A Good Article on Acts 22:16

Hyper-conservative Church of Christ teachers will point to Acts 22:16 as a major proof that a person is saved in the act of baptism.  

However, I found a very interesting and informative article by a man named Lanny Tanton that breaks out all the different doctrinal points of view on this passage specifically.  It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the major arguments, and while there is a conclusion, the information seems pretty unbiased.  

Go visit that article and then comment here on what you thoughts, if you will.

Here is the link.

Nathan

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126 thoughts on “A Good Article on Acts 22:16

  1. What’s funny is the fact that the baptist and the CoC really believe the same thing. They both believe in confessing Christ, repenting and being baptized (oh, by immersion of course). Sounds simple, but they place so much emphasis on what one must mentally believe concerning the doctrine of baptism.

    When you really really think about it, with all the folks out there who do not know the Lord……..its pretty stupid.

    In the end, our private interpretations of scripture are nothing but mere opinions that can not be fully relied upon.

  2. I agree JP
    And what is really stupid is the true sinful attitudes that arise when people begin to discuss these things… getting angry, calling names, etc etc etc
    I don’t believe that Christ is pleased at all. And I DO believe that Satan is satisfied with the disention (sp?) he has been able to cause among people who should be out spreading the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.

  3. Martin Luther called the book of James “an epistle of straw”. Not because James’ writings conflict with the rest of scripture, but because it conflicted with the beliefs Luther had already come to.

    The author of that article, and the man he initially talks about are much like Luther. Acts 22:16 is only a problem because they believed in “faith only” salvation. Notice the fear the author shows when he says, “was the Churches of Christ position the correct one?”

    That isn’t a thought he is comfortable with so he goes into this long explanation of why it can’t be so. The effort is not to understand a passage that conflicts with his beliefs, but to explain it away.

    Like so many here, he keeps referring to baptism as a human work and speaks of faith as if it isn’t. In John 6:29 Jesus said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent”. Someone needs to tell Jesus He is wrong.

    The biggest problem is that the author is contending that a person is saved at the moment of faith, yet they still need to call on the Lord to have their sins forgiven. When we’re saved our past sins are forgiven. His theory is in complete conflict with the Bible. If Paul was saved on the road to Damascus he certainly didn’t know it. He went and prayed and didn’t eat. It wasn’t until Ananias told him to be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord, washing away his sins that Paul went on to do the work the Lord called him to. It makes no sense to say that a saved person still needs to wash away their past sins. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our past sins when God saves us. Acts 22:16 and other passages tell us that this happens after one believes, confesses, repents and is baptized into Christ.

    Again, the attitude is all wrong. I agree with Katie that Satan is pleased with the dissension, but the dissension comes about when people stop caring about following God’s word and put their own ideas and preconceived notions above that word.

    Corey

  4. I would have to agree with Corey…
    The problem the author has with taking Acts 22:16 at grammatical face value is what he terms a “theological problem”: namely, that the gospel of John and Ephesians 2:8-9 teach salvation by faith alone. But there is no such thing as faith alone. Biblically speaking…theologically speaking…faith without works is dead (James 2). If by “faith only” we mean “belief only” (which, because of the limits of our English language, has come to mean a mere mental assent) then of course we have a problem. But belief only is not biblical faith.

    The “theological problem” of taking Acts 22:16 at face value is completely removed when we understand that faith is trust combined with obedience. This is the message of Hebrews 11 (by faith so and so did something). This is the message of James 2 (it is not enough to say “be warmed and filled”…likewise it is not enough to simply mentally assent to Christ’s Lordship). This is what we mean every time we discuss “faithfulness.” This does not mean “maintaining belief” (although that is implied and included). It means obedience (based on trust in God…I am not advocating obedience for the sake of obedience or to try to earn salvation…that is the “saved by works” position that Scripture condemns).

    If “faith only” means “belief only” we have a serious contradiction with passages such as Romans 6:17-18 where Paul tells his Christian audience that they were set free from sin as a result of their obedience from the heart. But, then, obedience from the heart is probably a better definition for faith than “belief only.” And what about 1Thess 2:8 and 1Pet 4:17 that pronounce condemnation on those who do not obey the gospel?

    I am not implying, by the way, that “baptism” aptly sums up “obedience from the heart” or “obeying the gospel,” but only pointing out that faith without works is dead. There is no such thing as “faith only” if we mean “belief only.” And if we do not mean “belief only” then we must accept that there are some things that God requires us to do to show our faith, to complete our faith (as James 2 says Abraham did), to make our faith “alive” rather than “dead” (and most Christians do accept that we have to do things like repent and confess Jesus as Lord…I’m not sure why there is a hang up at baptism in light of others things we do that are accepted).

    So, remove the theological hindrance of the author (which is not really a hindrance, but a misunderstanding of “faith”), and there is no reason not to accept Acts 22:16 (or 1Peter 3:21 or Acts 2:38 or Romans 6:1f or Galatians 3:26-27, etc.) at face value.

    That being said…do we have to understand all of the effects of baptism for it to be salvationally valid? I hope not…there are many spiritual blessings in the heavenly places that I’m sure I still don’t understand, let alone when I first believed. But, Scripture at least indicates that God intends for baptism to be our commitment to Him, the finalizing of a covenant, our pledge to remain faithful to God for eternity. Was baptism your pledge to God? Or did you make a pledge with “belief only”?

  5. Some commands to be baptized (such as Acts 22:16) are in the Greek middle voice…this grammatical form indicates an action that is performed on the subject. The subject may or may not have a hand in performing the action…this is determined from context.

    So, when Ananias told Paul to “be baptized,” the form of the verb requires that another person perform the act on Paul…but the fact that the command was given to Paul tells us that he has a part to play in submitting to the act. “Go get someone to immerse you” might be a more explanatory translation.

    Other commands to “be baptized” (such as Acts 2:38) are in the passive voice. This means that the action is performed on the subject, and the subject simply submits to it. In the case of the Pentecost crowd, Peter essentially tells them to “repent and submit to being immersed by another.”

    Outside of commands, the verb always appears in passive or middle voice (see Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27) unless the one doing the baptizing is the subject (such as John the Baptist in John 1:28).

    In either case, whether the command is passive or middle voice, the command to “be baptized” requires that someone other than the subject perform the action. This would mean that it is not Biblical for a person to baptize him/herself, but they are to “be baptized” by another.

    Of course, I believe this is because God intends for baptism to be an act of submission to God’s will, and submitting to another to be baptized signifies this submission to God (again, see Romans 6:3).

  6. Just wondering… Is it Biblical for a person to baptize him/herself? BCV?

    There is no example of anyone doing such in the NT, so I would say no. We are passive in the act of baptism. However, what the person doing the baptizing believes doesn’t matter, it is what the person being baptized believes that matters.

    I hope you’re not trying to give another version of “what happens if I die on the way to the water” in saying “what if there is no one to baptize me”.

  7. Baptism is an act of obedience that does require an individual other than ourselves to administer as cthoward has aptly explained.

    The work is done by God in baptism in that he puts us into Christ (Galatians 3:27) and adds us to His church. That can’t be accomplished by the one doing the baptizing or the one submitting to it.

  8. So in order for God to finish His work of salvation, a man must perform baptism (a work) on another man before salvation can become complete?

  9. God’s work in the plan of salvation is already done. He offered His Son once for all.

    Man’s role in accepting (not earning) that salvation is not finished until he does all that God has asked him to do. Believing (which is a work – John 6:29), repenting, confessing and being baptized.

  10. by the way Corey since you brought it up, what happens to an individual who repents, confesses, believes and is unable to be baptized because there is no one available to do it before he dies?

  11. Rick – do you not teach that a person must believe (have faith), repent and confess Christ before that person can be saved?

  12. Are all those others things–repenting, confessing, believing–actions that an individual does of his own decision in direct conversation with God without the aid or action of another man?

  13. by the way Corey since you brought it up, what happens to an individual who repents, confesses, believes and is unable to be baptized because there is no one available to do it before he dies?

