Duck Dynasty Inspired Question on Baptism and Salvation

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Last week I wrote A Few More Things You Should Know About Duck Dynasty. As a result of that post, a question about baptism and salvation came up on my Facebook page. I would love to hear some thoughts on my answer, but first, a few observations.

I did not realize the huge amount of interest the Duck Dynasty post would generate. Nor did I realize there would be such silence from the more influential Evangelical wing of blogdom. Please, don’t misunderstand, I’m not demanding anyone must Say Something Right Now, or Else! as Kevin DeYoung wrote.

However, it is interesting the kick back Joel Osteen got when he claimed that Mitt Romney is a Christian reasoning that, “When I hear Mitt Romney say that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God–that he’s the Christ, raised from the dead, that he’s his Savior–that’s good enough for me.” The problem is that Mormons believe in a different Jesus than Christians so Osteen’s position comes into question.

A similar question came to my mind when I found out that the Duck Dynasty folks were part of the Church of Christ. The question was, “What do Church of Christ folks mean when they talk of following Christ and salvation?” On the surface, like Osteen’s Mormon acceptance, all seems well. Yet, it is no secret that the Churches of Christ teach, as this Southern Baptist Apologetics website points out, “that baptism by immersion for believers is essential for the remission of sins and is necessary for salvation.”

Maybe baptismal regeneration does not matter much anymore in the Evangelical world – I don’t know. But I get concerned when a fan of Duck Dynasty seeks to be, and is, baptized by one of the cast members who states he “the importance of the Gospel and response to it as well as the importance of emphasizing who they are being baptized into and not who is baptizing them.”

I get concerned because the baptism language lines up with baptism being essential to salvation as one of the DD guys’ church evangelists stated (that I noted in my original post). So come back to the point that, while not a Christological heresy, the DD guys are adding something baptism to the gospel for salvation.

With that in mind, a question was asked by one of my Facebook page readers.

If a church preaches the death and resurrection of Christ AND baptism as the only path to heaven are they truly saved? It seems to me that they have the most important part correct, belief in or Lord Jesus Christ. I personally don’t believe baptism is necessary but I’m curious about this. Thank you.

I quickly gave the following answer.

Seriously, that is a good and difficult question. First, since we’re not God we can’t ultimately know, though the gospel is clear and knowable.

We are also told in Galatians not to receive false gospels because they are no gospel at all – they can’t save. As I understand the Galatian heresy, it is that they added something to faith. It was faith+ or Jesus+, if you will. So, when I understand how some (most?) Churches of Christ teach baptism as being essential, I put that into the Galatian heresy category as being faith+baptism.

I don’t think that gospel saves which is why I felt it necessary to write the Duck Dynasty article.

Interestingly enough, the material I posted from the Duck Dynasty folk’s church admits that faith alone is not enough to the point that re-baptism was encouraged for salvation. The gospel training tells the candidate to, “go back to the water, and you…consciously take your sins down into the death of Jesus…, where the blood was shed… Then to make your salvation sure, you can know you have taken your sins to the crucified Savior, Jesus, so that His blood can do its work.”

Not only is that contrary to faith alone, but it adds the element of some how bringing your own conscience into the baptismal to truly be forgiven. It certainly reads that baptism is more than passive as some Churches of Christ have attested.

Does that make sense?

For what it’s worth…

Mark



{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris Roberts March 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I’m iffy on this one. I do believe that baptismal regeneration is a serious error and if someone with this understanding of baptism and salvation tried to join my church, I would not permit them to join. But I am not sure that this falls to the level of heresy. As I understand what they are saying, baptism is not what saves us, but it is what we do by faith to be united with Christ in order to be saved by Christ. It’s synergism with an extra dose of caffeine. One of the dangers of this teaching is that a person might well think that the baptism is what saves him (O Brother Where Art Thou, anyone?) and I would say that such people are not saved because they do not understand the gospel at any level. The person who believes baptism an essential part of our coming to Christ for salvation also misunderstands aspects of the gospel, but the central – and essential – component remains: salvation is by faith in Christ. In the case of baptismal regeneration, the person with faith exercises that faith by being baptized to be united with Christ for salvation. In the case of a more Southern Baptist-flavored synergism, the person with faith exercises that faith by praying a prayer to be united with Christ for salvation. They are errors of a similar sort, though to a different degree, and they both – I think – point to the same place: the essential work of Christ who alone is mighty to save.

