesus is repealing the Law of Moses and legislating new laws. Rather, Jesus is often explaining how the Torah (Law of Moses) should have been understood by the Jews all along or else anticipating the fulfillment of some of these commands through the cross. But he’s not legislating.

    I am not sure how you square this claim with the obvious fact that we no longer are required to do things commanded in Mosaic law, such as sacrificing animals to atone for our sins and congregating in Jerusalem annually for various feasts. How is that not a kind of repeal?

    Jesus said (in Matthew 5:17-18):

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish [to invalidate] the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

    Implicit in his statement, I believe, is the recognition that His Jewish audience was perceiving His teaching as something new. So He is emphasizing that He is instead fulfilling the Old Testament scriptures which are so authoritative and binding that not the smallest punctuation mark will DISAPPEAR until everything in it has been accomplished (including the prophesies regarding Him). Once, however, this has occured, then the law is repealed and replaced by the “law of Christ” (which is to follow the spirit, rather than the letter, of God’s teachings).

  9. laymond says:

    Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor

    serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,

    visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the

    third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    Jer 31:28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have

    watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to

    throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over

    them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.
    Jer 31:29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers

    have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on

    edge.
    Jer 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every

    man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on

    edge.
    Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will

    make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the

    house of Judah:

    I believe many have misunderstood just what the “Gospel”

    or the “good news” Jesus delivered was. not that we would

    no longer be held accountable for doing good works, but ,

    that we would not be held accountable, any longer, for

    misdeeds others have done.

  10. Chris says:

    In the Hebrews hall of faith, it appears that faith always demonstrated itself in obedience or action, as Jay has said – trust in God’s promises. Abraham was credited with righteousness before circumcision, because of his faith. Well, what did this faith look like?

    8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

    I also find it interesting that those who “were baptized into Moses” were honored for their faith for passing through on dry land. If they did so by faith, why would being baptized into Jesus by faith be considered a work in regards to us making a decision to follow Jesus by participating in his death, burial and resurrection and washing away our sins?

    29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

  11. Jeff Richardson says:

    Laymond, the law of Christ is the New Covenant in it’s totality. The perfect law of liberty James 1:25. The law of the Spirit of life, Rom 8:2. The last will and testament of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:21 speaks of law, but what law? “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Some assume that we no longer live under law. “where there is no law, there is no transgression of law”. Romans 4:15. Does anyone sin today? We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.” If so, then we must be under law. We live under a new law, the old law of Moses which is referred to as the law, as in Gal 2:21 no longer applies. if it did, then Christ died for nothing. Christ with His death established a new covenant with man. A covenant is an agreement, between two or more parties. In this case between God and man. Christ being the testator ( Heb 9:16-22) had the right to set the terms and conditions to this agreement. 1 John 2: 3-4 ” now by this we know that we know him, if we keep His commandments. He who says I know Him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.” What’s a commandment? it’s a law that needs to be kept.

  12. Ray Downen says:

    We learn about how conversion occurs by reading the book of Acts rather than by reading epistles written to Christians. And what we learn is that Jesus says entry into His kingdom is by way of a new birth of water and spirit. He doesn’t mention faith. He speaks of acts based upon faith as being absolutely necessary for ENTRY into His Kingdom. Paul surely knew this. His teaching and actions in the book of Acts surely prove that Paul knew that seekers NEEDED to turn to Jesus as LORD and NEEDED to be baptized in order to be “IN CHRIST”!

    When he later speaks of the need of faith, he does NOT say that faith replaces repentance and baptism, as seems to be assumed by these comments. What is clear is that baptism which does not follow faith IN JESUS is useless for pleasing God. But does Paul clearly say that faith ALONE saves? Of course not! We should join Paul in recognizing that faith IN JESUS AS LORD is essential for salvation, and that every thought and act should be with faith in the One we serve. We have no business saying Paul is teaching salvation by faith ALONE. That is NOT what he wrote. That is not what he believed.

  13. Dwight says:

    As expressed by Chris and Ray, faith was expressed by action and action was in reality faith. Now could one act and it not be faith, yes, but one cannot have faith and not act. In the OT we don’t hear the term faith, although we do hear faithfulness, but the faithfulness always resulted or was connected to action or being faithful. It is only in the NT where we are allowed to look back and see that Abraham lived by faith and yet in Heb. and James we see the faith was seen in what they did and God took note of what they did. As noted with others and even Moses, if they did not do what God said, they were punished, for it was sin.
    Paul makes an interesting argument that if it weren’t for God’s law on covetousness, he would not be sinning if he coveted and yet this was still a sin even as he was talking.
    And although we don’t live constrained by law, we still live under law, a law which actually frees us. We can still sin, and the law convicts us when we do, but we have an access to Christ and through Christ to God, in being a convert and then in forgiveness as a child of God. the love and faith that we have should have a greater control over us than the flesh. We see this in Gal.5 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
    Those who practice the works of the flesh are condemned in sin, but walking in the fruit of the spirit will liberate us from those works and sin.

  14. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Chris,

    I wrote a post answering that question just a few days ago.

  15. laymond says:

    Jeff Richardson says:
    “Laymond, the law of Christ is the New Covenant in it’s totality.”

    I don’t remember any new laws by Jesus Christ. I only remember one new commandment.

    Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    Jhn 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

    Jhn 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    Jhn 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

  16. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Ray wrote,

    We learn about how conversion occurs by reading the book of Acts rather than by reading epistles written to Christians. And what we learn is that Jesus says entry into His kingdom is by way of a new birth of water and spirit. He doesn’t mention faith.

    Better buy a better translation. Mine quotes Jesus saying this in John, not Acts. And in the very same discourse with Nicodemus, we have John 3:16 — “whoever believes.” So faith is very much required by Jesus.

    And Paul many, many times says that “everyone” or “all” with faith in Jesus are saved. if those with faith in Jesus who have defective baptisms are damned, then it’s not true that whoever believes shall be saved.

    Paul spends Rom 3 – 5 telling us how to be saved. He speaks repeatedly of faith. Baptism doesn’t come up until he begins to Christian ethics — how to live in Jesus — which discussion covers chapters 6 – 8 all to answer “Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?” And Paul says our baptisms answer that question because of what baptism means.

    I’ve said countless times that I do not agree with the Baptists, who consider baptism entirely disconnected from salvation. I also disagree with the extremely sacramental view of the Churches of Christ that any error in the baptism rite damns. That’s a pagan interpretation. The pagans in Rome believed the they could control the gods by rituals but any error at all would void the entire process. They did not believe in a personal relationship with their gods. “Grace” for a Roman pagan was bought by precise adherence to the rituals.

    And so we follow suit and insist that a flawed faith or flawed repentance is sufficient, but not a flawed baptism. We make a rite more important than our relationship with God (formed by repentance and faith). After all, if we allowed God to be gracious in his baptizing, we might have to treat the Baptists as brothers and sisters in Christ — as Alexander Campbell and David Lipscomb both did. The idea that baptism has to be done correctly — in form and in purpose — or else is void is an error introduced into Churches of Christ by Austin McGary around 1900 — and countless churches were split over the issue, but it was contrary to 19th Century Church of Christ teaching. The Gospel Advocate considered the Baptists brothers until Foy Wallace become editor — and he ruthlessly expunged grace in all its forms. Disagree with Wallace, and you were damned. And we are heirs to his legalistic perspective. But we have not been true to either the scriptures or the first 100 years of the Restoration Movement. Indeed, Campbell declared requiring Baptists to be re-immersed was “heresy” and damnable (very rare for Campbell to say such a thing) because it divides the church — and indeed it does. In fact, our experience over the last 100 years is that it makes division into a blood sport.

    Read 1 John front to back. Won’t take long. It was written let John’s readers know that they are saved. And John discusses faith, love, and obedience — but not baptism. Maybe he remembered John 3:16 or any of countless other passages to the same effect —

    (Mark 9:23 NIV) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
    (John 1:12-13 NIV) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
    (John 3:14-18 NIV) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
    (John 3:36 NIV) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
    (John 5:24 NIV) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
    (John 6:29 NIV) Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
    (John 6:35 NIV) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    (John 6:40 NIV) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    (John 6:47 NIV) “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”
    (John 7:38-39 NIV) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
    (John 11:25-26 NIV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
    (John 12:46 NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
    (John 20:31 NIV) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    (Acts 10:43 NIV) “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
    (Acts 13:38-39 NIV) “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”
    (Acts 16:31 NIV) They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”
    (Rom 1:16-17 NIV) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
    (Rom 3:22-24 NIV) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
    (Rom 3:25-28 NIV) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
    (Rom 4:4-5 NIV) Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
    (Rom 5:1-2 NIV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
    (Rom 10:4 NIV) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
    (Rom 10:9-13 NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    (1 Cor 1:21 NIV) For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
    (Gal 2:15-16 NIV) “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”
    (Gal 3:2 NIV) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
    (Gal 3:22 NIV) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
    (Gal 5:6 NIV) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
    (Eph 1:13-14 NIV) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
    (Eph 2:8-10 NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    (2 The 2:13 NIV) But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
    (1 Tim 1:16 NIV) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
    (Heb 10:39 NIV) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
    (1 John 3:23-24 NIV) And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
    (1 John 4:2-3 NIV) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
    (1 John 5:1 NIV) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
    (1 John 5:3-5 NIV) This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
    (1 John 5:13 NIV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

  17. David says:

    Eddie
    I don’t think “no longer” in Rom 11:6 implies there was a time when people were saved by works. I take it to mean that if one says or thinks he is saved by grace then he cannot, or can “no longer”, say or think he is saved by works. Salvation is either a gift or it is something worked for. It cannot be both.

  18. jeff Richardson says:

    Jay, may I say again, FAITH is not a simple acknowledgement of a fact. King Agrippa believed and was almost persuaded. But he had no faith. Water baptism was the will of God. Luke 7:30 reads, “but the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” They rejected John’s baptism, they surely would reject the baptism of Jesus. In John 3:16 we see the words, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” But we seem to forget just before this we see Jesus teaching Nicodemus about the new birth that is required to enter into the kingdom. Jesus is talking about a spiritual birth and that is what baptism is. Romans 6:1-6 in baptism we are buried with Christ into His death. Raised to walk in newness of life, this is the new birth Jesus was teaching. Notice verse 5, if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. Without this new birth we will not be in the likeness of His resurrection. We have to be united together, this can only be done in and through baptism. So, to have faith, we must be faithful. Heb 11 shows us what being faithful means, doing the will of the father. We first hear the message that was preached, believe what we hear, trust the message and respond to it through our obedience, it all culminates in baptism. The old man died to sin, was buried, and we were raised to walk in newness of life, we were born again. Laymond, I don’t know what to say to you, other than you have rejected the Christ.

  19. laymond says:

    If it is as Jeff says; ” the law of Christ is the New Covenant in it’s totality”
    What makes “The Law of Christ, different than the “Law of Moses”?

    Jhn 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    Jhn 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

  20. Johnny says:

    JR said
    “Jay, may I say again, FAITH is not a simple acknowledgement of a fact”
    In 5 years of reading Jay’s writings not once have I heard him claim that. If you are suggesting that is what he teaches, you are distorting what he has said over and over again.

  21. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    You can read Jay’s position on faith here:
    http://oneinjesus.info/2016/05/born-of-water-my-teaching-and-a-few-faqs/

    He states, “In accordance with traditional Church of Christ teaching, I hold that faith in Jesus is absolutely essential to salvation. So is repentance. “Faith,” in the Greek, and as typically used in the New Testament, includes not only belief that Jesus is the Messiah and Lord, but also faithfulness to Jesus as Lord and trust in Jesus to keep his promises. Therefore, we can’t have “faith” without having committed to follow Jesus, including his ethical teachings.”

    Definitely not merely the “simple acknowledgement of a fact.”

  22. Jeff Richardson says:

    Laymond, Hebrews 7:12 ” for the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.” out of necessity the old law was changed to accommodate a new high priest. In Hebrews 10:5-18 we see that the death of Christ fulfilled the will of God. But notice verse 9-10, “then He said, behold I have come to do your will, O God, He takes away the first that He may establish the second, by that we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” The difference in the old and new Laymond is clearly seen in verses 11-12. “and every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,(old covenant) but this Man (Jesus) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down at the right hand of God.” (New covenant) Notice verses 26-29. You say there is no difference between the old and new. Are you trampling the Son of God under foot? do you count the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified a common thing? and insult the Spirit of grace? Gal 5:4 ” you have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law, you have fallen from grace.” The law under consideration here is the old law of Moses. Man could never be justified by the old law, it took a new law and Jesus Christ.

    Kevin, I suggest that we first must hear the gospel, believe it, repent, confess Him as Lord, and be baptized for the remission of our sins, this equals faith in Jesus Christ.

  23. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I believe that it is very important as we read we must understand the audience which is being addressed by the narration. Many of the commentators that you have quoted have been very out of order upon their rendering of the source of salvation. The most simple way I can say this is that Abraham was not the savior of anyone. Abraham is the example of someone who receives God’s blessings. Abraham was not, nor was anyone else whether they are dead or alive saved without Jesus. Abraham’s salvation was not accomplished until Christ’s sacrifice. Abraham was not the deliverer of any part of the actions to redeem mankind from sin or salvation. These commentators have portrayed a picture which leads to Christ being only a minor modification in the ongoing salvation which started with Abraham.
    I am sure I have understood your position within this concept, therefore did not see this application as your teachings.
    But, you have in my opinion used this following in a context out of order. Here is the quote that I am very concerned with, “Paul spends Rom 3 – 5 telling us how to be saved. He speaks repeatedly of faith. Baptism doesn’t come up until he begins to Christian ethics — how to live in Jesus — which discussion covers chapters 6 – 8 all to answer “Shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?” And Paul says our baptisms answer that question because of what baptism means.”
    1. Paul is not, “telling us HOW to be saved”, he was addressing the already saved, The Church in Rome.
    2. He does speak repeatedly of faith, but not directed to those of the World (non Christians). He is speaking of the faith that saved those Christians there, but not intended to show that their baptism was not necessary. All of those whom this letter was written had been baptized.
    3. The communication about Baptism is in a format which identifies that he understands that all whom he is addressing have already been baptized from chapter 1.
    Rom 1:7 ESV To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    He then delves into a greater depth for their understanding of the purpose and actions that were being performed as they were baptized. Of course, the same message has not been modified in our time to lessen the actions being fulfilled and accomplished that he described.

    Anyone who uses any part of the letters written to Christians as a prof text that baptism is not being addressed while filling in details related to salvation in a way to suggest that the message reduces the application of baptism to non-Christians, is to distort the complete instructions of the followers of Christ.

  24. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    You have suggested,”Read 1 John front to back. Won’t take long. It was written let John’s readers know that they are saved. And John discusses faith, love, and obedience — but not baptism. Maybe he remembered John 3:16 or any of countless other passages to the same effect —”

    I have read 1 John as you suggest, and I find that there is not one word of this letter written to anyone who has not been baptized and part of the fellowship. This holds true to all 5 chapters of 1John and 2 John and 3 John. Why should he be expected to communicate about baptism to those who have already obeyed the instruction? He also does not address any need to evangelize, you know, teach the lost about Christ, should we also abandon that concept because he has not discussed it. Notice, he does denote those who are outside the fellowship.
    1Jn 5:19 ESV We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    If you are anyone can show me where I have misunderstood the text of these it would be very important to me to discuss the context.

  25. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Kevin, I suggest that we first must hear the gospel, believe it, repent, confess Him as Lord, and be baptized for the remission of our sins, this equals faith in Jesus Christ.

    I both agree and disagree…I agree with all five things you mentioned, but I don’t agree that the five things cumulatively equal faith and without those five things then faith doesn’t exist, which is what you seem to be saying here.

    We have several examples of Christ commenting on the “faith,” “great faith,” and even “little faith” of several individuals. And clearly, some of those individuals lacked one or more of the five things that you have structured to equal faith.

    Faith is frequently used as a metaphor for action. Indeed, faith without action is no faith at all. We manifest faith through our action. But at the end of the day, faith is distinct from confession. Faith is distinct from baptism. They are two closely coordinating but entirely separate actions.

  26. Monty says:

    True faith prompts action if a certain action is asked for. Faith though is not always tied at the hip to an action requested(by God).It can be based on something we believe about God(that He is good for example, or that if you touch the hem of his(Jesus’) garment you would be healed). Faith is something possessed by a person, as Kevin pointed out, a person can have a great faith or a weak or little faith. We can grow in our faith. A person can even have a certain type of faith which James says cannot save him. But that faith seems to be one absent of love and compassion in that it won’t help a brother(or anyone) in need. A faith without benefit.

    I see faith as the kernel of thought(belief) that prompts us to behave or act in a certain manner(generally according to God’s love expressed to us in the Gospel or through moral conduct and doctrinal teaching). Our salvation though is our glad acceptance that Jesus is Lord and that he paid for our sins on the cross. That is what we come to believe by the preaching of the Gospel. That is the kernel of thought that prompts us to repent of unbelief and yes (have a change of heart about the sinfulness in our hearts) and it moves a person to obey whatever they have been taught to do, such as say a Sinner’s Prayer, or be baptized. God knows the moment we have come to faith in Him because he can see into our hearts. We, on the other hand, look for appropriate actions on the part of the said believer. In the COfC we look to baptism as the moment of “saving” faith. (We can’t fathom anything of a saving nature taking place until they hit the water and that has lead us to some ridiculous assumptions about dying on the way to the creek.) But I think we all understand that something preceded that baptism. There was a change of heart and of the will prompted by what? Faith! Maybe it happened nearly simultaneously with baptism for many. But baptism still wasn’t identical with the moment of faith. Many of our children who grow up in the church so-to-speak have a faith in Jesus at an early age but they don’t quite understand all the implications of baptism. We generally wait until such a time when they can understand intellectually what sin is what it does and God’s saving us by Jesus’s blood. At a certain point their faith prompts them to desire baptism, often ahead of schedule as far as we’re concerned. But whose to say they don’t have faith?

    It was Peter’s faith that prompted him to step out of the boat and onto the water but faith is what initiated his even asking Jesus to ask him to come to him. His stepping out of the boat displayed his faith he already possessed in a visible way. The Ethiopian Eunuch desired baptism when he saw water. But surely he was already looking for water and had already had faith in his heart that Jesus was the Messiah. His desire(expressed) to be baptized was an indication he had faith as was the actual baptism itself.

    In Hebrews 11 we are given a definition of what faith is: “confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.” That definition in and of itself isn’t necessarily tangible. It can be quite cerebral until there is a call to do something that makes it visible, like building an ark or moving your family to a desert and becoming a nomad and then faith is put on display!We could rightfully argue that to not do what you fully understand God requires of you shows a lack of faith, and that a repeated pattern of such behavior is rebellion, however we mustn’t extrapolate that to mean that people who don’t see the timing of baptism or who don’t take the Communion every Sunday(as we do) are people without saving faith.

  27. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, I disagree, If I’m sick and go to the Doctor and he tells me what I must do to be healed, I may say I believe what he says to be true, but if I don’t do what he says I won’t be healed. If I don’t do what he says, can I say that I have faith in him? if I don’t trust what he says, I lack faith in him. If I trust what he says and follow through with his instructions I truly have faith in him, and I will be healed. that is faith. Faith is not blind nor does it fall short. Noah believed God and he moved with Godly fear. His belief caused him to act, he had faith. Would it be possible for him to “believe” and not move with Godly fear? For him not to “move” would show that he doesn’t believe at all, therefore lacking faith. I say the same for those who say they believe in Jesus, but reject His baptism. Their failure to act, shows that they really don’t believe and they have no faith. These are the people of Matt 7:21-23. King Agrippa was almost persuaded to become a Christian. He believed Jesus was the Messiah, yet he would not go to the next step. He lacked the faith that would save him. We have to remember James 2:17, “faith without works is dead.” Which means there is no faith at all.

  28. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff, I don’t think you read my comments very carefully at all.

  29. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Please reread the last paragraph.

  30. Dwight says:

    Kevin, I think you are right. Actions do express faith, but we need to be careful not to read too much into some actions and count them as faith and discount other actions as not faith or things we do not see as arguing for the faith of another. While the “acts” of salvation are built on faith, one could conceivably go through the actions and not have faith. Many do.
    Acts of salvation are of faith, to the point that we understand it.
    Now there are also things of faith that don’t lead to salvation. Many were healed due to their faith, but were not saved. Peter walked on water due to faith, and sank when his faith/trust waivered.
    Jeff you are right in regards to salvation a person cannot be saved without faith and a person of faith will always be faithful and act that way.
    I think this is Jay’s point, but also I think Jay’s point is that just because we have a to-do list (coC, Baptist, etc) doesn’t mean that this is God’s to-do list in all ways. Just asking to be saved might be enough for a confession (as they did in Acts 2), without needing the “yes” to the question of “do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God”. Monty I think this is your point as well.
    We do like the Jewish leaders and complicate the simple by adding more stipulations.
    There is no question that repentance and immersion with faith saves, whether you have a clear understanding of where and when everything happens and why. We are to be grounded in Jesus as the savior, not bogged down in steps or transitions, but in the living in.
    Baptism is important, but not the most important. The door is important, but what happens on the inside is just as important and more of a struggle as to what got you to the door and through it.
    These acts aren’t step’s as many suppose, because you don’t step off faith to baptism, but have it before, through baptism and beyond. This is true of confession and repentance as well.
    We can act in faith all we want towards salvation, but if we have not love towards our neighbor or our enemy afterwards, then what good does any of it do.

  31. Dwight says:

    Kevin ,I worded it badly. The point after the “but” was not aimed at you, but just a general thought.

  32. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, In your suggested reading, I hear you separating faith and works. You say faith is distinct from confession, baptism etc. You can’t have faith without the action. That’s exactly what James 2 is teaching. You believe there is one God, you do well, but so what! the demons believe as much. Faith without works is dead, meaning that faith does not exists. if it’s dead it’s non living, of no value, worthless. Faith is not a state of mind. Faith is the result of our obedience. Without obedience there can be no faith.

  33. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,
    That’s not what I wrote at all.

    In the 2nd sentence, last paragraph, I emphasized:
    Indeed, faith without action is no faith at all.

    Faithfulness inheres in biblical faith. Consequently, we manifest our faith in action. Christ often remarked on the manifestation of faith. For example in Matt 9:2, Matthew records that Christ saw the faith of those carrying a paralyzed man.

    Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

    Matthew is using a metaphor, which Webster defines as:

    1: a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar

    2: an object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else

    Matthew is not suggesting that the definition for faith is literally four men carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and trusting that the Lord will heal him. So, while faith without action is no faith at all, faith is, quite literally, distinct from confessing that Jesus is Lord or from baptism or from carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and trusting that the Lord will heal him. Each of these actions spring from faith. They are all by faith. They are faith in a metaphorical sense. But they also have their own unique definitions, which are quite different from “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    Jeff, you seem to have defined faith as hear + believe + repent + confess + baptism. [“Kevin, I suggest that we first must hear the gospel, believe it, repent, confess Him as Lord, and be baptized for the remission of our sins, this equals faith in Jesus Christ.”]

    I think this is a flawed argument, not because it includes anything unimportant but because it hyper-focuses on our beloved formula while neglecting a lot of other important matters like love, trust, faithfulness, and other things. Further, it directly contradicts Matt 9:2 and Matthew’s account of the paralytic man. Jesus didn’t see these five men hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized. Jesus saw their persistence, devotion, trust, and chutzpah, and He called it faith.

  34. Dwight says:

    Can you have love without being loving towards another? Yes and no. I can be the most loving person in the world and yet if I am not in the vicinity of another I cannot and will not be loving. Love is a state I am in, but not always expressing.
    I can also feed another, I Cor.13, and not have love.
    Arguably Abraham only worshipped God maybe twice according to scripture, when he “went” and when he “went up to sacrifice his son” and then not? No, the expression of worship by Abraham wasn’t only in these things, but in Abraham himself towards God. But God wanted to see Abrahams faith, so he gave Abraham an opportunity to express it. The faith was there, but now it was complete. James. Works don’t create faith, but completes it.
    This all goes to say that love, worship and faith expresses it self, when the opportunity is allowed and it should be sought, but that doesn’t mean that love, worship and faith cannot exist in between actions or in the absence of actions either.
    This was kind of the point of Romans 14:5-8 where it is argued that although we might put one day above another or dedicate one day to Christ and not another, we ourselves, beyond this dedication are Christ as a whole. Everything we do is within the context of Christ. So even when we don’t do anything directly towards Christ we are still Christ, because Christ lives in us.
    I love my wife, but this isn’t always expressed in actions of love. Love also exist in between the actions that show love. Faith can exist in between its presentation, but it will present itself as a natural extension.

  35. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote,

    I have read 1 John as you suggest, and I find that there is not one word of this letter written to anyone who has not been baptized and part of the fellowship.

    (1 Jn. 5:1 ESV) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

    Now, in other contexts, many argue that “born of God” means “baptized” or “believed and was baptized.” Regardless, the language refers back in time to the conversion experience. And yet John declares that everyone with faith “has been born of God.” So “born of God” doesn’t mean “baptized.” It means “has come to faith in Jesus as Messiah — resulting in salvation.”

  36. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote,

    1. Paul is not, “telling us HOW to be saved”, he was addressing the already saved, The Church in Rome.

    Re-read Rom 1 – 4. He’s not telling his readers to be saved, true enough. They are already saved, true enough. But his entire case is based on teaching how salvation comes about.

    (Rom. 3:21-26 ESV) 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Isn’t Paul plainly referring to the moment of salvation/conversion? V. 23 speaks of the not-yet-converted. V. 24 says the unconverted may be “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” speaking of the transition from damned to saved. “To be received by faith” in v. 25 is speaking of the conversion event.

    (Rom. 4:3-10 ESV) 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

    In chapter 4, Paul is speaking of the moment that Abraham was first credited with righteousness because of his faith.

    (Rom. 4:22-25 ESV) 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

    Again, Paul uses the moment that Abraham is credited with righteousness because of his faith as determining how the rest of us are saved, too.

    Now, if Paul’s point was “Abraham was saved by faith plus some other things” then he couldn’t argue against circumcision. Maybe that was one of the other things needed to be saved. For Paul’s logic to be compelling, he has to mean what he says: that faith is sufficient (“faith” being defined as including faithfulness and trust, of course). And that’s exactly his point: since faith was enough to be justified, before circumcision, then circumcision is not salvific.

    Now how do you fit baptism into that logic and insist that the absence of a punctiliously performed immersion damns? If a flawed baptism damns, then faith is not sufficient.

  37. David says:

    Jeff

    I don’t think James 2 teaches that ones faith is dead and worthless until he does a good work. It does teach that ones faith is dead and worthless unless he does good works. James doesn’t tell us exactly what good works we are to do, when, or how often we must do one for our faith to be counted as a living faith. James does give examples of what others did, but I don’t believe he was saying that we as Christians are condemned until we warm and clothe a poor person, or that Abraham’s faith was dead until he offered Isaac, etc.

  38. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I’ll address some of your comments later (too late tonight) but, the first thing that needs to be dispensed with is this.
    “Now how do you fit baptism into that logic and insist that the absence of a punctiliously performed immersion damns? If a flawed baptism damns, then faith is not sufficient.”
    I do not and I do know many others who do not hold to the view that a baptism must be done perfectly or even that there is such a thing as a flawed baptism. A baptism is an immersion of a believer in Christ into water as was done on Pentecost and with a likeness which Jesus submitted to. An individual conducting the lowering the believer into the water, any individuals who may be watching or anyone who contends that something is not in order, has no power over what is being performed by God to the individual being immersed. The death burial and resurrection as described by Paul in Romans is fully functional in this event being orchestrated by God.

    The comment is a production of mankind to cast a dark shadow on God’s creation. Baptism of men is God’s creation, sent from Heaven. Jesus confirmed that as he was communicating with Jews who refused to submit to John’s baptism. The act of baptism is identical in both covenants.

  39. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    The subject of “flawed baptisms” has been a topic in COCs for years. I find it interesting, however, that we don’t read about flawed circumcisions in the OT. Can you imagine if the COC were running things in ancient Israel…”No, that’s not enough, you’ve got to redo it. If even a sliver of skin is left remaining, it doesn’t count. Furthermore, what you believe about circumcision is overwhelmingly important. Just getting circumcised because God commanded it also doesn’t count.”

  40. Christopher says:

    Kevin wrote:

    The subject of “flawed baptisms” has been a topic in COCs for years. I find it interesting, however, that we don’t read about flawed circumcisions in the OT.

    Let alone the subject of repentance. The fact that the OT says that no one before or after turned to the Lord like young Josiah logically implies there are degrees of repentance. Yet some in the CoC want to make a kind of checklist for repentance, based on 2 Corinthians 7 and other passages. By that reasoning, the unmerciful servant was never forgiven in Jesus’ parable.

  41. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, David, In Matt 9:2 they BROUGHT the man to Jesus, Jesus saw their faith. Jesus saw their faith by their action of bringing the man to Him. Jesus saw that they believed that He could heal this man. They didn’t just “believe” that Jesus could heal him, they took him to Jesus so that he could be healed. Faith in action. Love is a motivator, it compels us to act in behalf of others. Our love for Christ compels us to act. James 2:18 ” but someone will say, you have faith, and I have works, show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” What kind of faith is it, that can’t be seen? it’s a dead faith. I have been focusing on the redemptive works of God, hearing, believing, repenting, confessing and baptism. Actions that we must take to put us into a covenant relationship with Christ. By obeying these commands our faith is seen. If we reject any of these what does that say about our faith? It says that faith is lacking. That our faith is dead, that there is no faith at all. To have faith is to be faithful, to be faithful is to have faith. After we are in Christ, we can become men of great faith or men of little faith, but not before.

  42. David says:

    Jeff
    If our redemption rests on whether or not we first show our faith, then why do we need baptism for that? Any work coming from our faith should do, as it did for those people Jesus personally healed or saved. Jesus did not tell them that baptism was the only acceptable way to show their faith. He healed/saved them because of their faith, not because they had done a work specifically commanded by God.

  43. dwight says:

    Baptism wasn’t the only way to show faith, but it was the only way to enter into Christ’ burial and salvation through baptism.

  44. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    I am not sure if you actually read the comments very carefully at all.

    On 14 May at 1026, you wrote:

    Kevin, David, In Matt 9:2 they BROUGHT the man to Jesus, Jesus saw their faith. Jesus saw their faith by their action of bringing the man to Him. Jesus saw that they believed that He could heal this man. They didn’t just “believe” that Jesus could heal him, they took him to Jesus so that he could be healed. Faith in action.

    But on 13 May at 0729, I wrote:

    Indeed, faith without action is no faith at all. We manifest faith through our action.

    And later that same day at 1435, I wrote:

    Faithfulness inheres in biblical faith. Consequently, we manifest our faith in action. Christ often remarked on the manifestation of faith. For example in Matt 9:2, Matthew records that Christ saw the faith of those carrying a paralyzed man.

    I am thoroughly confused as to what exactly you are arguing against.

    You also wrote:

    I have been focusing on the redemptive works of God, hearing, believing, repenting, confessing and baptism. Actions that we must take to put us into a covenant relationship with Christ. By obeying these commands our faith is seen.

    I don’t disagree with any of the five things that you mentioned. All are part of the process. But you are advocating that faith simply doesn’t exist absent these five criteria. The authors of the Gospel accounts and Christ himself say otherwise. None of the following examples include all five of your criteria, yet all the individuals had faith, some had great faith.

    1. Matthew states that the men carrying the paralytic had faith.

    9:2 Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.”

    Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; 2005. Print.

    2. In Mark 5:35-34, we read that a woman who believed, pursued, and touched had faith.

    Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet instead of getting better, she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she kept saying, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.” At once the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Jesus knew at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you and you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But he looked around to see who had done it. Then the woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

    Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; 2005. Print.

    3. In Luke 7:6-9, we read of a Centurion who trusted and pursued had faith.

    And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001. Print.

    4. In Matt 15:22-28, we read of a relentless and humble Canaanite woman who refused to accept “No” for an answer. Christ said that she had great faith.

    A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is horribly demon-possessed!” But he did not answer her a word. Then his disciples came and begged him, “Send her away, because she keeps on crying out after us.” So he answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!”  “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” he said.  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

    Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; 2005. Print.

    Finally, you wrote:

    If we reject any of these what does that say about our faith? It says that faith is lacking. That our faith is dead, that there is no faith at all.

    I too would question the sincerity and faithfulness of one who refuses to be baptized; however, I fear that you may have overstated your case. Not all of the unimmersed have refused to be baptized. Most that I have known just haven’t been taught correctly. Does that mean that their faith is lacking or that their knowledge is lacking?? Two very different things.

  45. dwight says:

    My thoughts: All faith is done in action, but not all action is done out of faith, so even when a person does an action (even though it might look like faith) it might not be. Now a faithful person will pursue action, even when they maybe can’t fulfill it, but this shouldn’t go against the faithful.
    Ex. Abraham in his faithfulness went to sacrifice his son, but he failed to fulfil this action, not because he lacked faith, but because God gave him an option out of that action. Abraham instead sacrificed a ram per God. The faith got Abraham to the place of sacrifice and to the point of sacrifice of his son, but since that didn’t happen, his faith still existed in between when he switched to the ram and to the action required of God. Abrahams lack of questioning God in any part showed faith and trust, even between the acts of it.
    We often talk about the 5 acts of worship, but worship isn’t an act, but a state of being (worshipful) that creates expressions of worship. Even if we raise our hands to heaven in praise, we might not be doing it in our hearts.

  46. Mark says:

    Dwight,
    Gen 22:12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

    I wouldn’t call that an option. I’d call that an angel’s direct command.

