Baptism Resolved

Growing up as a southern Baptist, I have heard every belly ache regarding the theology of the Christian demoniation on the issue of baptism. This is my attempt to end the on-going conflict (success is not likely seeing that two people read SmittyCity…and that includes myself). Anyway, when the world realizes the nuggets of gold that are waiting to be found in my blog they will all adhere to the doctrine of SmittyCity (some scholars have described my work as more like chicken nuggets). Seriously…Christians and Baptists have battled over whether baptism is salvific for a long time. I really believe that there is a way to reconcile the two theologies so that both sides are happy.

Despite the beliefs that baptism is and is not essential to the salvation of man, Christians and Baptists would both concur that Scripture is clear when it describes baptism as both a public profession of faith and an act of obedience to Jesus. These two things are undebatable…if you hold scripture as infallible. So with these issues in mind we have already found something that we can agree on in relation to baptism. But here’s where it gets funky. When you give your life to Christ, the first act of obedience is to be baptized (…repent and be baptized…). My thought is this: What possible reason could there be for not being baptized as Christ has instructed? There is absolutely no reason in the vast universe that can justify not being baptized at some point after conversion. Fear of water is bogus because fear is not of God; Parents not consenting is lame because God is your ultimate authority…the list goes on. The point is that any excuse for not getting baptized is nothing short of sinful. So according to Scripture, Baptism naturally comes after salvation. The Bible says they go hand in hand (and no, ” hand in hand” is not synonomous with ” essential“). So really, not being baptised is not an option if you truly want to be obedience to the God who just saved you from His wrath. This leads me to my next point. If you choose not to be baptized, for whatever reason, then I feel that your salvation should be called into question. Chill out, and let me explain. Baptism is commanded by the Big Dawg, so to ignore this and elect the opposite is outright, premeditated, unashamed disobedience. Not just normal disobedience, but failing to accomplish the first thing Jesus wanted us to do to show the world of our desicion. I have never run into anyone who feels this way, but if they did…I would wonder if there salvation experience was legitimate. Failing to be baptized is a perfect example of what James is talking about when he says that faith without works is dead. If baptism is willingly avoided, then I believe that it is a clear sign that your faith was never real in the first place. Deciding to put your faith in Christ EQUALS Loving God, which then EQUALS desiring to be obedient, which must then lead to- being obedient in baptism. So for all Christians and Baptists that give a crap: Can we please agree that baptism is a must; and then, can we please all agree that a “believer” who willfully refrains from this act of obedience is a victim of James’ dead faith warnings?

Can’t we all just get along…and for the record…I love Southland Christian Church. I’m out.

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9 Responses

  1. what of the thief on the cross? and what of the person who is baptized and shows no signs of the fruit of regeneration? are they saved? there is a possiblity that a person could do so in you theological proposition.

  2. Smitty,

    I agree, bro, with one exception. The issue for me on baptism comes from those who are physically unable. The thief on the cross is a perfect example. He belived in Christ on the cross, but he, the thief, wasn’t going to be let off the cross before death so he could be baptized. We also know that Christ told him he would be in Paradise(Heaven in Greek). That example makes it clear to me baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, but it is necessary for obedience, as you said. When one becomes a believer, they must get baptized, not to aid in salvation, but to show that their faith, lordship, and salvation truly lie in Christ.
    Now, what if a person on some type of life support accepts Christ? What if they want to be baptized? What if they want to be obedient, but their physical condition doesn’t allow them to leave the hospital to get baptized? Do they go to Heaven? I say yes. Those on the other side of the argument say no. Brother man this is a huge statement to make. I cannot and I will not compromise in my beliefs as they are deeply rooted in accurate study of Scripture. Therefore, the issue of baptismal regeneration is NOT resolved, as you claim it to be. The issue, at least in my feeble mind, isn’t whether or not you should get baptized. It is what happens if you physically can’t. Your answer to that question determines your whole outlook on salvation. If one who is physically inable to be baptized can get into Heaven, not getting baptized, regardless of your excuse, will still allow you entrance into Heaven if you accept Christ. Not getting baptized is a sin like all others that the Lord can and will forgive. I will always say that one should be baptized if at all possible, but if not, one can still enter Heaven. On the other hand, if you believe that not getting baptized keeps you out of Heaven, you disagree with me and with Christ. This person would tell me that even though the person’s heart and body wanted to be obedient, he couldn’t be in Heaven because of some “work” that his body was physically unable to partake. The root issue of baptismal regeneration is not solved. Both will agree baptism needs to be done if one confesses Christ, but each will differ in the ends to the means of baptism. We are still left with the question, “Is baptism necessary for salvation?”

