Objections to Baptism

Objections to baptism being essential Refuted!

Click on your objection, learn why it is invalid:

  1. The thief on the cross was saved without baptism:
  2. Article on “The Thief on the Cross” by Dave Miller, PhD 
  3. Paul was saved on the road to Damascus before being baptized.
  4. We are saved by faith only.
  5. We are not saved by our works…baptism is a work: Eph 2:8
  6. Salvation is a free gift, there is nothing we can do to earn it: Rom 6:23
  7. Acts 2:38 really says, “repent and be baptized because your sins have already been forgiven click here
  8. John 3:16 only says that you must believe for eternal life!
  9. We are saved by the blood of Christ not baptism
  10. Paul stated that Jesus did not send him to baptize but to preach gospel: 1 Cor 1:17 Click here
  11. What if someone believes in a desert and can’t find water or a believer is killed on the way to being baptized, surely both these would be saved. click here
  12. Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized, thus he must have been saved before he was baptized (Acts 10:44-48).click here
  13. Is the any justification for being “re-baptized”?
 














































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The thief on the cross was saved without baptism?

What about the thief on the cross who was saved without baptism?

1. Baptism is a symbol of the death burial and resurrection (Rom 6:3-7) How could the thief do something that imitates something (death and resurrection) that had not yet happened? Our confession of faith for salvation as Christians requires us to believe God raised him from the dead: Rom 10:9

2. How do you know the thief wasn’t baptized years before by John or Jesus? Mk 1:5; Mt 3:5-6;4:25

3. Rather than viewing the thief as a sinner coming to first time repentance, could we not view the thief as a former believer who fell away and was restored?

4. Evidence the thief had prior contact with John or Jesus:

Knew there was a God V40

Knew God was to be feared v40

Knew Jesus was associated with God v39; Jn 13:20

Knew something to answer for beyond death v40; Mt 10:28; Heb 9:27; Rom 2:1-2,6

Recognized a principle of right and wrong v40-41

Knew Christ was innocent perhaps sinless v41

Knew who was dying next to him was Lord v42

He understood the concept that the king had to die to become the king

Knew in spite of Jesus dying, that He would still establish His kingdom v42

Knew that although about to die, Jesus could help in his circumstance v42

Where did he get this understanding? The preaching of John the Baptist or Jesus

He appears more like a fallen disciple than an alien sinner coming to Christ for first time.

5. The thief died under OT law and was saved before NT came into effect Col 2:14; Heb 9:16-17

6. He died 40 days before Mark 16:16 was first commanded! How could he obey a command not given?

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Paul was saved on the road to Damascus before being baptized.

Was Paul saved in the road to Damascus before being baptized?

1. If so then…

 

    1. The Lord didn’t know it, Acts 9:6 “Arise and go into the city and you will be told what to do.”

 

    1. Paul didn’t know it & rejoice, Acts 9:9 “He was three days blind and neither ate nor drink.”

 

  1. Ananias didn’t know it but commanded, Ax22:16 “why delay, be baptized & wash away your sins?”
  2. He was saved before his sins were forgiven: Acts 22:16; 2:38
  3. He was saved before he was born again: Jn 3:3-5
  4. He was saved outside of Christ: Gal 3:27
  5. He was saved before he was saved: 1 Pe 3:21
  6. He was saved before Jesus said he would be saved: Mk 16:16
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We are saved by faith only or grace only: Rom 5:1; Eph 2:8

Are we not saved by FAITH ONLY according to the Bible?

1. We are not saved by grace alone.

Not all men will be saved because Jesus died, man must do something.

2. We are not saved by faith alone: Jas 2:24

3. If we are saved by grace only, then man is entirely passive in the salvation process.

4. Repentance and confession are just as much a work as baptism, is one saved without and before repentance and confession? Both are said to be for salvation. Lk 13:3; Rom 10:9-10

5. Actually there are 12 different things that are said to save us in scripture, beware of the “Onlys”

Teaching Church Description
God only Unitarian Universal salvation for every creature, no hell
Grace & faith only Calvinist God has a saved & lost list, gives faith only to elect
Man’s works only Catholic Penance, rosary to earn salvation

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We are not saved by our works…baptism is a work: Eph 2:9

Is baptism not a work? And we are not saved by work!

