017 – Anti-Baptism Scriptures – Part 3

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

Belief alone is not enough to be saved. There is something else you must do.
Acts 16:31 Clarified

Acts 16:31 is another common scripture used to support the idea that water baptism is not part of the conversion experience. Let me read it… we will back up just a little bit and begin in verse 15b so you have the context. The Philippian Jailer has just asked an important question…

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.”

This is Paul’s response to the Philippian Jailer and it comes after that very specific, very direct question. “What must I do to be saved?”

The evangelical’s argument goes like this. If the Bible ever had a chance, once and for all, to tell us baptism was a part of the salvation experience, this would have been the opportunity. But Paul says “believe and you will be saved.” This passage says nothing about baptism. I wholeheartedly agree. This passage says nothing about baptism. So why are we using it as an anti-baptism scripture?

Shouldn’t we also note the absence of obedience, repentance, confession and accepting the message? And, shall I conclude that by their absence they are not a part of the Biblical Plan of Salvation and by extension, the jailer’s belief. Paul does not spell out every single detail involved in belief. But… there are some very curious things which happen in the rest of the story we ought not ignore.

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012 – The Proponents

Photo by Peter Dargatzl on Pixabay

The issue of whether baptism is necessary for salvation is really not about baptism at all. The issue we are dealing with is whether or not a person is willing to obey the Gospel, which just happens to included baptism. Let’s talk, for a few minutes, about this age old argument and see if we might be able to make a little progress.

In order to define and understand the arguments, it may help to know a little bit about the proponents.

Two Groups

The first group are those who believe that water baptism is not necessary for salvation. They say baptism has absolutely no connection to the remission of sin.

This would be the position of most of the evangelical world today. Their position states that when someone makes a heartfelt and sincere commitment to Jesus Christ, sins are forgiven and we are saved. This salvation experience happens at some point in time before water baptism. Many of these same people are baptized later… but not for the forgiveness of sins.

In the other camp, are those people who believe that baptism IS necessary for salvation and it has an incontrovertible connection to the forgiveness of sins. They teach that someone who is not baptized is not saved. They believe that baptism is the exact point in time salvation occurs.

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009 – Who Told You Baptism is a Work?

In Baptism, Who's Doing the Work?
Baptism is an act of faith.

I can’t tell you how many times I have presented the Biblical Plan of Salvation to a friend or family member who, even though the take the time to patiently listen to me and even study the plan out… they reject it because they believe baptism is a work.”

The argument always comes down to those four words, and those four words constitute the firm foundation on which the entire argument rests!

“Baptism is a work.”

But guess what, there is a huge flaw in the reasoning. Let’s work through this together using logic and the scriptures.

Building Our Case

For the sake of our argument, let’s agree; baptism IS a work. This is our position. From this position we naturally and logically conclude, since baptism is a work, it cannot be necessary for salvation.

Sooner or later, someone will step forward to challenge our position. We need to mount a defense How should we begin?

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006 – John 1:12 – A Most Misused Scripture

A Most Misused Scripture

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:12 is not about faith alone!
John 1:12 – Dana Haynes

This passage of scripture is used by the evangelical church to demonstrate that a person becomes a Christian when they accept Christ for the first time. A popular metaphorical formula was developed, probably in the 60’s to help people remember this plan of salvation. It reads like this: “Believe + Receive = Become.” In other words, if you believe in Christ and you receive Christ, you become a Christian. The problem is, this formula is wrong.

Grammar 101 – Verbs

The verb is not “become,” it is “gave.” When you believe and receive, God gives you something. He gives you the “right” to become. We don’t “become” anything upon our decision to receive the message with an open heart. While it may be true that God gives us a new gift, the “right to become his child,” this is not yet salvation!

The problem with this form of teaching lies in the conclusion it offers. The conclusion the Evangelical world presents is that a person is saved when they receive Christ. This is wrong; dangerously wrong.

The Wrong Path

When a person is taught they become a Christian when they first believe and receive, it sets them on a false path to Heaven. Just think about it. If I follow this unbiblical practice and believe I am saved at the time of my acceptance there is no point in a variety of other commands Jesus gave his disciples which always precede the forgiveness of sins. Because I believe I am already a Christian, what is the point of confession, repentance and baptism, all of which precede the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, when we look at those issues in the Bible.

Following this incomplete pattern does not lead to salvation. Yet this pattern is presented, practice and promoted, with vigor, by most Evangelicals today. It bears a striking resemblance to a pattern Jesus identified in his own ministry. Take a look.
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005 – A Dead Religion

Denominations are not in the Bible.

I recently converted the entire lesson series at A Faith that Obeys to audio. This is the first lesson from that series. Eventually, all eleven lessons will make it into the Podcast feed so be watching for them.

In case you are not aware that there is an entire video series available, it all begins at afaiththatobeys.org.

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 005 – A Dead Religion
Audio from the video series – Lesson 1

003 – Misquoting Scripture

A Serious Thing

Saved by faith alone is not a biblical phrase.
The garden where we have our chats.

Everyone agrees; it is a serious thing to misquote scripture. Jer 14:14 and Deu 18:20 tells us about that! However, scripture is often misused and misquoted. There are a handful of favorites. How about, “Money is the root of all evil?” That’s a misquote. The Bible actually says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money itself is not the problem, the problem is greed. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Misusing or misquoting the Bible is commonplace. It can be excused when coming from an atheist and frankly, an atheist using the bible as his source of authority when arguing about a religious matters ought to be excused. Misquoting the bible can be understood when when it comes from a believer who is not really familiar with the scriptures. But misquoting the bible should never be tolerated when it comes from some of our greatest and most trusted biblical scholars!

A Stunning Revelation

Recently, in the course of my regular, daily Bible study, I was absolutely stunned when I realized how pervasive, entrenched and completely accepted one particular misquote has become. Entire denominations have been built around this misquote. Yet, when I stopped to really think about it, I was left flabbergasted. How could a biblical error so obvious be so missed and even accepted by some of our best biblical scholars?

Let me give you a bit of perspective and let’s see if you are not as shocked as I was when this dawned on me. When a scripture is misquoted, by definition this means the misquote is not from God. It is a twisting of the truth. We should never tolerate or accept that, right? This particular misquote leads people astray. This misquote is vigorously protected and defended, sometimes with great emotion. It is wildly popular. It is used in nearly every church. It has stood the test of time. It has been lauded and embraced by some of the greatest bible teachers and preachers in history. Many prominent scholars claim it as an infallible doctrine of holy writ… but, they are wrong. Do I have your attention?

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