But as I say, I’m still iffy. Synergism is a problem, and the greater the emphasis on what we must do, the farther one strays from the core of the gospel.

2 Mark March 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Chris, thanks for the comment. I appreciate your careful look at this critical issue. How would this type of synergism line-up with Rome? That is, if we can accept faith+baptism is it really much of a stretch to accept faith in initial justification+works? I know these categories aren’t exact.

One thing I’m not sure who is correct on (at this point) is where you state that it not baptism that saves. In my first DD post, one of their church evangelists says that baptism is not for the saved, but the unsaved. That is, a person is saved during their baptism because that is when they are actually united with Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc.

It is also the essential claim worries me.

3 Chris Roberts March 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I’m really not that familiar with CoC claims, or the claims of baptismal regeneration, so I based what I said on what I’d read in your first post. Baptism is for the unsaved, yes, but he seemed to say that what baptism does is to unite the sinner with Christ. It is baptism that puts your sin with Jesus’ blood – as you note, that is when they are united with Christ. I would again say this is not altogether different from other synergistic views – it is your free-will act of calling out to God that unites you with the Father; this free-will response to God’s call is essential for salvation; etc. These are not exact parallels, since those who claim the necessity of a free-will response aren’t saying that union happens through our response whereas CoC says union happens through baptism, but I think the parallels are pretty strong: there is something you must do in order to be saved. What keeps this from being heretical is that your actions are not the actual saving event; you do not save yourself by your prayer, or by your baptism, but by the work of Christ.

As for Rome, they go even farther by saying, as I roughly understand it, that we are not made righteous by Christ so much as by Christ we are made capable of righteousness. Instead of being covered with the blood of Christ (imputed righteousness), Christ makes it possible for me to walk in righteousness. We receive merit from Christ and from the saints, merit which helps to cover sins we have committed, but we also must become righteous in our lives through inherent, Christ-aided ability. This is well in the realm of heresy because no longer is salvation seen to be all of Christ. We are not just talking about a prayer or a baptism which moves us positionally with Christ, we are talking about something in us that essentially finishes what Christ has started.

4 theoldadam March 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

We are saved by water and the Word. We are commanded to baptize and be baptized.

Also, in that same Book of Galatians, Paul writes, “Those of you who were baptized have put on Christ”.

God does the baptizing (yes…in water baptism – that’s what baptism is…water with God’s Word of promise attached to it.

Can God save apart from Baptism? Sure! We affirm that. But He can surely save in Baptism, as well. It was His idea. If He wants to work in it, then He will work His grace and forgiveness in it.

5 Mark March 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I’m not sure how helpful it will be to further compare Rome and CoC doctrine. For one, CoC are basically non-credal. I don’t believe they even have a doctrine of imputation, infusion, etc. I do think the synergism is just as present when looking at the CoC site answering How does one become a member of the church of Christ?. It is a different type of synergism, but synergism nonetheless which goes beyond the bounds of simple saving faith.

Though God’s part is the big part, man’s part is also necessary if man is to reach heaven. Man must comply with the conditions of pardon which the Lord has announced. Man’s part can clearly set forth in the following steps:

That which is necessary for salvation that man must do are listed as: “Hear the Gospel, believe, repent of past sins, confess Jesus as Lord, be baptized for the remission of sins, and live a Christian life.”

