036 – Infant Baptism – Part 3

Infant Baptism - The great misunderstanding.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

In our last Podcast, 035, we discussed in detail the doctrine of “Original Sin.” If you have not listened to that podcast yet, I want to encourage you to go back and listen to it before we finish up with the topic of Infant Baptism in this podcast.

Millions of people believe they were baptized as an infant and this poses a particularly thorny problem.

Infant Baptism becomes one of the strongest objections to obeying the Gospel as an adult. The argument is pretty simple, it goes like this. “I don’t think I need to be baptized as an adult because I was baptized as a baby.”

This issue becomes a huge stumbling block for people who are discovering the Biblical Plan of Salvation for the first time because they have gone to church all their life and lived pretty righteous and decent lives. They believe their sins were washed away when they were baptized as an infant. They point back to their infant baptism, recognizing they have lived this life of respect for God and this becomes the proof it their faith.

Now that we understand there is no such thing as Original Sin and therefore no need for infant baptism, the way is clear and paved for the individual to obey the Gospel as an adult.

Let me restate something from our last lesson. Please listen carefully! The doctrine of “Original Sin” is not found in the Bible. Therefore, the entire doctrine of Infant Baptism crumbles under that weight. Infant baptism is just something men made up because they had to have a response to the perceived problem of Original Sin. Without the problem, there is no response required.

Let’s Make a New Tradition!

Infant baptism is a massive tradition, practiced for over a thousand years. In our modern era the doctrine has radically morphed into something new and even further outside the Biblical realm. Check this out. What I am about to tell you will graphically depict just how easily people buy into completely unscriptural teachings.

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035 – Original Sin

Original Sin - A Misunderstanding.
Masaccio – Banishment

Well hello there. If you are just joining us to learn about the topic of Original Sin, please note that we are in the middle of a discussion on Infant Baptism. The doctrine of Original Sin plays a crucial role as the impetus behind Infant Baptism so the two are inextricably linked. Since this is a pretty big topic, I decided to break out this part of the study as a separate podcast so it might be easier to find in searches when future folks just want to learn about the topic of Original Sin. So, when you hear me reference Infant Baptism in this Podcast, that would be the reason why. The next podcast, 036, will conclude our discussion regarding Infant Baptism. If you’re listening to the podcasts sequentially, we have not strayed from the topic at hand, you are still right on track.

The Doctrine of Original Sin

The doctrine of Original Sin basically states that man inherits the sin and guilt of Adam and Eve and because of that “Original Sin,” all men are condemned to destruction unless something happens to save them. This doctrine teaches; the sin of Adam and Eve has been passed down from generation to generation and there is no escaping its damning power. Everyone who has ever been born has “Original Sin” because Adam and Eve are the parents of us all.

So, the real question we must pursue, “Is there really such a thing as ‘Original Sin?’”

Defining our Terms

Let’s look at some popular scriptures used to support the doctrine of Original Sin. We’ll work through them and ask some questions as we always do. I think we are going to find they are not very convincing.

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034- Infant Baptism – Part 2

Infant Baptism is not necessary.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

The Anabaptist arguments of the 1500s pitted a deeply entrenched religious system which taught babies should be baptized, against the Anabaptist belief that only adults could make that decision for themselves.

Three Reasons for the Anabaptist’s View

Now, there are a three important facets of the reasoning behind the thinking of the Anabaptists and it seems like we never hear anything about these reasons; we just hear the summation, “babies don’t have faith.”

So, why did the Anabaptist’s considered only adults as valid candidates for baptism? Well, it was because of the additional qualifications. The adult had to hear the Gospel, believe it, accept, confess Jesus as Lord, repent of their sins and decide to be baptized; all of which infants can not do. Just being an adult did not make you a candidate, you had to be an obedient believer in Christ. Their baptisms became known as a “Believer’s Baptism.” This term is still used today in churches which have their roots in the Anabaptist movement, even though the meaning has changed significantly. This one is important so let me explain.