  47. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight,
    That verse you quoted, does it tell of the love and trust that Abraham had for God? It looks very odd that nearly all the translations conveyed the message from the Angel as ( truly fear, fearest God etc:). I understood the conversations here attempting to portray that man is not supposed to obey God through fear but because our love for God. Would we suppose that the Angel was wrong?

  48. Dwight says:

    Mark, my point was that Abraham was originally supposed to slay his son by God’s command this was his worship, but he didn’t do this. Yes God did tell Abraham to do something else, but this change didn’t change his worshipfulness and ultimately his worship. He changed because he was worshipful, not because he was dead set on a particular act of worship (killing his son).
    Option might not have been the best wordage. But never-the-less Abrahams worshipful attitude is what drove his worship in what ever action was required. In this respect it was Abraham’s faith in God that allowed him to move from killing his son to killing a ram instead and the switch didn’t deter from his faithfulness. His faith wasn’t tied up in an action, but in whatever action needed to be done.

    Larry, this verse was from Mark, but fear can be a great motivator and can exist outside of an action, but will usually result in action or rather in-action. In Joshua God keeps telling Joshua and the Israelites to be “strong and courageous” over and over again, because he is trying to argue against fear and this is before they have actually gone to war or into the land. Of course the strong and courageous wouldn’t be seen and realized until they actually go to war, but it can be fostered and be built up before it.
    I think God wanted to see man’s completion of faith, fear, love so that it is real and complete, because it is always possible that man can switch.
    Action is a seal and God approves of this in relation to Him.
    This was seen with Peter. He started out with great faith, then ended up with weak faith due to fear, but this didn’t mean that he had no faith before he got out of the boat.
    The people in Acts had faith in God, but not faith in Jesus, which was built up as Peter spoke and resulted in confession and repentance and baptism and Godly living.

  49. Jeff Richardson says:

    David, those people you speak of still lived under the old law. Christ had not died yet, they couldn’t believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. They couldn’t be buried with Him in baptism because it hadn’t happened . John preached repentance and baptism, bringing people closer to Christ. Those people you speak of were healed, why? Because they came to Jesus. When we obey the gospel what are we doing? We are coming to Jesus. beginning with John and then with the sacrifice of Christ, the message of the cross was preached, because the law had changed. And David, we are baptized because it is there that we have our sins removed, washed away, raised to walk in newness of life.

    Kevin, would you agree that “God desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim 2:4. For in the truth a man can be saved, if he obeys that truth. Whether he rejects or is ignorant of this truth, he has not come to this saving knowledge. He has no faith because he is not yet faithful. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17. If we haven’t heard it, we can’t obey it, so we remain without faith. True biblical faith will compel us to act.

  50. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    As previously stated, I agree with some of what you wrote. I completely agree that God desires all men to be saved, and I don’t have any issues with Rom 10:17.

    However, unless I am misunderstanding you, I greatly disagree with your application of these verses. You seem to be suggesting that faith cannot exist absent perfect knowledge, which is so astonishingly false. You wrote:

    By obeying these commands our faith is seen. If we reject any of these what does that say about our faith? It says that faith is lacking. That our faith is dead, that there is no faith at all.

    Later, you wrote:
    If we haven’t heard it, we can’t obey it, so we remain without faith.

    Scripture teaches that there is a continuum of faith: Dead Faith, Little Faith, Faith, Great Faith. It is entirely possible for a person, especially in the missionary field, to have faith in Christ, trust in Christ, repent of his/her past sins, confess Christ, do good works, bear much fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance), while at the same having no idea what Christian baptism is or means. To suggest that the person doesn’t have any faith at all is wholly antibiblical. Flawed theology perhaps? Check. Deficient knowledge? Check. Requires some teaching? Check. Needs to be baptized? Check.

    Fortunately, we have a great biblical example that refutes this perfect knowledge theology, Acts 18:24-28:

    24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

    Apollos’ faith wasn’t in question. Clearly he had been taught the way of the Lord. Clearly he believed. Clearly he was passionate. Clearly he had repented. Clearly he was fervent in spirit. His knowledge about baptism was lacking. Hence Priscilla and Aquila EXPLAINED the way of God MORE ACCURATELY. Apollos may have had a deficient faith, but it was faith nonetheless. You can’t redefine faith to mean, “Having perfect knowledge and compliance with the following 5-Steps: Hear+Believe+Repent+Confess+Baptism.” This is perilously close to teaching another Gospel.

  51. Dwight says:

    Jeff, I think you need to rethink your statement of ““Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17. If we haven’t heard it, we can’t obey it, so we remain without faith. True biblical faith will compel us to act.
    The first part “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” doesn’t match your next statement of “If we haven’t heard it, we can’t obey it, so we remain without faith” in order.
    Faith comes by hearing, true.
    But obeying it doesn’t come in between hearing it and faith as you seem to indicate.
    The order would be hear, faith, then act.
    Not hear, act, then faith.
    vs.16-17 “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
    Even Romans places it in the order of word of God, hearing, faith, then obeying as the end result.
    vs.8-10 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
    Word near them, then in heart (faith), then response (confession).
    The heart must believe unto righteousness (faith).
    Then with the mouth confession is made (response).
    The confession would either lead to baptism or be an example of it, but faith must be had first.
    How much faith…enough to believe in Christ and spur a response.
    Your order makes is seem like a person could hear the word of God and then act and then that act is faith, but as we know many people act for reasons other than faith. Those at Ephesus knew of
    Jesus (as John preached of Jesus) and were baptized (action) into John, but were not baptized into Jesus. Their faith wasn’t in the right person for their baptism to save.

  52. David says:

    Jeff
    I agree with you that when we believe and are baptized our sins are washed away. My disagreement with you is how baptism washes away sins. I understand you to say that one’s belief in Christ is dead and of no value until that belief becomes alive (reference James 2) through some physical action he takes. You seem to suggest that baptism into Christ is the one and only appropriate action one can take to make his faith alive so that it can save him. I don’t understand where you get that. I know of nothing in the Bible that would connect baptism to showing ones faith. When one is baptized it does show ones faith, but it also washes dirt from his body. I don’t think either of those is important to understanding baptism. Besides, the example James uses in James 2, to explain what he means by a living faith is warming and filling a poor person, not being baptized. If we can’t use James’ example when applying his teaching, then our application is faulty. James didn’t give us a faulty example. James 2 just does not shed any light on the subject of baptism.

  53. Mark says:

    Jeff, There is an old hymn in the blue book, Great Songs of the Church, titled We Give Thee but Thine Own. I have sung this many years ago.

    And we believe Thy Word,
    Though dim our faith may be;
    Whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
    We do it unto Thee.

  54. jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, My reply is, Apollos had obeyed the message preached by John. He believed in the coming Messiah. He obeyed by being faithful to John’s baptism of repentance. Aquila and Priscilla heard him teach the baptism of John after the sacrifice of Christ and they explained to him the way of the Lord more accurately. He was taught about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe just like those in Acts 19:1-6, he was then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Apollos had been obedient in both accounts, his faith could be seen. The result of his actions equal faith.

    I have never said anything about having to come to a perfect knowledge of all things. But Romans 4:21 informs us that there is a saving knowledge that must be known, accepted and obeyed. We will spend the rest of our lives learning about the Christ, becoming mature, becoming greater in faith. But what puts us IN Christ is not that hard to understand. We have to hear the gospel message, ( the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God) believe what we hear, be willing to change, (to leave old lives and live for Him) be willing to confess Jesus as Lord before men and be willing to be baptized, for the remission of our sins. If we believe and do these things, we are in Christ, a son, a child an heir to the throne. This is God’s plan of salvation, there is only one, not difficult to understand at all. But for many it is very difficult to accept and obey. If it’s rejected or not known we remain unfaithful, without saving knowledge,

  55. Christopher says:

    Jeff wrote:

    This is God’s plan of salvation, there is only one, not difficult to understand at all. But for many it is very difficult to accept and obey. If it’s rejected or not known we remain unfaithful, without saving knowledge.

    I’m not sure I agree with the “unknown” part, but the “rejected” part is the big mystery. Why do people have such a hard time accepting the plan? Solve that and suddenly we have a much, much larger and unified body.

  56. Dwight says:

    Here is a point where we make things harder than they should be or are meant to be. The path to Christ was and is easy, the walk in Christ much harder. The knowledge and way to gaining the promise of salvation as a saint is easy…believe…submit in repentance and baptism. There are no steps, only response in faith. Baptism is meant to transition us from one state, unclean, to another…clean before God. It is after we are converted that the real problems begin as we replace the things of the world with the things of Christ and seek Christ daily even while being told to not to. Our faith will be challenged, not our works.
    Despite what we do we are still subject to mercy and grace, due to our frailty in sins.
    But our works should grow in our faith in Christ.
    It is a sad thing in the conservative coC where we teach that works are needed(mostly), and yet don’t promote works to the world and are poor workers. And those that teach “faith only” do more than us in regards to works when it comes to benevolence and helping those that aren’t part of the local assembly. They might have the thought processes wrong initially, but many do the right things despite that.

  57. Dwight says:

    Christopher, I think because many want to own the plan or have some sense of proprietorship so they tweek the plan just enough to where it is different from anothers or they think have a superior understanding of what it takes as opposed to just doing it. This is the essential difference between the Baptist and the coC, in that they each think they have the moment of salvation nailed down to either faith or baptism, even though they largely follow the same path of believing and baptism and living in Christ. We make distinctions that were never ever approached in the gospels. We haggle like the Rabbis of Jesus time.

  58. David says:

    Dwight
    You have hit the nail on the head. I have thought for some time that most of the doctrines of the CofC that are “off” came about from some of our preachers trying to prove other churches wrong.
    We wanted to, as you said, own the gospel. We wanted to be the only church God recognizes, and began going to extremes to magnify differences between us and the other denominations. I can remember myself, at one time, thinking that I didn’t want to be part of any denomination that wasn’t the only true one.

  59. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Chris / Dwight,

    I don’t disagree with you; it’s not that difficult.

    Unfortunately, many in my tradition (conservative COCs) have made it quite complicated and complex. I’ve witnessed firsthand the requirement for rebaptism for a person who believed, repented, confessed, and submitted to baptism, yet the congregation did not consider the person as a child of God. Why? Because the person had submitted to baptism “to obey God.” That reason wasn’t good enough, so the baptism didn’t actually “take.” The person had to fully understand all the nuances of baptism, to include that baptism:
    -is in order to receive forgiveness of sins
    -is necessary for God to add the person to His church, a conservative SOF COC
    -should be administered by a faithful, male SOF COC member
    -is a ritual that must be conducted without mistake or error

    The ritual, in large measure, eclipsed the Cross. Furthermore, the witnesses couldn’t clap or applause following the baptism because doing so is sinful. The only NT approved method for joy or praise is saying “Amen” …but not too loudly because that wouldn’t be decent and in good order. We sang immediately before and immediately after the baptism to prevent any witnesses from getting carried away with the sin of “emotionalism” (e.g. clapping). But singing wasn’t authorized during the baptism because that too would be sinful.

    We were so burdened with complex rules that it was hard to know what to do.

  60. Monty says:

    I understand now how people can buy into saved by faith alone, nothing man can do. The way most teach it, (in the CofC)the right method is a formula concocted by a verse or two from this book, combined with a verse or two of this other book, and toss in some abracadabra- hokus pokus, presto-change followed to the T and maybe we have a real conversion, never mind what happens in a person’s heart.

  61. Christopher says:

    Kevin,

    The story you relate is sad. Jesus tells us the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents. While the ICOC may have “perfected the legalism of the CoC” (as my friend says), they did a lot of things right. Outward manifestations of joy were never a problem. And some of the relationships I developed were as close as I’ve ever had in life (with the exception of my mother). I had true brothers and sisters, some of whom I am close to this very day – even after years of being apart. The mainline CoC I visited were stark in contrast. I remember I attended a service while visiting my fathet and, once the minister found outbI was in the ICOC, invited me to meet him for breakfast and then proceeded to lecture me for several hours on how churches should be autonomous and not one to a city. I felt like I was being interrogated; it left a very bad taste in my mouth as a young Christian.

  62. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Chris,

    That COC sounds a lot like the congregations that I grew up attending. Had you visited the congregation that I referred to above, it likely would have happened just as you described.

    To this day, I feel guilty about not having questioned the Elder more forcibly. With regard to the young men in question, we had knocked doors within the community, advertising a week-long meeting and offering studies. I studied with two friends (both late twenties). During the study I learned that both had been previously baptized. I remember bringing them to the Elders and explaining that the two guys were already Christians. They haven’t attended anywhere for quite some time, and they wanted to come back that night. The Elder quickly nipped that and said that we had better “baptize them correctly for the first time.” I didn’t know what to say because both had been immersed to obey God. I remember walking away and thinking, “Something about our theology is not quite right.”

  63. Christopher says:

    “Woe e to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13, NIV)

    We didn’t baptize a Chinese student I studied with because our evangelist deemed he was unwilling to “do anything and go anywhere” (the Kip McKean dogma) to follow Jesus (he didn’t at that point want to go back to mainland China if asked to). I STILL feel guilt over that one.

  64. Mark says:

    The cofC pulpit theology did not match the old song book theology either.

  65. Dwight says:

    One that still gets me is the term “denomination” that we use to bash others with, even though there is no condemnation of it, and yet the concept of it exist within the concept of calling yourself a Christian and being under Christ who is under God. There is hierarchy and naming. But it is just another way to differentiate us from others as wrong.

  66. Jeff Richardson says:

    David, To answer your question to me back on May 16, at 7:31pm, You said, “I agree with you that when we believe and are baptized our sins are washed away. my disagreement with you is how baptism washes away sin.” You seem to suggest that baptism into Christ is the one and only appropriate action one can take to make his faith alive.”

    1 Peter 3:21 “there is an anti type which now saves us, BAPTISM, not the removal of the filth of the flesh , but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know that baptism washes sins away by peters statement in Acts 22:16. We know that the blood of Jesus Christ reconciled us to God. We know from Romans 6 that in baptism we are buried with Christ into His death. This is where we come into contact with the saving blood of Christ. Study Ephesians 1 and 2. Count how many times you notice the phrase IN Him, IN Christ, The question then becomes, What does in Christ mean and how do I get in Christ. Then notice Galatians 3:27, “for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Baptism puts us in Christ. We need to remember Eph 4. There is only one baptism and one faith, one body. These are works of God. We see in Acts 2:47 that after those who accepted Peters message and were baptized that God added them to His church. This is what we must do to be saved and added to the Lord’s church. He built and died for only one, His. There are no other ways to be saved. The sinners prayer and any “denominational body” that man creates is false and should be rejected. If the church you attend doesn’t look like the church we read about in scripture, it doesn’t belong to Christ. The Baptist doctrine concerning baptism, teaches you that baptism is an outward sign for an inward faith. That you are saved then your baptized, faith only. Well James contradicts this false doctrine. If the Baptist doctrine were true, then you are saved with your sins still in tact. They have never been removed. Only the blood of Christ can remove sins, and we contact the blood in and through baptism. When we obey the gospel, we are faithful and therefore have faith in Christ Jesus.

  67. Dwight says:

    Jeff, there is no church I know of that looks exactly like the church in the Bible and this is coming from a member of the coC that claims to be the first century church. Even the concept of the local church as a closed unit is not seen in the scriptures. If you know of one please let me know, but most have faults in terms of exactness.
    I believe that baptism saves, and yet it doesn’t. If baptism saved, then Apollos and those in Ephesus were saved and didn’t need to be re-baptized. The caveat here is that baptism in Christ saves and while we are going here repentance saves and confession saves as long as they are grounded in Christ. In reality when I think about Acts 2 the apostles didn’t approach their argument from the standpoint of salvation, but rather being in Christ. The Jews asked how to be saved and their remark was come to and be in Christ and you will have the HS. They gave the route to salvation through Christ. We often focus on baptism/salvation so much we forget the point of it, which isn’t salvation, but being in Christ. Christ saves.
    Even when we see I Peter 3:21 the focus is on water, kind of, but more on the deliverer…God. The Jews understood that God was the deliverer and not the water, but that God used the water to deliver. Even the cleansing that baptism follows after was before God.
    Now faith doesn’t alone save you. It must be faith in Christ and this faith must work, because faith is work… I and II Thess. Faith will bring one to Christ through repentance and baptism, which isn’t work, but surrender of self to another. Just as there is no other way to God but through Christ, there is no other way to Christ but through faith and obedience in Christ.

  68. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    I appreciate your responses and the clarification. I know you did not state that one must have perfect knowledge, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth. It certainly seems as if that is your position. For example, do you consider Baptist believers as Christians, e.g. someone who has been immersed to obey God but yet believed that they were saved prior to immersion? Most conservative COCs do not consider this to be a valid baptism because the person is mistaken with regard to the order. We expect the person to have a fully developed, meat-chewing baptismal theology. I submit that it is all irrelevant as long as the believer is baptized. Being baptized because Christ commands it is a perfectly reasonable and valid justification. Having the correct knowledge about faith, repentance, confession, & baptism, the order in which these events occur, and the way in which they occur (e.g. one can’t believe that he/she was irresistible drawn) is most certainly a significant aspect of COC theology. Unfortunately, I know because I have both witnessed it and taught it.

    Some of your latest comments are quite troubling:

    “…we contact the blood in and through baptism.”
    -One of our mottos has long been, “Speak where the Bible speaks; be silent where the Bible is silent.” Too bad we ignore it so frequently. I sure used to ignore it. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have stated this exact same sentence; hundreds. But it’s not in the Bible.

    “If the church you attend doesn’t look like the church we read about in scripture, it doesn’t belong to Christ.”
    -Like the church at Corinth? Or how about Galatia?

    “That you are saved then your baptized, faith only. Well James contradicts this false doctrine.”
    -Actually, James does no such thing. James isn’t referring to baptism at all. James is addressing people who go through the motions without having undergone a change in heart. The proper application for us is one who H, B, R, C, B and then does absolutely nothing for the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, the destitute. Can that type of faith save? No. We in COCs have abused and misapplied this passage perhaps more than any other in the entire Bible.
    -I agree with you in that baptism is part of the salvation process. I agree that it serves as the point in which God forgives sin. I disagree that one must cognitively understand the point in which God forgives them in order for forgiveness to be realized.

    “When we obey the gospel, we are faithful and therefore have faith”
    -Again, you are redefining faith in an unbiblical manner. Show me the lexicon that stringently defines faith as H+B+R+C+B. Even those in the conservative COC won’t agree with you on this.

  69. Jeff Richardson says:

    Well Dwight, why are in the church that your in? if it doesn’t look like the church Jesus built, why don’t you continue to search? This idea that a local congregation can’t be like the first century church is beyond me. We are either the Lord’s church in faith and practice or we are something else that is man made. If we are willing to follow the instructions and examples left for us we can be the Lord’s church, we must be or else our candlestick if we ever had one will be removed. You say, “closed unit”. Are you speaking of the local churches autonomy? If so, each congregation is to be led by Elders, no other earthly over site. They answer to Christ and Him only. This is what the bible teaches. Apollos would have been in a saved state by obeying John’s baptism, if he had died before the death of Christ. Just like those who died under the old law, if they died faithful, they to would be in a saved state. But… it still would take the sacrifice of Christ, the shedding of His blood to save them. Those of us and that’s all of us who are on this side of the Cross, must respond as Peter instructed. In Acts 2, Peter came at them with a blistering sermon. he accused them of murder. He was preaching the salvation of their souls by and through Jesus Christ. They indeed asked what MUST we do? Peter said, repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Those who gladly received Peters words, were baptized, verse 41. Some I’m sure rejected Peters words and were not baptized. Some would say, they had faith. Really? How can you reject the words of God that Peter spoke and come out with faith? What you have are people who lack faith. If there were no salvation, found in Christ, what would the point be to be in Christ? Yes Christ saves, and Peter explained the only way to come to Him for salvation. The focus of 1 Peter 3:21 is the necessity of baptism, for it now saves us. It’s just water, true, but it’s our obedience to baptism that saves us. Reject it, you remain lost. All spiritual blessings are found in Christ, Eph 1:3, this includes salvation. How do we get in Christ? Gal 3:27.” For as many of you who have been baptized INTO Christ, have put on Christ” We are baptized into Christ, there is no other way to be IN Christ.

  70. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, I do not consider a “Baptist” to be a believer. How can they be a “believer” when they reject Christ’s baptism. How can you be baptized, if at all, for the wrong reasons and come up for the right reasons? How can you preach and teach others that all you need to do, is accept Christ as your personal Savior, and say this simple prayer (the sinners prayer) and you can be saved today. Kevin, this is false doctrine and it will not save anyone. It is the doctrine of demons. And after the congregation votes on your admittance, sometime down the road you can be if you wish, be baptized to formerly join the church. So no, Kevin, I do not recognize them as brothers. Kevin, just where was the blood of Christ shed? It was at His death was it not? Romans 6 tells us that when we are baptized we are buried with Him and resurrected like Him, to walk in newness of life. This is where we contact His blood. Kevin, we know that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, our sins are washed away in baptism. Just connecting the dots Kevin. As far as the church in the first century, of course they had their problems, they weren’t perfect. Any organization made up of humans will never be perfect. But with regard to what we believe, teach and practice it can and must be as the Lord directed. You seem to think that this is not possible? it can be if we are willing to submit to the will of God. I would agree that to H-B-R-C-B, if it stops there, we will find ourselves lost again. H-B-R-C-B puts us in a saved condition. We find ourselves right with God. but the work is only beginning. As far as the book of James is concerned, baptism is under consideration when we understand that baptism is a work, a work of God. It’s been commanded. Jesus said in Matt 3, “if one is not born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter the kingdom of God.” A changed heart will cause us to submit and obey. A heart that is not changed will reject the command, thus be lacking in faith. We just can’t stumble into obedience and salvation we have to understand what were doing. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God, we need to understand or else we will reject it. Look at faith this way. If a man says he believes that Jesus is the Son of God, believes that He died, was buried and then arose. Many call this faith. I say it’s nothing more than a simple acknowledgment of believed facts. James says, you do well to believe that there is one God, the demons believe as much. Would you say they have faith? Satan believes Jesus is the Son of God, that He died, was buried and arose again. Would you say that Satan has faith in Christ Jesus? I wouldn’t. “faith without works is dead.” And it is good to talk with you as well.

  71. David says:

    The first time I can remember a preacher say that “We contact the blood of Christ in baptism” was in the late fifties. My dad was livid because he considered the statement unbiblical. After that the statement became common among preachers and my dad would have a talk, after the sermon, with any preacher that used it. My dad has long passed away, and I object to the statement, but probably not for the same reason he objected.

    I assume the statement about contacting the blood in baptism is meant in a metaphorical sense. I don’t think anyone would suggest that we literally and miraculously get transported to the cross and have Christ’s blood spilled on us when we are baptized. I suppose in a metaphorical sense the statement is kind of true and maybe harmless. But I strongly suspect the statement was invented to say something the Bible does not say. That would be that God either metaphorically or miraculously applies the blood of Christ to our sins in baptism, and will not or cannot apply it any other time. The preacher who uses the statement can thoroughly confuse any questioner and himself, by switching between the metaphorical and literal senses. The preachers, I don’t think mean to be deceptive, they just preach what they have heard preached.

  72. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Thanks for responding.

    Kevin, I do not consider a “Baptist” to be a believer. How can they be a “believer” when they reject Christ’s baptism.
    -They didn’t reject it. They obeyed Christ and were baptized.

    How can you be baptized, if at all, for the wrong reasons and come up for the right reasons?
    -So Jeff, you believe that being baptized to obey God is a wrong reason and invalidates one’s obedience? Book, chapter, verse please?

    How can you preach and teach others that all you need to do, is accept Christ as your personal Savior, and say this simple prayer (the sinners prayer) and you can be saved today.
    -I don’t preach or teach that.

    This is where we contact His blood. Kevin, we know that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, our sins are washed away in baptism. Just connecting the dots Kevin.
    -Those dots are not in the bible. “Contacting the blood” is not a part of God’s word. Concur with everything in 1 John 1:7 and Acts 22:16.

    As far as the church in the first century, of course they had their problems, they weren’t perfect.
    -Exactly. No church is perfect. Some of these first century churches were adding to the Gospel; they were highly immoral, they encouraged Gentiles to judaize. If those congregations existed today, we would disfellowship them in a heartbeat; Paul called them brothers and saints.

    But with regard to what we believe, teach and practice it can and must be as the Lord directed.
    -So again, we are back to perfect knowledge and perfect doctrine? Jeff, it is almost an absolute certainty that people in your congregation believe all sorts of things about baptism, the Holy Spirit, and instrumental music. Oh, they don’t announce it publicly, but they do. According to your logic, those people even within your own congregation with whom you disagree aren’t saved or in the Church.

    As far as the book of James is concerned, baptism is under consideration when we understand that baptism is a work, a work of God.
    No, it is not under consideration at all. James is explicit about the context. You are reading into the text something that is not there.

    If a man says he believes that Jesus is the Son of God, believes that He died, was buried and then arose. Many call this faith. I say it’s nothing more than a simple acknowledgment of believed facts.
    Maybe; maybe not. Has the man repented of his past sins, made a conscious decision to trust in the promises of the Gospel, and committed himself to follow Jesus and live an obedient life? That is not a simple acknowledgment of facts. He needs to be baptized, but the man most certainly has faith.

    Satan believes Jesus is the Son of God, that He died, was buried and arose again. Would you say that Satan has faith in Christ Jesus?
    No. Satan has not trusted in the Lord, repented of his wickedness, accepted Jesus as Lord, or desired to live an obedient, faithful life. The problem, Jeff, is that conservative COCs see no difference whatsoever between the faith of Satan and the faith of his Baptist neighbor who loves the Lord, feeds the poor, helps the sick, visits the imprisoned, and bears fruit of the Spirit. It is beyond ridiculous (not you – the theology that we embraced).

  73. dwight says:

    Jeff, you see your vision of a church being led by elders that is autonomous is not built on the NT pattern. True elders were appointed in every church, but we also read that elders were appointed in every town, so that the church (as most of the letters are addressed to) are in a town and are the town. The elders existed in Christianity the way they did in the Jewish culture…per town over the people in the town and not over a specific group where there was a membership list. Autonomy didn’t exist in a world where the apostles were able to tell the churches what to do and what not to do, despite elders being present. We don’t have examples of elders making decisions aside from the people themselves, even though they are told to rule.
    We have examples of churches in homes and from your statement if you do not meet in a home then you are not following the examples given.
    If you are using a songbook using words written that are not psalms from the scriptures using their melody structure, then you are not doing what the early church did. Do you gather around table on Sunday evening as is noted in the gospels and I Cor.11? And the list goes on and on.
    We might argue that these are following the spirit, which may be true, but they are not following exactness.
    One of the interesting things that was noted is that even the first century churches like Corinth, Ephesus, etc. were not perfect and were still considered brethren and saints.

    Jeff, There is no Baptist I know that rejects baptism, after all they are all baptized. They are not baptized into John or John’s baptism. They might not be baptized to be saved, but they are still baptized into Christ for the sake of Christ.
    The irony is that we commune with many people who were baptized because they were following others or for other reasons other than to be saved. One of the practices during the time of A.C. was of grilling people to determine whether they were worthy of partaking of the Lord’s Supper in regards to how they were saved, etc. A.C was against this.
    I know of a congregation where the preacher had all of the people go down a list and either agree on everything or be dis-fellowshipped from. This is where you argument ultimately leads.

    I have never heard “contact the blood of Christ” from the Bible in relation to baptism, now buried with Christ and raised with Christ, but not “contact the blood of”.
    Scripture please that states this.

    Isn’t this what we basically do in the Lord’s Supper in communion and we eat of his body?

    The irony is I’m not sure David, Kevin or I could worship with a person who believed in such a concept that is undeniably unscriptural and if you were baptized with this wrong thinking that is not stated in the scriptures, then you obviously were not raised a saint. This would put you on par with say…a Baptist. Just saying.
    Actually I have no problem with a person who believes that Jesus saves them and they obey Jesus, even though they might not exactly believe that there is an order of steps in the process. You see the little fact is that Acts 2;38 also says “repent” and we don’t argue how one must repent or what they believe when they repent other than that Jesus is the Son of God and savior. Or what one must confess even?

  74. Larry Cheek says:

    David,
    Concerning the use of blood being applied during baptism. There are several quotations which apply that Christ’s does save and where a believer initially contacts it. Regardless of the initial contact we are also told that it is responsible for continual cleansing of sins and being justified.

    Rev 7:13-14 ESV Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” (14) I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the BLOOD of the Lamb.
    Jesus blood washes? Where? Romans chapter 6 gives incite as to when our sins have been cleansed (washed away) as spoken of in Act 22:16 ESV And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

    Rev 12:11 ESV And they have conquered him by the BLOOD of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

    Rev 1:5 ESV and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his BLOOD
    1Jn 1:7 ESV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the BLOOD of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

    Rom 5:9 ESV Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his BLOOD, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
    Eph 1:7 ESV In him we have redemption through his BLOOD, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
    Heb 9:11-14 ESV But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) (12) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own BLOOD, thus securing an eternal redemption. (13) For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, (14) how much more will the BLOOD of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
    Heb 10:19 ESV Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the BLOOD of Jesus.

    Therefore, I do not see that declaring that the blood of Christ is contacted during baptism is an unsupportable fact. Although the blood is still continuing to cleanse us as we live for him.

  75. Mark says:

    Jeff wrote “I would agree that to H-B-R-C-B, if it stops there, we will find ourselves lost again. H-B-R-C-B puts us in a saved condition. We find ourselves right with God. but the work is only beginning.”

    Why the saved, lost, saved…? This is the old idea that no one can be sure of salvation and led to death bed fear. This is the same mentality that led people to think that God is just vindictive and wants to send everyone to hell and not the least bit loving.

  76. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Dwight,

    I have never heard “contact the blood of Christ” from the Bible in relation to baptism, now buried with Christ and raised with Christ, but not “contact the blood of”.
    Scripture please that states this.

    Good point. We have historically condemned Catholics over their views on transubstantiation. Yet, this sounds eerily similar.

  77. Dwight says:

    Now I have to admit that I was looking for the statement of “contact the blood of Christ”, even though I do believe that Christ sacrifice in blood covered us from our sin. This is similar to when the priest would sacrifice and then sprinkle the people with blood for purification. The blood is active, but the blood flows towards us, not the other way around and as Larry points out the blood is continually flowing. And baptism is regarded as burial with Christ, not “contact with His blood” anymore than we are in contact with Jesus as a whole. Jesus blood equals life and death simultaneously, which is why we partake of it during the Lord’s Supper.
    And while the blood of Jesus as Larry points out 1Jn 1:7 ESV “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the BLOOD of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” we are not told if this happens at baptism or was happening in general as His blood seems to be everywhere in the sense of purification of the saints and also the establishing of the New Covenant.

  78. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Many scholars see this as purely metaphorical. Christ’s blood is a metaphor for His willing sacrificial atonement on the cross, his death, burial, and resurrection. There weren’t any magical properties in the actual blood of Christ a la an Indiana Jones film. It’s an eastern way of thinking about the Gospel.

  79. Jeff Richardson says:

    Mark, 1 Timothy 4:1-2, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the truth….2 Peter 3:17, ‘beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” 1 Cor 10:12 ” therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” I could go on, but we all can see that it is possible to fall back into a sinful state and once again be lost. Once saved always saved is a false doctrine. Who in their right mind would ever think that when your baptized you literally contact the blood of Christ? Read Larry C’s comments above. 1 John 1:7 “And the blood of Jesus His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” Col 1:14 “we have redemption through His blood.” Paul recounts his own conversion in Acts 22:16, “arise and be baptized washing away thy sins.” If HIS blood cleanses us and our sins are washed away in baptism, by common sense, logical reasoning, we conclude that in baptism we contact the blood of Christ.
    Dwight, I know of no Baptist who ever believed that he was baptized for the remission of his sins. They believe they were cleansed of their sins when they first believed. Therefore they are baptized for the wrong reasons. You can’t be taught wrong and come up out of the water right. Eph 4 tells us there is but one baptism, and the baptism of Christ is for the remission of sins. How can you believe that to be wrong and be baptized correctly? It’s not the act that saves you, it’s the reason your doing it. 2 Peter 2:12 speaks of false teachers, “but these, like natural brute beast made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption.” Paul to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon to a different gospel.” The gospel of Jesus Christ can and has been perverted. 2 Cor 13: 5 ” examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 John 1:9-11, “whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the father and the Son. If anyone (the Baptist) comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house (congregation) nor greet him, for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” The Baptist teach a different gospel. They teach a different plan of salvation, I will not receive them, nor accept them as brothers in Christ, because they have never been baptized for the remission of their sins. They are not in Christ and can not be a brother. Who are the people of Matt 7:21 and following? They are people who claim to be followers of Christ, those who follow a perverted gospel. Jesus told them to depart from Him, because he never knew them. They are people who are not IN Christ.

  80. Monty says:

    Kevin replied to Jeff,

    Jeff said- “Satan believes Jesus is the Son of God, that He died, was buried and arose again. Would you say that Satan has faith in Christ Jesus?”

    Kevin’s reply – No. Satan has not trusted in the Lord, repented of his wickedness, accepted Jesus as Lord, or desired to live an obedient, faithful life. The problem, Jeff, is that conservative COCs see no difference whatsoever between the faith of Satan and the faith of his Baptist neighbor who loves the Lord, feeds the poor, helps the sick, visits the imprisoned, and bears fruit of the Spirit. It is beyond ridiculous (not you – the theology that we embraced).

    That is an awesome response to those who would with a stroke of a pen or with a spoken word dismiss(and damn) so easily the faith(in Christ) of those who don’t see “baptism” exactly the same as we do. I used to quote that verse myself(trained well) in James in regards to the Baptist the same as Jeff- thank God for letting me find Jay’s site. That use of James 2 is Phariseeism run amuck, taken out of context.