    Here you go dragging out that same old tired argument. How many people do you know that are unable to be baptized? In those cases I will let God be the judge and I will hope & pray He is merciful. You are just looking for a loophole in the scriptures. 99.9999% of people are going to be able to be baptized, so there should be no problem in teaching it as a requirement. How many people are so isolated that they can’t find a single individual to immerse them in water? Again, you are trying to focus on some rare exception rather than what nearly everyone will experience.

  14. I believe that a person is saved as a result of his/her repentance, confession and believe in the saving grace of the blood of Jesus Christ.

  15. Rick,

    Just as I asked your daughter, I will ask you:

    Must belief, repentance and confession come before salvation?

  16. So then you agree that baptism isn’t always a requirement for salvation such as in a case where a person is unable to be baptized?

  17. I believe that a person is saved as a result of his/her repentance, confession and belief in the saving grace of the blood of Jesus Christ.

    Are all those things–repenting, confessing, believing–actions that an individual does of his own decision in direct conversation with God without the aid or action of another man?

  18. No, I don’t agree that it isn’t always a requirement for salvation. I said I will let God be the judge and I hope that He will be merciful. I don’t know what God will do in those cases, I only know what He will do to those who had every opportunity to obey and refused to do it because they cling to the teachings of men rather than the teachings of Christ.

  19. Why exactly does it matter if another person has to do the baptizing if it is the heart of the one being baptized that matters?

  20. I have done all those things..repented, confessed, believed, been baptized..

    Are all those things–repenting, confessing, believing–actions that an individual does of his own decision in direct conversation with God without the aid or action of another man?

  21. You obviously agree that there are certain things that we must do to obtain salvation, and you acknowledge that they must be done PRIOR to salvation. Why then would you try to remove baptism from those acts done prior to salvation? Because we need another person to administer it?

    In Acts 2 over 3,000 people submitted to baptism after hearing, believing, repenting and confessing. It wasn’t a problem for them (and it must have taken quite some time to accomplish), so it shouldn’t be a problem for us.

  22. Being baptised is not a problem for me. But you still haven’t answered this question:
    Are all those things–repenting, confessing, believing–actions that an individual does of his own decision in direct conversation with God without the aid or action of another man?

  23. Believing = inward action between God and the individual
    Repenting = inward action between God and the individual with outward evidence that others can detect
    Confessing = outward action done before others
    Baptism = outward action done by another

    So two of the acts are solely between God and the individual. The other two do involve other people.

    And being baptized is a problem for you in that you deny it to be essential to obtain salvation. Scriptures plainly teach that all four of those actions come prior to salvation. If you have no problem with that then I hope you will begin to teach it.

  24. I would consider confession as an act between the individual and Christ..I confess to Christ that I repent of my sins and believe in Him. I give testimony or witness to others of my repentance, belief and confession

  25. Matthew 10:32 says “”Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”

    Confession is BEFORE MEN, not just between you and Jesus.

  26. Also, confessing that you will repent is not the same as repentance. Repentance means that you actually DO turn from your sins, not just tell God that you are GOING to turn from them.

  27. Of course someone could baptize themselves-is it the most practical? No, but it would still be valid. Why? Well, because God is God and the important thing is the person submitting themselves to Him. It matters not who does it-man or woman, it is about the person giving their life over to God.

  28. Rick – I just showed you a verse that plainly states that our confession is BEFORE MEN and not directly to Christ. Yes, we must confess Him in order to obtain salvation. The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts is a good example. He confessed Christ before Philip before he was immersed.

    Katherine – like most “hard” cases I would hope that if there was some individual who could not find someone to baptize him/her that God would accept it. However, there is nothing in scriptures to back it up. Everyone in scriptures who was baptized was baptized by another. Who on earth couldn’t find another individual to immerse them in water? I agree that it doesn’t matter WHO does it, just that it is done.

  29. Unfortunately I need to leave my office so let me express where I was going with all of this and then I will check back later for your discussions..

    If Repentance, Belief, Confession are actions that occur between an individual and God only, why would God require a fourth action (baptism) to be dependent upon the action of one individual perfomed on another? Does that mean then that God cannot complete man’s salvation without the work of another man?

    Thanks for your discussions with me Corey? I will catch you again later on…

  30. Rick,

    How many times must I show you that confession is not an action occurring solely between an individual and God?

    You asked: Does that mean then that God cannot complete man’s salvation without the work of another man?

    Couldn’t God have chosen to save us without our belief or repentance? Of course He COULD have, but that isn’t the way He chose to do things. He also chose to insist upon water baptism prior to salvation. Why? I really don’t know. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    I chose not to question God’s ways, but simply to submit to them.

  31. Corey,

    I was thinking about Matt 10:32, and the part that confession plays in our salvation. Would you explain more this? What does it mean to confess Christ as opposed to confession to Christ, according to the doctrine you believe?

    Thank you,
    Nathan

  32. Rick and Corey,

    Excellent points Corey. Nothing that God requires of us is purely individual. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ…so faith requires that a man preach, or at least that a man write Christ’s word (as the apostles and prophets did). Repentance is the attitude of sorrow for a former life of sin and selfishness that motivates one to righteousness and seeking the good of others…so repentance requires recipients of our good works and kindness. Confession, by definition, is a public proclamation of Christ’s Lordship…so confession requires an audience (every person we come in contact with) to hear our confession (and see our confession…living as though Christ were our Lord).

    It is no wonder that baptism requires someone else. Every other salvational activity requires someone else. Belief, repentance, and confession are anything but individual. In God’s infinite wisdom He has chosen to use people to accomplish His purposes.

    Like Corey, I simply cannot argue with what God has chosen to do.

  33. Nathan,

    To confess Christ is to outwardly acknowledge that He is who He said He was. I think there are examples of doing this very directly and somewhat indirectly.

    Here is the direct version:
    In Acts 8, before the Eunuch is baptized by Philip this is said in verse 37, “And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
    That is a direct confession of Jesus’ Lordship. It was made before another person, per Matthew 10:32 and prior to salvation.

    Here is the indirect version:
    In Acts 2:22-36 you see Peter tell his audience that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. The people obviously believe that this is true because in verse 37 they say “brethren what shall we do?”. By saying this they acknowledged that what Peter said was true. This is further evidenced by the fact we’re told they were cut to the heart. They didn’t directly confess as the Eunuch did, but they confessed by acknowledging Peter’s statements to be true.

    Both the direct and indirect confessions came before salvation. That is simply “confessing Christ” the way Jesus talked about in Matthew 10:32.

    Now, what is confessing to Christ? Look at 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    That is confessing TO Christ. We are to confess our sins to Him that He will cleanse and forgive us those sins. While we may confess our sins to one another to seek the prayers and help of our fellow Christians, that would not be enough to obtain forgiveness. Only God can forgive sins, so we confess them TO Him.

    There are clearly two types of confession mentioned – confessing Christ before men which happens BEFORE salvation and confessing TO Christ which happens AFTER we become Christians.

    Corey

  34. CT – excellent point about God needing another individual to preach the gospel. If another person is needed directly (to preach the word) or indirectly (through the written word) then why would he not use another to aid us in baptism?

    Thank you for pointing that out. I’m curious to know what Rick thinks about that.

  35. Katherine – like most “hard” cases I would hope that if there was some individual who could not find someone to baptize him/her that God would accept it. However, there is nothing in scriptures to back it up. Everyone in scriptures who was baptized was baptized by another. Who on earth couldn’t find another individual to immerse them in water? I agree that it doesn’t matter WHO does it, just that it is done.

    Corey, I agree that this is generally not the case. The only reason I commented on it is that it frustrates me to no end when WE, mere fallible humans try to put limits on God that He has not even placed on Himself-saying something must be done this way or that exact way, or God will not accept it-when He has not even addressed it. God is more amazing, powerful, mighty, omnipotent, omniscient, and able to save than our feeble human minds will EVER be able to comprehend. His desire is that ALL men be saved-and He has made it easy to come to Him. Therefore, when we start deciding who is in or who is out-we begin to limit the amazing grace of God and put ourself on His throne.

    Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” ~Mark 10:27

    Do you know how much of Jesus’ life was left out of what we know as the Bible? Jesus did many other things as well. “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written”. ~John 21:25

    Just because we do not see something written in the Bible that we know, does not mean that God cannot do it. If only this world would let God have the power and control, and no try to harness it for ourselves-but allow Him to do His will-how amazing that would be!!! Instead, many try to put God in a box and limit Him-and He can’t be limited!! 🙂

  36. Katherine – for the most part I agree with you. I really hope that God’s mercy is enough to cover many of our mistakes and shortcomings. Really, all I have in the “hard” cases is hope. Since they aren’t covered in the Bible I will simply be content knowing that God is just and whatever He decides is fair.

    On the other hand, when we see a clear commandment or example to follow in scripture and we ignore it or change it we’re tempting God. It is like a child trying to see how much they can get away with before their parents punish them. There are certain things we can fully know because God has revealed them – like baptism. I do not limit God when I say that we must follow His commandments, that is exactly what Jesus said we must do if we love Him. To insist upon getting these things “right” when they are fully revealed is in no way limiting God. To insist that we don’t need to get it “right” is limiting God by saying that His word can’t be fully understood or followed in the way He wants it to be followed.

  37. I fully agree with you on the fact when we see a clear commandment from God we should follow it-no arguments there whatsoever. I never want to tempt or play with God or play God. It is when we decide to make our own commandments or limitations and claim them as God’s where I draw the line. That is most definitely adding to the Word of God-and I will always follow God and not man’s doctrine-even when people do not agree.

    By the way, I am not arguing baptism-just a general discussion. Thanks for the discussion…

  38. One problem I find with the article is that he keeps refering to Acts like the Apostle Paul had written the book. Actually Luke wrote the book of Acts.

  39. if it dosent matter who does the baptism, what if the one who does it accidentialy or intentionaly dosent get the crown of your head wet? james or norm told me that even a non christian could do it. you would have no way of knowing if it was complete. only that you had submitted. would that still be valid?
    lee

  40. if it dosent matter who does the baptism, what if the one who does it accidentialy or intentionaly dosent get the crown of your head wet? james or norm told me that even a non christian could do it. you would have no way of knowing if it was complete. only that you had submitted. would that still be valid?
    lee

    When my sister-in-law was baptized my mother-in-law noticed that part of her (maybe her arm) didn’t go under and they did it again, completely immersing her. Baptism is a burial, so we should be completely immersed in the water.

    What if part of you didn’t go under the water and no one noticed? Again, it sounds like someone is looking for loopholes in the scriptures.

    James or Norm are both correct in that it would be fine for a non-Christian to baptize you since baptism is about the individual’s obedience and God’s work, not the one who does it, what they say, or what they believe.

  41. Ok, tolerate my what ifs a litte bit more please: what if a non-believer is shipwrecked alone on a deserted island (it has happened)and suppose he finds a Bible and as a result of reading it is convicted of his need to repent, confess, and believe and baptizes himself.

    According to some the responses above he has have the working of another individual to present the Word to him, he needs another individual to confess Christ before and another individual to deliver the baptism.

    Does he have salvation?

  42. Ok, tolerate my what ifs a litte bit more please: what if a non-believer is shipwrecked alone on a deserted island (it has happened)and suppose he finds a Bible and as a result of reading it he is convicted of his need to repent, confess, and believe and baptizes himself.

    According to some of the responses above he has to have the working of another individual to present the Word to him, he needs another individual to confess Christ before and another individual to deliver the baptism.

    Does he have salvation?

  43. Rick, that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen anyone post here. If you can’t see how absurd your scenario is I can’t be of any help. What if I was about to pray to Jesus for a personal relationship with him and magic spacemen from the planet Gaxon showed up and shot me in the face with their photon guns, instantly vaporizing me? Would I be saved?

    Loopholes, loopholes, loopholes…you can look all you want but the Bible says what it says.

  44. Why is that so ridiculous? It is possible-rare, but definitely possible!! Is he saved or not?

    My answer of course is yes, because again-it is God who does the saving.

  45. What about my example? Isn’t it possible that visitors from another planet will show up and vaporize someone right as they’re about to make their commitment to Christ?

    Rick’s motives are dishonest. He wants to come up with some situation, no matter how absurd, that will “force” me to say that someone is saved without baptism.

    Here is my final word on that particular issue – there is no situation where I can say that a person is saved without baptism. There are plenty of situations where I would hope they would be, but my hope is just that – mine. It isn’t the word of God. I can only be sure that a person who does all Christ commanded will be saved and that includes water baptism. Anything else is in God’s hands and His judgment will be righteous.

    There are a very few cases I know of where a person (near death) wanted to be baptized but couldn’t. I don’t know of anyone who died on the way to the water. I certainly don’t know of anyone who attempted to become a Christian while stuck on a deserted island. Most of the time when people bring these up they’re just looking for a way to excuse their own disobedience or the disobedience of others. Will they get to discuss the loopholes they found in the plan of salvation on judgment day?

  46. your hope alludes to the idea that you are not sure of the cut and dry formula you suggest. if god looks down and sees that some part of you didnt get wet and still accounts that to you as rightousness. then if one of your supposed loopholes happened god could allow that also. again,god will decide not you.

  47. In regards to the discussion on confession let me share with you this explanation from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology:

    “Perhaps the earliest and most basic of Christian confessions was the simple assertion that “Jesus is Lord” ( Rom 10:9-10 ). Paul here makes “confessing with the mouth” parallel to “believing in the heart” as a means of salvation. He does not mean by this that public confession is a means of salvation in the way that faith is, for his choice of wording is dictated by the allusion to the heart and the mouth in his earlier quotation of Deuteronomy 30:14 (v. 8). Even in public confessions, of course, it is the Lord who is the primary “audience, ” for all sin is ultimately sin against him, and all confession must be directed ultimately to him. Moreover, public confession of sin does not seem to be a standard feature of New Testament church .”

    This explanation goes toward my understanding of confession of faith that does not require another person’s involvement in order to assure salvation.

    CTHoward, you wrote…“do we have to understand all of the effects of baptism for it to be salvationally valid? I hope not” According to Johnny, Norm, James you would not be saved because you must know (not hope) that salvation is a direct effect of baptism at the time of your baptism.

    Coreydavis you wrote, “No, I don’t agree that it (baptism) isn’t always a requirement for salvation. I said I will let God be the judge and I hope that He will be merciful. I don’t know what God will do in those cases,..” According to Johnny, Norm, James you must know (not hope) that baptism is a requirement of salvation).

    CTHoward you wrote in agreement with Corey that:
    “Nothing that God requires of us is purely individual. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ…so faith requires that a man preach, or at least that a man write Christ’s word (as the apostles and prophets did). Repentance is the attitude of sorrow for a former life of sin and selfishness that motivates one to righteousness and seeking the good of others…so repentance requires recipients of our good works and kindness. Confession, by definition, is a public proclamation of Christ’s Lordship…so confession requires an audience (every person we come in contact with) to hear our confession (and see our confession…living as though Christ were our Lord). It is no wonder that baptism requires someone else.”

    All of these things according to you are requirements for salvation. But Scripture does not explicitly express that your faith requires a man’s preaching, or that repentance of your sins require a recipient of your good works or that confession of your sins to Christ requires an audience. If so then give BCV that explicitly says it this way. These requirements are your interpretation of Scripture and understanding of the wording used in Scripture. My interpretation of Scripture may or may not be different. Why am I wrong in my understanding and interpretation of Scripture and therefore not saved according to you and while according to you, your understanding and interpretation of Scripture is correct and therefore saved.

    The Pharisees did the same thing: “If you don’t believe as I do, interpret as I do, do exactly all that I do and meet all the requirements that I say you must then you are unrighteous”.

