I just discovered your web site's "questions and answers" page and felt that of the few that I read, the answers were extremely factual and reliable, though I must admit, with one exception!
I just finished reading the one from a girl whose father is a Muslim, though she states she is a Christian and though she believes she is supposed to be baptized, she doesn't know how to do it since she is being restricted by her father. Apparently her father will not allow such a thing and, thus, the girl finds herself in a terrible dilemma as she is wondering whether she is truly a Christian or not since she hasn't been baptized.
I have to say I was amazed at your response to her because being a Christian myself, in my late seventies and with almost 60 of those years as a Christian, I feel I do have some feedback I'd like to give you. You may not like what I say, but that is your choice, I only ask that you read what I have to say in the spirit it is intended.
For one thing overall, I found your words to the girl very cold and dismissive in the way that you repeated scriptures in writing, as though that was something she as a new Christian would have the same 'wisdom' as yourself in the understanding of them. Remember, a new Christian should be given the "milk of the word," not the 'meat' since they obviously do not have the same understanding as someone who has been of the faith for many years as I'm sure you have!
That's the first thing! Next I would say that you offered virtually no suggestions that would actually help her with her problem i.e. baptism and her Muslim father, so that's why I felt you were dismissive with her.
I think at the very least, you could have shown some concern and compassion and perhaps asked her to contact you in order to find a way of helping her, since most Christians coming from a Muslim family or background I would think need to be rescued. I believe since Shariah law dictates that the Christian be put to death through an honor killing. Didn't that thought occur to you? Didn't you feel compelled to help her in some way since she seemed to be crying out for help. Why would you dismiss her and put the burden back on her?
Besides all that, you confused her by not addressing the issue of baptism correctly as stated in the Bible. We know that we are to be baptized in a symbolic manner of death, burial and resurrection of a new life in Christ. But where you get the idea that this girl should bear this huge burden alone when it's not even necessary. We are exhorted to be baptized, but that is not a pre-requisite to being saved! If baptism was essential to salvation then I'm afraid there are a whole lot of people who have been on death's door accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, yet are destined to hell because their salvation apparently isn't sealed through the physical act of baptism.
What you probably don't accept is that baptism is an exhortation, not the law, or a pre-requisite, if it were, then I guess Jesus lied to the thief on the cross when he promised him he'd be with Him in paradise that day! But no such thing is the case the thief, as Jesus promised would be with Him that day! This is proof from the Bible that even unto death (as the thief was) a person still can receive salvation. But you never explained that to the young girl?
There are many cases where a sinner has been led to the Lord and has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, but because of their circumstances they have not had the ability at that time (or maybe ever) to be baptized in water.
Now having said all this, I'm going to let myself off the hook and give you the benefit of the doubt. You may know something that I don't know and perhaps have had more contact with the girl. Or maybe you have more information that was not stated in the Q&A presentation? If that's the case then I humbly apologize, but if it's as it was presented in the write-up, then I think you were dead wrong in the way you handled that young girl's dilemma. Nevertheless, I do commend you in your work as I was impressed with the other ones that I read about.
Thank you for your indulgence in reading this and I hope you won't take offense as certainly none was intended. I also pray that God will richly bless your ministry, so keep up the good work.
I find it sad that a person calling herself a Christian thinks it is in poor taste to cite Scriptures. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). So let's first note that you gave your opinions, but those opinions are worthless not being support by the teachings of Christ and the apostles.
Of course, the reason you did not like the citations was the fact that they showed holes in your personal beliefs. True, I do believe ordinary people, including teenagers, can pick up their Bibles and understand what their Creator said. "If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)" (Ephesians 3:2-4). What was cited was not deep, nor philosophical. It was a part of the fundamentals of Christianity. "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Hebrews 6:1-2). Truth doesn't have to be explained away, it needs only to be pointed out.
I receive notes from all over the world, including from people in Muslim controlled countries. The practical matter is that I can't help a child I cannot reach nor even have a clue as to where she is in the world. I do understand Muslim law that is why people have to make up their own mind about whether to put their life at risk. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26).
The real difficulty that you have with the answer I gave is because you deny that baptism is required to be a Christian and to be saved from sin.
- "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11-12).
This young woman had read the Bible and knew what you seek to deny -- God requires baptism for salvation. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). I'm sorry that you don't believe what Jesus said, but your unbelief doesn't change the truth.
Your conclusion is correct. A lot of people have been given a false sense of security in thinking that can be saved in a way never taught by God. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:13-15).
Regarding the argument about the poor thief on the cross, see: What about the thief on the cross? I don't teach Baptist philosophy. I teach the Bible and as I stated at the beginning of my answer to the young lady, that means I'm not allowed to alter it (I Peter 4:11).
Even though I told you I did not mean any offense, you nevertheless took offense. That shows me what kind of person you are. I find it sad from someone who calls himself a Christian and proceeds to cite even more scriptures to deflect from the criticism I made. Not what I would expect from a minister of the gospel.
I stand exactly by my assertion that your reply to that girl was cold and dismissive. If you don't like what I said then you have a problem with not being able to take constructive criticism of any kind. It's obvious by your words that you don't. What, are you so perfect that there's no way you could possibly make a blunder now and then? It must be very lonely where you are in that ivory tower of yours.
I thought I was being very sincere and polite to you, but you are so egotistical that you cannot stand even the mildest form of criticism. You may be a minister of the gospel but that in no way puts you above everyone else, so you need to do some serious soul searching.
Oh well, anyone who feels they can never be called to task about anything is indeed suffering from a huge ego in my opinion. Quite frankly, I think a good dose of humble pie would do you the world of good!
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?" (James 4:11-12).
The citation of Scripture cannot deflect truth, since it is truth (John 17:17). If the Scriptures I cited interfere with your criticism, then the only conclusion is that your criticisms are contrary to the teachings of God. As Paul stated, "Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16).
What has happened is that you didn't have an answer to the points made from God's Word; therefore, to soothe your conscience you decided that if you tear down the messenger, then you must be right -- as if who delivers the message of God makes any difference. "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?" (I Corinthians 3:5).
"Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things" (Romans 2:1-2).