  81. Mark says:

    Jeff, Am I bound for hell because I don’t think that the cofC that uses IM is going to hell?

  82. Charlie M. says:

    Apropos of absolutely nothing, the Jews on Pentecost were already going to be baptized that day. Many probably already had been. That’s the purpose of the pools around the temple courtyards, right? Peter tells them to ceremonially cleanse again but this time, “call on the name of the Lord”. Still a ritualistic ceremony. Different now because it’s in the name of the Son.

    But what makes a Jew? Circumcision or circumcision of the heart? Cleansing (soapless, btw) by water or cleansing by blood?

  83. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    The comments serve as an excellent illustration for the absurdity of our theology…a theology that I once embraced and taught.

    We have once again arrived at the age old conundrum at Jay’s Blog: What error damns and what error does not damn? How do we decide the difference? Who gets to decide? What is the process? Where is it delineated in scripture?

    Conservative CoCs teach that error concerning how the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian is covered by grace. Some believe the HS literally indwells the Christian. Others believe that the HS only dwells representatively through the word. Clearly, one is correct and one is in error. But grace covers all, and we all go to heaven. What one BELIEVES with regard to how the HS indwells is irrelevant, despite one’s error.

    But Jeff has advocated that what one believes is essential for salvation (I once held this position as well). He states:

    “But with regard to what we believe, teach and practice it can and must be as the Lord directed.”
    “How can you be baptized, if at all, for the wrong reasons and come up for the right reasons?”
    “If it’s rejected or not known we remain unfaithful, without saving knowledge,”

    So, if a Baptist H+B+R+C+B, he is not saved because he understood that salvation occurred midway through the five-step process. I know of Baptists who did all “five steps” within 30 minutes, but Jeff teaches that the person is not saved because salvation was thought to have occurred at minute 20 rather than minute 30. All “steps” accomplished, but one’s thoughts about when exactly salvation occurred is actually the over-riding factor throughout the process, and a mistake in this area nullifies the entire process and condemns the person to eternal damnation. In this example, what one BELIEVES is absolutely relevant and consequently damns.

    That’s pretty scary. How are we to determine what error about our internally held beliefs damn and which ones do not damn?

  84. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, “Jeff has advocated that what one believes is essential for salvation.” I stand by that. Are you Kevin an accidental Christian? Can you stumble into it? And again Kevin, no Baptist anywhere was ever baptized FOR the remission of his sins. They do not believe or teach it. On the question of who gets to decide? Well God does Kevin, and He has spoken, study to show thy self approved of God. Jesus promised to build His church, just one, His. “Then He said, divide and become separate, teaching different doctrines, worshipping Me however you feel. Call yourselves Christians, Baptist and Lutherans, Presbyterians, whatever I don’t care. You decide how to become followers of me, it really doesn’t matter, NOT.” If any of you can find this teaching in scripture, I would like to see it! Kevin it would seem to me that you don’t understand what you believe nor why. You seem to have a whatever floats your boat attitude.

  85. Dwight says:

    This highlights a problem with many coC and many Baptist in relegating salvation to things, which is what many of the Jews were guilty of is, “I was saved by this or that”.

    Jeff, I want you to think about this…where in your last statement or the one before that do you allude to Jesus being the savior or saving us. You make it known that doing the things that Jesus said to do with the right motives is what saves and somehow leave Jesus out of it. If it is in there I might have missed it, but many of the Jews summarily replaced God with doing things for God.
    In fact it wasn’t about God, but saving their own skins by doing things.

    In other words if a person came to me and said they wanted to be baptized and I said do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and your savior and they said, “yes”, then I would say OK let’s baptize you. The point of salvation whether it is between faith or repentance or baptism isn’t the issue and should never be an issue.

    An important point is that in Acts 2 salvation is not mentioned by Peter. What Peter points to is Jesus Christ the savior. They the Jews ask what must they do to be saved? Why is that? Because they now recognized the savior. Peter’s response wasn’t do this to be saved, but rather “repent and be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. So their argument was turn to Christ and be baptized into Christ and you will receive salvation. The Jews understood that they would receive salvation through Christ and in Christ.

    So while Peter did lay out the path to salvation, he didn’t lay out the point of salvation and if so was it during repentance or after repentance and before baptism or after repentance and after baptism and then what? They still had to follow Christ. Salvation wasn’t a point, but a process.

    The requirement for salvation at all points was Jesus as the Son of God and the savior, not at what point are you saved.
    The point of the rich young man was of following Jesus.
    John 6:40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    John 10:9 ” I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
    John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
    John 11:25-27 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

    So while we may point to baptism as the point of salvation, it isn’t. Jesus Christ is the point of salvation. Salvation pivots on Him. Baptism and repentance my be used to get to Him, but even after the that the quest for God and doing His will exist to do or to lose.

  86. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Dwight, I know of no Baptist who ever believed that he was baptized for the remission of his sins. They believe they were cleansed of their sins when they first believed. Therefore they are baptized for the wrong reasons. You can’t be taught wrong and come up out of the water right.

    Where is the BCV that delineates the approved reasons? Why is “to obey God” not a sufficient reason? When is obeying God ever an incorrect choice or reason?

    It’s ironic that Jeff referred to Matt 7:21:
    “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.”
    Baptists who are baptized in obedience to the Lord’s command are DOING the will of the Father.

    We are sinning when we refuse fellowship based on our man-made notions of saving knowledge and baptismal theology. We are no different than those in Galatians 1. The consequences are dire because it is tantamount to teaching another Gospel.

  87. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Are you Kevin an accidental Christian? Can you stumble into it?

    Jeff, I don’t understand your point.

    And again Kevin, no Baptist anywhere was ever baptized FOR the remission of his sins.

    This is not a true statement. Most are baptized to obey God, with the understanding that salvation has already occurred. But not all. Some of these are documented in our own historical accounts.

    On the question of who gets to decide? Well God does Kevin, and He has spoken, study to show thy self approved of God.

    Again, not a true statement. Jeff has spoken, and Jeff is not God. God does not say anywhere that one must understand all the nuances of baptism in order for it to be valid. God wants us to obey Him, and Baptists obey God when they are baptized. God didn’t legislate that we must have perfect knowledge about the exact moment that salvation occurs. Jeff is legislating that requirement.

    “Then He said, divide and become separate, teaching different doctrines, worshipping Me however you feel. Call yourselves Christians, Baptist and Lutherans, Presbyterians, whatever I don’t care. You decide how to become followers of me, it really doesn’t matter, NOT.” If any of you can find this teaching in scripture, I would like to see it!

    Completely agree. I underlined the part that is particularly relevant to this discussion..e.g. man legislating perfect knowledge about the exact moment that salvation occurs.

    Kevin it would seem to me that you don’t understand what you believe nor why. You seem to have a whatever floats your boat attitude.

    I don’t follow. How-so? What are you confused about? I think I have been pretty straightforward.

  88. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I TRIED to underline anyway. Here is is again:

    “Then He said, divide and become separate, teaching different doctrines, worshipping Me however you feel. Call yourselves Christians, Baptist and Lutherans, Presbyterians, whatever I don’t care. You decide how to become followers of me, it really doesn’t matter, NOT.” If any of you can find this teaching in scripture, I would like to see it!

    Completely agree. I underlined the part that is particularly relevant to this discussion..e.g. man legislating perfect knowledge about the exact moment that salvation occurs.

  89. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I give up.

    “…You decide how to become followers of me,…”

  90. Mark says:

    Let’s see
    Ezekiel 18:27 “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life (some say his soul alive). 28″Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.…

    Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. 18″Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”

  91. Mark says:

    Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

    The prophets did not say get all the rules right.

  92. Monty says:

    Jeff would have problems with the conversion of Cornelius and the timing of it. He would probably have problems with baptizing a person and their big toe not getting immersed, also. Have to do a redo. He would say you have to take the Supper every Sunday to remain “faithful.” I could go on. I used to be where he is. Ignorance truly is bliss. So many extrapolated rules and regulations. If we could all just get into agreement with all of them. Sigh.

  93. Dwight says:

    It is incredibly divisive to argue that we must understand things that were not part of the plan other than Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus is the savior before we are baptized.
    We must ask did Abraham know at what point the promises would be fulfilled before he took the journey and went? Did he need to know? Could he obey God without knowing? Did he have to know that God would provide a ram before he wen to sacrifice his son? Most of Abraham’s faith was based on him not knowing all of the details and the whys, but doing them anyway.
    Abraham trusted in God, not knowing.
    When we focus so tightly on the marks in between the strokes we miss the big picture.
    Jesus never said, “faith saves” or “baptism saves” or “repentance saves”, but He did say, “I save. (I am the way, the truth and the light.), then “follow me””
    I do also argue that “what one believes is essential for salvation”, but what one must believe isn’t based on faith or repentance or baptism, but based on Jesus. Those in Ephesus were baptized into John (this didn’t save them), but then they were baptized into Jesus (which did), but they weren’t baptized into baptism or salvation or the theology of baptism or salvation. In fact while we understand that repentance and baptism into Jesus saves, this is not approached in Peter’s discussion with the Ephesians. Peter didn’t baptize them into salvation or baptism, but Jesus.

  94. laymond says:

    Mark , just what do you think this means ?
    Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

  95. David says:

    Larry
    I agree Christ’s blood cleanses us. I also would not argue too much with the statement that we contact the blood of Christ in baptism, as long as we recognize that it is a non-biblical metaphor. The thing I would disagree with is combining this unbiblical metaphor with the biblical metaphor that we die with Christ in baptism. The argument is that since Christ’s blood was shed in his death (a literal fact), and since we must be in the same literal place where he died to make contact with the blood, the only way we can make the contact is to be baptized. I do not know the rules of logic that apply when we connect two metaphors with two literal facts. The conclusion could be valid, but it looks to me like theological hocus pocus.

  96. Johnny says:

    I was in a baptist church about 11 years old when I became aware of my sin. I had been taught of Jesus my whole life but until then I did not realize until then that my sins existed. I feared hell, I wanted to be forgiven, and I wanted to follow Jesus. I came forward and told the minister I was a lost sinner and wanted to be baptized. He asked me who I believed Jesus was, did I want to change my life and follow Jesus, I told him yes. As I entered the baptistry I remember the words he said to me

    “Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God, and do you want him to be Lord of your life?” I replied yes.
    Then he said ” On your profession of faith I baptize you my brother in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit, buried with Christ, raised to walk in newness of life”

    I did not understand baptism for the remission of sins, I did not understand the theology of propitiation, I did not understand many many things. I did understand that I was guilty of sin, that Jesus loved me and wanted me to follow him, and that he wanted me to be baptized.

    I had the faith of a child, I believed with all my heart that he loved me and I wanted to follow him. Jeff you may not accept that faith, but if you require a full understanding of what happens in the water for that baptism to be valid, then you have to reject the baptism of many of the children baptized in most churches.

  97. Mark says:

    Laymond, it means that if the wicked man turns from his evil ways and returns to the Lord, God will have compassion on him and grant him pardon.

  98. Dwight says:

    Johnny, you were taught right about what one must do to follow Jesus and you did it.
    Jesus Son of God and savior…you lost in sins in need of Jesus Son of God and Savior.
    And this in a Baptist church…what were they thinking? 🙂

  99. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, In Acts 2 we hear the Jews ask, what MUST we do? Peter responds by saying, “repent and be baptized everyone of you for the remission of your sins.” If this is not for the salvation of their souls, what is it? Peter layed out the plan of salvation very clearly, 3000 understood and did as Peter said. The others left lacking faith in Peters message, and thus rejecting the Christ.. In Acts 22:16 Paul recounts his own conversion, In verse 10 Saul/Paul asked “what shall I do Lord?” verse 16, “And now why are you waiting, arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Here’s another problem with Baptist doctrine. When we arise and are baptized, washing our sins away, we are in fact calling upon the Lord to save us. The Baptist claim calling on the name of the Lord is saying a sinners prayer and asking Jesus into their hearts. Which by the way cannot be found in scripture, nor do we have any example of anyone in scripture telling anyone to do such a thing. 1 Peter 3:21 Dwight says, “baptism doth now save us.” How can we say we believe in Jesus, and then reject his teachings? To know Jesus is to know what He wants and expects from us. Jesus said in Matt 10:32, ” whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father.” Jesus said in Luke 13:3, “unless you repent you will likewise perish.” These sound like which they are salvation issues. James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” So when we read say, John 3:16, Whoever believes in Him shall have ever lasting life, we need to understand what “believes in” means. If we believe in Christ and desire to be a follower, we will do what ever he asks us to do. Therefore I teach the need to hear God’s word, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, repentance, confession and baptism. What kind of servant would I be, if I neglected to teach any one of these things? If I don’t believe these things, what does that say about my faith? it would show the lack there of wouldn’t it? So Dwight, if we have been baptized into Christ, we have gained salvation.

    And Mark, how hard is it to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to repent, to change, to confess Him as Lord, to allow yourself to be joined with Christ in His death burial and resurrection through the watery grave of baptism, to be raised to walk in newness of life. It’s a new life because you have changed, your heart and mind have changed, and your sins have been forgiven. You now walk after the Spirit not the flesh. How hard is that? it’s not hard at all, The problem is, we sometimes lack the faith that is necessary to submit to the will of God. But when we do, we are found faithful in God’s eyes.

    And Kevin, I’m not legislating the point of salvation, God’s word does it very clearly.

  100. Mark says:

    Jeff, I have been a Christian for a long time. I just don’t go along with legalism and don’t mandate that everyone get every rule correct and share my opinion on interpretations. Now while I do Not go to the cofC any more I will still listen to a sermon of theirs periodically and lament some titled why the cofC has elders and does not clap hands. I then am glad when I hear one of their up and coming women ministers preach a gospel homily that sounds like an Episcopalian. I grew up with H B C R B and know that after I was baptised I was forgotten.

  101. Alabama John says:

    Many are ignorant of all this info and many are not in a position where they can be baptized. I believe God considers all that in making His judgment and does not just send all those to hell because that do not follow exactly what we see as necessary.

  102. dwight says:

    Who said that repentance and baptism didn’t save? There is a connection between repentance and baptism to salvation as is there is to faith and confession.
    Is it therefore your argument that only baptism saves? I doubt it.
    These are all paths to Christ…following Christ.

    In our coC haste we might say, “When we arise and are baptized, washing our sins away, we are in fact calling upon the Lord to save us”, but if baptism saves us, then why do we need to call upon the Lord to save us? This makes no sense.
    But it is strange that even while many do call Jesus into their heart they are then baptized.
    The point is that baptism is part of the plan, not the plan of salvation. Faith and repentance happens before baptism and is to happen after it, even as calling on Jesus is.
    “And now why are you waiting, arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
    If Acts 2:16 is the order, then did you do this, “calling on the name of the Lord” directly after you were baptized or coming out of the water? If not then you were not saved. Calling on Jesus only can occur after baptism and not before. I know many who were baptized that did not “call on the name of the Lord” upon coming out of the water. This must be a condition of salvation.

    Acts 2 as I said has the Jews asking what must they do to be saved, because the apostles said they needed to be saved by baptism? No, because they recognized their sinfulness and that Jesus was the Son of God and savior. They were told to “repent and be baptized”, so was the point to repent from un-baptism to baptism? No the point was turn to Jesus and be baptized into Jesus the savior. And even then they still had to live a life of righteousness.

    You say,”Therefore I teach the need to hear God’s word, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, repentance, confession and baptism. What kind of servant would I be, if I neglected to teach any one of these things? If I don’t believe these things, what does that say about my faith? it would show the lack there of wouldn’t it?”
    Show me in Acts 2 where Peter taught anything other than that Jesus was the Son of God?
    Again it is not my argument that we not teach about faith, repentance and baptism, but that we teach Christ as the point. The Ethiopian eunuch was undoubtedly taught baptism, but he asked about it, as this wasn’t Philips goal to get him down into the water, but “to teach Christ”. Christ was the focus.

    I think you missed the point that Jesus himself didn’t teach faith and/or baptism as the way, but taught that He was the way. This is my point and the point of the scriptures. The way to Christ was through faith and repentance and baptism, towards Jesus who would save you. My point is that we teach the basics of Christ and then pursue Christ the savior. Many go around teaching salvation and treat Christ as the way to get there, but we should teach how to get to Christ the savior through repentance and baptism. The goal is Christ, the gift is salvation.

    If a person or Baptist understands Christ as the Son of God and savior and they pursue or follow the things that Christ commanded, then they are saved. They don’t have to know everything beyond those points. Again Peter didn’t make knowing that they were saved at the point of baptism a qualification of salvation. Besides they had to believe and repent as well. So it all wasn’t placed upon baptism as the point, but part of the path.

  103. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Johnny,
    You make an excellent point. Thanks for sharing. You have described roughly the same process that I have heard from others. Sounds like our Lord added you to His Church to me.

  104. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Peter layed out the plan of salvation very clearly, 3000 understood and did as Peter said.

    You are using circular logic: The 3,00 heard Peter’s sermon and instructions…the 3,000 repented and were baptized…therefore they understood Peter’s sermon and instructions.
    The Bible doesn’t say that. Peter convinced them that they had crucified the Messiah. The 3,000 obeyed Peter’s instructions. The Bible says nothing about how well the 3,000 understood baptismal theology. You are reading into the text. The 3,000 didn’t have the luxury of opening Logos and researching all the passages related to baptism. Peter commanded baptism, and they obeyed. That’s good enough.
    Furthermore, why would anyone expect the 3,000 to have it all figured out? The Apostles had been with Christ on a daily basis for three years, and they were confused about many things. But suddenly the local population in Acts 2 spontaneously develop the clarity of thought to understand Christology and Justification. We spend years trying to figure it all out.

    And Kevin, I’m not legislating the point of salvation, God’s word does it very clearly.

    Jeff, you have changed the subject and hoped no one would notice. At 1:55 PM, I said, “God didn’t legislate that we must have perfect knowledge about the exact moment that salvation occurs. Jeff is legislating that requirement.” And you are. You have quite clearly stated that you reject those who are baptized for the purpose of obeying God. God doesn’t so legislate.

    Still waiting on the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and somehow invalidates the whole process. Can you provide this reference, Jeff?

  105. Larry Cheek says:

    Jeff,
    I believe that I have read all of your comments wherein you have discussed what Baptist’s believe, and I see that you have been very limited in your personal communications with members of the Baptist Church. I have been in close contact with many Baptist Church members and several preachers. I worked very hard to teach them the same story that you are presenting, attempting to nail them down on the exact proposition that you are to proclaiming, that they are not teaching baptism for remission of sins. I will proclaim to you that regardless how much I tried to convince many of those Baptist’s that they were not baptized for remission of sins because I knew teachings and the literature of the Baptist Church did not that baptism was to be for remission of sins. It was very obvious that many of the devout members of the Baptist Church did not accept the teachings their preachers were teaching because of what they had learned themselves from scriptures. In some cases even preachers with whom I communicated believed and taught that baptism was for remission of sins. I soon began to realize that what I had been programmed with about the Baptist members was not true in every case. I likened those who called themselves Baptists as being similar to Hines 57 Sauce, many different varieties. Impossible to lump all into a single box. All of this has caused me to understand that most all of the organizations followers are not always indoctrinated with the same (sometimes false) doctrines that the organization may teach. We’ll you might say if they are submitting to the organizations rules and teachings and do not agree they need to get out and free themselves from the false teaching. Tell me where would they go, to the church of Christ? The true Church. We’ll if you really believe that, then you have not checked and double checked what your preachers are teaching with the scriptures. You are allowing them to direct you to what they use to support what they are telling you. I will assure you that there are many false concepts being taught by CoC as I have identified in the 57 years I have been a member of Christs body, attending almost exclusively CoC. There is no True Church except the Spiritual Church that dwells within each of us, Christ and the Holy Spirit have made a home within the individuals who submit to Christ. I know that many on this blog will not accept that he is within us, but they will have to argue with scripture to deny it . Rom 8:9-11 ESV You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
    1Co 3:16-17 ESV Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (17) If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
    Jas 4:5-6 ESV Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (6) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
    1Co 6:15-20 ESV Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! (16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” (17) But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (18) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
    2Ti 1:14 ESV By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
    So what should you believe that I am saying, i am saying that you or no one should classify all members of organizations as lost. Many individuals who have not found their way out of those organizations into understanding that the organization is not mediator between them and their savior. Speak to individuals whom you might guide into truth. Do not speak to organizations, you cannot change them. You will drive prospective individuals from you if you attempt to attack the organization whom they have placed trust.
    Speak about Christ and his mission, build a relationship with those who have been taught error and lead them to see what is in Christ’s message to them, they will learn if they are not attacked.

  106. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Larry,

    It was very obvious that many of the devout members of the Baptist Church did not accept the teachings their preachers were teaching because of what they had learned themselves from scriptures.

    In 2010. I drove from Atlanta to Destin with my father-in-law. He was a devout Baptist and a Deacon. Wonderful man. You’ve heard the saying, “Give till it hurts.” That was him, and not just monetarily. He exemplified our Lord’s instructions in Matt 25:35-36 – “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

    Anyway, we were discussing doctrine and theology. I tried to explain that baptism is for (in order to) the remission of sins. My father-in-law stated, “Oh I believe that. I’ve always believed that.” Later we discussed eternal security or OSAS. He didn’t believe that either. In fact, he said that most of his fellow Baptists within his community believed just as he did.

    Anytime we make blanket statements about an entire fellowship, we are on shaky ground. I’ve been in CoCs all my life, and I have learned one consistent truth: a sizeable portion of every congregation that I have attended (from TX to TN to OK to FL to GA to WI to VA to SC to HI to overseas) did NOT strictly hold to our notions of instrumental music, fellowship, or the boundaries of the church. They are just too afraid to speak out. Sounds a lot like the Baptist churches that you mention, Larry.

  107. laymond says:

    Kevin, Why would anyone want to belong to an origination, where they were afraid to speak out. ?

  108. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I suspect because of family, friends, and other ties that bind. A lot of people seek to avoid confrontation. Fear of disfellowship is also a significant factor. Based on my experience, a lot of these topics are not open for honest discussion. Just bringing them up or questioning our reasoning will get you in hot water.

    My mother and father attend a conservative COC in FL. This particular congregation formally disfellowships various members quite frequently. Most recently, the Elders sent a formal letter of disfellowship to a male member because he frequently works on Sundays based on his current job requirements.

  109. Mark says:

    Some people still belong to an organization and go to church every Sunday to get a gold star in the big attendance record in the sky and a stay-out-of-hell card. Look at a lot of cofCs and you will see age groups no longer there because they were tired of being afraid to speak out. I did not go to Sunday school because I knew not speak out as my opinions aren’t the official opinions. The second and last time I spoke out in a Bible class at a cofC univ, I was forcefully told I was “wrong.” One of my classmates spoke out later that semester and was shut down in a hurry. Discussion was then forbidden.

  110. Johnny says:

    Until I was 50 I attended Baptist churches, It is not unusual at all for people to disagree about doctrines. Each congregation is autonomous and cooperates voluntarily with others, but there is no top down dictates on doctrine. Inside congregations I attended there was a wide variance on many topics, including Eternal Security of the believer, women ministers/deacons, tithing, sinners prayer, etc etc. I found that while they disagreed on issues they did not let them become issues that caused hard feelings or disfellowship. I don’t agree with all the doctrines that my elders or preacher believe now, but we agree on the essentials of the faith and we accept each other as brothers.

  111. dwight says:

    I attend a congregation where I don’t believe everything the preacher preaches, but then again I don’t believe everything that the person sitting next to me believes, it is just that the preachers has the voice and thinks that those in the pulpit believes what he does since he is preaching this to them.
    So it comes down to unity in spirit.
    If I can associate with a Baptist, surely I can associate with another coC person as well. But unlike many in my congregation I accept others as my brothers from other congregations and denominations. That is me talking, not the congregation.

  112. laymond says:

    Once again I ask why would a person put up with such nonsense. Would they disfellowship Jesus because he worked on the Sabbath ? remaining silent is the cause of such nonsense to be the rule. I stood up once because of a morning greeting, The “elder ” who greeted the visitors said ” welcome to our worship services, where we worship our Lord, and savior Jesus Christ ” after he finished, *I stood up and asked the congregation to turn to . Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. I don’t remember that elder giving the greeting again. It might be alright to have your opinion, but it is not OK to teach it in church.

  113. Mark says:

    But does the preacher believe everything he is saying or does he have to repeat the official policy that the elders promulgate? I always wondered how preachers/speakers could get up and rail against certain people/groups even some who were in the pews if someone with power did not condone it (or at least allow it to happen).

  114. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, When we “call upon the name of the Lord” It’s what we are doing, when we R-C-B. It’s not a verbal calling out. it’s the actions of R-C-B. When we do that we have already called upon the Lord to save us. Dwight, in acts 2 they asked “what must we do”, What did Peter say? Did he say invite Jesus into your heart to be your personal Savior and say a sinners prayer? No he didn’t, he said, repent and be baptized everyone of you for the remission of your sins.” Peter was teaching them the necessity of repentance and baptism. He didn’t say anything about their faith or them confessing Christ as Lord, because when they asked the question, ‘what must we do”, Peter could see that they now realize, that they had murdered the Son of God. They now believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And Dwight, Jesus is always the focal point, you can’t know Jesus, unless you understand what He wants from you. Yes Jesus is the way, and he has given us instructions as to how to follow Him.” IN Him, we have redemption”. Eph 1:7. Verse 11 “IN Him we have obtained an inheritance”. Verse 13,” IN Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” Col 1:12-14 ” giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. he has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. IN whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Gal 3:27, ” for as many of you as were BAPTIZED INTO Christ have put on Christ.” Eph 1:3, “All spiritual blessing are found IN Christ. If anyone is not IN Christ, these spiritual blessings don’t belong to them. How do we get IN Christ? we are baptized INTO Christ. But first, we believe, we repent, we confess his name, then we are baptized. Then we strive to live faithfully, Rev 2:10. As for the 3000, they understood enough to do it, didn’t they? Without baptism for the remission of sins, a person falls short of God’s commands. Jesus Himself said in John 3, “unless one is born of water and the spirit, he can not enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus himself obey God and was baptized, fulfilling all righteousness, or right doing. Jesus was the perfect example. If we desire to follow Jesus, why wouldn’t we follow Him into the water?

    Larry, I try to be like the Bereans, I take no man’s word, I search the scripture to see whether what they say is true. Because it is the words of Christ that will judge us all. John 12:48. And yes there are problems in the c of C. There’s problems because of men who refuse to know and teach biblical truths, the bible says, you can know the truth and it will set you free. And this idea that we can’t know all of what God wants is nonsense. God says we can and must. Did God put something in place that we can never understand or follow? I think not. I don’t believe I have “attacked” anyone. I have used countless passages to prove my points. Some times people feel attacked when their error is exposed.

  115. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    If we desire to follow Jesus, why wouldn’t we follow Him into the water?

    The people that we have been speaking about DO follow him into the water. Still waiting on the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and somehow invalidates the whole process. Can you provide this scriptural reference, Jeff?

  116. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, I have given you ample evidence for what baptism is for. It is for the remission of sins. A person needs to understand WHY he is being baptized. getting wet means nothing, you have to know why your doing it. Don’t you think this is where are “trust” in Christ begins? 1 Timothy 2:4 ” God desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” There are “truths” that we need to come to, accept and understand. One of those truths is baptism is FOR the remission of sins and baptism puts us IN Christ and we become sons and fellow heirs. We need to accept and understand Romans 6: 3-4. We need to know the words of verse 17, that when we are baptized we have obeyed that form of doctrine which had been delivered. “Obeying God” with the wrong attitude and in the wrong way, is not obeying God. Your reasoning reminds me of Cain and Able. Able’s sacrifice was received, it was because it was done by faith. Again, ‘faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17 In other words able followed God’s instructions for the sacrifice, Cain did not, Cain offered what he thought was good and right. But it wasn’t was it?It was not offered by faith.

  117. Johnny says:

    Jeff, am I to understand that when I was 11 years old and came to faith in Jesus, repented of my sins, professed him ans Lord, and was baptized by immersion, that I was no saved due to the fact I did not understand the term “remission of sins” ?

  118. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Kevin, I have given you ample evidence for what baptism is for. It is for the remission of sins

    I have no issues with this. Baptism is for the remission of sins.

    A person needs to understand WHY he is being baptized. getting wet means nothing, you have to know why your doing it.

    Prove it. You simply asserting it doesn’t make it true. God’s word does not teach this, Jeff. You are teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.

    Don’t you think this is where are “trust” in Christ begins? 1 Timothy 2:4 ” God desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    Jeff, you seem to be reading into the text; eisegesis. What is the context of this passage? It is certainly not baptism. In the first chapter, Paul discusses lawlessness and disobedience (the profane, homosexuals, immoral, murderers, liars, etc). The He discusses Christ, grace, and mercy: The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

    In chapter two, Paul turns his attention to prayer, specifically to prayer for all mankind. He desires all men to be saved, regardless of station. Read the broader context, Jeff.
    2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

    Knowledge about baptism is completely and thoroughly alien to the passage or context. I challenge you to reference a single commentary that links “knowledge of truth” in this passage with the necessity to know why we are baptized.

    There are “truths” that we need to come to, accept and understand.

    Agreed.

    One of those truths is baptism is FOR the remission of sins and baptism puts us IN Christ and we become sons and fellow heirs. We need to accept and understand Romans 6: 3-4. We need to know the words of verse 17, that when we are baptized we have obeyed that form of doctrine which had been delivered.

    Really? So once again, I ask: where is it written? Just because you said it, doesn’t make it true.
    Further, Paul’s letter to the Romans wasn’t written when Peter preached the Gospel in Acts 2. The 3,000 didn’t have the opportunity to read Romans 6. Yet you state that “we need to know the words of verse 17, that when we are baptized we have obeyed that form of doctrine which had been delivered.”

    Doesn’t it seem odd to you that Peter doesn’t use any language even remotely similar to Rom 6 during his sermon on Pentecost? Seriously. You state that Christians must know that baptism puts us IN Christ. Don’t you find it ironic that Peter leaves this little tidbit out of his sermon entirely?? The fact that Peter didn’t mention it is absolute proof that we don’t need to know it in order to be saved!

    “Obeying God” with the wrong attitude and in the wrong way, is not obeying God.

    Concur with the wrong attitude. But most Baptists that I know have been humbly immersed in obedience to the Lord’s commands. How is that a wrong attitude? How is that the wrong way? Are you arguing that they must come to a COC preacher? What other way can one be immersed?

    Your reasoning reminds me of Cain and Able. Able’s sacrifice was received, it was because it was done by faith. Again, ‘faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17 In other words able followed God’s instructions for the sacrifice, Cain did not, Cain offered what he thought was good and right. But it wasn’t was it?It was not offered by faith.

    Jeff, this is just a ridiculous statement. Seriously, it’s absurd. Surely you are better than this. A misunderstanding regarding the timing of salvation WHILE OBEYING THE LORD’S COMMAND TO BE BAPTIZED isn’t remotely similar to Cain’s offering.

  119. Christopher says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Prove it. You simply asserting it doesn’t make it true. God’s word does not teach this..

    When I first studied what the scriptures have to say about baptism, I believed Colossians 2:12 tied faith to baptism when it speaks of us having faith in the working of God in the context of being buried with Christ in baptism and raised to a new life. I still do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think God will make exceptions or that I may condemn others based on my interpretation of this verse. God certainly poured out His spirit both before and after people were baptised. Who can say that He has not given people forgiveness of sins and His spirit through baptism when they were taught less accurately but repented and turned to God nontheless?

  120. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Further thoughts on Cain and Abel.

    In order for the analogy to work, you would have to change it thusly:
    -Abel offers an approved sacrifice in obedience to the Lord’s commands while fully understanding the purpose of the sacrifice, the spiritual benefits that he himself derives from the sacrifice, and the point in time in which said spiritual blessings are realized.
    -Cain offers an approved sacrifice in obedience to the Lord’s commands, but he doesn’t quite understand the purpose of the sacrifice or the point in time in which he derives spiritual blessings. He only knows that God commanded it, and He wants to please God by obeying Him and following Him.

  121. dwight says:

    Jeff, you keep saying, “Did he say invite Jesus into your heart to be your personal Savior and say a sinners prayer?” as if it is a bad thing. Wouldn’t this be confession, which is part of the path. Now if a person only relied on that, then there is a problem, but this is a general statement that can be applied well or not well. For some reason it has been made a derogatory term, even when many of those people are baptized into Jesus. So they accept Jesus and are baptized.

    And for some reason you seem to believe that I and others here have a problem with baptism, but most if not all of us have all been baptized and believe it is important because it is God’s word and intent. Most of us are pro-baptism, but not pro-baptism to the exclusion of all of the other things one must do to be saved, where everything hangs on what one believed on all things when they were baptized. The hinge belief is that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior, as noted in Acts 2 and by Jesus himself and all things point to this. There is no context for being baptized into the knowledge that baptism alone saves you. As I have noted in Act 2 repentance was also said by Peter and existed on either side of baptism and was a part of salvation as well (Act 2:38).

    I would argue that if you understand WHO you are being baptized into, then you have covered the why in its fullness, even though you might believe that you were saved by Jesus prior to that, you are still obeying and being baptized into the one who saved you.

    It is an old (and bad) argument that Cain didn’t follow God’s instruction for sacrifice and Able did, but never proven. It is likely probable that Cain and Able weren’t given instructions. In Romans Cain’s problem was tied to his faith, not his form, even though it might have resulted in bad form. We just don’t know why it was bad, but we do know that Cain was himself bad.
    God later commanded grain and fruits as well as animal sacrifices, so it probably had to do with quality or proper thinking in his sacrifice.

