(by Doug Hawkins, Dothan AL NY Meeting 2010)
(by Clint Defrance)
(by Clint Defrance)
If you would like to read Johnny Elmore’s six part study on the church of Christ
please visit the Fossil Creek Church of Christ Website.
(by Clint Defrance)
The following article is an answer to questions concerning the need for re-baptism if one has been baptized for the remission of sins in a denomination. The article was written by Ronny F. Wade and has been printed with his permission. We commend it to you. – Clint De France
The controversy over the rebaptism issue has been long and often heated. One of the early debates that I have in my library between J.N. Cowan and Daniel Sommer covered this topic. Sommer took the liberal view that those coming from denominations, who understood what baptism was for, did not need to be rebaptized. Cowan believed they did. He and others referred to the process of receiving these people without baptism as “shaking them in.” David Lipscomb, who also took the more liberal view, came under attack from a number of more conservative brethren. Just as then, so now, the controversy continues. Many today claim that so long as a person being baptized understands what they are doing and why, their baptism is acceptable. Others, who are somewhat more conservative, believe that the baptism must be for the remission of sins, but is acceptable even though it was a part of joining a denomination. Finally, there is the view that not only must one be baptized for the remission of sins, but must also be aware of the fact that he/she is being baptized into Christ i.e. his spiritual body, and not some denomination. It is the last view that this writer supports.
Before giving the reasons why, let me point out that even though many feel their baptism was for the remission of sins, in reality it may not have been. I have talked with several who devoutly claimed that “their preacher” or “their church” baptized for the remission of sins. However, when checking they learned the very opposite. But what about a denomination that does baptize for the remission of sins? Can we accept that baptism? Are those people added to the church (Acts 2:47) against their will and without their knowledge? I personally do not think so.
A careful study of the scripture reveals that Bible baptism is not only for the remission of sins, to wash away sins, to save, but also includes “some things concerning the Lord’s kingdom.” Peter taught this very thing in Acts 2:29-36. Again in Acts 8:5, “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” What all did preaching Christ include? Note verse 12, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ ,they were baptized, both men and women.” Thus preaching Christ includes “the things concerning the kingdom of Christ and the name or authority of Jesus. When Philip “preached Jesus” to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:35) he also preached about baptism (Acts 8:36). To preach “Jesus” or “Christ unto them” is to preach what one must do to be saved and some “things concerning the kingdom.”
I deny that denominational preachers who preach baptism for the remission of sins are preaching the gospel. There is more to the gospel than preaching baptism. If a denominational preacher were preaching the gospel, he wouldn’t be in the denomination, since the Bible condemns such. When he baptizes someone, he does so with the idea that they are becoming a member of his church i. e. denomination. Were you do ask that person after their baptism what church they were a member of, they would reply by naming the denomination into which they had been baptized. They certainly would not say “I am now a member of the church of Christ.” Were you to ask the denominational preacher who did the baptizing if he was a member of the one church he would more than likely reply “yes”, because he believes the denomination of which he is a part is the one true church. However, such is not the case. No denomination is the one true church.
Years ago Brother Tom Smith of Healdton, OK, used the following illustration, which I think is as good as I have ever heard on this subject: A man wants to join the Masonic Lodge and goes through all the requirements to do so. In the process he passes the morals requirements, he recites certain passages from their books and undergoes initiation rites required by them. Finally, he is granted membership in the lodge. Some years later he decides he would like to become an Oddfellow. So he goes to them and gets the requirements for joining their lodge. To his surprise he finds that they require some of the very things he did to become a Mason. He tells them that he has already done those things and wants to be accepted as an Oddfellow on that basis. They refuse telling him that becoming a Mason did not make him an Oddfellow even though some of the requirements may have been the same. Brethren, the same is true with the church of our Lord. Even though a denomination may baptize for the remission of sins, when you go into that body, the Lord does not add you to his church (Acts 2:47). If he does, you are added to the church of Christ, without your knowledge and against your will, for you had no intention of becoming a member of the body of Christ when you joined the denomination. Who can