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…