Question:I am sorry you feel the way you do about the Church of the Nazarene, but more so about your hard-lined stance about baptism. By saying "No one is saved without being baptized in water"†you immediately limit the limitless God. You are saying that God cannot save anyone on their death bed, since they cannot get up and be immersed in water. The thief on the cross was not saved by our Lord that day. If you study the whole corpus of scripture you will see that God is alone God and God alone saves, not requisite upon human participation in a ritual.
"There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).
No human is able to limit God, so your argument is facetious. "For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:27). The question has never been about what God could do. The question has always been what God has chosen to do. He could save only people who climb Mt. Everest, but that isn't what He has chosen to do.
Clearly it is Jesus who saves us and it is God who lays down the rules for salvation.
- It is God who said you cannot be saved without Christ. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
- It is God who said you must listen to His teachings to be saved. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
- It is God who said you must believe that teaching. "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).
- It is God who said you must act on that belief by changing your ways (repenting). "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death" (II Corinthians 7:10).
- It is God who said you must be vocal about your belief. "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
- It is God who said you must be baptized to wash away your sins. "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
- And it is God who said you must continue to work on your salvation. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
Seems to me that I'm doing as I must, teaching what God has taught (I Peter 4:11), while you are complaining that you don't want to do the Lord's commands. Limits are not being placed on God, you are limiting yourself from obeying God. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23).