Question:

I suggest you read Ephesians 2:8-10 and pray about your erroneous attack on The Church of the Nazarene.

We are saved by the precious blood of Christ, not by being dipped in water. There are some, after all, who do not have the opportunity to be baptized immediately (the thief who died next to Jesus), and there are some who cannot physically be baptized (the elderly or the infirmed).

I believe baptism should be carried out in obedience to the Lord, in that regard it is important ó but, youíre going over the line in stating that they are absolutely not saved unless they are baptized. There are a lot of people who are baptized that do not lift a finger for the Lord, who do not even identify themselves with the Lord. Maybe you should stop being so dogmatic and religious and ask the Lord for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. †††††

Again, we are saved by grace, through faith in the atoning work of Christ. I believe the church needs to quit the sniping and start working together to reach the lost for Christ. If you are in ministry and do not understand this, then I believe you need to touch base with the Lord so He can reorient you.

Godís fresh blessings upon you ... Iím praying the church will desist with these petty disagreements and focus down on our true mission.


Answer:

"And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:17-19).

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

You falsely portray your argument as an either or proposition, claiming that if a person is saved by the blood of Christ then he cannot be saved by baptism. The two quotes above are made by the same apostle. Peter understood that we are saved from our sins both by the blood of Christ and by baptism.

"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).

Baptism's power comes not from the water, but from the resurrection of Jesus. Paul explains how this works:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).

That is why Ananias told Paul, "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).

I'm sorry that you belong to a denomination that denies the teaching of God. Meanwhile, I'll continue to teach the Bible, which is the mission of the church. "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). I certainly won't be joining you in leaving people lost in their sins, but you are welcome to join the saints in showing sinners the way Jesus said leads them out of sin.

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Thanks for your reply, but I think we may have misread each other. Baptism is a high priority part of my ministry, I believe in it and lead converts to the waters of baptism.

You do not know me, therefore, you cannot make superficial assumptions about me, nor I of you. In line with Godís word, you will notice that Peter stated ďrepentanceĒ first, then baptism. Baptism has no power apart from genuine repentance, that surely must come first. Baptism is the appointed ďnext stepĒ in the grace of salvation; asking Christ into oneís heart is the first thing that must happen.

People do not come to the Lord to be baptized, they come to be forgiven and to establish a relationship with Him so that they can live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Again, baptism, in obedience to Godís word, comes next. I certainly hope that you do not randomly baptize people who have not been ďborn againĒ by the blood of Jesus.

Again, I refer to the thief on the cross, who by faith believed and was told, by our Lord, that he would be in paradise with him. I see no where in the word that states this man was ever baptized.

Iím sorry you had a negative experience in the Church of the Nazarene, for the church that I know teaches the necessity of baptism after the convert has made a profession of faith. Iím not leading anyone astray, Iím a committed servant of Christ, as you are, with a heart to reach the lost and make disciples of all who come to Christ.

I wish you well in your ministry. I do not want this to become a forum of negativism, for that does nothing to advance the cause of Christ.

The writer of Hebrews sums up my heart exactly...

Hebrews 10:22-24

With that I will sign off and wish you grace and peace in your calling.

I see nothing in your notes which indicates a misunderstanding. You claim that baptism ought to be done, but is not connected with salvation. You claim that the blood of Christ saves, but you don't believe that salvation came to every person at the time Jesus shed his blood. You know that belief by the individual is necessary. You claim that we are saved by the grace of God, but you don't believe that salvation came when God sent his Son. You know that repentance is required for salvation.

The difference between you and I is that you think a person is saved at some point prior to baptism. Which point doesn't matter to you so long as it is before baptism. I listed out several verses which all state that baptism saves. None says that baptism alone saves and I don't know any who makes such claims. But baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation because God said that it is at that point sins are removed.

"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Romans 6:4-6).

The use of the thief on the cross has ineffectively been used as an argument against baptism for centuries. The event doesn't prove your point. Yes, the account doesn't mention he was baptized, but at the same time you cannot prove he wasn't. See "What about the thief on the cross? for a detailed discussion of this line of argumentation.

"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

If you are going to claim to be a committed servant of Christ, you better start doing as Christ commanded, which includes baptizing people so they can become disciples. "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John ..." (John 4:1).