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Why won’t people accept the truth on baptism?

The New Testament is very clear on the necessity of baptism in salvation. Yet, no matter how hard we try, people refuse to see the simple words on the page. Instead of digging deep to discover why, we dismiss them with insults and hurt the work of the Lord.

Baptism is immersion for the remission of our sins (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; 22:16). It allows us to be added to the church (Acts 2:47) and to enter Christ (Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Yet, people disagree on doctrinal grounds, not just because they want to be lost. Most religious group practice some form of water baptism, but they fail to understand the truth because their other teachings disallow it.

“Teaching the lost, the gospel must affect them at the point of their misunderstanding. Otherwise, it’s just an academic argument. We must be wise and see the source of contention so we can reach their souls with the good news.”/1

Our doctrinal beliefs are largely determined by our presuppositions. Denominational Bible students go astray in their understanding of grace, faith and works. As long as we refuse to engage them on these core matters, we will find the same obstinacy.

We need to go much deeper in our understanding of salvation in passages such as Romans 5-6. Going straight to Acts 2:38 will not work with most denominational Bible students. We must develop a fuller picture in our own minds first and then open it up for them.

We must dig deeply into grace and works if we wish to succeed. Unless we do so, they will always see baptism as a meritorious work and a violation of their understanding of grace.

We need to attack the real problem harder than we have been. We need more engagement on grace, works and faith if we want to save the world. If we refuse, then we have failed the Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

Just yelling about baptism isn’t sufficient and we must attack the core issues as exhaustively as we can.

Notes
1/ http://richardmansel.com/2014/04/25/baptism-argument/

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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5 thoughts on “Why won’t people accept the truth on baptism?

  1. …and we must stop teaching baptism in the church as though it has replaced the Lord of the church

  2. Baptism, or literally immersion, was commanded by the Lord, practiced by the apostles and disciples and is the only way for a man to be “in Christ.” Baptism is one of the “keys of the kingdom” that the Lord gave Peter. It is the admission into the kingdom, the “golden ticket” as it were. A ticket never replaces why we are at an event, it just lets us in the door. Am I “in Christ” is one of the two questions we must ask ourselves, along with will I be found “in Him.” All of this happens because of God’s grace and our faith. We must find a way to explain this to people who have the wrong concept of grace, faith and works. We must search the scriptures and “correctly divide the word of truth” to explain the correct meaning of God’s unsearchable grace, our faith, and our response to it.

  3. Excellent observation. We need to let others hear that we do believe we are saved because of God’s grace and that we believe we are saved by faith. Problem is we are ultimately defining these basic terms differently. And yes there is a sense we are saved by doing the works God requires of His faithful ones. We clearly understand in our doing what God tells us to do we neither earn our salvation or make God a debtor to us to give us salvation.

  4. I’ll provide an epiphany moment that answers the question of your title.

    Although various brand new false doctrines evolved or were developed over various centuries. The Bible, and even false forms of Christianity didn’t argue, but agreed that baptism was unto, looking-forward-to, to-reach, Greek “eis” salvation.

    When Anabaptists argued against the legitimacy of infant baptism, all sides understood that this meant that Anabaptists acknowledged and therefore claimed that those who received only paedobaptism were not Christians.

    Then there was a movement that was influenced by Anabaptists, simply called Baptists but who wanted to keep a co-religious, pan-denominational or trans-denominational approach to paedobaptists to fit in with paedobaptist cultures and nations. In order to do this, they had to redefine baptism in a new perspective that had never existed in the prior 1600+ years of Christian beliefs. There was never a good doctrinal reason to do so, but if you didn’t want to be ostracised and persecuted, separated like Anabaptists, the Baptists believed they had very good social reasons to create this new doctrine.

    Alexander Campbell, being more doctrinally rigorous, did not accept the Baptist position. Nevertheless, toward the end of his life, that same temptation of social reasons and the desire to fit within a nation (America) and not be anathemetized, led Campbell to make some statements to the effect that he thought paedobaptists could be in some sense Christian. He never tried to defend this Biblically, it was just an emotional attempt to reconcile Christianity with American culture, which was founded on paedobaptism. This is the same temptation that leads people to accept the Baptist concept despite total lack of Biblical arguments.

    Aside: I discovered this blog while Googling my grandfather, Roy V. Palmer.

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