View Single Post
Old 05-13-2009, 03:55 PM
George's Avatar
George George is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Posts: 891
Default Re: "Is water baptism for today?"

Originally Posted by Bro. Parrish View Post
Yes George, please lay out your position on water baptism and why it is not part of the Mosaic Law or unscriptural as suggested by hyperdispensationalism... I'm sure that we would find it enlightening.
Aloha brother Parrish,

This Post is answer to your requests.

Brother Tony said:
I believe the Body of Christ was present but not yet manifest and identified and had, as Paul said, "above 511" members: The 11 apostles and those over 500 believers who saw Christ resurrected.”
And I agree with him here – although this point has been “debated” by the “scribes” & “scholars” for centuries.

Brother Tony said:
Within the But Now Age I rightly divide Paul into

Early Paul - "To the Jew first..." Acts 9- Acts 28

Mid Paul - But Now, "...neither Jew nor Gentile..." Acts Chapter 29

Late PaulAges To Come, wise masterbuilder who was the custodian who administered the transition from Gospel Of The Kingdom Of Heaven(Restored Isreal) which is the gospel committed to Peter, James, John, and the rest of the Twelve, into the Grace Age of today and on into the Tribulation, as Paul authored Hebrews, the first book of Tribulation doctrine, and was the most qualified to write it as a human oracle.”
I do not agree with brother Tony on this teaching, because I am NOT told to “rightly divide Paul” – I am told to “rightly divide the word of truth.” And so - Early Paul; Mid Paul; and Late Paul is a “construct” that may or may not be true. I could just as easily say that Early Paul = the time between Paul’s conversion and his taking up residence in Antioch; and that Mid Paul = the time that Paul spent in Antioch before his “call”; and Late Paul = the time after Paul’s “call” up to his death.

I believe that a careful reading of the Book of Acts will reveal that it is a “transitional” Book (transitioning from the exclusive call and “appeal” to the nation of Israel {as a corporate entity}, [Acts Chapters 1-7] - to the call and inclusion of the Gentiles into the family of God and the establishment of the “church of God” - saints – both Jews & Gentiles [Acts Chapters 8-28]).

I am fearful of “construct’s” based upon suppositions (or history), and NOT upon clear Scriptural words themselves. No where’s in the New Testament does it talk about - Early Paul; Mid Paul; and Late Paul. And for that reason I shy away from this kind of teaching; just like I shy away from declaring (with no reservations) that the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews. And although I personally “think” he did, since I cannot prove my speculation, I will not declare something to be true which I cannot demonstrate (with the exact words) from Scripture that it is so.

I’m not trying to make excuses, but when it comes to brother Tony’s presentation from the Old Testament – brother Tony can “leave me in the dust” when it comes to this subject. I have not done an in-depth study on the subject, since I personally haven’t seen its importance. I will make this one comment though – the word “baptize” cannot be found in the Old Testament, and so any “connection” between New Testament water baptism and the Old Testament will have to be done through Similitude’s” & “Type’s”, since the word “baptize” or “baptism” is completely absent from the Old Testament record; and since we are told to “rightly divide the word of truth” – any teaching derived from the Old Testament in regards to the subject of water baptism will be completely dependent upon “Similitude’s” & “Type’s”, since the words “baptize” or “baptism” are not in the Old Testament. And although I believe that there are legitimate “Similitude’s” & “Type’s” to be found in both Testaments, I am, again, extremely reluctant to rely solely on them for doctrine, since without the specific words, there is a too broad an area for personal “interpretation”.

This I do know - water Baptism conveys no special “grace” on a believer, but on the other hand, since Paul did Baptize (1 Corinthians 1: 13-17 - which he did do & didn’t deny); and he is our “example” [1Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17], I believe that water Baptism is one of the two main “ordinances” for a New Testament church – especially since there is NO clear commandment PROHIBITING its practice.