  48. Corey you expressed, “I can only be sure that a person who does all Christ commanded will be saved and that includes water baptism.” Well, I have done all Christ commanded including water baptism but yet I am told that I am not saved. Why is that? Because according to some folks when I was baptized I did not believe in baptism as a requirement for salvation. Where is the BCV that says that. You guys will quote Acts 2:38. But Acts 2:38 does not explicitly say that I must believe in baptism. But you interpret it that way. Romans 10:9 explicitly says that if I believe in my heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead I will be saved. So once again I have repented, confessed, believed and been baptized. So what gives you the right to say that I am not saved. Why is your interpretation of Scripture better than mine? In all of my what if examples you supposed certain things about God. Why is that when you suppose certain things it is ok, but when I do it is wrong.

    (Corey: There are a very few cases I know of where a person (near death) wanted to be baptized but couldn’t. I don’t know of anyone who died on the way to the water. I certainly don’t know of anyone who attempted to become a Christian while stuck on a deserted island.).

    Just because you don’t know of any such situations doesn’t mean that it has not happened or can not happen. But you are right because you say these aren’t valid examples and I am wrong.. Why is that?

    Corey: What if I was about to pray to Jesus for a personal relationship with him and magic spacemen from the planet Gaxon showed up and shot me in the face with their photon guns, instantly vaporizing me? Would I be saved?

    I gave examples involving real human beings on a real planet experiencing real possibilities and you give an example of some non-existent fictional creature from a made up planet and you say that I am ridiculous and absurd?

    As Norm would say, this where the rubber meets the road: My beef with you guys is your snug attitude that what ever way you interpret God’s Word to mean and what ever requirements you add to Scriptures is the only correct and valid way and everybody else is wrong and dammed to hell. I know you are going to come back and say I didn’t say it that is what Scripture says about baptism. So as Corey would say, “my final word on that particular issue is” Where is the BCV that says that I must believe in baptism and have a complete understanding of baptism as a requirement for salvation. You guys will quote Acts 2:38. But Acts 2:38 does not explicitly say that I must believe in baptism. But you interpret it that way. Romans 10:9 explicitly says that if I believe in my heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead I will be saved. So once again I have repented, confessed, believed and been baptized and therefore according to Scripture I am saved.

  49. Rick,

    My example about the “space men” was only to be absurd because I feel that you are trying to find the most far-reaching examples you can to discredit baptism’s role in the plan of salvation. Your concern seems to be with what could possibly happen, not what actually does happen with almost everyone you’ll ever meet.

    You wrote: But Scripture does not explicitly express that your faith requires a man’s preaching

    Well, actually it does. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. How else can we develop faith if the word of God is not preached to us or read by us? There is no other way for us to develop faith.

    You wrote: So once again I have repented, confessed, believed and been baptized. So what gives you the right to say that I am not saved. Why is your interpretation of Scripture better than mine?

    Do you think the Jehovah’s Witness’ interpretation of the Bible is correct? What about the Mormons? Are the words of Joseph Smith equal to the words of Jesus as they claim, or do you find him to be a false prophet?

    If you think those groups are Christians then we can stop our discussion. If you think they are not Christians then what is your reasoning? If you think they aren’t Christians, is it based upon scripture? You seem to think that I have a personal interpretation of the Bible and so do you and there is no way to determine who is correct. If that is so then the Bible can’t be understood and God is the author of confusion, regardless of the fact the Bible says He isn’t.

    Here is where I see the big problem in a nutshell:
    You point out a verse that speaks of salvation by grace or faith and I say, “Yes, and what else does the Bible say about salvation?”

    I point out a verse that speaks of salvation and it includes baptism occurring before salvation and you say, “Yes, but what if [insert outlandish scenario here]…”

    I have no problem with any verse you point out, I just want to know everything the Bible says about a subject. You have a problem with the verses I point out because they don’t agree with what you already believe and teach. You attempt to discredit the verses that disagree with you and I think that is wrong.

  50. Corey just to clarify.
    Mormons do NOT believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God or as Savior. They believe in him as a prophet and good “teacher”. So there is no comparison to their beliefs with mine or my dad’s, etc. I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, he’s the Son of God who was sent to earth to die for my sins. I’m quite different from Mormons so bringing them into this discussion is also quite absurd.

  51. And YES a man/woman/child CAN “hear” the word of God without the aid of a preacher. That would be the beauty of Scripture. Anyone, anywhere can read it and receive salvation and it would not be due to any “man”. You may say that it is because of the men that wrote that Bible but in doing so you would be denying that scripture is God-breathed. The words of scripture are not the words of just men, but the Word of God, making it God who is saving, not men or man.

  52. And no one is discredting any verses.
    Baptism IS important. However salvation is NOT conditional on baptism, and certainly not getting baptized for the “right reasons”. My fathers point stands strong. Even saying that baptism is important in fulfilling the full “work” of salvation, nowhere can you point to a BCV that says that one must understand full implications and be baptized for any “right” reason. That’s where you are losing your argument. To say that baptism is important/vital is one thing. But to say that in order to be saved that a man/woman must thoroughly understand this or that in order for their salvation to be true, is absurd. That’s what my dad, myself and others have tried to say. Saying such about baptism makes it more about the individual than about God and more about what I know than what God can do.

  53. Actually Mormons call themselves Christians and believe that Jesus is Lord and the Son of God, just like you and me. Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godhead_%28Latter_Day_Saints%29
    So are they Christians or not?

    Scriptures are the word of God but it took MEN to record those words. And neither I or cthoward ever said that men do the saving, just that they play a role in almost every role in the plan of salvation. God has almost always used men to carry out His will. That they would assist in helping others develop faith, hear our confession or aid us in baptism should come as no surprise.

  54. Again, I’ll take you back to repentance. Do I need to understand that I need to turn from my sins before salvation or can I have an incomplete understanding of repentance and stay in my sins for a while (all the while considering myself saved) and then turn from them later?

    I can’t show you BCV where a person “had to know everything about baptism”. Why? Because they knew the Biblical teaching on it – that it is by the authority of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that it is for the remission of sins and that it comes prior to salvation. There was no other teaching in the NT. The teaching that one can be baptized AFTER salvation is a new teaching by those who teach “faith only” salvation. You can’t find that in the Bible, so they only knew what I stated above.

  55. The mormons extensive beliefs in Jesus are this:
    he was a teacher/prophet
    they beleive that he was as much the “son” of God as Satan. yes they consider Satan and Jesus to be brothers.

    they believe that he did die on a cross and they believe that we all can be just like Jesus if we just perform the certain works necessary to make us “holy”.

    if anyone is similar to the Mormons it would definitely be some of the CofC people on this blog that seem to place an awful lot of significane on human works.

    I am however believe very differently than the mormons, so they may be just like you but they not just like me.

  56. Yes, I’ve had conversations with Mormons, and yes they do call themselves Christians. They do consider Jesus to be the son of God. Go to mormon.org (the official site of the LDS Church) and read their beliefs. Jesus is identified as our SAVIOR, not as a prophet or good man. I’ll have to take their official website’s statements over yours.

    Let me show you another passage of scripture related to getting baptism “right”:
    Acts 19: 1It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples.

    2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

    3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

    4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

    5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Here were men who had some understanding of baptism, but not the full understanding of it. Judging by your comments and your father’s comments you would have told these men, “don’t worry. You don’t have to get baptism ‘right’. You did it and that is all that matters.”

    That isn’t what Paul told them. He explained to them the truth fully and then they were baptized the right way.

  57. Let’s look at Romans 10:9-10
    First part of the verse.
    “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus”
    what does it mean to confess the Lord Jesus?
    well first we would have to look at the definition of Lord which would be master. Confessing Jesus as Lord is saying that HE is your master which is signifying that you are now His servant and no one else’s. Scripture refers to Satan as the ruler of this age and when we are unsaved, our master would in fact be satan. To accept Jesus as Lord IS to turn from that sin, ie repentance.

    “and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead”
    so believing in the miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection, the fact that He overcame death, paying my debt (see Romans 3:23 and 6:23). Which has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.

    So confessing Jesus as Lord brings us to repentance in that we leave behind our old master of sin. And believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.. we are then told that

    “we will be saved”.