    I am going to throw this out, but I think it is true. Anybody correct me if you find something that says otherwise.
    God doesn’t judge us on what we think, but what we do in relation to what we think, actions become part of the faith, not faith, but as noted a completion or perfecting of it. So God desires actions, but not always perfect thinking.
    Believing that it is wrong to eat meat offered as a sacrifice to a false God only becomes wrong when one eats of that meat with this understanding against his conscience, but this understanding doesn’t keep one from God. And if one eats meat and doesn’t know that it was sacrificed to an idol, even when he believes it to be wrong, then he hasn’t sinned.

    Follow me.
    God doesn’t condemn us when we think of sinful things, but when we do sinful things.
    God should have condemned Adam and Eve when they thought about sinning and were lusting, but he didn’t until they committed the sin. We should be thankful for this.
    Just as action completes faith, it also completes rebellion or sinful thinking.
    Now if they would have eaten of the tree without God telling them that it was sinful to do, God wouldn’t have condemned them.
    God only condemns that which he comments on as sinful.
    Wrong thinking was never condemned unless it led to wrong action.
    Ex. Nadab and Abihu.

    Those in Ephesus did not do anything wrong by being baptized into John and it was for the remission of sins. They simply were not baptized into Jesus.
    Let us consider this, they were baptized for the right thing and it did not save them.
    The why wasn’t the point, but the WHO was.
    If one can believe Jesus saves (faith) and does the things of Jesus, then they are saved.
    At which point they believe they are saved is immaterial as long as they obey Christ.
    The overall concept of salvation is not built entirely upon baptism, but upon following Christ.

    Simon the sorcerer was baptized into Christ and considered a saint, even though he did not understand the HS and still had a problem with greed or power.
    He thought wrong, but his over all arch of believing that Jesus was the Son of God and the savior is what made him a saint and even his wrong thinking in this regard didn’t stop that because he hadn’t done anything wrong. He believed in Jesus and was baptized into Jesus.
    It was only his actions based on his greed that would condemn him, not his misunderstanding on the HS and the greed he still had in his heart that had yet to come out.

    If we stay on God’s path, then are exemplifying the faith we have in God, even though we might not understand it all. Faith in God and following the path is not wrong.

    God isn’t going to penalize us for recognizing that Jesus is the savior and doing his will in regards to salvation, even though we might not understand at what point we were saved, unless we don’t do His will. Salvation wasn’t positioned upon knowing at what point one was saved, but knowing the savior and following Him in what he said to do.

  122. David says:

    Whatever view one takes on salvation and baptism it needs to agree with Paul’s explanation in Rom 4 of how and why Abraham was imputed with righteousness as recorded in Gen 15. If one views baptism as salvific and a work one does to please God, to demonstrate, show or complete faith, or as a required ceremony or sacrament, he will find himself acusing Paul of leaving out part of the story, or hiding the fine print, or overselling this salvation by grace thru faith thing, or dismissing Rom 4 as being relevant today, as he was speaking only about the ineffectiveness of works of the Law of Moses. Jay has explained Rom 4 well. Paul meant what he said.

    Baptism is salvific and important, but not as a work done to procure salvation.

  123. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, If someone were to ask you, “what must I do to be saved” And you said, say a sinners prayer and invites Jesus into your heart to be your personal Savior. That person would remain in his sins and would still be lost. Knowledge is understanding, without understanding you have no knowledge. There is an understanding that one needs to come to in order to be obedient to the gospel. It is impossible for God to lie. Jesus in Mark 16:15-16 said, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. he who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” he who believes and is baptized. The word “and” connects believe with baptism. They go together and can’t be separated. He who does not believe would never even consider being baptized. If he doesn’t believe, baptism, even if he did it, wouldn’t mean anything. These are the words of Christ Himself. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Baptist don’t believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. They believe they are saved the moment they ‘believe” Jesus is the Son of God. Say the sinners prayer and invite Him into their hearts. Baptism to them is an outward sign of an inward faith that has already saved them. This gentleman, is a false doctrine that will cost people their souls. You say most here believe in baptism and the importance of it. Your comments don’t show it. In my profession, I hear the Baptist alter call all the time. Not once have I ever heard them tell anyone to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, not once. Dwight you may want to rethink the idea that God doesn’t judge you for what you think. Matt 5, murder begins in the heart, adultery begins in the heart. He who wishes someone dead is already guilty. He who lust after a woman, is already guilty of adultery. So yes, what we think is very important. So if someone is baptized, believing that it’s really not important, that it doesn’t save you, it’s not for the forgiveness of sins, where is the faith? It can’t be Jesus, when he clearly said, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved.

  124. Charlie M. says:

    FYI, in Genesis, God doesn’t command a sacrifice from either Cain or Abel…

  125. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Baptist don’t believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. They believe they are saved the moment they ‘believe” Jesus is the Son of God. Say the sinners prayer and invite Him into their hearts. Baptism to them is an outward sign of an inward faith that has already saved them. This gentleman, is a false doctrine that will cost people their souls.

    Jeff, you continue to say it, but you continue to leave out Book, Chapter, Verse. I am still waiting on your answer. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins? I can’t find it in my Bible.

    Also, where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to forgive them?

    In my opinion, you have elevated personal opinion on par with scripture. You have created new law. You have added to the Gospel. The Pharisees were quite adept at doing the same thing, and we know our Lord’s position on that:
    Matt 15:6b-9 – “…So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”

    When we discount “obeying God” as a justifiable reason for baptism and when we legislate that one must possess perfect knowledge regarding the spiritual blessings associated with baptism, to include an understanding of the exact moment when their sins were forgiven in order for the forgiveness to “take,” we have taught as doctrines the commandments of men. Ironically, according to our COC theology, anyone who does such a thing is damned.

  126. Dwight says:

    Jeff, you switched from “judged’ to “very important”. You said, “Dwight you may want to rethink the idea that God doesn’t judge you for what you think. Matt 5, murder begins in the heart, adultery begins in the heart. He who wishes someone dead is already guilty. He who lust after a woman, is already guilty of adultery. So yes, what we think is very important.”
    The fact is that in the law and even in Matt. it is stated that while it may begin in the heart, it must be acted upon to be a sin. This is true of Galatians where the “works are the flesh are manifest”, these are sin. This is true of lust in general Rom.13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Eph.4:26-27 ““Be angry, and do not sin”:do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. ”
    We can be angry, but the sin is in acting it out on another.
    I’m not arguing that we should not turn our thinking to Jesus in our mind and that we can just act good, but rather that acting good should be a reflection of our Godliness in the same way that sinning is a reflection of our unGodliness.
    The problem is when we start judging how other think and make these thoughts sin or not sin according to our thoughts.

    Jeff, If someone asked you “what must I do to be saved” and you said be baptized, you would be going against scripture, since it says, “repent and be baptized”, right?
    Now admittedly I do agree that the “Sinner’s prayer” is not what saves, it is not sinful either and it can be said, while following through with baptism. In some ways the Baptist position is somewhat conflicted in that they mostly argue (SBC) for salvation at the point of faith and confession, but still say, “Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.” and “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. …It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.”
    So in one sense they recognize salvation from the point of faith, but also recognize that salvation is based on an overall obedience to God…and this includes baptism.
    And I know may Baptist who believe that despite the SBC declaration on faith and the sinner’s prayer, understand that baptism because it is obedience saves and aggresively argue for baptism.

  127. Johnny says:

    Dwight you bring up a point that I think many do not understand about the baptist position.
    I have 2 Baptist ministers in my family, neither would accept as a Christian a person that made a profession of faith but refused to be baptized. They would tell such a person that their profession of faith was not sincere if they refused to be baptized. Their position is that while faith saves you, refusing to be baptized is evidence that your faith is not real. As my uncle says “how can I accept you have faith in Jesus if the first thing you tell me is you refuse to obey him?”

    Btw that Uncle preached my father’s funeral and stated that the way to salvation was to
    Hear, believe, repent, follow Jesus and be baptized. Doesn’t sound that different does it?

  128. Dwight says:

    Johnny, exactly. there is an understood thinking that gets lost on the rhetoric on both sides and is not good, because many want to draw the line and make the line the line without the line being there in the scriptures. Many Baptist leaders will draw the line at faith, even though they admit that faith results in obedience and may coC will draw the line at baptism, even though they admit that there must be faith and repentance that flows through to the other side of baptism for salvation.
    The painful part is the division based on positioning where all the weight of salvation bears on one concept over another at least in rhetoric.

    In my songbook there is a song called “Trust and Obey” and it is often sung as an invitation song. Now most understand that this means that we must have faith and we must obey and be baptized (at least in the context of being used as an invitation song), but this is not what it says. In fact the song never mentions baptism. Is the song wrong? No, it is entirely correct. Now when we sing the song not in the presence of an invitation it can mean that we must have faith and obey God in general, and yet the result of this is still salvation.

    One of the interesting ironies is the invitation process, where at the end of the sermon people are encouraged to come forward to be baptized. And yet if baptism is so important shouldn’t baptism take precedence over everything, even the sermon. And yet we ask people to wait. I mean if a meteor hit the building, the waiting people would be lost, right?
    It has taken me awhile to see beyond the coC and Baptist rhetoric and realize that both side are largely right in general and both sides are wrong in what they insinuate about procedural certainties.

    In the coC I have heard many lesson about baptism and that you must be immersed in water, meaning dipped in and under, otherwise it is not baptism. And yet the scriptures offer other thoughts on baptism. In I Peter we are told Noah and his family were saved through water (namely baptism) and yet they were not immersed under (they were in a boat, not a submarine), but were surrounded by water as the point. We even understand that the Israelites were surrounded by water and were “baptized” as they crossed into the wilderness through the Red Sea. Then we are told that we are buried like Jesus was buried and yet Jesus was buried in a cave, surrounded by earth, but not placed down into it. And while I agree that the baptism you see in the scriptures involved being dipped (that we know of), this doesn’t mean that they didn’t understand that baptism could also include say sprinkling with water, when there wasn’t enough water to be dipped into. This was the position of the ECF in that if dipping water was insufficient, then sprinkling was the next best thing.
    Now in the coC we would argue that the person doesn’t matter and the concept of immersion doesn’t matter in general, but that there MUST be dippage involved. The concept has been high jacked by procedure that wasn’t itself explained to a high degree of procedure. And thus the person is at risk for not being saved due to lack of enough water. If the concept is washing, then why do we place a person soul at risk for a certain type of washing, over another? Because we want the procedure to be right, not the concept of obeying and being in Christ.

  129. Mark says:

    I heard all those sermons on baptism, and yet I never saw happiness over one being conducted in the cofC. Sadly, they were performed with as much solemnity as a funeral and everyone (announcement maker, song leader, preacher) either saw it cut into their “time” or caused the service to run long.

  130. Dwight says:

    The invitation system is depressing. Preach a perfectly good sermon, then cap it off with a call to salvation, then see no one come up.
    Then do it over and over again.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over again and seeing different results.
    The young people have been indoctrinated with baptism/salvation and the saved don’t need it.
    The ones how need it aren’t there to hear it.
    We run our assembly like it was a government…highly inefficient and no results.
    The concept of evangelism/preaching for salvation was to the lost, not the saved.

  131. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Johnny, Dwight, Mark –

    Excellent thoughts. My family comes from a conservative COC background. My wife’s family comes from a SBC Baptist background. We were married by her Uncle, a Baptist Pastor and a good & godly man. Her father was a Baptist Deacon. I am very familiar with both groups.

    My wife grew up loving the Lord. She was saved at about 12. She believed, repented, confessed, was baptized. Did all “five steps” just like we do. She just had a different understanding as to “when” she was saved. Why was she baptized? “Because Christ commanded me to be baptized and because I love Him and want to obey Him.” Who can argue with that?!?

    I did. I insisted that she be baptized again before we married, and she was. Now, 27 years later, I feel both hugely embarrassed and somewhat dirty about it all. I thank God that she overlooked my rank legalism and gave me grace. We have been in CoCs ever since; however, we are now considering a Baptist church because the nearest “progressive CoC” is about an hour away. I refuse to now expose my children to the long tentacles of legalism. Ironically, guess who doesn’t like the music at the Baptist church? My wife. She has come to appreciate four-part harmony, the meaty bible study, and other things. This much I know…while the nearby non-institutional COC and conservative COC (which I have visited extensively) are busy with protecting their doctrine, this Baptist congregation is sending missionaries to the unchurched in eight different countries and two States here in the U.S., assisting the needy, caring for the widows, running an effective Celebrate Recovery program, feeding the poor, caring for those with special needs, managing an effective disaster relief program, and has their youth excited about discussing Jesus with their peers…you know, Kingdom work.

    My perspective has certainly changed. I still believe that baptism is for the remission of sins, but I also now recognize that she was, in fact, baptized. I also have a better understanding of grace, obedience, and works since reading Jay’s blog and engaging in the comments. In reality, there is not a whole lot of difference between us and other groups. Many others do the “five steps.” Oddly, we all (mostly) believe that not all people who call themselves Christian will go to heaven. CoC calls it falling from grace; Baptists say the person was never really saved. Same result. We say, “Be careful lest you fall”; they say, “Make your calling and election sure.” Same result.

  132. Dwight says:

    Kevin, very good thoughts. I was once on the conservative side of believing that one must know when they are saved to be saved and then occurred to me that all we really need to know is the savior and then do what the savior tells us. The reality is that is all they did in Acts 2. There was no reasoning about if they had faith or not or what was their point of faith or what was their point of repentance or what was their point of salvation while they were in repentance or baptism. They just simply responded and then moved on to living in Christ. We are the ones who put up the road blocks to God…just like the Pharisees.

  133. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, over and over I have stated, one must first hear, then believe, repent, confess and be baptized. This is obeying the gospel call. And adultery begins in the heart, if you even lust after a woman, you are already guilty, before the act. All sin begins in the heart and mind. You mock “procedure” Remember Nadab and Abihu? Lev. 10:1-2. Procedure, wrong procedure cost them their lives.

    Charlie M. FYI, Hebrews 12:24 “and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant and the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” The Hebrew writer speaks of a blood sacrifice to cover sins. That Christ’s sacrifice was far superior than Abel’s animal sacrifice. So we can know that Cain and Abel’s sacrifice was to be a blood sacrifice. Cain indeed gave of the best he had to offer, but it was not according to faith. “faith comes by hearing…..Rom 10;17 Cain was sincere I’m sure giving his best, but God rejected it because it was not according to the word of God. Those who neglect the clear teachings of the Lord in matters of salvation, and invent for themselves their own system of access to the sacrifice of Christ, are practicing the religion of Cain. God does not respect such presumptuousness. It is sinful. Psalms 19:13.

  134. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Still very interested in your answers:

    1. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    2. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them?

  135. Mark says:

    First, Cain did not have the letter to the Romans in front of him. Old rabbinical sources believed that the sacrifice was not of the first fruits as Cain was a tiller of the ground. Abel’s offering was of the first born since he was a keeper of sheep.

  136. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R wrote,

    Dwight, If someone were to ask you, “what must I do to be saved” And you said, say a sinners prayer and invites Jesus into your heart to be your personal Savior. That person would remain in his sins and would still be lost. Knowledge is understanding, without understanding you have no knowledge. There is an understanding that one needs to come to in order to be obedient to the gospel.

    And yet God, through his inspired word, says dozens of times — far more times than he mentions baptism — that EVERYONE with faith is saved. Surely God keeps his promises? And those who say the Sinner’s Prayer are baptized.

    (Mark 9:23 NIV) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

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

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

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

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

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

    (John 6:35 NIV) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

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

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

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

    (John 11:25-26 NIV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    (John 12:46 NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

    (John 20:31 NIV) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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

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

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

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

    (Rom 3:22-24 NIV) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

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

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

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

    (Rom 10:4 NIV) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    (Rom 10:9-13 NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

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

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

    (Gal 3:2 NIV) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

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

    (Gal 5:6 NIV) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

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

    (Eph 2:8-10 NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    (2 The 2:13 NIV) But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

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

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

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

    (1 John 4:2-3 NIV) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

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

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

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

    It is impossible for God to lie. Jesus in Mark 16:15-16 said, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. he who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” he who believes and is baptized. The word “and” connects believe with baptism. They go together and can’t be separated. He who does not believe would never even consider being baptized.

    Modern translations do not include this passage or else place it in a footnote. It’s not in the oldest manuscripts and there’s good reason to doubt its authenticity. We really shouldn’t damn people over texts that likely aren’t inspired.

    And the text doesn’t say what happens for those who believe and are baptized without understanding baptism is for remission of sins. Jesus doesn’t say a word about the believer having to believe in baptism. The requirement is to believe in Jesus.

    “God doesn’t lie.” Amen. And so, if he says everyone with faith in Jesus will be saved, it is true. Otherwise we make him out to be a liar. I will not do that.

    “God doesn’t lie,” but he can do more than he promises, and routinely does.

    Baptist don’t believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. They believe they are saved the moment they ‘believe” Jesus is the Son of God. Say the sinners prayer and invite Him into their hearts. Baptism to them is an outward sign of an inward faith that has already saved them. This gentleman, is a false doctrine that will cost people their souls.

    Where does the Bible say that lack of faith in baptism damns? I mean: who is our Savior? Jesus or baptism? It’s faith in JESUS that’s required. A lack of faith in baptism does not damn because baptism is not our Messiah. You are very close to idolatry when you insist that one must believe in baptism to be saved. This was not taught in the Churches of Christ until Austin McGary founded the Firm Foundation in the late 19th Century. Before then, for most of the 19th Century, baptism for remission of sins was taught, but Baptists were considered not only saved but not needing rebaptism. And McGary’s teach split countless churches and reinforced the attitude that all error damns. This is not a gospel path.

    Alexander Campbell was baptized to obey God. He only later realizes that baptism was for remission of sins, but he saw no need to be rebaptized.

    David Lipscomb was baptized by Tolbert Fanning to obey God. Fanning — who planted most of the first churches in Alabama towns — considered that as good a confession as he’d ever heard.

    Your position damns nearly every believer from Constantinian times to now.

    And yet God promises to save everyone who believes in Jesus.

  137. Charlie M. says:

    Jeff, Ok. So what?

    The word simply doesn’t say that God asks Cain and Abel for a sacrifice. There just is no command to do so in the Genesis text.

    As for Aaron’s sons…your argument is…interesting. “Procedure” is not what God didn’t like. It was their (drunken) attitudes towards worshipping Him.The hubris it took to attempt to lead worship in such a non-humble, not heartfelt way is what spurred God’s anger. King David himself said that God doesn’t want sacrifices (i.e., procedure); He wants a broken heart before Him.

    We know what “procedure” God requires: Seek Justice. Show mercy. Walk humbly. James says such things are “pure and undefiled” worship.

    If I’m judging whether the heart-worship of someone else is ok or not, I’ve put myself in the God role. In other words, if I’m deciding what worship God accepts and what worship He doesn’t, I’m working above my pay grade.

    Heaven help us. Literally.

  138. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jeff R wrote,

    Cain was sincere I’m sure giving his best, but God rejected it because it was not according to the word of God. Those who neglect the clear teachings of the Lord in matters of salvation, and invent for themselves their own system of access to the sacrifice of Christ, are practicing the religion of Cain. God does not respect such presumptuousness. It is sinful.

    Umm … where does the Bible say that Cain neglected the word of God in his sacrifice? It’s just not in the Bible.

    (Gen. 4:3-5 ESV) 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.

    I was taught as a child that Cain sinned by not bringing an animal for sacrifice, but the Torah teaches several kinds of harvest sacrifices. There is nothing wrong with sacrificing fruit of the ground elsewhere in scripture.

    Therefore, Hebrews teaches,

    (Heb. 11:4 ESV) 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

    We’re taught that Cain lacked faith. Why would we presume to turn “faith” into “obedience”? Obviously, the two are related, but one can lack faith and still obey. You can do exactly the right things for the wrong reason. And the inspired author of Hebrews says it’s about faith.

    If Abel’s sacrifice was more important than Cain’s, what made it so? The reason suggested is that it came from a heart made righteous by faith! If Abraham’s faith was “credited to him as righteousness” (Rom 4:9), so also was Abel’s. Bruce comments on this, “Sacrifice is acceptable to God not for its material content, but in so far as it is the outward expression of a devoted and obedient heart” (1964:283).

    Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), Heb 11:4.

  139. dwight says:

    This is procedure from God. James 1:14 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
    The sin that Nadab and Abihu did was in giving God that which went against a command stated.
    It wasn’t against procedure, it was rebellion.
    My argument is against man’s procedure. You see we place man’s procedures in between God’s procedures. One of the procedure’s of man is having to recognize that baptism saves, beyond the fact that Jesus saves. This is like having to recognize that one has faith, instead of practicing it.
    You stated, “one must first hear, then believe, repent, confess and be baptized.”, but you forgot living in Christ in faith, repentance, forgiving others as we have been forgiven, helping widows which is pure religion, love your God and you neighbor, etc. All of this is involved in salvation.
    Let’s discuss that we must hear (but this means that if one cannot hear -deaf, then they are lost), they must believe (then must know they believe), repent, confess (which confession) and be baptized (must know that baptism alone saves).
    In Acts 2 they only asked what they must do and Peter never said you must confess or have faith or that they had to know more than they were already told. They were obviously going into their repentance without knowing about their needed faith and the fact that they need to know that their faith resulted in baptism and baptism was faith in action that saved. Then they needed to know that their repentance led to their baptism in their faith. After all Peter did say “repent and be baptized”, thus they needed to show proof of their repentance other than their baptism.
    Then you have the case of Simon the sorceror, who clearly was baptized and considered a saint, but obviously didn’t repent, after all he still sinned directly after his conversion, which showed he lacked faith. And yet he was still a Christian who could ask for forgiveness.
    So the problems aren’t God’s desire that man follows God and Jesus as the savior, but man’s desire to have procedure save man and Jesus standing in the distance.
    The only reason any of these are involved in salvation is because they point to Jesus, the savior.
    Man comes to Jesus, not procedure. IF man is baptized into Jesus, they are saved, whether they believe they are saved from baptism or not, they must believe that Jesus saves them.

  140. Charlie M. says:

    And here’s one for kicks ‘n’ giggles. Naaman leaves the prophet and says, “I’ve gotta go in with my king and be with him when he worships our God. I gotta bow down before that God. Will your God be ok with that?” And the prophet says, in effect, “Yeah. He knows your heart. Peace!”

  141. jeff Richardson says:

    Jay, you don’t understand what faith is. Just believing that Jesus is the Son of God is not faith. We see over and over in Hebrews 11 what faith is. Faith is obeying the word of God. All those mentioned in Heb 11 responded to the will of God “by faith” “Faith without works is dead” according to James. Faith is not a mere acknowledgement of something believed. Charlie M, the text is clear, they used strange unauthorized fire. Cain’s sacrifice was not a blood offering, Abel’s was. Cain’s sacrifice was not of FAITH. He truly believed he was offering what God wanted. It wasn’t. “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” “whatever is not from faith is sin. “Rom 14:23. Heb 11:3, “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” How do we know that, God said so. Our faith is not a blind faith, there is “evidence and substance to it, Heb11:1. When we understand and accept God’s word we have faith. We have faith when we believe God. Heb 11:7, By faith, Noah moved with Godly fear. Noah understood and accepted God’s instructions concerning the building of an ark. Noah acted according to faith. Cain’s heart was not right with God, Why and how? because he didn’t follow the instructions of God.

    Dwight, Jesus does save. It’s the how and when you seem to be rebelling against Those in Acts 2 showed their faith when they responded by repenting and being baptized.. From the text, from there question asked, you can see that they now believe that Jesus is the Son of God. You can see them turning from what they were to what they need to be. We see that 3000 accepted Peters words from God and were baptized, and God added them to HIS church in verse 47. This is so simple that no one should misunderstand. But when we start to think like Cain, Nadab and Abihu are faith falls short, and in vain we worship. This is God’s procedure not mine. You want to talk about man’s procedure? Man’s procedure would be inviting Jesus into our hearts and saying a sinners prayer for salvation. And Dwight really? If someone is deaf he cannot hear? If he reads it, he is hearing it. If someone signs it, he is hearing it. And we know, that in baptism we are buried with Christ into His death and raised to walk in newness, that our sins are washed away. The sinners prayer for those outside of Christ cannot be done in faith, because it cannot be found in scripture. Only God can set the terms and conditions for entrance into His kingdom and he has. By faith we respond to His will, or we go the way of Cain.

  142. Charlie M. says:

    Jeff, don’t Eleazar and Ithamar get it wrong, too? Why weren’t they consumed? Moses is angry with them. But because their hearts were right, they were not consumed.

    Can you explain why their incorrect “procedure” was ok but that of their brothers wasn’t?

    Must be a “heart” issue that separates them.

  143. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Bump. Just in case you missed it, Jeff.

    Jeff,

    Still very interested in your answers:

    1. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    2. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them?

  144. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Jay, you don’t understand what faith is. Just believing that Jesus is the Son of God is not faith. We see over and over in Hebrews 11 what faith is. Faith is obeying the word of God.

    That’s not entirely true, Jeff. Concur that faith is not just believing, but this is a straw-man. No one here is actually making that argument. On May 12 at 2:26 PM, I provided you with a link that details exactly what Jay and many of us believe about faith. Again, you can read it here:
    http://oneinjesus.info/2016/05/born-of-water-my-teaching-and-a-few-faqs/
    Integral to faith is faithfulness.

    Jeff, it just seems as if you are grasping at straws to uphold bad theology…Bad theology that seemingly strives to damn others and exclude others from Christ and salvation. In reality, Christ is eager to save. He is eager to forgive. He doesn’t view humanity with an eye towards denying salvation and shutting us out. But that is the caricature that we have created – a vindictive Savior who is altogether eager to zap mankind.

    Ironically, according to your definition of faith – “Faith is obeying the word of God” – you have just agreed that immersed Baptists are Christians and brothers/sisters in Christ! They obeyed the word of God when it commanded them to be baptized.

    So, how can you define Faith in this manner, while at the same time stating that obeying Christ’s command to ‘be baptized’ just isn’t good enough??

    Not very consistent, is it?

  145. Mark says:

    Jeff,
    I recommend that you download and listen to at least one talk at the Pepperdine lectures on “will the church of Christ be here in 50 years?” You have proof-texted ad nauseum and decided to fight the old cofC v Baptist fight yet again. In today’s world where atheism/agnosticism is growing annually and belief in God is shrinking, energy could have been put in to how teach the existence of God and how Christians can defend the faith and live like Jesus by getting to hear the gospels. I want to spend my energy on something more useful.

  146. Dwight says:

    Jeff, you misunderstand me. I have never said we shouldn’t hear, have faith, repent, confess, be baptized, and no one here has said that either. Baptism is when man is added to the church and becomes a Christian, but salvation although tied to baptism is not limited to it and bound to it in such as way that any other understanding than you are baptized into Christ is wrong.
    The exactness we place on believing that baptism saves isn’t what saves us and was never part of the equation like we want to make it. When Peter said “repent and be baptized” there was never a point where they were asked to understand that it wasn’t repentance, but the immersion that saved them. Their repentance was shown in their baptism, but it was also shown in their asking of the question, as was their faith. And the plan of salvation didn’t stop after their baptism, as they were required to be holy.
    I dislike the concept that we are saved in the sinner’s prayer as the way one enters heaven, but I am not against saying it, because it is confessing Christ and if it leads to repentance and baptism, then it is not bad. Depending upon the sinners prayer as the salvation point is like depending upon baptism as the point of salvation, as they must have furtherance beyond those points towards Christ. While faith/repentance/confession/baptism might place one in Christ, the crown waits for those who run the race to the end in their faith/repentance/confession/love/giving, etc. Our sins are washed away, but we will sin and still need the cleansing blood of Christ, but aren’t required to be baptized over again. Salvation is a lifetime endeavor.
    Jeff, you are right “Faith is obeying the word of God.”, but faith isn’t knowing how everything works in our obedience, but rather obeying.
    Abraham obeyed God in Faith when he went to sacrifice his son, but he didn’t sacrifice His son, as God told him to replace His son with a ram. But initially Abraham was doing one thing in faith, but did another thing in faith. His faith wasn’t built upon him sacrificing his son, but in obeying. In some ways Abraham was oblivious to the plan God had for him and he did it anyways.
    In I Peter we are told Noah was saved through water, but in the book of Genesis we are told that the water was being used to kill al mankind who wasn’t in the ark. Noah understood that God saved him. Now God might have saved him using the water, because it kept the boat afloat, and yet it was still God that saved Noah.
    This is the narrative of the whole of the scriptures…God saves man if man wants to be saved by God. The narrative of faith isn’t faith, but Jesus as the savior, the narrative of baptism isn’t baptism, but Jesus as the savior, etc. The point isn’t that faith or baptism saves us, but Jesus saves us in our faith and obedience (repentance, baptism, giving, living in Christ, etc.)
    We must remember what baptism is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience before God”.

  147. Dwight says:

    Jeff, I just want you to know that I believe that baptism carries with it a rich cache of concepts (burial with Christ, cleansing/purification, deliverance by God, etc), but this is only because God chose baptism and the thoughts to be associated with it in parallelism. But then again baptism was being used prior to this to convert gentiles to Judaism. It wasn’t a new thing and it wasn’t holy in and of itself. God made it holy. If God would have chosen pricking your finger with a thorn he could have and he could have associated many things with it.
    One of the push backs here is the focus on baptism above Christ in our rhetoric. In the invitation it is “be baptized” as if that is all their is to salvation, which is just as bad as the “Sinner’s prayer” concept as the “way”. The way is Jesus, his sacrifice, his death, his life, and we must respond to Jesus and our responses will save us.
    As you have noted, any baptism wasn’t a saving baptism, otherwise those in Ephesus who were baptized into John would not have needed another baptism, but they were told to be baptized into Jesus to receive the HS. John’s baptism was for the remission of sins, but John didn’t die to remit the sins, Jesus did. The avenue was baptism, but the point and the focus was Jesus.
    A baptism in John wouldn’t save them, but a baptism in Jesus would, but they didn’t sin in the initial baptism and it wasn’t wrong. They had the right thinking even before they were baptized on the remission of sins by God, as John set them up for it, but they still needed to be baptized into Jesus, which didn’t change their thinking. We don’t hear Paul arguing that they needed to make a shift from their concept of remission of sins by Jesus into John’s baptism to a different remission of sins by Jesus in a baptism into Jesus. Their faith was already present, but their obedience perfected it.
    This kind of goes back to Col. 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” This is even in regards to mowing our yard, because we could conceivably mow our neighbors rose bushes on purpose, but we must do all things in the name of Jesus.

  148. Dwight says:

    Kevin, this is my last entry here, but you make a good point which what I understand. If “Faith is obeying the word of God”, then those that obey are faithful and have faith. If one is baptized into Jesus, they have faith in Jesus, even though they might think that they were saved before they were baptized. Sometimes God’s reality doesn’t match up with our understandings of what happens when, if we trust in God. We just have to have faith in Jesus and do.

  149. Monty says:

    Kevin said, in response to Jeff,

    “Ironically, according to your definition of faith – “Faith is obeying the word of God” – you have just agreed that immersed Baptists are Christians and brothers/sisters in Christ! They obeyed the word of God when it commanded them to be baptized.”

    How very astute! Can’t wait for Jeff’s response.

  150. Jeff Richardson says:

    Monty, it is not my definition, The Hebrew writer defines it for us. And no I don’t agree that Baptist immersed or not are my brothers. Because I know what they believe and teach about baptism as well as other things. “repent and be baptized FOR the remission of your sins.” They do not believe that. They teach no one to do that, so how can they be my brother and in Christ? It is possible for someone to be baptized for the remission of their sins, join a Baptist church, but their worship is in vain because they have aligned themselves in and with a man made organization, according to the commandments of men. Instruments of music, choirs etc. A single Pastor etc. All of which is foreign to new testament teaching. This can happen us in the c of C as well, do you fellows find yourselves there as well? They offer up strange fire. If I was baptized, obeying God, but I did it for my mother, did I really obey God? But you guys have come along way, at least now you seem to understand the necessity of baptism.

  151. Charlie M. says:

    Jeff, if any one error damns, then we are all doomed.

    I don’t know that I want to worship a god that is that petty, especially one that proclaims we can have confidence in his ability to save despite our error. He’s either especially cruel or especially lying.

  152. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, Acts 8:30 Why did Peter ask the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading? remember the Ethiopian’s response? “How can I unless someone guides me.” We can’t understand unless we are taught, we can’t obey unless we understand. From above, if I am baptized, obeying God, but I’m only doing it for my mothers sake, have I really obeyed God?

    Charlie, It is impossible for God to lie. Any error is on us. Titus 1:15-16 ” to the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient and disqualified for every good work.” or 1 John 5:3 ” For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” I don’t know what god you believe in, but the God of the Bible has always demanded obedience.

  153. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I asked Jeff:

    1. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    2. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them?

    Jeff answered:

    Kevin, Acts 8:30 Why did Peter ask the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading? remember the Ethiopian’s response? “How can I unless someone guides me.” We can’t understand unless we are taught, we can’t obey unless we understand. From above, if I am baptized, obeying God, but I’m only doing it for my mothers sake, have I really obeyed God?

    Jeff, you quoted Acts 8:30 as an answer to questions #1 and #2 above, but let’s broaden the aperture just a bit. Acts 8:27-36 states –

    27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
    “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he opens not his mouth.
    33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
    For his life is taken away from the earth.”
    34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

    Jeff, I think your analysis and application of this passage couldn’t be more wrong. The passage doesn’t begin to prove that “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism or that one must understand the point in time in which one’s sins are forgiven in order for one to be forgiven. If the topic weren’t so serious, this would be comical.

