Baptism – Romans 6:3

 
We have been looking at some of the distinctive marks of the churches of the Lord. We need to do this in order to know how to avoid those which are NOT the Lord’s churches. We need to make this study so that unto God may be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

The Bible teaches that only saved or regenerated people
should be baptized and received into the church.
Generally speaking, Catholics and Protestants baptize everyone who comes to them, including newborns. But who did John the Baptist baptize? (Those who demonstrated the fruit of repentance.) Where did John get his authority to baptize? Should we assume that his insistence on conversion was from the same source as his authority? Did John ever say anything about baptism and the idea of relationships to saintly ancestors? Both he & Christ told the Jews that their relationship to Moses and Abraham, didn’t make them saints.

According to John 4:1 what kind of people did the Lord Jesus baptize? (Disciples.) When one thing is specifically commanded or authorized, does this permit us to become more general? If I said I want this room painted red, does that mean I want red with blue stripes? What did the Lord say about baptism when He spoke about “he that believeth and is baptized”? In the Great Commission when the Lord used the word “teach” all nations, what does that word mean? It means “disciple” or “make disciples.” And what does that commission say? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and o the Holy Ghost.” Who are supposed to be baptized?

What kind of people were they whom the apostles baptized on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:41 – “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” What did Philip require of the Ethiopian Eunuch before he would consider baptizing him? What made Peter tell his friends at the house of Cornelius that they should go ahead with his baptism?

From Ephesians 4:31, why is it important that only saved people be admitted into church membership?

One of our Baptist distinctives, obviously, is baptism.
How precise would you say that the Bible is about baptism? How precise would you say that Christendom is about baptism? How precise should Christians be about baptism? “The Bible teaches that baptism is a specific act, instituted for the expression of specific truths; to be administered by a specific body, to persons possessing specific qualifications.” What happens when one of these specifics is missing? When the ordinances are not observed as Christ commanded, rather than obeyed, they are perverted.

How careful was the Lord in choosing to use the word “baptism?” What did that original word mean in the language in which it was given to His churches? “Baptizo” never had but one meaning; what is it? “To dip, or plunge under water.” All competent Greek Lexicons, give but one definition, and, therefore, immersion in water was the act the Lord specifically commanded; By specifying this one specific act, how much leeway did He give men for modifying baptism? Do the Masons, Elks, Moose or chipmunks have Christ’s authority to baptize? Does a Christian society, which is not a true church of Christ, have authority to baptize? Does any professed church have authority to not immerse and yet to still call it Christ’s baptism? Does anyone have Christ’s authority to baptize people whom Christ didn’t authorize to be baptized?

Is sincerity and personal satisfaction about baptism sufficient to make that Christian baptism? In Acts 19 there were a number of professing Christians, who were completely satisfied with their baptism. Was Paul satisfied with their baptism? Did they convince Paul not to baptize them? Just as John was a “baptizer,” what might we call Paul, in this case?

How well do you remember what I taught you a couple months ago about the rebaptism of the men in Acts 19? A great many good Baptists and friends of mine, believe that these men were not saved. What proof of that is there in this scripture? What indication is there that these men had been trusting Christ before coming to Ephesus? We are not told that Paul gave them the gospel at this time, or that they were just now turning to Christ. Why were these people rebaptized? Because there was no scriptural authority involved when they were first baptized. The immersion by a traveling preacher, without the vote of any church, was not valid baptism, and Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, baptized them. This has been the authority quoted by Anabaptists through the years to justify them in baptizing those immersed by unscriptural organizations, And those who oppose them are forced to deny that these Ephesian disciples were rebaptized. Were these people rebaptized?

Modern Baptist churches have gotten away from something which used to be universally practiced. At the time of a person’s baptism, the candidate was asked about his personal faith in Christ. But he was also asked if he accepted the doctrines of the church which was baptizing him. Historians say that from the third century and onward – the “catechumens” – those applying for baptism – were required to repeat a short form of the church doctrinal statement, and then the question was invariably asked: “Wilt thou be baptized into this faith?” In other words: Do you profess to receive, will you hold this faith, and rest your salvation upon it? Only upon the candidate answering “I will” was baptism administered. When the apostate churches perverted the rite of baptism to “a sacrament” and a “seal” of salvation, and gave it to unconscious babies in order to secure their salvation, they invented sponsors, and godfathers, and godmothers, to answer on behalf of the infant.

This is the still the practice of most of Christendom. For example the ANGLICANS still retain this custom. They ask: “Dost thou believe all the articles of the Christian faith as contained in the apostolic creed?” Answer by sponsor for the infant) “I do.” “Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?” “That is my desire.”

The GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH is probably the oldest apostate denomination today. It requires that all its subjects personally, or by sponsors, to be baptized into this faith, as the ground of salvation: “We believe that baptism is a sacrament appointed by the Lord, which, except a person receive, he has no communion with Christ; from whose death, burial, and resurrection proceed all the virtue and efficacy of baptism. We are certain, therefore, that both original and actual sins are forgiven to those who are baptized in the manner which our Lord requires in the gospel; and that whoever is washed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is regenerated cleansed and sanctified.” There is no mistaking this language. The baptismal rite is God’s appointed channel by which He conveys the grace of salvation to the soul, and is therefore called a “sacrament,” without which there can be no salvation.

The ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH teaches this, and requires all baptized in her communion to profess it. “Baptism is a sacrament instituted by our Savior to wash away original sin, and all those we may have committed; to communicate to mankind the spiritual regeneration and grace of Jesus Christ, and to unite them to the living Head.

“If any man shall say that baptism is not essential to salvation, let him be accursed . . . In baptism, not only our sins are remitted, but all the punishment of sins and wickedness” . . . (Council of Trent).

Now compare these with the CAMPBELLITE’S purpose in baptism. “Immersion is the means divinely appointed for the actual enjoyment of the first and great blessings.” – Alexander Campbell – Millennial Harbinger. “Remission of sins can not be enjoyed by any person before immersion.” “Belief of this testimony is what impelled us into the water, knowing that the efficacy of his blood is to be communicated to our consciences in the way which God has pleased to appoint; we stagger not at the promise, but flee to the sacred ordinance [water of baptism] which brought the blood of Jesus in contact with our consciences. Without knowing and believing this, immersion is as a blasted nut—-the shell is there, but the kernel is wanting” (Christian Baptist, p. 521). The so-called “Church of Christ” baptize into the same faith the Catholics do. In fact they even more strongly emphasize the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Alexander Campbell asserts that the sinner can only come to Christ through water; that he can only reach the blood of Christ by being immersed into the water; and that immersion and regeneration are terms meaning the same thing. Campbellites, therefore, unite with the apostate teachers of Christianity in placing water before blood; thus bringing an unpardoned, unregenerated sinner to water baptism, as a sacrament of salvation. Can a true church of Christ indorse this doctrine, by receiving those baptized by Catholics and Campbellites as scripturally baptized? What about accepting the baptism of Baptist churches which accept Church of Christ baptism?

What about the METHODISTS? Remember that the founder of the Methodist church was a member of the church of England. Their doctrine on baptism was copied almost verbatim from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer: John Wesley wrote: “Our church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy, are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole office for the baptism of infants proceeds upon this supposition.” Into what do Methodists baptize adults? “By baptism, we who are by nature children of wrath, are made the children of God.” “By water, then, as a means we are regenerated or born again.” Here is a statement copied from one of the Methodist magazines: “Baptism, too, has been unnecessarily deferred, not only in case of children, but sometimes postponed to an indefinite period in the case of adults. The practice of requiring a public profession of regeneration before baptism, has resulted in evil, and that the design of the sacrament is perverted, and the people encouraged to expect the divine blessing without the use of means, [i.e., baptism]. We call attention to these evils, that we may seek diligently to remove them.”

Here is a statement from the PRESBYTERIAN “Shorter Catechism” Q – What is a sacrament? A. – A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein n the receiving of which] by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the New Covenant are represented, sealed and applied to believers. Q. – Now the covenant of grace is worthless to any one, unless it is sealed and applied to him. Therefore, unless the sacrament is received, none of the benefits of Christ”s death can be enjoyed by any one. This is clear. Now, what ordinances are sacraments? A. – The sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord”s Supper. Q. – What is baptism? A. – Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost to be a sign and seal of engrafting into himself of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit of adoption, and resurrection unto everlasting life.”

Now, here is a Baptist statement from 1120 AD
This was 500 years before the first Protestants – Luther or Calvin. “A third work of the Antichrist consists in this, that he attributes the regeneration of the Holy Ghost unto the mere external act, baptizing infants into that faith, teaching that thereby baptism and regeneration must be had; on which principle he bestows orders, and, indeed, grounds all his Christianity, which is contrary to the Word of the Holy Scriptures.”

Baptists today which receive the baptism of Protestant churches have, according to our Baptist ancestors, accepted the doctrine and practice of the Antichrist,

Here is a statement from one of their confessions of faith. Article 7. – We believe in the ordinance of baptism. The water is the visible external, which represents to us that, which by virtue of God”s invisible operation, is within us, the renovation of our mind and the mortification of our members through faith of Jesus Christ; and by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God”s people, previously professing and declaring our faith and change of life.”

This is what Baptists like us believe. And by this simple test human societies, and all counterfeit churches, can be easily distinguished from the churches of Christ. In the false churches, water is put before blood, and the church before Christ; In the true churches, Christ is put before the church, and blood before water.

Conclusions
Where there is no scriptural baptism, there are no scriptural churches of Christ, no scriptural ordinations, no scriptural ministers, no scriptural ordinances. If immersion is the mode of baptism which Christ received, used, and commanded for baptism, then Pedobaptist societies are without baptism, and, consequently, are not churches. And no true Baptist church will receive their baptism as a scriptural ordinance. If baptism is not a “seal,” nor the law of pardon, nor a “sacrament” of salvation, but an act by which we profess the saving faith we possess, and in which we symbolize the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, then it must be admitted that Baptists, alone, truly baptize, and the immersions of other denominations are in no sense baptisms, and should not be indorsed as valid.