clipart of baptism

A Biblical Study of Scriptural New Testament Baptism and Its Requirements....

Some things to consider:

1. Compare old testament dispensation baptism with new testament baptism.
2. Define scripturally administered new testament baptism.
3. What must persons know, believe, understand and obey in order to be scripturally baptized?
4. How does new testament baptism differ from those forms of baptism commonly practiced in protestant churches, and in the
  Roman Catholic church?
5. What are the risks and dangers of accepting sectarian baptism and permitting persons not being scripturally baptized to enter
  into the fellowship of a local church which purports to be a new testament church?
6. Do gospel preachers have the power of absolution which permits them to set aside new testament regulations with reference
  to the plan of salvation, the marriage law, the nature and/or work of the church?
7. If a preacher errs, does a prospective Christian get a pass on obedience?
8. By contrast, what do the denominational churches teach about the Biblical subject of Baptism?

(1) “Christian” Baptism versus John the baptist baptism

Insights into the identity and work of John the baptizer are found in the following passages: (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 11:7-15; Mark 1:2-14; Luke 7:16-35; Matthew 3:1-17; Luke 3:2-22).
John came as the last prophet of the old testament, or Mosaic, dispensation. He called upon Jews to repent of the sins they had committed in failing to keep the law of Moses faithfully. The Jews had become children of God by virtue of their physical birth into the Israelite or Jewish family. They were called upon to confess their sins which they had committed as children of God, and to be baptized for the remission of sins. They were immersed or buried in water as that is the meaning of the term baptize. They went down into the water, and came up out of the water (Matthew 3:16; compare Acts 8:38-39).
(2)  Insights into the nature of “Christian” baptism may be understood by considering the following passages: (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:12-13, 35-39; 10:47-48; 16:32-33; 18:8; 19:1-6; 22:16; Romans 6:1-7, 16-18; I Corinthians 6:11; 15:29; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:5; 5:25-27; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:21).
Following the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, people who are not children of God by fleshly birth are admitted to the kingdom of Christ and become children of God by spiritual birth (John 3:1-5) as they are baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. These people are required to learn the truth (Romans 10;17), believe the gospel (Mark 16:15-16), repent of their sins (Acts 2:38), confess their faith in Christ as the Son of the living God (Acts 8:36-37),   and be baptized in water and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), and into the forgiveness of their sins (Romans 6:1-4) and are to rise from the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life.
  Those being baptized into Christ are not required to “confess their sins,” but are required to confess their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (I Timothy 6:12-13).
As W. Curtis Porter once stated in debating with Ben M. Bogard, a Baptist preacher and debater, we baptize rebellious children of the devil in order that they by their obedience might become obedient children of God. Obedience to the “rite” of baptism marks the point of change from a child of the devil to becoming a child of God.
(3)  Candidates for new testament baptism must understand that they are sinners; we are not saved by faith only; their sins were not forgiven at the point of faith (James 2:24). We must be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:1-4, 16-18; Titus 3:5).
We are baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) or into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 19:5) which are one and the same there being no division or schism in the Godhead (John 17:21), the members of the Godhead being of one mind and purpose.
(4) New Testament baptism differs from denominational baptism because denominational churches do not believe that baptism is necessary for salvation.  They believe that persons are saved by faith only and at the point of faith. I study the authoritative books of various religious groups or churches and I do not know of a single denominational church which teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation or the remission of sins.  Persons who are baptized believing that they were already saved at the point of faith have, therefore, not met the divinely revealed purpose of baptism.
(5) Persons coming from denominational church backgrounds need to be taught clearly what the truth of the new testament plan of salvation is, and what they must do in order to be saved or forgiven of past sins. Sometimes they come wanting to “place membership” or be received into the fellowship of Christians in churches of Christ. They probably do this in sincerity thinking that they have been baptized. But they have not been baptized (scripturally). If they knew the truth and understood the purpose of baptism when they were baptized into a denomination, where did they learn it? since denominational churches do not teach biblical baptism.  And, if they did know the truth and understood new testament doctrine on the subject of baptism, why did they remain in the fellowship of some religious group for some years when they should have realized that those groups were not teaching the biblical doctrine of baptism?