    Jon Canler

  3. To answer anonymous, just because one gets baptized doesn’t mean he or she is saved. The issue here assumes one is true in faith in Christ alone. Matthew 7:21-24 tells us that many people will stand before Christ on the day of judgement telling him of all their good deeds, baptism included here though not mentioned in the Scripture since Christ was giving a few possiblities, yet will be rejected from Heaven because they didn’t know Him, because they didn’t have faith in Him. Just because you are baptized doesn’t mean you will enter Heaven. One must have a relationship with Christ through faith. Like I said earlier, our issue with baptismal regeneration already assumes one has faith or a relationship previously established. I hope this helps.

    Jon Canler

  4. Jon and anonymous,

    you both have good points, but you are thinking too hard. yes, of course God is just and sovereign and he will save anyone who puts thier faith in Him that can’t physically make it to to water just like he did for the thief on the cross. I did not address that situation because that is not my focus. but of course, you did not know my direct intentions because i did not make them clear. sorry.

    anonymous: james is clear in that what we do in life proves who we really are, despite our claims. baptism is an action, yes, but it is ultimately a claim. you never heard me say that baptism was essential, my point was that a lack of baptism is grounds for questioning. but…you knew that… you just wanted to cause trouble.

    Ephesians 2 doesn’t mention baptism. And if i wrote an abstract, it wouldn’t mention baptism as anything more than an act of obedience and public profession either.

    …and just for the record…”Resolved” was meant to be sarcastic.

  5. i am the instigator…and anonymus i shall remain…nice piece on reggie, you got to love a guy who is in the same fish tank for so many years

  6. oh, just in case you cared…

    I was having a discussion with a close friend from a christian church. we have some mutual friends who refuse to be baptized, yet claim to be saved. One’s reasoning for not being baptized is so he can prove that it is not essential. The other feels that it is pointless. I was addressing situations similar to these.

    God is sovereign in salvation…period.

  7. I love you Smitty, and i wholeheartedly agree with that one, which is a scary thing!

  8. Smitty,

    i know we both agree that baptism is a form of confession (profession…either one) to the world that christ is your savior. Knowing this wouldn’t you agree that baptism is similar to sharing your faith or declaring boldly that you believe in Jesus? If the ultimate purpose of baptism is to result in the proclaiming of what christ has done in your life, what makes it any different than witnessing verbally or sharing your faith? Isn’t baptism just a means to an end (i mean: a way to profess christ). Would i be accurate in saying ‘the command isn’t to be emmersed in water, but to publicly make one’s faith known’? If so, don’t you think that the issue that God is really addressing(“repent and be baptised for the remmission of sins”) is the idea of public confession and not the technicallity of complete emmersion? Maybe i am off base. But at least it is a thought to toss around.

    Give me a little feedback.

    –my liege

  9. Smitty,

    I’m back from China, and God was incredible. I was thinking about your blog during the 15 hour flight to Hong Kong, and I read Romans 3. Romans 3 told me that we should not commit sin to show God’s justice. We should not willfully choose to disobey the command of baptism, which is sin if you are a believer, in order to prove that God is a just God who will deliver salvation without baptism. I think your friend is making a big mistake by testing God. He should get baptized.

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