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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : What place does baptism have in Biblical salvation?

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Seattle, Washington, USA

 What place does baptism have in Biblical salvation?

OK ladies and gentleman, I am posting this for discussion. Time to get out our Bibles and revisit this very important topic. I think we can all agree that when we read the book of Acts, the goal is to baptize someone in water as soon as they repent and turn to Christ in faith. But what place does it have in salvation?

I found an extremely well thought out defense of the point of view that says that Baptism is essential for salvation. They reject the term "baptismal regeneration" and say that salvation happens "in" the water, not "by" the water. I would bet that many of you have never heard it put quite this way.

(BTW, this guy rejects the Alexandrian stream, but isn't exclusively KJV - I knew that would come up, so there it is)

OK, here's the link:

[url=http://www.pfrs.org/baptism/baptism01.html]http://www.pfrs.org/baptism/baptism01.html[/url]

Let's talk.

RT

 2005/5/1 21:29Profile









 Re: What place does baptism have in Biblical salvation?

A few things come to mind. First, John 15:3 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you...'

Apart from Noah's ark, there are other 'pictures' of 'earth' and 'water', for instance, 'In the beginning ...' when the whole globe was surrounded by water (which is very reminiscent of a babe in the womb - also 'earth surrounded by water'), which to me speaks of the cleanness of original creation before it is animated by baptism in the Spirit (air/breath). However, the believer who has been washed by the blood of the Lamb is clean [i]inside[/i] and this point was not expanded upon in the article. There is much in your question that ties in with the thread 'Propitiation and the red heifer', which has its roots in Numbers 19 where the 'water of purification' is described.

Moving on, I was slightly surprised by the assumption the writer made that there were only Jews at Ephesus. Also, if they had been literally baptised (rather than believing into the spirit of John's baptism) had this been done by John's disciples? Or is there other scriptural evidence that these 12 men had been to Jordan? Who had travelled?

Quote:
It is not that they were ignorant of the existence of the Spirit. That would be impossible for any Jew familiar with the first chapter of the Torah, not to mention John's own preaching about the one coming after him, who would baptize them in the Holy Spirit.



Then, speaking of those who believed in Acts 2, how can it be possible to believe, but not have sins forgiven at the moment of faith, or hold back repentance until the moment of water baptism?

Quote:
Their sins were not yet forgiven even though they had already believed. They still needed to “Repent and be baptized … unto the remission of your sins” after they believed the Gospel Peter preached.



Here I'd like to ask yet another question. Under the Old Covenant which was still technically operational during Jesus's earthly ministry, as the system of sacrifices was still in operation (for the forgiveness of sins and other offerings, I believe), would water baptism have been repeated again and again for those who had responded early to John's call to repentance, supposing these dear ones sinned again? Is not this the BIG difference between the outward washing by baptism which remains an Old Covenant concept with a New Covenant meaning, and, 'washing by the word' which gets inside one's skull, as does the washing in the blood of the Lamb, both of which can be applied effectually only by the Holy Spirit?

Lastly, I am not disputing the command for believers to be baptised in water but I have a big problem with the suggestion their eternal life [i]depends[/i] upon it, or, that they can force the Holy Spirit to process the effecting of their salvation in a (legalistic) order of outward activities. Normally this sort of rigidity would be on God's hit-list of 'must upset applecart', would it not? How can this be in tune with the wind in the trees of John 3?

I'm sorry if this is a bit rambling. Hopefully you all will spit out the pips and put me right if I'm missing something here. :-)

 2005/5/1 22:56









 Re: This is almost worn out....

...but alas it is very important. Baptism means immersion. John immersed in water, but Jesus into the Holy Spirit. So many people think water everytime they see the word, but all it means is immersion. We, as believers are immersed into His Body. Alleluia.
Do this as an example. Take a piece of paper about the size of a post card. Write your name on it. Now, assuming that your bible is larger than the paper, place the paper into the bible. The paper has now been immersed into the bible and the paper can no longer be seen. If you look at the bible, all you can see is the bible. If you drive a nail through the bible, the paper inside will have one driven through it also. If you bury the bible, the paper inside will be buried too. If you raise it up out of the grave, the paper inside will be raised also, because it is "in" the bible as we are "in" Christ Jesus.
The immersion or immersed does not always mean in water, beloved. Now, reread all your reference scriptures and insert the word immerse or immersion for baptism and see what unfolds before your eyes. God bless you richly as you do.

Immersed in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Lahry

 2005/5/2 15:10









 cessasionists.

from the PFRS site:

Quote:
Our view is "cessationist" regarding the gifts. That is, we do not believe people today have the gift of tongues, gift of prophecy, gift of healing, or gift of working miracles.