There are at least two very serious negative consequences of accepting denominational baptism as a basis of extending fellowship:
(6) Firstly, the person is allowed, even aided and abetted, in thinking that they have met God’s requirements for forgiveness of sin. They may go through life believing that they have done the will of God, pass from this life and go into judgment, thinking that they have obeyed the gospel when they have not!
(7) Secondly, we establish in the minds of people that this is acceptable practice or behavior, which it is not!
For a thought provoking example, consider I Samuel 15:10-29. God had given clear instructions to King Saul, but Saul failed to obey them, later claiming that “I have carried out the command of the Lord.” But Samuel pointed out the unmistakable evidence that God’s will had not been obeyed. And, Samuel said, “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king” (New American Standard Version).
(8) What do denominational churches teach regarding the plan of salvation?
Baptist churches teach that “All the baptisms of all ages of the world could not blot out the least sin.” And, further, “It is, also, “not possible” that baptism or the Lord’s Supper should take away sin” (McConnell’s Manual for Baptist Churches, pages 48-49). Dr. Albert Garner debated J. T. Smith May 6-10, 1974 in Gainesville, Florida. In Proposition #1, Garner affirmed, “The Scriptures teach that a penitent believer in Christ is saved at the point of faith in Christ before and without water baptism.” Garner was at that time president of the Lakeland Baptist College.
Methodist Churches teach that “Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort” (Discipline of the Methodist Church,  1960 edition, “Articles of Religion, #IX, page 32.) Further, Article XVII states “....(baptism) is a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The baptism of young children is to be retained in the church.”
Presbyterian Churches teach concerning baptism, “Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.”
(The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Churches of the United States, 1939 Edition, pages 103, 104).
The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, 1960 edition, states regarding the subject of forgiveness or regeneration, that “whoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin”.... and “That believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Agreed Statement of Belief, paragraphs 5 and 6, page 36.)
The Pentecostal Holiness Church Discipline (1957 Edition) states that “We believe, teach and firmly maintain the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone (Article 7, page 13). And, “We believe that entire sanctification is an instantaneous, definite second work of grace, obtained by faith on the part of the fully justified believer.” (Article 9, page 13).
Free Methodist Discipline (1931), states that “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings: wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.” (Article IX, page 14).
The Church of God (Holiness), views concerning salvation as set forth by C. J. Weaver of Sheffield, Alabama, in debate with Gus Nichols, of Jasper, Alabama, May 3-7, 1943. Weaver, of the Church of God, affirmed the proposition that “The Scriptures teach that baptism with the Holy Ghost is for the sanctification of all Christians, the eradication of evil nature, or inborn sin, and is to continue throughout the gospel dispensation, or Christian age.”
  Weaver denied the proposition that “The Scriptures teach that water baptism to a penitent believer of the gospel is unto the remission of alien sins, or is a condition of salvation from past sins.”
Again, Weaver affirmed the proposition that “The Scriptures teach that alien sinners are saved from their past sins upon the conditions of repentance, confession of sins, and faith, before and without water baptism.”
In still another debate which was held in North Webster, Indiana, September 15th through the 26th, of the year 1926, Elder H. M. Riggle of the Church of God debated with Elder B. E. Kesler of the Church of the Brethren. H. M. Riggle of the Church of God affirmed the proposition that “The Church of God, of which I, H. M. Riggle, am a member, and which I represent, is identical with the New Testament Church in origin, name, doctrine, and practice.”  B. E. Kesler denied this proposition.
In the course of presenting his views which in a number of instances do not correspond with new testament doctrine, he made the following statements:
“Question: Where did the apostles ever claim to take members into the church by water baptism? My friend cannot cite a single instance because there are none.” (Page 96 of the published debate.) He further stated on Page 114: “Baptism, then, is for believers, and not for sinners; and all the above scriptures clearly teach that those who believe are free from condemnation, are born of God, are justified, have everlasting life, remission of sins, and are saved”. . . . “Through repentance and faith every sinner has access to God. One text forever settles this point: ‘He that believeth on him is not condemned.’ The moment one believes on Christ, after having repented of their sins, condemnation is removed and they are saved.”
How can one be baptized under such teaching, remain in the fellowship of a denomination for a number of years, and then later claim that they were scripturally baptized? Do they not wish to be scripturally baptized?

  ----Humbly submitted by Thomas C.. Hickey

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