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debate-2

The following debate happened between myself and Church of Christ member Dave Bell. “Faith is a synecdoche (please see opening statements for a definition)” is an argument that is often employed by Church of Christ preachers. The claim is often made without any substantiation. Therefore I am grateful to Mr. Bell for participating in this debate with me as it is the only one on this subject on the internet. – Damon Whitsell

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Opening Statement by Dave Bell

IS “FAITH” A SYNECDOCHE?

It has been said that “words written in truth are everlasting” and I believe that with all my heart. The question of this discussion is about the use of the word “faith” or belief and how it is used in scripture especially in regards to our salvation. Many contend that all one has to do is to believe or have faith in Christ and at that point one is saved and that it is by faith alone and nothing else since all other would be to add ‘works’ of our own to that salvation. In one sense that is true but it is only true if one realises that “faith is a synecdoche for the whole plan of salvation we must obey in order to be saved. So that is how am I using the word synecdoche here? We must define our terms for the discussion to continue.

Synecdoche: This word is from the Greek sunechdeechesthai meaning to receive jointly. It is usually spoken of as a figure of speech by which is spoken a whole by a part or a part by using a term denoting the whole.

All of us who read and study the Bible must remember that it is richly endowed with figures of speech and the synecdoche is one of the most common figures of speech used by the Bible writers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There fore we must read, recognise, and learn to correctly interpret synecdoche’s this is absolutely necessary if we would be faithful and accurate in drawing our conclusions on numerous passages and indeed subjects.

It is my contention in this discussion that “faith” of “belief” is a part put for the whole of the Gospel plan of salvation as it is presented in the New Testament that is all of the conditions of salvation are indicated by the use of one; generally that of faith this is the first one mentioned as without it nothing else would follow. The whole Gospel plan of salvation given is this: Hearing the Gospel, believing the gospel, repentance of sin, confession of Christ as Lord before men, baptism for the remission of sins, and living a faithful life until death. “Faith” involves all of these and is thus the synecdoche of salvation by Gospel obedience.

Men were to call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved (Romans10:17); they were to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved (Acts 16:31); they were to repent of their sins in order to be saved (Acts 17:30); they were to be baptised in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16). It is common for us to see one of these mentioned without any reference as to the presence of any other. That is how I am using “faith” as a synecdoche in this discussion.

If we were to put the word “alone” with all of these component parts I think we can see what I mean. We are saved by “faith alone” but are we? We could do this with the entire component parts of the plan of salvation legitimately since all on their own are synecdoches. We could say we are saved by baptism alone since it saves us (II Peter 3:21). It was not however Peter’s intent to teach us that all one must do to be saved was to be baptised. Yet by parity of reasoning with the faith only error we could say that Peter does indeed teach this since we forget how to employ the synecdoche in our reasoning. Baptism (a part) is made to stand for the whole plan of salvation as faith is made to stand as a part for the whole plan of forgiveness of our sins.

We are then to recognise and understand the various synecdoches that relate to the terms of our forgiveness of sins and thus our pardon. If we can do this I think we will find a truly beautiful and harmonious picture in the plan of salvation given to us by God through the Holy Spirit in the word.

However if we do not recognise them it is not possible to understand fully what God requires from us in order to be is for the whole plan to be Obeyed, not just one part of it at the expense of the rest. To repeat it, the whole for which a single element (synecdoche) is made to stand in various passages consists of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance of one’s sins, confession of Christ as Lord before men, being baptised for the remission of one’s sins, and living faithfully until one dies.

Figures of speech are common in all languages and the Bible is no exception to this. Our New Testament was written in the common or koine Greek and the Greeks seemed to make a “science” out of figures of speech and we must learn to interpret those figures or “tropes” as they were called; tropes comes from tropos meaning a turn this is simply because these figures represented “turns” or variations from the normal literal meaning of words.

For this and the other reasons we have seen we must acknowledge that the Bible is replete with figures of speech. We must also learn to recognise when a writer or speaker is using figurative terms like the synecdoche, and to correctly interpret those terms as a failure to do so can lead to disastrous consequences for us especially in regards to our salvation.

If we look at a question such as “How long was Jesus in the grave?” we can see how a synecdoche works in practice. In Mark15:42-43; Luke 23: 50-54; and John 19:31, we can see that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday. Then in Matthew 28:1ff; Mark16:2ff; Luke 24:1ff; and John 20:1ff, we can see that the lord’s resurrection was on the first day of the week or Sunday.

Now even though these statements are clear there are many unbelievers who will tell us that Christ’s own words just cannot be harmonised with a sixth day crucifixion (Friday) and a first day resurrection (Sunday). The prophecy they will all go to is found in (Matthew12:40) where Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. They are quick to show that part of Friday night, the entire day and night of Saturday and part of Sunday are equal to only ‘part’ of days and only two nights. I think that what is even sadder is that some who claim to be believers also make this argument and agree with the unbelievers.

Now if it be demanded that we take the Lord’s words strictly literally then we do have a problem as they would contradict what He had spoken in passages such as: (Matthew 16:21; Luke9:22; Mark 8:31; and John 2:19). Yet when Jesus said these things those who heard Him had no problem with them including His enemies.

All of these apparent difficulties melt away when we recognise that the three days and three nights are a synecdoche of time in which the phrase “three days and nights” actually refers to a part of that time.

If we go back nearly a thousand years and read (I Kings 12:5, 12) we can see the exact same figure used by Rehoboam; where he says to the people “Depart for three days, then return to me, so the people departed.” Then Jereboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the “third day” as the king had directed, saying “Return to me on the third day.” So we can see that this type of synecdoche was very familiar to the Jews and they would understand what Jesus had said to them hence they had no problem with His words at all and never made the argument the atheists and some “believers” make about ittoday. All that was needed was to understand the type of figure Jesus used and here it was a synecdoche and is an example to ustoday.

If we now look at some Biblical examples of salvation we might begin to see how this figure is used in scripture. The question we must ask ourselves regarding these synecdoches is this: Is this “all” or is it only a part of what God requires for us to be saved?

(1) (Titus 3:5) “According to His mercy He saved us.”

(2) (Hebrews 7:25) “He saves to the uttermost them that draw near to God.’

(3) (Matthew 10:22) “He that endures to the end shall be saved.”

(4) (Romans 10:17) with (Matthew 10:32 “He who confesses Me etc.

(5) (I Peter 3:21) “Baptism now saves us.”

(6) (John 3:16) “He who believes shall have eternal life.”

(7) (Mark 16:16) “He who believes AND is baptised shall be saved.”

I think when we examine these properly and interpret them right we must agree that all of these are synecdoches they are part of the plan of salvation that have been given to represent the whole of that plan of salvation.

This raises a question that I think demands an answer from us if we are to be logical in our interpretations and that is this: Should we now fault the Holy Spirit (who inspired the New Testament writers) for NOT stating ALL the conditions of salvation every time the subject occurs, both God and our part in it?

This in turn provokes (to me) another question which is this: Why is it that when the word “faith” appears in the New Testament that those who claim that this alone saves us feel that they must insert the word “only” after faith? We can surely all agree that what we have just looked at are indeed synecdoches yet with faith it suddenly changes here, why? I think that it has to be this way for the “faith only” corner because if they believe this doctrine then in order to be true and consistent to it they must then teach that faith is the only condition thus when it appears it simply cannot stand for anything else. This I deny.

The only place that the doctrine of faith only is discussed is in (James 2) and in that passage it explicitly states that faith according to the non synecdoche corner cannot and does not save us.

This is because true faith produces and works through love (Galatians 5:6) if it does not do this then faith does not work at all. Further if we love God then (I John 5:3-4) will tell us that this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and that his commandments are not grievous for whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world (even) our faith.

The last question is has your faith overcome the world and if so how can it be “faith only?

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DEBATE: Is faith a Synecdoche?
Denial Opening Statement
by Damon Whitsell

Hello Dave, thanks for this debate and bringing up this interesting topic, it’s a new one for me. In researching for this debate I found many Church of Christ articles that claimed faith is a synecdoche. But they all just made the assertion without trying to prove or make a positive case for that assertion. I look forward to hearing your affirmative case and responding.

A Synecdoche, as I understand it, is a figure of speech in which a part represents a whole of something, or the whole represents a part of something, such as a “hand” represents a “worker”. And from our prior interactions and your posting in the group, I take it that by saying “faith is a synecdoche” you mean the word faith means to do or “obey” the “whole plan of salvation” which is “hear, repent of sin, believe, confess, be baptized for remission of sin and live a faithful life” (6 steps). I think you will have a hard time establishing the truthfulness of that claim and my reasons follow.

I had to look up the term synecdoche and found Wikipedia list over 20 examples of synecdoches. All of them apply to nouns like the example above (please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche). A synecdoche represents “the whole” or “a part” of a “thing” and seems to not apply to verbs, and most NT usages of faith are used as a verb. Faith is used 245 times; about half appear to be in the verb usage. And faiths synonym in the purely verb forms believe and believeth are used 124 and 41 times. Can you provide me with any examples of a synecdoche of any kind being applied to and used as verbs, as you’re doing in saying a synecdoche is doing or “obeying” ie. the 6 steps (which are all verbs or doing something).

Also the Greek definitions involved define faith, believe and believeth as trust. Eleven times in the book of John Jesus says that those who believeth in Him have (present tense) everlasting or eternal life (John 3:15-18, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40,6:47, 7:38-39 and 11:25-26) – He does not say that we don’t have eternal life until we do such and such steps and live a faithful life. The Greek word used for believeth is Strong’s “G4100 pisteuō: to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): – believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with”. This is consistent with the English definition of faith as exemplified in putting your trust in a chair when you sit on it. Imagine how different that is to how you’re defining faith. Jesus was speaking matters of eternal life or death (condemnation) and it is hard to imagine, and you will have a hard time convincing others, that when he said believeth in me, he really meant do or “obey” the “whole plan of salvation” which is “hear, repent of sin, believe, confess, be baptized for remission of sin and live a faithful life”. When He said those that believeth in Him have eternal life, the NT command for water baptism had not even been given yet; there was only John’s baptism. How could Christ use a figure of speech as a present imperative to include something that did even exist yet? Why did he say believeth in me instead of giving a list of things to do, one being living a whole life of faithfulness? And why did Paul and Silas in Acts 16:31 not just spell out the “Plan of salvation” and what we must “obey” and do to be saved? Why did they say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” instead of clearly laying out the steps (if steps are involved?) when asked such an important question as “what must we do to be saved?”. Why would they use a figure of speech and not straight forward language c0ncering the matter of salvation?

PREACHING THE PLAN INSTEAD OF THE MAN

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

I find that when many talk about salvation or being saved, they do not even use or have the correct definition of save, saved or salvation in mind. The terms in Hebrew, Greek and English predominantly means to deliver, to rescue from harm or danger, to deliver from sin, to preserve and protect. These actions come from outside of us. They are not something we do. We are merely recipients. Webster’s defines salvation as “the act of saving someone from sin or evil : the state of being saved from sin or evil”, “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation” and “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”. It was Christ “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Before the foundation of the world “… God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Salvation is simply not about what we do, but rather what God and Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, delivering us from the wages of our sin – death. There is a plan of salvation. And with any plan there is doing involved. But we are not the ones that do the doing. As it has been said before, “Christ has done it all”. I would contend that salvation is simply belief/trust in Christ finished work for our saving/rescue – by his death, burial and resurrection for our sins, according to scripture. Salvation is not about doing or “obeying” “the whole plan of salvation”. It is about believing the plan of salvation. And the focus of that plan is on Jesus Christ and his actions, not ourselves. Biblical Christianity is not a do religion, it is a done religion.

That salvation is not about what we do is also strongly indicated by the biblical use of such terms as redemption (to purchase), reconciliation (restoration to divine favor), propitiation (the act by where which God‘s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ), atonement (restoration to divine favor), deliverance (from sin), ransom (from the wages of sin) and justification (a onetime event in which God justifies sinners by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to their account through a legal declaration). The definitions of these words and their usage in scripture show us that salvation is not something we do (Eph. 2:9, Jonah 2:9). Salvation is done on our behalf.

Scripture also says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans8:28-30). We cannot make ourselves right before or acceptable to God. It must for done for us by God. We cannot even come to Christ unless the Father draws us and even our faith is a gift and not of ourselves. Another reason we are not saved by what we do is that we are not saved by our righteousness, which is like filthy menstrual rags, but we are saved by being made the righteousness of God – which is a free gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ and His name.

It must also be remembered that God works covenantally and the bible is a covenant document. It was predetermined in an eternal covenant between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world that Christ would be slain to take away sin for those whom the Father has given Him (Rev_13:8, Hebrews 13:20, John6:37-39, John 17:9-12, John 17:24, John 1:29). And because this contract agreement is between God the Father and God the Son we can rest assured that it will be fulfilled and that Jesus will indeed save and keep secure all those the Father has given him. We can rest in the fact that Christ has done it all for salvation and we are saved when we believe and trust in Him as the payment that the Father and Son made for the penalty of our sin.

Other problems with the idea that faith is a synecdoche that means obeying your 6 step plan is that repentance as turning from sin, baptism for the remission of sin and the notion that we can live a faithful life are not taught in the Bible. That is something I will cover in my counter-responses. Our only hope is to be saved by mercy and grace and the promise that Jesus will remain faithful even if we do not remain faithful.

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.”

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First counter-response by Dave Bell

First I want to thank the administrators for allowing me to respond to Mr Whitsell and I will do my best to address the points covered. If we look at scripture I think we would both agree that there are places where a part stands for the whole and we have no difficulty in understanding that. If we use that term I think we can see how it works when we come across it. The word sunechdeechesthai or to “receive jointly” does not as far as I know make a distinction between nouns and verbs and the root for faith and belief in Greek is the same. The words “faith”, “trust” and “believe” all come from the same Greek root.

You say that when Jesus said to “believe” in Him that the command for water baptism had not been given yet in (John 4:1) we read of Jesus “baptising” people as we do in (John 3:22;26.) John of course was the forerunner of Christ and he had a baptism also and it incorporated repentance. In (Luke7:30) we read that those who were baptized by John’s baptism were acknowledging or justifying the justice of God, how much more then is it to be baptized under the N.T. command to do so? Also the new covenant was not operating under John or before Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. I will only add to this that the Jews who heard Christ at this point in His ministry did know what a synecdoche was and how it worked as I pointed out in the “days in the earth” synecdoche. The New Testament command to be baptised for the remission of sins did not come into operation until (Acts 2.)

Further the command to “believe” given to the Jews was more in line with them to believe that He was the Messiah and to do what He commanded since the Jews knew what He would be like and what he would do and even command. In (Zechariah 13:1) for example it was stated that in Jerusalem there was a fountain to opened for sin and impurity and that was opened in (Acts 2:38.)

“Preaching the plan and not the man”

The thing here is that the man had a plan and it was worked out in eternity and thus when Christ came He brought that plan with Him and the plan was the Gospel which Paul states categorically is the “power of God for salvation.” (Romans 1:16). You mention (Romans 5:19) yet that is often taken way out of its context I think. If you look at that verse I believe that when you look at the word ‘katestathesan’ which is a verb you see that many were constituted sinners and not ‘made’ sinners who did this constituting? It was not Adam but God as it could be no one else. We also must look at the word hamartoloi and use it unqualified then we have to say it is denoting ‘actual’ sinners but it is not saying that in the text since the verb katestathesan itself qualifies the word. So when Paul says, “the many were constituted sinners.” His language is implying that they did not become sinners by their own acts. On the contrary they were merely constituted sinners this is why the choosing of the verb used was to negate the idea of their being actual sinners and it does so effectually.

Christ by His obedience of his death on the cross constituted many righteous and the same verb is used here and then to say that “all” in Adam die but “all” in Christ are made alive includes Adam. All are constituted just but that does not mean being sinless or pardoned here at all, it means just for a certain purpose and not absolutely just. I t means this that by Adam’s disobedience the all were to be subjected to death, but by the obedience of Christ all are constituted just so far as to be raised from the dead and indeed all will be.

You also ask why Paul and Silas in (Acts 16:31) did not just spell out the “Plan of salvation” and what we must “obey” and do to be saved. Why did they say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” instead of clearly laying out the steps (if steps are involved?) when asked such an important question as “what must we do to be saved?” Why would they use a figure of speech and not straight forward language concerning the matter of salvation?

I answer that by saying we already know the plan and Paul did spell it out to them since they were all baptised as well it seems they understood the synecdoche here and also why do we need it spelled out every time we see the plan of salvation in action.

The Ethiopian eunuch understood the plan exactly if we look at it: Philip preached to Him and explained the Gospel of Christ, The eunuch understood that Gospel and its plan he heard the word and obviously repented of his sin and confessed his belief in Christ. He asked the evangelist “See here is water” so he obviously had been told to be baptised for the remission of his sins, the eunuch answered “what hinders me [then] from being baptised?” The evangelist replied “if you believe with all your heart you can be baptised.” Then the eunuch replied “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” If you examine this carefully you find that you have hearing, believing, repentance, confession and baptism. This is the whole plan spelt out and enacted. It is under the synecdoche if you “believe” and we find that since he did all the rest followed and the eunuch was thus saved and went on his way rejoicing.

Also I will direct your attention to (Hebrews 5:9) where it explicitly states that Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him. Thus we see that in order to be saved we must indeed obey Him and I add to that His plan of salvation.

You say too that Salvation is not about doing or “obeying” “the whole plan of salvation”. It is about believing the plan of salvation. And the focus of that plan is on Jesus Christ and his actions, not of us. Well to say that is to say that we believe in the plan but do nothing else at all and I do not believe the Bible says that at all. For instance in (John 3:36) we read this: “He that believes on the Son has eternal life; but he that obeys not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” We also see that “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen.26:5). We can never get away from the fact that believing incorporates obedience and they go together hand in glove and we are to obey the plan that the man (Christ) gave to all men in order to be saved.

In Acts 2:38 we are to repent and be baptised for the remission of our sins, and here we see nothing mentioned of faith as the two perquisites are themselves synecdoches for the plan of salvation and obviously include faith within them.

Baptism is shown in every case of conversion in the book of Acts and thus is a synecdoche for the entire plan of salvation and is a requirement of it. Baptism is also a noun and thus there is a synecdoche applying to a noun.

You also say that “faith” is a gift ‘not of ourselves’ in (Ephesians2:8 I deny that this is the case since it says we have been saved by grace ‘through’ faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God. But what is the gift of God in that verse? Some will say grace, some faith and some salvation, but what does the grammar require in that verse? Consider this: in the Greek the words for grace and faith are both feminine. The pronoun “it” is not in the Greek it is supplied by the translators. However, “it” is the same as “that” in the clause “”and that not of yourselves; and the word “that” is neuter. Greek grammar requires that a pronoun should agree with its antecedent in gender thus the word for neither “grace” nor “faith” can be the antecedent of “that.” This shows that neither of them can be the gift of God in this verse. Therefore the only possible antecedent is the salvation expressed by the word “saved”. Salvation here is expressed not by the noun but the verb and Greek grammar requires that a pronoun which refers to the action of a verb for its antecedent must be neuter. This is the case in (Ephesians 2:8) and the meaning is: “you are saved by grace through faith; but the salvation is not of yourselves it is the gift of God.”

Finally it is true that the Bible is a covenantal document and that Christ made His covenant with God in eternity to become the saviour of mankind. However we are under the “New Covenant, testament or will of Christ and it is the final and universal covenant as against the old national covenant God made with the Jewish nation and the covenants He made with various patriarchs. This final covenant has within it the terms we must obey in order to gain the benefits of Christ’s will.

We are to obey Christ in the synecdochal aspects of His covenant Believe, repent, confess, be baptised etc and remember this too how does faith come to us? “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” Thus we are to hear and that is a synecdoche for the whole gospel plan of salvation it is to be heard and then acted upon to fulfil the terms of Christ’s will and thus gain its benefits.

Thank you again for the opportunity to explain this to you all.

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DEBATE: Is faith a Synecdoche?

DENIAL – First Counter-response

by Damon Whitsell

Hi Dave, to sum up – in my opening statement I posited that synecdoches appear to only apply to nouns and requested you provide examples of synecdoches being used as and applied to verbs such as you’re doing. Neither of your first two examples of synecdoches are verbs applying to verbs. And I don’t see where your list of 1-7 alleged synecdoches are actually synecdoches. You said “I think when we examine these properly and interpret them right we must agree that all of these are synecdoches”. I strongly disagree and think you are not interpreting most of those proof-texts correctly and as a result you are forced to resort to the argument that faith does not mean trust but really means “obeying” a six step plan and “living a faithful life” – a lifetime of doing as opposed to resting in what Christ has done for us. Please provide a clear example of synecdoches used as verbs in your counter-responses. Your assertion here is dependent on your interpretation of those verses (I will address this later) so please go outside of the bible to show that synecdoches can apply to verbs. Synecdoches are “parts” or the “whole” of “something” and are nouns applying only to nouns, can you show otherwise?

I also showed where faith in the Greek and English is best defined as trust and to have faith in Christ is to believe/trust that He has made provision for our sin debt on our behalf. And I showed many biblical terms and concepts that are actions outside of ourselves done by God and Christ on our behalf. I used Webster’s and bible dictionary definitions to show that salvation by definition is not something that the person who is saved does; we need a savior outside of ourselves to do the saving. I then showed that our salvation is not just a covenant between God and ourselves but one between God the Father and God the Son and is therefore something done on our behalf for our salvation. Christ will lose none that the Father has given Him. Salvation is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8) and surely “… the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Let me share with you what occurred to me this morning.

FAITH IS A SYNECDOCHE REDUCED TO ABSURDITY

“Reductio ad absurdum” or “reduction to absurdity” is a form of argumentation that the apostle Paul sometimes employed. A “reduction to absurdity” seeks “to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance”. And I think the notion that “faith is a synecdoche” results in an absurdity if it is followed to its logical conclusion, and is therefore untrue. And here is why.

If “faith is a synecdoche” and a synecdoche is “a part representing a whole of something” or vice versa, and the whole is “faith = obeying the whole plan of salvation” and the parts of the whole are your six steps of “hearing, repenting of sin, believing, being baptized for the remission of sin, confessing and living a faithful life” – what your essentially inferring (whether you realize it or not) – is that every time the words faith, believe, believed, believeth, hearing, calling, repent, repentance, repented, baptize, baptism, baptized, confession, confess, remission of sin, enduring or overcoming are used – they are each referring to “doing the whole plan of salvation”. The idea that faith is a synecdoche lumps all these terms and actions into one unified whole and that it is simply absurd to think none of these terms or “parts” stand on their own, as they are inherently defined. Together these words that you say are a part of “the whole plan of salvation” are used thousands of times throughout the bible in both the Old and New testaments. And it is simply impossible and absurd to think that every time one of these words are used as “a part of the whole” that they are actually referring to “the whole” which is “obeying the six steps”. And what is really absurd to the maximum about it is that if faith and all related words are synecdoches then there is not a clear and concise prescription of what it takes to be saved in all of scripture; it’s all been reduced to a figure of speech. Doesn’t the bible say something about being “corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” in the context of going after false gospels? (2 Cor. 2:3-4)

You said “Should we now fault the Holy Spirit (who inspired the New Testament writers) for NOT stating ALL the conditions of salvation every time the subject occurs”.

