Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why we do not water baptize

Many people get baptized. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah Witnesses, Catholics, and various Christian denominations teach a water baptism of some sort. Some believe in a sprinking, others in complete immersion. Some believe it is necessary for salvation, others believe that it is a show of faith.

Why is there so much confusion? Who was this practice for?

One key passage that helps us understand God is found in Ephesians 3. The Apostle Paul tells us that he was given the mystery of the dispensation of grace, the church age. It was not revealed to anyone else in the past, but is now being revealed. One grievous error in many churches is that they believe Matthew 28 was the last message Jesus gave his followers. They do not realize that all of Paul's letters should be "red letter", because Jesus Christ gave Paul the message of the Dispensation of Grace. The mystery is that the Gentiles and Jews are now equal, this is something we do not even see in Acts 2, as it was still God dealing with Israel.
Paul lets us know that it is not the physical rituals of the law that God wants, but the spiritual realities He has replaced with. For example, Pauls says in Ephesians 4:4-6 that there is only one baptism for today. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 Paul tells us that we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Yet, in Ephesians 1:13-14 Paul writes that the Holy Spirit enters us at the moment of faith, of salvation. Paul even says that (1 Cor 1:14-17) that Christ did not send him to water baptize. If he is the apostle to the Gentiles (which he claims to be), then in our following of his example (1 cor 11:1) we should look to his ministry as an example in this dispensation.


Nate said...

How many groups through-out church history have not water baptised? I do not know of any except your denomination. (Which does not prove anything, of course). But ALL of CHURCH history has water baptism on its side. From the earliest of the Church fathers water baptism has been seen as something that has been handed down from the Apostles.

Side note: reformed people see baptism as entrance into the coventant (a sign of). We do not believe that it is saving or that it is a show of faith. We see that the NT teaches baptism as a replacement for the OT sign of circumcision.

Anonymous said...

"They do not realize that all of Paul's letters should be "red letter", because Jesus Christ gave Paul the message of the Dispensation of Grace."

What people do not realize is that the ENTIRE Bible should be RED LETTER, as it is ALL the word of God.

karl said...

There are three groups of theologians that do not/did not believe in water baptism;the Society of Friends (Quakers), The Salvation Army, and the Mid/Acts Dispensationalists. Quakers have their own different reason why. But General Booth and some of the earliest pastors/teachers in the Grace Movement had similar ideas.
Yeah, you are right, that most of church history has been involved in water baptism. I guess going back to what the Apostle Paul says about water baptism is the trump card over church history. It appears he not only says he doesn't do it, he is glad he has only done it a few times. (which is contrary to most 'pastors' today, who are consumed with the number of people baptized)
side note question: it seems that Romans 2 and Colossians 2 state that the spiritual cirumcision replaced the OT sign of cirumcision...what is the evidence for taking NT baptism as a sign of cirumcision?
side note II: difference between CRC and Reformed? I am assuming that there is a big distinction...

karl said...

to anon:
Some people love the red letter Bibles, and focus on what is in the red letters. I agree with you, the whole bible is God-breathed.
My point was that many people focus on the 'last' message of Christ in Matthew 28 or Acts 1, and forget that Jesus is the one who gave Paul the information of the church age, Ephesians 3:1-9.

Nate said...

I will answer you Karl, but quickly;;; I loathe the red letter bible. I have the words of the Holy Spirit in black!