1. It is ridiculous to suggest we earn our salvation through baptism. Different types of works in the Bible:

Compare

“Not of works lest any man should boast” Eph 2:9
and
“By works is a man justified not by faith alone” Jas 2:24

  • Works of God Jn 9:3
  • Works of the devil 1 Jn 3:8
  • Meritorious works Eph 2:8-9
  • Works of the law Gal 2:16
  • Moral goodness Mt 19:20
  • Works of obedience: Jas 2:24; Lk 17:10
  • Human righteousness Rom 10:1-3
  • Living works Eph 4:28
  • Works of Faith 1 Th 1:3; Gal 5:6

2. Baptism is a work of man, but it is also a work of God: Col 2:12

3. There is no salvation apart from our works of obedience: Heb 5:8-9

4. When we do all God has commanded us we are still unworthy: Lk 17:10

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Salvation is a free gift, there is nothing we can do to earn it: Eph 2:8

Salvation is a free gift. Is there anything we can do to earn it?

1. Something can be a gift and still have conditions or something you must do:

Free cheque for $100,000, all you have to do is fill in your name and deposit it.

Faith only reply, “Is it no longer free because of work of signing and depositing?

Drowning in sea, man throws a life-ring and says, “Save yourself and grab this!”

Faith only reply, “No, for there is nothing one can do to save himself and I wouldn’t want to boast that I saved myself and earned my salvation.”

2. Conditional statements John recorded in addition to Jn 3:16

John 3:16 and Other Conditional statements John recorded
Verse Person condition blessing
Jn 3:16 Whosover believes eternal life
1 Jn 2:23 He acknowledges hath the father
1 Jn 2:29 Every one does righteousness born of Him
1 Jn 3:24 He keeps commandments in Him
1 Jn 4:2 Every spirit confesses of God
1 Jn 4:7 Every one loves born of God
1 Jn 5:1 whosoever believes born of God
Mk 16:16 He who believes & is baptized shall be saved
“‘Salvation is conditional upon many things we must do without boasting

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Acts 2:38 really says, “repent and be baptized because your sins have already been forgive

Is Acts 2:38 not really saying, “repent and be baptized because your sins have already been forgiven?

1. There are 2 Greek words for the English word “for”: “gar”=because of & “eis”=unto, in order to

“‘What does “for” (Greek: “eis”) mean in Acts 2:38
“‘Passage “‘Action “‘because of “‘in order to “‘Result

Mt 26:28

blood shed X

remission of sin

Rom 10:10 Believe X

righteousness

Acts 11:18 Repentance X

life

Rom 10:4 Confess X

Salvation

Acts 3:19 Repent & converted X

sins blotted out

Acts 2:38 Repent & baptized X

remission of sins

54 Translations That Do Not Render Acts 2:38 “Because your sins have already been forgiven”

  1. American Bible Union Version unto the remission of your sins
  2. Amplified NT for the forgiveness of your sins
  3. Anderson In order to the remission of your sins
  4. Authentic (Schomfield) for the forgiveness of your sins
  5. Authorized version (KJV) for the remission of sins
  6. Berry’s interlinear for remission of sins
  7. Centenary Translation for the remission of sins
  8. Challomer Rheims for the forgiveness of sins
  9. Douay for the remission of sins
  10. Emphasized version into the remission of sins
  11. Emphatic Diaglot for the remission of sins
  12. English Revised unto the remission of sins
  13. Englishman’s Greek NT for the remission of sins
  14. Ferrar Fenton for the remission of sins
  15. First German Bible for (in order to, unto) the forgiveness
  16. French Translation in order to obtain the remission of sins
  17. Geneva Bible for the remission of sins
  18. German Translation (for, unto) in order to forgiveness of sins
  19. Good News for Modern man in order to have your sins forgiven
  20. Goodspeed in order to have your sins forgiven
  21. Hackett (commentary) in order to the forgiveness of sins
  22. Haweis (1795AD) for the remission of your sins
  23. Indian Translation in order to the forgiveness of sins
  24. Italian Translation into the remission of sins
  25. Jerusalem Bible for the forgiveness of your sins
  26. Knox to have your sins forgiven
  27. Literal Translation (Young) to the remission of sins
  28. Living Bible for the forgiveness of sins
  29. Living Oracles in order to the remission of sins
  30. Macknights Translation in order to the remission of sins
  31. Modern English for a release of your sins
  32. Modern Speech with a view tot he remission of sins
  33. Moffatt for the remission of sins
  34. H.B. Montgomery (1924) for the remission of your sins
  35. Moulton’s Modern Reader’s Unto remission of sins
  36. New American Standard for the remission of your sins
  37. New Catholic Version for the forgiveness of sins
  38. New English Bible for the forgiveness of your sins
  39. New International version for the forgiveness of your sins
  40. New King James Version for the remission of sins
  41. New World Translation for the forgiveness of sins
  42. NT in the Basic English for the forgiveness of sins
  43. Phillips Modern English so that you may have your sins forgiven
  44. Revised Standard Version for the forgiveness of your sins
  45. Rothermham unto the remission of your sins
  46. Spanish Translation for the purpose of remission of your sins
  47. Syriac Version for the remission of sins
  48. Twentieth Century Translation for the forgiveness of your sins
  49. Verkuyl (Burkeley Version) for the remission of sins
  50. Warrell’s Translation unto remission of your sins
  51. Wesley’s Translation for the remission of sins
  52. Weymouth for the remission of your sins
  53. Williams that your sins may be forgiven
  54. Wycliffe (1308) into the remission of youre synnes