I would say we cannot blame the Holy Spirit for not speaking in clear terms, the bible is abundantly clear in over 100 places that we are saved by grace through faith and believing in Christ without mention of any six steps of “salvation by Gospel obedience”. I don’t think it is very good news (gospel) to say we have to do steps and live a whole life of obedience in order to be saved,, none can measure up to that (please expound for us what you say “living a faithful life” actually means – what all does that entail?). And I think it is absurd to say “Baptism (a part) is made to stand for the whole plan of salvation”. The word baptism is used 22 times, baptize 9 times and baptized 61 times. To say that every time one of these words is used that it is referring to “hearing, repenting of sin, believing, being baptized for the remission of sin, confessing and living a faithful life” is very untenable. And to add to that and say that every time one of these terms (or parts listed above) are used that it is “referring to the whole” and it means “obeying” your six steps is a very absurd notion. Thus faith and all the components of your six steps cannot be synecdoches. Can you see the absurdity of it if you follow it to its logical conclusion? In saying faith is a synecdoche you are redefining too many terms in too many places to be believable. Surely your aware that redefining biblical terms is a practice of the Cults. I hope you and others can see the absurdity of the notion that faith and its related words are synecdoches, although I may have expressed it poorly

You said,,,, “Why is it that when the word “faith” appears in the New Testament that those who claim that this alone saves us feel that they must insert the word “only” after faith? We can surely all agree that what we have just looked at are indeed synecdoches yet with faith it suddenly changes here, why?”

We insert the word alone after the word faith because it does not mention anything else; faith stands alone – as it is defined. And to say that faith and all of its related words are really referring “the whole six step plan of salvation” is an absurdity that most will not accept. I think you have to already believe salvation by the six steps, or obedience, to believe such an audacious claim.

I see your most foundational and basic error of interpretation lies in thinking that James 2 is the go to place in scripture to clarify what salvation is. You and others that oppose salvation by faith alone seem to think James was teaching differently than Paul and the rest of scripture. But he is not. Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and James was a Jew speaking to Jews. They were speaking to two different audiences and emphasizing two different types of Justification. Paul said Abraham was justified by faith and had nothing to boast about before God. He was showing justification before God. Yet James said “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18). He is speaking about justification before men. And both Paul and James agree and said that Abraham believed God and it was counted or credited to him as righteousness. To see the two different kind of justifications see (Rom 4:2) “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God”. If Abraham was justified by works, as James at first glance appears to assert he is, he can glory before men but not before God. Romans 3: 19-20 says “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law makes all men “guilty before God” and “in his sight”, but we can be seen as just to men by observing and keeping the law and doing good works. This has to be the true understanding of James2:24 because the scripture is clear in so many places that we are saved through faith and not by works. James cannot be speaking in contradiction to the rest of scripture.

I have to wonder about you guys who take James 2 and try to say we are also justified by works, I wonder if you guys would even do good works if you did not think they contribute to your salvation. Maybe you should do a study on rewards in the bible so you could see that faith is for salvation and works are for reward, not salvation – which is a gift from God.

I will address the misinterpretation of scripture in your list 1-7 in my next counter-response, or we can go back and forth about those interpretations after our responses in our back and forth wrap-up time.

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Second response by Dave bell

First I will answer the charge of reduction ad absurdum. In doing this I will first say this: It is not absurd at all to “lump” all the terms of the synecdoche into one unified whole at all since all these terms connote or qualify what true faith actually implies. In logic the connotation of a term is not its reference to a mere aggregate of independent qualities, but to a system of qualities related to one another so as to form a unity. If the term connotes qualities, it must connote them as elements within the unity of a system.

The absurdity is that you have defined “faith” as one thing and thus the term refers to such a system as strictly denotative. This means you have defined a thing “faith” as denoting one thing and have never qualified the term at all. Also you must draw a negative inference from a syllogism’s major premise and that is a fallacy since it does not necessarily follow that if a proposition is true, that a negative inference from that proposition is also true. The negative inference may be true but this can never be assumed. For example we can say this:

All orthodox Jews believe in Moses.
X is not an orthodox Jew.
Therefore X does not believe in Moses.

This cannot hold water because the conclusion depends on a negative inference from the major premise, X may be a Gentile who believes in Moses. Now consider this syllogism:

All who have faith in Christ are saved.
X does not have faith in Christ.
Therefore X is not saved.

The conclusion is true but the syllogism is invalid as it is an improper way of reaching a true conclusion.

Also when you say that one is saved “only by faith” or by “faith alone” you have both not qualified faith and have excluded thereby anything which faith may imply you have made an exclusive proposition from an unqualified term which itself excludes any and all things that qualify it and that is not good reasoning at all.

If I say “All lions are carnivorous” the term “lions” has denotation in so far as it refers to each individual lion or to the different varieties of lion e.g. African or Asiatic, and it has connotation in so far as it refers to the qualities or attributes of lions, e.g. vertebrate , quadruped, feline, animal ect. Similarly the term “carnivorous” is its reference to the various things (e.g. the kinds of animals) which have this quality, while its connotation is its reference to the quality itself. Thus every term (including “faith”) denotes the things or objects it refers to and it connotes its qualities.

“Faith” on it own does not do this and thus is unqualified, if you mean “saving faith” then you qualify it but what does that connote? I say we must have “obedient faith” and have given the connotation of that term as we must obey the plan and the whole plan of salvation. Not only so but I also say that obedient faith is saving faith and that is one thing the Bible teaches for sure

I take you back to the very first sermon of the New Covenant in Acts 2 and it is significant that the word “faith” is not mentioned in it at all none of the Jews there were ever commanded to believe on Christ and when they heard that sermon they asked only one thing, “what shall we do?” and Peter told them to repent and be baptised for the remission of their sins and they did this gladly.

Luke then says: “And all that believed were together” (v. 44). “Believed” sums up the obedience described previously. On the initial day of its existence, the church consisted of at least 3,000 souls. Later, Luke records that many others heard the word and “believed; and the number of men came to be about five thousand” (4:4). It is obvious that the 5,000 mentioned here included the 3,000 referenced earlier, and that the “believed” of this passage means precisely what it did in 2:44. After the baptism of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, Peter went to Jerusalem to defend his actions before a rather hostile Jewish audience (11:2). He argued that God had authenticated the Gentiles’ acceptance by giving them the Holy Spirit. The apostle then said:” If then God gave unto them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we [Jews] believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?” (11:17).Note that the entire conversion process of the Jews (2:38) is simply referred to as “when we believed.” Yet “faith” is not mentioned explicitly in either sermon but it is obvious it is implied in what actions the converts followed in order to be saved.

On his second missionary journey, Paul, along with Silas, was imprisoned in Philippi. After a dramatic earthquake, by means of which God opened the prison doors and loosed the inmates’ bonds, the jailor pled for the knowledge of salvation. The brothers instructed him. His penitent faith was evidenced as he washed the blood from their backs and, near the midnight hour, he and his household were immersed into Christ. But look at how Luke describes the whole process, “. . . having believed in God” (16:34). The perfect participle depicts the state at which they arrived as a consequence of their obedience.

In the course of his first missionary journey, Paul, together with Barnabas, came to the city of Iconium. They entered into a synagogue of the Jews and proclaimed the gospel of Christ. There was an encouraging response for Luke says that “a great multitude both of Jews and Greeks believed” (14:1). Note the sentence that follows. “But the Jews that were disobedient stirred up the souls of the Gentiles, and made them evil affected against the brethren” (ASV).The term rendered “disobedient” in the ASV is apeitheo, which carries the idea of refusing to be persuaded, a failure to comply (Thayer, p. 55). Moulton and Milligan, prominent experts in the Greek papyri, cite numerous examples of where apeitheo means “to disobey.” In conclusion they stated: “We have not sought for more instances, but it has seemed desirable to give rather plentiful illustrations to prove a case which is very important for doctrine.”

“Through whom we received grace and apostleship unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake [Romans 1:5]. Obedience of faith …” This is the first mention of faith in the Roman letter, and its being mentioned along with obedience is extremely significant. Paul was about to write the most important document on the subject of faith that the world would ever have, in which, of necessity, there would be written some of those things which even an apostle would consider “hard to be understood” therefore, it was a matter of gracious discernment upon his part that, in the very beginning of the letter, he made it clear that, throughout Romans, “faith” should be read “obedient faith.” Evidence is totally lacking that Paul ever considered “faith only” as efficacious in the procurement of salvation; because, as noted here, the apostolic commission was designed to produce the obedience of faith, and not merely faith alone. These same words, conjoined by apostolic authority, stand at the beginning of Romans and at the end, where they are mentioned in the final doxology (Romans 16:26), thus forming the archway through which one enters the portal and by which one departs this magnificent cathedral of sacred literature.

In Heb. 5:9 it states that Jesus became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal sal­vation. As has already been shown to obey Jesus as it relates to salvation has the meaning of believing in Jesus as Saviour and Son of God.

Finally on this point it is foundational that in order to receive faith one must first “hear” (Romans 10:17) thus in order to have faith its recipient is required to “do” something and that is to hear or listen as the recipients did in (Acts 2) and then act on that faith in order to be saved. What you do when you say we are saved by faith only is exclude every other thing true obedient saving faith implies. Repentance is excluded, confession and baptism are excluded, and even hearing is excluded by this unscriptural and exclusive term which the Bible itself NEVER uses.

“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Gen. 26:4-5 this shows how faith plus obedience works. Noah had to build an ark faith and obedience working together. They are never divorced from each other in scripture and that is the whole point I have made with the synechdoche of faith.

I have mentioned James 2 in this discussion but only in passing as this: “The only place that the doctrine of faith only is discussed is in (James 2) and in that passage it explicitly states that faith according to the non synecdoche corner cannot and does not save us.”

To answer your question how would I define living a faithful life I will let the Bible do it for me: (I John 1:7) “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” These are all in the present tense too so we must continually walk in the light so the blood can continually cleanse us. Then the apostle says this: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. [Verses 8-10]. This is called the second law of pardon and applies only to Christians and not to alien sinners and we need to remember this if we are to understand how it works.

You say that obeying the 6 steps is an absurd notion yet my friend those 6 steps are in scripture and they are to be obeyed and obeyed for the reason they are assigned and that is for salvation. I am always intrigued that you want to incorporate them all in what we do yet by using “faith only” which is not a Biblical term at all exclude them from our obedience to be saved. Also the word “eis” is also bent to mean “because of” and that too is not correct especially as used in (Acts 2:38) since the apostle Peter states categorically when asked by his hearers “what must we do” [to be saved] implied in that question he tells them to “repent AND be baptised for the remission of your sins.” Now the conjunction there melds the two acts together and if we say that we must be baptised because we are saved the we must also say that we are to repent because we are saved and I know you cannot believe that since we can in no way be saved UNTIL we repent (Luke 13:3)

We are also told we will be forgiven if we forgive others but does that mean it is the only thing we must do for forgiveness? If a homosexual with many partners forgives someone who stole his wallet is he then forgiven? I think not and neither do you, he will be forgiven when he repents of his homosexuality and is baptised to have his sins washed away. That is the showing of real saving obedient faith in scripture.

I will end on this note and if you wish I will answer questions if we do have a “back and forth” area with this. Thank you again for the opportunity to put my case I apologise in advance for my lack of debating ability but hope that you all can understand what I have tried to show here. Thank you to the admins and to Damon.

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SECOND RESPONSE BY DAMON WHITSELL.

Hello Dave, I will need much more than the 1500 words we agreed to because I copied and pasted your whole response to respond line upon line and paragraph upon paragraph. And I had to use about 1500 words just to show where your assertion that all instances of salvation in Acts culminates in baptism is not true. Thanks for agreeing and allowing for me to do so.

YOU SAID,,, “The word sunechdeechesthai or to “receive jointly” does not as far as I know make a distinction between nouns and verbs and the root for faith and belief in Greek is the same. The words “faith”, “trust” and “believe” all come from the same Greek root.”

I SAY,,, I gave a link to Wikipedia which shows over 20 examples of synecdoches, they all are nouns applying to nouns. I looked at two other lists of extra-biblical examples of synecdoches and consulted several dictionary definitions with examples and found the same result. I even found E.W. Bullingers gigantic work on figures of speech in the Bible. It has 44 pages of examples of synecdoches and after spending upwards of 15 minutes browsing through them I only saw nouns applying to nouns. And I never seen Faith, any of its synonyms or derivatives, or any of your alleged components of salvation listed there as synecdoches. Believe and believeth are verb forms of faith. And all your alleged components of salvation also involve verbs and action/works. Therefore can you show me outside of the Bible some examples of using verbs as a synecdoche.

Faith is biblically defined as “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). It means to trust in things you cannot know for certain.

YOU SAID,,, “You say that when Jesus said to “believe” in Him that the command for water baptism had not been given yet in (John 4:1) we read of Jesus “baptising” people as we do in (John 3:22;26.) John of course was the forerunner of Christ and he had a baptism also and it incorporated repentance. In (Luke7:30) we read that those who were baptized by John’s baptism were acknowledging or justifying the justice of God, how much more then is it to be baptized under the N.T. command to do so? Also the new covenant was not operating under John or before Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. I will only add to this that the Jews who heard Christ at this point in His ministry did know what a synecdoche was and how it worked as I pointed out in the “days in the earth” synecdoche. The New Testament command to be baptised for the remission of sins did not come into operation until (Acts 2.)”.

I SAY,,, Actually I said “the NT command for water baptism had not even been given yet; there was only John’s baptism”. You missed the NT part and that I conceded to Johns baptism being in effect. I did not say “for remission of sins” because I think most translations misinterpret the passage wrong. “For” in English and “Eis” in Greek can mean either “in order to obtain” or “because of”. And because Acts 10:43 tells us that remission of sins come to those who believe it is apparent that the Analytical-Literal Translation is correct when it renders the passage “Then Peter was saying to them, “Repent, and let each of you* be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, to [or, for; or, because of] [the] forgiveness of sins, and you* will receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Most importantly you did not answer my question. I asked “How could Christ use a figure of speech as a present imperative to include something that did even exist yet?” Think about it. You claim that faith and its derivatives are synecdoches for the whole plan of salvation which includes baptism for the remission of sin. How could Christ include baptism for remission of sins when telling others how to HAVE eternal life if the NT command had not been given yet?

YOU SAID,,, “Further the command to “believe” given to the Jews was more in line with them to believe that He was the Messiah and to do what He commanded since the Jews knew what He would be like and what he would do and even command. In (Zechariah 13:1) for example it was stated that in Jerusalem there was a fountain to opened for sin and impurity and that was opened in (Acts 2:38.)”

I SAY,,, Do you notice here how you changed subjects from Christ and what Christ would do to baptism and what baptism allegedly does? Water baptism is not in view in Zech 13:1. But the blood of Jesus is “…and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him…” (Zech. 12:10). We know that it is Jesus’s blood that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 5:7, Rev. 1:5). Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb.9:22) and Jesus blood is shed for the remission of our sins (Matt. 26:28). Also Jesus washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev. 1-5). That is why Christians sign the hymn “There is a fountain filled with blood”. The fountain is Jesus’s atoning blood, not water and baptism. Don’t make the common mistake among the CoC to associate words like wash or cleanse, or any word appearing to be associated with wetness, as reference to Baptism. In most instances they are not talking about water baptism at all.

Apparently the Jews overwhelmingly did not know what Jesus would do and command or they would have recognized him as the Messiah, but they rejected Him looking for a political leader instead of a spiritual savior. Nevertheless Jesus told them 11 times that they would HAVE eternal life if they believed in Him as such.

YOU SAID,,, “You mention (Romans 5:19) yet that is often taken way out of its context I think. If you look at that verse I believe that when you look at the word ‘katestathesan’ which is a verb you see that many were constituted sinners and not ‘made’ sinners who did this constituting? It was not Adam but God as it could be no one else. We also must look at the word hamartoloi and use it unqualified then we have to say it is denoting ‘actual’ sinners but it is not saying that in the text since the verb katestathesan itself qualifies the word. So when Paul says, “the many were constituted sinners.” His language is implying that they did not become sinners by their own acts. On the contrary they were merely constituted sinners this is why the choosing of the verb used was to negate the idea of their being actual sinners and it does so effectually.

Christ by His obedience of his death on the cross constituted many righteous and the same verb is used here and then to say that “all” in Adam die but “all” in Christ are made alive includes Adam. All are constituted just but that does not mean being sinless or pardoned here at all, it means just for a certain purpose and not absolutely just. I t means this that by Adam’s disobedience the all were to be subjected to death, but by the obedience of Christ all are constituted just so far as to be raised from the dead and indeed all will be.”

I SAY,,, Since Merriams defines constitute as “to make up or form something, to be the same as something : to be equivalent to something, to establish or create (an organization, a government, etc.)” I don’t see where there is a difference between make and constitute. And Strongs defines kathistēmi as “to place down (permanently), that is, (figuratively) to designate, constitute, convoy: – appoint, be, conduct, make, ordain, set”. So constitute is not the only option. And make would the best since modern English readers do not typically often use and understand the word constitute.

Also you appealed to context and then went to the Greek without delineating the context. In 1Co 15:22, in context of the resurrection it says “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” So yes, the first Adams death causes physical death and the second Adams death causes the spiritual resurrection of all men. But that is not what Romans 5:19 has in view contextually. The chapter starts off with justification by faith (v. 1) and ends saying “… might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (v.21). We are justified by his blood (v.9). We are reconciled to God and saved by the life of the Son (v.10). And we receive atonement for sin (restoration to divine favor) through Christ (v.11). So we can see the justification in view in verse 18 is justification by faith for eternal life. The death in view in verses 12, 14 and 17 is not physical death but eternal condemnation (v.18) or the second death (Rev. 20:6 and 14). The “justification of life” in verse 18 is referring to eternal life. And it’s a free gift by grace (v. 15 and 18). The main topic all the way back to Romans 3:21 is justification by faith and the righteousness of God being imputed to those who believe in Christ. As righteousness was imputed to Abraham (Romans 4:3, James 2:23, Gen. 15:6) and David (Romans 4:6) so it is imputed to those who believe without works (Romans 4.6). Universalist go to chapter 5 verses 18 and 19 to try to prove universalism but the key to understanding universalism is not being taught here is in verse 21 which says grace “MIGHT” reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. So in verse 19 being made righteous is referring to being made the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ and being justified, as in pardoned and rendered sinless and seen as fully obedient in Gods sight, by His life. A person has to have more than intellectual assent to be saved, he actually has to trust the promises of God and Christ and have personal trust that provision and payment for his sin has been made on his behalf by the Savior Jesus Christ. But not all will repent (think differently) and believe the gospel as applying to themselves and will remain unjust before God.

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3-4)

Some other scriptures that teach the great biblical truth of the imputed righteousness of God are Romans 1:16-17, Romans 4:13, Romans 9:30, Romans 3:22 and 26, Hebrews 10:14, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Philippians 3:8-9. I know Church of Christers are not big on imputation, justification, original sin, and salvation being the gift of God, But scripture surely does teach these life transforming truths be to those who trust in Christ for the propitiation, expiation and remission of their personal sin.

YOU SAID,,, “You also ask why Paul and Silas in (Acts 16:31) did not just spell out the “Plan of salvation” and what we must “obey” and do to be saved. Why did they say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” instead of clearly laying out the steps (if steps are involved?) when asked such an important question as “what must we do to be saved?” Why would they use a figure of speech and not straight forward language concerning the matter of salvation?

I answer that by saying we already know the plan and Paul did spell it out to them since they were all baptised as well it seems they understood the synecdoche here and also why do we need it spelled out every time we see the plan of salvation in action.

The Ethiopian eunuch understood the plan exactly if we look at it: Philip preached to Him and explained the Gospel of Christ, The eunuch understood that Gospel and its plan he heard the word and obviously repented of his sin and confessed his belief in Christ. He asked the evangelist “See here is water” so he obviously had been told to be baptised for the remission of his sins, the eunuch answered “what hinders me [then] from being baptised?” The evangelist replied “if you believe with all your heart you can be baptised.” Then the eunuch replied “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” If you examine this carefully you find that you have hearing, believing, repentance, confession and baptism. This is the whole plan spelt out and enacted. It is under the synecdoche if you “believe” and we find that since he did all the rest followed and the eunuch was thus saved and went on his way rejoicing.

Also I will direct your attention to (Hebrews 5:9) where it explicitly states that Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him. Thus we see that in order to be saved we must indeed obey Him and I add to that His plan of salvation.”

I SAY,,, a couple of times you have said “why do we need it spelled out every time we see the plan of salvation in action”. No we do not need it spelled out every time, just once will do. There is no scripture that delineates the so called steps of your plan of salvation. There is not one passage that says we must “hear, believe, repent of sin, confess, be baptized and live a faithful life”. If these were the requirements of salvation it would be clearly spelled out in many places because God is not the author of confusion. A major problem with the idea that faith is a synecdoche for the whole plan of salvation is that without the so called plan of salvation clearly laid out then anyone can say anything is a part of the plan. Walter Scott, the originator of the CoC 5 step plan of salvation, did not include living a faithful life. And the Oneness Pentecostals claim speaking in tongues as a requirement for salvation because they see it happening in the book of Acts in relation to salvation. Being strict cessationist that would leave all CoCers unsaved. So whose plan must we adhere to? That is why we must go to the didactic books to see the 150+ verses that say we are saved by faith and the dozens of verses that say we are not saved by works. Being baptized and all your steps are works and we are not saved by works. In fact salvation is not even of ourselves. Scripture tells us at least 5 times salvation is a gift from God.

