1 Peter 3:21 ESV
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Has it ever bothered you that in the book of Acts, in every single instance of conversion, those being converted were baptized immediately or as soon as possible (as the case in the Philippian jailer-Acts 16)? Probably not, as most here have somewhat violently resisted my position on baptism.
But why? Why did those men who walked physically with Jesus, who ate with him, slept in the same area as him, why did they do it? Jesus even taught them baptism (John 4). Surely, and hear me on this! Surely, if Jesus never intended baptism as an important part of the new birth process he would not have wasted his time.
Why is it that the very first time someone (or someones) in Acts asks the Apostles, "What must we do [to be saved]?" (Acts 2:37) the first thing that Peter said was what?
Acts 2:38 ESV, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Receive the Holy Spirit
No, let's pray a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart...
No, God predestined some here for salvation so he has saved you by grace...
None of that modern church mumbo jumbo I'm so sick of hearing.
REPENT & BE BAPTIZED
Now Peter when later in life wanting to leave a written record of his teaching wrote 1 Peter he included baptism again in the new birth process.
This is where I'm going with this and I again plead with you to read with some discernment before you hit the report button.
Baptism was to the church of Acts what altar calls and the sinner's prayer are to the modern church.
When they preached, they told people get baptized! Much like today preachers tell people, come to the altar, you'll be met by someone that will lead you in a prayer. The modern church has just shifted the event from what scripture says to what is convenient and easier.
We fear someone may be embarrassed to be baptized.
Well if they are too embarrassed to stand and proclaim their faith in front of other believers, how will they ever stand in front of non-believers?!
Jesus did say, those who confess me before men I will confess before my Father, but those who deny me, I will also deny... right?
In a true gospel presentation, baptism was preached as the physical point at which a person's faith in Christ materialized.
In Acts chapter 8, Philip is told by the Holy Spirit... the HOLY SPIRIT to go and talk to the Ethiopian eunuch (horribly shortening the story but most here know it - Acts 8). As the eunuch reads from the scroll of Isaiah about the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) he asks Philip who is being talked about. Picking up in 8:35-40 of Acts:
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
It is plain as day here. During the course of Philip preaching the gospel to this eunuch he mentions baptism (v36). How else would this eunuch know he needed to be baptized? This is probably one of the clearest accounts in the entire New Testament of the importance of baptism. If these men and women who were 1st generation believers, just removed from the ascension of Christ, preached baptism with the gospel how much more should we?
Now, some scriptures include a verse in that passage, verse 37. This is not a textual criticism thread so I'm not going to go into that but for the sake of clarity here, I would like to state that verse.
Acts 8:37 KJV
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Some may use this verse to prove that confession is needed before baptism is administered. Others may counteract with the irrelevence of the text for various reasons, textual basis or whatever. What is important to note about the verse is the eunuch professes his faith before his baptism. But that did not prompt Philip to say ok well you have the important part down, now join with a group of believers and when possible get baptized.
No, he preached the gospel to this eunuch. In the course of the presentation, he mentions baptism in some way. The eunuch upon believing is baptized.
This is what I believe Peter was getting at in both his Pentecost sermon and his epistle. That baptism should be the immediate event of the new convert to publicly profess their faith in Christ. That is why "baptism... now saves you... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." (as I bolded in the headlining text; 1 Peter 3:21) It is because baptism was the immediate event of the early church for new converts to show their faith, just like the altar call and sinner's prayer (and subsequent round of applause/hand shake) are for today's church.
Funny (well actually pretty sad)... I don't read about any altar calls/sinner's prayer in the book of Acts. None. That is after all the only Holy Spirit inspired document on church history to ever exist. Surely if baptism was just some thing that really isn't that important, perhaps not even necessary, it would have been mentioned seldom if ever. But it's not just mentioned once or twice, but at least 9 times (depending on how you read it).
What I'm getting at here is the church needs to return to the way scripture outlines things. Baptism was the way the church of Acts allowed new converts to demonstrate their faith. It was administered immediately, or as quickly as possible, after people professed their intention for salvation.
I plan on getting into the finer details of this topic. Hopefully the discussion can be had in a way that allows all people to discuss their point of view respectfully and not in a dominating manner. Again, I will re-emphasize for clarity sake as I'm sure some probably will want to report this thread, I do not believe baptism is an absolute necessity for salvation. It is a command though, commands are meant to be obeyed. It is a blessing, why should we wait? (Acts 22:16) I'm simply saying, the church in Acts administered baptisms in HUGE numbers immediately, the modern church should too.
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