Archive for November, 2009

Saved At The Point Of Baptism, Not At The Point Of Faith – by Keith Lowe

November 29, 2009

In this post I will show that we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ after meeting the conditions that God placed on that gift. We are not saved at the point of faith, but when we are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. Part 2: The Bible gives us parts of the formula in many different places, but never all at once. Why is that? Let’s start by examining the places in the Bible that speak directly to salvation. I’m going to sort them first by number of things each passage says we must do, then by what those things are:

1 Thing

Call upon the name of the Lord

Acts 2:21 – And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13 – For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Joel 2:32 – …everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Believe (have faith)

John 1:12 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Acts 13:38-39 – …and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Romans 3:22 – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. (there are many verses like this: Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 3:9, etc.)

Romans 3:28 – For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (there are many verses like this: Galatians 2:16, 5:6, etc.)

(there are many other versed that mention only belief: Acts 16:30-31, Ephesians 1:13, John 5:24, Romans 1:16, etc.)

Be baptized

1 Peter 3:21 – Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

2 Things

Be baptized & call on his name

Acts 22:16 – And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Repent & be baptized

Acts 2:38 – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Confess & believe

Romans 10:9 – because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Believe & be baptized

Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Have you ever looked at these verses in this way? In all the verses I could find that mention salvation under the New Covenant, there are five different things mentioned (in no particular order): 1. Call upon the name of the Lord 2. Believe in Jesus 3. Be baptized 4. Repent 5. Confess that Jesus is Lord Note that in no verse does are more than two mentioned. On the basis of what logic could we assert that of those five, four are necessary but one (baptism) is not?

In the same way, what logic or manner of reading the text would lead us to decide that only one (believe in Jesus) is necessary, and that none of the others are? Acts 2:21 doesn’t mean we don’t have to repent. John 3:16 doesn’t mean we don’t have to confess Christ. Acts 2:38 doesn’t mean we don’t have to believe. And none of them mean that we don’t have to be baptized. How can this be? Is there any theory which would rationally explain the different wording in all of these accounts? The only one I can think of is #3 below.

Which of these makes more sense to you, considering the above verses? #1 – if we believe in Christ (have faith), we’re saved #2 – if we believe in Christ (have faith), repent, confess Christ, we’re saved #3 – if we believe in Christ (have faith), repent, confess Christ, are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, we’re saved Here’s why I think #3 is it: It is the only one where I don’t have to ignore or try to explain away a bunch of verses such as Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Mark 16:16, or 1 Peter 3:21. Again, if we’ve got all these verses that mention different parts of these five things in different order, how can we believe that the answer is that we need to do one or two or three or four of them, but not all five?

Here’s another way to look at it: on what scriptural basis do we find a command to repent? Because the same language that tells us to repent to receive salvation also tells us to be baptized. How can we believe the language that says we must repent for salvation, and at the same time reject the language that says we must be baptized?

Or look at it another yet way: how to get to my house depends on where you are now. If you are standing at the front door of your church and I give you directions, I’d give them one way. If you were at my office, another, and if you were at your house, a third. All different. That’s because where you are influences what you have to do to get to me. In the same way, I think the different examples in the NT are for people who are at different places: In John 3:16 Nicodemus was at the beginning – the first thing he had to do was believe that Christ was who he said he was, so that’s what Jesus told him. In Acts 22:16 Paul had done everything else, so he was told to be baptized. I ask you to consider these words – if you have a better explanation for what these Bible words mean, I’d love to hear about it!

Proof – “By Grace Through Faith Not Of Works” Doesn’t Mean Other Conditions (Besides Faith) Are Not Required

November 25, 2009

The walls of Jericho fell by grace (Josh 6:2) through faith (Heb 11:30) not of works (Josh 24:13), but that doesn’t mean the Israelites didn’t have to meet conditions (walk around the walls 13 times, shout, blow trumpets, etc.) for the walls to fall. I trust you can see the point in regards to being baptized “for the remission of sins” not being at odds with the fact that our salvation is by grace through faith not of works (Eph 2:8-9). For the walls to have fallen by works (as the basis), they would have had to knock the walls down with sledge hammers or something. For us to be saved by works (as the basis), we would have to live our whole lives perfectly without sin, thereby not needing forgiveness / the blood of Christ (Rom 4:4).