(http://www.pfrs.org/gifts/index.html)

Oh man! I was laboring under the presumption that God gave me the power of the Holy Ghost under the basis of the Mark 16.

isnt that a shame, according to these folks, anybody who thinks that Jesus gives them the power to heal is deluded.

 2005/5/2 15:38
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 Re: Lahry

Lahry,

Quote:
The immersion or immersed does not always mean in water, beloved.



How did Jesus have his disciples baptize?

After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
[John 3:22]

When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
[John 4:1,2]

Sounds like in water to me.

What about this one?

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

Obviously from this Scripture we must see that baptism in water and the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit baptism) are two different things. Water baptism here says "for the remission of sins." What did the early apostolic church teach? Listen to Justin Martyr (around A.D. 150):

"Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father, ... the name of Jesus Christ, ... and in the name of the Holy Ghost..."

Interesting. Baptism for the remission of sins? Scripture...Early Church...do we know more today than they did then?

OK, let's hear all of your responses.
:-D

RT

 2005/5/4 2:54Profile
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 Re: Neilgin1

Neilgin1,

Quote:
isnt that a shame, according to these folks, anybody who thinks that Jesus gives them the power to heal is deluded.



I am not a cessationist. But just because someone is doesn't make them wrong about everything. I wonder how much you are wrong about right now? I'm sure you still must have something right in your theology. Truth is truth.

BTW, Warner isn't anti-miracles and healing the sick. He believes in praying for the sick. He just believe the "gifts" ceased. He separates the two. How do I know? I asked. Key word in your quote, "gifts."

RT

 2005/5/4 2:58Profile
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 dorcas

dorcas,

Quote:
A few things come to mind. First, John 15:3 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you...'



First, this is pre-Calvary so you picked a tricky one, since the Holy Ghost was not yet poured out on all flesh at this time. And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. So here they were clean, but they were also baptized. And they had "acted" on the word spoken up to that point. So this one isn't helpful in this particular position. Same with the theif on the cross.

Quote:
(rather than believing into the spirit of John's baptism)



"Believing into the spirit of John's baptism" is a new concept. Maybe I don't get you, but this is not found anywhere in Scripture. All throughout the gospels and the book of Acts, people were baptized by being submerged in water. (See John the baptist; Jesus - Jn. 4:1,2; the Ethiopian eunuch) It is this way that we tangibly make a "profession" along with our "confession" of faith in Christ and thereby are dead and buried with Him and our life is hidden with Him in God. Water doesn't save. Obedience to the gospel does.

Quote:
Then, speaking of those who believed in Acts 2, how can it be possible to believe, but not have sins forgiven at the moment of faith



Is faith, faith if it isn't acted upon?

Quote:
Here I'd like to ask yet another question. Under the Old Covenant which was still technically operational during Jesus's earthly ministry, as the system of sacrifices was still in operation (for the forgiveness of sins and other offerings, I believe), would water baptism have been repeated again and again for those who had responded early to John's call to repentance, supposing these dear ones sinned again? Is not this the BIG difference between the outward washing by baptism which remains an Old Covenant concept with a New Covenant meaning, and, 'washing by the word' which gets inside one's skull, as does the washing in the blood of the Lamb, both of which can be applied effectually only by the Holy Spirit?



Of course regeneration is by the Holy Spirit. But when can a person qualify for receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 says:

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

OK, let me be clear now. Water doesn't save. Jesus saves. The reason I am revisiting this is because I am revising Acts 2:38 and other such Scriptures. At times I may argue a probable position. This doesn't mean I have espoused it. We must be humble and recognize that truth is truth whether WE espouse it or not. We should all just want the Truth.

I find it interesting that the early church seems to teach baptism as THE means of obeying the gospel. (Different than baptismal regeneration or sacrimental baptism where it is believed that baptism saves) Again, obedience is the issue here.

One more note. Most scriptures don't have all of the conditions for salvation listed, but assume the other concepts such as: 1) Repent, 2) Believe (faith), 3) Baptism (?), 4) Receive the Holy Ghost (essential - see Rom. 8:9)

Lets keep this going.

RT

 2005/5/4 3:21Profile









 Re: RT

I believe the quote from my last post that you quoted said "does not always mean water". I also said that the word "Baptize" or "Baptism" refers to immersion, but does not of itself indicate to what something or someone is immersed. Too many people read the new testament, in my humble opinion, and everywhere it mentions "baptize" or "baptism", they think in their minds "immersed in water". I do not agree with this assumption.

Finally, to say that baptism is necessary for justification, is to say that something was lacking in Jesus' blood. That, to me is very dangerous theology. That's my comments, I certainly do appreciate and welcome yours.