So, back to the first part of your comment. It is true they state baptism as the means by which one is united with Christ meaning no baptism, no Christ. The Protestant perspective is that of no faith, no Christ. I understand the monergist and the synergist to both having to make a free-will response, as you state. Neither position advocates faith against one’s will. Either way, we are in union with Christ by faith alone.

I cannot get past the understanding that, for the CoC, baptism is the saving event which goes beyond faith. It is also odd to me that for years apologists have stood against any form of baptismal regeneration, but some how today we are willing to excuse it.

6 justrozie1234 March 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Perhaps this is why I get my belly laughs and not my theology from watching Duck Dynasty. Should we take a moment to remember our ultimate goal of watching TV is entertainment and TV’s ultimate goal is to sell you something? It’s best to keep that in mind when considering what we’ll worship and just whom we’ll accept as our heroes. Of Course, when Lifeway published The Walking Dead Devotional, I may change my mind.

7 Chris Roberts March 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Mark,

That wording certainly moves it farther into problematic territory, but I’m still struggling to see the difference between this and the typical synergistic position. The monergist believes the faith and will response come as a result of what God has done, while the synergist believes God’s actions are in response to man’s free-will choice, decision, invitation, etc. Thus a typical SBC synergist could say what you quote above only instead of listing baptism as the necessary step, list some variation of “open the door of your heart”, “pray a prayer”, “make a decision”, “walk an aisle”, etc, etc. In other words, by that view my salvation is impossible unless I first do something. There is a necessary action on my part before God will pardon my sins.

I would go back to noting the distinction with what happens after the action: the SBC synergist does not see baptism (or any other action) as the mechanism which unites us with Christ or accomplishes salvation. It is necessary for a man to first do something (pray a prayer, etc) but that something does not in itself provide any of the necessary material for my salvation, whereas it looks like in the CoC view, baptismal waters provide a necessary material.

Thinking about it in those terms, I lean much closer to agreeing with you. On its own, the synergist position is bad enough: presenting something we do as a necessary precursor for our salvation. But baptismal regeneration goes farther by saying not only is this a necessary precursor for salvation, it is also a necessary component of salvation: the act of baptizing in water does not simply invite God’s work, it does something for us that Christ did not (could not?) do.

I suppose that is what you were saying all along – I’m pretty slow sometimes.

8 Jerry Smith March 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm

The coC are badly mislead on the point of salvation. But today they’ve been accepted as a Christian Church in our county, It want be long before the Mormon Church will be just as accepted. The last president campaign even helped them to be more accepted in our country Yet, both of them will still be false teaching Churches when compared against the teachings within the Bible while they teach no one how to be saved. We are in the day when many are being deceived, & its not popular in this world to point out false teachers, rebuke, or attempt to correct them. But I assure you, its still popular in the sight of God to do so. So it just depends on who you fear the most, man, or God. It seems most people fear man more so than God. It will never be popular to follow God closely in this world. A good thought from the Scriptures. Joshua 24:15 ‘And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve …. but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.’ I’ve made my choice, have you?

9 Mark March 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

Chris, you’re not slow, but careful – I think. Plus, your trying to read through and understand my lack of clarity. I appreciate the exchange. You’ve given me good push back to think about, brother.

10 Mark March 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

Rozie, I’m with you. It is amazing how much culture has influenced Christians in certain areas. Strong feelings arise in the areas of celebrity and heroes. Sadly, what this really shows is how idolatry squashes careful, biblical thinking.

11 Mark March 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Jerry, you’ve touched on something that is a recent phenomenon. Today it seems people will find any reason, biblical doctrine excepted, to receive those whom were long considered to distort the gospel such as Mormons and CoC. Funny thing is, neither Mormon doctrine, CoC doctrine or the gospel has changed.

12 Brenda April 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Read your bible, In Acts 2:38 it states that repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. In Acts also when the people asked the apostles how to be saved it states Repent and be baptized. Everywhere it talks about the church it states baptism is necessary. How can you say otherwise if you read your bible.