The walls of Jericho illustration proves that just because something (whether it be walls falling or salvation – Eph 2:8-9) is by grace through faith not of works, that doesn’t mean that conditions in addition to faith don’t have to be met. Do you see the point?

The Catholics Invented Original Sin, Then Infant Baptism, Then Sprinkling/Pouring For Baptism

November 22, 2009

We saw earlier that the Catholics invented the idea of "original sin" which led to them inventing the idea of "infant baptism." And they also were the first ones to change baptism from immersion to sprinkling/pouring.

Besides "baptizo" meaning "immersion, submersion" (Thayer), Romans 6:4 is a good place to show that baptism should be an immersion. The first part of Romans 6:4 reads "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death." If we’ve been to a funeral, we know what "buried" means – all the way up under the ground. Likewise then a person should be placed all the way up under the water in baptism, else it doesn’t picture the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as Romans 6:3-5 depicts.

It is strange that this passage is what the Baptists (correctly) champion when contending for baptism being an immersion, but when pressed into a corner about the purpose of baptism by the same passage (verse 3 says that baptism puts one "into Christ"), Baptists will say the passage is talking about Holy Spirit baptism. So when contending with the Methodists on the mode of baptism, the Baptist will admit the passage is talking about water baptism, but when faced with the natural conclusion that the passage teaches the necessity of water baptism unto salvation, Baptists will then contradict themselves and say the passage is not talking about water baptism.

How Did Infant Baptism Get Started ?

November 19, 2009

The below article on "total depravity" suggests a follow up point. Some time after the Catholic church made up the doctrine of "original sin," they came to the conclusion that since a person must be baptized to get rid of sin (Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Gal 3:26-27, I Pet 3:21, etc.), that infants needed to baptized in order to get rid of their sin. Do you see how one false doctrine almost always leads to another?

Notice the following passages that show that infant baptism is unscriptural:
Colossians 3:17 There No Authority For Infant Baptism
Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-16 Teaching/Preaching Must Come Before Baptism
Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 Belief And Repentance Must Come Before Baptism
Acts 2:41,42 Receiving The Word Must Come Before Baptism
Acts 8:12 Men And Women Were Baptized, Not Young Children
Acts 8:36-37 If Thou Believest With All Thine Heart, Thou Mayest Be Baptized
Acts 22:16 Baptism Is Calling On God, And An Infant Is Not Capable Of Calling Upon God
I Peter 3:21 Baptism Is An Appeal To God For A Good Conscience, Something An Infant Is Incapable Of
Ecclesiastes 7:29, Romans 9:11, Isaiah 7:16 Infants Don’t Need To Be Baptized

John Calvin’s Theory Of Inherited Total Depravity

November 17, 2009

The ‘T’ in the TULIP Calvinism acrostic stands for "Total depravity" and has its root in the Catholic idea of "original sin," that is, a baby inherits the guilt of Adam’s first sin (and his depravity).

But this idea of inherited sin is not taught by the Bible. Please consider two simple passages (NKJV):

Ezek 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

Eccl 7:29 "Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes."

The reason we sin is for the same reason that Adam did – we choose to (Josh 24:15). Don’t blame it on Adam! We are responsible. We need to repent (Acts 2:38).

Doctrine Does Matter

November 14, 2009

Matthew 15:9 reads, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctines the commandments of men."