Concerning the eunuch, it is impossible that he “understood the plan exactly”. He was reading the prophet Isaiah, more specifically the passage he was reading was “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Then the eunuch asked Phillip if the prophet is speaking of himself or someone else (v.34). Then Phillip preached Jesus unto him (v.35). We must return to Isaiah 53 to get the idea of what Phillip preached to the eunuch (v. 35). In Isaiah we see that Jesus would be cut-off from the land of the living for the transgression of his people (53:8) and that he would be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and that by His stripes we would be healed from our transgressions and iniquities (v. 5). The eunuch was saved by having faith/trust that that was exactly what Jesus did by being slaughtered, he healed us of our sins – meaning he would take our penalty and make us right before God by His slaughter – and that is just what he did. But according to you neither the eunuch or Phillip were at this point saved because (1) they had not lived a faithful life yet since they were still living and (2) if repentance means turning from sin (which is doesn’t) then they still had a life time of turning from sin to do. And what is really mind-blowing about your plan of salvation is that according to it, neither yourself or anyone still living are not yet saved because we are not saved until we have lived our whole lives faithfully. Yet scripture tell us many times that we who believe are already saved, present and past tense.

In Hebrews 5:9 we must understand that if we go to 1 Peter 2:6-8 we see that not believing in Jesus is disobedience.

1Pe 2:6-8 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

So therefore the obedience we are to have here is believing in Jesus, as he commanded people to believe on Him to HAVE eternal life in so many places. That is what obedience of or to the faith is all about, having faith and trusting in Jesus for forgiveness of sin. And having faith in Christ is being obedient since even the Father commands us to believe in Him who He sent for enteral life (John 5:37-43, John 3:34-36).

YOU SAID,,, “You say too that Salvation is not about doing or “obeying” “the whole plan of salvation”. It is about believing the plan of salvation. And the focus of that plan is on Jesus Christ and his actions, not of us. Well to say that is to say that we believe in the plan but do nothing else at all and I do not believe the Bible says that at all. For instance in (John 3:36) we read this: “He that believes on the Son has eternal life; but he that obeys not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I SAY,,, How is it that you cannot see that the obedience mentioned here is obedience to the command to believe on the Son for eternal life, as stated in that very verse? It is beyond me as to how you can see it as plain as day.

YOU SAID,,, “We also see that “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen.26:5). We can never get away from the fact that believing incorporates obedience and they go together hand in glove and we are to obey the plan that the man (Christ) gave to all men in order to be saved.

I SAY,, yes Abraham was obedient after he was justified and declared righteous by faith (Gen 5:16), before he offered up his son Isaac in Gen. 22 and before he was circumcised (Romans 4: 7-13). So we see through Abraham that we are saved by faith before obedience to anything other than being obedient to the faith and believing in Him who was sent, just as Abraham trusted God that He would provide a ram. Obedience and works comes after we are saved, not before (Ephesians 2:8-10).

YOU SAID,,,, “In Acts 2:38 we are to repent and be baptised for the remission of our sins, and here we see nothing mentioned of faith as the two perquisites are themselves synecdoches for the plan of salvation and obviously include faith within them”.

I SAY,,, Of course you already know that we who deny the assertion that we must be baptized for remission of sins do so because Acts 10:43 is very clear in that remission of sins comes to those who believe; therefore Acts 2:38 should read “because of remission of sin”. Also in Acts 2:38 the Greek word for repent metanoeō is defined as “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider” by Strongs. It does not mean to repent of sin (a phrase that is found nowhere in scripture), repent means to simply change your mind and to think differently about the gospel.

Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Act 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

So as far as repent is concerned, to repent and to have faith is the same thing.

We really will need to spend some time on the subject of repentance later. God called turning from evil a work, and God himself is said to repent (change His mind) at least a half dozen times in scripture therefore repentance is not turning from sin. How many sins have you turned from? Have you turned from the all sin and became sinleslly perfect (Romans 7, 1 John 1:9-10)?

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

YOU SAID,,, “Baptism is shown in every case of conversion in the book of Acts and thus is a synecdoche for the entire plan of salvation and is a requirement of it.”

I SAY,,, This is just not true. Here are nine instances of conversion or salvation in the book of Acts without reference to baptism. So no one can rightfully claim salvation in Acts includes baptism and baptism is required for salvation.

Acts 3:1-4:4 – Peter and John where preaching at the temple (3:1) and in verse 19 the people are told “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord”. And in Acts 4:4 about 5000 believed. There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 5:1-14 – After Ananias and Sapphira where struck down by the Lord, fear came upon the people (v.11) and many signs and wonders were wrought among them (v.12), as a result multitudes where added to the Lord. Act 5:14 “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women”. There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 9: 32-35 – After Peter healed a certain man with palsy “…all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord” (V. 35) There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 11:19-24 – After preaching Jesus in Antioch (v.20) a great number believed and turned to the Lord (v.21) and were added to the Lord (v. 24). There is no mention of baptism here except in verse 16 and that is referring to John’s baptism by water and the baptism with the Holy Ghost. And that happened before Barnabus arrived in Antioch.

Acts 13:6-12 – Sergius Paulus desired to hear the word of the Lord. Then by the hand of the Lord Paul blinded him for a season. Then he believed being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 13:42-52 – Paul and Barnabus where preaching in the synagogue to the gentiles “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (v. 48). There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 14:1 – “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.” Another multitude, this time a great one, believed and there is no mention of baptism.

Acts 17:10-12 – Paul and Silas were preaching the word in the synagogue in Berea, and “many” believed. There is no mention of baptism.

Acts 17:22-34 “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among them which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them”. There is no mention of baptism.

A worthy point to note is that Acts is classified in the history genre. It is not a didactic book meant to establish doctrine, especially salvation. But Romans, Galatians and Ephesians are and they all scantily mention baptism. Baptism is used once in Romans and once in Ephesians, Baptized is used twice in Romans and Baptize is not used in any of them. In all 3 books baptism and its derivatives only occur 4 times. Romans is essentially a treatise on salvation and focuses almost exclusively on the subject, and both Galatians and Ephesians deal a great bit with salvation and also focus on grace and faith opposed to works, as does Romans. Likewise the gospel of John was written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). But John only uses baptism and its derivatives 7 times, none refer to baptism for remission of sin. Conversely John uses believe and believeth 69 times. And these instances cannot be synecdoches standing for baptism and the “whole plan of salvation” that includes baptism for the remission of sins because that command had not been given yet. Christ was not lying when He said 11 times that those who believeth/trust in Him HAVE (present tense) eternal life.

YOU SAID,,, “Baptism is also a noun and thus there is a synecdoche applying to a noun.”

I SAY,,, Brother, I did not ask for examples of synecdoches used as nouns. I conceded that faith is used as a noun in about half of its 245 instances but the other half of those usages use faith in the verb form (such as have faith). And faiths synonym in the purely verb forms believe and believeth are used 124 and 41 times. So again I ask “can you provide me with any examples of a synecdoche of any kind being applied to and used as verbs, as you’re doing in saying a synecdoche is doing or “obeying” ie. the 6 steps (which are all verbs or doing something)”. And more specifically I ask you to go outside of the bible to show any examples of synecdoches used as verbs.

YOU SAID,,, “You also say that “faith” is a gift ‘not of ourselves’ in (Ephesians2:8 I deny that this is the case since it says we have been saved by grace ‘through’ faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God. But what is the gift of God in that verse? Some will say grace, some faith and some salvation, but what does the grammar require in that verse? Consider this: in the Greek the words for grace and faith are both feminine. The pronoun “it” is not in the Greek it is supplied by the translators. However, “it” is the same as “that” in the clause “”and that not of yourselves; and the word “that” is neuter. Greek grammar requires that a pronoun should agree with its antecedent in gender thus the word for neither “grace” nor “faith” can be the antecedent of “that.” This shows that neither of them can be the gift of God in this verse. Therefore the only possible antecedent is the salvation expressed by the word “saved”. Salvation here is expressed not by the noun but the verb and Greek grammar requires that a pronoun which refers to the action of a verb for its antecedent must be neuter. This is the case in (Ephesians 2:8) and the meaning is: “you are saved by grace through faith; but the salvation is not of yourselves it is the gift of God.””

I SAY,,, Upon further examination I believe you are correct here. But your showing that salvation is a gift here as opposed to faith does not help your case at all, it weakens it further. If salvation is a gift, how can we do anything to earn it? Scripture says 5 or 6 times that salvation is a free gift from God. And if salvation is a gift then faith must also be a gift even if it is not spelled out in Ephesians. Romans 12:3 and 1 Cor. 12:9 tell us God has “allotted to each a measure of faith” and Phillipians 1:29 says “To you it has been given for Christ’s sake, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”. And of course Hebrews 12:2 tell us that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith”. So both faith and salvation itself is a gift from God and the Lord Jesus, so that no one may boast that he has done anything to be saved.

YOU SAID,,, “Finally it is true that the Bible is a covenantal document and that Christ made His covenant with God in eternity to become the saviour of mankind. However we are under the “New Covenant, testament or will of Christ and it is the final and universal covenant as against the old national covenant God made with the Jewish nation and the covenants He made with various patriarchs. This final covenant has within it the terms we must obey in order to gain the benefits of Christ’s will.

We are to obey Christ in the synecdochal aspects of His covenant Believe, repent, confess, be baptised etc and remember this too how does faith come to us? “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” Thus we are to hear and that is a synecdoche for the whole gospel plan of salvation it is to be heard and then acted upon to fulfil the terms of Christ’s will and thus gain its benefits.”

I SAY,,, The covenant made between the Father and the Son was called the “eternal covenant”. Not only was the covenant made in eternity past before creation it also never ends. It is not superseded by any other biblical covenants. Truly those who the Father has given to the Son, he will in no way lose. And the new covenant is not about doing steps for salvation but God forgiving and not remembering our sins.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

SOME FINAL POINTS: I feel a few things need to be explored in more detail. I think that you have the burden to prove that repentance really means turning from sin as you propose, instead of a change of mind or thinking as defined by the greek word metanioa. And since you’re claiming that living a faithful life is required for salvation it ought to be required of you to tell us everything that is required in “living a faithful life”.

THANKS for reading and trying to understand all this.

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Final response By Dave Bell

I did say: “Further the command to “believe” given to the Jews was more in line with them to believe that He was the Messiah and to do what He commanded since the Jews knew what He would be like and what he would do and even command. In (Zechariah 13:1) for example it was stated that in Jerusalem there was a fountain to opened for sin and impurity and that was opened in (Acts 2:38.)”

I said this because Jesus came first to the “House of Israel” and He proved to them that He was indeed the Messiah. Now as He neared the end of His ministry and His impending death He told the apostles that when He went back to heaven He would send the Spirit and the Spirit would guide them into “All the truth”. (John 16:13) says: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…..” Also in (John 14:26) Jesus tells His disciples that …”The Spirit would teach” (the disciples) “all things and bring to their remembrance all that He said to them”.

Now in (Acts 1:4) Christ told them that they (the apostles) would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then in (verse 8) “But you (apostles) shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and that they would be His witnesses both in Jerusalem and Judea etc”. This happened in (Acts2) and the first ever Gospel sermon under the New Covenant was preached. Peter explained what had happened citing Joel as the prophet who predicted this very event then went on to explain Who Christ was and what thee Jews had done to Him by putting Him to death and how God overturned that unrighteous sentence. Those who “heard” that sermon “believed” it (this is implied) but not spoken, they then asked “Men and brethren what shall we do?’ (To be saved also implied) and Peter gave them the answer to their question very explicitly. That answer was “Repent AND be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (whom you crucified) implied, “for” or “into” the remission of your sins….”

Now in this statement there are two commands “repent” and “be baptised” the purpose of obeying the two commands is then made clear it is “unto” or “for” the remission of sins. Now the Greek preposition “eis” is always prospective (looking forward), never is it retrospective (looking back) and that can only mean that forgiveness follows baptism in this verse.

Further Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 22:16; and also Mathew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16 and others are part of the remote context of Acts 2:38 and constitutes part of the total evidence of what the Spirit taught the Apostles to teach regarding salvation. Baptism is for remission (aphesis) meaning forgiveness it is from the verb (aphiemi) ‘to cause to stand away,’ to ‘release’ ones sin from the sinner. This is the “truth” the Spirit brought the apostles into and what they were to teach. To me it is significant that this was the very first sermon preached in the new regime and that was the first command given to those who asked what to do to be saved by the Spirit through the Apostle. I stand by what I said also that this was the fountain opened in Jerusalem “in that day” baptismal water has no magic in it but it is the way we contact (figuratively) the blood of Christ that atones our sin.

To remove the necessity of baptism one must resort to trying to explain (Acts 2:38) in a way that is never pictured in any Bible translation. One has to say that “Repent and be baptised for the remission of your sins” is to be read “because of” that is retrospectively and that is not true since to argue this way must mean that salvation precedes repentance since the argument is that only belief is necessary. In this view baptism looks backwards to one’s first point of salvation (hearing producing faith Romans 10:17) but eis translated to English “for” never does have a causal or retrospective meaning and that presents the problem for you

Coffman says this about Zechariah 13:1.

“The Christian dispensation continues to be the focus of the revelation in this brief chapter. This is indicated by the triple recurrence of “in that day” (Zechariah 13:1,2,4), by Peter’s indication that part of the chapter applies to Christians (Zechariah 13:9), and by Jesus’ own identification of himself with the smitten Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7). Part of Zechariah 13:5, 6 are difficult of interpretation.
Zechariah 13:1

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”

“In that day …” in the times of the blessed Messiah.

“A fountain opened … for sin and for uncleanness …” This is the fountain of the blood of Christ, the only fountain in all history that ever afforded cleansing from sin and uncleanness. That fountain may also be understood as the fountain of living water (John 7:37).
“To the house of David … inhabitants of Jerusalem …” These expressions denote the “true Israel of God” in the times of the New Covenant; and, although that Israel is by no means restricted to racial Jews, or literal descendants of Abraham, neither is any one of them (or any other person) excluded:

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will (Whosoever will), let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

Robinson titled this chapter: “A remnant of Israel (shall be) purified, refined, and saved.” It is a gross error to suppose that the “cleansing” here is primarily a reference to the procurement of “ritual purity for the people of Jerusalem.” The text indicates that the cleansing is from sin. “This was a cleansing unknown in the pre-Christian era.”[3] Of course, there were a number of Old Testament prophecies looking forward to the forgiveness of sins in the days of Christ. Jeremiah 31:31-35; Ezekiel 36:25; and Zechariah 3:4, 9, where Joshua the High Priest received clean linen clothes, are among such prophecies.

Of particular interest is Ezekiel 36:25 –
“And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”

Keil explained this thus:” By this water we have to understand not only grace in general, but the spiritual sprinkling-water, which is prepared through the sacrificial death of Christ, through the blood that he shed for sin, and which is sprinkled upon us for the cleansing away of sin in the gracious waters of baptism.”

As for the fantasy that “sprinkling” of any kind is visible in Zechariah 13:1, it must be declared that: although sprinkling of water and the ashes of a red heifer were a legitimate ritual under the law of Moses, there is no “sprinkling of water” connected in any way with Christianity, certainly not in Christian baptism, which is not and never was a “sprinkling,” but an immersion. There is a “sprinkling of the blood of Christ” (Hebrews 10:22), a sprinkling not of water and not of our bodies, but as the passage says, “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Thus “in that day,” when the fountain for sin is opened, hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and bodies are washed with pure water. Sprinkling water on “bodies” is nowhere mentioned as a Christian ordinance. We are a bit surprised that several commentators gave lip service to this old, discredited and worn-out argument for sprinkling as a form of baptism.

“Cleansing for sin and uncleanness …” Ah, here is the crying need of all men. What a glory of Christianity is inherent in such a promise as this! In all of the history of the universe, there is no such thing as the forgiveness of sins, until one comes to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. No forgiveness of sins was available for the angels who kept not their first estate; no forgiveness has ever been seen in the operation of God’s natural laws (gravity, etc.); nature exhibits no such thing as forgiveness; and, even under the law of Moses, there was a remembrance made of sin, “every year.” The unique glory of the Christian faith is that it embraces “the fountain opened for sin.”
“Sin and uncleanness …” “These two terms together comprise all guilt and pollution.” As Gill said, “An entire volume could be written identifying this `fountain’ as the blood of Christ

You said: Concerning the eunuch, it is impossible that he “understood the plan exactly”. He was reading the prophet Isaiah, more specifically the passage he was reading was “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Then the eunuch asked Phillip if the prophet is speaking of himself or someone else (v.34). Then Phillip preached Jesus unto him (v.35). We must return to Isaiah 53 to get the idea of what Phillip preached to the eunuch (v. 35). In Isaiah we see that Jesus would be cut-off from the land of the living for the transgression of his people (53:8) and that he would be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and that by His stripes we would be healed from our transgressions and iniquities (v. 5). The eunuch was saved by having faith/trust that that was exactly what Jesus did by being slaughtered, he healed us of our sins – meaning he would take our penalty and make us right before God by His slaughter – and that is just what he did. But according to you neither the eunuch or Phillip were at this point saved because (1) they had not lived a faithful life yet since they were still living and (2) if repentance means turning from sin (which is doesn’t) then they still had a life time of turning from sin to do. And what is really mind-blowing about your plan of salvation is that according to it, neither yourself or anyone still living are not yet saved because we are not saved until we have lived our whole lives faithfully. Yet scripture tell us many times that we who believe are already saved, present and past tense.

What you seem to not understand here is that Philip explained to the Eunuch what he needed to do that is the implication of the narrative here and when the Eunuch heard what he had to do he asked the question and was baptised for the remission of his sins since that is what the Spirit taught the Apostles to teach who in turn taught others the same things.

I Said: He that believes on the Son has eternal life; but he that obeys not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I SAY, How is it that you cannot see that the obedience mentioned here is obedience to the command to believe on the Son for eternal life, as stated in that very verse? It is beyond me as to how you can see it as plain as day.

That verse has in it two propositions: “all who believe on Christ have eternal life”.
And, “All who do not obey Christ shall not be saved but have God’s wrath abiding on them”. The question is what does “belief” imply here? I say it implies obedience to all that He says, and, He says the same thing that one must be baptised in order to be saved. The Spirit cannot lead the Apostles into all the truth and then say that we obey only some of the truths can He? Christ also said “If (conditional) you love me you “will” (categorically) keep my commandments”. (John 14:15).

Your nine conversions mentioned all do imply baptism though since the very first command in Acts 2:38 establishes it as what remits sin and that is its precedent for all such conversions.

You say: A worthy point to note is that Acts is classified in the history genre. It is not a didactic book meant to establish doctrine, especially salvation. But Romans, Galatians and Ephesians are and they all scantily mention baptism. Well you miss the point since baptism IS mentioned and it only has to be mentioned once if God wants us to do it and He does that is clear.

Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 3:26, 27
“How many people are “in Christ”? Just as many as have been baptized into Him.

Consider the following blessings in Christ:
Grace – 2 Timothy 2:1
Salvation – 2 Timothy 2:10
Forgiveness – Ephesians 1:7
Eternal life – 1 John 5:11, 12
Freedom from condemnation – Romans 8:1

Can a person be saved if he has not come “into Christ” where these blessings are found? Are people saved outside Christ? Surely we must be in Christ to be saved, but God’s word expressly states that one must be baptized into Christ.

Likewise we are baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3).

As a result the body of sin is destroyed (v6) and we are free from sin (v7). Can we be saved without contacting Jesus’ death? No. But there must be some point at which we contact that death, and that point is baptism (preceded by believing, repenting, and confessing).

To illustrate, a wedding ceremony puts a couple into the marriage relationship. Prior to the ceremony, they may take essential steps toward marriage, but they do not yet enjoy the privileges of being in marriage. Only after the ceremony are they actually in marriage.

Likewise baptism is the point at which one comes into Christ, into His death. Prior to baptism, one may take essential steps toward Christ (believing, repenting, confessing), but he is not yet in Christ and does not have the blessings in Christ; only after baptism is one “in Christ” where these blessings are available.” (From the Gospel way.)

Concerning repentance you say it is only a change of mind and not a turning away from sin I do not subscribe to that theory at all.

Πετρος δε προς αυτους μετανοησατε και βαπτισθητω εκαστος υμων εν τω ονοματι ιησου χριστου εις αφεσιν των αμαρτιων υμων και λημψεσθε την δωρεαν του αγιου πνευματος (Acts 2:38).

Notice the word μετανοησατε [metanoesate] from metanoias meaning “conduct” worthy of a heart changed and abhorring sin. That is what repentance means in (Acts 2:38.) that is what “turn again” means and be converted.

If it simply means a change of mind only then we do not do anything to show that we have indeed changed our mind and abhor what was sinful in our life.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

This is true but think of the implication of what is said here we “Hear His voice that implies we do all He says to do and this includes that we hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptised to have our sins washed away or remitted. Then we live as faithfully as we can as we grow in Christ. Then we can never be snatched out of His hand but we are free to walk away if we want to but that is another study.

You say that we cannot live a faithful life well we cannot be sinlessly perfect no and I never said otherwise and it is true we are judged at death but we must live a life of repentance and confess our sins to him so we can be forgiven of those we commit either wilfully or unintentionally and we thus have the continual cleansing of His blood (I John 1:7-9). But in order to have that we must first be “in” Christ and the only way that happens is when we are baptised into Him. Read Romans 6:3-27 and relate that to our subject. Thank you for your patience and the time to explain this a little better perhaps

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FINAL RESPONSE BY DAMON WHITSELL.

Hello Dave, I feel I have already covered most of what you brought up in your last response so rather than regurgitate I thought I would show your 6 step plan wrong by showing that biblical repentance is not “repenting of sin” or “turning from sin”. Neither of these phrases occur in scripture.

Also in response to my request for you to define what “living a faithful life” means you said it means to walk in the light being continually cleansed by Jesus blood through confession of sin (1 John 1:7-10). So the question remains just exactly do you mean by “repenting of sin”? If your defining it as turning from sin then it does not look like you have turned from all sin if you still need cleansing through confession. If repentance means repenting of sin and repenting of sin means turning from sin, then how much sin must one turn from to be saved, 50%, 75% or 100%???

DOES REPENTANCE MEAN TURNING FROM SIN? Let’s start with some words of Christ Himself.

Luk 13:1-5, 1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, SUPPOSE YE that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

What was Jesus saying to those present? First, because our modern dictionaries define repentance and other words according to how the words are used and not necessarily what they mean according to their historical meaning and root words, we must biblically define repentance.

Jesus used the Greek words metanoeō for repentance. Strongs defines it as “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider”. This is consistent with the root words meta (to change) and noeos (mind). Repentance here simply means to have a change of mind. What were those present to have a change of mind about? First notice that in verse 2 Jesus says “SUPPOSE YE”. He is concerned about their thinking and wants them to change their mind from thinking that they are better off than the Galileans who had their blood mingled with their sacrifices. He was saying that unless they changed their minds from thinking they were not as bad as the Galileans who they supposed suffered for being sinners above other Galileans, they too would likewise suffer and perish.