In the 1500s, these Anabaptist believers understood the requirements regarding obedience to the Gospel, which included baptism and only a person who accepted the Gospel was a candidate for baptism. Thus, baptism was done… only to a believer. They did not think they were already saved by their profession of faith; they knew they had to obey. Now, some my argue with this assertion so I will give you proof, shortly.

Believer’s Baptism

Today, the term “believer’s baptism” has shifted in meaning. It reflects the the Modern Plan of Salvation’s view that all believers are saved. Today, we are taught that anyone who makes a sincere profession of faith in Christ, is a Christian. By definition, the word “Christian” means sins have been forgiven. When a baptism occurs under the Modern Plan of Salvation, believers are being baptized in obedience to Christ but this baptism is just a ceremony. The evangelical world has even coined a phase to describe this doctrine: “Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace.”

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033-Infant Baptism – Part 1

Infant Baptism - Not a thing.
Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

Way back in Podcast 12 we began our series of reviewing the subject of baptism. At that time, I said, “First, we’ll discuss the common objections to water baptism as part of the salvation experience. Next, we’ll look at infant baptism and then, the method of baptism as outlined in the scriptures. Finally, we’ll thoroughly cover what actually happens in water baptism.”

Well, I think we are done reviewing the common objections to water baptism, now let’s begin tackling infant baptism.

Another contentious debate!

Wow! The issue of Infant Baptism has nearly as much contention and division regarding its practices as our main issue, whether baptism is necessary for salvation. For a solid impartial review of the issue, I would point you to the Wikipedia article on the subject. There is a link in this blog post so please visit the website and click on it there.

Here’s that link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_baptism.

Thousands of babies are baptized annually. The Catholic and Lutheran churches both baptize infants as do a number of other denominations. Sometimes these baptisms are called “Christenings.” While the practice of infant baptism is not new, the debate about infant baptism really gained traction in the 1500s; just about the time of the reformation.

The Anabaptists

You may have heard the term “Anabaptist.” This term labeled an emerging group of European Christians, who believed and taught: infant baptism was invalid. They said. “Only adults, who could make a conscious decision for themselves, were candidates for baptism.”

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032 – Death Bed Conversions

In the age old argument of whether baptism is necessary for salvation, our next objection is the “Hail Mary” of all objections. It is often employed as the last desperate effort of an anti-baptism proponent to reason out that baptism is absolutely not necessary for salvation. It comes at a pretty high cost when we think everything through logically. So, what is this final desperate objection?

“What about someone on their death bed?” This is an argument based on timing. This is an argument which appeals to emotion. Here’s what it says.

“It is inconceivable that a person on their death bed who makes a sincere commitment to Jesus, that Jesus would not recognize their inability to participate in water baptism and Jesus should therefore save them.” In other words, if someone is unable to be baptized, God should see their heart and make an exception. He should let them into heaven because they are dying and can’t be baptized. If we remove the timing aspect, we get down to the core of the argument… “God knows my heart and he knows I am a good person.”

It can get emotional!

This becomes a really emotional argument because we all know many deeply devout loved ones who were religious believers and have died but they were never baptized in any way shape or form. If we claim water baptism in necessary for salvation, it would leave these dearly departed in an unsaved state. We look a their pious life and reason out a way of salvation regardless of their ability to obey the Gospel. We know that our dear ol’ Aunt Katie was a true Christian because she never missed a church service.

This frames the first problem with this position. Without realizing it, we just made dear old Aunt Katie’s salvation based on her good deeds and works in her time here on earth. We don’t want to do that, especially when we so ardently proclaim that we are not saved by our good works. It does not matter how awesome Aunt Katie was or how she served the poor and ministered through her church to the orphans in Zimbabwe. We are not saved by works.

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031 – Pagans with Spirit!

Receiving the Holy Spirit before Baptism!