 2005/5/4 7:34
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Baptism can become an idol

I think we need to know a bit about the historical practice of baptism in order to understand its significance in John's preaching. Here is a quote from the Revell Bible Dictionary:

Quote:
"Like many ancient peoples, Jewish people practiced ceremonial washings. Non-Jews who were converted to Judaism would immerse themselves in water (a once-for-all ceremonial washing), probably under the supervision of a religious expert. …Repenting or turning from a wrong way of living to a right way of living …when a non-Jew decided to obey the teachings of Israel's God. **



In those days, the only ones who were required to be baptized where the pagans who converted to Judaism. When John the Baptist told the Jews that they needed to repent and be baptized, he was essentially treating them as pagans. He was challenging their entire view of salvation. That would have been very offensive to them.

I believe that if John the Baptist were to come into our churches today, he'd preach the same message. And it would be equally offensive to be told to repent and be baptized. It would be like saying that we Christians are no better than pagans; it would be a challenge to our entire view of salvation.

I also believe that we have been putting too much trust in baptism. It has become like an insurance policy - guaranteeing our entrance to heaven - whether it is said outright, or not. The heart is trusting in baptism. Like the bronze snake on the pole, it loses its original symbolic meaning, and becomes an object of trust (idol).

I have been baptized both ways, so I am acceptable to just about any Christian denomination. However, in my heart, I consider all my past baptisms, or any other aspects of my religious heritage as "rubbish" Phil 3:8 "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. ...compared to the surpassing greatness of KNOWING Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own..... "

Diane


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 2005/5/4 7:38Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Baptism can become an idol

Quote:
I think we need to know a bit about the historical practice of baptism in order to understand its significance in John's preaching



There is an article here at Sermonindex that deals with the origins of [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=1994]Christian Baptism.[/url]

You cannot do with water what only the blood can do. Baptism in water cannot take away sins. It is an essential act of obedience that those who truly pass from death to life will desire to do as they have learned it is the Father's will. It is the 'milk' of the commandments that the newly regenerated can perform. It is an 'ordinance' of the New Testament church.

The question invariably comes about this point from the article:

Quote:
Baptism was the point where the change of life occurred. And, it was the means of procuring freedom from past sin, both its guilt and power. “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for (eis – “unto”) the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4). The result of baptism was the remission of sins.



This statement seems to suggest that men were regenerated under the Old Covenant. This is false. Regeneration is not possible without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament dispensation was characterized by this 'promise' and it is Christ in you the hope of glory. We must use caution here not to overstate what was happening under the Old Covenant.

Just as this author has tried to emphasize baptism for remission of sins another author could have emphasized faith or the blood or grace, etc..

Quote:
The baptism of Jesus, with the immediate descent of the Spirit, was the clear indication of what it would soon mean to be baptized into Christ. That is, water baptism would provide more than only the “remission of sins.” The act of water baptism was an outward act of repentance, faith, and obedience. But, something else that was invisible (the baptism in the Holy Spirit) was illustrated by a visible form for all to see. The descent of the dove upon Jesus at His baptism in water was the sign meant to forever link the promised invisible “baptism in the Spirit” with visible water baptism. This sign pointed to a time when those being baptized in water for the remission of sins would also immediately receive the invisible baptism in the Spirit. This is obvious from a comparison between baptism before and after the passion of Christ.



This is a natural deduction that does not square with all the accounts of water baptism in Acts. Water is in no wise essential to the receiving of the Holy Spirit. For example:

[b]While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.[/b] (Acts 10:44-48)


According to the article the person must have been washed in water and then renewed in the Spirit in that order. What are we to make of Acts 10?


BTW I am baptistic, repentance, and pentecostal in terms of doctrine. If you read through the article of philologos on propitiation and the red heifer you will find that the Holy Spirit appropriates the sacrifice at regeneration.

When we turn to Christ in saving faith in cooperation with the Holy Spirit the blood is applied to us [i]by the Holy Spirit[/i] and the Holy Spirit regenerates or if I might so say unites us to Christ as one Spirit. The water of a baptismal tank or river or lake is merely the means of symbolizing in public expression of obedience what has happened in the unseen.

Why was Christ baptised? He answered that question; [b]"But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill [u]all[/u] righteousness.' Then he allowed Him."[/b] Christ's [i]'meat'[/i] was to do the will of Him that had sent Him. Not just pick and chose- but every jot of the will of God. He hungered and thirsted for righteousness as a matter of course. Doing the will of the Father as His 'meat' was evidence of Divine Nature. We as partakers of the Divine Nature also have an appetite to do the will of Him that saved us. If we have passed from death unto life we have the nature of God through the Holy Spirit and will desire to [i]straitway[/i] do the will of our heavenly father. Some who are newborn babes in Christ are on the milk and other's who have exercised their senses to discern good and evil are on strong meat. Some if I might so say walk close to God in such a way as to eat of the hidden manna. Others turn to their own vomit again in apostacy. Why? It was their meat.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/5/4 8:44Profile





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