    So let’s see.
    yes repentance must happen prior to salvation

    does that mean that a person will never struggle again? NO we are not perfect and thus in continual need of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins and those times when we fail to resist temptation. Should a person continue to sin just because they can? No, and Paul touched on that also. True repentance is turning from that sin and turning towards God.

  58. Corey wrote: James or Norm are both correct in that it would be fine for a non-Christian to baptize you since baptism is about the individual’s obedience and God’s work, not the one who does it, what they say, or what they believe.

    Is there an example of that in the New Testament Church? of a non-Christian baptizing others?

  59. Well I won’t argue mormon beliefs with you
    but I have had extensive conversations with Mormons over the last 10 years of my life and have spent time studying their beliefs and they claim a certain “belief” in Jesus Christ and yes they call themselves Christians. But spend any amount of time in conversation with them and you can learn much more than you can on their website. So believe what you want… I know there are no similiarities between myself and the mormon beliefs.

  60. Can i just interject that I appreciate the civil tone that everyone has adopted in this discussion. It makes it an actual good discussion.

    Thanks, y’all.

    Nathan

  61. Katie wrote: yes repentance must happen prior to salvation

    Again, you acknowledge that some things must be done PRIOR to salvation. You are completely correct. If that is true, then why can’t baptism be one of those things that comes PRIOR to salvation?

    I also have no interest in debating Mormon beliefs with you, but their official position (maybe not the position of the individuals you spoke to) is that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of mankind. By all other statements you have give you would have to accept them as Christians if they believe those things.

    Rick, you continue to avoid almost everything I have written and continue to throw out questions for me. I will answer your last question in the hope you might address some of the things I have said.

    No, there is no example of a non-Christian baptizing anyone. There is also no example of using a baptistry in a building, a swimming pool, a bath tub or any of the other bodies of water that are often used. There are only two things that truly matter:
    1. The belief and heart of the one being immersed
    2. The fact that it is a complete immersion in water
    The one doing the baptism has nothing to do with the heart of the believer or the work God does at that time. The location of, or type of body of water has nothing to do with the fact that the person is still being immersed.

  62. Acts 19: 3-5: 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”
    5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    I have never advocated that you should get baptized because of a belief unto any man (ie John the Baptist as in above) but rather as a result of belief in Jesus Christ as Paul explains in above Scripture. If you are baptized because of belief in Christ and in His name you have it right. In the above Scripture Paul does not tell these folks that had to be baptized believing baptism as a requirement for salvation but by believing in Jesus.

  63. No Rick, they weren’t baptized because of belief in John the Baptist, they were baptized with the baptism that he used: unto repentance, not for the forgiveness of sins.

    They believed in Jesus and they were baptized, yet they were lacking in their knowledge. They didn’t have an understanding of the Holy Spirit is one area in which they lacked knowledge. The were baptized “unto repentance” as John taught, not “for the forgiveness of sins” as Peter, Paul and all of the apostles taught.

  64. I will let my dad answer your questions and I know that this discussion is not about Mormons beliefs at all but since you have brought them into the convo… I’ll just add
    that you are right, their “official” position claims that they are believers and believe in Jesus Christ. It has been my observation in then many many mormons that I have personally witnessed to over the last 10 years that they have that “official” position as a means of gaining bround with people who are truly Christians. It’s a “see we believe what you believe” but then once you immerse yourselves in conversations with them they deny believe in Jesus Christ as necessary to acheive eternal life which make them very much NOT Christians.

    Just my little two cents about mormons. I have taken great interest in their beleifs and have spent numerous convo’s with different individuals and come to the same conclusions everytime. They “official” position is a mean of baiting people.

  65. Katie – lets just assume that their official position is that Jesus is the son of God and the savior of mankind and it isn’t just a way of “baiting” people.

    Considering that, even though they use the book of Mormon and believe that Joseph Smith’s words are equal with the words of Jesus and the Apostles, are they still Christians?

  66. Corey, the only reason I bring up that bit about there is no example of a non-Christian baptizing others in the New Testament is because of the fact that Johnny-Norm-James proclaim that if there is no example of it in the New Testament Church then it is not Scriptural and thereby not permitted.

    If Norm and/or James has indeed said that it is permissible for a non-Christian to baptize then they have contradicted themselves in that they say our “choir robes” and musical instruments are not permitted because they are not examplified in the New Testament Church.

    And if they have contradicted themselves and presumed that this is ok then what gives them the right to proclaim my worship as not permitted.

  67. I was just kidding corey 🙂

    Actually if you want to know their “official” position then you would have to agree with them too because Mormon’s official position includes an emphasis on baptism so you guys would be happy to know that not only (according to their official position) do they say they believe in Jesus (though as I’ve said they don’t) they also baptize people as a means of helping those people earn salvation.

    See Mormonism is a very “work-oriented” sect. Even saying that they have this official belief in Jesus, they deeply believe that one must work their way to heaven and baptism is one of those ways that they earn work points.

  68. the problem with you “if” argument is that you are saying they are Christians because they believe.

    I have never said that belief only = salvation. Even the demon believe in Jesus Christ. Doesn’t make them saved.

    Salvation comes from belief yes that Jesus Christ died for sins and was raised again. But it’s confession of Jesus Christ as Lord that differentiates it from basic belief to repentance. So unless the mormons are confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and believing in Him as the son of God whom died for their sins and was raised again then no they are not believers.

    I will quote another verse… John 14:6, Jesus says “I am The way, The truth, The life, no one comes to the father except by me”.

    So…the belief is more than just “yes Jesus existed” it’s “yes He’s Lord of my life” and to claim someone as Lord means that you have turned from all other “lords” (ie Satan, sin) and have repented from those things and turned towards Jesus Christ, not works not men, but Jesus Christ.

  69. Katie,

    The official Mormon position is all of the things that you just stated. And you are right that they do agree with the Bible in that they teach baptism for the remission of sins. Good for them. They believe many correct things, but many incorrect things as well.

    My whole point is that when we look to the Bible we realize that not everyone who does some or most of the commandments of God is a Christian. The problem is that no one wants to entertain the notion that they may only doing some or most of the commandments of God. You once said that nothing I could say or do would convince you that you weren’t saved. What if you were trying to convert a Mormon and they said the same thing? Wouldn’t that grieve you?

    Rick – you said that Johnny and Norm would say you have to follow every example to the letter. That is not true (at least not for Norm). If you are truly interested in knowing my position (and Norm’s position – the Biblical position) on the difference between generic commands (which the one doing the baptism would fall under) and specific commands (which the person being baptized would fall under) you can go here:
    http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=PreacherNorm&p=r
    And watch the 3 videos on “understanding Biblical authority”.

  70. I’m sure it would grieve me Corey because I know that the mormons don’t believe that Jesus is THE way.

    I think what bother me and my dad is that you would tell us that we are not saved because we haven’t been baptized “for the remission of sins” when we are telling you that we believe baptism is essential we just don’t make more of baptism than we do the blood of Jesus.

    When I read some of yours and others comments I get the sincere sense that if push came to shove you’d preach the message of baptism over the message of Christ. It’s not the baptism that is focus of the New Testament, its Jesus Christ. To make it out to be about baptism is wrong in my opinion and missing the mark entirely.

  71. Norm emphatically stated on his April 17, 2008 broadcast that the worship service at Vandola Baptist Church was not a scriptural worship because it included things specifically not mentioned in the New Testament ie choir robes, musical instruments etc. He without reservations said he could not worship in our church because we were not following the example of the New Testament Church. Seems to me he was teaching following the New Testament to the letter.

    If he says otherwise in another broadcast then he is speaking out of two sides of his mouth.

  72. Watch the videos. He explains musical instruments in them and I’m sure he had more of a problem with the unscriptural use of a choir than what they wore.

  73. I don’t have to watch the video to know that Norm has said repeatedly that the use of musical instruments is not New Testament Scriptural for I have heard him say it.

    You have watched the videos I assume. Does Norm say that it is ok for a non-Christian to baptize?

