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The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible #44724
Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:05 AM
Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:05 AM
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AllToHim Offline OP
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Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38:

These two verses are pivotal in demarcating the two primary theologic constructs that Christians out there espouse.

I am from a background that believes these two verses hands down, most absolutely, and without any doubt whatsoever, prove that a water baptism must be accomplished before salvation occurs. (I no longer believe this now, however)

Of course, the other construct argues that a water baptism is evidence of what has already happened, that is, it is not salvific.

It is amazing to me that these two positions have gone on for centuries and never change. No matter how many discussions one has, the two sides stay the same, each accusing the other of taking verses out of context, not following the plain meaning of the text, etc. And I'm sure it will continue until the end of the world.

Does anyone here have a succinct, to the point, powerful rebuttal to these two passages of scriptures when produced to require a water baptism in our salvation?

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44726
Sun Jun 13, 2010 2:37 PM
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Here are a few reasons why I donít believe baptism saves.

1. The thief on the cross was not baptized, yet we know that he went to paradise with Christ. (Luke 23:43)

2. The Gentiles in Caesarea were baptized after they were saved. (Acts 10: 44-48)

3. Jesus Himself never baptized (John 4:1-2); which would be very strange if baptism was necessary for salvation.

4. If baptism was necessary for salvation why does Paul in (1 Cor. 1:14-16) thank God that he baptized very few of the Corinthians? Some how I doubt that he was thanking God that very few were saved.

5. I am told that there are over 150 passages in the NT alone that state that salvation is by faith alone. If baptism was necessary for salvation, it would be contradicting these passages.

Tom

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Tom] #44727
Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:35 PM
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Yes, Tom, I agree with you. However, they have an answer to each one of your points. It just goes on and on.....Let me see if I can give you what I've heard in the past from them point-by-point:

1. The thief on the cross died under the "Old Law", therefore the baptism rule did not apply to him.

2. I've been in discussions with them on these passages, they still believe the context does not relate that Cornelius was saved until after he was baptized, that this was an "exceptional" case since it was the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit to show that Gentiles could now be saved(baptized).

3. Since salvific baptism didn't apply until after his death, the fact that he didn't baptize makes sense to them.

4. They argue that Paul was simply stating that he was glad they weren't baptizing in his name.

5. They will argue that there is not one phrase that says "faith alone", that the only phrase in the NT with "faith" and "alone" in it is found in James where it says we are not saved by faith alone.


Last edited by AllToHim; Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:36 PM.
Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44728
Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:35 AM
Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:35 AM
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Originally Posted by AllToHim
Does anyone here have a succinct, to the point, powerful rebuttal to these two passages of scriptures when produced to require a water baptism in our salvation?

IF you are looking for that magic "silver bullet" of an argument I think you are looking in vain. For no matter how sound an argument is the convincing of its verity is not something you can create in another. wink

However, there are some basic biblical principles of hermeneutics (interpretation) which must be acknowledged and adhered to:

1. The Epistles interpret the Gospels
2. The Didactic interpret the Symbolic
3. The perspicuous interpret the less clear or unclear

So, can we find in the Epistles some direct teaching which clearly and directly deals with the subject of salvation in a broad sense but even more so in a narrow sense, i.e., justification? Why yes, such can be found. In fact, here are a few places:

  1. Galatians 2:1-5 (ASV) "Then after the space of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.... (11-16) But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

    Note that the issue at Galatia was the requirement of xxxx in addition to faith in Christ in order to be justified. And even more to the point, Paul specifically mentions those Judaizers who demanded that Titus be circumcised in addition to his faith in order to be saved, which Paul and Barnabas sorely resisted. This is important because Paul also wrote in Colossians 2:11-13 that circumcision, which was the sign of the old covenant, has been replaced by baptism as the sign of the new covenant. Thus, the apostles refusal to have one circumcised unto justification is directly related to one demanding one be baptized unto justification.

    Secondly, Paul makes very clear that one is NOT justified by the works of the law but by faith (alone). It is by faith alone by simple reason since ALL works are excluded, thus leaving faith as the only (alone) instrument and prerequisite for salvation/justification.

  2. Romans 3:19-28 (ASV) "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law [cometh] the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth [to be] a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, [I say], of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."

    Romans 5:1-2 (ASV) "Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

    Note: In both these passages, Paul labored to show that ALL works of any kind are excluded from salvation. The only basis for salvation is the meritorious, substitutionary work of Jesus Christ whom the sinner embraces by faith (alone). It is Christ Jesus who has provided all the works of the law which God requires in behalf of all those for whom He died. There is therefore no work required on the part of a believing sinner to be saved, including baptism or even more so, even faith itself.

