Question:How does one get saved who cannot physically be submersed?† I didnít look up your references, but is seems to me (by skimming through your article of why you left the Church of the Nazarene) that the main reason you left is you believe you are saved by baptism by submersion only?† Am I correct in this or did I not read it correctly.† Please do not give me references if my above conception is wrong about what you are saying, just what you believe in a few simple sentences and how it is different than the Church of the Nazarene.
I hope you don't mind my answering your question concerning brother Bronger's article "Why I Am Not a Nazarene." I'm sorry that you did not take time to read the Scriptures cited in the article. I must state up front that I cannot comply with your request to answer in my own words. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).
The Scriptures teach that there is only one baptism in effect for the church (Ephesians 4:5). The Church of the Nazarene teaches that there are two: baptism by the Holy Spirit which is required to be considered saved and baptism by water which is considered to be optional.
What we find in the New Testament is that baptism by the Holy Spirit was rare. There are only two cases recorded (Acts 2 and Acts 10). It should be noted that in the second case, that of Cornelius and his household that even after the Spirit came upon them, Peter still commanded water baptism. ""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). It should also be noted that Peter's statement in Acts 11:15-16 indicates that the baptism by the Holy Spirit was something only seen at the beginning (Acts 2) and with Cornelius' household (Acts 10). The implication is that those saved between those two events and since that time did not experience a baptism by the Holy Spirit.
When the Ethiopian eunuch was converted, we read: "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then 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." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:36-39).
When Paul talked about Christ saving his people, he said: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:25-26).
When Peter talked of how Christians are saved, he said: "... who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 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 3:20-21).
Your contention that if someone cannot be immersed in water that this would prove baptism in water cannot save is invalid. Stating that you think there is an exception to the rule doesn't make God's rule no longer applicable. Personally, I have yet to run across a case where a person could not believe and be immersed. I do know it is possible for a person to put off becoming a Christian too long and they might try to make amends at the last moment. All I'm able to say is that those cases are for God to judge, not I. In the meantime I'm restricted to only teach what God wants taught. It is He who states that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16) and thus I so teach.
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