    You ask – “Why did Peter ask the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading?” First we have to understand WHAT the Eunuch is reading, which is a passage from Is 53:7-8. The issue is not whether the Eunuch understands baptism; the issue is whether the Eunuch understand the Messiah! The Savior! The Gospel! Did the Eunuch understand that this passage had been fulfilled by Christ? You are conflating two entirely different subjects. Baptism is NOT our Messiah.

    You state – “…we can’t obey unless we understand.” Says who?? Says Jeff? That’s not in the Bible. People obey without understanding ALL the time. I don’t understand the tax code, but I have to pay taxes. Do you honestly think all those suffering Israelites understood why they had to look upon the brazen serpent in order to be healed (Num 21)? You don’t believe that.

    Have you considered the consequences of your doctrine? I don’t how God answers prayer. According to your logic, I can’t obey the command to pray because I don’t understand! Nonsense.

    Finally, you ask – “From above, if I am baptized, obeying God, but I’m only doing it for my mothers sake, have I really obeyed God?”
    Jeff, this is a red-herring. Who here suggesting that being baptized for their mother’s sake is a justifiable reason for baptism? No one.

    So, I ask again:
    1. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    2. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them?

  154. Alabama John says:

    When God told Abraham and Abraham told the men soldiers to kill them all, women, children, animals, those killed children went to heaven unbaptized and without even faith. If left in that bad environment they would of most likely grown up to be lost.
    Gods mercy takes many roads to be with Him in heaven we don’t understand.
    Gods mercy and grace is not taught in the COC nearly as much as Gods punishment and hell fire, burning in hell punishment is. We’re the only ones going to heaven is pure BS.
    That is why so many that want to love God are leaving. Who in their right mind could love the God we have taught. Our singing is far more accurate than our preaching and classes have been.
    Just listen closely to the words of our invitational songs especially.

  155. Dwight says:

    OK, maybe just one more entry.
    It used to be believed by those in the coC (I was one) that only those in the coC are going to heaven and accordingly Jeff, although he might deny it, seems to believe that or if not with the coC, then he is possibly the only one going to heaven. Jeff might be surprised to have fellowshipped with those who believe just as many here believe and thus aligned himself with their “error”. We would summarily reject those of the Corinthians, the seven churches in Asia, the Ephesians, the Colossians, etc. due to their problems, those who Paul considered as brothers and fellow saints. If a person believed that meat offered to idols was sinful, they were wrong, but not damned. Not all that is wrong is damnable. And some of it takes time to develop along with the knowledge.

    Jeff you set, “repent and be baptized FOR the remission of your sins” as the criteria.
    1. The two instances of this are Acts 2:38 and Acts 19:4. The first account is where people ask what they must do to be saved. Fair enough. This is right. The second account is where Paul is recounting those who were baptized by John, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance.” Those of John seemingly followed the right order and criteria, but this wasn’t enough. The point that made their baptism not viable wasn’t that they didn’t repent and weren’t baptized, but that they didn’t do it in Jesus. Now we would deny those who repented and were baptized in Jesus, because they didn’t acknowledge that baptism saves or is the point of salvation, even though repentance saves as well and faith saves. We are sticklers about understanding the points on the timeline, even when the time line is followed in Jesus.
    2. This is important. Paul didn’t reject those as sinners those who were baptized into John, because they hadn’t done anything wrong, they simply hadn’t been baptized into Jesus, but had repented. Once they were baptized into Jesus they were part of the family and received the HS. In this their faith and repentance was met before their saving baptism and they just were left with obeying Paul.

    Everything done in the assembly is foreign to the NT assembly from song books to pews to singing with rhymes and notes and four part harmony to a paid for building to eating around a table in the evening for the Lord’s Supper. to carpet to water fountain to unfermented grape juice. There is not one assembly who hasn’t adopted a tradition from those who have gone before and not seen in the NT. This is all strange fire if this is the definition of strange fire. But strange fire was that different incense which was offered when another particular incense was commanded. It went against command.

    If you were baptized for your mother, you didn’t do it for Jesus, so you would not be saved. This is paramount to doing it for John. This doesn’t mean you sinned, but that you were not baptized into Christ.
    I have always understood the necessity of baptism. I grew up in the conservative coC and am still in it. I have been going to this site for a couple of years and most everyone here understands the necessity of baptism. We all know that baptism into Jesus is necessary, but what is under contention is whether you have to know that baptism is the point of salvation as opposed to knowing that Jesus saves no matter what we believe about the point, even though we obey and do everything towards Jesus. And live for Jesus.

  156. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    Pardon me. Just one more question.

    #3. What is your complete definition of faith?

    Earlier you stated, ““Faith is obeying the word of God.” But that is exactly what the Baptists do. Christ commands us to be baptized. Baptists submit to baptism in order to obey Christ. No problem. You then added understanding to obedience and faith, “”…we can’t obey unless we understand.”

    So, is this your more accurate definition of faith – Faith is both obeying and understanding the word of God.

  157. Monty says:

    Jeff,

    I doubt seriously Abraham understood why he was going to sacrifice Isaac , other than God commanded it. He must have been a Baptist. Faith doesn’t mean you fully understand every nuance. Lots of 10,11,12 year old kids get baptized all the time (even in your particular group) that I can assure you don’t understand the ramifications of their sins and what remission is all about.

  158. David says:

    I wonder what will become of those who believed, repented, confessed, and were baptized unto remission of sins, but because of ignorance failed to confess unto salvation? I don’t know. It could be that one’s confession is invalid if it is not knowingly made unto salvation. Sounds silly, I know, but it might be dead serious for anyone in a party of the church that emphasized confession, while thinking everyone else neglected it.

  159. Larry Cheek says:

    Charlie M.,
    A powerful statement you have shown. This appears to me to be an example that a Christian could visit with a friend or official as they were serving or worshiping a god other than God, without being condemned as a sinner. Of course, if in these circumstances we could not submit to that god, because we then would be not putting our God first. Why would we even consider doing this, well the strongest point would be to interject teaching about our God while displaying that we have a inside knowledge of the god to which our friend was committed. On the other hand many of our predecessors stood in the face of life threatening tests and stood their ground in their faith, even to death.

  160. Charlie M. says:

    Thank you, Larry. As you know, Naaman even took bags of earth from Israel to worship on because in his heart he was so grateful and dedicated to this new god who healed him. He was pardoned from entering into worship (he had to bow, too, before the god) because our god knew Naaman’s heart belonged to him.

    Jesus tells the woman at the well that the days of physical worship (on this mountain or in Jerusalem) are ending. I can’t see him saying “place” no longer matters but getting the ritual right still does–not that ritual did originally, anyway, but man made it so.

    And we’re still trying to make the ritual The Thing. If we do that, we’re as doomed as any Pharisee who trusted his ability to perfectly keep the law.

  161. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Monty,

    What a great example: “I doubt seriously Abraham understood why he was going to sacrifice Isaac , other than God commanded it.”

    To legislate that perfect knowledge & understanding are required in order for obedience to be valid is almost gnostic in its application.

  162. Jeff Richardson says:

    God desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of God. 1 Tim 2:4. one cannot possess biblical faith in God until he comes to the knowledge of God. Faith is not accepting what one cannot prove, faith is dependent upon knowledge. Rom 10:17. Abraham was said to have faith, only after he came to the knowledge of God’s promises and was fully persuaded. Rom 4:20-21. He trusted God and submitted to what he KNEW to be God’s will. Biblical faith is attained only, after an examination of the evidence, coupled with correct reasoning about the evidence. God of the bible is a God of “truth”. Throughout history He has stressed the need for acceptance of truth, as opposed to falsehood and error. Jesus Himself declared that only by knowing the truth is one made free. john 8:32. For anyone to say, I don’t know, or I don’t understand, I just accept it by faith, does not have a biblical faith. He has a blind faith, a belief that is based upon nothing. Faith is accepting the evidence. look at it this way, The police are called to investigate a supposed crime. What are they looking for? Evidence right? When they find evidence, they now have a direction to go, the evidence leads them in a certain direction. If they find no evidence, they don’t know what to believe, they have no direction go, they could appeal to a blind faith and just go, where they end up no body knows. Biblical faith has substance and evidence.

  163. Johnny says:

    Sounds like gnostic theology to me. You got to “know” enough to be saved.

  164. Mark says:

    “Biblical faith is attained only, after an examination of the evidence, coupled with correct reasoning about the evidence.” What?

    The Jewish confession is “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

    One Christian confession (Nicene creed) begins “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father…”

    The Apostle’s Creed begins “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost…”

    These are all very simple. This is the faith, IMHO.

  165. Dwight says:

    Jeff, the only problem is “whose” definition of knowledge. I mean if we are talking all knowledge, then no one would be saved as they are still learning. And even those in Acts 2 weren’t knowledgeable to the degree those that came many years later were with the letters and more concepts about even baptism were relayed at later dates.
    In Acts 2 those who were baptized knew very little except that Jesus was the Son of God from God the Father and that he was the savior. When you read through the gospels you read Jesus himself stating that these two concepts were that which the church was built upon and that Jesus was the way to heaven….over and over again.
    Baptism was barely mentioned and not in regards to salvation, but rather repentance from the world to Christ.
    Faith/trust was mentioned not as a point of salvation either, but as a point of ones belief in Christ.
    Peter confessed, but confession not mentioned for confession sake, but rather confession of Jesus as the Son of God.
    As you noted Jesus said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”, but in the context of this wasn’t of knowledge in general, but of Jesus the Christ. The “truth” that Jesus keeps getting hammered on by others as blasphemy that he keeps repeating is that He is the “Son of God” and “the annointed savior”. This is why he says, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, of which we are told in John 1 “grace and truth came through Jesus.”
    There wasn’t a list of things to know other than these points, which the Jews in Acts 2 responded to.
    From my years of being in this world I have seen that people, especially groups and/or denominations, have their own truths that are needed before one becomes a saint, kind of like the Baptist often rely on faith as the point and coC has baptism as the point, when both concurring points along with confession and repentance. but because we are in competition mode, we don’t concede that both are right and knowing the point isn’t the point, but knowing Jesus is.

  166. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    The more you write, the more worried I get. My perception is that you have unwittingly made baptism your God. It is almost idolatrous. Rather than trusting in Christ and the Gospel, we must trust that we have learned, understood, and performed a ritual to exacting specifications, specifications that aren’t delineated in scripture. These specifications are man-made. They are straight out of the Pharisees playbook. God’s Word and commandments are not enough; you must know more and do more. That should worry you immensely. This doctrine results in another Gospel. It’s that serious.

    It’s amazing that our motto, so-called, has been “Speak where the Bible speaks; silent where the Bible is silent.” As we have already demonstrated:
    1) The Bible does not teach that “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism.
    2) The Bible does not teach that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them.

    The scriptural references that you cite (Rom 4:20-22 and John 8:32) do not support your doctrine. Neither passage has baptism in view. Both have completely different subjects in mind. To read baptism and your “understanding doctrine” into these texts is to completely adulterate the inspired word of God. In fact, you actually misquote and misapply Rom 4:20-22 when you said – “He trusted God and submitted to what he KNEW to be God’s will.” The context of the passage is Abraham’s old age & Sarah’s inability to conceive. Abraham’s faith is that he was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Abraham didn’t have a clue HOW God was going to solve the old age and barren problem. He just trusted that God was going to do it.

    For anyone to say, I don’t know, or I don’t understand, I just accept it by faith, does not have a biblical faith.

    Have you thought about the consequences of this at all? Jeff, do you understand how Jesus was raised from the dead? According to your own logic, you don’t have biblical faith in the resurrection unless you understand it.

    How does God answer prayer? Unless you understand it, you don’t have Biblical faith in prayer.

    How was Jesus born of a virgin? Unless you understand it, you don’t have biblical faith in Christ’s virgin birth.

    This doctrine gets us into all sorts of difficulties. Next, you will have to pick and choose which doctrines we must understand in order for them to be valid and which do not require understanding.

  167. Monty says:

    How many times as a parent do we instruct our kids to do something without them understanding the why of it? Sometimes we may explain, other times we just expect trusting and obeying. Regardless, trusting obedience is shown by their compliance to our commands. No one would dare say they had a child that was disobedient because they did what we asked of them but didn’t understand exactly our reasons for having them do it.

  168. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Amen, Monty. It is a thoroughly baffling doctrine. And designed to slam doors, to keep people out, and to maintain control. The alternative is that we would have to fellowship those people. GASP! We can’t have that!

  169. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, if we truly believe in Christ, we will obey Him. What part of that do you not get? Kevin, those who are in Christ have the Father and the Son. We are baptized INTO Christ. Dwight, we are talking about God’s truth, not yours, not mine. Scripture tells us there are truths to be known. Knowledge to be had in order to come to Jesus. How can you believe anything, if you don’t understand it? You can’t. Unless you have a “leap” of faith, which is no faith at all. When we are baptized for the remission of our sins, we are obeying God. I believe in the virgin birth, because God told us that that is what happened. By faith I can believe that, faith comes by hearing….If God had never said anything about it, I couldn’t believe in a virgin birth. All I could do, would be to speculate and wonder. But that wouldn’t be faith. Would you all agree that you have to believe in God? Do you believe in the risen Christ? If you do, that belief is based upon something. We can know and have knowledge of that by hearing God’s word. When that belief blooms into trust and obey, the result is FAITH. Why does Paul instruct us to make our call and election sure? To study to show thyself approved of by God? We must have knowledge of God’s word in order to obey Him. We must have knowledge in order to know Him. Without knowledge all will fall into the ditch. Abraham indeed trusted God, he knew enough that he was willing to obey, We need to trust God enough to know that in baptism our sins are washed away.

  170. Monty says:

    Jeff,

    Our faith, (CofC) and the faith of the Baptist is in the person of Jesus Christ, not in our understanding of the moment we are saved or how well we understand baptism. Our faith is not in a systematic gleaning of scripture, but in Jesus Christ. Ask yourself how the Pharisees missed Jesus. Your faith seems to be very much dependent on your foolproof understanding of interpretation. It’s certainly grand to interpret scripture correctly and to seek the truth revealed in scripture(it’s why Jay has this blog) and why he has so many readers. But our Messiah isn’t baptism.

  171. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Kevin, if we truly believe in Christ, we will obey Him. What part of that do you not get?

    Jeff, I couldn’t agree more. Amen. I totally get that – If we truly believe in Christ, we will obey him. Absolutely no arguments whatsoever. I know Baptists aplenty who truly believe in Christ the Son of the living God; who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection; who repent of their sins & confess Jesus as Lord and Savior; and who obey the Lord’s command to be baptized.

    Based on your statement, Baptists truly believe because they have obeyed Him.

    Kevin, those who are in Christ have the Father and the Son. We are baptized INTO Christ.

    Again, I completely agree. Amen. When we obey Christ and submit to baptism, the Lord adds us to His church. Baptists who truly believe and obey Christ by submitting to baptism are added to the church.

    Scripture tells us there are truths to be known.

    Which truths do we have to know? Can you list those that we must know as opposed to those that we don’t need to know, complete with a scriptural justification for each?

    Jeff, it all comes back to two simple questions that you have evaded time and again. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins? and Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them?

  172. Alabama John says:

    Not long ago in the Mountains of NC near the Cherokee Reservation all the folks had was the book of John handed out to them at local schools. It was a small red book and even at my school that was the practice yearly back in the 40’s. Many didn’t know anything else but that God loved them and wanted them to be good and honest and love Him and their fellow man.
    They had faith in God doing them right if they did their best to obey by doing their fellow man right.
    That was what faith is, believing that God is looking on and will judge according to what, and how, you treat God and your fellow man.
    “love God and your fellow man is the two must important commands right out of Jesus’s mouth.
    We, man, makes this so complicated and its really very simple.
    Go visit a hospital for terminally ill or a prison for terminally ill and see their faith exist and many are too ill to be baptized even though they want to. I believe our gracious loving God sees this and judges positively according to their faith in God doing the loving judgment.
    Those that see God sending all those in these circumstances being sent straight to hell by God have a lot to learn and are really ignorant of our real God but worship the scattered chosen Bible verses instead.
    I hope when they get to heaven by God overlooking their bullheadedness and giving them grace instead they will be happy to see the rest of us there!!!
    Well be happy to see and welcome them!!!

  173. dwight says:

    Jeff, you say, “Dwight, we are talking about God’s truth, not yours, not mine. Scripture tells us there are truths to be known. Knowledge to be had in order to come to Jesus. How can you believe anything, if you don’t understand it? You can’t. Unless you have a “leap” of faith, which is no faith at all. When we are baptized for the remission of our sins, we are obeying God. I believe in the virgin birth, because God told us that that is what happened.”

    Jeff, this is true, God’s truth, but as yet I have yet to read “that one must believe that baptism is the point of salvation to be saved” as opposed to faith/repentance/confession. Those in Acts were presented with an action, not another thing they must believe, besides that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior, to be saved. If baptism is the point of salvation, then what about repentance, which can be manifested before baptism, by baptism and must be present after baptism.
    The act of baptism might place us into Christ, but it doesn’t justify us before Christ. Faith must be followed through before baptism, in baptism and after as well.

    While there are truths to be known, this doesn’t mean we can know all truths and that salvation depends upon us knowing all truths. There are only a few simple truths that salvation is based upon and knowing to divide out and identify baptism out from repentance/faith/ confession isn’t one of them.

    I believe in God and yet we are told that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We deceive ourselves to think that we can understand everything we have been presented with. Faith means gong along with the one we trust, despite knowing everything that the guide knows.

    While the virgin birth might be a truth, is it a truth that saves, meaning do we have to know that Jesus was born of a virgin to know that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior?
    IF so, then why wasn’t this presented in Acts 2?
    It helps, but it doesn’t prove it any more than Jesus doing one miracle, which by the way, we haven’t seen, but read about. We believe in what was written despite having not been there and having not seen it with our own eyes. According to Heb.11 this is faith. An even seeing the miracles didn’t help many believe in Jesus.
    It appears Abraham had a “leap of faith” in not knowing how he was going to get his son back and not knowing that he wouldn’t have to kill his son in the end. He just simply obeyed.
    Seeing is not believing and neither is knowing, otherwise all that have read the Bible should be Christians, but many just consider it as a good read with good thoughts.
    Peter drew to this point, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” They were convicted on this point. This was the pivotal point in their faith and their response. Jesus was and is the point of salvation. Everything after that is a response to Jesus to be followed.

  174. David says:

    God, in a show of love, gave his Son to atone for the sins of rebellious mankind to reconcile men to Himself. By believing this gospel story men are forgiven and drawn to God. God gave us baptism as the visible sign that our sins are forgiven because of our faith. It is something most of us need and gladly receive. Even those who minimize baptism recognize that people need some definite point in time when they were forgiven and became part of Christ. They will have them “come forward” and maybe pray a prayer at conversion. Yes, baptism is something we need at conversion. It is not a road block God threw in our way, a hoop we must jump through, or a test of faith or knowledge. It is not a matter of do this or else you’re damned. God is trying to reconcile us, not make us more rebellious.

  175. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, can one be saved before his sins are washed away? And I have never said that one must know ALL truths to be saved. All one needs to know and believe is Jesus is the Son of God, be willing to repent, confess His name and be baptized for the remission of their sins. And then be faithful unto death, Rev 2:10. It is when we reject the purpose and need of baptism, that we become rebellious. The Baptist rebell when they decide when and for what reason they are baptized.

  176. Dwight says:

    An interesting thing is that the Jews had many things that carried many thoughts that held religious significance that we as Christians don’t recognize and actually work not to see. Acts 2 didn’t just happen on “the day” of Pentecost, it happened on the Jewish Festival of Weeks and where God gave the 10 commandments to man. It didn’t just so happen that a new testament was brought forth on this day. Many don’t know this and yet this doesn’t keep one from heaven, knowing it only enriches us, and not knowing doesn’t block us. The Jews had an instant connection to this day based on what happened on this day in the past, whereas the gentiles didn’t.

  177. Dwight says:

    Jeff, look at it this way. Being baptized into Jesus will save you, right, but salvation isn’t the pure purpose of baptism, but rather being put into the savior. So when the Jews came up to Peter on the day of Pentecost and asked, “what must we do to be saved?, when neither baptism or salvation was even mentioned, they realized they were lost and needed Christ. What can we do to be delivered? Peter answered with a statement that would accomplish their request, but in reality do much more “Repent and be baptized”. Now if it was just the actions, then those baptized into John were saved, but this wasn’t the point of repentance and baptism, but rather repentance to Jesus and baptism into Jesus.
    It is therefore interesting that you state,”All one needs to know and believe is Jesus is the Son of God, be willing to repent, confess His name and be baptized for the remission of their sins. And then be faithful unto death.” and then add the caveat, “they need to know when and what reason they are baptized.”
    Well if they are baptized, then they have answered the when, and if they know they are baptized into Jesus the savior, they have answered the reason.
    And it is far from rebellion when those that believe and obey, go out and do more things towards helping other people than those who seemingly “know the right reasons”.

  178. Johnny says:

    Jeff I will ask you again
    Jeff, am I to understand that when I was 11 years old and came to faith in Jesus, repented of my sins, professed him ans Lord, and was baptized by immersion, that I was not saved due to the fact I did not understand the term “remission of sins” ?

  179. Monty says:

    Johnny

    He can’t respond. It would destroy his argument.

  180. laymond says:

    Dwight, what does ” baptism into Jesus.” mean ?

  181. laymond says:

    Johnny, you were saved at the age of eleven, no matter what you knew. If you were baptized at the innocent age of a child, and continued to claim Jesus as your leader and the Son of God into your adult years, I doubt you would need to be baptized again , I don’t see anything wrong with one’s belief being re-affirmed at accountability age, as a matter of fact I don’t see anything wrong with everyone’s faith being publically affirmed if they so desire.

  182. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Monty, Johnny,

    Just like he can’t provide a scriptural reference for why being baptized to “obey the Lord’s commandment” is an insufficient reason for baptism. It’s proverbial kryptonite to this whole “understanding doctrine.”

    The good thing is that all this is sinking in for Jeff, even if he doesn’t realize it. I was in his shoes at one time. There’s a very good chance that he will arrive at the truth in the years to come.

  183. Dwight says:

    Laymond, from Romans 6:3 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” All I understand is that before baptism you are not in Jesus and afterwards you are, at least in the sense of joining the family. But I believe that this alone doesn’t do this, after all we must believe/repent/confess, etc. Baptism was what the gentiles did to become Jews, so this is what an alien sinner does to be in Christ. Baptism is like showing up and being taken through a door, as the entrant really doesn’t do any work other than show up and present himself to another to be baptized, but salvation happens because of Christ death, not because of baptism. Salvation is the final result of being in Christ and receiving the promise, not the moment of baptism. The Israelites received the promise of Canaan, which was sure, even before they got there. Canaan was the result of their faith and obedience, but it wasn’t just handed to them as they crossed the Red Sea.

  184. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    All,

    The idea of “growing in knowledge” is an interesting concept in scripture. For background, on 20 May, Jeff stated, “We need to know the words of verse [Rom 6:] 17, that when we are baptized we have obeyed that form of doctrine which had been delivered.” I pointed out that Paul didn’t write Rom 6:17 until many years after the beginning of Christianity. Are all those early Christians condemned because they didn’t have access to those words? If the words are so critical to salvation, one would think they would be recorded throughout the book of Acts, but they are not.

    Isn’t that the point of “growing in knowledge”? New Christians are babes in Christ. They know hardly anything. They drink milk. They are not mature. They need a lot of subsequent instruction.

    2 peter 1:5-7 – For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

    2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

    1 Cor 1:1-3 – But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.

    1 Peter 2:2 – As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

    Heb 5:12-14 – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

  185. Dwight says:

    Kevin, there in marks the perception of who was raised in the church as opposed to one who wasn’t, generally speaking. Growing up I took it for granted that I knew a lot about the Bible and assumed that others who did not grow up in the church needed the same knowledge I had and then something happened, I realized that much of my knowledge wasn’t scripture, but coC theology or what I had heard from others. Then I started reading for myself and found out that my level of “knowledge” on some levels was below what one who was coming to the scriptures for the first time due to preconceived concepts. Then I started to realize that while knowledge and understanding should increase what gets one into Christ isn’t knowing things, but knowing Christ. It isn’t procedure, it is personal. We follow Christ, not a list.
    You see in the coC we teach and preach a lot, but not a lot gets done. We hear help others and then sit back and scoff at those who are helping another build a house for Habitat for Humanity. And we have a tendency to make sure others are doing our list, even when we are not doing Christ list.
    No matter how much we know, once we depend upon knowledge we will be deficient.
    No matter how much good we do, we will be deficient.
    No matter what or whose list we follow, we will be deficient.
    We can do like the rich young ruler and do the things of the law from our childhood, but once we sin in not helping one who needs our help we are deficient.
    Only Christ is sufficient.

  186. Alabama John says:

    What is interesting is if Alabama was losing football games to Louisiana or anyone else at the percentage that Satan is taught by the coC is winning our souls in the contest between God and Satan we would change something.
    Either Satan is actually winning and winning BIG as you say, even after God sent His own Son down here, or we are misreading and misunderstanding something.
    The error must be with us as I believe, by faith, that God is and will win (if you will) the majority of all humans made in the likeness of God in the end for all eternity.
    Now, if we start thinking like that, we will see the scriptures in a different light and so will we see God as far more loving than we have in the past.
    Folks are more educated these days and don’t believe only a very few will make it while Satan gets all the rest and that’s a good thing for how they see God. In reality, they have more faith in God than we do.

    This is the main reason the coC is declining so fast and I applaud it for my children who have left the coC and especially my grandchildren that will grow up to love God more than we, of our generation have feared Him.

  187. Mark says:

    The cofC knew and taught individual verses. When I went read and some of the verses on both sides of the quoted verse, I got a different and sometimes opposite meaning. When I needed a liturgy fix, I went to the Anglican church and heard intact portions of Epistles that I had never heard before and realized they weren’t so legalistic. Then I realized that I got to hear a Psalm and an intact portion of Gospel too. Needless to say, I switched. Yet, some cofCs, even flagship ones, are still preaching on “Why we have elders.”

  188. Jeff Richardson says:

    In Acts 2, “repent and be baptized FOR the remission of sins.” Acts 22:16, “why are you waiting, arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins.” In just these two passages even an 11 year old can understand what baptism does. That in baptism, our sins are washed away, we have been cleansed. But yet, you all seem to think that this is so difficult to grasp. Salvation, being in Christ, being added to His church, all occur at the moment one is raised in newness of life. What got us to this point? belief, repentance, our confession. The result is an obedient faith. And it’s not just the action. That’s why we need to understand the action, it’s purpose, and believe in it’s reality, that God is just, and keeps His promises. But this just puts us in Christ. Now we continue to grow in Christian graces, continuing to learn Christ, to be a good servant. Dwight, have you ever considered the fact, that those who practice good works and are not in Christ, that their good works mean nothing?

    And Kevin, the word of God was being revealed by the spoken word. Consider the epistle’s, letters written and sent, which are now apart of the written word.

  189. Johnny says:

    Jeff I believe that baptism is for the remission of sin, I believe that is what happened when I was 11 years old. However I did not understand that term at the time. so….

    Am I to understand that when I was 11 years old and came to faith in Jesus, repented of my sins, professed him ans Lord, and was baptized by immersion, that I was not saved due to the fact I did not understand the term “remission of sins” ?

  190. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    And Kevin, the word of God was being revealed by the spoken word. Consider the epistle’s, letters written and sent, which are now apart of the written word.

    So…your position is that the words of Rom 6:17 were spoken all over the place from Pentecost until Paul actually put pen to paper and wrote his letter to the Romans in about AD 57, about two decades afterwards? Don’t you think it odd that the HS didn’t inspire anyone else to write those words down and share it with Christians for approximately 20 years?

    We are all still waiting on your answers. Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins? Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” they are saved in order for God to actually save them? Your silence is deafening.

  191. Jeff Richardson says:

    Johnny, Why didn’t you understand the term? No one explained to you what and why you were being baptized? A person has to be taught how to come to Christ. You didn’t ask why am I doing this? You were able to understand the term “repentance” and “confession” but not baptism?

  192. Johnny says:

    Jeff, I could not separate the act of baptism from the concept of becoming a Christian.The idea of asking WHY I was being baptized never crossed my mind, that is what you do when you become a Christian, you recognize your sins, you ask forgiveness, you repent, you confess Jesus and you get baptized. I didn’t understand why I washed my hands before meals either, I just know you were supposed to do it. I was an 11 year old kid who knew I was “bad” I did not understand lots that I understand now, I came with child like faith. I didn’t need to do more, I obeyed and trusted him to do what he said.

    So I ask again, was my baptism ineffective because I didn’t know enough? Or was my child like faith trusting in what Jesus said and obeying him enough?

  193. Monty says:

    Did we have to understand what it means to be ” in Christ” since we are baptized into him? Do we have to understand the Trinity for baptism to take affect? After all we’re told to baptize them “into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?” Do we have to understand the significance of baptism being a spiritual circumcision since Paul brought that out in Colossians 2? In other words what parts are OK to not understand fully and what parts are “OK” to not have complete grip on? Same thing with God. Do we have to completely understand the being of God(like we could ever) or is it simple enough to believe that He exists and that he sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins? Oh yeh , about propitiation do 12 year olds have to understand propitiation to be saved? If not why not? We could go on and on slicing and dicing every aspect and nuance of doctrine and according to Jeff it’s so simple. What is the Gospel Jeff? Can you define for us what that is and what exactly we have to believe about the Gospel? Is it not enough for a 12 year old to believe Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for their sins and they want now to comply with the command to be baptized and begin being devoted to him? If not , why not?

  194. Mark says:

    Jeff,
    You are combining understanding baptism with what should be taught/understood later in a catechism/confirmation class, which the cofC does not but likely should do. In an empty church when I was age 12, I was asked one question by the preacher, “did I believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God?” I replied, “yes.” He never taught me anything and I got baptized because I figured I was supposed to. Does that mean mine is invalid?

  195. Charlie M. says:

    “With many other words, he bore witness and continued to exort them…”

    This is the part where Peter told them the 5 steps/5 acts and the other “essentials”. Just like we must infer Philip did for the eunuch. I don’t say this sarcastically, but I say this because that’s what we were taught to say.

    And thus I must argue, apparently. It’s where the CENI meets the road, as it were. The NI of CENI is a wonderful catch-all (<THAT was sarcasm).

  196. laymond says:

    Kevin asked, ” Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” is an insufficient reason for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?”

    Why not ask Jesus ?

    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.

    righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

  197. laymond says:

    Jhn 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

    We need to understand two things, first Christ is not Jesus name, Christ is a title given Jesus by God. and we are not baptized into Jesus, we are baptized in the name of Jesus, which makes us acceptable in the sight of God.

  198. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    laymond, I don’t follow you. Are you agreeing or disagreeing?

  199. laymond says:

    Kevin, I understand Jesus as saying we are baptized to please God. I don’t believe Jesus was baptized for remission of sins, nor to be added to his own church. nor even to be made right with God. After Jesus baptism God claimed him as his son in whom he was well pleased. draw your own conclusions.
    Maybe when you please God he just automatically forgives your sins.

  200. dwight says:

    According to I Peter ‘baptism is the answer of a good conscience towards God.” So when you are baptized you answer the question of do you believe in God and/or Jesus.
    Jeff, you seem to understand that since most of don’t believe that one has to believe in baptism as the exact point of being saved, that we don’t believe baptism saves. This is further from the truth. The fact is that you seem place the point of salvation in baptism over say faith or repentance or confession, etc, because if baptism is the point, then those cannot be, even when repentance and baptism are both said together by Peter.
    You want to say that baptism saves, but don’t want to say why, besides you are told to do it. But then again those in Ephesus were baptized and not saved. People were not baptized into baptism, but Jesus. Again baptism got one to Jesus who is the savior and thus saves, but baptism doesn’t carry power on its own just because it is baptism.
    We can all read that baptism washes away sins, but why?
    As we read in I Peter it isn’t the washing away of the filth of the flesh.
    Those in Acts weren’t told that they needed to know that the moment of their salvation was baptism, as opposed to repentance and baptism. They wanted to be baptized into Christ, not baptized into baptism.

  201. Jeff Richardson says:

    I have said over and over, you have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent, confess His name before men and be baptized. Leave any one of them out you have not obeyed. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection. The good news, God has a plan for man to be redeemed. We respond in obedience when we are buried with Him in baptism. We are then raised a new creature, a Christian, a son an heir. Can we be saved and still be in our sins? I think not. Acts 22:16 Paul was told to “arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins.” And Dwight, 1 Peter 3:21 is right, baptism is the answer to a good conscience. How could it be if we don’t understand why we are doing it? Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness, or right doing. He was our example. We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. To do something in someone’s name is to do it with their authority. We are baptized into His death and raised to walk in newness of life with the guarantee of the resurrection to come.

    Mark, you were baptized because you thought you were suppose to. If he taught you nothing what did you believe? He who believes AND is baptized shall be saved, Mk 16:15-16. What did you believe? Don’t we respond to Jesus by faith? Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17. We need to understand what and why we do something in order to believe. Can we accidently become a Christian? Or is it something that we do on purpose? From the heart.

  202. Monty says:

    Jeff said,

    “We need to understand what and why we do something in order to believe.”

    Jeff, you aren’t being honest with yourself. You aren’t really saying you have to have a reason for what you do(as Baptist do when they get baptized) which is to obey the command. You are saying you have to know the special superdy-dooper reason that’s salvific. Obviously baptism to “obey” doesn’t meet your litmus test. Baptist can know baptism must be obeyed to be an obedient Christian but that’s not good enough according to you. According to you they must know at the exact moment salvation occurs or either you are saying that the magical abracadabra (for the remission of sins) must be pronounced at the believer’s baptism or God doesn’t accept it. BCV please.