Tony’s point based on Early Paul; Mid Paul; and Late Paul is (to me) not very strong, but on the other hand his point about “one baptism” is (to be honest) extremely difficult to deal with.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Now we all know WHAT that ONE BAPTISM is referring to (or we should know). It’s referring to the Holy Spirit “baptizing” a believer into the body of Christ at the moment he or she BELIEVES on the Lord Jesus Christ, and RECEIVES Him as their personal Saviour [John 1:12-13 & 1 Corinthians 12:13]. So what do we do about “water Baptism”?

Absent a commandment NOT to Baptize, I believe that it is perfectly alright, as long as we don’t try to make it spiritually “efficacious” in any way other than identifying with the Lord’s death [Romans 6:3], burial, and resurrection (and possibly as a “testimony” for the dead in Christ, that shall rise again from “the dead” one day - 1 Corinthians 15:29).

Just as there is only one “church of God” (with many churches); and just as there is only one “body of Christ” (manifested in many individual bodies); I believe there is only ONE BAPTISM (of which water Baptism is a “type”). I will not “fight” with a fellow brother in Christ over this doctrine {admittedly there are some verses that support Tony’s conviction}; and unless brother Tony were to persist in bringing it up (which I doubt he will), I have no problem fellowshipping with him at all.

There are many other doctrines that are of far more import than water Baptism in the Bible. Someday the Lord Jesus Christ is going to straighten me out on all of my doctrine [1 Corinthians 13:9-12]; in the mean time, I try to be careful not to “shoot our own troops” (with whom I may disagree – as long as we are of the “same mind” on the weightier matters”). The enemy is at the gates; they are within our ranks; they have taken over practically all of the “Christian” schools & colleges; they have taken over most of the leadership rolls; they are undermining our morale; and destroying genuine Bible believers’ faith in God’s Holy word.

We need every single soldier for Christ that we can get. We cannot afford to alienate a fellow brother in Christ who clearly loves God’s word (i.e. the SWORD of the Spirit – Ephesians 6:17) the ONLY OFFENSIVE WEAPON in our entire arsenal - and knows WHERE to find it and HOW to use it.

If I thought that this issue was as important as the existence of God, angels, satan, and devils; or as the creation, the Flood, Heaven and Hell; or as sin, the atonement, redemption, salvation, being born again, and the church; or as the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, His sinless life; His Blood Atonement, and His death burial, and resurrection (i.e. the “Gospel”) - if I thought for one moment that brother Tony were not of the “same mind” on all of these “weightier matters”, I would be the first one to “separate” myself from him; but his testimony rings true on those things (doctrines) that matter most to me (and I hope to God also); and so we will probably end up “agreeing to disagree”.

I have ended up in this same kind of a relationship with several other members of this Forum, whom I still appreciate (even though we differ on some issues). I refuse to have anything to do with Bible correctors and deniers; and I will NOT “tolerateHereticks (False Teachers); all other brethren are welcome “at my table” – I will not separate myself or refuse to fellowship with a fellow brother in Christ because we differ on how to “rightly divide the word” on this issue.

If I have disappointed some of you, because I haven’t taken as much time and effort (as is my habit) to refute each and every point (with Scripture) that brother Tony has brought up in defense of his convictions, I apologize. I just don’t have the time (nor am I inclined) to attempt to “contend” with him. And not only that, to be perfectly honest, I’m not so sure that I could refute each and every one of his points.

I will say it one more time: I believe that brother Tony is mistaken on this issue. I haven’t spent the kind of time studying this issue as I have many others, because I do not think that it is as important as the major Doctrines (i.e. weightier matters - some of which I have cited above). I’m all for putting this issue “to bed” (and leave it there). I believe that we all know (now) that brother Tony has scriptural reasons for his convictions in this matter, and he has ably supported his position from the Scriptures. If he is willing - lets all put aside all of the malice, rancor, and hard feelings that this issue has stirred up and get on with the work of God [John 6:29]. I believe the time is short – maybe a lot shorter than we think.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.