13 Dan April 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

John 3:5 plainly states the necessity for bantam!

14 Dan April 16, 2013 at 11:52 pm

The Mormons believe in the “Jesus” in the bible who is the “only begotten” of the Father! The “Jesus” who is the son of God!!!

15 Mark April 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

Actually, Mormons believe the following about God.

We do not believe that God the Father and Satan are brothers. We believe that Jehovah (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) and Lucifer were spirit brothers. Lucifer (son of the morning) is our spirit brother who fell from heaven for rebellion at the grand heavenly council, where we were present and “shouted for joy” and overcame Satan by our love, faith, and testimony for Christ.

16 Dan April 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

Mark,You are exactly right! That is what the Mormons believe, and as you have just explained, that is the same Jesus in the bible! Not only is that same Jesus the spirit child of God the Father, so is satan and you and I and all who have ever lived. And yes that does make us spirit brothers with Jesus and satan. God did not create the evil that satan and those that followed him, that was their choice to be evil. Just as when God created hitler, he didn’t create him to be evil either! God created all things and without God , “nothing was made that was not made by him. You can’t choose your family, even though sometimes we wish we could! Lol

17 Mark April 18, 2013 at 10:23 am

Dan, first, let’s be clear, I did not just explain that the Mormons believe in the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is eternal and not the spirit brother of Lucifer. God the Father is also eternal and not formerly a man, nor may I become a god. Mormonism and Christianity teach different Gods.

18 Dan April 19, 2013 at 9:39 am

Mark, I would have to say that I completely disagree with your last statement! You did describe what the Mormons believe and by so doing, you described the Jesus in the bible! And I would also have to inform you that just as Catholics and Protestants are Christians , so to are Mormons and any other religion that teaches that Jesus is the son of God and is their savior. My personal walk with God, has been one filled with much prayer and study and I have now been lead to 2 churches which I attend. The catholic faith and the Mormon faith and I alternate going to each one. And while they seem very different from each other, I have to say that I find many similarities. The top factor for me is both of their claims to being directly set up on earth by God, through his son Jesus. And as I have said before, they are both Christians who believe in that same Jesus in the bible. And your argument that the Mormons don’t believe in the same Jesus that is in the bible is inaccurate.

19 theoldadam April 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

Mormons believe in ‘another Jesus’. A different Jesus who is not fully God and not fully capable of doing ALL that is needful for us. The Mormon Jesus NEEDS our help.

That my friends is a wimpy god. The sort of god that Mormons believe that they can become.

It’s nothing more than the same tired, old, self-ascendancy project that has been going on since day one. Religion. But no faith in the completed work of Christ (for us) on the Cross.

20 Dan April 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

Theoldadm, actually you are incorrect about what the Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints (Mormons) believe about the Jesus of the bible! The book of “John, chapter 10 might help you to understand the truth of what the Mormons believe.

21 Mark April 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

Dan, Mormonism and Christianity teach different Gods and different paths to salvation. They are not compatible. It is interesting that Joseph Smith was allegedly told by God not to join any of the churches of his time and that all of the Christian creeds were an abomination. Christianity uses the some or most of same creeds today that Smith objected to. Those creeds profess the same Trinitarian God that LDS deny. It’s odd that some Mormons want to be considered under the tent of Christianity which Smith rejected.

22 theoldadam April 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

Dan,

I grew up with Mormons. I’m still close with many of them. I know their doctrines.

The whole thing is a ‘make yourself perfect’ (better) project.

I have also read parts of the BOM. It’s antithetical to the gospel.

The Book of Galatians is perfectly aimed at Mormons.

23 Dan April 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Mark, Jesus is the son of God, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so that through him we can be forgiven, he over came death that all will be resurrected, he did all things that God the Father sent him to do. He is my savioir! The Holy Ghost who teaches all truth, has born personal witness to me that all of this is true. This is the exact Jesus in the bible. This is the Jesus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. You must learn basic math in order to ever understand calculus !