The irony of this whole matter is that both sides are equally in error albeit in opposite ways. igiveup


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Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44729
Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:59 AM
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The cumulative scriptural counter-argument against Baptismal regeneration centers upon the fact that water baptism is only a figure, a symbol of the true baptism / circumcision /removal of sin / putting away of the old self. The true baptism is a washing in Christ's blood which washes away sin and produces an answer of a good conscience toward God (see 1Peter 3:21, please note that the [true] baptism really saves). Of course, water baptism symbolizes not only the sprinkling of the Lamb's blood, which saves households from the wrath of God, but it also pictures the purging of sins "by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning"(KJVS Isaiah 4:4), which is the Holy Spirit's cleansing of God's elect people - i.e., regeneration and sanctification, both of which are application acts of the salvific effects of Christ's redemptive death for His people.
Water baptism is a symbol of what God does in salvation of His people in Christ. The same is true of circumcision in the times of shadows: the true circumcision was not done upon the flesh by human hands, but upon the heart by God Himself, so that the true circumcision (true Jews) are spiritual / regenerated people, who are actually identical with believers who are also circumcised / baptized by God Himself(see Philippians 3:3)
Look at Romans 2:28,29: For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God". The same can be applied to NT Christians, whose boast must be not in outward water baptism, but in true, real washing away of sins, performed by Christ Himself, which results in a new sanctified life: "For he is not a Christian, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] Baptism, which is outward by water: But he [is] a Christian, which is one inwardly; and Baptism [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter [of the outward ritual]; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God". Since the true circumcision was not done by hands, neither is the true Baptism in water, for the two signs are identical in meaning, for both point to Christ as the Redeemer and Sanctifier of His people, "in whom also ye [the NT Christians] are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (KJVS Colossians 2:11,12).
See, those who have been born again, have been circumcised / baptized "without hands", i.e., without the medium of human sacramentalism. Thus, though the sign (water baptism) is not without significance for it points to the true washing of sins by the blood of Christ and it is also directly instituted by Christ Himself, so the observance of this rite for believers and their children mandatory, yet it is not necessary unto salvation, no more than the sign of circumcision itself could produce the righteousness of faith, which Abraham possessed.

Does this help?


For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever (2Jn.1:2).
Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Pilgrim] #44732
Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:46 PM
Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
The irony of this whole matter is that both sides are equally in error albeit in opposite ways. igiveup


Not following you here.

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Renat Ilyasov] #44733
Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Renat Ilyasov

Does this help?


Yes...thank you!

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44734
Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:59 AM
Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AllToHim
Not following you here.

Sorry! [Linked Image] This was a comment in regard to your original post where you wrote:

... these two verses hands down, most absolutely, and without any doubt whatsoever, prove that a water baptism must be accomplished before salvation occurs. (I no longer believe this now, however)

Of course, the other construct argues that a water baptism is evidence of what has already happened, that is, it is not salvific.

Thus, my comment to both sides being in error only in opposite ways was in reference to:

#1 Baptism is a condition of salvation, i.e., baptism is a necessary and efficacious rite for salvation.
#2 Baptism is an infallible sign of the recipient actually possessing salvation.

In the case of #1, baptism contributes to salvation. And in #2, it signifies all (indiscriminately) who are baptized are saved. Scripture teaches neither. nope

Hopefully, this clears the confusion for you. shrug grin


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Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Pilgrim] #44735
Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:09 PM
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Would you say then that baptism is something a believer is commanded to do? Is that more accurate?

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44737
Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:17 PM
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Originally Posted by AllToHim
Would you say then that baptism is something a believer is commanded to do? Is that more accurate?

yep I would say it is a command given to all who make a profession of faith... and, of course, as a paedobaptist, this would include believer's children. In neither case, IMHO, does baptism necessarily signify that the recipient is saved. That which is signified in baptism belongs ONLY to true believers. Nor is salvation so dependent upon baptism that one cannot be saved if one isn't baptized. Most naturally, however, an adult who makes a profession of faith will desire to be baptized.

So, you are battling with some "Campbellites", eh? Well, you are either a very brave person or foolish. giggle


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Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Pilgrim] #44740
Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:02 PM
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Perhaps I have simply been foolish. They are quite ravenous whenever they hear anything close to Calvinism...then the venom flies.

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: AllToHim] #44742
Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:24 AM
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If you take the word SALVATION is an all-inclusive term which describes the justification, sanctification, and glorification of the believer, then one can argue that water baptism (obedience to God's command) is "necessary" for sanctification, which is a part of salvation.

Salvation is past, present, and future:

I WAS saved from the penalty of sin (justification, past tense).

I AM BEING saved from the power of sin (sanctification, present tense). And

I WILL BE saved from the presence of sin (glorification, resurrection, the new heavens and earth, future tense).

Since learning obedience is a part of sanctification, a believer who remains unbaptized is neglecting his sanctification. In a certain sense, then, since sanctification is part of the "package" that is salvation, water baptism can be said to be "necessary" for salvation.

But salvation - all of it, past, present, and future - is an act of God upon the elect, both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Re: The Most Divisive Verses in the Bible [Re: Robin] #44743
Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:03 PM
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Very interesting, I had never looked at it that way...thank you.


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