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John 3:16 only says that you must believe for eternal life!

Is John 3:16 not saying that you just believe for eternal life?

Synecdoche, “a figure of speech in which a part is used for a whole” Webster’s

All the verses that prove faith is essential to salvation do not prove that baptism is non-essential!

“‘Every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God

“‘Matthew 4:4

“‘Text “‘Faith “‘Repent “‘Confess “‘Baptism “‘If Jn 3:16 “‘teaches…
Jn 3:16 X “‘Faith Only Then…
Lk 13:3 X Repentance Only
Mt 10:32 X Confession Only
1 Pe 3:21 X Baptism Only
Rom 10:9 X X
Mk 16:16 X X
Ax 2:38 X X
Sum of Truth X X X X All 4 Are Required

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We are saved by the blood of Christ not baptism

Are we not saved by the blood of Christ and not baptism?

1. Are all men saved simply because Jesus shed His blood? Must man believe or do anything?

2. Both baptism and the blood of Christ are for the remission of sins; Ax 2:38 & Mt 26:28

3. God supplied the blood & man supplies obedience through baptism and then contacts the blood

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Paul stated that Jesus did not send him to baptize but to preach gospel: 1 Cor 1:17

Was Paul sent not to baptize but to preach the gospel?

1. This verse is not teaching that baptism isn’t essential to salvation.

2. Acts 18:8 “many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing & being baptized” (Mk 16:16)

3. The church in Corinth was divided and following men. They were following Paul over Christ because he had baptized them. For that reason he said, “I thank God I baptized none of you…”

Some followed Peter because he was a pillar in church and popularity Gal 2:7-9

Some followed Apollos because he had eloquence and charisma Acts 18:24-28

Some followed Paul because he had baptized them: 2 Cor 11:2; 1 Cor 1:13-15

4. Paul baptized many people, was he disobeying Christ?

Had Christ repudiated the great commission to baptize all nations? Mt 28:18-19; Mk 16:16?

Paul stated in verse 14 that he did baptize Crispus and Gaius

Paul baptized the jailer’s & Lydia’s households

5. Paul was baptized for the remission of sins: Acts 22:16

6. Paul clearly taught the necessity of baptism: Col 2:12; Gal 3:27; Rom 6:1-7

7. 1 Cor 1:17 is an excellent example of a “not-but” passage (elliptical statement):

“Work not for food which perishes, (only) but for the food which abides” Jn 6:27
“He who believes in Me, does not believe in me (only) but in Him who sent me” Jn 12:44
“You have not lied to man (only) but to God Acts 5:4
“let not your adornment be external: dresses (only) but hidden person of heart” 1 Pe 3:3-4
“do not look out for your own personal interests (only) but also for the interests of others” Phil 2:3
“the husband has not authority over his own body (only) but the wife does” 1 Cor 7:4
“Christ sent me not to baptize (only) but to preach the gospel” 1 Cor 1:17
“It is not you who speaks (only) but your Father who speaks in you” Mt 10:20
“He who receives me, receives not me (only) but Him who sent me” Mk 9:37
“I do not seek My own will (only) but the will of Him who sent me” Jn 5:30
“I labored, but not I (only) but the grace of God with me” 1 Cor 15:10
“women adorn selves not with gold, braided hair (only) but by means of good works” 1 Ti 2:9

