Question:

How can you explain to someone that that the the gospels, and they say Acts, were written to the Jews while Paul's writings were to the Gentiles? I've been studying with a person and he believes the Jews had to be baptized, but the Gentiles did have to. He says nothing is said about water baptism in Paul's writings. I baptized him four years ago and he left the church and has finally agreed to study with me. He believes we do not need baptism now, just call on the name.


Answer:

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).

A very common tactic used when a person cannot face the truth that is in the Bible is to artificially divide the teaching. It is actually a denial of the inspiration of the Scriptures because he is claiming that Paul taught different things to the Gentiles than Peter taught to the Jews.

That he claims that the Gospels were only to the Jews demonstrates how little he understands the four books. All you have to do is go to Luke 1:1-3 and note that this is a letter written to Theophilus. Theophilus is a Greek name. Actually, only Matthew was written for a Jewish audience. Mark was directed toward the Romans, Luke toward the Greeks, and John toward Christians. See "The Four Gospel Accounts" for details.

Was baptism only for the Jews? Then he needs to explain Peter's command regarding Cornelius' household -- a Gentile household -- ""Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:47-48).

Paul taught that there was only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). Baptism was something that all Christians experienced (Romans 6:3-7) as it was the only way into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). From the discussions in Acts 11 and Acts 15 we know that being baptized by the Spirit was a rare event, not something that every or even most Christians experienced. See "Cornelius Was Given the Spirit" for details.

Paul was baptized to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). He speaks of the baptism that all Christians participate in as removing sin (Romans 6:3-7) and making a person a new man. He refers to the washing of regeneration in Titus 3:4-5. He mentioned "that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). Notice that! Christ set His people apart and cleansed them by the washing of water!

So this man also fails this test as well. Paul does speak of baptism in water.

Finally, the idea of calling on the name of the Lord is found in "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). How did Paul call on the name of the Lord? He arose, was baptized and washed away his sins. Calling on the Lord's name is another way to say you are voluntarily submitting to the Lord's authority. See "All in a Name" for more details.

Finally there is the Lord Jesus' own command: "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" (Matthew 28:19). Disciples were made from all nations, not just the Jews through the means of baptism.