These scriptures show us in action what repentance is. The first one shows us that God says turning from evil ways is a work. So turning from sin cannot be a salvific requirement since we are not saved by works.

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

God has no sin to turn from or “repent” of. But we see that He had a change of mind and did not do what he had previously said he would do.

Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Act 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

All 4 of these verses use the same Greek word with the same meaning of having a change of mind. We are to change our mind to believe the gospel and to go from unbelief to believing and having faith in Jesus.

Also we are to repent and have a change of mind about our works. We must consider them dead.

Heb_6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Heb_9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The same Greek word is used in the first verse. It means we are to have a change of mind about the salvific value of our works, we must consider them dead an ineffectual. Let’s look at a couple more passages.

Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

The same Greek word here is used to mean a change of mind. What are all men commanded to have a change of mind about? If we go back to verse 23 we see that the writer of Acts is concerned about our thinking. He does not want us to go after UNKNOWN GOD’s but to know the true and living God.

Act 2:36-38 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, 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.

And again the same Greek word is used to mean a change of mind. What were those present to have a change of mind about? They were to change their mind about the one they had crucified. They crucified him because they believed Him not, but now they were commanded to change their minds and believe in Him.

Therefore we can see that to repent does not mean to turn from sin. Biblical repentance and faith are one in the same. This does not mean however that Christians turn grace into a license to sin. Once we become born again by faith we then begin the process of sanctification and becoming more like Christ warring against the flesh and walking in the Spirit (Romans 7).

The title of this article was taken from an article that I wrote below entitled “Baptismal Regeneration (BR) Reduced To Absurdity”. Since, even though it is denied by CoCers with the use of semantics, BR is one of the foundations of the CoC, I thought the title would transfer over great.

This post will be mostly text of debates between myself and several CoCers. To that simultaneous series of debates, this response was posted by a commenter named Ex-CoC, they said,,,,

“This is the most helpful information I have come across, I am a former coc, and have had doubts and confusion on the teachings. All the people who posted pro coc just made me feel a whole lot better I was far away from the lot of you. Damon you could afford to be a little more polite, I think but thanks at least I now know I wasnt crazy.”

I responded to Ex-CoC with,,,,

“Hi xCoC,,, I am glad it helped you visiting this site. let me give ya a couple of links I think you will like then I will tell ya why I will not try to be more polite to CoC’ers.

There is a brand new ex-coc book out that I found yesterday. Here is a sample

LINK HERE

Here is where you can buy the whole thing.

http://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=53683

This ex-coc member (he has a great site HERE) is right when he says,,,”The Church of Christ denomination uses four main tactics in debating their pet doctrines. These tactics are generally used by all cultic groups. They are: 1. Change the subject 2. Take scripture out of context 3. Straw man arguments 4. Ad hominem attacks (attacking you instead of the issue).

I am lacking in politeness for a few reasons. But the most prominent one is that the CoC will use trollish tactics (meant just to get an emotional responce) and disregard the basics of logic and Logical Interchange (discussion). AND for those who have not had the pleasure of debating CoC for years as I have. People do fall for the twisting of Scriptures and sometimes it gets tough having to exchange with several people at once who’s only objective is to make you look bad and the CoC as the only one true church. AT ALL COST!!! and BY ANY MEANS!!

After all I am not on a CoC blog attacking them. They are guest here and will run no one over on my watch,,, especially me.. lol :)

The author of the above site says,,,”Scripture twisting is an art form that the CHOCD has mastered. The only other organizations that do it any better are the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons…which is nothing to be proud of.”

I have to politely dissagree. :) The only cult I have more exposure to than the CoC is the Mormons. I have debated “Paid Mormon Scholars” and they are not as bad as the regular CoC folks,,, much less “CoC Scholars”.

What follows is highlights of several debates that went on for weeks. Many comments, of which there are 67 in total, where left out of this post for space and times sake but all the different exchanges can be seen here. CHURCH OF CHRIST CULT by David J. Stewart. These debates contain links to many other CoC articles I have written, so even considering this post is very very long,, it will be worth your time if your a seeker,, or interested in what the CoC teaches and how they debate doctrines,, this will be worth your time to read,,, at least ex-CoC thought it was worth his time.

The first exchange is with “Efrem Williams”. After several post refuting Eframs attempts to set paramteters for the debate in his favor,, I first started to biblically address what Efram said with…….

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“We have no creed by the Bible” is a slogan I have heard from childhood. And it is a noble slogan. We have been a fellowship of sloganeers. “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.” That is one of my favorites. I only wish it were true. If we have genuinely lived by these kinds of directives then why all the splits and divisions within our religious movement over matters about which scripture has usually been deafeningly silent? No, slogans do not make us a people of God’s own choosing.

Leaders among the “restoration churches” have for years been saying that we have no creed/creeds. It appears to me that we have fooled ourselves into believing that if we repeat something often enough and loudly enough sooner or later people will believe it. It’s sort of how creeds are developed in the first place. In other words, if we practice or teach something long enough it will become an “old paths” tradition. Then, if the tradition doesn’t die, it becomes canon law (a creed) and is now a vital enough matter to debate.

Of course not all of us are guilty of accepting all of the creeds that will be here mentioned. So we may pick and choose those of which we are guilty of obeying and enforcing. Not all of the creeds “we” have sired will be here mentioned for two main reasons: 1) I can’t recall them all, 2) Lack of space and/or literary license from brother Charles. Now, if your kindness, dear readers, will allow, I shall launch into my laundry list of ecclesiastical creedalisms developed over myriad of decades of institutional evolution. These are not necessarily listed in order of importance.

First is the matter of the liturgical (orthodox) prayer of the churches of Christ. Our forms and expressions of worship can easily become crystalized. Involved in our prayer creed is the business of who to address. One must direct his prayer to God the Father and to Him alone; never the God the Son, Jesus Christ. Forget that we have a biblical example of Stephen praying directly to Christ. Forget that Jesus is our intermediary to the Father (can you imagine a client never getting to talk to his attorney?). Forget that some may occasionally desire to slip in a small, “I love you, dear Jesus, for what you did for me!”

Not only must we pray exclusively to the Father and never utter a word to Christ or the Holy Spirit (who also mediates on our behalf), but we must at home juncture within the prayer speak the words, “In Jesus’ name.” It is preferable to say this at the closing in a public prayer so that the congregants may Amen in agreement without distress.

Oh, I almost forgot, there is the matter of prayer “language” to the ultra orthodox. Majestic pronouns are often preferred over other, less regal, words (thee, thou, and thy over you and your). Somehow these pronouns are able to convey respect and humility to God in spite of the fact that there were no royal pronouns in the biblical languages. To add to this dilemma, there are also preferred cliche expressions to top things off (of course I try to avoid cliches like the plague. Expressions such as: 1) Guide, guard and direct, 2) Ready recollection, 3) Molestation, 4) Another portion of thy word, 5) Sick and afflicted, 6) Next appointed time, 7) Respective places of abode, et al.

Aside from the matter of “holy” pronouns and catch phrases is the business of regressing into Elizabethan English to speak to deity. Joseph Smith used this technique when he penned his Book of Mormon and “Inspired” version of the Bible. He assumed that if he wrote, “And it came to pass” some 2,000 times that the story would have an obvious ring of divinity. He, as we, used phrases with ancient words like wouldst and couldst and hast and loveth and coveteth. Really brethren, is a prayer more sincere if we say, “Holy Father, we loveth thee and coveteth thy bountiful grace” instead of”Dear Lord, we love you and ask for your generous mercy?” Besides, I tho’t coveting was a sin.

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http://www.thruthebible.org/
Thru the Bible Radio Network – Thru The Bible is a 30-minute Bible study radio program that takes the listener through the entire Bible in just 5 years, going back and forth between the Old and New Testaments. This Bible study program has been aired on radio stations in the U.S. since 1967, and is now being produced in over 100 languages around the world.

QA1677 Bible Study Dr Vernon McGee TTB

One of the arguments that the ending of Mark 16 is not original to the document is the argument from vocabulary. The following is a quick count and analysis of works in Mark 16:9-20.

However, other word are highly suspect also.

I have not concluded that the Long Ending (LE) was not inspired based upon my little word counting. This internal data raises “questions,” and that’s all. The external data is supportive. The content is also suggestive. These three, not one aspect alone, are all suggestive that the LE is not original to Mark. The definition of “questionable” words was “loose” on purpose. Its design, primarily, was to point out words that deserve a closer examination. It does not mean that these words are evidence against Marken authorship. It just means that these are the words that need to be examined in greater detail regarding this subject. That’s it. This list of hapax or near hapax’s is much more evidential in nature than the “questionable” list.

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Have you ever heard that phrase “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” before?

If You have,,, it is most likely that you heard it from a cult member or cult group. ALL cults say they are the “one true Church” (referred to as OTC hereafter). All cults have 3 things in common. 1. The all have distorted teachings about God, specifically Jesus and the Trinity. 2. They all employ a teaching and culture of legalism. And while they may give lip service to “salvation by grace”, they apply a system of salvation by works. 3. They all claim to be “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” !

This idea of the OTC among cults is expressed in many ways, some of them very ambiguously and not always clearly understood by the folks that hear the assertions. The claim to be the OTC by cults, and the many different ways that say or imply it,, is generally called Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism being defined as “Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom” (1).

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REVIEWED BY Pastor Douglas Brown: Dr. Sidwell has done a superb job in describing the “Churches of Christ” & their theology. Having been one who grew up for over 18 years in the “Church of Christ” & believed zealously what I was taught by the teachers & ministers of this denomination, I can testify to Dr. Sidwell’s accuracy to what he teaches in this message. As Dr. Sidwell brings out very well, the “salvation” taught by the “Churches of Christ” is extremely dangerous, due to it being so unclear. Baptism is so tenaciously held to, it causes one to conclude their “salvation” is works based.

The Pelagian Controversy

The Pelagian Controversy took place during the early part of the 5th century and it placed at odds a man by the name of Pelagius against the Bishop of Hippo who we may know today as St. Augustine. The controversy came to a focal point at the Council of Carthage where the church declared Pelagius a heretic in 418 AD.

Now to understand this controversy, we need to look into the background of Pelagius.

Pelagius is known as a moral, earnest, and zealous monk who was born on the British Isles. Sometime later in life when he traveled to Rome, he became alarmed about the godlessness he saw in the clergy and other professing Christians. It was while in Rome that he earned a reputation for the calling of Christians to the ‘attaining of virtue and righteousness’. In this way he and his followers had much in common with the Puritans in that they loved the precepts and laws of God and who were also very concerned about the moral laxity they saw in their own day.

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The Pelagian Controversy

The Pelagian Controversy took place during the early part of the 5th century and it placed at odds a man by the name of Pelagius against the Bishop of Hippo who we may know today as St. Augustine. The controversy came to a focal point at the Council of Carthage where the church declared Pelagius a heretic in 418 AD.

Now to understand this controversy, we need to look into the background of Pelagius.

Pelagius is known as a moral, earnest, and zealous monk who was born on the British Isles. Sometime later in life when he traveled to Rome, he became alarmed about the godlessness he saw in the clergy and other professing Christians. It was while in Rome that he earned a reputation for the calling of Christians to the ‘attaining of virtue and righteousness’. In this way he and his followers had much in common with the Puritans in that they loved the precepts and laws of God and who were also very concerned about the moral laxity they saw in their own day.

The crisis point came, however, when Pelagius read a famous prayer written by St. Augustine and it was a statement in this prayer that troubled him greatly. The statement was, “Oh God, grant what thou dost command…” and it was this statement in that prayer which set into motion the controversy that was to ensue.

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Most of the information in this article is taken from the sources footnoted.

Restorationism is the claim that the Christian Church fell away from the truths of Jesus and the NT apostles and had to be “RESTORED” to it’s NT state and practice. The whole Christian church had become apostate and non-existent, is their claim. But this allegation is pure folly and uninformed speculation. This is also in total contrast and contradiction to the idea of “REFORM” and the protestant reformation.

The main influence and emphasis of the Restoration Movement of the Cambellite’s and their subsequent offsping religions of the “restorationist” that followed and was spawned from them, is seriously flawed and based on the false assumption that the true Christian Church had been wiped clean from the face of the earth (needing to be completely restored) and that Gods promises about his church and word are not true. In the face of much persecution and attempts to abolish God’s church and word from the face of the earth, there has always been at least a large remnant of true believers and members of the incorporeal and invisible church of God. “’Restorationism’ is based on a belief called the Great Apostasy, that traditional Christianity has departed so far from the original Christian principles that it is not redeemable.” (2)

The bible contains these promises about itself and Jesus’s Church.

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A “Church of Christ” Member “asked” or rather stated: Does the Church have a name….what is it? I would be a shamed to say I was of any other Church, then the COC. Why? If you are in Christ, you have eternal life. Good Night!! Christ said, he was going to build his Church, did he……….Is it His Church? What name is it? On the day of Pentecost when Peter got up with the twelve, and the same day there were added unto them three thousand souls…..who’s Church were these people added to.

Where in the bible does it name the church as the “Church of Christ”. It doesn’t. Rom 16:16 says “Churches (plural) of Christ” being demonstrative of the differing congregations through out the biblical area. And Paul mentioned this also.

1Co 1:12-13ow this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Paul said there was unity among those “churches (plural) of Christ” in that they are not of Paul, Apollo, or Cephas. No they where “IN” Jesus. Paul the notes that his Christ given mission is not to baptize but to preach the gospel least the cross be made un effective.

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Tired of trying to be a prophet, avatar or visionary but can’t get anyone to blindly follow you? Have you always wanted to know how to manipulate people in the name of any deity, religion or philosophy you want to hide behind so you can advance your OWN agenda of nakedly abusing power? Look no further!

Examines the similarities of cult traits and NPD in the pulpit.
The Seether songs remind me of my former “spiritual leaders” and probably mean more to me than making a statement to the viewers. Watch this before you give me too much head ache.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ecnm_a0EAtk

See the links in my other videos for more info in Spiritual Abuse, NPD in the pulpit and leaving a cult. Or just read these:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/6…

http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/…

http://www.meadowhaven.org/psychissue…

A Debate with Jose Silva Leader of Silva Mind Control ( Dr. George DeSau Psychologist and Graduate of Silva Mind Control) DEBATE John Weldon and Dave Hunt on the John Ankerberg Show.

Silva Mind Control History

Silva began developing the method; formerly known as Silva Mind Control, in the 1940s before launching it commercially in the 1960s.[1][2]. It developed out of Silva’s conviction that the thoughts and actions of 90% of the world’s population were governed by the the left hemisphere of their brain; limiting them using only logical, intellectual, objective means of problem resolution. Silva believed that by training people to think with both the right brain hemisphere as well as their left they could access information stored at a subconscious level. [1][2] According to Skeptical author Robert Carroll, the Silva method appears to be based on the work of Roger Wolcott Sperry, but with Silva’s own twists in it that make it an inaccurate model. [1]

The Rest of the Article on Link Below http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silva_Mi…

Christian or New Age Mind Control Cult ? TAP BELOW FOR ARTICLE http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/C…

What qualifies a group as a cult? Both the sociological and the theological perspectives are examined using nifty, easy to remember visuals.

Freedom Beacon Ministries founder speaks out on the theological definition of “cult”. Based on the two major signifiers found in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4.

While I am not a Presbyterian. I definantly call them my Brothers in Christ. I could be a presbetarian or reformed brother if I was not a dispensational pre-millennial -pre-tribber.

A NEW BOOK BY AN EX-COC MEMBER
 
inside-church-of-christInside the Churches of Christ: The Reflection of a Former Pharisee on What Every Christian Should Know about the Nondenomination Denomination By Charles Simpson Published by AuthorHouse, 2009 ISBN 1438901402, 9781438901404 308 pages
 
The Pharisee of Jesus’ day placed obstacles between lost souls and salvation in much the same way that modern day Pharisees hinder today’s salvation seekers from accepting Christ. Inside The Churches of Christ reveals those obstacles as they are manifested throughout modern day Churches of Christ. Author, Charles Simpson, reflects an unmistakable Pharisaical attitude toward other Christians, Christian traditions and Christian institutions typical of those he personally witnessed as a 50-year active member of the Churches of Christ. Dozens of quotes from Church of Christ practitioners from all over the USA validate the legalisms prevalent within this group. Church of Christ readers will come away with a new perspective on the actual theology of their own brethren and the potential impact of that theology on other believers. All Christian readers will have a better view of the non-denomination denomination and gain much insight into the Church of Christ claim of being Christ’s “one true church.”

Who are the Churches of Christ?

The Churches of Christ are an association of churches that trace their history back through the preaching of Barton W. Stone in the American mid-western frontier, an ex-Presbyterian preacher heavily influenced by Methodists and Shakers, and Alexander Campbell, an ex-Presbyterian, then Baptist preacher in the 1790s to 1860s.

The Stone-Campbell Movement began as a unity movement. Alexander Campbell came from the Old Light Anti-burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church of Ireland and Scotland. Campbell rebelled against the rigidly closed taking of the bread and cup in his congregation in Ireland. Only those who passed the catechism were permitted to partake. No other Presbyterians who disagreed with them were permitted to partake with them. (Some trace the Church of Christ penchant for debate and division to their Presbyterian/John Knox/John Calvin/Ulrich Zwingli heritage.) Campbell was a postmaster who spread his teaching through magazines he edited.

The Stone-Campbell Movement, or more familiarly called the Restoration Movement, gained momentum as it followed the frontier of the United States. In Kentucky at the Cane Ridge Camp Meeting in 1801 it became wildly Pentecostal (belief in the present-day miraculous movement of the Holy Spirit). By 1830 the movement was anti-pentecostal and anti-emotional, especially on the Campbell side of the movement. (The Stone side of the movement remained more emotional, believed in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, was more grace-oriented, and was more open to people outside the Churches of Christ.)

In the early 1800s the Churches of Christ/Christian Church/Disciples of Christ claimed to have been the fastest growing religious movement in the world. Alexander Campbell was invited to preach to the Congress of the United States of America.

Four preachers from the Churches of Christ, including Sydney Rigdon, joined the early Mormon Church around 1824 and influenced it to reflect several of the doctrines of the Churches of Christ (including the name of the church and baptism for the remission of sins).

The movement split just before the American Civil War–the richer north opposing slavery and becoming more organized with a missionary society (1843) and adopting organs and pianos, (the Disciples of Christ). The southern portion retained an otherworldly approach and claimed to be the one true church (the Church of Christ).

Restoration Movement groups go by the names of Church of Christ (using instrumental music, mostly in the west, associated with Midwest School of Evangelism in Ottumwa, Iowa), the Independent Christian Churches (the moderate middle of the spectrum, sometimes called the Christian Church, and sometimes called the Church of Christ, especially in Canada and Australia), and the liberal Disciples of Christ (currently discussing ordaining gay clergy, and active with the World Council of Churches) with headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. The O’Kelly movement of the Christian Church eventually joined the United Church of Christ (not identified with the Restoration Movement, but tracing history from the Mayflower Pilgrim Puritans). The southern portion of the Restoration Movement became the Churches of Christ, noninstrumental.

The most famous colleges associated with the Churches of Christ (who worship with a cappella singing) are: Abilene Christian University, Lubbuck Christian University, Harding University, Pepperdine University, Oklahoma Christian University, Freed-Hardeman University, David Lipscomb College, Faulkner University, York College and Rochester College. There are numerous two to four year colleges associated with the a cappella movement.

The noninstrumental or a cappella Churches of Christ split in the United States in the 1950s and ’60s over organization and money distribution. (Can a group of churches pool money to do a special ministry?) The smaller, noninstitutional churches use Florida College, Temple Terrace, Florida.

Until recently, the fastest growing wing of the Movement was the International Church of Christ, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Since the 1970s there has been a growing house church movement in the Churches of Christ, (see also here), many focusing on the doctrine of grace.

Currently the Churches of Christ are shrinking by 2% per year. The larger a cappella Churches of Christ are identifying with the wider evangelical movement (which often looked to Billy Graham for leadership), with a splinter group opting to remain hard-line sectarian (the one true church).

Click here to see what many believe are unbiblical doctrines in the stricter, hard-line Churches of Christ.

http://ex-churchofchrist.com/historyCoC.htm

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Five Things You Need To Know About Salvation
(Acts 4:10, 12) Posted by Bro. Jeff Ray

We as Christians need to be so thankful for our salvation in Jesus Christ and you say I know plenty about salvation and have heard so many sermons on it that you could teach it. Well, we need to be reminded so that we can keep a thankful heart and renew the joy of our salvation in our hearts. We need to hear it again so that we can tell others about salvation found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, today we are going to look at five things we need to know about salvation.

I. Salvation and the Two-fold Implication

First we need to define salvation. Salvation means to fully deliver someone from out of danger, harm, or destruction. Now does that have any implications for us? It definitely does. We can get two implications from this.

The first implication is that someone needs to be saved and cannot save themselves. Well I can imply that to myself, in light of what scripture says about mankind ability to save themselves I understand this truth, I am lost and condemned in my sinfulness and I cannot save myself.

The second implication of salvation is this, there is someone who is able to save and is willing to save us. In reading the scriptures we can come to this truth, only Jesus can save us and was willing to save us. From this we have two unchangeable truths, our inability to save ourselves and the one who can save us (Jesus) who is more than willing to save us.

God chose to save us and went to the tremendous task to save us through the sacrifice of the eternal Son of God. The awesome love and grace and mercy poured out on a mere creation. In all rights He could have and should have destroyed us but He did not. What love and kindness and tender mercies He has shown sinful and disobedient mankind (Ps. 69:14-16 says, “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the water flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.).

The subject of the Bible and the object of God’s love is the redemption of man made possible through Jesus Christ, God the Son.

II. Man is Lost

Rom. 3:9,10 – “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”

If you ever read the book of Romans in just the first 3 chapters we come to these important truths about the nature of man: man is lost in his sins, it is his nature to sin, and that all people are sinful and in need of a savior. The sinfulness of man is called the depravity of mankind. That simply means we are morally and sinfully corrupt and that is our nature.

Every human being ever born or will be born in this world will be born with a sin nature, Rom. 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, we see it doesn’t say some or most but all. All people are equal in this that we are sinful and separated from God (Is. 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you). We can’t let pride say, “I’m not as bad as somebody else”, we are all sinful and in the same spiritual condition without Christ.

III. Man cannot save himself.

Man cannot save himself because he is sinful and cannot come into the presence of a holy God. Because of our inability, we can only fall upon God’s grace to save us. Salvation is by God’s grace and not by any works we do (Eph. 2:8, 9- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.).