8. Tertullian (145-220 AD): “But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said, ‘for Christ sent me not to baptize,’ as if by this argument baptism was done away! For if so, why did he baptize Gains, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas? However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize. But these words were written to the Corinthians in regard of the circumstances of that particular time,- seeing that schisms and dissension’s were agitated among them, while one attributes everything to Paul, another to Apollos. For which reason the peace-making apostle, for fear he should seem to claim all gifts for himself, says that he had been sent ‘not to baptize but to preach.’ For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior. Therefore the preaching came first.- but I think baptizing withal was lawful to him to whom preaching was.” On Baptism, Chap. XIV., Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III., p. 676.

9. We are not of Christ until baptized in the name of Christ: 1 Cor 1:12-13 “I am of Paul/Christ”

  • I am of Paul = Paul crucified for them and they were baptized in the name of Paul
  • I am of Christ = Jesus crucified for us and we are baptized in the name of Christ

 

Christ Did Not Send Me to Baptize

(1 Corinthians 1:17)

By J. Quinn

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void,” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Some teach from this verse that Paul was not sent to baptize. That is obviously correct, for that is what the verse says. Paul was sent to preach the gospel. From this many will continue by suggesting that baptism is not, therefore, a part of the gospel, and since it is not a part of the gospel, it is not essential to salvation (Romans 1:16).

Whatever Paul meant by these words, he could not contradict other passages in the Bible. If he does, his claims of being inspired by God are false. But why did Paul say this?

Some Questions to Think About

If Paul was not sent to baptize, did he sin in baptizing Crispus, Gaius and the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:14, 16)? If Paul had been sent to baptize, would this mean baptism is essential to salvation? John the Baptist was sent to baptize (John 1:33). Was his baptism necessary for salvation? Those under the “Great Commission” were sent to baptize (Matthew 28:18-20). Is the baptism of the “Great Commission” essential to salvation? Did Paul labor under this “Great Commission”?

What the Passage Does Not Say

It does not say that baptism is not part of the gospel. Wherever Paul went, he taught people to be baptized (Acts 16:13-15, 31-34, 18:8, 19:1-6). In telling them to be baptized, was he preaching the gospel of Christ or another gospel? Of course Paul was teaching the gospel when he taught people to be baptized (Galatians 1:6-9).

Jesus said that as a result of the gospel being preached men would know to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:15-16). This shows that baptism is part of the gospel.

It does not say that Paul was thankful there were only a few baptized in Corinth. If he was thankful that only a few were baptized, would he not have been more grateful had none been baptized? If that was the case, then why teach people to be baptized if he was thankful when they weren’t? Believers in Corinth had been baptized, and though Paul had only a minor role in the actual baptism, he had taught them to be baptized (1 Corinthians 1:14, Acts 18:8).

What Paul actually said was that he was glad he had baptized only a few personally and gives the reason (which we’ll look at in a moment). A friend of mine, Wayne Wells, suggests that it is possible that this is an “ellipsis” (an omission of words which must be supplied). If this is the style used in this verse, then the meaning of the verse would be: “Christ sent me not only to baptize, but also to preach the gospel”. There are examples of other elliptical statements in the Bible (cf. John 6:27; 12:44). Whether this is the case or not, at least this does not contradict the Bible’s other teaching about baptism. But the idea that baptism is not a part of the gospel plainly does.

The Context of the Statement

It is more likely that Paul was saying Christ did not send him to personally baptize but he did send him to personally preach. In the context of this passage the Corinthian church was full of division and they need to become one again. Some were claiming to follow Paul, some Cephas, some Apollos and some were following Christ (1 Corinthians 1:12-13). The context indicates that Paul often followed the example of Jesus in teaching baptism but leaving the actual baptizing of new converts to others (cf. John 4:1-2).

Some at Corinth were saying “I am of Paul” (1:12). This kind of attitude is sinful and should never exist among Christians. Paul was thankful that he had not baptized more than he did because he was deeply offended that brethren were using his name in such a way so as to bring division to the body of Christ and rob Christ of His glory (1:13-15).