24 Dan April 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Mark, I want you to know that I am loving our diascussion on Jesus, I love telling everyone about him! I love how the gospel anplan of salvation are plainly laid out in the scriptures and love helping all to see how there is perfect order laid out in the bible.

25 Mark April 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Dan, I love telling people about Jesus too which includes exposing the false Mormon Jesus. Here is a good breakdown for those reading: The Christ of Mormonism vs. the Christ of the Bible.

26 Dan April 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Mark, I went to the link you gave and can see where your having a hard time with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints! That sight is full of false statements! You should really get your information from the Mormons and not an “ex Mormon” who is obviously spreading false information about the Mormons!

27 r phillips April 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Most
“fundamental
evangelical” denominations (Baptist, Pentecostal, etc.)
teach that an individual is saved by “faith alone.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast” (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=ephesians+2:8,9). Arbitrarily
assigning to immersion the status of works, and excluding
immersion from faith, such groups automatically come to the
conclusion that immersion cannot possibly have anything to do
with salvation. Immersion must be a work which follows salvation.
Therefore immersion could not possibly be for the purpose of
forgiveness of sins – forgiveness would have taken place earlier
when the individual was “saved.” But baptism is defined by the bible as God’s work in Colossians 2:12 “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Faith and baptism therefore go together.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=acts+2:38 is a statement which
Peter made in response to several thousand Jews’ question,
“What shall we do?” Peter’s answer is:
“Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Peter’s
answer is straight-forward, and
contains two requirements: (1) Repent; and (2) Be baptized in the
name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.

Nobody,
as a
rule, gets “hung up” on
the necessity of repentance as a requirement for salvation.
Immersion in the name of (by the authority of) Jesus for the
purpose of forgiveness of sins is where some people have real
problems.

 One
of the
arguments that is used is this: the
word translated for can also mean because. A man
is thrown
in jail for the commission of a crime – he is thrown in jail because
he committed it. Parallel reasoning then applies to http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=acts+2:38;
a man is immersed for the remission (forgiveness)
of sins – a man is immersed because his sins are
remitted (forgiven). However, the word translated for
is the Greek word eis, which
rarely ever means because, and certainly not in
this context. Consider http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=matthew+26:28. In this verse,
where Jesus is instituting the Lord’s Supper, He describes
His blood as being shed “for the forgiveness of sins.”
Nobody who believes that the Bible is the Word of God would claim
that Jesus shed His blood “because mankind’s sins were
already forgiven.” Jesus’ blood was shed for the
purpose of forgiving men’s sins! And that same purpose, in
exactly the same language (in Greek as well as in English) is
ascribed to baptism!!
 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=1peter+3:21
states, that as
water served to destroy the old world in Noah’s time (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=2peter+3:5,6) by immersion
in water, and to save Noah and his family, so immersion now saves
us. “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you –
not the removal of the dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God
for a good conscience – through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ” (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=49&search=1peter+3:21).

“…baptism
now saves you . . .”
That seems like a pretty plain statement. Those who deny that
immersion has anything to do with salvation have real trouble
with this verse. Dr. Kenneth Taylor, a Baptist, in his paraphrase
of the Bible (the Living Bible), gives us his
opinion in
this way: “That, by the way, is what baptism pictures for
us; in baptism we show that we have been saved. .
.” But the verse does not say that we have been saved. The
Bible, in
contrast, teaches that
“baptism now saves you – not the removal of dirt
from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience –
through the resurrection of Christ.”
 Some will try to deny scripture further by stating that these verses are speaking of a spiritual baptism that happens prior to ones physical immersion in water. They invent in their minds an additional baptism to reconcile these verses that they would otherwise be forced to disagree with. Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us that there is only ONE baptism, however. Ones spiritual baptism and ones baptism in water are therefore simultaneous.