Man-made religions, cults, and philosophies trust in a false hope that somehow good deeds, religious devotion, or self-effort will make us good enough to be accepted by God into His Heaven. The prevalent philosophy is that if one does enough good things that it will outweigh the bad. That is far from the truth, the parable of Jesus about judgment day in Matt. 7, in verses 22 & 23, we see them say to Jesus, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Those in that day that relied on good works and religious rituals but never had a personal relationship with Christ and found themselves deceived and facing the judgment of God. Prov. 14:12 says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.

Salvation is not earned by church membership, good deeds, baptism, or by keeping the 10 Commandments. It is by putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, recognizing He is the only way of salvation, because mankind cannot save themselves.

IV. What is Salvation?

A. Reconciliation- Salvation is reconciliation with God. Rom 5:10, 11 (NIV) – For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. The suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, He has reconciled us back in right relationship with the God.

B. Redemption- Gal. 3:13- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. The term redemption in Greek was used of one purchasing a servants at a slave market that gives us the understanding that Christ paid the price to purchase our salvation from the slavery of sin. The redemption price was His blood which was sufficient to purchase everyone sold under sin. The words used to show redemption also mean to purchase and take home, no longer for sale in the slave market, to purchase and give freedom. Christ redeemed us from the slave block of sin and forever given freedom in Christ.

C. Adoption (Gal. 4:4,5- But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.) – we are adopted as sons and daughters of God by and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We have full rights as children of God through Jesus Christ.

D. Imputation- Christ’s salvation took the penalty for our sin on Himself Is. 53:5- “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” And because He was the substitute for us, He could give vicariously or impute to us His righteousness. So we could be accepted by the Father.

E. Justification (Rom. 3:24,25 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.)- Justification is the forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future) and God declaring us righteous through Christ’s righteousness imputed to us and the removal of His judgment.

V. Cost of Salvation – the cross; the suffering, shed blood, and death of Christ on the Cross. Is. 53:4,5 -Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Healed, cleansed, forgiven, and set free from our sins by the mighty work of Jesus Christ. With great love He gave Himself for the salvation of our souls. With great love we need to confess and believe by faith in Christ to be our Lord and Savior. And after He becomes our Lord we need to serve Him and live for Him and witness about Him to all of those who are still lost and blind in their sins.

http://excharismania.blogspot.com/2009/01/five-things-you-need-to-know-about.html

 

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Questions From Those in the Church of Christ Answered

by Doug Bower

Why is is that you put baptism after salvation when Jesus put it before (Mark 16:16)?

Mark is writing here that there are two results of preaching the gospel. Some would believe and be baptized and be saved. Some would not believe. Notice the lack of the word *baptize* in the second clause. This tells us that the use if the word baptize in the first clause, not being emphasized in the second clause is not the issue or point if this text.

To understand what words in scripture mean they must be defined contextually. What does baptism mean in the context of this text. It is simply a mistake to quote verses and fail to present the verse and your conclusions in the immediate as well as the *remote* context of the rest of scripture. Baptism, in the texts of Scripture, can mean many things. To look at the word and assume it always means *water* baptism is an absurd conclusion and again shows a lack of even the basics of hermeneutics.

The word baptism comes from the “dyers” trade. It was used in secular language to mean to dye a piece of cloth. When someone wanted to dye their white, bleached cloth they would go see the dyer. After looking over the selection of colors available and choosing one, the dyer, would take the cloth and “dip”, or “dunk”, or “immerse” the cloth into the vat of colored dye. When the cloth was removed it was then “identified” with the color of the dye in the vat. This was how the word originated and was used. It can have many meanings depending upon the context in which it is used.

Metaphorically it is used to indicate “union” or “identification” with Christ in His death and resurrection. Literally it can be used to signify the “immersing” of someone or something into water, dye, etc.

The verses you question in Mark 16:16 cannot mean that water baptism is a necessary condition for salvation for the following reasons:

The thief on the cross was not baptized with water but was assured of being in Paradise with Christ (Luke 23:43).

The Gentiles in Caesarea were baptized *AFTER* they were saved (Acts 10:44-48).

Jesus Himself did not baptize (John 4:1-2) — a strange omission if baptism is a necessary condition for salvation. In fact there too numerous passages to cite here where Jesus forgave sin in the gospels but there was absolutely no mentioning of water baptism when He forgave them their sins (Matthew 9:1-8, 15:21-28).

The Apostle Paul thanked God that he baptized very few of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:14-16) — an insincere thanksgiving if baptism was a necessary condition for salvation… In fact Paul goes on to say in verse 17 that he did not come to baptize but to preach the gospel. Here he makes a clear distinction that water baptism, which is what is clearly in view here, is NOT a necessary condition of salvation.

There are more than 150 verses pertaining to salvation, in the NT, which clearly teach that salvation is by Faith Alone! No one verse, i.e., Mark 16:16 could contradict this overwhelming testimony of scripture.

Baptism, in its metaphorical sense, is not associated with spiritual rebirth but with death and resurrection.

So what does this text of scripture, Mark 16:16, mean? What it *can not* mean is that water baptism is a necessary condition for salvation. To accept this interpretation would contradict the bulk of verses which form the Biblical Doctrine of salvation being by Faith Alone. It would clearly add a “good work” to the salvation process making salvation not of Grace but of Works.

“Now to him who works, the wages are not accounted as grace but debt. But of him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted as righteousness.” (Romans 4:1-8 — read the whole passage for context).

This says two things:

Faith is not a human work or else our belief on Him who justifies the ungodly would be not of Grace but of debt. God would “owe” us something for our Faith. Other texts of scripture clearly teach that the “faith that saves” is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:1-10).

It teaches that baptism is not a necessary condition for salvation. If it were, then salvation would be of works and not grace but debt thus again, God would “owe” us something for our work. And it would contradict our Covental relationship with God which was unilaterally established by God because of His mercy and Grace.

Therefore the Mark 16 passage has to mean that baptism is “an expected outward expression” of Faith. A proclamation of one’s faith. Not all get to be baptized such as the thief on the cross. But all who are saved are by Grace as the means, and through Faith as the instrument through which the Gift is received.

If baptism is not necessary, why was Cornelius “commanded” to be baptized in water (Acts 10:48).

Because Peter was obeying the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), and because just as circumcision was a sign and seal of entrance into the Old Covenant signifying the cutting away of sin, undergoing a change of heart, and being including in the household of faith (Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4, 9:25-26; Ezekiel 44:7-9), so is baptism a sign and seal of “washing” away sin”, undergoing a change of heart, and being included in the household of faith. This is the purpose of water baptism. It is an outward sign and seal of the spiritual baptism whereby the Holy Spirit places us in Union with Christ in His death and resurrection.

Baptism is not identical to circumcision but corresponds to it in essence and has replaced it as the sign and seal of our Covental relationship with God as believers.

After 3 days of fasting and praying, why was Paul told by Ananias to wash away his sins through baptism if he was already saved (Acts 22:16).

An examination of the Greek text reveals the grammatical constructions which gives us clues to the meaning of this difficult text. IN the Greek there is a finite verb modified by a participle in each half of the verse. The literal rendering would go as follows: “Having arisen be baptized, and have your sins washed off (by) calling upon the name of the Lord”. This last clause would be supported by properly exegeting the rest of general biblical teaching (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13).

In the clause, “be baptized and have your sins washed off”, both verbs are in the middle voice. As a general rule the verb “to baptize” is used in the passive when referring to the subjects of water baptism. But here the subject is seen as doing something for himself and not merely as receiving: “get yourself baptized”. The seeking of the outward sign and seal, and claiming for oneself of what it signifies is the response of faith to God’s Grace.

If “grace only” saves, why did Paul say baptism puts us in Christ (Galatians 3:27)?

As I said before … baptism can mean many things depending upon the context in which it is used. It can mean being dipped into water or it can mean the Spirit placing us into the Body of Christ in Union with Him and much more.

What does baptism mean in 1 Corinthians 10:2 when Paul writes that the Nation of Israel, the “fathers” (vs. 1), being under the cloud, passing through the sea, were BAPTIZED into Moses?

According to your understand implied in your “text proofing” you would have this mean that the Israelites exercised the necessary condition of salvation and were saved by Moses unto eternal life.

What 1 Corinthians 10 means is that all the Israelites went through the ordeal and deliverance of the Exodus by virtue of their identification with Moses their leader. This is one use of the word baptize which does not mean into water nor having anything to do with a necessary condition for salvation.

You need to read the 1 Corinthians 10 passage with 1 Corinthians 12:13 text. The same sense of the language is being used to convey the thought of identification or union. The similarities are striking.

There is water baptism, a sign and seal of the New Covenant, and there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit whereby we are placed in Union/Identification into the Body of Christ and whereby we are united in the likeness of His death and resurrection (Romans 6).

Galatians 3:26-29 is the Holy Spirit’s baptism. It is the Spirit placing us in Union with Christ. We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) and into the likeness of His death and resurrection (Romans 6) thus putting on Christ (Galatians 3). It is a work of Grace and not of man’s. Union with Christ, which takes place at the time of conversion, is confessed in water baptism.

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Spiritual Abuse Survey: Is YOUR church a safe place?

Take the survey from wickedshepherds.com and see!

cauction-when-awesome

Here is a questionnaire to determine just how healthy your church really is. To find out how well it ranks, answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

•Does your church tightly control the flow of information within its ranks?

•Does the head of your church, along with the other “leaders”, use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers?

•Does the head of your church and his “fellow elders” appear to be intolerant or consider it evil persecution when criticized or questioned?

•Are you discouraged to associate with former members, being warned that they are “evil” or “defiling”; a “danger to your spiritual welfare”?

•Is leaving your church to join another church that “is not approved by the elders” equal to leaving God?

•Do you fear being rebuked, shunned, or ignored for expressing a different opinion?

•At church, is there a sense of control, rather than support?

•Is there a relentless obsession of reminding the sheep of “who’s in authority”?

•Are you told not to ask questions as to why others have left? Are you told to accept the statements that the “elders” give you?

•Are books, tapes and CD’s, speakers, music, etc., carefully controlled to keep only the belief structure of your church before your mind?

•Is there is a relentless campaign to keep you around the activities of your church, expecting you to be at all the stated meetings, except if providentially hindered? And if you are absent, is your spirituality and dedication sometimes questioned?

•Is the concept ever so subtly present that, “when you please the “pastor”, God is pleased and when your “pastor” is not pleased with you, God is not pleased with you?

•Is there present, the breaking of even the closest family ties, to “guard” the flock?

•Is there the constant using of guilt and shame as tools of control?

•Is there present at your church the encouragement of the members to spy and report on each other, lest sin be found in the midst?

•Is there present at your church the dominant climate of fear in the group – fear of failing to keep one of the rules, and fear of being held up to public humiliation and rejection?

•At church, are the normal lines between what is private and what is public knowledge broken, and members confess the most personal, and the most minor sins, as the conscience is being surrendered to the “leadership”?

•Are many (if not all) of the results from voting at “congregational business meetings” announced as….. “it is unanimous!”?

•Is questioning condemned as “whispering, back- biting, vicious slander, gossip, nit picking, signs of a proud rebellious spirit, being disaffected and divisive?

•Are those who dissent publicly punished? Are their reputations murdered by veiled, or not so veiled “revelations” of “sins”; past and present, as confidentiality is broken for the benefit of the leaders?

•Is there a misplaced loyalty from Jesus and God onto the leadership, which is idolatry?

•Is there harsh preaching and full of condemnation for your failures and are you deliberately being kept wounded and off balance by the haranguing and condemnation from the pulpit?

•Is “Persevere or be damned” and “listen to YOUR elders; obey YOUR elders”; “submit to YOUR elders” preached over and over again?

•Is paranoia the “very air you breathe”? Paranoia of falling from grace; thinking for yourselves; breaking the many unspoken rules as well as the clearly spelled out expectations of the leader?

•Are you becoming paranoid – carefully watching your every word and even gesture, lest someone report your faults?

•Does a code of silence reign at your church? Is no one to divulge the business of the church, or the faults of the leadership?

•Do the spiritual leaders at your church seem to give you the impression that either covertly or overtly, they have the right to tell you how you should manage your own family; presuming that they know your own family better than you know yourself?

RESULTS

If you answered “no” to all of the above questions, your church is relatively healthy. If you answered “yes” to a quarter or more, your church is showing signs of being unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to half or more, your church is very, very unhealthy. If you answered “yes” to three-quarters or more, your church is an authoritarian cult. 

http://endtimesdeception.com/?p=681

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“Restorationists” and the “Name of the Church”

By Bob L. Ross
Director, Pilgrim Publications

I have a whole book (unpublished) on the “Restoration Movement

Alias the Church of Christ.” Here is one of the chapters:

“Restorationists” and the “Name” of the Church By Bob L. Ross

“Church of Christ” adherents are not in the least backwards about claiming that they only “wear the Bible name;” they even condemn their “relatives,” the “Disciples” or “Christian Church,” because they don’t wear the “right name.” Some of them have even proclaimed that “Christian Church” is a “heathen” name.

We would like to ask a few questions about this so-called Bible name.

1. In the first place, where in the Bible are we commanded to wear this name?

If it is a name to be worn, and if it is essential to salvation to wear it, surely we are commanded by the Lord to wear it. Book, chapter, and verse, please; not opinions, theories, and reasoning. Of course, Romans 16:16 is often quoted in an effort to support their claim, but this verse does not command any one to wear any name. There are other passages which refer to the church under different terms, but they do not contain a commandment for using such terms as a “name.” We are commanded to do many things—repent, believe, be baptized, assemble, observe the Lord’s Supper, pray, preach, etc.—but never are we commanded to wear a name. Does not one, therefore, go beyond “that which is written” when he adds a “name” as if it were a commandment? If there is such a commandment, where is it? Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of Campbellism, and its “scholar,” translates Romans 16:16 as follows:

The congregations of Christ salute you (LIVING ORACLES, page 305). Campbell is recognized as the greatest scholar the so-called “Restoration Movement” ever had. But notice: Campbell does not translate Romans 16:16 so as to support “Restorationist” claims. Why so? He says that the word “church, or kirk, is an abbreviation of the words kuriou oikos, the house of the Lord and does not translate the term ekklesia.” (LIVING ORACLES, appendix, page 55). On this Campbell is right, for the Greek authorities tell us that ekkesia is best translated by the words “assembly” or “congregation.” Church is a word which refers to a material building, rather than to people. The word church, like baptize, appears in the King James (Episcopalian) Version because the “rules” of King James dictated that the word be used. Therefore, if Romans 16:16 gives us the name of the Lord’s assembly, what should it be? Not “Church of Christ,” for “church” is an improper translation, according to Campbell and Greek authorities. Campbell himself asserted that “Disciples” should be the name, while Barton W. Stone, another one of the “Reformers,” insisted upon “Christians.” Actually, Campbellites have been fussing over a name for their “baby” ever since it was “born.” In the CHRISTIAN REVIEW, edited by Mr. Martin, there appeared several years ago, this statement: There is, perhaps, no question about which our people are more divided than that about the name. So divided are we upon this question that the census takers cannot ascertain who we are, what we believe, or our number.

What confusion! — and on such a petty matter!

2. A paper entitled THE VINDICATOR says that any term which describes the church is all right to use as a name. But THE VINDICATOR fails to give a single verse that commands us to wear “any term.” Here is what the paper says:

I see where some Baptists are offering $100 for a Scripture which teaches that the name of the church is “The Church of Christ,” or any other particular name . . . Personally, I wouldn’t be interested in proving the foregoing for any amount of money—because I would be trying to prove something I do not even believe. Any Bible term that describes the church is acceptable to me, not just one particular name. One of the terms in the Bible, however, is the ‘Churches of Christ’ (Rom. 16:16). (Alan Highers, May 1, 1958 issue). That’s all very interesting, but you will notice that he did not tell us where we are commanded to wear “any Bible term” as a church “name.” The writer refers to “any Bible term that describes the church;” all right, suppose they start calling themselves “The Pillar and the Ground” (I Tim. 3:15), which are Bible “terms” that “describe” the church; will these “terms” be all right as the “name”? Why did they settle on the one name, “Church of Christ,” instead of several? And why do they insist that everyone else is going to Hell for not wearing this “name”?

Why don’t they hang out this sign: The Body, Temple, Building, Pillar and Ground, Household, Flock, Bride, City, and Candlestick of Christ? All of these “terms” are descriptive of the church. If all these are right to use as “names,” then is it right just to hang out one? Yet this is exactly what “Restorationists” do. Can they tell us why? How strange for a man to say he “wouldn’t be interested in proving . . . something I do not even believe,” then proceed to assert that very thing!

This is sometimes called “double-talk.” We have no objection to using terms to “describe” the Lord’s church, but we do object to making names out of terms, demanding that we wear them or go to Hell. There are many terms used of God’s people, such as “sheep,” “elect,” “living stones,” etc. Would it be right to say, then, that those in the church must wear the name “Sheep of God,” or some other name? Nonsense.

3. Actually, “assemblies of Christ” in Romans 16:16 is in the possessive case, and is no more giving a “brand name” than any other verse in the Bible. The verse simply tells us who is saluting (assemblies) and whose assemblies they are (Christ’s).

I challenge any person on the face of the earth to give one single verse that commands us to wear the name “Church of Christ” or any other “term” or name. The reward ($100) still stands, too. H. A. “Buster” Dobbs of FIRM FOUNDATION magazine claims there are several “New Testament names” for the church, and one may use whichever “name” he “prefers!” (Mar. ‘92, p. 4). This simply magnifies the fact that there is no command to use a certain “name.” Yet Dobbs also says “it is all right” to use “church of Christ exclusively!” You may “prefer not to use” other Bible “names” and use the lower-case “church of Christ” only! In the New Testament, this was neither practiced nor commanded – Dobbs himself being the witness, as he says Romans 16:16 is the “only time” in the New Testament where “church of Christ” is used. So where is “Bible authority” for the exclusive “preference” of this so-called “name?” None whatsoever! This “hobby-horse” is a “deduction” of the distorted “logic” which permeates “Restorationism.”

http://sites.silaspartners.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID43667%7CCHID152162%7CCIID443614,00.html

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Coming to THIS BLOG and

//www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian

Tuesday nights @ 10pm Central

STARTING JANUARY 6

The How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW will begin to air on BlogTalkRadio on January 6 at 10pm central. The show will be a mix of pre-recorded live shows and live call in shows. The show will feature interviews with well known Theologians and other professionals in various fields of Study. First up will be Ex-Word of Faith Preacher John Edwards from FaithPreacher.blogspot.com AND Christian Ufologist Guy Malone from alienresistance.org The shows will also do other things besides interviews. I will schedule ONE SHOW a month for people to air their grievances in a live format.

There is NOW a rough draft of a preview show with Pastor John in which I use audio from his video on his site, available for your listening (click the LOGO above). To let you know what to expect. The full and finished show will be finished and released in a few days. I will have MY INTERVIEW with pastor John coming in 1-2 weeks.

There will be 3 points of distribution for the How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW and it’s Sister show OccultAgendaExposure.Info RADIO which will start sometimes in February.

1. BlogTalkRadio. The shows can be viewed and participated in at this URL http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian The shows will also be available for download and listening there.

2. There will be shows that WILL NOT air at BTR. Those shows will be distributed at SoundClick.com at this URL http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian and the BLOGs

3. ALL shows will be broadcast from a respective BLOGPOST for that show episode.

http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/

AND

http://OccultAgendaExposure.Wordpress.Com

============================================================

GUEST WISHLIST:

Scheduled: Guy Malone, John Edwards

Almost Scheduled: Peter Goodgame, Stan Deyo, Patrick Hering, David lowe, john Edwards, Michael heiser, Bill scnoebelen, Dave Ruffino, Jim Wilhelson, Joe Jordan, David Flynn
Wishful yet hopeful: Justin peters, Sandy Simpson, Rick Ross, biblical truth for Mormons, Mormon curtain, 20 truths about Mormonism, Keith and Lorrie Macgragor, and their Trinitarian friend, Ed Decker, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at peering into the darkness, PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at shatter the darkness, Christ White No Where to Run from Revere Radio Network and Revelation Radio, Ron Rhodes: Reasoning from the Scriptures ministries, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at Peering into the Darkness PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at Shatter the Darkness, Chris , James Spencer at Maze Ministry, Matt Slick at carm, Kirby Anderson Probe Ministries.

MORE TO ADD SOON. If you would like to submit a name or ministry to this list. Please leave the name or ministry name in the comment field below.

How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries is a Christian Apologetics Ministry primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The ministry focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more.

All material produced by How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries IS LICENSED for your FREE USE under Commons Copyright Licensing.

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The “Church of Christ” and What God Requires for Salvation
Concerns about Works Righteousness and Legalism

“I’ve tried my entire life to keep all the rules and was so deadened staring at a mean, vindictive God who handed out more rules for ‘comfort’.” —-a Church of Christ sister in Phoenix

The CC seems to think that other professing Christians are lax in obedience. That may be so. A true saving faith must be a living faith (James 2). There is little room in the Christian faith for “easy-believism” which could be defined as turning one’s back on clearly understood biblical instruction. Certainly, the believer should seek to conform his life to the will of God as best as he understands it. Faith implies faithfulness. The New Testament speaks often of such concepts as the obedience of faith. The protestant reformers put it this way: Salvation is through faith alone, but not through a faith that is alone. So, we stand with you in attempting to overcome the shallow view of easy-believism in Christianity.

Actually, a case can be made that those accepting Church of Christ theology are not doing ENOUGH to satisfy God! How so? Tim Keller in his book The Reason for God explains how a legalist he knows came to understand the problem. He says that a certain young woman began attending his church who grew up in a church that taught that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message of the true gospel was scary. When asked why, she responded:

“If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with ‘rights’—I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace—then there’s nothing he cannot ask of me.”

What is meant by obedience within the CC seems to be different in the CC than in other parts of Christianity. How about reading this essay by Cecil Hook:(www.freedomsring.org/fic/chap25.html ) and then tell others as specifically as you can exactly what we must do to be saved? (We do not think you can possibly comply with this request.) What are the essentials for a Christian in order to be saved

http://www.freedomsring.org/ftc/chap13.html)? Please consider this essay by Hook. Is Hook correct that God requires different things for different people?

Has obedience been so stressed so that the Church of Christ has crossed the line into legalism and fallen into the trap of the Pharisees? Does the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18:9-14) apply as Garrett suggests (www.freedomsring.org/heritage/chap34.html)?

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).” What is the context of this command? Isn’t it love? Have you subtly abstracted the law of God from its original context? Is your motivation for keeping Christ’s commandments the law for its own sake and the supposed results that you get from law-keeping? Or is your motivation a deep and abiding love for Jesus! Has your insistence on carefully and mechanically keeping the law robbed the essence of the New Testament of its love, joy, and life (http://www.freedomsring.org/ftc/chap26.html)!

Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees: Woe to you! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law—justice and mercy (Matthew 23:23). If works are so important, why not emphasize the ones that Jesus emphasized—namely justice and mercy, as well as evangelism (the Great Commandment and the Great Commission)? If you will “know them by their fruit,” why not be known by these things rather than the things the CC is known for such as like a cappella singing, church attendance, separatism, water gospel, etc.? What message do you seek to send to non-Christians? Doesn’t Jesus want us to be known as those who have a radical motivation to mercy and love?

Have you added legislation to God’s law and treated it as if it were from God? If so this is a perilous danger! Have you added regulations that seek to bind the conscience? Have you added prohibitions against card playing, lipstick, dancing, wine, etc. as external tests? Where are such prohibitions in the Bible? Have you moved subtly from Godly morality into moralism? If so, as theologican R. C. Sproul explains, THIS IS A DEADLY VIOLATION OF THE GOSPEL. (Regarding wine in particular, see http://www.freedomsring.org/fts/chap8.html).

The Church of Christ’s view on justification seems confused and contradictory to us. It always seems to end up with obedience as the way one is justified. When we asked a dear CC friend—who is an elder in a Church of Christ—how he knows that he is saved, he responded, “Because I have been pleasing to God.” Can one really be pleasing to God? Is there anyone who is righteous: Mk 10:18, Rom 3:10-11, 1 Jn 1:8-10? Isn’t our justification imputed by the righteousness of Christ rather than from ourselves? As put by C. K. Moser, “If man pleads his own works, he ignores the blood of Christ. Whoever does that will most certainly be ignored by God. No insult could be greater to God than to ignore the gift of ‘His only begotten Son.’ Hence Paul wrote again and again, “Not of works.’ See Eph 2:8-9, Tit 3:5, Rom 4th chapter.” See Moser. If you don’t read any other of Cecil Hook’s essays, please read this one. We believe that he hits the nail on the head on just how we get to heaven:
http://www.freedomsring.org/ftc/chap12.html

We cannot help but wonder whether the CC fails to appreciate the depth of our sin. The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). It also says that “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (Jas 2:10, Mat 5:48). So, if you believe the Bible, your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. And assuming that you acknowledge at least some sin, you are guilty of breaking the whole law. Right? Thus, if you are guilty of breaking the whole law, are you really pleasing to God?

In fact, since each one of us is guilty of breaking the whole law, aren’t we therefore guilty under the law and deserving of hell no matter how hard we try to keep the law? How can one possibly say that he is pleasing to God?! What seems most ironic is that in spite of its insistence on New Testament commands, the CC seems to have missed the New Testament purpose of the law—which is to show us our own sin Rom 3:20. If you have, in fact, missed the deeper penetrating spirit of the law rather than the external letter of the law, isn’t it fair to say that God is not pleased?!

There are other examples of how CC theology seems to us to contradict itself. Here is what one CC teacher says: “The church of Christ does not teach salvation by works. We teach salvation by the grace of God, which is given to those whom God says will receive it: specifically, those who humbly submit to his will.” When we asked, doesn’t the Bible make it clear that it is one’s inward character that is important (Titus 1:15), this same person responded: “Yes, and the inward character will result in humble obedience, which God requires in order for one to be saved.”

We reviewed an audio tape of a lesson from the same Church of Christ gentleman. In explaining Ephesians 2:8-9 he said that “Well, this passage must mean that there are some works that do not save,” implying that there are some works that do. But in other contexts this man said, “This of course does not mean that works can earn salvation.” Isn’t there a contradiction in these two apparently different statements? What then is a straight forward answer to how one is saved?

If a Christian can sin so as to lose one’s salvation, just what sin or sins will place him in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

To reiterate, the CC view on justification is contradictory. The first law of logic—The Law of Non-Contradiction—says that two distinctly different or opposite things cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. So, how is it reconcilable to say that we are saved by a free gift (Romans 5:15, 5:16, 6:23) from God (grace) and at the same time imply that the gift is not free—that we are saved by our works after all? Your method of interpretation makes the Bible contradict itself at every turn. Grace does not mean grace; a free gift is not free. Man is not hopelessly sinful; but then again he is. Christ is necessary; but then he isnt’t. The law does not save; but yes it does (and only a Church of Christ preacher can interpret all the details of which works save and which ones don’t). This hermeneutic leaves the Bible in hopeless shambles.

Let us ask this question of biblical logic: Is grace necessary for salvation? If you say yes, then does it not follow that NOTHING one can do will be sufficient to save us? Thus, no matter how hard you labor to earn God’s favor, there is still something missing, namely God’s grace? If you say no, how do you deal with the over 100 passages in the New Testament that insists that we are saved by grace?

Is CC theology similar to that of Pelagius, who who in the 4th century taught that man by his own powers, without the imputation of the Holy Ghost, can turn himself to God, believe the Gospel, be obedient from the heart to God’s Law—and thus merit forgiveness of sins and eternal life? Wasn’t this theology declared a heresy even by the Catholic Church—which places a high importance on obedience—because it is contrary to Holy Scripture, being the same works righteousness theology as the Galatian heresy and the Pharasaic heresy?

In fact, doesn’t God despise the idea of works righteousness (Mat 23)?
We may be very wrong, as we often are. But those of us who look at the CC from the outside see such statements regarding justification as inherently contradictory and legalistic. It seems to us that the hermeneutic error that the CC makes is to make biblical statements about justification additive rather than reconciled. So, instead of making conflicting statements about, on the one hand, how we are saved by grace and elsewhere saying that we must be obedient to be saved—a contradictory construction—a better and non-contradictory construction would be to say that we are saved by grace through a type of faith which leads one to conform his life to the will of God. Does the Bible contradict itself? If so, it cannot be the Word of God. The distinction here may be subtle, but crucial.

The Galatian Heresy

“I was trying to convert others to a body of truth or system of doctrine more than to Christ. Often addessing those who already believed in Jesus, I sought to convince them of a code of law which I thought they had failed to recognize and understand. But I was the one who needed more insight. Jesus rebuked me along with others like me in his day: ‘You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they they bear witness of me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.’ John 5:39” —-Cecil Hook, Church of Christ preacher, from his book Free to Change.

J. Gresham Machen explained that, “Paul as well as the Judaizers believed that the keeping of the law of God, in its deepest import, is inseparably connected with faith. The difference concerned only the logical…order of three steps. Paul said that a man (1) first believes on Christ, (2) then is justified before God, (3) then immediately proceeds to keep God’s law. The Judaizers said that a man (1) believes on Christ and (2) keeps the law of God and the best he can, and then (3) is justified.” So, correctly understood, sanctification follows justification as growth follows birth. (From Christian Reconstruction by Gary North and Gary DeMar.)

Here is where we think the Church of Christ misinterprets the Bible. As phrased by North/DeMar, “A Judaizer is someone who believes that salvation is by grace through faith plus keeping the law….But no one is can be saved by keeping the law. This is the Bible’s point when Romans 6:14 says that the Christian is not under the law. This is far different from saying that the Christian is not obligated to obey the law as a standard of righteousness.

Prior to regeneration, a person is unable to keep the law and is condemned for his ‘lawlessness.’ After a person comes to Christ the curse of the law is lifted.” So it seems that the Church of Christ makes the same mistake as the Judaizers!

North/DeMar continue: “This question needs to be answered in a no/yes fashion. No! Christians are not sanctified by the law if one means that the law is added to faith to save someone (the Judaizing heresy). ‘I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly’ (Galatians 2:21). If there is anything that man can do to merit or retain his salvation, then there is room for boasting. The Bible says that rebellious sinners do not even add faith; it too is a ‘gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8)….’We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law’ (Romans 3:21-28).”

A Church of Christ preacher told us that “We do not need the righteousness of Christ to be saved.” This statement should horrify any Christian. How dare you minimize the finished work of of our Lord?!

CC members have told us that they choose to “emphasize obedience” in faith and practice. Why would one choose to emphasize anything? Do some passages of Scripture have more authority than others? Is the message of the Bible slanted by arbitrarily emphasizing obedience over grace, when there are over 100 passages in the New Testament that emphasize grace or faith or election as the means to salvation? (If you would like to see a comprehensive list, you may email us at mail@faithfacts.org).

Are we obedient in order to be saved or because we are saved? Doesn’t the Bible teach that people are obedient because God has already saved them (2 Cor 9:8, James 2:26, 1 Jn 2:29, 1 Jn 3:9, 1 Jn 4:7, 1 Jn 5:18)?

Perhaps a more poignant question is—Are you now free (Gal 5:1)? Or do feel like you are in bondage? Is your burden easy or light (www.freedomsring.org/fic/chap25.html )? What does God really require? While liberals think the Christian faith is a country club, does CC doctrine make it seem like a prison?

Is the message of the New Testament simply that one legal system replaced another? Please see these links from those within your own tradition and offer your comment on them: http://www.freedomsring.org/fic/chap3.html, (www.freedomsring.org/heritage/chap22.html ). Are these men possibly correct that legalism is indeed the “fatal error” of CC theology?

The CC seems to make a distinction between the “law of God” and the “law of Christ,” as if there were two law systems operating in the Bible. But isn’t it correct that the Bible teaches that “the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalm 19:7)? And isn’t the law of Christ described as perfect (James 1:25)? What law is then perfect—both the “law of God” and the “law of Christ,” because they are one and the same!

What source does Jesus quote when he declares, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”? Isn’t it Leviticus 19:18? Aren’t all Ten Commandments repeated or alluded to in the New Testament?

Please bear with us on some further thoughts on the Law of Christ. As Cecil Hook points out (http://www.freedomsring.org/fas/chap7.html ), an incorrect interpretation of this turns Jesus into a diabolical creature if we think of him giving us a law and then saving us from our transgressions of that law. It would be like someone pushing you down into a well, then throwing you a rope. Besides making Jesus into a nasty character, this idea is not biblical. John 3:17 says that “God sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved by him.” So, whatever Paul means by the law of Christ, it is not meant to be something that condemns us! It must therefore mean that the law of Christ is a phrase that merely emphasizes or gives certainty to what Paul preaches continuously in the New Testament—that we are saved by faith in Jesus. This fact (belief in Jesus for salvation), then, is so certain that it becomes a law, like a law of logic, or a law of physics—something given us by God rather than a set of commands to be obeyed.

Do you think that only those laws that are repeated in the New Testament from the Old Testament are valid? Where is such principle of interpretation found in the Bible? We think that the better method of interpretation is that there are some laws that are cancelled or their importance neutralized in the New Testment (specifically the Jewish ceremonial and civil laws); the rest remain in effect (the moral laws).

Is there any new law in the New Testament, or only new forgiveness and the fulfillment of the shadows of this forgiveness found in the Old Testament? (Here are all the scriptures in the New Testament about a “new covenant” or “new law”: Mt 26:28, Lk 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 8:8-13, Heb 9:15, Heb 12:24, Gal 6:2, James 2:8-13. Do you notice a theme?)

Cecil Hook in the preceding reference link also suggests that the CC formula HEAR/BELIEVE/REPENT/CONFESS/BE BAPTIZED may be flawed, at least in the order given. Hook points out that the 3 times in Scripture that belief and repentence are coupled together in the Bible, repentance actually precedes belief! How can that be? Read his explanation. Clue: It has to do with the New Testament view of the purpose of the law.

Are we reconciled to God by what we do or by what God did to present us holy in his sight (Col 1:21-22)?

How does the CC respond to those who may accuse them of following the letter-of-the-law and not the spirit-of-the-law? For example, the Bible says we should care for widows and orphans (the letter of the law), and were astounded to hear a CC person tell us that charity should thus be limited to these groups. But Jesus gives the example of caring for the outcast and others who need help (example, the Good Samaritan) and commands us to be merciful (Mat 5:7). Is the CC attitude legalistic in this regard too, adding insult to injury to the Christian faith?

The CC has been known to define legalism as either (a) “putting human tradition above God’s commandments,” or (b) “taking one commandment out of context and twist it to make it contradict another.” Haven’t we already shown that Church of Christ theology in fact is guilty of both definitions?

Is not faith very much alive before good works are performed, and not because of good works? Christians in the historic orthodox faith thus believe that we are saved by grace through faith and strongly agree that a faith without works is dead; that is, a true saving faith will be accompanied by works. Christians also believe that faith before it has a chance to work is a saving faith—for example, the thief on the cross. The CC would have others believe that faith is dead until one rises out of the water. Thus someone on his way to be baptized could not be one whose faith is working by love. Isn’t this view therefore legalistic and contrary to Scripture?

How does one answer the following charge made by Bob Ross in his book Campbellism; It’s Histories and Heresies: “Campbellism is salvation by works because it requires one to obey—in order to be saved—a ‘gospel plan’ that in order requires (a) faith, repentance, good confession, baptism, remission of sins, and the Holy Spirit—thus requires a sacramental ordinance, and (b) requires the assistance of another person [“priest”] and thus the obedience of the one assisting.” Is this construct a tradition of man rather a commandment of God?

Christians throughout the ages have pointed out that Christianity is uniquely different from all other religions and cults because salvation is through faith and not through works. Can you see that the view of salvation through works puts the CC in close company with false religions and cults? While we are not saying the the Church of Christ is a cult, we cannot help pointing out the similarities between the Church of Christ and Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons:

They were founded at about the same time (early 1800’s) in reaction to Reformed theology.

The refusal to read “apostate” literature. (If the Church of Christ reader has refused to read the links we have provided in this article, our point is proven.)

God’s grace through Christ’s finished work on the cross only makes up the small portion left out by my man’s own meritorious works toward salvation. (See Christian Grace vs. Mormon Grace. See also Mormon document Grace vs. Works. Note how craftily this Mormon document quotes the Bible as well as Christian thinkers.)

Their group restored the true faith. (See Mormon document Restoration of the Gospel.)

Their group is the only one saved.

Isn’t salvation not of him who willeth, nor him that runneth, but of God that calleth (Rom 9:11) and of God that showeth mercy (Rom 9:16)? Isn’t believing itself the work that God requires (Jn 6:28, 29, 40)?

Here is a single question that may quicky determine whether the CC is in fact legalistic: If it would bring more people to your church to hear the gospel, would you allow instrumental music?

We suggest reading an article by John Marks Hicks of David Lipscomb University: Legalism.Then, if you are a CC member, would you consider taking this Legalism Questionnaire?
The Relationship of Faith and Works in Justification

We have attempted above to show above that the Church of Christ hermeneutic of of legalistic patternism is flawed. So how should the Bible be interpreted? Because this is so crucial, we repeat. First and foremost the Bible must be interpreted in such a way as not to be contradictory. If the Bible is contradictory, it cannot be God’s word. Let us examine a statement made to us by a Church of Christ preacher regarding justification (how we are saved):

“I completely teach, believe, and agree with this idea: No person who has ever lived, is living, or will live, can in and of himself do something by which he earns, merits, deserves, or is given salvation. Every person, however, who hears and does what God has said to do in the way that God has said to do it will be saved by the grace of God through the blood of Christ.”

Is it not clear that this statement—which is typical of how CC folks state justification—is contradictory? If grace is a free gift (Rom 5:15, 16, 18; Rom 6:23), if it is unmerited favor—then God does not require ANY work in order to be saved. As Paul says in Rom 11:6, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

St. Paul clarifies what the Church of Christ is risking in its hermeneutic. He states, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose (Gal 2:20).” This is serious. By its legalistic patternism hermeneutic, the Church of Christ is nullifying the grace of God! It is giving too much credit for sinful man and too little credit to God and Christ’s finished work on the cross. As put by C. K. Moser, “If man must still work for salvation we have in Christ an atonement that does not atone!” See Moser.

We fully understand how difficult the concept—that our salvation is completely by Christ’s work and none of our own—is. This is incomprehensible for our Church of Christ brothers and so too for Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, and every other religion. Yet the Bible insists over and over again that we are saved by faith and specifically not by our works (Romans chapters 1-9, Galatians chapters 1-3, Ephesians 2, Titus 3, etc). In fact, we count over 100 instances in the New Testament when it is stated that we are saved by grace rather than works. Yet the Bible commands us to obey! So how do we reconcile faith and works?

We have asked the CC why they keep coming back to James 2 in an attempt to show that salvation is through works, and the answer has been, because others “keep denying what it clearly teaches.” This answer implies that, in spite of insisting elsewhere that we are not saved by works, that in fact the CC really believes after all that we are. Is James contradicting the rest of the Bible? Perhaps we just can’t get it, but it seems clear to us that James himself is teaching that works are merely evidence of a true saving faith—that is, explanatory of the kind of faith that saves us?

In James 2:14 in the Greek there is a modifying adjective in front of “faith” which is left out in the King James translation, but is translated in other versions as “the” or “that” or “such.” So James is asking here, “Can such a faith save? Or, “Can that faith save?” Notice also that James does not deny that faith justifies; he simply says, “and not by faith only.” So James acknowledges that it is indeed faith that justifies. Most theologians down through the ages have insisted that the way to reconcile the biblical message of faith and works is to explain that works describe a true saving faith but do not save unto themselves?

James gives us the clues we need. First of all, James makes it clear how futile it is to think that we can be saved by our works. He insists that even one single sin on our part is equivalent to breaking the entire law (James 2:10)!

Then in verse 14 he asks an explanatory question whether a dead faith can save us? (Can that faith or such a faith save us?) Of course he means, no it cannot. Then in verse 18 he says that a living saving faith is shown by our works. So James is not saying that we are saved by works, rather our obedience is evidence of a legitimate faith.

So, there is, then, a simple way to reconcile faith and works in a way that is faithful to Scripture without making Scripture contradict itself. We are saved by a living faith—that is, one which expresses itself in obedience. Note that this is very different from saying that we are saved by faith plus works or any such construction. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works can we boast.

So what about the term obey the gospel (Rom 10:16; 2 Thes 1:8; 2 Pet 4:17)? The word for obey (Greek hupakouo) is defined in Strong’s Concordance as “to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by impl. to heed or conform to a command or authority—hearken, be obedient to, obey” (emphasis ours). Paul is saying in the 3 instances, something like a parent would warn a wayward child, “Now listen up, buster, and listen up good! I am telling you the truth.” There is an implied result of the listening, but that is not what is being said.

This concept of “obeying the gospel” is similar to the concept of believing in Jesus. The English word translated in is the Greek word eis. This word is more correctly translated into. So John 3:16 would be correctly translated “whoever believes into Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.” But English does not have an idiom to believe into. So it is translated believe in Jesus. But it carries an implication that when you believe in Jesus you will not have mere intellectual assent, but you will put your trust in him.

So the English translation gives too little weight to the actual meaning of the word eis, but overstates the meaning of hupakouo. For both words obedience is the implied outcome for whoever believes in Jesus and the good news of the gospel, but it is not the first or primary meaning.

Obedience is the result of our hearing and believing. Thus the implication of these statements in the Bible is that we are to hear (listen attentively) and believe in Jesus so deeply that we will surrender our lives to him. Many Christians have a shallow view of what it means to believe. But this still does not mean that we are saved by our works. Obedience does not save us. We are saved by God’s free gift through the means of a living faith.

C. K. Moser gives several biblical examples of how it is faith that saves, regardless of whether or not that faith is expressed in some sort of action. He cites the stories of Jesus healing the blind in John 9 and Matthew 9. In one case, the blind man did something—washed in the pool of Siloam. In the other case, nothing was done done other than what Jesus did. Moser asks, “Were these blind men cured upon different principles? In both cases the blind received sight upon the principle of faith in Christ. In one case faith expressed by overt acts, in the other case it was not. After all it is faith that the Lord wants….Faith expressed remains faith.” (See Moser.)

What about repentance—isn’t that a work? First of all, we concur that without repentance the sinner cannot be saved. Moser continues, “But salvation is by faith. Repentance, then, must in some way relate to faith. And it must relate to faith in such a way as not to oppose it.” We argue that repentance is merely the flip side of faith. If you turn to Jesus you will by definition turn from your life of sin and selfishness. You will automatically repudiate your fleshly nature. This is the deep meaning of repentance. So, repentance is technically not a work per se. It is part of surrendering to Jesus that occurs at the point of a living faith. After we are saved by faith, we begin to show outward confirming acts such as confession and good works because of our gratitude for what God has done for us. Confession is faith expressed in words (Romans 10:9). Again, it is the faith that saves, not any expression of it.

What about baptism? Isn’t it a work? Just as repentance is technically not a “work” of man, baptism is technically, according to Titus 3:4-7, not a work of man either! Baptism is a work of God! This leads us into the next section. But before that, one last word. If we are wrong in this, our error is putting too high a view on God and his work (and too low a view on our own work). If the Church of Christ is wrong on justification, your error is putting too low a view on Jesus (and too high a view on man’s work)!

http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/church-of-christ

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Is Baptism Essential For Salvation ? Representatives of Classic Christianity Debate with

Dr. James Bjornstad & Rev. David Kingdon affirm that: Remission of sins is obtained by Faith Alone before and apart from Baptism.

Church of Christ Representatives : A Penitent believer must be baptized in order to receive remission of his sins.

 

 

Church of Christ
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Church of Christ may refer to:

  • one of several New Testament designations for a local band of people following the teachings of Jesus, whom they believed to be the Christ; only the plural form is found in the NT (e.g., Romans 16:16)
  • the entire body of Christians throughout the world, regardless of denomination or tradition
  • a body of Christians who continue to use only the New Testament as the source for Christian doctrine and practice and who consider themselves to be part of the original church (in contrast to Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant churches)
  • the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches (primarily used by members of these churches)
  • a number of Restorationist churches:

Church bodies influenced by the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement:
Churches of Christ
Churches of Christ in Australia
Fellowship of Churches of Christ based in the United Kingdom
Associated Churches of Christ in New Zealand
Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ
International Churches of Christ, an offshoot of the Churches of Christ
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The churches of Christ (non-institutional)

Denominations with a shared heritage in the Latter Day Saint movement, which include:
Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints), the original name of the first Latter Day Saint church, founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr.
Church of Christ (Temple Lot), a Latter Day Saint denomination based in Independence, Missouri
Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, which broke away from the Temple Lot church in 1929
Church of Christ (Whitmerite), an extinct Latter Day Saint denomination
Church of Christ (Brewsterite), an extinct Latter Day Saint denomination
Church of Christ (Parrishite), an extinct Latter Day Saint denomination
Latter Day Church of Christ, a Mormon fundamentalist denomination based in Utah
Latter Day Church of Christ with Signs and Wonders, a Mormon fundamentalist denomination based in Indiana

And other denominations called the Church of Jesus Christ
United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination in the United States formed in 1957
United Church of Christ – Congregational in the Marshall Islands, the largest religious group in the Marshall Islands
Church of Christ, Scientist, also known as Christian Science
Church of Christ in Congo, the administrative and spiritual union of denominations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Iglesia ni Cristo (Filipino translation for “Church of Christ”), a denomination originating in the Philippines
Church of Christ, Instrumental, also known as the Kelleyites, a Baptist denomination in Arkansas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Christ

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Is Baptism Essential To Salvation?

by baptismalregenerationheresy.com

There are many churches and individuals who believe that people must be baptized in water in order for them to be saved from their sins and go to Heaven when they die. Some churches teach that baptism is essential to salvation. Those churches generally believe that anyone who trusts Jesus, but does not also get baptized in water before they die, must then go to Hell, because they did not perform the “good work” of getting baptized that they might be saved thereby.