Notice that if we teach the commandments of men instead of the commandments of God, our worship is "in vain" (useless, worthless). It would be just like we were not worshipping God at all, and that obviously means we wouldn’t be saved (Heb 11:6). So it is very important that we teach the doctrine of Christ (II John verse 9). When people ask us Bible questions, we should give them a Bible answer (book, chapter, and verse, Acts 18:28), not just how we feel about it, or how we think it should be. How would a listener know if something a Bible preacher/teacher said was a commandment of God or men? It’s simple. If you can find it in God’s word, then it is from God. Otherwise, it is a doctrine of man. Matt 15:9 clearly shows that it matters what we teach, that our doctrine is critically important to our salvation.

Doctrine Matters.

“Saved At The Point Of Baptism, Not At The Point Of Faith” by Keith Lowe

November 9, 2009
In this post I will show that we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ after meeting the conditions that God placed on that gift. We are not saved at the point of faith, but when we are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.Part 1: The Bible says that baptism is the point at which we are saved. The wording is clear, it isn’t in one isolated (and therefore possibly misunderstood) passage, and only one explanation fits without contradiction.

First, let’s examine the relevant passages:

· Acts 22:16“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” – It seems to me that Paul pretty clearly is still in his sins when Ananias said this.

· Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – We must do both of these things to be saved.

· Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’“ – “them” being men who had heard the gospel and believed in Christ. What did Peter say? If all they had to do was have faith, wouldn’t he have said “brothers, you are cool, do no more.” Or “just believe”? But he didn’t. What did he in fact say? Basically “you do this AND this (having already done the other)”.

· 1 Peter 3:21“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” – I’m hard pressed to figure out what this wording means if not that, well, baptism is the thing that actually saves us.

· Galatians 3:26-27 – “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – In what state are we if we haven’t been baptized into Christ?

· Romans 6:3 – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? – Can we be saved without being baptized into his death?

So there we have it – six verses that all make this point. How can we read all six of these verses and decide that the Bible does not tell us to be baptized in order to be saved?

Before I read the words and worked to understand them I argued fiercely that we were saved when we had believed, repented, and ”asked Christ into our hearts“ (though I was hard pressed to totally define that last part). Then someone asked me two questions that I was unable to answer:

1. If God had wanted to tell us that we need to be baptized to be saved, and that the obediently faithful act of baptism was the thing that actually finished the process, how exactly would he put it such that the words would be clear to me? I could never answer this question and it bugged me for a long time until I decided I couldn’t come up with more clear wording than what the Bible used.

2. What exactly is the purpose of baptism? The only explanation that I could find (with any scriptural support) was that it is to wash away our sins.

So there we are. Is this controversial? You bet. If you disagree, I’d love to hear from you. But before I do I ask you to read these verses in their context and think about whether my conclusion could be true.image001image001image001image001image001

Unlawful Marriages

November 7, 2009

Mark 6:18 reads "For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife." Does anybody think John thought it was okay to keep Herodias as his wife when he (John) said the marriage was unlawful? Yet 99% of congregations today allow this very thing. Many of the members are in their second or third marriages and nothing is ever said or done about it (I Cor 5:11). Adulterous marriages are just allowed to continue. If you don’t think it’s happening in the congregation you worship with, then just ask around a little bit.

People are just playing games with religion.

Why not find a congregation that doesn’t allow such? There are still a few around you know.

Doctrinal Decision

November 4, 2009

We all need to emphasize that the doctrine we believe, teach, and practice is crucial to our salvation. Most denominational people don’t think doctrine is important at all. But consider what II John verse 9 says:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Did you see that? If we don’t abide in (stay inside) the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, we don’t have God. And we certainly can’t be saved without God. Just the opposite is true. We can only be saved with/by/through God (John 14:6).

So if you believe II John verse 9, then you believe that if you don’t abide in Jesus’ teaching, you will be without God and lost. False doctrine causes people to be lost spiritually (Galatians 1:6-9). We all need to make a decision about religious (Bible) doctrine. Are we going to take it seriously? Are we going to study to find out the truth, so that we can be made free from sin (John 8:32)? Or instead are we going to just ignore the issues, sticking our head in the sand, being deceived by the axiom that ignorance is bliss (Matt 13:15)?