Thanks for joining me again. We are just finishing up our discussion about the various ways the Holy Spirit works or manifests Himself. We use a variety of terms to describe these events. Sometimes we say this is the various workings of the Holy Spirit, the different manifestations of the Holy Spirit, the different modes or the different measures of the Holy Spirit. There is only one Holy Spirit but He works or manifests Himself in a variety of ways. So far, we have seen that He indwells people at the time of their conversion and we also see, in times past, He performed miraculous signs on people who were already saved. This was done in order to confirm the message being preached.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Now, let’s look at this third mode or measure some people call, “Baptism of or with the Holy Spirit.” This is not to be confused with “Spiritual Baptism,” as when we are “baptized by one Spirit into one body.” Baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs, before conversion and like its counterpart, is associated with miraculous events. There is only one Holy Spirit operating or manifesting Himself three different ways, indwelling, post conversion and pre-conversion. Let’s look at this final pre-conversion experience. Since this happens to people who are not yet saved, we might call these people, pagans with spirit. Let’s see….

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030 – Lemonade in the Pool!

The Holy Spirit come into people and comes upon people.

I hope we have aptly answered all of the objections to water baptism so far. We have just learned that Ephesians 4:4 is true. There is only one baptism and that one baptism is in water by the Spirit. It’s one baptism with two things happening at the same time, just like Jesus told Nicodemus. One event, two components. It all happens at the same time. Now just when we think we are getting all of this nailed down, we bump into a conversion like this one.

The Fly in the Ointment

Acts 19:1-7
“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.”

Well, this is a huge fly in the ointment of our “One Baptism, Two Components happening at the same time” thingy, isn’t it? And just as I thought we were well on our way to agreement. In this event, the Holy Spirit is clearly received after their physical baptism. What’s up with that?

And how about this one…

Acts 8:12-17
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.

When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Ouch, this is really putting a dent in our theory! In this story, people are baptized but once again, they “receive” the Holy Spirit some time later! How can this be?

… As Ricky used to say, “Lucy… you got some ‘splaine to do!”

An Amazing Explanation Using Lemonade

OK, if you have never heard this before, get ready for some major light bulbs to come on! I will never forget the first time I heard this. This explanation is a result the kind of logical, reasonable Bible study I love hearing and sharing. This is the sort of thing that really fires me up to dig into the scriptures. I hope it inspires you too. Let’s begin with a little illustration. Let me take you back to your childhood.

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029 – Multiple Baptisms

There are many baptisms mentioned in the Bible.

As I present the Biblical Plan of Salvation to my Evangelical friends, one of the common protests they raise is the issue of “multiple baptisms” appearing in the scriptures. I might reference Acts 2:38 in order to explain what happens in water baptism and my evangelical friend quickly responds with something like this…

“Well, water baptism might not be what Peter is talking about there in Acts. You know, there are several types of baptisms mentioned in the scriptures. This is probably a spiritual baptism, not water baptism.”

To add to the confusion, there is another problem affecting this debate. By the time Paul got around to writing Ephesians 4:4, he tells us “there is only one baptism.” So, is Acts 2:38 spiritual baptism or is it water baptism?

A Multitude of Baptisms

As we begin, let’s talk about these “multitude of baptisms” we see in the scriptures; then, let’s see if we can’t narrow all of this down to the one baptism Paul talks about in Ephesians. I have been told there are as many as 11 different types of baptisms mentioned in the Bible. More commonly, I hear from 7 or 9. Here’s my list. I’m up to ten.

1 – Baptism of or with Fire (These would be trials or even death.)
2 – New Testament Water Baptism
3 – Baptism for Jewish Conversion (This is called a Mikvah.)
4 – John’s Baptism
5 – Jesus or His Disciples Baptizing People
6 – Holy Spirit Baptism into Christ
7 – Baptism of the Holy Spirit (This is different from number 6.)
8 – Baptism into Moses
9 – Ceremonial washings of the Old Testament
10 – Baptism for the Dead (That’s an interesting topic!)