    Partial knowledge isn’t good enough(according to you). Faith for you isn’t trusting and obeying Jesus(which is what Baptist do) . Your faith is not faith in Jesus, it’s faith in the proper sequencing and the exact understanding of that sequencing that has to occur in an exact way and in a specific time frame for it to benefit the believer. But God won’t be bound by our formulas and such. Go reread the story of Cornelius. God purified their hearts by faith and then they were baptized. Your sequencing doesn’t work out in that case. The Holy Spirit fell on them and then they were baptized. We best leave God to do what only he can do.

    Surely you don’t believe in a God who would condemn to hell someone who was on their way to the baptistery but was killed in a car wreck? Do you?

  203. Mark says:

    “Mark, you were baptized because you thought you were suppose to. If he taught you nothing what did you believe?…Can we accidently [sic] become a Christian? Or is it something that we do on purpose? From the heart.”

    I believed in God and that Jesus was the Messiah. At age 12, why is that not sufficient?

    “We need to understand what and why we do something in order to believe.”

    This is adding to the Gospel.

  204. Dwight says:

    In Acts we are told that thousands of people were added to the church over the span of days, and we are expected to believe that they all understood the same things about when they were saved as opposed to who saved them, which was basically the same thing. In other words if you are baptized into the savior, then you understood you were saved, even though you also believe that since your repentance was in the savior, you were also saved. While it is true that the Ethiopian eunuch celebrated after he was baptized, he also celebrated because he was then living in Christ. The irony is that even while we fuss and fight over this point in salvation, that when we baptize people we don’t say, “so now you understand that at this moment you are saved,” instead asking, “do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and your savior” and then having them repeat that in practice. This is a debate and separate issue, not a practical issue.

  205. Jeff Richardson says:

    The Apostles all taught the same plan of salvation. First you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Be willing to repent. Confess His name before men. Be baptized for the remission of your sins. This is not my formula, but God’s. Who am I to change it? Baptist believe they are already saved before they are baptized. They are baptized to show their inward faith and to be added to the Baptist church. An unbiblical belief system. We need to understand who is saving us, why and how. And Monty, those with good intentions but never obey will be lost. When those who asked, “what must we do”? They were asking for instruction, they desired to know, they desired knowledge of what they must do to be saved. It was given to them, those who believed and trusted in the message or as it says in Acts 2, those who accepted Peters words, were baptized for the remission of their sins. I believe they were capable of understanding. They understood who was saving them, why and how.

  206. Dwight says:

    Jeff, Your formula is flawed. Those in Ephesus were baptized for the remission of their sins…but into John. Peter’s answer was be baptized into Jesus. In this way they were to get the HS and they would also have their sins remitted by the one who could remit them…Jesus.

    Your view of Baptist is like many who believe that “only those who go to the coC will be saved”, right as a generally taught scenario in the churches, but wrong in the broader sense of what most understand to be true, but held on by many in the coC. Arguably this is a prideful stance and steriographically those in the coC will not gain heaven either due to this. No one will reach heaven.

    Jesus complained of the Pharisees who shut out others from heaven and in doing this could not enter themselves. While I do believe in the general sense of your argument, we must then argue that one who says he wants to be baptized (like those in Acts 2), but don’t make a formal confession, even though baptized are lost, or are we regarding their baptism as a confession and yet the confession that is argued for from the scriptures is from their lips. Can they after being baptized confess His name before men, but doesn’t this mean he needs to be re-baptized again?
    Again if faith is obedience and people are baptized into Jesus, then they are showing their faith.
    The confession is of Christ as the savior and Son of God, not of “do you believe you are saved by baptism”. While it might be true, it is not a deal breaker, if not understood as an absolute as opposed to being saved by repentance or faith or confession. If you believe you are saved by faith and faith leads you to baptism and is baptism by practice in Jesus, then that isn’t wrong.

  207. Jeff Richardson says:

    What’s true and not a deal breaker?

  208. Johnny says:

    Jeff you have never answered my question if the fact that at 11 I did not understand the term “remission of sins” if my baptism was invalid, even though I repented, I believed, I made a profession and I was baptized by immersion. If you think I am going to hell at least be caring and honest enough to say so.

  209. Dwight says:

    Jeff, I have heard many, many preachers get up and talk about truth and how that during the middle ages they used to believe that the world was flat with four corners. Well even back in the times of Assyria it was known that the world was circular, they believe it was flat, at least then. Before and during the time of Christ the earth was known to be round in all aspects and yet there were many who held to the old beliefs, but by the time we get to Christopher Columbus it was well established that the world was round. And yet over and over again this is brought forth in a lesson that ole Chris had to overcome this concept.
    This is not true, but this fact that this is not true has no bearing on one salvation.
    The only truth in question is “Jesus Son of God and savior of mankind” when we get to faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
    And the truth is that even if we believe that the earth is flat, doesn’t make it a reality and doesn’t change how we live on the earth.
    So not believing in baptism as the exact point of salvation, over believing in Christ as the savior who you are baptized into is not going to keep one from God.
    If you believe you are saved by faith and faith leads you to baptism and is baptism in Jesus, then that isn’t wrong. The only wrong thing would be to rely totally on faith and not respond in obedience by doing nothing. As you have noted true faith acts…and in this way it saves.

  210. jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, my whole point has been, belief, repentance, confession and baptism equals faith. belief only does not equal faith, the demons believe Jesus is the Son of God, would you say they have faith? Belief and repentance doesn’t equal faith. Baptism only doesn’t equal faith. Your saying that a simple belief in Christ equals faith, I disagree. Dwight, study Matt 7:13-23 and explain to me, who these people are.
    Johnny, if you didn’t understand why you were baptized, I would strongly suggest that you study to make thy call and election sure. Do it again for the right reasons. The Ethiopian didn’t understand what he was reading about the coming Christ, Timothy started were he was in Isaiah and preached Jesus to him. The Ethiopian later said hear is water, what hinders me from being baptized, Timothy said, if you believe with all thy heart you may. Don’t you think that Timothy explained the reason for and when he should be baptized. I do.

  211. Dwight says:

    Jeff, I never said a simple belief in Jesus equals faith or even saves, but rather a belief that Jesus is the Son of God and is the savior to be followed. The demons believe and know he is Jesus, but don’t practice faith in following Christ. Not all baptized were baptized into Jesus, but all followers of Jesus were baptized into Jesus.
    I have grown up in the coC so I know the arguments and actually used to believe as you do, but that is before I put more faith in Jesus as the savior and less faith in baptism as the savior. And then I started realizing by actually talking with some Baptist that many actually believe in Christ and believe that baptism saves, because Jesus saves and they have faith in Jesus.
    Again upon baptizing people I have never heard the baptizer say, “I baptize you into the belief that baptism saves you.”
    No, we baptize asking if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and their savior. This is the faith and response that drives one to repentance and saves.
    Matthew 7 might refer to you or me or the Pharisees who thought they had it all laid out and made it hard for others to enter heaven.
    But believing in Jesus, not baptism, but Jesus and obeying by being baptized into Jesus is entering in by the narrow gate.
    Not knowing what connection that Timothy made in connection to baptism, it is entirely possible that he told the eunuch that to be in Christ who saves he needed to be baptized. All we know is he was taught Christ and then was baptized into Christ. I doubt Timothy made the point of salvation a point of being saved. Why would he? After all the eunuch still had a life of living in Christ to go to reach his salvation.

  212. Jeff Richardson says:

    Jesus in Matt 7 said “depart from me I NEVER knew you.” Why would he say that? he NEVER knew them because they were people who were never IN Christ. He never knew, or recognized them as His followers. They had never been baptized INTO Christ. There are many people who believe in their hearts that they are followers of Christ, but they are not. Because they have never obeyed the gospel. Yes we need to believe in Jesus. We have to ask the question, what does it mean to believe in Jesus? We need to believe in what he taught. John 3, “UNLESS one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
    You stated above, “I doubt Timothy made the point of salvation a point of being saved.” Mark 16:15-16 “he who believes AND is baptized shall be saved.” We can see clearly the point, or very moment one is saved, after they are baptized. Paul was told to arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins. I’ll bet everything I have, that Timothy told the eunuch the very same thing. He taught the eunuch Jesus, which we know included baptism, because the eunuch said, here is water. Without baptism for the remission of sins, a person cannot have Jesus. They remain outside of Christ. Believing in Him without it means nothing, ie, the people of Matt 7. When ever I or anyone else I have ever witnessed baptizing someone, the words, “Do you believe Jesus to be the Son of God’? “I now baptize you in the name of the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, FOR the remission of your sins. I’ve never known anyone when taught about Jesus and His baptism, not ask, is this something I need to do and what does all this mean? They have to be taught. Not only just about Jesus. But His baptism, His repentance, our confession of Him and His baptism. Baptist reject his baptism for the remission of sins. Look I have Baptist family members, but I will not water down Christ plan of salvation in order for them to feel better. You say that you have more faith in Jesus than baptism. I say without baptism, you can’t have faith in Jesus. I would guess that your one who would say, “give me the Man, not the plan.” I would say, “without the plan you can’t have the Man. Christ only knows those who belong to Him. He knows those who have been baptized INTO Him for the remission of sins. They are the ones who have entered the kingdom.

  213. Johnny says:

    BTW I am not aware of any scripture relating a story of Timothy teaching a Eunuch.

  214. Jeff Richardson says:

    Johnny it is found in Acts 8: 26-40

  215. Johnny says:

    Can’t find it, always thought it was Phillip but then I was baptized in a baptist church and folks say they don’t read and believe the scriptures

  216. Dwight says:

    It was Phillip that taught the Ethiopian eunuch, not Timothy. I knew better, but for some reason didn’t think too much about it when Jeff wrote it and then I restated it, even though it didn’t sound right.
    I guess I was led away in error.
    I wonder if this wrongness somehow invalidates my faith and my salvation, as the truth is that it was Phillip.
    And then since Jeff’s wrongness was more so then mine, if his is in doubt, especially since he still seems to be of that belief.
    I hope our salvation isn’t based on who we think did what in certain places to certain people, despite the scriptures saying differently.

  217. jeff Richardson says:

    My bad

  218. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, when you study Romans 6:17 what form of doctrine is to be understood? That which the Apostles taught or that which the Baptist teach? The Romans believed from the heart, they understood what was being taught and they obeyed. So I guess your flat earth example is correct, just because you think your saved, doesn’t make it so.

  219. Dwight says:

    Jeff, you have yet to place as doctrine or that which was taught as what one needed to know that caused one to be saved as “needing to know that baptism saves” as the “point of salvation” as opposed to repentance or faith or confession.
    Implication doesn’t equal doctrine, it only equals fact. We can teach that the HS only exist in people through the word as an implication, but this doesn’t make it fact.
    And it can go the other way…just because you teach that baptism is to be understood as being the point of salvation in order to be saved, doesn’t make it so.

    The point was and you haven’t addressed this yet is where do they teach in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation.
    The scriptures point to Jesus the Son of God and the savior, but not your point.
    This was the point of Peter’s sermon.
    Timothy…I mean Phillip might have told the eunuch he needed to be baptized into Christ the savior, which makes sense, but I doubt that he made knowing that baptism equaled salvation as a reason to be saved or that his salvation hinged on that fact or knowledge.
    If the eunuch did what Phillip told him to do because he believed in Jesus…he was saved.

    And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this before we baptize one into Christ if it is a tenant of salvation? I have never heard it.
    Something being a fact and knowing it, like the world is round, doesn’t make it a tenant of whether one is saved or not. Now knowing Jesus does.

  220. Jeff Richardson says:

    Mark 16:15-16 ” he that believeth AND IS baptized shall be saved.” Dwight you can argue your point until the cows come home. But salvation comes after one is baptized. You said, Philip might have told the eunuch he needed to be baptized? Philip taught him Jesus. How did the eunuch know anything about baptism, unless Philip told him? Gal 3:26-27 ” “for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. To be a son of God you must put on Christ and that can only be done through baptism. Eph 1:3 “ALL spiritual blessings are found IN Christ. I believe salvation would fall under that category. Study Ephesians 1, we learn about those spiritual blessing that are found IN Christ. We have been adopted, He made us accepted, we have redemption, forgiveness of sins, we gain an inheritance. Notice verse 13, ” IN Him (by way of baptism, which puts us in Christ) you also trusted, AFTER you heard the word of truth. You can’t trust in Jesus until after you have heard. There is knowledge to be known and believed. The Eunuch went away rejoicing after he was baptized. He understood that he was saved. You seem to think that people just get out of the pew and go forward. I believe they have thought long and hard about it. They have studied and others have studied with them, teaching them what they need to know to be saved. It is usually a long process of convincing, until they are ready to respond. Baptism is a “tenant” for being saved. You have to understand why your doing it and when to do it, or else it can’t be done by faith.

  221. Johnny says:

    ark 16:15-16 ” he that believeth AND IS baptized shall be saved.
    I did exactly that, Therefore for you to say I needed to understand “remission of sins”, is adding to the gospel.

    BTW Methodist believe in baptism for the remission of sins and many immerse adult converts. Are they saved?

  222. Jeff Richardson says:

    They sprinkle don’t they? The bible teaches that one is not converted until one obeys the command to be baptized. And yes you need to understand why your doing it. If I’m adding to the gospel, Paul and Ananias are guilty as well. Acts 22:16. The remission of sins, means having your sins forgiven. How hard is that to understand? Sounds like you were taught a different gospel. If you were taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and didn’t understand, how could you believe it, let alone obey it?

  223. dwight says:

    You see Jeff Mark 16:15-16 states a fact, but it doesn’t state that one has to know or acknowledge that fact to be saved. There are many who have believed and been baptized, but not truly repented or made the turn to Christ in living and following, with the exception that they were baptized.

    You still haven’t answered the questions:
    1. where is it taught in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation or in order to secure it if you were baptized into Jesus as the Son of God and the savior?
    While not being baptized into Jesus will not save you as the Ephesians did (they were baptized into John), being baptized into Jesus should.

    2. And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this fact before we baptize one into Christ if knowing this fact is a tenant of salvation?
    We all know that “Baptism is a “tenant” for being saved, so if you are baptized into Jesus you are saved.
    But that isn’t the question. It never was.

    Jeff, you have never heard me say, “You seem to think that people just get out of the pew and go forward.” This is a gross mischaracterization.
    As I too believe that people should “think long and hard about it.”, but then again how long did the Jews in Acts 2 have to wait and think about it before they accepted Jesus as the Christ?
    We know they didn’t “study” or didn’t sit down for a “bible study” to learn all of the nuances that were not even written yet in order to respond.
    You see you place more hurdles before salvation than was ever there.

    You don’t seem to read, but jump to a response.
    Johnny wrote “BTW Methodist believe in baptism for the remission of sins and many IMMERSE adult converts. Are they saved?” and then you wrote, “they sprinkle don’t they”.
    You avoided the question.
    If they baptized for the remission of sins and were immersed, are they saved?

    I personally think we don’t understand baptism as much as we think we do. Immersion not only included going down and under, but as in the case of Jesus’ burial, going into and in the case of Noah and the Israelites, being surrounded by.

    Jeff, I was raise in the coC, which from what I understand teaches that one must accept and respond in obedience to Jesus as the Son of God and as the savior. We only broach this divisive conversation when in debate mode with the Baptist, when they bring up faith as the point of salvation, then we argue back that it isn’t. Many in the Baptist and coC spend too much time debating and separating on the “point in time of salvation” and not enough time living in Christ, which should bring people together. Just to let you know I was baptized at 19 into Jesus in the coC, but was never asked if I believed whether I was saved at that moment. After all it was assumed that I still had many years of living to either to live in Christ or not. My salvation will not be realized until I die, even though the promise is secure.

    Until you answer the questions at the heart of the matter, then I will move on to another thread.

  224. Jeff Richardson says:

    “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Anyone who is taught correctly, will understand that salvation comes after baptism. That one is not saved until they are baptized for the remission of their sins. Dwight you are arguing with scripture. You are twisting scripture to fit a personal belief. As for those in Acts 2, they asked, what must they do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized FOR the remission of their sins. They understood and obeyed. As for the Methodist, they don’t teach baptism by immersion, they don’t practice it. You were raised in the Lord’s church and baptized, good for you. But it sounds as if you have left the church Jesus built and joined a man made organization. Which would make you an erring brother. My prayer for you is that I hope you find it in your heart to repent and return to the Lord’s church. In conclusion, the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, etc, are the people of Matt 7:21f. Romans 10:2-3, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”

  225. Dwight says:

    Jeff, you assume too much. I still go to a coC and still believe that one must believe, repent, confess and be baptized.
    The fact is that Peter in Acts 2 didn’t teach baptism, just like Paul, they taught “Christ and Christ crucified”, but for those who came to Christ they taught baptism as a response and way to be in Christ.
    I really don’t know what the Methodist teach in regards to baptism, but there might be Methodist groups that actually teach immersion, as there are many splinter groups of most denominations, despite the majority teaching otherwise.

    But you still haven’t approached the questions and they are simple questions.
    1. where is it taught in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation or in order to secure it if you were baptized into Jesus as the Son of God and the savior?
    Why isn’t repentance which is listed with baptism also the point of salvation?

    2. And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this fact before we baptize one into Christ if knowing this fact is a tenant of salvation?

    Here is a third
    3. Considering that Peter argued that those in Acts 2 would receive the “gift of the HS” to those who hadn’t yet been baptized, does it mean that they had to know what that “gift” meant before they could be saved, as many of those in the coC believe the gift is the salvation and many believe the gift is the HS itself, so are half in the coC lost because they don’t know what the gift means that Peter was indicating that they would get? I myself have moved between both thoughts on what the “gift” is over the many years of being a saint, and yet I believe I have received it.

  226. Dwight says:

    I admittedly had to look up the definitions of ordinance and sacraments and found out that they can mean different things to different groups and may or may not include similar things within them, sometimes being both. But from the basic def. ordinance is what is done by a person in response by faith to a command by God and sacrament is what is done by God to one who is a saint.
    I also admittedly am surprised by how this Methodist version of baptism seems to capture the sense of what baptism is for. And particularly like the statement, “Baptism is part of a lifelong process of salvation, so any age is an appropriate age for baptism.” Many seem to treat baptism as the thing that saves us, and in sense it is, but it is only part of the plan or path. The faith and repentance that brings us to baptism should still be active on the other side of it as well. Salvation is a seemless process and path to the goal of God. We are given the promise of salvation when we come to God, but the receiving of it will be as we live and then die in Christ. Jesus stated “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but through me.”

  227. If the Eunuch never stopped and gave a ride but lived a long good life would he gone to hell for not knowing anything about baptism?

    I believe Romans 2:14-16
    For when the Gentiles,which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: (continue with 15 &16)

    That is the answer to my question about the Eunuch and many throughout the ages including practically if not all of our ancestors since I bet we are all considered Gentiles.

    Can you imagine a loving God that sent His son to save us by being sacrificed, burning all our lineage in hell forever due to not knowing His law perfectly? I can’t!!!!

    God had the power to give His law to the Gentiles instantly. If they didn’t know the true law, it certainly wasn’t their fault as they sure worshiped God by many names and in different ways, doing it as best they could understand God might want?

    Actually not much different today is it?

  228. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, please excuse my assertions, I’ve never known anyone in the church who has defended the denominations as vigorously as you. You stated earlier that Mark 16:15-16 was a fact. Is it a fact or not? It plainly tells us when salvation occurs, after baptism. Lets try Luke 24:47 ” and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” Remission of sins is a reference to baptism is it not? Can we be saved and still have our sins? We learn from Matt 28:19-20 that they were charged with baptizing, making disciples in all nations. Without baptism, your not a disciple of Christ. John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, WHO WERE BORN, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” Jesus said in John 3, “unless one is BORN of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” All references to the importance of baptism and what it does. We learn from Gal 3:27-29 that those who are sons of God had been baptized INTO Christ and had put on Christ. There are no longer Jews and Gentiles we all become one IN Christ. Verse 29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abrahams seed, HEIRS according to the promise. Baptism makes one a child of God an heir, all spiritual blessings are found IN Christ. If one is not Christ, these spiritual blessings are not theirs. I believe salvation of ones soul would be a spiritual blessing that is only found IN Christ.

    Linda, my answer is yes he would have been lost. Scripture teaches us that it is impossible for God to lie. “he that believes AND is baptized shall be saved.” If God is going to make exceptions, then God is a liar. The Old law was difficult, man wouldn’t/couldn’t follow it perfectly. It’s purpose was to show man his transgressions and to bring him to Christ. Christ came, became the perfect sacrifice. And with Him came a new covenant. The law of Christ, the perfect law of liberty. We have liberty from the old law not law in general. What you all deem impossible to obey and understand is rather simple. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Are you willing to repent, change, give up your old sinful life, are you willing to confess Him as Lord, are you willing to be buried with Him in baptism, for the forgiveness of your sins? If your willing to do this, you will be IN Christ, a son of God, holy and acceptable before Him. We as humans will sin again. But for those in Christ, they have a right to approach God’s throne in prayer Eph 2:18, repenting and asking God to forgive us. Then the last part of Matt 28:20, we continue to learn how to observe all things that Christ has taught. being faithful unto death, Rev 2:10. Our Christian walk is one of learning, we will never have a perfect understanding. But to become a Child of God is very simple, IF we are willing to submit to the Fathers will. Thus the old hymn, “trust and obey”. And Linda, I can’t imagine a loving God, saying one thing and then doing another.

  229. Dustin says:

    I see this dialogue hasn’t progressed past the status quo fundamentalist, sectarian CoC line of thinking. With this urge to believe that every one of their steps to salvation is to be followed with ts crossed and is dotted, it is easy to see why this denomination is rapidly dying. If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear.

  230. dwight says:

    Jeff, I thought salvation occurred during baptism and not after it?
    The reason I defend baptism is because it is the right thing to do, but placing our faith in baptism as the savior is not right.

    I do believe you are right that Luke 24:47 ”and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.” remission of sins is a reference to baptism, but there is also repentance, which is listed in Acts 2:38 and faith as listed in Mark 16:16.
    I have defended baptism in these blogs for many years as being a part of our salvation and will again.

    An not too many deny that baptism saves, the question is do we place baptism as the point of salvation over Jesus as the savior and as being in itself a point of faith.

    You will have me when you answer the posed questions that you seem to not think are important, but they strike to the heart of the discussion.
    1. Where is it taught in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation or in order to secure it if you were baptized into Jesus as the Son of God and the savior?
    Why isn’t repentance which is listed with baptism also the point of salvation?

    2. And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this fact before we baptize one into Christ if knowing this fact is a tenant of salvation?

    3. Considering that Peter argued that those in Acts 2 would receive the “gift of the HS” to those who hadn’t yet been baptized, does it mean that they had to know what that “gift” meant before they could be saved, as many of those in the coC believe the gift is the salvation and many believe the gift is the HS itself, so are half in the coC lost because they don’t know what the gift means that Peter was indicating that they would get? I myself have moved between both thoughts on what the “gift” is over the many years of being a saint, and yet I believe I have received it.

    The problem in many Baptist and coC is that they have something to prove over the other, even when they do the same things all in Christ. We and they want to add more things to the path in order to constrict salvation to each other and others. We want salvation to be proprietary and only accessible using the keys we have and not them. They are Baptist and we re coC and their is no room for the thought that we could both be right and both be wrong in this. Right in what we do and wrong in what we believe others must know to be saved and our judgments of them. It is not enough to just simply do the things to reach Jesus, we must have faith in those thing themselves. We stumble over the points and take our eyes of the goal…Jesus.

  231. dwight says:

    Linda, Did the eunuch need to be baptized, absolutely, as this was part of his faith and repentance and then he was to live in Jesus. Salvation, is being saved and we don’t save ourselves, even in baptism. Jesus is the deliverer. We want to be delivered, so we follow the deliverer. The rich young ruler turned away from Jesus, because he didn’t want to follow Jesus. As noted those that were baptized were not being baptized just to be baptized, but were doing this as an answer of a good conscience towards God.

  232. Alabama John says:

    This dismally bad thinking of our God is disturbing if not a sin to say the least to teach it.
    What parents, their nationality, we were born to, what period of time, their knowledge of God and their location on this earth was not our decision but was Gods.
    Impossible to think that almost all of those that have lived on this earth were destined to hell at birth.
    I guess we could just be thankful we were born where Jesus was taught and believed and makes one wonder why we were chosen to be where the thinking like Jeff was taught.
    Bottom line I think its very disrespectful of God, our God of love, to teach He is like that.
    God has, and will, continue to make exceptions so His judgment will be fair to all. I look forward to seeing a lot in heaven that like me probably didn’t get it all just right but tried to please God.

  233. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    You are trying to build a case to judge God by human standards. You express human ideas about what is fair to the balance of humanity. Does God express anywhere that he will take our standards in consideration as he judges humanity? The Bible explains that his ways are superior to our ways, and the whole of history prior to Christ was education and training mankind in the knowledge of God. Describing interactions between man and God. How can a student of the Bible cut and paste portions of the text which express actions which God administered to humans on this earth which disagrees with his preconceived ideas of how God should have treated men who were rebellious to his visibility seen in nature and to the instructions which he had provided by other means.
    God claims to be The Judge who will render righteous judgement. Can any human render righteous judgement? Not unless God tells the human what it is. If many of our ideas turn out to be correct then much of humanity who lived before us will believe that they were dealt with unfairly by God.

    Could you show us some examples which lead you to this statement. “God has, and will, continue to make exceptions so His judgment will be fair to all.” Exceptions to what, His rules and instructions?

  234. Alabama John says:

    Larry,
    If what we teach about who is saved or going to hell is correct then those that believe they were treated unfairly by God would be correct. That’s why what we teach cannot be true. It must be as written in Romans 2. Exceptions in His judgment for those put in different circumstances from us is correct according to the Bible.
    All but those of us very few that have it all just right, supposedly, have and will continue to suffer in hell is just wrong. Reminds me of the old story of two old men sitting discussing this same topic and one looks at the other and says looks like everyone is going to hell but you and me and sometimes I wonder about you. That is what we do many times, so, who is actually in this day and time putting their judgment above Gods?

  235. Jeff Richardson says:

    In Genesis 6:6, God changed His mind. “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and he was grieved in His heart.” 2 Thess 1: 8 ” in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 12, ‘that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 1 Peter 4:17. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God, and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
    So Johnny, It is possible for God to lie?

  236. Charlie M. says:

    My thoughts return to the mikveh. The “living water” that was required for proper “mikveh-ing” is now living water that flows out of the faith-infused believers’ hearts, Jesus said. We become the mikveh itself, the well-spring of spiritual cleanness in the world because of the indwelling. Thus, the need for repeated mikveh cleansing is no more. The Ethiopian who, no doubt, had baptized himself in Jerusalem to become ritualistically clean before worship, sees the need to now ritualistically cleanse himself in a new, once-for-all-time-in-the-name-of-Jesus-the-Christ immersion symbolizing that new-found belief. The emphasis on the act in our time has become an emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble.

  237. Alabama John says:

    No Jeff, its not. God can sure change His mind though.
    In a lot of Bible discussions it finally comes down to how we see God. After all God will make the final call, not us so why do we spend so much time doing His job?
    Would any of us be so bold on Judgment Day if God told someone to enter heaven that He was wrong and was lying and quote the scripture to PROVE IT? I think not.
    Tell the story to a 2nd grader of God judging folks that never heard of the Bible or Jesus and being sent to hell for not obeying its writings and see if that makes sense and being fair to them.
    Remember the bible was not available or written for many years so all those that didn’t have it were sent to hell in many coC teachings. God cannot be like that or He being a loving God is a lie and that can’t be. Romans 2:14 is correct and should be believed and taught..

  238. Alabama John says:

    Jeff, its always been interesting that we gladly make exceptions where we believe God does regarding who will go to hell for those young innocent children who never had the opportunity to learn about God and what he wants from us and also the mentally incompetent for the same reasoning. Our civil laws do the same positive thing. Why we refuse to apply that same reasoning to those that were deprived of that God, Bible, knowledge under various other circumstances baffles me. Who has drawn and is still drawing that line? Man or God? Its man that condemns far more than God and in most cases its to appear to have more superior knowledge of God. Look back on the many things we used to teach in just the last 50 years were necessary to please God or go to hell that we don’t teach anymore. WE change, not God.

  239. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    The application of Roman 2:14 as you are applying it removes it from the context it is being used in and destroys its purpose.
    Rom 2:14 ESV For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
    This message only applies to the time frame when The Law was the rule for God’s people prior to the inclusion of Gentiles into Christianity. This verse also is a parallel to The Law which allows all those who lived outside of God’s chosen to be reconciled with God. There has never been a message this side of Christ’s sacrifice which will allow another method for mankind to be reconciled to God except they come to him through Christ. Paul is in the process of defining what was in the past, not what is now. He continues into the next chapters defining the present. Remember, there was also a time in the past when there was no law which defined sin, therefore, there was no sin, God overlooked it. It is not possible to apply that to today either.
    In fact, there is much about the promise to Abram that has been distorted attempting to apply it to individuals whom many think have a faith like his today.

  240. Alabama John says:

    Larry
    those Gentiles came through Christ even though they didn’t know him or of him
    Christ died for all mans sins, His blood was shed for all, even those that were a law unto themselves. How could they be baptized, have the Lords Supper each Sunday morning, not night, women wear a covering, and much more if they didn’t know as the bible wasn’t even written at that time but much later.
    That same blood that saved them also does those today that are too young, off mentally, or in situations where obeying as they would like is forbidden.
    Thank God for those allowances.

  241. Monty says:

    Jeff said,

    “Are you willing to repent, change, give up your old sinful life, are you willing to confess Him as Lord, are you willing to be buried with Him in baptism, for the forgiveness of your sins? If your willing to do this, you will be IN Christ, a son of God, holy and acceptable before Him”

    Jeff you seemed to have left out faith in Jesus. Everything is predicated on belief in Jesus. By faith Noah built an ark. By faith Abel offered. By faith one submits to baptism or confesses. That is believing God provided Jesus as our sacrifice and by that faith comes obedience. Action prompted by faith. We are saved by grace through faith. God cleansed Cornelius and his household’s hearts by faith(when they heard the message about Jesus and believed it and started speaking in tongues when the Holy Spirit fell on them before Peter ever got to the instruction about baptism. Admittedly, as Jay has said, the timing of the event pre-baptism isn’t the norm, but it shows that God doesn’t feel compelled to play by our rules. Baptist do everything you say in your quote. They “repent, change, give up their old sinful life, and they confess Him as Lord, and they are willing to be buried with Him in baptism”, they just don’t(generally) claim that it forgives sins(they say Jesus does) and he does right? So, you are basically arguing over semantics and not over their faith as expressed in their obedience. They do everything scripture says believers should do. They just do it for a slightly different reason than you emphasize. They may be wrong on the general timing of everything but that doesn’t disqualify them from salvation because salvation isn’t based in us crossing all the T’s and dotting all the i’s. It’s based in a trust that Jesus is our salvation. Not our perfect knowledge of interpretation. That false ideology(perfect interpretation) has led to 27 or more rifts in the CofC.

  242. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    Is there any belief in your comments which is different than what I had expressed? Your expressions are commenting about those who had the faith of Abraham prior to the Gentiles being grafted into Christianity. When the Gospel was presented to the Gentiles and the Jews and Gentiles became one in Christ, all Gentiles were bound in the same way to salvation through Christ. Any Gentile who refused to believe in Jesus regardless of a commitment to God from prior beliefs which were likened to the law became rebellious to Christ just as the Jews did. Any Gentile who might have been considered as obedient to God who did not accept Jesus lost their status as having the faith of Abraham. Not only of Gentiles but any human disavows their faith if they refuse Jesus.

  243. Alabama John says:

    Larry, the difference is I am including all those around the world that never heard of Abraham or Jesus and in most cases never heard or saw an Israelite or Jew. Those with the law unto themselves were covered by Jesus just as those in the bible area, mainly the mid east.
    I know its hard for those in the coC to think of anyone going to heaven but those that follow the law as they see it, Abraham and then Jesus with all others that existed left out and born to burn in hell but God sent Jesus to shed His blood for them also and many of them will be in heaven too.
    The exclusiveness is the part we differ on.
    When The Germans killed all the Jews, the children all went to heaven.

  244. laymond says:

    Monty, do we really have to voice our faith in Jesus.

    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.

  245. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    A few weeks ago, Johnny wrote:

    Jeff, am I to understand that when I was 11 years old and came to faith in Jesus, repented of my sins, professed him ans Lord, and was baptized by immersion, that I was no saved due to the fact I did not understand the term “remission of sins” ?

    I visited a Baptist church in the community today. Ironically, they started off with a baptism. The Baptizer stated, “I baptize you into Christ’s body upon your obedience to His commands.”

    I can’t find anything biblically wrong with your experience, Johnny, or with the one I witnessed today. I don’t think anyone else can either.

  246. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    I believe that the difference is something quite different than you describe. You have suggested a name and a concept that was taught by a group with the identity coC. If you are limiting your exclusiveness to what is taught there, you are very correct. But, the exclusiveness that I see you speaking of is the faith of Abraham being a alternate to Christ being the only savior. As you are applying this faith in an area which you have determined that The Gospel has never been announced. To that concept I will direct your attention to Christs own words.
    Joh 3:17-18 ESV For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
    Joh 6:37-46 ESV All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (39) And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (40) For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (41) So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (42) They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (43) Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. (44) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (45) It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— (46) not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.
    Verse 45 states that anyone who learns of God will still have to come through/to Christ. This would include all that had faith like Abraham. We can see an example in NT, think of Cornelius, previous he would have been of the faith of Abraham. But, anyone who had the faith of Abraham would deny their faith if they did not accept Jesus when presented to them. God may insure that a Christian has the opportunity to be the presenter.
    The exclusiveness is the part we differ on. I believe that it is Jesus exclusively.