28 Starla Harrison May 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

My husband was raised in the Church of Christ. We attneded, together, Churches of Christ of various stripes for the first 30 of our 32 yr marriage. We now attned First Baptist Church, Garland, Tx. We have been ’round & ’round this mulberry bush for YEARS between ouraelves and with other people. The bottom line is this :  I & he are botrh convinced that people have made a mountain out of a molehill re: this topic. There simply is NOT that much difference.  Satan uses these arguments to divide Christians and weaken the power of the body of Christ as a whole in this country.  We Christians, all, need each other now, more than ever.  People in the Church of Christ do NOT believe that being dunked is what saves a person. They believe that their faith is expressed throught their willingness to obey in Baptism, and that faith is the saving power. Believe me, this argument is splitting hairs. I am thrilled that there is a Chriostian voice in Duck Dynasty. I am praying now as I type, that there can be unity among Christians, and all uf us will support our Christian brothers and sisters on Duck Dynasty. From what I’ve heard from my international missionary friends all over the world, there is not inter-denominational Christian bickering on the mission field. They support each other and work together to further the Kingdom.  Respectfully and prayerfully, Star**

29 ERJ December 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm

The Scriptures are not so unclear that one has trouble determining what the purpose of baptism is. Rather denominational creeds and dogmas force people to deny the clear statements of Scripture with reference to baptism. Consequently, let us reiterate the purpose of Bible baptism.

1. Mark 16:16. In giving the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15-16). Jesus gave two conditions for salvation – belief and baptism. If one must believe in order to be saved, then surely he must also be baptized. Hence, baptism is a condition for salvation in exactly the same manner as belief is.

2. Acts 2:38. After Peter preached the first gospel sermon, the Jews who heard the sermon and were pricked in their hearts asked Peter and the rest of the apostles what they had to do in order to be saved. Peter said, “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). Repentance and baptism are here listed as conditions for receiving the remission of one’s sins. If an individual can understand that he must repent of his sins in order to receive the forgiveness of his sins, he can also understand that he must be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of his sins. Both conditions are named as being essential for remission of one’s sins.

3. Acts 22:16. When Ananias approached the believing and penitent Saul of Tarsus, he told him, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). This man had seen the resurrected Christ and believed on him; for three days he was in agony because of the sins which he had committed. Yet, he was not yet saved. Ananias told him that he must be baptized in order to have his sins washed away. Hence, baptism is essential to have one’s sins washed away.

4. 1 Pet. 3:21. Peter related how that the waters of the flood had saved Noah from the wickedness of the world in which he lived. He then added, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh; but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The plain statement of Scripture is that baptism saves us. Peter did not believe that baptism alone saved anyone; he is simply stating what Christ said in the Great Commission and what he also had said on the day of Pentecost, namely that baptism is a condition for salvation.

5. 1 Cor. 12:13; John 3:5. Another line of argument which demonstrates that baptism is essential to salvation is seen in these passages in which baptism is said to be necessary to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and to enter the church (I Cor. 12:13). There are only two kingdoms in this world – the kingdom of God’s dear Son and the domain of Satan (Col. 1:13-14); one is either a member of Jesus’ kingdom or he is a member of Satan’s kingdom, lost in sin, and doomed to hell. Yet, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). One must be born of the water – be baptized – in order to become a part of God’s kingdom.
Similarly, one enters the church. The church is simply composed of the called out people of God; they have been called out of the darkness of sin into the light of God’s word. The saved compose the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23, 25). One becomes a member of the Lord’s church by being baptized into it. Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). Hence, one becomes a member of the called out people of God by being baptized into that one body. Hence, baptism is essential for salvation, for becoming a member of the kingdom of God or the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. Matt. 28:19. In Matthew’s account of the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” One translation reads like this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit . . . .” This is more accurate than the AV. Jesus said to go make disciples; the participal- clause “baptizing them” explains how one makes disciples. Hence, in order to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, he must be baptized. Without becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, one cannot be saved (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12).

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