There may be more. If you can think of any, please let me know.

Well, we are probably only concerned with a couple of these. We are only looking for baptisms which apply to the New Testament era and they must be associated with the conversion experience Jesus calls, “Born Again,” in John.

John 3:5
“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”

This seems to narrow it down to either a spiritual baptism or water baptism.

We know that water baptism was commanded by Jesus in The Great Commission. That happens in…

Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”

We know this Matthew 28 passage is about water baptism because the disciples are told it is something they were to perform on people who had decided to respond to the Gospel message. They were to baptize new disciples.

We are also familiar with spiritual baptism. Look at:

1 Corinthians 12:13
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” We can not get into the body of Christ unless the Spirit baptizes us into the one body!

So, there appear to be two different baptisms we acknowledge when we have this debate. One is a physical baptism and one is a spiritual baptism. This seems to me to be the two competing understandings of what Pauls’s one baptism might be. Water or Spirit. The other baptisms we see throughout the Bible don’t seem to have anything to do with connecting us to Christ or adding us to the church.

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028-Baptism is an Outward Sign of an Inward Grace

Baptism is not an outward sign of an inward grace.

Well hello there. If you are just joining us, we are in the middle of a special series addressing the myriad of objections to water baptism. We began by way back in Podcast 012, “The Proponents,” where we discussed a bird’s eye view of the main issues. Next, we spent several Podcasts discussing nine scriptures commonly presented as proof texts by the anti-baptism side. Currently, we are going through the other common objections offered as arguments to prove baptism is not necessary for salvation. In this installment, we address that familiar phrase from the evangelical world,”Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace.”

Baptism is an Outward Sign of and Inward Grace.

They explain it like this: “Baptism is done to a believer to demonstrate that God has already performed His saving grace in the believer’s life. In baptism, the believer is merely responding to that grace which has already saved them.”

Since these believers think they are already saved, water baptism becomes a symbol, or a ritual to confirm publicly what has already transpired, the forgiveness of sin. Remember, the evangelical world teaches, baptism has nothing to do with salvation.

Since baptism is just an outward sign of an inward grace, it’s not critical and there is no urgency. Accordingly, it’s common for congregations to schedule special baptism services a couple of times a year, at which time, new converts are given the opportunity to obey this Biblical command. I think urgency is important and I’ll tell you why in a moment. In the meantime, let’s test the claim that baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace.

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027-The Thief on the Cross

The Thief on the Cross did not go to Heaven.
Christ and the Good Thief – Titan – Circa 1566

What about the thief on the cross? This is probably my favorite of all objections. Let’s take a look at this fellow.

Luke 23:40-43
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

In this objection to water baptism for the remission of sins, people point to the Thief on the Cross and claim, “The thief on the cross was not baptized and he went to Heaven!

A Quick Side Study

When you see the answer to this objection, you will probably say, “Oh, yeah… I forgot about that.” There is a fairly obvious problem with this claim. But, before we get there, let’s have a little fun and get our minds whirling just a little bit. Then I will tell you why the using The Thief on the Cross is not a good example for rejecting baptism as integral to the salvation process.

Let’s take Jesus at his word, after all, Jesus always tells the truth. He told Thief on the Cross that whatever was going to happen, it would happen that very day. It would not happen sometime later. Jesus told the penitent criminal, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” How do we conclude from Jesus own testimony as to when this would occur? That very day. Do we believe Jesus? Of course.

Where did He tell the thief he would meet him? “Paradise.” Did Jesus say he would meet him in Heaven? No. He said He would meet him in “Paradise.” Well isn’t Paradise and Heaven the same place?

Listen to this, then you decide. Something interesting happens three days later, after Jesus resurrection when Mary, filled with joy, goes to embrace him.

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