Salvation by Water Baptism

Introduction

This is a refutation of water baptism as a condition of salvation. Here I am taking aim at the Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, that teach this heresy. The premise of these people as well as others is to add the “work” of water baptism before a person is saved.

Impure Motives

Water BaptismThe way this functions is that the group teaching this is a cult, and most sharply they make the point that water baptism ONLY PERFORMED BY THEIR GROUP is what saves a person. Roman Catholicism holds basically to the same but adds other sacraments (grace meriting works).

The idea here then is to “lock” salvation to only their group, and this flows directly from their unique authority given to them by God. Inherent in this mentality is the sometimes lowkey sometimes blatant conclusion that EVERY OTHER GROUP EXCEPT THEM ARE HERETICAL.

Observations

  1. While this element of the Church of Christ clearly identifies them as a cult, the original founders of this group, Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, Barton Stone, etc. were never baptized or rebaptized having with this understanding before getting wet.
  2. Jesus never baptizes anyone, and if he is the Savior, then why didn’t he?
  3. 1Cor 1:14-17 Paul did not view water baptism as part of the Gospel.
  4. Mark 1:4; Acts 19:1-5 John’s baptism didn’t save anyone even though it adhered to the Campbellite code, “baptism unto the remission of sins”.
  5. The clear biblical principle of justification by faith alone is violated by this doctrine (Rom 1:1-2)
  6. This requirement violates the one way of salvation principle  (Rom 3:28-30) that governs BOTH Old Testament and New Testament. Abraham was saved before the law (Rom 1:1-2), David after the Law (Rom 4:6-8), Habakkuk in the prophets (Rom 1:17). The thief on the cross could not have been saved without baptism. None of these had a water baptism that we know about. Abraham’s salvation is emphasized on his faith and nothing else (Rom 4:9-11, 16; 23; 5:1-2).
  7. Cornelius was saved and baptized by the Holy Spirit before  he was baptized (Acts 10:44-48).
  8. According to the strictest Campbellite interpretation, salvation is by baptismal regeneration, but this also means, that nobody can be saved a) if water is not present in sufficient quantities to immerse a person, b) if a Campbellite preacher has to be present. It also confuses Holy Spirit baptism (regeneration) with water baptism.

We are baptized Eis “Unto” remission of sins

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

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The straight Campbellite view is that Acts 2:38 “be baptized… for the remission of sins” means that baptism causes the remission of sins, or “in order to obtain” remission of sins.

Greek scholars point out that this can also be a post-salvation experiment, something that is done after or being caused by (water baptism) the principle action (faith).

Bibliography

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