  74. He doesn’t address that issue. What he addresses is the difference between generic and specific commands. He shows where Christians have freedoms and where we are restricted. The issue of who baptizes us falls under that. I guess you’re not going to take the time to watch the videos, so let me try to sum it up (I’ve already discussed this here in other posts so I’m not going to spend all day debating this):

    Specific command:
    Acts 2:38 “be baptized for the remission of sins”

    Freedoms:
    *who administers the baptism
    *what kind of body of water is used (pool, river, etc.)

    Restrictions:
    *the purpose (for the remission of sins)
    *the method (immersion)

    So I can be baptized by an atheist in a hot tub as long as it is for the remission of sins and by immersion. The command has still been followed without being changed.

    Let’s say I’m sprinkled by a Christian for the remission of sins. I’ve changed the command.

    Let’s say I’m immersed by a Christian as an “outward showing of an inward grace”. I’ve changed the command.

    We have some freedoms as long as we don’t change the command. If you want to get into this subject further I would encourage you to watch the videos because I’m done dealing with it here.

  75. You right I have not watched Norm’s video on commands. I will try to bring myself to do that a some point today… but before I do I have to ask where does singing with musical instruments change the nature of my worship? Why is singing with musical instruments not a freedom but speaking with the use of a microphone is? Why isn’t wearing a robe in the choir not a freedom (Norm said it was wrong. I haven’t seen any specific commands in the New Testament against any of these. So is it a generic command? Are generic commands assumed? Are they the result of someone’s interpretation of Scripture rather than a direct command of Scripture?

    These incidentals (choir robes, musical instruments, love offerings) are all issues because Norm has made them an issue.

    I’ll let you know if any of these thoughts change after I see this video of Norm’s.

    Thanks for the discussions. May God bless you with a good day..

  76. So I guess we’re just going to move from area of contention to another. By the way, I’m not commanding you to watch Norm’s video. I am simply encouraging you to do so because I feel he does a good job explaining the Biblical concept. You are free to watch it or not watch it. Your choice.

    You wrote:Why is singing with musical instruments not a freedom but speaking with the use of a microphone is?

    Because you are now going beyond the scriptural command to sing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. You are now singing AND playing.

    You wrote: Why isn’t wearing a robe in the choir not a freedom

    I don’t care what you wear or what Norm thinks about it. I only care what the Bible says. I do have a problem with the choir though since some are to be silent while a special group are permitted to sing. Again, the command has been changed. We are all to sing, not just some of us.

    You wrote: Are they the result of someone’s interpretation of Scripture rather than a direct command of Scripture?

    No, they are not the result of “someone’s” interpretation of the scriptures. They are are result of following the Biblical commands and examples with an attempt to not change those commands.

    You wrote: These incidentals (choir robes, musical instruments, love offerings) are all issues because Norm has made them an issue

    First off, they are not “incidentals”. They are directly going beyond the Bible to add things that people want, desire and like. Not what God has commanded.

    Second, they are not an issue because Norm has made them an issue. They are an issue because over time men have interjected them into worship to God without any command or example in scripture to do so. Choirs, musical instruments and “love offerings” are not expedients – they are additions and changes.

    I also appreciate the discussion although I feel that little is being accomplished. I would hope that by presenting God’s word in a simple way that I might be able to persuade you in some way, but I fear that all we are doing is trying to “win” a debate. I once believed exactly as you do. I threw out the same arguments that you are. Eventually I relented to God’s word and not my own ideas and thoughts. It took quite some time, but eventually I came around, little by little. I truly pray that will happen for you as well. I am sure you are a good person who loves the Lord and I hope that you will continue to study the word that you will fully embrace all of its teachings.

  77. Corey
    I have a really off-track question.
    Okay I understand that some CofC’ers do not believe that musical instruments are to be used in worship nor are choirs. I respect that. I have no arguments with that.

    But I have a question because I honestly don’t know.
    Do you listen to any music with accompaniment? Or is just not allowed in the context of worship?

  78. anyone else (doesn’t have to be corey)
    just wondering about the musical instruments thing
    wanting to know if those that hold that such instruments are not be used in worship, listen to any music that has accompaniment in their everyday life

  79. Katie,

    I have actually written an article on that subject that I plan on posting on my blog sometime soon.

    I personally do not listen to psalms, hymns or spiritual songs with musical accompaniment at any time. My strongest reason for doing so is the message that it sends. It would be hypocritical for me to tell you not to use them in your worship and then have you get in my car with me and hear me blasting “Christian” radio.

    I don’t want to get too far into the issue here since I feel I have better presented my beliefs in the article which I used in a Wednesday night Bible study class. If you want, I can direct you to the article once it is posted on my blog.

  80. Wow…there has been a ton of discussion since my last comment…and it seems Corey has already replied to Rick’s questions given to me…so I won’t elaborate there too much…only to say the following.

    Rick, you asked for BCV where other people are required for our faith. It is actually Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ,” that I was referring to. In the immediate context Paul emphasizes the importance of preachers and teachers taking the good news to those who have never heard because their faith depends on someone delivering the word to them. I tried (but apparently not well enough) to make it clear that certainly today one does not have to hear a preacher…they could pick up the Bible and read it. But, even this still requires that their salvation depend on others: those who wrote the NT. Anyway, as far as faith goes, we rely on someone else, whether reading or listening to sermons/lessons, etc.

    As far as “my interpretation” of repentance, confession, and baptism requiring other people…I would hope we could just appeal to Scripture to see what it says. That’s all we can do. Here’s some verses that explain the necessity of other people in our salvation:
    James says that true religion and true faith consists in not only keeping ourselves pure, but in serving others. Those that do not serve are deceiving themselves regarding their Christianity, their “religion.” [James 1:27; 2:15-17]
    Similarly, 1John 3:17-18 says that if we close our hearts and do not help those in need then God’s love does not abide in us, and that we love in deed and truth.
    1John 4:7 says that whoever loves (one another in context) has been born of God, and anyone who does not love does not know God.
    Acts 26:20 says “repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” Repentance requires action, and some of the actions God requires are good deeds for others (see previous citations).
    Romans 10:9 requires a confession of the mouth (not just a one time confession, according to context, but a continual proclamation of the word of faith, see vs 8). If the mouth is specified, then an audience other than God is implied (I know he refers to Deut in this reference, but he also specifically says that Deut is fulfilled in the proclamation of the word of faith…again, see vs 8).
    Matt 10:32-33 speaks for itself: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

    You could say…”Well, what if I am on a desert island with no people? What if I am the last person on earth?” But these scenarios are not the norm…in fact they are exceedingly rare, and may never happen. It has already been said that God will judge the exceptional cases…but we are not exceptional cases, and nearly everyone who has and ever will live, likewise, is not an exceptional case. Those scenarios do not apply to you and me and the people we evangelize, so we ought not teach based on the exceptions.

    That’s all I have time for now…but I’d like to reply to some other comments later.

    In the mean time…a quick answer to Katie’s question: the vast majority of CofC folk listen to instrumental music for entertainment, although some, like Corey, decide to not listen to religious instrumental music, even for entertainment. We do not hold that instruments are evil (I play guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, trumpet), but simply that God does not accept instrumental music as worship.

  81. ct said In the mean time…a quick answer to Katie’s question: the vast majority of CofC folk listen to instrumental music for entertainment, although some, like Corey, decide to not listen to religious instrumental music, even for entertainment. We do not hold that instruments are evil (I play guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, trumpet), but simply that God does not accept instrumental music as worship.”

    hmmm see thats really interesting to me

    My question (and I’m not “saying” this in a condeming tone or anything, just an honest thought) is that if it shouldn’t be done in the presence of God in worship why should be it be done at all? So if you cannot have instruments in worship why is it okay to have them outside of a worship service?

    And another question
    I know the basic answer I have heard is that the reason mechanical instruments are not used in the CofC is because the New Testament church did not use them or authorize them and so we shouldn’t either. I’m just wondering what is it that would be so “wrong” about the instruments themselves. I realize the answer will be “because the bible doesn’t authorize it”. I guess I’m just wondering what it is about the instruments that is so “wrong”.