  247. Larry Cheek says:

    Kevin,
    The hardest part of this experience when it happened to me was to understand that if I did not accept this individual as my brother in Christ, that possibly I was the one who was not a brother to him, or that Christ was not my elder brother. Of course, all that was because of the false information I had been fed about an organization.

  248. dwight says:

    Many of the problems is of what we place our faith in. If I place my faith in faith, it is not complete. If I place my faith in baptism, it is not complete. If I place my faith in repentance, it is not complete.
    We are to place our faith and trust in Jesus and by doing this we will have faith, turn to Christ, be baptized into Christ and live in Christ. We might fail and we will from time to time, but the mercy offered by Christ, not faith, not repentance, not baptism, will be there when we repent or ask for forgiveness.
    To be sure Jesus went to the Jews first and then the gentiles to convert them to Christ, the way the truth and the life. If it was sufficient to be a Jew and make it to God, then what was the point. All They would have had to do was tech them Judaism.
    They taught Jesus and Him crucified and in Acts 2 they converted the Jews first.
    Jesus stated salvation was of the Jews, which was Jesus, the savior.
    Peter convicted their hearts and established faith and they expressed their faith towards Jesus and ultimately God in action. Jesus often stated that he came to do the will of his Father and that to know Jesus was to know God.
    Jesus was and is the light and we are to walk in the light. This will save us. But more importantly this will allow us to see God, the God we love. Deliverance leads from sin and leads to God, but only if we accept the savior.

  249. Alabama John says:

    Larry, there was no forgiveness of sin in the OT or in the NT until Jesus died for all humans sin. Before that sins were just rolled forward but, I know you are up on that very well.
    Jesus blood cleansed back and what most miss it also cleansed forward til the end of time also.
    My point is there are those covered by the blood of Jesus that have their sins forgiven for various reasons I have stated many times that never even knew of Jesus and God only knows why they are in that situation and die. Why was not a Paul like person sent to them? Only God knows but they will not suffer hell when not understanding is not their fault. Gods mercy and grace covers them..
    I had a 7year old granddaughter die without being baptized, how many believe she is in hell for not obeying?

  250. Charlie M. says:

    I know it’s off topic, but Alabama John says:

    “there was no forgiveness of sin in the OT…”

    Say what?

    Ps. 103, Micah 7, Numbers 14, Isaiah 55 and many, many more beg to differ. Even Nathan tells David that God forgave the whole Bathsheba thing.

  251. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    Do you believe this 7 year old granddaughter had become responsible for sins at that age? If not what would prompt this comment. Not responsible or accountable would guarantee that she was in the hands of God.

    The one thing that I think of regularly when someone speaks of friends of theirs who had not heard of God or Jesus and they attempt to communicate that because they had not heard they would be exempt from being condemned. Makes me wonder if the real purpose for this concept to be presented is to cover what could be a guilt feeling for the friend not being informed by the one who knew of the lack of knowledge. I hope that is not the case in your representation. I do believe that most all of us fail in our efforts to evangelize our acquaintances. I surely hope and strive to insure that no one on judgement day will be able to point a finger at me and state that, (you showed me not the way). The song may ring true for too many there.

  252. Jeff Richardson says:

    Ephesians 5:17 ” Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Col 1:5-6 ” because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.”

    In Heb 3:16f, the Israelites, those who were disobedient, did not enter the promise land. Verse 18, And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but those who do not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Verse 6 of chapter 4, We see that disobedience is the same as unbelief. The same principal remains for us today.

  253. Alabama John says:

    Larry,
    The reason that prompted the comment I gave of my grandchild was to get someone to say what you did about her. You see, what applies to her also applies to any other child. That same innocent judgment of God would apply be it a Midianite child, or one in Hiroshima, or any denominations child. Of course there are other exceptions that would apply as well. The point is all don’t obey as we teach obedience will be lost.
    Informing or not is not always the cause of the feeling of guilt, it can also be informing and the one informed not being allowed to obey due to their death bed or other reasons not being able to obey what we have taught is absolutely necessary, no exceptions or burn. That known strict, no exceptions teaching can cause guilt, so, giving those in those circumstances hope by showing exceptions allowed by God is an encouragement to those in that situation.

  254. Dwight says:

    While I do agree faith is obedience, faith is also faith, even in the midst of disobedience. Follow me with this…David a man after God’s own heart disobeyed God, not once, but twice in a spectacular fashion. God saw his faith and penitence, which is probably what saved him from out right death in his adultery and David recommitted himself. In fact if you look at the Psalms we see David recommitting himself over and over again. David simply sought after Jesus as a whole, even when he sinned in part. Saul didn’t, but was largely a self-seeker.
    David was a man of faith. And God recognized this faith, despite David sinning and in his disobedience at times.
    It should be noted that the Israelites lost faith in God and therefore turned against God, even as God led them to the Promised Land. Jacob and Esau were recognized for their faith even before they went back into the Promised Land, because they expressed their faith and trust in God. They hadn’t even had the opportunity to obey by going into Canaan. But God knew they would.
    I do believe that faith is completed in works as James states, but man can do works and it not be faith and man can have faith and it not result in immediate works at all hours of the day. Thinking and meditating on Jesus is faith and obedience as well, even though we may not be moving about. The faithful will produce faith and works based on faith. The worshipful will worship. The loving will love. The heart will be revealed.

  255. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Ephesians 5:17 ” Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is”…
    In Heb 3:16f, the Israelites, those who were disobedient, did not enter the promise land. Verse 18, And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but those who do not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Verse 6 of chapter 4, We see that disobedience is the same as unbelief. The same principal remains for us today.”

    Jeff, your proclivity for abusing scripture by ripping single verses from their context and misapplying them seems to have only gotten worse. Yet again, you are citing a passage and focusing on eight words, while ignoring the audience or context. Eph 5:17 has nothing whatsoever to do with baptism…or more specifically – “perfect understanding of baptism” as per your theology.

    The context of Eph 5 is very clearly the Christian’s daily walk…walking in the way of love…avoiding sexual immorality, greed, obscenity, foolish talk…turning one’s back those lifestyles…living according to the light…i.e. moral, upright, holy…which is wise…as opposed to these things which are foolish…as an example, don’t be filled with wine which leads to immorality and debauchery but be filled with the Spirit, which leads to singing and thanksgiving.

    There is no place for your man-made theology of “understanding baptism” within this context. To try to force it is an adulteration of the scriptures…and that is putting it mildly.

    Although I have been away for awhile, I can’t find where Jeff has answered the questions with BCV:
    – Where is the scriptural reference that explains why “obeying God” or “being baptized into Christ” are insufficient reasons for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?
    – Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” one is saved in order for God to actually save him?

  256. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Dwight,

    Jeff misapplied Heb 3:19 and Heb 4:6 just like he misapplied Eph 5:17. The Hebrew passages have no bearing on baptism. Here is just a bit of the broader context of 3:19:

    12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”[c]

    16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

    I notice a few things:
    – First, the writer is addressing Christians…brothers and sisters.
    – Second, he is referring to the children of Israel during their wandering in the wilderness, more specifically, those who intentionally and knowingly turned away from God.
    – The writer is referring to Num. 14. Here is V1-4, and 20-23
    1 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

    20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

    Again, the context is clear. The Israelites knowingly and intentionally turned their back on God and openly rebelled. They intentionally chose a return to slavery under the Egyptians rather than a covenant relationship with the Lord. To apply this passage to Baptists who may lack a complete understanding of baptism but who nevertheless love the Lord, who choose to follow HIM rather than continue in slavery, who repent of their sins, and who choose to obey God’s command to be baptized and enter Christ’s body is just horrible, horrible exegesis and application.

  257. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    I have really gotten confused while trying to understand what you are wanting us to see in the following. I will attempt to convey what I think you are trying to say.
    “The point is all don’t obey as we teach obedience will be lost.”
    The point is all do not have an opportunity to obey, yet we teach without obedience they will be lost.
    Then your message.
    “Informing or not is not always the cause of the feeling of guilt, it can also be informing and the one informed not being allowed to obey due to their death bed or other reasons not being able to obey what we have taught is absolutely necessary, no exceptions or burn.”
    It seems to me here that you are worried about a teacher who learns that the man on his death bed has never committed to Christ, and it is probably impossible for him to be baptized. This man may already have a knowledge of Christ but never committed, therefore because of his condition he desires to know that Christ has accepted him, or wants you to confirm his commitment. Then there is the case where you see his need and attempt to convince him to commit to Christ. In either condition if you believe that without baptism he will be lost therefore, you inform the individual that he can do nothing about it now because he waited too long, baptism is absolutely necessary, therefore he is going to Hell. I believe that you would never say that to a dying man. I believe that anyone I have ever known whom I know does believe that the man is going to Hell would never make a statement to the dying man to that effect. Men that I have known would tell the man that he was in the hands of a just God and he will do what is right. The dying man must place his hope in God not in what any human says.

    Giving you my opinion above, I must now address the balance of your comment.
    “That known strict, no exceptions teaching can cause guilt, so, giving those in those circumstances hope by showing exceptions allowed by God is an encouragement to those in that situation.”
    The first problem I see here is that you, I or any other man is not God or Christ and we do not have authority to administer judgments or forgive sins. Therefore, we should avoid a communication which would cause the man to believe that he was in a different position in this matter than he already understands. Why would I make that statement? Any comfort that I might give him for his present condition could be only temporary and soon he might learn that I lied or did not have enough knowledge myself, then not only his life on the other side might not be where he wanted to be but he would know the truth about me, a lair. If I had not told him something that I could not insure he would not see me as a liar. But, the other side of this story how is God going to look at me for attempting to interfere in his judgement. I because of my desires to make the man feel good as he died, interjected just a little confirmation in an area which I had no authority. Even if what I had told the man came true, did God give me the authority to inform the man that he was saved?

    My point, the dying man already understood his condition or he would not have needed your testimony. Regardless of your communication you cannot change his condition, that is between him and God. I am not trying to tell anyone that it is not appropriate to tell a dying man the Gospel. You tell and God will judge the heart. It is not appropriate for you to confirm the mans salvation.

  258. Alabama John says:

    Larry
    In the first sentence in quotations I left off the word “that” after all. Sorry.
    You are right, the mans eternal position is between him and God.
    I’m glad things are loosening up in the church of Christ as back a few years and in many places today telling a man his destiny after his death is between him and God would be just a feel good, get me out of here, statement. In reality, we would know based on our belief in the bible that he was lost and would soon be burning. I’ve had preachers when discussing this to tell me they should of thought about their eternal destination before now as now its just too late. That is why we don’t or very seldom visit those in dying circumstances. We would rather debate.
    That causes guilt. either by you knowing (believing) you are lying to the man, or because you know you are going against the teaching of the church you attend.

  259. Dwight says:

    Kevin, This is similar to how many people try to use Romans or even Eph. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves” to indicate to faith only, when they are clearly talking to saints after the fact of their repentance and baptisms, which was a part of their faith.
    Many if not most if not all Baptist believe in salvation through Christ and through faith and resulting in repentance and baptism. Many may use terminology that we don’t like ‘ask Jesus to come into you heart”, but this terminology has precedent, but was also followed up by response and action towards Christ.
    It is therefore more ironic that many people who say “faith saves” as the point as opposed to baptism, also get baptized and often times do more work towards helping others and spreading the gospel, than those that preach “baptism saves” and works.

    Larry, I believe you are correct and this is what the Pharisees did and what many in the churches do today. We want to not only have the path to God laid down, in the way we see it (to the details), but also determine whether they are saved or not. We walk with Christ in His light first and foremost and are judged not by our fellowman, but by God in the end.

  260. Jeff Richardson says:

    Kevin, do you not think that it is possible for someone to harden their heart, before they are baptized? Those who are baptized for the wrong reason, remain a slave to sin. I notice that you now include being baptized INTO Christ as part of your question. God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of God, 1 Tim 2:4. Romans 6:16 talks about obedience that leads to righteousness. Verse 17, “yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” How can you obey from the heart that which you do not understand? In order for us to know the will of the Lord, we first must understand what the will of the Lord is. His plan is for us to believe that Jesus is His Son. To be willing to repent, to have a change of heart like those in Acts 2. To be willing to confess Jesus as Lord, and to be baptized FOR the remission or forgiveness of our sins. Understanding that doing this puts us in Christ and God adds us to His body the church, Acts 2:47. If we are baptized for any other reason, say, because we believe that we are already saved, and we are baptized to join the Baptist church. Can we really say that we understood the will of the Lord and obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered? Again, those in Matt 7:21f, appear to have loved the Lord as well, but Jesus said depart from Me, I NEVER knew you. From the context we can clearly see that Jesus wasn’t saying, because of your sin I no longer know you. He said I NEVER knew you. Why would He say such a thing? Because these people thought they were followers of Christ, yet Jesus said I have never known you. He didn’t know, or recognize them because they were not IN Christ. They didn’t understand the will of the Lord. Therefore, they had not obeyed which leads to righteousness.

  261. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Kevin, do you not think that it is possible for someone to harden their heart, before they are baptized? Those who are baptized for the wrong reason, remain a slave to sin. I notice that you now include being baptized INTO Christ as part of your question.

    Is it possible? Sure. Exceedingly rare? Absolutely. Further, the Israelites in the wilderness were adamant and vocal in their opposition towards God and Moses. “We want to go back to Egypt!” I have never witnessed a similar occurrence with respect to baptism. Heb. 3 is definitely not applicable to what we are discussing.

    I added “Into Christ” based on what I personally witnessed this past weekend, and it’s a good point. I visited a Baptist church on Sunday, and witnessed a baptism. The Baptizer stated, “I baptize you into Christ’s body upon your obedience to His commands.” So, based on my observation, a 20-something male was immersed in order to both obey God and to enter Christ. Based on your previous comments, you don’t consider those two simultaneous justifications for baptism to be valid…they are not enough. I am asking for book, chapter, verse, which you can’t seem to provide.

    God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of God, 1 Tim 2:4. Romans 6:16 talks about obedience that leads to righteousness. Verse 17, “yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” How can you obey from the heart that which you do not understand?

    Yes, and the form is baptism, which the young man obeyed. The difference between your theology and scripture is that the word of God doesn’t mandate these “understanding commands” relative to baptism. You do, Jeff. We obey things that we don’t understand all the time. Abraham didn’t understand God’s promises, but he trusted God anyway and it was accounted to him as righteousness. Going back to the Bible, where is the passage that mandates that we must fully understand in order for our obedience to be valid? You can’t find it, Jeff, because it doesn’t exist.

    Again, those in Matt 7:21f, appear to have loved the Lord as well, but Jesus said depart from Me, I NEVER knew you. Why would He say such a thing? Because these people thought they were followers of Christ, yet Jesus said I have never known you. He didn’t know, or recognize them because they were not IN Christ.

    Another misapplication, Jeff. A horrible application actually. Matt 7:21 is not referring to those who strive to follow Jesus, who love Him, who transform their lives, and who obey God’s command to be baptized but lack a complete understanding. The context of Matt 7 and the parallel passage of Luke 6 is very plainly a distinction between true disciples / prophets and false disciples / prophets. How do we know the difference between true disciples and false disciples? By whether one fully understands the point at which they are saved while submitting to immersion as you suggest, Jeff? What does Christ say? Matt 7:17-20 – Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. How about the parallel passage in Luke 6:43-45? “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

    Christ doesn’t make a distinction based on one’s understanding of when they are saved during baptism. It’s beyond absurd. Christ is addressing the fact that true disciples bear good fruit born of a changed heart; false disciples bear evil fruit born of an evil heart. These false disciples and prophets are like Judas…they pretend to be a disciple, they act like disciples, they go through the motions, but are not committed to Jesus. Rather, they truly pursue their own evil interests just like Judas: money, influence, prestige, etc. Their discipleship is superficial.

    I can’t find a single commentary that links true discipleship to our ability to get baptism correct and to understand it to be the exact point of our salvation as you suggest. I can’t even find a commentary that includes baptism in the discussion for these passages.

  262. dwight says:

    This goes back to the questions:
    1. Where is it taught in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation or in order to secure it if you were baptized into Jesus as the Son of God and the savior?
    Why isn’t repentance which is listed with baptism also the point of salvation?

    2. And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this fact before we baptize one into Christ if knowing this fact is a tenant of salvation?
    Would Jeff require that one must state, “I believe Jesus is the Son of God and savior and that this baptism is the point at which I am saved.”

    Jeff hasn’t confronted these two questions, because I doubt even he was baptized into this concept requiring this admission.

    This kind of goes back to the point of that in Act 2, they were told that they would receive the “gift of the HS”, so do we also need to know in what way we receive the gift of the HS before we are baptized? Do we require an admission that we have indeed received it after we are baptized?

  263. Jeff Richardson says:

    Gentleman, you keep ignoring Mark 16:15-16. “he who believes AND IS baptized shall be saved.” It is abundantly clear that salvation comes after baptism, not before as the Baptist claim. Every person I have ever known, or taught was instructed that baptism was a burial, Rom 6. That it puts one in Christ, that they are being baptized for the remission or forgiveness of their sins. That the Lord adds them to His church, not a Baptist organization. They all ask why am I to do this. They have to be taught. The point of salvation is when one believes that Christ is the Son of God, is willing to repent, willing to confess His name and willing to be buried in baptism FOR the remission of their sins. All these things God requires not me. As for the H.S., I believe receiving the H.S. was limited to those of the first century. You have never heard, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the H.S. FOR the remission of your sins. Which is said after their confession. That is what the church of Christ teaches. You may be spending to much time at a Baptist church.

  264. Monty says:

    Jeff said,

    “If we are baptized for any other reason, say, because we believe that we are already saved, and we are baptized to join the Baptist church.” ” Those who are baptized for the wrong reason, remain a slave to sin.”

    Jeff, unbeknownst to you, you are adding to the very word of God you condemn others for taking away. Nowhere are we instructed that if you are baptized for a Biblical reason but not “for remission of sins” that God won’t accept it. Say, for example, because it’s commanded. Obeying a command out of love is never a wrong reason, even if you miss some aspects of that command.
    In the NT when Jesus(the Gospel) was preached people (by faith) trusting in Jesus received baptism. Baptist believe in Jesus and by faith in him (not their baptism), receive baptism. Isn’t that the plan? He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved? Your faith(it would seem) is in your baptism because yours had the words “for the remission of sins” pronounced over you. What if the preacher had said only these words, “upon your confession that Jesus is the Son of God, I baptize you into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?” Would that be good enough for God? Care to speak for Him?

    I know of no Baptist teaching that says a person should be baptized “because they are saved” as a systematic teaching. Now they may indeed feel that way and who am I (or you) to judge the thoughts and intents of another’s obedience to the Lord, but I know of no teaching in the Baptist Church that says “be baptized because you are already saved.” While they do baptize to be in the Baptist Church we baptize to be in the Church of Christ denomination. You would say, “it’s the Lord adding to his church”, but you would (I’m guessing) deny Him adding to HIs church if the baptism was performed in a building which wasn’t a Church of Christ building (with sign) and with a preacher who wasn’t a Church of Christ preacher (no matter even if the one doing the baptizing said the mantra “for the remission of sins”). And I have run across many Baptist who swear they were baptized for the remission of sins.

    Jeff, just out of curiosity, do you believe that when we are baptized into Christ that we receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit? Or are you a word only fellow?

  265. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Gentleman, you keep ignoring Mark 16:15-16. “he who believes AND IS baptized shall be saved.” It is abundantly clear that salvation comes after baptism,

    So, what?!? I don’t dispute what you are stating here, but the “So, what?” is the topic at hand. Baptists DO believe and ARE baptized and consequently saved. The onus is on you to make a scriptural argument explaining why God withholds salvation from the person who believes and is baptized but who also misunderstands the exact timing of salvation.

    All these things God requires not me.

    Jeff, you are speaking where God has not spoken. A very dangerous endeavor. A much safer alternative is to back up your assertions with scripture. Where does the Bible state that man must fully understand all the purposes of baptism in order for baptism to be valid? Where does the Bible state that “obeying God” or “being baptized into Christ” are insufficient reasons for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins? Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” one is saved in order for God to actually save him?

  266. David says:

    Baptism is communication, that comes ultimately from God, by which our sins are pronounced forgiven so that we can draw near to Him, have a good conscience before Him, become dead to sin and obedient servants of Christ, put on Christ, etc. I do not agree with the common Baptist view of baptism, but if they acquire the frame of heart that baptism is designed to give them, they are Christians the same as I. I would never say one baptized as a Baptist needs to become alienated from God and start living in sin so he can start over and then get baptized right. That makes no sense at all.

  267. Dwight says:

    Jeff, we all know that salvation comes after baptism according to Mark 16:16 “Mark 16:15-16. “he who believes AND IS baptized shall be saved.” But it also comes after belief as in believes. The fact is that if one has faith and is baptized, then they should be saved, no matter what.
    But we place another condition on this, which is believing in the point of salvation itself as either faith or baptism, when it both, along with repentance, confession and even living a life in Christ.
    And even after we are baptized we must continue in our faith and be repentant, but we mustn’t be held under water. The answer of a good conscience is towards God, not towards baptism.

    I know, “That the Lord adds them to His church, not a Baptist organization.”, but many believe that the coC is the NT church and when you are baptized into the coC you are baptized into the NT church. So we face the same hurdles in many ways. But I know many Baptist that believe they are baptized into Christ and not the Baptist organization.

    If it is as you say, “As for the H.S., I believe receiving the H.S. was limited to those of the first century.”, then one who believes that they will receive the HS after they are baptized, not miraculously, but as an indwelling is sinful or not really baptized? This is my point in that now we must make sure they believe the correct way in regards to the HS, whichever way that is, in order to be baptized and be saved.

    Jeff, I have never been to a Baptist church, again an assumption. And yes I have heard those words before, but not all of them every time in that order. They aren’t magical words, they are simply stating a basic truth. The reality from the one being baptized is that they must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and their savior. This will get them the gift of the HS, whether we state it or not.

  268. Dwight says:

    Now one thing is that the “basic” Baptist teaching follows a rather un-linear approach to salvation, that results in the same thing. They will argue that baptism is not essential, but then argue that one must be baptized, because it is obedience and obedience is salvatory in effect.
    This is Baptist rhetoric, but many Baptist will connect baptism to salvation, because it is obedience, despite arguing that salvation is dependent upon faith.
    This above is true, as in if you don’t have faith in Jesus, then baptism is pointless, just like baptism in another i.e.John is pointless.
    Faith does save and obedience down out of faith saves.
    The Baptist, mostly, will argue against sprinkling and only for immersion by another.
    And even though they will mostly say it is symbolic, that the act is obedience as well.

    I would argue that if you approached a coC person and said, “If you have faith in Jesus and obey by being baptized are you saved?” they would say yes as well.

    Now another truth is that we are told we are buried with Christ. We teach this and it is fact, but do we have to know it to be baptized? I don’t know of any coC that has the person state that “they are being buried and raised with Christ” before they are baptized and we don’t state, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit I bury into Jesus and raise you in newness of life for the remission of your sins”.

    IT is possible that many in the Baptist and the coC will not be saved because they seek division over something they both do, but fight over a distinction that is a fact from the side of Jesus, but not because man cannot save himself. Arguably if baptism saves me from my side, then I have saved myself, but while being baptized in water I am being saved by Jesus.

  269. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Dwight,

    But I know many Baptist that believe they are baptized into Christ and not the Baptist organization.

    That’s exactly what I witnessed this weekend. It was the first time that I had observed a Baptist baptism. The young man was “baptized into Christ.” No mention whatsoever of being baptized into the Baptist organization. Funny what you learn when you observe things firsthand rather than relying on hearsay. Within the COC, I had been taught this too about Baptist baptism…that one is baptized into the Baptist organization. After talking to several, I haven’t been able to find a single Baptist who agrees with that statement. They all thing that they were baptized into Christ and His church.

  270. Dwight says:

    Of course when you go to some Baptist sites, you find that they expect that people who are baptized into Christ are baptized into their local church or Baptist churches, but what is true is that what the preachers might preach or what the going theological creed isn’t always translated down to those who are getting baptized.
    And as you have noted some or many Baptist congregations don’t think like that.
    Like many coC, there are many Baptist that don’t follow the prevailing creed or charter and even among those congregations there are a mixtures of people who might or might not believe in or understand this particular understanding.
    Even among the coC there is a tendency to think that if you are baptized into Christ you are baptized into the church and since there is only one scriptural church you are baptized into the coC. Any break from the coC, that is to say the conservative coC, is a break from God.

  271. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    You may be spending to much time at a Baptist church.

    Maybe; maybe not. The jury is still out, but I am certainly looking for an alternative. I will never go back to a SOF COC. I think I am indicative of those who are leaving the SOF COC in droves. The arguments of our church fathers (and, yes, we do have those) no longer make logical sense. They are too contradictory. They don’t speak in congruence with the Bible. Frankly, they too often speak where the Bible is silent. They are dangerously presumptuous in speaking for Christ. And they very nearly teach another Gospel.

    I found a great progressive COC in the area, but the drive is just too far. The Baptist church that I have attended for the past month supports many of the activities to which Christ directly referred in Mt 25:34-36: feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, helping the needy, assisting addicts, aiding disaster stricken areas, and sharing the Gospel via mission efforts in nine different countries and three American cities. Although I have attended SOS COCs for virtually my entire life, I have never witnessed an equivalent level of good works among congregations where I have been a member. We were too busy arguing CENI, damning our good neighbors who were not affiliated with SOF COCs (and many of those who were affiliated), visiting lectureships & drinking the Kool-Aid, and reveling in our favored status as the one true church. We didn’t have time for evangelizing the unchurched, assisting addicts, and getting our hands dirty with the poor. Some of the SOF COCs that I attended were clearly better than others, but none matched the efforts of the first Baptist church that I visited here in my community.

  272. Mark says:

    What is SOF?

  273. Dwight says:

    Yes, what is SOF or SOS?

  274. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Sorry, SOS is a typo.

    “SOF COC” is a Sign Out Front Church of Christ.

  275. laymond says:

    Kevin said;
    “The arguments of our church fathers (and, yes, we do have those) no longer make logical sense. They are too contradictory. They don’t speak in congruence with the Bible. Frankly, they too often speak where the Bible is silent. They are dangerously presumptuous in speaking for Christ. And they very nearly teach another Gospel.”

    Boy, that is one thing you can’t accuse the Baptist, or progressives of. They can point directly to the book, chapter, and verse, to back what they teach. but that book is not the bible, it is books written by men of progressive beliefs.

  276. Alabama John says:

    Kevin,
    The SOF has been a topic of conversation in our separate home groups where I attend in Birmingham. Surprisingly, many of the older folks like me want only Crossbridge on the SOF and our handouts and any other literature. That would rid the negative thinking that hurts us in gaining new members because of the preconceived thinking from the past and also very much please the conservative coC as well.

  277. Jeff Richardson says:

    ” I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-10.

    In 2 Timothy 2:17-18 It is said of Hymenaeus and Philetus , that their message, the resurrection had already passed, just a miner detail, they didn’t understand perfectly, right? Paul said they had strayed from the truth, their message had spread like cancer, the faith of some had been overthrown. verse 19, “the Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

    So the Baptist, who don’t understand baptism correctly, who when asked “what must I do to be saved”, will tell you, say the sinners prayer and invite Jesus into your heart to be your personal savior. Then after your saved, sometime down the road when there are several to be baptized, they will make a day of it. Baptizing people, allowing them to show their inward faith and joining the Baptist church.

    I think Paul would say, they have strayed from the truth, their false message has spread like cancer, overthrowing the faith of many. He would also say anyone who names the name of Christ needs to depart from iniquity.

    So yes, understanding the details is vital, we can only obey that which we understand. We teach error if we don’t understand ourselves.

  278. Dwight says:

    Jeff, this is a gross misunderstanding of the Baptist think in regards to baptism, in that they don’t argue “sometime down the road”, but immediate or ASAP. This sometime down the road philosophy is just as present in the coC as in the Baptist in reality. I have grown up in the coC and it has been within the past 10 years that baptism when you are convicted you can be baptized anytime has been seen, but before that it has been baptized when you hear the invitation and song, then come forward, which has encouraged waiting. In fact we still do the invitation and invitation song, even though it should be done at the beginning of or in the middle of the service if a person is so inclined.
    We don’t look inward enough to be able to condemn others.

  279. Dwight says:

    To be fair, though, I think many Baptist, at least from their understanding when they teach, believe that the coC just want to get people into the baptistery as soon as possible, whether they have the faith to support it or not, and in truth I have seen this before, but it is rare as a teaching. If you would attend one service and listen to the invitation, you see it heavy on the baptism and sometimes barely on the faith or confession or repentance and sometimes not at all. It is sporadic at best to hear “believe and be baptized” or “repent and be baptized”, because it is largely be “baptized to be saved.” Now we in the coC know that faith must precede baptism or be apart of it, but it isn’t always apparent and sometimes it is very greatly obscured.
    And then we complain that they only teach faith or “sinners prayer and invite Jesus into your heart to be your personal savior” as the way to God, even though they also teach obedience and thus baptism in regards to salvation.
    Although I am against the Sinner’s prayer as a command, as a tradition it is not so bad and is right up there with many coC traditions and traditions that most churches exhibit, despite there being no example in the scriptures. The Sinner’s prayer is a suggested and encouraged prayer, but not a precursor to salvation over any other confession according to the SBC. It is an example of a confession.
    Passing out the contribution plate after we partake of the Lord’s Supper creates the impression that the contribution is a part of the Lord’s Supper, which is why most LS leaders try to separate it out before they offer the prayer for it and yet it is always there, despite not being anywhere close in the scriptures. Many in the coC would actually be offended if the contribution was done at any other time or was just a plate sitting on a table in the back where people contributed, because it is ingrained in the coC and general church psyche that it is to be done this way and so it is.

    My point is that we in the coC have as many traditions that are ingrained as anybody else.
    In truth I would do away with the Sinner’s prayer and the asking Jesus to come into you heart procedure, but would also do away with expensive pews, with the contribution done after the Lord’s Supper, the invitation and invitation song, with the contribution going into the church building and building support, etc, because they are all problematic in their own ways.

  280. Jeff Richardson says:

    Dwight, we do have traditions that are harmless, such as Sunday and Wednesday night services. Buildings, pews, song books and such, aid us in carrying out commands. We are commanded to give on the first day of the week. We do it after communion as a matter of convenience, we have not added to God’s word. The sinners prayer on the other hand is an addition to the Apostles doctrine, considering the fact we see no such thing in scripture. Using it, teaching it would be adding it and therefore it would be sinful. Some churches of Christ have adopted the use of instruments. This is adding to what we have been commanded to do, therefore it is sinful. Some see singing only as a tradition. It’s a tradition handed down by God. Not a man made tradition.The invitation song is sung to encourage anyone to respond, how could it possibly be wrong to sing a song to do that? There are matters of opinion, such as a single plate where you drop off your contribution. On the other hand, our giving is an act of worship, maybe we should give it a little more attention than just that. But, that just my opinion. But in matters of faith and practice, only God’s opinion matters. What one must do and believe to be saved falls into His realm, not mine.

  281. Johnny says:

    Jeff can you show me where we are commanded to give on the first day of the week? If you are referring to 1 Corintians 16:2 I have to wonder when you anticipate Paul coming to pick up the funds for the saints in Jerusalem. I believe you are a follower of Christ and doing it the absolute best as you understand it, but you try to make scripture fit what you believe creating requirements where none exist.

  282. Dwight says:

    Jeff, this is finicky thinking. It is not adding to God’s word if we do it, but it is if you do it.
    The sinner’s prayer is just a statement of faith and is just as viable as pews, etc.
    Are pews which cost three to four times as much as simple cushion chairs needed? Really.
    This is called justification.
    Now if the sinner’s prayer was required, I would agree with you, but it isn’t and it is noted as being a statement of confession of faith, but not a commanded statement. If a person doesn’t say it, they will not be denied baptism.

    This goes back to my questions:
    1. Where is it taught in the scriptures that one must know that baptism is the point of salvation as a precursor to salvation or in order to secure it if you were baptized into Jesus as the Son of God and the savior?
    Why isn’t faith (Mark 16:16) and/or repentance (Acts 2:38) which is listed with baptism also the point of salvation? Why just baptism?

    2. And why is it that we don’t require an admission of this fact before we baptize one into Christ if knowing this fact is a tenant of salvation?
    Would Jeff require that one must state, “I believe Jesus is the Son of God and savior and that this baptism is the point at which I am saved.”

    Yes, Johnny the particulars of I Cor. are kind of left to the wind. Paul, himself commanded them to give so that HE would collect, this wasn’t meant to be a command for all churches unless Paul was going to those churches. Secondly, if we really take this command to give on the first day of the week serious, we would take the command that it was to go to people seriously as well, not veering to give the money to things like say…buildings, etc. The command of I Cor. should be followed in all points, unless we don’t follow in all points as well.

  283. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff,

    First, you are still avoiding the questions. That’s pretty telling. It indicates that you are relying more on opinion that on the word of God. Doesn’t it trouble you that you can’t provide a scriptural reference? All you have produced is opinion: “How can you believe anything, if you don’t understand it?” That’s opinion, not Bible.

    While you didn’t answer the questions, you did quote Galatians 1:6-10 and 2 Timothy 2:17-18. Out of context again, but you did quote them. Jeff, you have done this several times now. Doesn’t that bother you? These passages don’t support your position at all! You’ve ripped them from there proper context and applied them to completely different situations.