Churches believing that baptism is essential to salvation tend to de-emphasize the Blood of Christ as an all-sufficient payment for sin. Instead, they believe that the blood of Jesus is not really sufficient to “cleanse us from all sin”. (See I John 1:9). Instead, they believe that salvation must be obtained through both the good work of Christ on the cross, and through the good work of man in baptism. People who hold to this false doctrine believe that Man therefore becomes a “co-redeemer” together with Christ. They believe in salvation by the grace of God plus the works of man. This is the erroneous belief that Jesus and man both work together to pay for sin, a doctrine also taught by the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church.

One of the most well-known churches teaching that baptism is essential to salvation is the “Church of Christ”. I once heard a man say that he knew of a preacher who was raised in the Church of Christ and stayed in the Church of Christ all of his life. Nevertheless, even though he was a preacher in the Church of Christ, on his death bed he wanted to be baptized “once again”, just to “be sure” that he would go to Heaven instead of going to Hell when he died.

Those churches believing that baptism is essential to salvation often use such verses as Acts 2:38 to support this point of view. This view of baptism held by the Church of Christ can be traced to its founder, Alexander Campbell. Alexander Campbell once said that, “Immersion is that act by which our state is changed” The idea that baptism itself saves, (instead of Jesus alone saving us from our sins through His own redeeming blood shed on the cross), is called “baptismal regeneration”.

The act of baptism is actually a picture of what should have already happened in the lives of believers before they were baptized. Namely, that they have already been forgiven for their sins and therefore they have already been made ready for Heaven by trusting Jesus alone for salvation. This then brings up an interesting question: If all of their sins were already forgiven before they were baptized, then how can there be any sins left over for baptism itself to “forgive” or wash away? Also, which sin will they be sent to Hell for, if someone had trusted Jesus, but then died before getting baptized?

I was baptized a few times before I was actually saved. In fact, all that happened to me on those occasions was that I got wet. I was not saved by getting baptized. When I did get saved by trusting Jesus alone for my salvation, I was e again baptized — but this time out of obedience to Christ! Since I had already been saved, I had no need to try to earn my own salvation by my own good work of baptism. Jesus had already saved me. Jesus did all the saving. It was all Christ.

I once knew of a lady who desired to be baptized. When she was baptized and came up out of the water, she praised God that she was now saved. What she meant, of course, was that she was lost in sin before going down into the water. She was trying to save herself by her own good work of baptism. Needless to say, this woman very quickly fell back into the world and back into sin, proving that she was never truly converted in the first place. Her baptism, (which was an act of “salvation by works”), did not save her from her sin.

The idea of salvation by works dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Cain, the son of Adam, brought an offering of vegetables to God – his attempt at “salvation by works”. Nevertheless, God wanted blood, not the “good works” of fallen man. Cain’s offering of works was therefore rejected by God. The fact is, men and women often want to give their “salvation by works” offerings to God, just as Cain once tried to do. They do not want to trust Jesus alone to save them by His blood. This “total depravity” of man in rejecting God’s way of salvation by grace, helps to explain why there are hundreds of religions in the world today which provide various forms of “salvation by works”. Jesus said:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” (Matt. 7:13)

Most people try to be saved by their good works, such as by the good work of baptism. God’s way for you to be saved is by His grace through faith in Jesus’ blood alone, which Jesus shed outside Jerusalem at Calvary to pay for your sins. The Bible says:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

“…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)

Have you trusted Jesus alone to save you from your sins? If you are trusting Jesus plus anything else to save you, then this proves that you have never actually been converted. You are still on the road to Hell. Trust Jesus alone to save you before it is too late. Eternity is a very long time, and Hell is very, very hot. Trust Jesus today!

***The Only Way to God***

http://www.baptismalregenerationheresy.com/

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Debate Topic: Is water baptism necessary for salvation?

On Tuesday, May 13, 2008 I debated a Mr. Roger Perkins on “Is water baptism necessary for salvation?”. Mr. Perkins is a oneness believer and an ex-pastor in the oneness movement. Mr. Perkins holds the position that water baptism is necessary for salvation. I deny that assertion and maintain that justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Mr. Perkins opened with a 15 minute speech. I followed with the text below, which I read word for word – except in a few places where I ventured away from the text for a brief moment.

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The topic tonight is “Is water baptism necessary for salvation?”. Notice that when we say “necessary” we mean that there is no exception to the requirement – otherwise the word “necessary” is inappropriate. So, if there is an exception, if someone can be saved without baptism, then water baptism is not necessary.

Has as Mr. Perkins that it water baptism is an absolute necessity? No. He can certainly cite examples of people being baptized after they believe, but citing examples does not prove that water baptism is necessary in order to be saved.

If we can find anyone who is saved without being baptized then we have proved that baptism is not necessary for salvation. This is very easy to do because we find the Old Testament saints who died in the faith and the expectation of the Messiah who were not baptized in water, yet they were saved. Paul brings the Old Testament context into the new. In Romans 4:3, he says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Paul refers to Abraham to say that his faith was reckoned as righteousness. Since only the saved are righteous in God’s site, Abraham’s salvation (though ultimately future as it waited for the sacrifice of Christ) was received by faith – before any rituals were instituted, including the ritual of circumcision.

Two verses later in Romans 4:5, Paul speaks to us today by saying, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” Notice that the same phrases used: Faith is reckoned as righteousness. Again in Rom. 5:1, he says “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, faith is reckoned as righteousness back in Abraham’s time as well as ours today. Abraham was saved without a ritual and so are we. This is why we are justified by faith. It is not faith in the ritual of water baptism that results in righteousness nor is it faith and water baptism that brings us justification; otherwise, we are not justified by faith but by faith and water baptism, by faith and a ritual.

The ritual of circumcision is condemned by Paul in Galatians 5 as having no part of salvation. He condemns the Judaizers for their desire to participate in a ritual and add it to their faith in Christ.

A ritual is a ceremony that is done by one or more persons. Circumcision involves two parties: the one performing the action and the one receiving the action. Likewise, baptism involves two parties: the one performing the action and the one receiving the action. Both are rituals. Both are religious procedures. Both are religious ceremonies. My opponent is requiring a ritual, a ceremony in order to be saved.

I’ve proven that baptism is not necessary for salvation by citing Abraham. But Mr. Perkins might say that my approach is misguided and that the Old Testament saints were under a different “dispensation” or “requirement” than we are today and that we could not require that they be held to Christian baptism since Christian baptism had not yet been instituted. If that is so, then water baptism is not necessary for salvation. It is simple logic.

Nevertheless, for the sake of continuing our debate, let’s limit our discussion to whether or not water baptism is necessary for us now. Do we need to be baptized in water in order to be justified by faith?

The answer is no because if it were necessary then it would violate the Scriptures’ clear teaching that justification is by grace through faith. It is never said that we are justified by faith and something whether it be law, ceremony, or sincerity of heart.  

Now, my opponent has turned to Scripture and quoted various verses about water baptism and said the Scriptures teach it is necessary. But this has not been established. He has inferred that it is necessary by citing the pattern of baptism after belief. In fact, there is no scripture that says “baptism is necessary for salvation”. We see no verses that say we are condemned if we don’t get baptized, but we do see scripture that says we are condemned if we don’t believe. Mark 16:16 says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.” If baptism is necessary for salvation then we should find verses that say “and he who is not baptized will be condemned.” But no such verse exists.

Now Paul preached the gospel and he said in 1 Cor. 1:15-17, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 that no man should say you were baptized in my name. 16 Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” If baptism is necessary for salvation, why is Paul saying he came to preach the gospel and not to baptize? Why is Paul saying he’s glad he did not baptize except a very few people? Paul is too smart to make the mistake of not baptizing people if people are erringly claiming to be baptized into his name. It would be like me saying, “I’m not going to preach salvation in Christ by faith because someone might say they received it in the name of Matt Slick.” I am obligated to preach the gospel that saves regardless of whether or not someone mistakenly points to me or to God in the process. I’ll point to God. I’ll point to justification by faith alone in Christ alone… not to justification by faith and water baptism, not to justification by faith and circumcision, not to justification by faith and going to church, not to justification by faith and any other human ritual that would add to the finished work of Christ and, thereby, insult the cross.

Again, Paul said he came to preach the gospel not to baptize. In fact, Paul tells us that it is the gospel that saves, and baptism is excluded from what he says the gospel is. He says in 1 Cor. 15:1-4, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel … by which also you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Baptism is not mentioned as part of that which saves us.

In Acts 16:27-34 when the jailer had been awakened by an earthquake and he saw that the prisoners under his charge did not escape he asked Paul “what must I do to be saved?” The answer was simple, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” He was then immediately baptized. Notice that Paul did not say that you must believe the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized in order to be saved. He left baptism out. He said believe. If baptism is necessary for salvation, then why did Paul exclude it?

In Acts 10:44-47 it says, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”. These people were saved. The gift of the Holy Spirit was on the Gentiles and they were speaking in tongues. Tongues is a gift given to the members of the Christian Church, as 1 Cor. 14:1-5 shows us. Also, unbelievers don’t praise God. They can’t because praise to the true God is a deep spiritual matter that is foreign to the unsaved. 1 Cor. 2:14 says the unbeliever does not receive or understand spiritual things and Rom. 3:10-12 says the unbeliever does not seek for God and is a hater of God. Therefore, the ones in Acts 10:44-47 who are speaking in tongues and praising God are definitely saved and they are saved before they are baptized. This simply isn’t an exception. It is a reality. 

Another way of dealing with the baptism issue is with a brief discussion about someone on her deathbed in a hospital. And let me tell you, I have spoken with at least two to hospital chaplains who told me that this happens.

Let’s say there is a person who is dying and the Chaplain comes in and gives him the gospel. Then under the conviction of the Holy Spirit which is in accordance with John 16:8, the person believes that Jesus died for his sins, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures. This person confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9-10), prays to Christ (1 Cor. 1:2; John 14:14), and receives Christ (John 1:12), by faith but dies before water baptism is administered, is that person saved or damned?

If water baptism is necessary, then that person is damned to hell even though he trusted in Christ, even though he trusted in the sacrifice of Christ, even though he by faith receive Christ. He would be damned to hell because he did not participate in the human ritual. He would be damned to hell because, he would not be justified by faith, but by faith and the ritual of water baptism.

If Mr. Perkins says he does not know if the person goes to heaven or hell, and water baptism is not necessary because if it were, he would be in hell.

Paul tells us in Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,” and again in Romans 5:1, “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are justified by faith, not by faith and baptism, not by faith and a ritual. Christ’s work is sufficient in itself for his complete and finished and there is nothing we could add to it. This is why we receive our salvation by faith. This is why we are justified by faith, this is why baptism is not necessary for salvation, because otherwise, it is not justification by faith.

http://www.carm.org/oneness/debate_baptism.htm

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Baptism Verses with responses

On May 13, 2008 I was in a formal debate with a oneness believer who said baptism was necessary for salvation. Following are my notes I prepared for that debate.  I put htem here as an additional help to readers.

If you would like to read the opening paper I read at the debate, please see Matt Slick’s Opening Statement on Baptism.

  1. Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    1. This verse does not to say that baptism is necessary for salvation. It says that baptism is part of making disciples.
    2. If baptism is necessary for salvation then it must also be true that teaching disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded is necessary as well. But this would be salvation by works. Instead, Jesus is explicitly declaring how to make disciples – by baptizing them and teaching them to observe what Christ and commanded.
  2. Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
    1. I could easily say that he who believes and goes to church will be saved. That is true.  But it is belief that saves, not belief and going to church.  Likewise, if you believe and read your Bible, you’ll be saved.  But it isn’t reading your Bible that saves you.
    2. Likewise, those who believe and are baptized will be saved. But the emphasis is on faith not on baptism. Notice that Mark 16:16 says that he does not believe will be condemned. It does not say that he who is not baptized will not be condemned. If baptism is necessary for salvation, then we should find somewhere in Scripture where it says something to the effect of if you’re not baptized, you’re not saved. But we find no such statement.
  3. Luke 7:30, “But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.”
    1. This is not a Christian baptism that is referenced here. It is the baptism of John so this cannot be used to demonstrate baptism is necessary for salvation.
  4. John 3:1-5, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
    1. Christian baptism had not yet been instituted when Jesus spoke these words. So how could it be Christian baptism that was being referred to? Nicodemus most probably would have been thinking of John’s baptism of repentance, and certainly not Christian baptism since it had not yet been instituted by Christ.
           I would like to point out that when Jesus says we must be born again, what it actually says in the Greek is we must be born from above. The words “born again” are not there. The words are “born from above.”
    2. There are five different Interpretations to these verses.
      1. The water refers to the natural birth.
        1. The first option looks to the context of Jesus’ words dealing with being born “again” (3:3). Nicodemus responds by mentioning the experience of being born from the womb (v. 4). Jesus then speaks of water and the Spirit and then says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (3:6).  The implication is that the first birth is the natural birth and the second birth is the spiritual birth.  In other words, the water refers to the water of the womb — the first birth.  This seems to have support in the understanding of Nicodemus about entering into the womb to be born a second time.  However, this view is not the most commonly held view.
      2. The water refers to the Word of God.
        1. The verses that seem to suggest this are Eph. 5:26 says, “that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” Some believe that the washing of water is done by means of the Word of God.
        2. John 7:37-38, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”
      3. The water refers to the Holy Spirit.
        1. The third view says that the water refers to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps Nicodemus was reminded of Ezek. 36:25-27, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26″Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27″And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Certainly, Jesus’ own words are applicable here when He says in John 7:37-39, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38″He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” 39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
      4. The water refers to the ministry of John the Baptist.
        1. This view says the water is in reference to the water baptism of repentance taught by John the Baptist. Matt. 3:1-6 describes John’s ministry in the desert, his teaching about repentance, and baptizing people into that repentance. Contextually, the first chapter of John mentions John the Baptist in verses 6-8 and 19-36. If John’s ministry is in view here, then Jesus would have been speaking of the “baptism” (the initiatory ordinance) of repentance preached by John the Baptist.
        2. The water refers to the water of baptism as a requirement for salvation.
          1. But this would mean we were not justified by faith.
          2. It would be adding a ritualistic requirement to salvation.
  5. John 19:34, “but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”
    1. This has nothing to do with water baptism. When someone dies from crucifixion, the heart ruptures, the elements of the blood separate, and water seeps into the chest cavity. This is why the soldier pierced his side because when one looks like water comes out, it means death has occurred.  
  6. Acts 2:38, “And Peter said to them, “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.”
    1. What is going on here is that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected. In the Greek, “repent” is in the plural and so is “your” of “your sins.” They are meant to be understood as being related to each other. It is like saying, “All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness.” It isn’t baptism that gets forgiveness of sins, but repentance. You see, repentance is a mark of salvation because it is granted by God (2 Tim. 2:25) and is given to believers only. In this context, only the regenerated, repentant person is to be baptized. Baptism is the manifestation of the repentance, that gift from God that is the sign of the circumcised heart. That is why it says, repent and get baptized.
    2. The Oneness argument says that the word “for” means that you are getting baptized in order to receive forgiveness of sins. Again, if this is what is meant, then we are not receiving the forgiveness of sins when we believe, but after we have performed a ritual. There’s no way around this. Is a ritual also required for our salvation? Is there a work we must perform in order to be saved?
    3. Biblically, a work is a ritual, a law that must be followed. Circumcision was just such a ritual, a ceremony. Paul condemns the Judaizers for adding that ritual, that ceremony to the grace of God. He condemns them because they added a ceremonial requirement to salvation. This is heresy and Paul rightly condemned it.
    4. Baptism is a ritual. It is a ceremony. If it is necessary for salvation, then a ritual must be observed in order to obtain Christ’s forgiveness. This is salvation by grace and ritual, not salvation by grace through faith.
    5. Faith occurs when you believe. You are justified by faith when you believe, otherwise you’re not justified by faith. So, this verse cannot mean that we have to be baptized in water in order to have our sins forgiven.
    6. It means that we are baptized to indentify with the forgiveness of sins.
    7. Mark 1:4, “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
    8. Also, if we are to understand this verse to mean that baptism is necessary for salvation, then we must also understand that repentance is necessary. But this is a problem because it would require that we be good in order to be saved – but this amounts to justification by works. Of course, we are supposed to repent of our sins, but it is not the repentance of sins that brings us salvation; rather, it is salvation that brings us repentance because unbelievers don’t turn from their sins, only believers do only the saved seek to honor God.
  7. Acts 8:35-38, “And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
    1. There’s nothing in these verses to show that baptism is necessary for salvation. It only says that the Eunuch was baptized after he believed. It shows that a person should be baptized right away after receiving believing in Christ.  
  8. Acts 22:16, ‘And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
    1. What washes away their sins not water, but calling on the name of Jesus.
    2. The verse does not say be baptized washing away your sins. It says be baptized and wash away your sins calling on his name. What washes away our sins is calling on his name — which would mean we are saved by grace through faith, not grace through faith in water.
  9. Rom. 6:3-5, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
    1.  The phrase “baptized into” means here “to identify with.” It cannot mean that baptism is the means by which we enter into union with Christ. This would be ritualistic communion and Paul in no way ever talked in you ritual was necessary in order to be saved.
    2. Instead, Paul taught that baptism represented identification with Christ. Consider 1 Cor. 10:1-4, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.” Therefore we can see it to be baptized into his refrained identification not the means by which were saved.
  10. 1 Cor. 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
    1. Which baptism is this speaking of, the baptism of water or the baptism of the Spirit.
    2. Eph. 4:5 tells us that there is “one faith, one Lord, one baptism.”
    3. If this means that we get into the church by being baptized in water, and no one is in the Christian church unless he or she has gone through the ritual. This would mean that salvation is not by grace through faith, but by faith and ritual.
    4. The very verse here tells us about being made to drink of the one Spirit. This is an obvious figurative usage but it tells us two things. First, it alludes to the baptism of the spirit, not of water. Second, if we must require that the baptism spoken of here means water, but why not require the literalness also of drinking the Spirit? It it makes no sense composes upon the text. Therefore, this verse is not dealing with water baptism but Spirit baptism.
    5. Acts 11:16, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
    6. John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’ 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  
  11. Gal. 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
    1. A. Water baptism is not mentioned here. This is probably a reference to baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:13 says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
    2.  Paul taught that baptism represented identification with Christ. Consider 1 Cor. 10:1-4, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.” Therefore we can see it to be baptized into his refrained identification not the means by which were saved.
    3. This might be a reference to the Roman garment of the full-grown man, assumed when ceasing to be a child.
    4.  Baptism is the identification with Christ, signifying having come to the faith, having died to sin, and risen with the Lord Jesus Christ.
  12. Eph. 5:25-26, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
    1. There is no mention and baptism at all. Paul associates the washing of water with the word.
    2. If this is referring to water baptism, then it must mean that Christ is the one actually performing the act of baptism on the entire church because it says “just as Christ also loved the church and gave him self up for her that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water…” which would mean baptism.
    3. The reality is that when I lead my wife in devotions with the word, I’m washing her in the word of God. That is how I love her and wash her.
  13. Col. 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.”
    1. This verse does not show the necessity of being baptized in order to be saved. It simply speaks about our identification with Christ and are baptism. And nowhere here says baptism is necessary for salvation.
    2. If anything, this verse in its context equates baptism and circumcision: Col. 2:11-12, “in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 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.” Paul is relating the ritual of circumcision with the ritual of baptism, both are covenant signs.
      1. Still, this verse in no way says that water baptism is necessary for salvation. But it does equate circumcision and baptism together. We must be reminded of how Paul condemned the Judaizers for requiring the ritual of circumcision to be saved. We can make a strong case here at requiring the ritual of baptism would likewise be condemned.
  14. Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
    1. This verse is telling us that regeneration is the washing, not the regeneration of baptism. There is no mention of water baptism here and there certainly is no mention of water baptism being necessary for salvation.  
  15. Heb. 10:22, “let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
    1. Heb. 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
    2. 1 Peter 1:2, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood…” This is all reference to the Old Testament ceremonies of sprinkling blood in order to cleanse the temple (Heb. 9). This is what the high priest did and Jesus, who is our high priest according to the order of Melchizedek, likewise cleanses us with his blood. This is how our hearts are cleaned, but the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, not by our bodies getting dunked in water.
  16. 1 Pet. 3:21, “And corresponding to 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 Jesus Christ,”
    1. This verse negates water baptism by saying the baptism that saves is not the kind that deals with the removal of dirt in the flesh. That is, it is not the issue of water which washes the body, but that baptism of the heart which is an appeal for a good conscience to God.
    2. Some think that the baptism corresponds to the Ark because it was the Ark that saved them, not the floodwaters. this is a possibility but one of the problems with it is that this interpretation does not seem to stand grammatically since the antecedent of Baptism is most probably in reference to the water, not the Ark.      But, water did not save Noah.  This is why Peter excludes the issue of water baptism being the thing that saves us because he says, “not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God”.  Peter says that is not the application of water that saves us but a pledge of the good conscience. Therefore, baptism here most probably represents the breaking away of the old sinful life and entrance into the new life the same way that the flood waters in Noah’s time was the destruction of the sinful way and once through it known entered into his new life.
    3. Peter’s explanatory comment shows us that the act of physical baptism is not what saves, but the “baptism of appeal to God.”  This appeal to God is by faith the same as Noah’s faith in God led him to build the Ark, enter it, and remain in it.

 

http://www.carm.org/baptism/baptism_verses.htm

INFANT BAPTISM EXPOSED! It’s History and Harm

Infant baptism is not a Scriptural doctrine. It is not found in the Bible. There is not one example in the Bible of one single baby being baptized. We will show that baby baptism is of pagan origin.