His job was to go out and preach the gospel, not to go out and baptize people. Baptism alone does no good, but when the gospel is preached, people hear and understand the good news of Jesus and as a result, they are baptized, then they are added by the Lord to His church. No one baptized in the name of Paul is saved, but those baptized in the name of Christ are (Acts 2:38).

Baptism Must be by Faith in Christ

In Mark 16:15-16 the apostles were taught to preach the gospel to the whole world. They were to teach that whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.

In Acts 8:35 Philip taught Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. After teaching Jesus to this man, he knew enough that he asked to be baptized when they came to water (vs 36).

These two passages show that baptism is part of the gospel and is part of the preaching of Jesus. To understand what the purpose of baptism is we must look at these and other verses that tell us.

The full picture is not given in one passage, but we must put all of the Word together to properly understand baptism or any other subject. We must read what Paul wrote concerning baptism in other passages and also see how he and the people that he taught throughout all of his journeys were baptized. To lift this statement out of its context and ignore all the others is silly. Consider, are these the words and actions of a man that believes baptism is not important? (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26,27; Colossians 2:11; 12). Also, what words did Paul hear about baptism when he obeyed the gospel? (Acts 22:16). Those words are the truth about baptism and its purpose.

More on this verse:

A look into 1Corinthians 1:(17)

 

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”

 

Often one will see contrasts drawn by offsetting something affirmed with something negated. In this construction of contrast, the word ‘not’ is made to deny a proposition and the word ‘but’ comes before the something affirmed which directly contrasts the statement before it, for the purpose of emphasis. WHOA–do I even understand what I just said? Let me try that again. In writings, this technique for contrasting has 2 parts. The first part contains the word ‘not’ in order to deny (or negate) whatever is being proposed in that statement. The second part contains the words ‘but’ in order to set the second statement in contrast with the first. This is done for the purpose of emphasizing the second statement, not to completely do away with the first. The first part is negated in order that the second part may be particularly emphasized. One is denied that the other may be affirmed. The contrast is verbal, not absolute.

 

Let us observe some other examples of the same verbal construction.

 

“The Lord said, ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.’ ” (Matthew 6:19-20)

 

Does this mean that one cannot have earthly wealth of any kind? Is Christ teaching that one absolutely cannot accumulate earthly treasures of any kind?–absolutely not. If so, then all Christians are obligated to a state of absolute poverty. If so, then great men of the past that most of us expect to see past the pearly gates probably will not be there due to their earthly wealth (David, Abraham, etc.). Furthermore, there would simply be contradictory concepts presented in scripture. The Prodigal son had a storage of earthly treasure, yet his action of squandering his goods is what is put in a negative light. Christ does not rule out having any sort of earthly wealth. Christ here denies seeking earthly treasures in order to emphasize the importance of seeking treasures in heaven. The point of this reasoning being that Christ says what He says so that it is evident that storing up heavenly treasure is of greater importance than storing up earthly treasure. He does not separate the two. In order to store up treasures in heaven, (among other things) we will have to be good stewards with our earthly treasures–knowing when to store and when to give. ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt 6:33).

 

“Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” (John 6:27).

 

(‘meat that perisheth’ referring to that which nourishes the body) Is Christ hear teaching that it is wrong for one to labor in order to gain ‘meat’ which sustains our bodies of any kind? Does that mean it is absolutely wrong for me to have a job in which I take my wages and buy the ‘meat that perisheth’ in order to feed my body and the bodies of my family?–absolutely not. More importantly, in this verse, Christ has not separated laboring for meat that perishes from laboring for meat which endures. It is the case that in laboring for enduring meat, that we must labor for meat that perishes. “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2Thessalonians 3:10).

 

“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2.)

 

Are we to conclude that it is wrong to be in conformity with any practice of worldly people; if they travel in automobiles, we are to ride in horse-drawn vehicles; if they light their homes with electricity, we must use kerosene lamps; if they wear light-colored clothing, we must wear dark?–absolutely not. There are those who draw such conclusions, absurd as they are. The Bible here denies the conformity to the world in order to emphasize the transformation of the mind. Paul also here does not separate the two. For Paul himself ‘became all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some’ (1Corinthians 9:19-22). So then Paul, even though ‘transformed by the renewing of his mind,’ still had to conform to certain ways of certain men that he might make the impact necessary to bring them to Christ (this, of course, does not mean that we must go out and sin in order to win sinners–I believe a child of God who is a diligent student of the word can plainly see what is helpful to conform to and what is sinful to be in conformity with).

