Examining and answering some hardline Church of Christ myths and false teachings
SOURCE: THE BAPTISMS OF THE BIBLE
The Baptism of John– Repentance
The Baptism of Jesus– Anointing, begins ministry of prophet and priesthood
The Baptism of Fire– Purifying or judgment
The Baptism of Moses– Deliverance of the nation Israel
The Baptism of the Cross (or Cup)- The suffering of death for our sins
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit– Being saved and put in the body of Christ also for service.
The Believers Baptism– Identification with Christ by water baptism.
Baptism is to identify with a person, a group of people or the message.
The Baptism of John – Matt. 3:6-11.(repentance)
The water was symbolic of the Kingdom of God which John was preaching. When a person was baptized by John, he was identification with the coming Messiah and his kingdom. The new believer was “identified” with Johns message of repentance, they then became part of the believing remnant, it was the person who was the messiah they were looking forward to.
To be baptized by John was a spiritual identification a visible sign of their repentance ,Johns proclamation was the coming “Kingdom of God” and to prepare oneself by repenting to prepare their heart.
Acts 13: 24: “Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.”
All the apostles except one were baptized by John and following his ministry. (the exception is Paul who saw the risen Christ) Acts 1: 21 “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
The Baptism of Jesus
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and began his ministry after he was consecrated Luke 3: 21
Acts 10:38 tells us that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. As a human, He was in submission to God to fulfill all righteousness and was anointed for His ministry like all priests.. He received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit for His public mission. ( Acts 10:38 ). Jesus was divinely consecrated for the work of redemption, being an eternal priest from the order of Melchizedek. In Matt. 3:15, Jesus tells us that His baptism was ‘to fulfill all righteousness.” The basic action of baptism is identification, so Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law. The Levitical Law required that all priests were to be consecrated when they began their ministry at about 30 years of age). He being a man needed, to be anointed like the prophets of old. He Identified with the believing remnant and also with sinners even though he was not one also with mankind (sinners even though he was not one) (1 Cor. 5:21; Matt.3:11 ).
Remember he was introduced as the lamb to take away the sins of the world. This was a unique baptism because it had nothing to do salvation but a submission to the will of God. He Identified himself with the preaching of the Kingdom and repentance by John the Baptizer. ( Matt. 3:1-2 ) Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law, to fulfill all righteousness.
The Baptism of Fire
There are two views on what the baptism of fire means: There is a judgment coming at the 2nd Coming of Christ when all nonbelievers are taken from the earth. Jesus taught several parables in reference to the end of time when believers and unbelievers will be separated Mt.25 the sheep from the goats. They will join the unbelievers from all time in hell who are waiting for the Last Judgment (The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev. 20). This occurs at the end of the Millennium when they are resurrected and put back in their bodies and put in the lake of fire. The Bible teaches that this baptism is for unbelievers in judgment.
SOURCE: It is interesting to note that the Churches of Christ often “write-off” the doctrine of justification by faith alone simply because they are convinced it is a “Calvinist” doctrine.
Church of Christ evangelist Gene Taylor of Centerville Road Church of Christ of Tallahassee Florida wrote the following in his introduction to the doctrine of Calvinism:
“Whenever someone contends that a) faith is a gift from God b) affirms that he has been saved by faith only c) embraces false teachings about the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in the conviction and conversion of sinners d) and believes it is impossible for a child of God to sin and be eternally lost, he has fallen victim to the Calvinist system of doctrine.”
This is amazing because when one compares these points with the actual teachings of Calvinism and the “free-will” (i.e. Arminianism) view, one would think the only difference between the two from what Mr. Taylor writes is the “P” of TULIP and the perseverance of the saints.
In other words, the Churches of Christ may be surprised to learn that BOTH Calvinists and “free-will” types believe in the doctrine of the fall AND the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
However, what is actually debated between Calvinists and “free-will” types is not the dynamics of the fall nor the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, but rather how resistible God’s grace is to man- i.e. the doctrine of election.
Here, the point of contention is that if God calls you- must you respond positively to His gospel, or in the finial analysis does man reserve the ability within himself to reject the God and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and thus be lost and eternally condemned?
At this point the Arminian will say yes to “free-will” while the Calvinist answers no.
However, it is the “Pelagian” or Church of Christ view that is being argued against here.
Pelagianism rejects the doctrine of the fall and rejects the teaching that man has a “sin nature” or predisposition to sin and to do evil. In contrast it believes that man has the ability within himself to respond positively to all the necessary moral and religious commands and laws of God in order to be saved.
Thus, making the same assumption about human ability, the Church of Christ therefore rejects the doctrine of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ, believing anyone can be saved through “Patternism” or in other words, their own New Testament law-keeping.
Again, both Calvinists and Arminians or “free-will” types reject this view.
Both believe that because man is fallen, has a sinful nature, and therefore lacks the moral and religious ability to save himself “by New Testament Law-Keeping”, the only hope for sinful man is to place faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him alone to do what we could not possibly do in our own sinful selves.