It is my purpose in this article to set forth my reasons for saying, as I often have said, that…

INFANT BAPTISM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SENDING MORE PEOPLE TO HELL THAN ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS ERROR.

From my point of view, it is a dreadful thing to baptize a baby and let him grow up believing that by that baptism he has been saved and is on his way to heaven.

As we have said so many times, we believe all babies and children below the age of accountability are protected by the Lord respecting their eternal soul. I do not believe-that any child below the age of accountability has ever gone to hell. Of course, there is no differentiating between those who were baptized as infants and those who were not.

Little children certainly can come to Christ when they are old enough to understand that Jesus died for them and shed his blood to pay for their sins. If that child is old enough to realize that he cannot take his sin to heaven, and that he is lost and a sinner, than that child is old enough to be saved. What age is that? I do not know. It varies from child to child. Billy Graham and James Dobson claimed they were saved at 4 years of age. I was saved at age 6. It depends upon the religious training environment a child is raised in too.

In fact, we adults must become like ‘little children’ and have child-like faith when we come to Him! Jesus did say in Matthew 19:14,

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

This verse is not teaching, however, that little infants, just born, are come to Christ by being baptized by a priest! As stated earlier, little children who die in infancy are covered by the Blood of Christ and will go to heaven. They are thus ‘covered’ until they reach the age that they can understand the Gospel, and at that point they must trust Christ on their own, of their own volition.

HISTORY OF INFANT BAPTISM

Infant baptism appeared in the Christian church history around the Second Century, coming from the pagan influences of Baal Worship, as we will show later, but It came about as a result of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration – the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation; or, if you want to turn it around, that water baptism saves the soul (or at least is a part of a person’s salvation). Consequently, as the teaching of baptismal regeneration started being propagated, it was natural for those holding to this doctrine to believe that everyone, should be baptized as soon as possible. Thus, baptism of infants still in the innocent state (and as yet unaccountable for their actions) came into vogue among many of the churches.

Once again I state: These two grievous errors baptismal regeneration and infant baptism – have probably caused more people to go to hell than any other doctrine.

WHERE DID THIS INFANT BAPTISM COME FROM?

Once has to go back to Genesis 10 and 11 where we read of Noah’s Great grandson, NIMROD, and his wife SEMIRAMUS, who started the great pagan BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION at the Tower of Babel. This great pagan religion was later known as ‘BAAL WORSHIP’ in the Old Testament, simply another name for Nimrod. The great book, TWO BABYLONS by Alexander Hislop gives us a little background on this Babylon Mystery Religion of ‘BAAL WORSHIP’ started by Nimrod and Semiramus.

BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION

In this mysterious Babylonian Religious System, Nimrod and Semiramis, along with their priests, were the only ones who understood ‘The great mysteries of God’ and since it was the only true religion… all others were false… therefore, only the Babylonian Priests could forgive and absolve sins…and administer salvation. Salvation could be achieved thru various Sacraments performed during the person’s life time. These SACRAMENTS were so-called ‘Channels of grace’ whereby salvation could be achieved. These Sacraments, necessary to salvation ..began at birth with Infant Baptism, other sacraments throughout life, ending with a final anointing with oil at death to prepare one for the hereafter. Now Since the Babylonian Priest was the only one who could administer these ‘sacraments’, the person was ‘bound’ to the Babylonian system helplessly for life! The first essential sacrament Semiramis taught was Baptism by water. The fact that such “Baptism” was practiced 2000 years before it was even mentioned and practiced in Christianity is an established fact, and it can be traced right back to Babylon and Semiramis herself! The ancient historian Bryant (vol.3 p2l,84) traces this pagan baptism back to the practice of commemorating Noah and his 3 sons deliverance thru the waters of the flood, emerging from the ark and entering a New life. To commemorate this event, the Priests of Nimrod would ‘baptize’ new-born infants the fathers chose to keep, and they would become ‘born-again’ and become members of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. (Hislop,Two Babylons, p134) The fact that the Devil practiced the ritual of Baptism over 2000 years before it was even used in Christianity has truly amazed historians!

WHERE DID THIS BABY BAPTISM COME FROM?

Armitage’s History (p73) explains the pagan civil law and social customs of that day. These pagans had no standard of morality as you and I have. Their marriage rites were not on the basis ours are. One man might be the husband of a hundred women, and he might be the father of several hundred children. The mother had no right at all to determine whether the child she bore was to live or not, that was le ft up to the FATHER. Just as the farmer would go down to the pigpen and pick out the pigs he wanted to keep and do away with the runts, so was the father the one who decided if the child was to be kept and allowed to live. The mother could not even name the child if it was kept, the pagan priest did that. If the child was decided to be kept, the daddy would take it down to the pagan priest and the ceremony would be arranged. The Priest first must ‘exorcise’ evil spirits from the infant by anointing the baby’s head with OIL. With the oil the priest puts the occult mark of Tammuz on the child’s head by marking a “T” with the oil. (later to become the ‘Sign of the Cross) The Priest then put SALT and SPITTLE on the baby’s tongue to preserve it from future influence of evil spirits. “HOLY WATER” is now sprinkled or poured over the baby’s head, and the baby is said to be cleansed from any original sin and is now “born-again” and a member of the Babylonian Religion. This process was known as INFANT CHRISTENING and was practiced hundreds of years before Christ, (Hislop,pl38) and is found NOWHERE in the Bible! There is not a single example of a baby being ‘baptized’ or ‘christened’ in the Bible! Knowing what you do now, WOULD YOU WANT YOUR BABY CHRISTENED?

This was called ‘Baal Worship’ in the Old Testament, and God called it an abomination!

MORE HISTORY ON BABY BAPTISM

The professed conversion of Emperor Constantine in A.D. 313 was looked upon by many as a great triumph for Christianity. However, it more than likely was the greatest tragedy in church history because it resulted in the union of church and state and the establishment of a hierarchy which ultimately developed into the Roman Catholic system. There is great question that Constantine was ever truly converted. At the time of his supposed vision of the sign of As we have said so many times, we believe all babies and children below the age of accountability am protected by the Lord respecting their eternal soul. I do not believe-that any child below the age of accountability has ever gone to hell. Of course, there is no differentiating between those who were baptized as infants and those who were not.

INFANT BAPTISM COMES TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

At around the 3rd Century, traces of the Babylon Mystery Religion, now known as Baal Worship, infiltrates the Christian Church. Immediately, Bible Believing Christians reject the idea of baptizing babies and Baptismal regeneration – the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation; or, if you want to turn it around, that water baptism saves the soul (or at least is a part of a person’s salvation). These Bible Believing Christians were labeled slanderously as ‘ANABAPTISTS’ because they rejected this idea of baptizing babies as pagan and not Scriptural. They would ‘RE-BAPTIZE these infants when they got older and trusted Christ as Savior! Thus the term, ANABAPTISTS…which meant “RE-BAPTIZERS”! It was later shortened to ‘Baptists’. So you see, Baptists got the their name at this time, and the issue that started the name Baptists and separated them was this issue of ‘Baby Baptism’!!!! These ‘ANABAPTISTS’ were persecuted greatly because of this issue!

EVERY BABY MUST BE BAPTIZED

When Emperor Constantine made ‘Christianity’ the official ‘STATE RELIGION of Rome, one of the FIRST LAWS passed was the law decreeing infant baptism as the law of the land in 416 A.D. That simply meant that everybody within a certain age limit had to conform to it. When they passed that law in 416 that every baby in the Roman Empire had to be baptized at the hands of an authorized Roman priest… OR ELSE! Those who disagreed with teaching and rejected it were soon slanderously called “ANABAPTISTS”, and they were persecuted without mercy for not conforming. Historian J.M.Carroll declares, ” For 30 miles on the road leading out of Rome were stakes with gory heads of ANAPTISTS….”

INFANT BAPTISM BECAME THE LAW OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Occasionally someone will say, “Don’t you think infant baptism is beautiful to look at?” A.A.Davis replies, “If you knew the history of that doctrine, where it came from and the bloodshed that it brought into the world, you would never watch another such service in your lifetime.” (THE BAPTIST STORY, p67). He quotes historian J.M. Carroll from his TRAIL OF BLOOD “no other doctrine that ever found its way into Christendom has caused so much BLOODSHED in this world as the doctrine of INFANT BAPTISM.”

Armitage’s History (p7l-73) tells us that in the 6th century, Emperor Justin issued an edict commanding ALL UNBAPTIZED PARENTS to present themselves and their children for baptism at once. Leo III issued, another edict in-A.D. 723 demanding the forcible baptism of the Jews and Montanists (anabaptists). Toward the close of the 6th century the baptism of–.infants was turned to gain in the shape of FEES ($$$) paid for its administration; but, the charges soon became so enormous that the poor could not pay them. And yet lest their children should DIE unsaved, the frightened parents strained every nerve to get them baptized.” (Armitage’s history, p7l) He continues, “Suppose you owned a section of land with an oil well on it; you had a baby born into your home and you went to the priest to get the baby baptized. The priest would say I want the title to that section of land. When the thing was over, the priest would get the title to the land and the BABY would get a few drops of water on its head. He says this is how the Mother Church of Rome come to own Czechoslovakia, Mexico, etc.

One is reminded of Peter’s Scripture,

“and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of YOU..” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

We could spend pages here looking at the history books showing how the ANABAPTISTS (those who rejected infant baptism) were persecuted in ways almost too horrible to describe. Many were put in a special iron casket called the IRON MAIDEN, which had dozens of sharp spikes inside … or the anabaptist preacher who, in the 4th century, was laid upon the ground and a horse was hooked to each of his arms and feet, and the signal given so the horses would pull the pastor into 4 quarters…..Why?

… because he believed it was wrong to baptize BABIES. (BAPTIST STORY, p109)

The author continued to tell about those anabaptists who had HOT WAX poured into their EARS…or those who had their tongues pulled out with hot pincers. The wives of the anabaptists had their bodies mutilated in terrible ways, as parts of their bodies were cut off….Pregnant women had their stomachs ripped open and the offspring cast to wild hogs as husband was forced to watch. One anabaptist pastor was taken, his body CUT open, and ears of corn stuffed inside, and hungry dogs not fed for 4 days turned loose to devour the man’s entrails and corn inside. (BAPTIST STORY, p110)

THE ‘HOLY INQUISITION’ RESULTED FROM THIS ISSUE OF BABY BAPTISM

No wonder the Book of Revelation declared in Revelation 17:6 that this great HARLOT false religion had become ‘DRUNK with the BLOOD of the Saints’…Historian and Bible commentator Sir Robert Anderson estimated that thru out the middle ages OVER 40 MILLION people were murdered and martyred over this one doctrine of INFANT BAPTISM! To illustrate this great number of those anabaptists slain, Anderson said if you lined 40 million people in a line, four abreast and four feet apart, and they marched by at normal marching pace, it would take 4 years and 4 months for this number of people to march by!!!

ROME LAID DOWN THE LAW.. ..INFANT BAPTISM ESSENTIAL!

The General Council of Trent, Seventh Session (1547) Canons on the Sacraments in General:

(a) “If anyone, shall say that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, or that there are more or fewer than seven, namely baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, or that any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament – anathema sit.”

(b) “If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for every individual anathema sit.”

(c) “If anyone. shall say that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato, but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace – anathema sit.”

THE BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION AT ROME TAUGHT THAT EVEN LITTLE BABIES COULD NOT BE SAVED AND GO TO HEAVEN UNLESS THEY WERE BAPTIZED…

The Priests of Rome taught-and still do-that it is NOT possible even for newly born infants to be saved so as to enjoy the delights of heaven unless they are baptized. The COUNCIL OF TRENT catechism states in black and white:

“Infants, unless regenerated unto God thru the grace of BAPTISM, whether their parents be Christian or infidel, are born to eternal misery and perdition.”

But what a horrible doctrine that was!! And what a contrast with the doctrinal beliefs of the anabaptists who believed that all those dying in infancy, whether baptized or unbaptized, are saved!

Lorraine Boettner, in his ROMAN CATHOLICISM, p190, declared,

“The Romish doctrine was so horrible and so unacceptable to the public that it was found necessary to invent a third realm, the Limbus Infantum… later shortened to ‘Limbo’…a place where unbaptized infants are sent, in which they are excluded from heaven but in which they suffer no positive PAIN. The Council of Trent and the Councils of Lyons and Florence declare positively that unbaptized infants are confined to this realm.”

Boettner continues,

“The primary purpose of the Church of Rome in excluding unbaptized infants from heaven is to force parents to commit their children to her as soon as possible … the pressure put on members of the Mother Church of Rome parents to see that their children are baptized EARLY is almost UNBELIEVABLE… ..a commitment which once she receives she never relinquishes.” (P 191)

BABY BAPTISM THROUGH THE DARK AGES

Consequently, as the teaching of baptismal of the Dark Ages which endured for more than twelve centuries – until the Protestant Reformation.

During this time God had a remnant who remained faithful to Him; they never consented to the union of church and state, or to baptismal regeneration, or to infant baptism. These people were called by various names, but probably could better be summed up by their generic name, Anabaptists, meaning rebaptizers. These people ignored infant baptism and rebaptized those who had been saved through personal faith.

NOW THIS IS STRANGE

Protestant Churches of the Reformation Bring Baby Baptism with Them!

The strange thing about these two diabolical doctrines of baptismal regeneration and infant baptism is that the great reformers (Martin Luther, for one) brought with them out of Rome these two dreaded errors – the union of church and state and infant baptism. Strangely enough, in those days not only did the Roman Catholic church persecute those who would not conform to its ways, but after the Lutheran church became the established church of Germany, it persecuted the nonconformists as well – of course, not as stringently so and not in such numbers as those before them.

John Calvin in France, as well as Oliver Cromwell in England and John Knox in Scotland, stuck to the union of church and state and infant baptism and used their power, when they had power, to seek to force others to conform to their own views.

BABY BAPTISM COMES TO AMERICA

Unaware to a lot of people, this thing came to the Americas well in the early days of this republic. Before the Massachusetts Bay Colony was twenty years old, the following was decreed by statute:

“If any person or persons within this jurisdiction shall either openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others from the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart from the congregation at the administration of the ordinance after due time and means of conviction, every such person or persons shall be subject to banishment..”

Religious persecution existed even in the early days of the United States of America. Roger Williams and others were banished – when banishment meant to go and live with the Indians – because they would not submit to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration or the baptizing of infants.

However, it was the constitution of the Rhode Island Colony – founded by Roger Williams, John Clark, and others – that established religious liberty by law for the first time in thirteen hundred years (over the world).

Thus it was that Rhode Island, founded by a small group of believers, was the first spot on earth where religious liberty became the law of the land. The settlement was made in 1638, and the colony was legally established in 1663. Virginia followed, to be the second, in 1786.

As you can see, the doctrine of infant baptism has a long and bloody history, and it has been one of Satan’s chief weapons to condemn untold millions to hell.

I WILL ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN IT FURTHER

Many, of course, will ask, “What does the above have to do with us today?” A lot!

You see, the union of church and state continues today in most countries of the world. In these state churches, pastors and leaders christen babies – which means they “make them Christians” by baptizing them; thus the that has been christened as a baby believes he is on his way to heaven simply because he was christened (or baptized) in infancy. Having been taught all his life that this saved him, he naturally considers himself saved by the act of infant baptism.

The Roman Catholic Church still teaches baptismal regeneration and practices infant baptism. Its statement of doctrine says:

“The sacrament of baptism is administered on adults by the pouring of water and the pronouncement of the proper words, and cleanses from original sin.”

The Reformed Church says:

“Children are baptized as heirs of the Kingdom of God and of His covenant. ”

The Lutheran Church teaches that baptism, whether of infants or adults, is a means of regeneration.

Because of the following declaration, I believe the Episcopal Church teaches that salvation comes through infant baptism. In his confirmation, the catechist answers a question about his baptism in infancy by saying this:

“In my baptism. I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of God.”

(This is printed in the prayer book and can be read by anyone interested enough to look for it.)

Most people who practice infant baptism believe the ceremony has something to do with the salvation of the child. These are traditions of men, and we can follow the commandments of God or follow after the traditions of men; it is up to us.

THE CLEAR BIBLE TEACHING OF SALVATION

I believe the Word of God is clear regarding the matter of salvation. Jesus said:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God … He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:18, 36).

Basically this tells us that there are two groups of people in the world today – those who believe on the Son and those who do not. Those who believe are not condemned; they have everlasting life (whatever church they may belong to). Those who believe not on the Son are condemned already, and they shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on them.

I believe this is the clear, unmistakable teaching and language of the Bible.

If you will notice, the Word of God never says simply believe and be saved; rather, it seeks always to identify the object of faith, which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

John 3;16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

It is not enough just to believe; a person must believe “in Him.”

The Philippian jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The Apostle Paul answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:30,31)

It was not enough simply to ‘believe’; that belief, that trust, that dependence had to be ‘in Him’…..

If a person is trusting in baptism for salvation, he cannot be trusting “in Him”. Christ is not ONE way of salvation; He is the ONLY WAY salvation.

There is no promise in the Word of God to those who believe partially in Christ. In other words, we cannot trust in the Lord Jesus 90% and in baptism 10%..

We must trust Christ and what He did at Calvary 100% and nothing else.

My friend, just because you were baptized as a baby does not save you!

You must trust Christ alone.

(Much of the following was taken from the pamphlet written by the Late Dr. William Pettingill on INFANT BAPTISM)

Copyright © 2003 Petersburg Gospel Center. All Rights Reserved.

Infant Baptism -part 1  (wma audio, by Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.)

Infant Baptism -part 2  (wma audio, by Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.)

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/infant_baptism_exposed.htm

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Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults
by James Sire

In debating and discussions with non-Christians such as Mormons or atheist, I have found many areas of twisting of the Scriptures. In the book “Scripture Twisting,” James Sire has a chapter devoted to each of the methods, and I have seen them ALL used from time to time.

1. INACCURATE QUOTATION: A biblical text is referred to but is either not quoted in the way the text appears in any standard translation or is wrongly attributed. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.'” Whereas this text is found ONLY in Psalms.

2. TWISTED TRANSLATION: The biblical text is retranslated, not in accordance with sound Greek scholarship, to fit a preconceived teaching of a cult. Example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 as “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god.”

3. BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

4. IGNORING THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: A text of Scripture is quoted but removed from the surrounding verses which form the immediate framework for its meaning. Example: Alan Watts quotes the first half of John 5:39 (“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life”), claiming that Jesus was challenging His listeners’ over emphasis of the Old Testament, but the remainder of the immediate context reads, “and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (verses 39-40), which shows that Jesus was upholding the value of the Old Testament as a testimony to Himself.

5. COLLAPSING CONTEXTS: Two or more verses which have little or nothing to do with each other are put together as if one were a commentary of the other(s). Example: The Mormons associate Jeremiah 1:5 with John 1:2,14 and thus imply that both verses talk about the premortal existence of all human beings; Jeremiah 1:5, however, speaks of God’s foreknowledge of Jeremiah (Not his premortal existence) and JOhn 1:2 refers to the pre-existence of God the Son and not to human beings in general.

6. OVERSPECIFICATION: A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that “mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God.” But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. WORD PLAY: A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: mary Bake Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies “the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator.”

8. THE FIGURATIVE FALLACY: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as “mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.” Example of (2): The Mormon theologian james Talmage interprets the prophesy that “thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground” to mean that God’s Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

9. SPECULATIVE READINGS OF PREDICTIVE PROPHESY: A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

10. SAYING BUT NOT CITING: A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible.

11. SELECTIVE CITING: To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of text is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses critique the traditional Christian notion of the Trinity without considering the full text which scholars use to substantiate the concept.

12. INADEQUATE EVIDENCE: A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is nonbiblical, but the biblical data that they cite fails either to speak directly to the issue or to adequately substantiate their teaching.

13. CONFUSED DEFINITION: A biblical term is misunderstood in such a way that an essential biblical doctrine is distorted or rejected. Example: one of Edgar Cayce’s followers confuses the eastern doctrine of reincarnation with the biblical doctrine of being born again.

14. IGNORING ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS: A specific interpretation given to a biblical text or set of text which could well be, and often have been, interpreted in quite a different fashion, but these alternatives are not considered. Example: Erich von Daniken asks why in Genesis 1:26 God speaks in the plural (“us”), suggesting that this is an oblique reference to God’s being one of many astronauts and failing to consider alternative explanations that either God was speaking as “Heaven’s king accompanied by His heavenly host” or that the plural prefigures the doctrine of the Trinity expressed more explicitly in the New Testament.

15. THE OBVIOUS FALLACY: Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. Example: Erich von daniken says, “Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenent] was electrically charged!”

16. VIRTUE BY ASSOCIATION: Either (1) a cult writer a ssociates his or her teaching with those of figures accepted as authoritative by traditional Christians; (2) cult writings are likened to the Bible; or (3) cult literature imitates the form of the Bible writing such that it sounds like the Bible. Example of (1): Rick Chapman list 21 gurus, including Jesus Christ, St. Francis and St. Theresa, that “you can’t go wrong with.” Example of (2): Juan Mascaro in his introduction to the Upanishads cites the New Testament, the Gospels, Ecclesiastes and the Psalms, from which he quotes passages supposedly paralleling the Upanishads. Example of (3): The Mormon DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS interweaves phrases from the Gospel of John and maintains a superficial similarity to the Gospel such that it seems to be like the Bible.

17. ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION: Under the assumption that the Bible contains hidden, esoteric, meaning which is open only to those who are initiated into its secrets, the interpreter declares the significance of biblical passages without giving much, if any, explanation for his or her interpretation. Example: Mary Baker Eddy gives the meaning of the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious.”

18. SUPPLEMENTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: New revelation from post biblical prophets either replaces or is added to the Bible as authority. Example: The Mormons supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

19. REJECTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: Either the Bible as a whole or texts from the Bible are examined and rejected because they do not square with other authorities – such as reason or revelation = do not appear to agree with them. Example:Archie Matson holds that the Bible contains contradictions and that Jesus himself rejected the authority of the Old Testament when he contrasted His own views with it on the Sermon on the Mount.

20. WORLD-VIEW CONFUSION: Scriptural statements, stories, commands or symbols which have a particular meaning or set of meanings when taken within the intellectual and broadly cultural framework of the Bible itself are lifted out of that context, placed within the frame of reference of another system and thus given a meaning that markedly differs from their intended meaning. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interprets “Be still, and know that I am God” as meaning that each person should meditate and come to the realization that he is essentially Godhood itself.

NOTE:
This material comes from the appendix of James Sire’s Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults, and summarizes his indepth treatment of each of these points. This book should be part of every Christian’s library.

http://www.ovrlnd.com/Apologetics/scripturetwisting.html

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