  82. Katie – your response to ct is exactly what I expected and it is why I try to be consistent. The appearance of being hypocritical is exactly why I avoid it.

    Certainly we can eat unleavened bread and fruit of the vine as a snack on a Tuesday. The problem would be in saying that it was the Lord’s Supper. It is debatable whether or not the same could be said about adding instruments to songs of praise outside of worship. Again, to be consistent, and so I won’t be called a hypocrite by someone outside the church, I won’t listen to those songs with instrumental accompaniment.

    As to your second question you are right that instruments are not authorized by the NT and that is one reason we teach them to be wrong. The other reason is that using them directly changes a direct command from “sing” to “sing AND play”.

    Here are some facts that really can’t be debated:
    *Christians are never told to use instruments of music in worship to God
    *EVERYONE agrees that there is nothing wrong with singing WITHOUT musical accompaniment.

    If we can be SURE that singing alone is acceptable, why would we add instruments when we can’t be SURE they are acceptable?

    The answers are always unscriptural. “Because I like instruments”. “Because God didn’t say NOT to use them”. God didn’t say NOT to put Cheese-Whiz on the unleavened bread for the Lord’s Supper, but almost everyone agrees that it would be wrong.

    God once accepted instruments in worship. He also accepted animal sacrifices and incense. Those aren’t acceptable now, so why risk giving God vain worship by introducing something we can’t be SURE He will accept?

  83. I see what you are saying completely Corey about being consistent

    I’m not going to argue whether musical instruments are right or wrong because I don’t expect to sway any opinions nor do I see it as beneficial to argue it.

    I really am just trying to grasp as clear an understanding as to the premise behind this belief.

    So this is my understanding from what you have mentioned and what I have heard others also. Instruments are not to be used in worship services because the New Testament did not use them, etc. I get that and understand the argument.

    My question is what do you feel the instruments are taking away from in the service, if anything?

  84. They take away little, but they sure add a lot.

    They add a lot of noise that often drowns out the voices of fellow Christians.

    They add an item of worship that God never said He wanted.

    They open a door to add anything that individuals like or want. Add a piano, how about an organ? An organ, how about an electric guitar and drum set? On and on it goes.

    Now if my congregation is willing to add instruments, how about adding some other things not mentioned in the New Testament? Choirs, solos, “love offerings”, enforced tithing. None of which are authorized, but it doesn’t say not to do it, so let’s just keep adding things that please us and surely God will accept all of our additions as long as we’re sincere.

  85. coreydavis wrote:

    “Here are some facts that really can’t be debated:
    *Christians are never told to use instruments of music in worship to God.”

    Actually, it can be debated.

    1) First century Christians had, as their Scripture, the Old Testament.

    2) In the Old Testament, the use of instruments in worshipping God was permitted, even encouraged (Ps 150, for example).

    3) The animal sacrifice issue is moot, because the NT tells us that Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, and because of His death on the cross, no other animal sacrifices are required. (Hebrews 10: 11-18). Nowhere in the NT do we read that anything has rendered the use of musical instruments moot.

    4) The example (is this printed up somewhere? I’ve heard it so often) of using Cheezwhiz in the Lord’s Supper is an inappropriate strawman argument, because we don’t have that example anywhere. We have the OT example for instruments in worship.

    And I am really quite sad for you (and I don’t mean that in a mean way, but in an authentic way) – that you live on such a tenuous position of fearing making the wrong decision in something like this. On the one hand, I appreciate your desire to please God. On the other, I know that our attempts to please God are pretty worthless.

    “All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”
    Isaiah 64:6

    “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

    Does this mean we don’t try? No, of course not. That’s one of the main points we find in James (2:20). But, we are also free in Christ – and that includes in doing something that we’ve been instructed to do, and never had the right revoked – such as using musical instruments in worship. That’s just one small issue which helps us to find our joy in Christ (the book of Philippians).

    Thanks,
    Nathan

  86. Well, no, it isn’t debatable. The OT scriptures were used to point to the Christ, not to show anyone how to worship.

    One of the big problems in the early church were Jewish converts who wanted to force circumcision upon the Gentile converts. They wanted to add a little of the old law in with the new, and for that Paul condemned them.

    Jesus fulfilled the old law. That means the means of worship was done away with also, unless specifically restated under the new law. Did Christ only do away with the animal sacrifices? If so, we should continue to burn incense, force people to tithe, have instruments and have men to be circumsized whether they want to or not. You say the right to use instruments was never revoked. Well, with the exception of forced circumcision, neither are any of the others specifically revoked. Are they still acceptable as well? Those things are done, just like the rest of the way the Jews worshiped.

    The sadness you say you have for me goes both ways. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I’m going beyond God’s word and making decisions based on my wants, desires, feelings and thoughts. No one is righteous on his own, but through Christ we can’t be counted as such. I am content with His word and don’t find it lacking in any way and therefore I see no reason to reach back into a law that He did away with for items of worship that are obsolete.

  87. Another response for Katie:

    You asked why instruments would be okay outside of worship but not in worship…I don’t think this is a great way of putting it, since we are not “in worship,” but offering acts of worship to God…nevertheless…

    In my eyes it would be similar to someone saying that it is inconsistent that we juggle outside of worship, but do not have jugglers in worship…or we play soccer outside of worship, but we do not have a pick-up match in worship. I know these are ridiculous examples…but they are examples of activities that are perfectly acceptable outside of worship, but not “in worship,” or as worship.

    I understand that in one sense everything we do is “worship” (although “service” would probably be a better way of understanding it…that’s the word Romans 12:1 uses), but there is still, in Scripture, an understanding that particular activities and times are set aside as praise and worship. So, we might enjoy juggling or soccer-playing as valid entertainment forms, but we would take issue with doing those things as worship in an assembly of Christians. Similarly, (most) non-instrumental Christians conclude that instrumental music is a valid form of entertainment, but not acceptable as worship.

    To use Corey’s example…Cheeze Whiz is not inherently evil (although some might disagree 🙂 )…but we still believe it wrong to put it on the crackers in the Lord’s Supper.

  88. Question for Nathan:

    You said that we are free in Christ.

    Agreed…but free from what or to do what? (BCV please)

  89. As far as the Cheese-Whiz example goes, in the book “How to Debate People from Denominations” that every member of the church of Christ is given as soon as they come up out of the baptismal waters, we are given the option of using “Cheese-Whiz” or “grape jelly”. I don’t know if it is acceptable to use any other illustrations.

    I’m a Cheese-Whiz man myself, but if others want to illustrate with grape jelly, I’m all for it.

  90. I am catching up on this discussion, and thought I would throw my two cents in…

    Having been raised all of my life in the CofC, I do love my a capella heritage and believe it is beautiful. I love it when we can harmonize together singing praise to our God-it is amazing. But, I also love Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder, MercyMe, etc who sing worship songs with instruments, and I love going to concerts and worshipping with other believers in that manner. I see nothing right or wrong with either-but merely a preference. God has not condemned it, I don’t believe we can either.

    Corey, I admire you for being consistent and setting a good example in that manner. You would not be able to worship in good conscience with an instrument, and that is fine-I respect that and those who feel the same way. I would never want to do anything that would cause my brother or sister to stumble because I chose something simply out of a selfish desire. However I will also not condemn someone for choosing to use instruments in worship when God Himself has not done so. Where do we have the ability or authority to do that?

    If God really did not approve, I think He would have said something about it since he obviously approved of them in the OT. Like Nathan said, we no longer have to provide sacrifices, because Jesus fulfilled that by being the ultimate sacrifice. No, we do not have to do everything just like the OT Law-it is not a command to play or to not play, therefore it is a preference.

    The early Christians were being persecuted-I doubt they would have wanted to advertise their worship service by playing instruments! Just because there is no example does not make something is wrong because God has given us freedom. Can this be carried to the extreme? Of course not, but if we say some things are not acceptable when there is not a direction-then we would have to say nothing is. We can’t pick and choose what is an expedient and what is an addition-what God does and does not accept when He Himself did not speak about it. It is men that have decided that God does not accept them, it is not God who has stated that.