 

Now let’s apply the same reasoning to the original text in question.

 

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”

 

Is Paul saying that it is wrong for him to baptize? Has Paul done away with baptism in this statement?–absolutely not, for we know from the very same text that Paul baptized a number of people. If baptism is done away with, then Paul has clearly sinned, or gone beyond divine authority by baptizing anyone.

 

Has Paul separated baptism from the gospel?—absolutely not. Paul says that his purpose is to preach the gospel. He also gives a list of those he has baptized. Obviously Paul had preached the gospel to these people in Corinth. If Paul preached the gospel to them, why would they wish to be baptized? Where would they learn about baptism other than Paul’s preaching? What was it that Paul preached?–the gospel. So where other than the gospel would they learn about baptism?

Jesus said in Mark 16:15-16 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” If baptism is separate from the gospel, then why would any hearer of the gospel (the ‘he’ of verse 16) ‘believeth and be baptized’? Where would ‘he’ have learned to do these two things other than from what was preached to him? What was it that was preached to him?–the gospel (vs 15). If I am standing there with Jesus, listening to these instructions, then I know that my job is to preach the gospel to everyone. Then Jesus tells me about these people that have heard me preach to them the gospel. He says that ‘he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.’ So then, I must conclude that in my preaching of the gospel, I’ve got to instruct these people about baptism. Now I don’t necessarily have to instruct them about belief, because if they believe the gospel while I’m preaching it to them, then I would be telling them to take a step they’ve already made. So then, if I am to ‘preach the gospel to the whole creation,’ and if ‘he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,’ then I must conclude that preaching the gospel includes preaching baptism. It must be a part of the gospel. Otherwise, the ‘he’ of verse 16 would never know about baptism because I was instructed to preach no more and no less than the gospel. If baptism is not a part of the gospel, and I preach baptism, then I have obviously not followed instructions. But since I am only to preach the gospel, and somehow these hearers of my preaching are to find out about baptism, then obviously preaching the gospel must include those instructions. The best example for this is the story of the ethiopian Eunuch. All we know is that Phillip preached the ‘good news about Jesus’ to the Eunuch. Some translations only say that Phillip ‘preached Jesus.’ It was then, the Eunuch who wanted water baptism immediately. How could the Eunuch have learned about baptism except from Phillip? What was it that Phillip preached to the Eunuch?–the gospel, the ‘good news message.’ So then, preaching the good news about Jesus includes teaching about water baptism. Also, going back to Christ’s last instruction for his disciples. He told them, as we already read, to ‘preach the gospel to the whole creation.’ We read on and find the first gospel sermon after Christ gave these instructions. It was given by Peter in Acts 2. Peter, of course, began with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (for is this not the foundation of the gospel?–>1Cor 15:1-4). When he had proven to them the deity of Christ, and realizing that many of them believed (otherwise they would not have asked ‘what shall we do?’ in vs 37), he told them to repent and be baptized. Now Peter’s instructions were clearly to preach the gospel (according to the text we read in Mark 16:15-16). Now if baptism is separate from the gospel, then Peter did not follow instructions. For this would mean that he was preaching things Christ never told him to preach. So then, one can conclude from logical reasoning that baptism is included in the gospel.

 

SO–Is Paul, in this statement (1Corinthians 1:17), deprecating the meaning of baptism?–absolutely not. If Paul’s intentions were to show that baptism was of little importance, then his reasoning of ‘were you baptized in the name of Paul?’ was of little impact, and did little good. One must remember that the context of the passage concerns division caused by following men. If Paul is to convince them that the important thing is to follow Christ rather than men, then Paul will have to use examples of important matters in which only Christ should be given credit–not men. He begins with (vs 13) “was Paul crucified for you?” Of course, the people of Corinth know that no one other than Christ was crucified for them. Certainly, they know that no one other than Christ could’ve accomplished what he did at the cross. So then, we can easily see the impact of this example, and how it grants all credit to Christ. Next, he says ‘or were you baptized in the name of Paul?’ Now, if Paul has either separated baptism from the gospel in verse 17, or he has made baptism of little importance in verse 17, then this bit of reasoning is of little effect. If baptism is separate from the gospel, then after reading verse 17, the Corinthians probably could’ve cared less whose name they were baptized into. If Paul is lowering the importance of baptism in verse 17, then the Corinthians probably had little concern that they were baptized at all. So then, if Paul’s intentions were to make his point quickly and powerfully, he was either very ignorant in choosing this example, or he did not mean to separate baptism from the gospel, nor did he mean to belittle its importance.