    First the Galatians passage…it’s not applicable. Baptists fully believe in the DBR or Christ. The context of Galatians 1-2 is that Jewish Christians were encouraging Gentile Christians to judaize. They were forcing Gentiles to live like Jews in order to be acceptable to God. They were adding extra conditions for salvation. Baptists don’t do that. Can you list the extra conditions that Baptists impose on man in order for us to be acceptable to God? In reality, Baptists stress HBRCB. On the other hand, Jeff, you ARE adding extra conditions for man to be acceptable to God. You have added a “baptismal understanding” condition. You have fervently denied the Kingdom to those who are baptized in order to obey God and in order to enter Christ. You mandate, without any scriptural reference or authority, that man must understand exactly when his sins are forgiven in order for God to actually forgive him of his sins. That is the very definition of adding to the Gospel.

    The 2 Tim passage is even further off the mark. You didn’t even bother to quote this one, and no wonder. You have completely misapplied it. Here it is the passage in context:

    8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

    If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
    12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
    if we deny him, he also will deny us;
    13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
    for he cannot deny himself.

    A Worker Approved by God
    14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

    So, Hymenaeus. Where have we heard that name before? Well, back in 1 Tim 1:
    18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    So…Jeff alleges that Paul condemned Hymenaeus simply because Hymenaeus misunderstood the resurrection. Well, not so fast; that’s not what Paul states. No, Hymenaeus had much bigger issues than that. His teaching led people to ungodliness, and he was destroying other believer’s faith. As Towner notes in his IVPNTC commentary, “The promise of our future resurrection is the very foundation of the Christian faith. Remove the foundation, and faith collapses.”

    Towner, Philip. 1–2 Timothy & Titus. Vol. 14. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

    Jeff, this man-made doctrine of yours has completely clouded your judgment, IMO. You are grasping at straws and grossly misapplying scripture all in an effort to limit salvation to others. You have yet to answer the questions that I have posed or the questions from Dwight. I urge you to reconsider your position in light of scripture rather than relying on mere opinion.

  284. Monty says:

    Excellent points Kevin,

    Jeff, the Galatians quote you used has basis if the Baptist are teaching people they have to live under the Law(be circumcised). Do they teach that? No! As far as the 2 Timothy passage goes it only applies if the Baptist are teaching the resurrection has already occurred. Are they teaching that? Again, No! Please compare apples to apples!

    Baptist teach that believers get baptized. You do to. We can argue about the semantics later. That’s what you believe too! Is it not? They teach it for obedience to the scriptures. So do you. You believe we have to obey the command of receiving baptism. They do too. Do they not? They’re called Baptist for a reason. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” They don’t teach people to not receive baptism. They teach believers to obey the command and receive baptism.

    No doubt we see the timing of things differently, but we mustn’t make a damning pronouncement on a timing issue because God himself hasn’t put himself in that box. See Cornelius, in Acts 10.

  285. Dwight says:

    Kevin, This doctrine of Jeff’s is not really Jeff’s at all as it is ingrained in the coC creed, which is one of the points that makes the coC different from just about everybody else. I used to think like this, until I realized one important point…God is not vague. If God had wanted this argument to be a point in itself of salvation, he would have said, “Believe, believe in baptism as the point of your salvation and be baptized”. But this is absent, not because baptism isn’t a part of salvation, but because it isn’t the only part and it isn’t that on which we must believe, but rather obey. And even in baptism we only present our self, as an answer to God, then we are baptized by another and cleansed by God.

    I used to use the case of Peter and the Ephesians to argue that one must understand on what they were baptized, but the point of that scripture wasn’t on what, but in whom. It was still remission of their sins, but John wasn’t the savior and didn’t have the power to save.

    I would also argue that those people who also argue that faith is the point, miss the point, if they rely solely on faith, without applying faith to work or obedience.

    Unfortunately many Baptist and coC teachers teach this “point of salvation” as a dividing point, not realizing that there are many points and really no individual stand alone point, because it forms a path to Christ. The only true point of salvation is Christ, which all of these other points point to. In fact after we are baptized we can still be lost, because salvation is a promise, not an actuality until we die. If our faith fails and our obedience falters, we can lose out on that which God offers to us.

  286. Jeff Richardson says:

    Johnny, 1 Cor 16 is our example, for all the churches to be ready to meet a need.
    Dwight, I do believe that anyone taught correctly would indeed be asked, do you understand WHY you need to be baptized and what it means to be baptized. If they are taught Mark 16:15-16 they will understand that they are not saved until after they are baptized.
    Kevin, I have repeatedly answered your questions, you simply reject what the bible teaches. Baptist add the sinners prayer and asking Jesus into their hearts. It is at this point that they believe they are saved. Those in 2 Tim 2 who believed that the resurrection had already passed were people who believed in Christ. Yet they didn’t understand correctly. Paul said they had strayed from the truth, their message was false and had spread like cancer, peoples faith had been overthrown. The principle is still the same, regardless of what is being misunderstood.We need to understand or else we spread a falsehood, and or believe a falsehood. You say that I am denying others salvation, NO, God is denying them. There is only one plan of salvation and that belongs to Christ. By denying that plan, one has made himself shipwrecked.
    Monty, the Baptist teach a perverted gospel, one in which they teach a perverted plan of salvation. In your own words you say they, the Baptist teach “believers” to be baptized. One is not a believer until after he is baptized, for the remission of his sins. King Agrippa believed and was almost persuaded to become a Christian.
    And Dwight, you say that all these different points make a path to Christ. That’s the problem there is only one way to Christ, His way. Eph 4, there is but one faith, one body, one baptism. What plan of salvation did Cornelius obey? It wasn’t the Baptist!

  287. Johnny says:

    Jeff you said it was a command now you say it is an example. Those are two different things. Even those who use CENI understand that. As I said you are creating commands where none exist. Just like you are adding conditions to the gospel.

  288. Monty says:

    Jeff said,

    “In your own words you say they, the Baptist teach “believers” to be baptized. One is not a believer until after he is baptized, for the remission of his sins. King Agrippa believed and was almost persuaded to become a Christian.”

    Jeff that is just so wrong. Jesus told the disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” A disciple is a learner, one who follows after a rabbi. You teach people the Good NEws, they believe and upon their belief(trust-faith) that Jesus is Messiah they accept the command to be baptized. It’s what believers do(as the commercial goes). Your version is that non-believers with no faith decide to follow the rabbi and get baptized and only during their baptism do they suddenly have faith and are now become believers. That’s ludicrous.

    The better translations of the passage you mention have King Agrippa deriding Paul for thinking that he could give a little speech and(so quickly) convert him to his religion. He wasn’t a believer in any true sense at all. A person who believes in Jesus and repents of their sins and gets baptized as an act of obedience or to publicly express their faith is a true believer. Once again a horrible example of not comparing apples to apples.

  289. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Kevin, I have repeatedly answered your questions, you simply reject what the bible teaches.

    Jeff, this is not a true statement…on both counts. I have repeatedly asked the following questions, and you have yet to answer.

    1. Where does the Bible state that man must fully understand all the purposes of baptism in order for baptism to be valid?

    2. Where does the Bible state that “obeying God” or “being baptized into Christ” are insufficient reasons for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    3. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” one is saved in order for God to actually save him?

    The closest that you have come to answering these questions is a rhetorical comment: “How can you believe anything, if you don’t understand it?” That’s not an argument from scripture, Jeff. If so, where is it? I can’t find it in any of my searches. I find it in Jeff Richardson’s writings, but I can’t find it in scripture. That’s a problem for me.

    Then you mention 2 Tim 2 as your proof text!! 2 Tim 2?!? How many times does Paul reference baptism in 2 Tim 2?!? Zero. How many times does Paul reference baptism in the entire book of 2 Tim?!? Zero. How many times does Paul reference baptism in both letters to Timothy?!? Zero. Paul doesn’t reference “baptize,” “baptism,” or even “new birth” in any of his writing to Timothy. I checked. Context, Jeff, context. I know that you know what that means. I’ve already demonstrated how Hymenaeus is a fallacious application.

    So, break it down for me, Jeff. Where is it found in the Bible? Give me a reference. Clearly, it’s not in 2 Tim 2.

    I’m sure Monty will mention this, but I can’t help but note your comment:

    Monty, the Baptist teach a perverted gospel, one in which they teach a perverted plan of salvation.

    Just so you know, “Plan of salvation” is not in the Bible. You are quick to condemn the Baptists for saying the “Sinner’s Prayer” because it can’t be found in scripture, but then you condemn them for perverting your “plan of salvation,” which is also not found in scripture. It’s ironic that you are so keen on speaking where the Bible speaks; being silent where the Bible is silent; and calling Bible things by Bible names; and yet you break these rules left, right, and center.

  290. Dwight says:

    Jeff, you said, “Dwight, I do believe that anyone taught correctly would indeed be asked, do you understand WHY you need to be baptized and what it means to be baptized. If they are taught Mark 16:15-16 they will understand that they are not saved until after they are baptized.”
    So accordingly the why is… you gain salvation and then Jesus, or is it Jesus and then you gain salvation?
    The reality is that these gospels weren’t written until many, many years later and not everyone had them to read.
    Now Mark 16:15-16 was aimed at the apostles to teach others about Christ and then to when they responded to baptize them, but wasn’t meant for doctrine itself for the believer.
    Baptism was done as a response to Christ as commanded by the apostles, but it wasn’t taught as a doctrinal stance about itself.
    We see an example of Mark 16 in Acts 2, but when we read it they were only taught Jesus and then they responded out of conviction/faith and were baptized, so baptism wasn’t a teaching, but an entrance into the body of Christ.
    Arguably we would then be wrong to teach Act 2 the way Peter did using Peter’s words, because it doesn’t teach baptism for salvation. Peter taught Christ and Christ crucified, just as Paul did.
    This is true also of Cornelius, who was taught Jesus, then they received the gift of the HS, they were baptized into Christ.
    Now we could argue that the Ethiopian eunuch was taught baptism, but in reality he was taught Christ and then taught baptism into Christ.

    Again when we ask people why they are baptized we ask them the why…”do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and your savior “, not “do you believe that you are saved by Jesus and baptism.” People aren’t asked to make a confession in regards to baptism. They are simply asked to do it to gain Christ.

  291. Jeff Richardson says:

    Monty, If a person says, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but I reject the need to be baptized for the remission of my sins. Can we say that, that person has faith in Christ? No we can’t. Because he doesn’t believe enough to trust Him and obey Him
    .
    Kevin, what form of doctrine did the Romans obey from the heart? Romans 6:17 What knowledge is Paul telling Timothy about in order to be saved? 1 Tim 2:4. The Eunuch was taught About Jesus, then he asked to be baptized, how did he know about baptism, unless baptism is included in being taught about Jesus? When Paul recounts his own conversion, he tells us what Ananias told him to do, arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins. We learn from that statement, what baptism does as well as in Romans 6, Col 2:12-13, and others. Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim 2:17-18 teach us a principle about understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. That understanding incorrectly will cause us to stray from the truth. If we don’t understand baptism and what it accomplishes we will teach error and our false message will spread like cancer, over throwing the faith of others. Baptist do not believe nor do they teach baptism for the remission of sins. They teach people that they are saved upon their (simple) belief in Jesus. And no, we don’t make people make a public confession regarding why they are being baptized. But I for one and I know most do, while sitting on that front pew, if I hadn’t studied with them, I would make sure they understand the what and why of baptism, before it went any further. If they don’t understand more study is needed. Why? because you can’t obey from the heart that which you don’t understand. The eunuch came to an understanding after being taught.

    Dwight, When we are baptized into Christ and raised a new creature, we have received Jesus and all spiritual blessings. Christ becomes our Savior upon our obedience. So, if baptism was not a teaching, how would we know anything about it. Why did Peter when asked, “what must we do” respond by saying “repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins?” Was he not teaching them what they must do? Yes, Jesus must be taught, as well as how we are to respond to that teaching. We respond to it in obedience to it. The only way to put on Christ, is to be baptized INTO Christ. Christ and His baptism go together, one without the other leaves us in a lost state. Paul in Titus 1:16 speaks of people who honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him, in works they deny Him. Baptism is a work of God, a work that needs to be not only done, but understood and obeyed from the heart.

  292. Monty says:

    Jeff’

    If someone rejects baptism, after being shown as a command, that is one thing, but Baptist don’t reject baptism, they command it as an act of obedience. Something you do too. They don’t see it as salvic, or pertaining to salvation(we know that). But here’s the deal, they don’t “reject it” as needing to be done by believers. They won’t even let you be a Baptist without it. Just like you won’t let someone be a Church of Christer (without it). They teach believe on Jesus and receive baptism. Sounds Biblical. You teach believe on Jesus-repent-confess-be baptized for the remission of sins(the only valid reason). And it’s not the only valid reason. You’re that guy that’s going to demand someone be rebaptized because his big toe was sticking out of the water(he didn’t get buried) I can hear you say. Am I wrong? If Jesus, or God, or the apostles had said, “this is what you teach and say when you baptize someone it must be for the forgiveness of sins”, then that’s what we’d(you and I) and the Baptist must say at every baptism. But you can’t find where it’s taught as a command to pronounce at a persons baptism. IT’s something you infer that has to be pronounced. There is no baptismal formula taught. It’s great to have the understanding that you or I have but it’s not a deal breaker if you just trust in Jesus and do it because you’re suppose to. It leaves one to be baptized as a believer following simple obedience. Like it or not.

  293. Jeff Richardson says:

    Monty, your correct, the Baptist don’t connect baptism with salvation, that is their fatal error. They do reject it ‘for the remission of their sins”. Therefore they are baptized for the wrong reason. Their baptism makes you a Baptist, not a member of the Lord’s church. Every baptism I have ever witnessed, the person is asked, ‘do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? With that confession I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for the remission of your sins.” Sounds like a pronouncement to me. Saul was told to arise and be baptized, washing away thy sins. Baptist believe they are saved at their confession, and that baptism has nothing to do with their sins being washed away. Now how can that be? Hymenaeus and Philetus.

  294. Monty says:

    Jeff,

    The “fatal error” is only fatal in your COFC indoctrinated mind. It isn’t in scripture. You believe in a God who would not only turn away, but damn, a person who believes on His Son, turns away from their sin, confesses his name openly and receives baptism(at some point) and then walks to the best of their understanding with God. Please rethink your position.

  295. Dwight says:

    Jeff,
    You say, “If a person says, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but I reject the need to be baptized for the remission of my sins. Can we say that, that person has faith in Christ? No we can’t. Because he doesn’t believe enough to trust Him and obey Him.”
    You have two conditions 1. recognizing that it saves 2. faith and obeying.
    Only one of those are argued for from the scriptures as what a person does towards Christ, the other is a fact of following those things.

    In some ways the Baptist do connect baptism with salvation, but it isn’t direct and as direct as we would like, but it is there none-the-less. Even though they do regard faith as the point of salvation, they also argue for obedience and in specifically the obedience of baptism. Without this obedience, they argue they are disobeying God and sinning, thus are lost. Faith and obedience saves.
    This agree with your statement, “Was he not teaching them what they must do? Yes, Jesus must be taught, as well as how we are to respond to that teaching. We respond to it in obedience to it. The only way to put on Christ, is to be baptized INTO Christ.”

    I do believe that the statement of “do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? With that confession I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for the remission of your sins.” is correct, but that is not what we are discussing here.

    We are discussing this statement, “do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and that baptism saves? With that confession and understanding, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and with the understanding you are now saved by baptism.”

    I have never heard the second statement, have you, even though according to the prevalent coC teaching knowing that baptism is salvation is itself a tenant of salvation.

    Actually if we are going by scripture we should say, “do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and that faith and repentance and baptism saves? With that confession and understanding, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and with the understanding you are now saved by faith, repentance and baptism.”
    It is not enough to acknowledge Jesus as our savior, but we must acknowledge the points our salvation as well, even though they all point to Jesus the savior.

  296. Monty says:

    Jeff;

    Does a toe out of the water still count or do you need to rebaptize them and get it “right”? A serious question.

  297. Alabama John says:

    Monty,
    Let me answer how I see this before Jeff does.
    I have baptized several in a shower if that was all that was available and believe God saw and understood and His grace covered me and them.
    Look at it this way, its supposed to be a burial and when a body is taken to a cemetery its down so far nothing is sticking out. What would folks there say if a hand was sticking out?
    I have seen burials when all was not covered and the result was it raised a bad stink about like your question.

  298. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Monty, your correct, the Baptist don’t connect baptism with salvation, that is their fatal error.

    Fatal error. Yet another term that is not in the Bible.

  299. Dwight says:

    The concept of burial is within the Jewish understanding immersion, which can include in, but can also include surrounded about, especially so in the case of the Jewish fathers and even Jesus who were buried in a cave. In our Western mind, baptism means to go down into the earth 6 feet under, but to the Jew, as noted in I Peter where Noah was “baptized”, baptism meant surrounded by water on all sides. Jesus was buried in the ground…in a cave.
    The Jewish “cleansing” would include both washing and/or dipping.
    Some ECF suggested sprinkling not as the primary way to baptize another, but when there was insufficient water into which one could be dipped, as option.
    I do believe, AJ, that your shower would qualify as baptism, although many would not.

    I do think AJ that you have missed Monty’s question. I do not think Monty was suggesting an intentional exclusion of the toe, but an accidental exclusion of the toe, meaning that while a person is going down and his feet or foot go up and a toe leaves the water, is he really baptized?
    Do they need to be re-baptized?
    Are we missing the spirit of the event, and obscuring it with the technical exactness?
    Many would argue that your shower baptism is not really baptism.

    But to be baptized they must know that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and exactly what that gift is or else they are not baptized with the right understanding? Just kidding. 🙂

  300. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    Kevin, what form of doctrine did the Romans obey from the heart? Romans 6:17

    Rom 6:17 refers to more than one thing. Baptism is but a part of what Paul is referencing. The theme of chapter 6 cannot be reduced to the mere ritual of baptism. More correctly, Paul is addressing the fact that Christians dead to sin but alive for God. Christ is the standard. Baptism is a part of that, and Baptists obey the command to be baptized.

    Further, Baptists obey from the heart. It’s genuine, honest, and sincere. You have redefined “from the heart” to mean that one must fully understand the meaning of baptism, to include the very moment of salvation. That’s not what the term means. See Matt 15:18 where Christ uses the same term in this chapter. It has nothing to do with understanding the purpose of baptism and everything to do with a humble, loving, penitent, heartfelt response to Christ.

    What knowledge is Paul telling Timothy about in order to be saved? 1 Tim 2:4.

    The answer is found in the very next verse: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

    The Eunuch was taught About Jesus, then he asked to be baptized, how did he know about baptism, unless baptism is included in being taught about Jesus?

    Check. Philip taught him about the need to be baptized. Baptists do the same thing.

    Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim 2:17-18 teach us a principle about understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. That understanding incorrectly will cause us to stray from the truth.

    No it doesn’t. You have grossly twisted and misapplied this passage. Hymenaeus taught that the resurrection, the second coming, had already occurred, and consequently, everyone remaining had missed the boat. Naturally, this teaching had devastating effects. Believers, thinking that Christ left them behind, abandoned the faith. Nobody today is abandoning the faith because of when we are saved during baptism. It’s an utterly ridiculous and unbiblical comparison.

    because you can’t obey from the heart that which you don’t understand.

    Prove it from the Bible please.

    I have answered your questions in order. Please do the same:
    1. Where does the Bible state that man must fully understand all the purposes of baptism in order for baptism to be valid?

    2. Where does the Bible state that “obeying God” or “being baptized into Christ” are insufficient reasons for baptism and consequently leaves one eternally lost in their sins?

    3. Where does the Bible state that one must understand “when” one is saved in order for God to actually save him?

  301. Monty says:

    AJ said,

    “What would folks there say if a hand was sticking out?”

    I think as Dwight said you missed my intention, but I’ll just answer you with, I think they’d say “he was buried or covered in dirt with a hand sticking out.” I remember as a much younger Christian trying to get a man fully submerged in a short bathtub. Quite the feat. I think God understood it if we missed a toe or knee cap, though we seriously tried not to not miss covering everything, as if his salvation rested on it. LoL! I guess if Jesus had said , “Be extra sure to not let any skin show”, it’s what we’d have to do. But he didn’t say that, did he? Did I miss that somewhere? Another one of those salvation = Jesus + the correct understanding of the moment of salvation as it regards to baptism being for the remission of sins, and not only that, but add a full coverage baptism( no skin showing) to the formula or it’s a deal breaker!

  302. Monty says:

    Are we any better than the Pharisees of Jesus day with all of our minutia of necessary inferences and added rules?

  303. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight,

    You’re right that the Jews buried in caves. They came into the earth sideways. I keep trying to imagine how we might sideways-baptize our converts. I have a son who is an engineer. Maybe he can figure out a way to do it. In my mind, I just see all the water pouring out into the audience faster than we can stuff the convert in. (Maybe an air canon and a gelatinous side wall could get it done.) I see a real opportunity to be the first to correctly baptize someone since the First Century.

    And I do wonder whether underwater breathing apparatus would void the baptism since much of the face might never come into contact with the salvific waters.

    So how could Paul have used a Greco-Roman image to teach a Jewish practice — if he meant for the form of immersion to be dictated by analogy to burial? Or maybe he was just a really good teacher using an illustration that worked in Rome but not in Jerusalem? In Jerusalem, he might have spoken in terms of the mikveh. I mean, illustrations necessarily change from culture to culture — if they’re just illustrations. And we hear nothing about “burial” in baptism in Acts in Palestinian preaching. That idea only shows up in Rome — where they buried people underground.

    So you make a fascinating point, and it bears some thought as to just how “theological” Rom 6 really is.

    But I’m going to patent the gelatin/air canon idea …

  304. David says:

    Goodness gracious, after all these years that has never occurred to me. Not the air cannon, well I guess that too. But that’s right. Rom 6 doesn’t really tell us much about the mode of baptism.

  305. Larry Cheek says:

    I do believe that it would be very hard to alter the method for baptism that was being applied by John the Baptist. Even Jesus’s baptism followed John’s pattern, which really was not John’s pattern it was the pattern from the one who sent John to baptize. I would believe that if John had been applying this action incorrectly, Jesus would have been the one with knowledge and authority to set it straight. This Baptism was sent to the Jewish Nation so how they buried their dead was irrelevant to an understanding of this baptism which was sent from above. Actions being applied was the whole picture or definition.
    Does it make anyone else wonder about the faith of individuals when communication about any subject can take on such outrageous concepts so easily?

  306. Alabama John says:

    Monty,
    I think upon further thinking that we both missed each others point.
    I like your last posts question ” Are we any better than the Pharisees of Jesus day?”
    In many ways I would say NO!
    How the church is changing reflects that feeling.

  307. Dwight says:

    My point wasn’t to argue that immersion under was wrong, but rather that we have assigned a concrete thought to a concept that was more malleable than we understand it to be, even when we read it in many places to be that way. We understand that Noah was a type of baptism in that he was surrounded by water, but don’t apply this to our understanding of what baptism really is, after all the ark wasn’t a submersible. We often talk of the Israelites going through a baptism of water in that they were surrounded on all sides, even though they walked on dry land, and yet we don’t apply that forwards to our thinking on baptism.
    Sometimes in thinking we have it all nailed down we miss a lot.
    Sprinkling might indeed capture the concept of baptism (and cleansing), when the other is not possible, although it would not be the first choice.
    Jay, I would take it that the Jews understood the concept of baptism better than we do.
    IF we being in a desolate part of the world only saw one car, we would think all cars are like that one car, but coming from our part of the world we understand cars to be of many types.

  308. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David,

    You have get in sideways before the water all rushes out and stains the carpet. But air canons can reach 200 MPH easily. Then it’s just a question of whether the side can be resealed before too much water leaks. We’re running equations nows. I see a paper at least, and maybe a patent. And if a patent, then I can claim that all others are damned for failing to be properly baptized — forcing every Christian on the planet to be rebaptized. (“Baptized” really, as their first immersion was by the wrong mode.)

    There is, of course, a very serious point here.

    (Rom. 6:3-5 ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

    We assume that Paul’s metaphor comparing baptism to burial is theological — that he’s not just saying that baptism is like a burial but it MUST BE like a burial or it doesn’t count. And yet it’s not remotely like a Jewish burial. It’s like a Roman burial — so that can’t be right.

    Hence, Paul seems to be speaking into the culture of his readers — being Roman to the Romans — expressing deep spiritual truths (that we’re united in Christ’s death) in a culturally appropriate metaphor which illustrates the theological point (unity in death) using a convenient, local metaphor (it’s like a burial).

    If that’s so — and I’m still pondering it — traditional CoC preaching on Rom 6 is just wrong to the extent that we insist baptism doesn’t take unless it’s like a burial.

    The burial metaphor does not show up in the OT at all (which doesn’t address baptism, just faith and confession and repentance), the teaching of JTB, the immersion of Jesus, the baptismal teachings of Jesus, or Acts. Just Rom 6 and Col 2:12) — which has always struck me as kind of odd.

    It is possible, indeed likely, that the symbolism of baptism, with the candidate being plunged under the water, naturally suggested burial to Paul; unless we assume that this is his meaning, it is not clear why he should highlight Jesus’ burial rather than simply his death. That seems to be the explanation, too, for “the likeness of his death” in v. 5 (see below). But, if this visible parallel was in his mind, it was as an offshoot of a connection already established between Jesus’ death and baptism, rather than its original cause.

    N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians vol. 10 of NIB, Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 538.

    Whatever else lies buried deep in the theology of Rom. 6:1 ff, this lies on the surface. For it cannot be too firmly emphasized that Paul’s concern in this passage was not to give a theological excursus on the nature of Christian baptism but to oppose the heretical appeal, ‘Let us carry on in sin that grace may abound!’ (Rom. 6:1). He could have countered with a purely theoretical consideration: ‘Under no circumstances! Such conduct would frustrate the intention of grace’. Instead he appealed to an event in the past on which it would be unthinkable to go back: ‘We died to sin once; how can we live in it still?’ (Rom. 6:2). The exposition that follows has the purpose of bringing out the implications of that statement, by expounding the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection for the believer, his participation in those saving events and the radical change involved in the baptismal transference from existence under the powers of darkness to life in the Kingdom of God’s own Son (Col. 1:13). God had wrought in merciful judgment and quickening power at that time; and the believer had both assented whole-heartedly to that judgment and committed himself to the new existence in Christ. This concept lies at the heart of the central utterance of Rom. 6:1–11, i.e. in v. 4; when the parenthetical material of the sentence is omitted we are left with the unambiguous statement: ‘We were buried with him through baptism … that we might walk in newness of life’.

    George R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1962), 143.

    Now, none of this eliminates the routine NT association of baptism with forgiveness of sins. It just undercuts our ability to insist that Rom 6 insists that all modes other than immersion necessarily fail no matter what. The burial metaphor is not central to Paul’s logic in Rom 6 — and is in fact inconsistent with how any Judean or Galilean would have understood baptismal teaching. To them, it wasn’t much like a burial at all.

  309. laymond says:

    Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

  310. Monty says:

    God demands we take the Supper every Sunday or be damned. (Giving-not so much) God commands we understand baptism is for the remission of sins and not for obedience or you’re damned. God commands baptism to be a burial with not so much as a toe exposed or you’re damned. God commands we sing without instruments accompanying us or we’re damned. No, God never said such things. We deducted them through a flawed type of reasoning.

    Go back and read the giving of the Law and see just how explicit God was in what we wanted and what he didn’t want. It is very specific. He knows how to get his point across in the do’s and don’ts. Compare the wording of the Law(multiplicity of rules and regulations) with the wording of the NT and the difference is astonishing. The do’s and don’ts of the NT are do love God and do love your neighbor and don’t live according to your flesh. That’s hard enough(everyone I know struggles with that) without making up rules and regulations where God simply hasn’t spoken.

  311. Dwight says:

    From what I have read many of the Romans were buried in tombs or in the ground and many were cremated, but with some of the ashes in an urn in an enclosed environment.
    The Jewish mode was a cave, if possible, but this was hardly the final resting place as many times the bones of the person would later be moved to another spot…in the time of Christ an ossuary was sometimes used to contain the remains.
    Catacombs, which were carved out tunnels and rooms, also were used in Rome and from what we know many assemblies were held in them to escape Roman persecution. Supposedly some of the apostle, notably Peter and Paul, were laid to rest in catacombs.
    Jesus was buried, in a cave (tomb), but didn’t stay there long.

    The concept was a place for the dead, enclosed and separate from the living.
    Burial therefore wasn’t just one type of mode, but could include many types of placing a body in to the ground (above or below) or an earth like structure (even man made).

    So when we get to Romans, it is possible that Paul was referring to burial under the ground or even in a tomb or in a cave as was the story of Jesus, but the type isn’t mentioned, because it is immaterial.
    They understood that it was the dead going into the earth in general for a final resting place.
    You were going through the process with Jesus in death, in whatever process he went through.

    But the miracle is that it wasn’t Jesus final resting place in death and it is not ours either.

  312. David says:

    Jay

    Since the stone was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, we assume Jesus left through that way, rather than rise through the top of the tomb. That presents a problem if we insist that we must “be raised from the watery grave of baptism”. It also presents a problem for your air cannon project unless you can figure out a way to shoot someone back out of the gelatinous tank without getting the carpet wet.

  313. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    David,

    Perhaps two gelatinous walls — in one and out the other — all in a single shot.

    Now, this gets dangerously close to Alabama John’s shower suggestion as speeds approach hypersonic. I mean, water only falls at 32.2 ft/sec/sec — meaning it needs some time to accelerate to soak through the baptism garments. If the air canon is too powerful, the convert may come out entirely dry — or no more wet than he’d get in a shower. Cavitation bubbling could also leave spots completely dry — which would surely be damning.

    One could argue for a stone across a side exit, but the combination of air cannon and stone on the opposite side of the baptistry could lead to a premature trip to the afterlife. And if the convert was not properly symbolically resurrected, he’d be damned due to being only half-baptized.

    We’re running the math on a stone that would slow down the exit but not stop it altogether. But a stone propelled by body inertia is not truly “rolled away,” and so that surely doesn’t count. Some sort of gearing or pulley system seems to be called for.

    An alternative would be a waterfall. The air cannon could propel the convert in one side and out the other, and except for some splashing, the carpet would stay dry. This would require a waterfall at least 7′ thick so the body would be submerged all at the same time, which is a whole lot of water, but it would work. And the spectacle of shooting new converts through a waterfall would be highly “seeker sensitive.” (We could even sell tickets.)

    Water is both very heavy and viscous, and so it would take considerable speed to make it through the waterfall by sheer inertia. Even a 50-caliber machine gun couldn’t put a bullet through 7′ of falling water. (Mythbusters covered this several years ago.) Fortunately, the government is perfecting new rail gun technology sufficient to hit Mach 6 or 7.

    So I’m seeing a real opportunity finally baptize someone in the true First Century manner …

    Of course, all vertically baptized are damned in their sins, even if they know the true meaning of eis in Acts 2:38. It’s exciting to live in an age when when someone will finally be truly saved.

  314. John F says:

    Sarcasm rules while the language must be subjected to logic — thereby ignoring the direct impact of the language — an all too common ploy. Every reader of Greek knew the meaning of baptidzo and rantidzo.

  315. laymond says:

    Some people wonder just what was the purpose of Jesus baptism.
    (my opinion)
    Just maybe the purpose of Jesus baptism was to anoint him as “the Christ”.
    question; who baptized John the Baptist ?

    1.to anoint

    1.consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with the necessary powers for its administration

    ##G218 – is the mundane and common word for anoint
    example- Jhn 12:3 Then G3767 took G2983 Mary G3137 a pound G3046 of ointment G3464 of spikenard, G3487 G4101 very costly, G4186 and anointed G218 the feet G4228 of Jesus, G2424 and G2532 wiped G1591 his G846 feet G4228 with her G846 hair: G2359 and G1161 the house G3614 was filled G4137 with G1537 the odour G3744 of the ointment. G3464

    ##G5548 – is the sacred and religious word for anoint
    example- Act 10:38 How G5613 God G2316 anointed G5548 Jesus G2424 of G575 Nazareth G3478 with the Holy G40 Ghost G4151 and G2532 with power: G1411 who G846 G3739 went about G1330 doing good, G2109 and G2532 healing G2390 all G3956 that were oppressed G2616 of G5259 the devil; G1228 for G3754 God G2316 was G2258 with G3326 him. G846

  316. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    I read a few articles from the July 2015 issue of the Spiritual Sword (A Handy Guide to the Instrumental Music Question). At a young, immature, and somewhat deluded Christian growing up in very conservative Churches of Christ, the Spiritual Sword was not only required reading, it was just a hairs breath away from joining the canon. I have acquired most of the issues going back to the beginning with Thomas B. Warren and Garland Elkins.

    The July 2015 issue includes an article by Jay Lockhart titled, “The Significance of Psallo.” Lockhart relies exclusively on Thayer and Moulton/Milligan for defining the verb; however, he only seems to have read the portion about “psallo” because he neglects to reference the material on “psalms.” He incorrectly insinuates that the lexicons define the verb as sing only. In actuality, no lexicon defines the verb as “sing cappella” or “to sing only.” His new definition is demonstrably false.

    Lockhart repeats the errors as illustrated by Danny Corbitt’s excellent book “Missing More Than Music: When Disputable Matters Eclipse Worship and Unity.”

    Interesting, Lockhart states, “Every command of God carries with it the authority to do whatever is necessary to the carrying out of the commandment.”

    Amen. I guess it never occurred to him that the command to sing the Psalms carries with it the authority to sing the Psalms with instrumental accompaniment since that is how Jews sang many of the Psalms. Go figure.

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