    There are those who choose to worship with and those who choose to worship without-I will not judge either way, nor should anyone else. Honestly, I think this has become way more of an issue than it ever should have-it has caused more division, and I am sure satan loves that. I don’t believe that this was ever even a topic God wanted us to debate-and yet it has split and divided more times than we can count-not just in our heritage but over the years.

    I honestly believe that it takes away even more from Jesus and the amazing work He did when He came to die on the cross for our sins.

  91. That means the means of worship was done away with also, unless specifically restated under the new law.

    Where do you get the authority to state this? Or, to put it into the popular lingo, BCV?

    1) Tithing – in the churches I attended, tithing has not been a hard and fast rule – but simply a guideline, and I don’t have a Scriptural issue with that. The NT is pretty clear that how much we give is irrelevant, but how we give it is what matters. (the “cheerful giver” and “abundance of our heart” passages). I think this is directly related to our worship – and parallels the attitude we should have. (Rom. 12:1)

    More to come… got to get away from my computer for a while.

    Nathan

  92. Hey Cory send me that book, “How to Debate People from Denominations” so I can “argue” with myself and please include the cheese and grape jelly..

  93. I feel I need to add one more important point.
    Even though I believe that using instruments as worship is not what God wants, I still believe in the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God. If I believe God will forgive my misunderstandings and imperfections, then I have to believe He will forgive others…including those who in all sincerity offer worship to God but make the mistake of using instruments.

    This is not a license to worship any way we want…just a note to say although I think it is wrong I am definitely not in a position to condemn any sincere worshiper to hell.

    On the other hand…there is another issue. I do think it is possible to lose your salvation (another point we probably disagree on), and I believe it is possible with any sin, including instrumental worship…and here’s how: if we ever get to the point where we basically say “I don’t care what the Bible or God says, I’m going to do it my way” then we are telling Christ that He is not our Lord. This can happen with instrumental worship (and other things) if we decide that we like what we like and that’s the way we like it, and are unwilling to examine our practices or unwilling to submit to God’s word. I have heard a lot of people say things like, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with instrumental worship, and I like it.” Is the reason they don’t think it is wrong Biblical? Or have they come to a point that it wouldn’t matter anyway…they like the instruments so they are going to keep them no matter what? To me this may indicate a deeper problem: putting personal preferences above God’s preferences.

    Again, I am not saying that any of you who use instruments are doing this. Many sincere worshipers use instruments. I am just pointing out the danger.

  94. Galatians 2:16 “”knowing that a man is not justified by the Works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be Saved!”

    The works of the law, which would logically include the worship, will save no one.

    James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”

    If you’re going to worship like is mandated in the old law, you’d better be prepared to keep all of it.

    Galatians 2: 3But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.4But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

    Those who would bring in the parts of the old law were called false brethren.

    The principle of only doing those things as restated in the NT is evidenced by our command to worship on Sunday, rather than the Sabbath. All of the other 10 commandments are restated. Keeping the Sabbath is not.

    Rick – you’ll have to go to Norm’s congregation and be baptized for the remission of sins. You’ll get your copy before you even begin to dry off.

  95. Corey to your thoughts about potentially losing salvation because a person worships with instruments, you say “is the reason they don’t think it is wrong, Biblical”… yes, your interpretation that because it is not “authorized” means it is wrong would be your interpretation, I would agree with Katherine and Nathan’s many points for why it would not be right or wrong.

    I don’t know… I agree with Katherine that on such an issue it is silly to argue it and I definitely wasn’t attempting to argue, just seeking clarification.

  96. They must be on back order, because I didn’t get a copy when I was baptized 15 years ago…

  97. my addition to this argument about OT law and worship would be that the “worship” of the children of Isreal was not a mandated law. They worshipped out over the out-pouring over the love and joy for the Lord. Sure circumcision, sacrifice, etc… those things were kept as “laws” and yes when Jesus came he came to abolish those laws. However worship wasn’t a mandated act… so that would not be included in any arguments about old law.

  98. Katie,

    I think you were responding to my comments about the possibility of losing salvation rather than Corey’s comments.

    I understand you sincerely don’t believe it to be wrong, and that you appeal to Scripture for your understanding…which I appreciate. I was referring to those who don’t give Scripture the time of day to find out because they would rather do what they want than find out what God wants…I probably am not clear enough, but I see a definite distinction between the sincerely mistaken worshiper and the one who does what they do only because they like it that way, with no regard to what God might want.

    I hope that clears things up a little.

    Clint

  99. I see what you mean Clint, sort of like the people in Judges, doing what was right in their own eyes

    and I would agree that a person doing what is right in their own eyes never consulting scripture is surely in the wrong

  100. While I do not see worshipping with instruments as sinful whatsoever (according to scripture), I also agree that it would be wrong for people to do whatever they want in worship, life, etc. without seeking first what God has said.

  101. Katie,

    Regarding your comments about worship in the OT being/not being mandated…

    Numbers 10:1-2 specified that two silver trumpets be made specifically for musical worship…only priests could blow them (10:8)…and they were to be used at specific times (10:10) These were the only instruments used in worship in tabernacle worship.

    Then, as God is preparing the people for a fixed place of worship at the temple, David introduces new instruments and regulations beginning in 1Chron. 16:1-6, and mentioned again in 23:5. In 23 David specifically says that he made these new instruments for praise to God. Also, notice that specific people were appointed to play these instruments.

    We don’t find out why David introduced these instruments and regulations until 2Chron 29:25-27. Here we are told that David’s introductions agreed with commands from Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet…and that all three were simply giving commands “from the Lord through His prophets.” Verse 27 tells us that they used the trumpets (the silver ones) and David’s instruments…only those prescribed by God.

    David specifically says in 1Chron 28:19, as he is delivering the plans for the temple and its service and worship to Solomon, that all of the plans (which would include the instruments and their use) were given to him by the Lord. In other words, God didn’t introduce these new instruments and singers and worship elements…God introduced them through David, a prophet.

    In the following years, whenever the people of Israel wanted to reestablish proper temple worship after a captivity or temple destruction or other interruption in proper temple activity, they always appealed to David’s instructions. Why? Because they know his instructions were God’s instructions. [see sections like 2Chron 8:14; 23:18; Ezra 3:10; Neh 12:24-46]

    Clearly instrumental music was not only mandated by the Law, but completely regulated, just like other elements of worship.

  102. oops…In the third paragraph from the bottom I said “In other words, God didn’t introduce these new instruments…” It should read “In other words, David didn’t introduce…”
    sorry for the mixup

  103. thank you for giving me those though
    I will try and read them after dinner and church this evening

  104. BTW…this info is from a book called Old Light on New Worship by John Price…it is an excellent book on the subject of instrumental music…not a church-of-Christer…a Baptist who, along with the church where he preaches in New York, has chosen to give up instrumental worship…
    You should take a look if you are interested in learning more.

  105. I don’t have time to get into some issue that I would like to address but I have certainly enjoy reading all the posts.

    I would like to share with y’all about someone who die a few short years ago. This person is my mother-in-law. She came to the saving knowleadge of our Lord Jesus on her death bed. I spent many hours with her in this hospital bed reading her the Bible and want it meant to know Him. She with tears in her eyes confess that she needed a Savior and cry out to Him to save her. She had tubes down her neck, an IV and was on a breathing machine to keep her alive. She so wanted to be baptized but as you can see should could not. No one here can tell me that my mother-in-law is burning in hell right now because she could not be baptized. This lady is rejoiceing in heaven with her Savior who gave her mercy and grace to keep her alive until she found Him. I was so blessed that the Lord allow me to show her the Way to Him. Although He was already drawing her to Him. I was just an instrument for Him to use for His purpose. I stood in front of her family and frinds at her funeral and share the gospel telling them that in Him we will be with her again.

    I just thought I would share a real story not a “what if” story. Not everyone can be baptized in water.

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