 

We see in Paul’s example in verse 13 that he was talking about the authority of baptism, not the act itself. For he says “was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?'” Remembering once again that the context of the passage is division caused by the following of men, Paul implies the importance of the fact that the authority of (‘in the name of..’) baptism is Christ, and not any man. These divisive Corinthians obviously believed that the person who baptized them was the factor of authority or importance in the matter. Paul implies to them that this is not the case at all. Paul said that he was thankful he did not baptize anymore so that they would not claim their baptism to be in his name. He never said he was thankful he didn’t baptize because baptism actually isn’t that important, but because he did not want there to be any greater division than what there already was. Paul never alludes to the meaning or unnecessary of baptism, but to the insignificance of the person who did the baptizing. Christ is the important one in the matter, not the person who dunked them. They were baptized in the name of Christ, not Paul, or Apollos, etc. One searches the scriptures in vain if he seeks to find conditions, or qualifications laid upon the person who baptizes. It matters not. Whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or me, or Adam, or Noah, or Judas, it does not change what takes place, nor does it alter to whom the credit should be given. Paul says “for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel..”. Notice that Paul said ‘sent me not to baptize.’ This is the verb. The act of baptizing. The act of immersing one in water. It is not the purpose of baptism, but the act ~ not the meaning, or importance, but the task. Paul denies the act of baptizing in order to stress the importance that his purpose is to preach ~ also a verb, not the meaning, or subject of preaching, but the act. Paul says what he does in verses 13-17 to show that Christ is what matters, Christ is to be followed–not man. To take this verse (1Cor 1:17) with the intentions to use it to ‘prove’ that baptism is separate from the gospel and of little importance is to clearly ignore all other factors in the context, as well as to ignore all the factors in many other contexts concerning baptism’s relation to the gospel.

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What if someone believes in a desert and can’t find water or a believer is killed on the way to being baptized, surely both these would be saved.

What if someone believes in a desert and can’t find water or a believer is killed on the way to being baptized, won’t they be saved?

  1. God is God an can extend mercy as He sees fit however we are not God and can only judge on the basis of what God has told us. God drew the line of salvation at baptism. All we can say is that such a person does not have a Biblical hope of salvation.
  2. What about a Muslim in the desert who wants to learn the gospel message to be saved but is killed just before the preacher taught him the message so he could believed in Christ.
  3. These kinds of “what if” arguments prove nothing and don’t change what God has said.
  4. It is interesting to note that sprinkling is practiced today because of a “what if” invalid in 257AD.

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Was Cornelius not saved before baptism as attested to with the baptism of Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48)?

Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized, thus he must have been saved before he was baptized (Acts 10:44-48)

If Cornelius was saved before he was baptized, he was saved before he had faith. Peter began preaching the message of salvation in verse 34 ending in verse 43. The text tells us that while he spoke those words the Holy Spirit fell upon them. The text of Acts 10 does not tell at what point the Holy Spirit fell upon them but only “while Peter was still speaking these words.” However, in Acts 11 where “Peter explained…in order from the beginning” what had happened in Acts 10, we read how he was told by Cornelius that an angel had instructed him to send for Peter “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14). Let us pause to digest this. Cornelius was to hear “words by which you and all your household will be saved.” Then Peter said, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning” (verse 15). So the Holy Spirit fell upon them “as I began to speak” says Peter. So Cornelius had not heard the words of salvation at the point when the Holy Spirit fell upon him and his household.

Someone may ask, “Why was the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on the Gentiles before conversion?” Answer: To persuade the Jews that the Gentiles should receive the same salvation as the Jews received. Those Jews who did not believe that Gentiles could receive the gospel had to be convinced by miracle that Gentiles could be saved through Jesus Christ the same as the Jews who obeyed the gospel. Please read Acts 10:44-48; 11:2, 3, 15-18.

Peter commanded these Gentiles “to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” And we must bear in mind that baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

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