Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which one is it?

So lately my mind has been on overdrive when it comes to the Christian walk. I've been studying Acts for the past month during my own quiet time and through some studying (and venting) with a friend, I've been able to contemplate some things that have really been bothering me and others that just perplex me.

First off, why are there so many denominations? This is mostly rhetorical. I know the origin of most denominations, but as the Body of Christ we are supposed to be united and I see very little of that. There's hardly unity within denominations and their respective "churches". I understand choosing one church over another because of preference; the worship or the way the Pastor preaches....etc. However, when you really look at it, it's usually bigger things that separate "Christian churches". It's usually doctrinal issues, many being salvation issues. This is where I'm completely torn.

If I feel confused about this, how much more unbelievers looking in at us?

One main issue I've been confronted with, at least in my heart, is where and when did water baptism become separated from salvation? In Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission, known to all believers, clearly states to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". This was the last command Jesus gave us before ascended to Heaven. Then on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:37 people were "cut to the heart" and asked what to do. Peter replied in verse 38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

As you read on in Acts, when people believed they were immediately baptized. It seems they went hand in hand. Reasonably, if you think about what water baptism is...the old self dying and the new self coming alive...then just by saying words and confessing without baptism logically seems as if you'd still be your old self (This is just me thinking out loud).

Again, when did water baptism become separated from salvation? The Word of God has not changed, why have we? It's like in our mass produced society, we like everything fast and easy and we've made out salvation to be the same. I know that in Romans 10:9 it says "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," but this was said to believers that already had been baptized in water (Please look it up if you don't believe me).

What I've noticed for probably my entire life in the Christian church (several different denominations) there is very little, if any, importance given to water baptism. It's something done maybe once or twice in the year, but definitely not when someone receives Jesus Christ as their Savior.

All I'm saying is that if you're sold out for Christ, which is what should happen when you give your life over to Him (not going back to your old ways), whether or not you believe you need to be baptized to be saved, why not just do it out of obedience...especially since it's mentioned so many times in the New Testatment? Better safe than sorry, right?

So now my brothers and sisters in Christ, "let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repenatance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement." (Hebrews 6:1-3)


  1. Be careful there. Sounds like you are saying you have to DO something in order to earn salvation. Believing in your heart is the only thing anyone needs to "do" to be saved. I don't think we need to fear for someones salvation because they haven't been water baptized yet. Many in Acts were infact baptized in the Holy Spirit before the water baptism.


    What about the baby "sprinklings." Do those count as a water baptism and then once those babies make a decision later on in thier life that they belive in God do they then need to be baptized publicly again or are they covered by something they don't even remember taking place?

    I agree that it does probably need to happen in a public setting among believers more often than once or twice a year. The question is...should it be everyweek? Everytime someone turns their heart toward God? Does it have to be in front of the whole church or can it be with a close community of believers that you fellowship with (i.e. a small group)?

    There are a lot of questions that circle around water baptism. I personally feel that once a person believes the gospel in thier heart they should publicly be it with the whole church watching or with a small group watching it doesn't matter. There's something amazing that takes place when our physical bodies are washed and covered in water just like our spiritual bodies are washed and covered in the Holy Spirit when we are saved. However, I don't think our savlation depends on this act. God judges the heart.

  2. Didn't mean to randomly put my name in the middle of that. Thought it was at the bottom of the post.

  3. Kat, I only agree with your last paragraph. I don't believe in baby "sprinklings" to count for water baptism. Water baptism is a public symbol of repentance and becoming a new being in Christ. You have to know that prior to being baptized. Babies cannot acknowledge or make that decision on their own.

    I am well aware of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that occurred prior to being water baptized in Acts 10:44-48, but please note that Peter ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. You can’t ignore those facts or the rest of the verses I quoted.

  4. I'm not ignoring them. I believe them. I think water baptism is important. But you get into a sticky situation/debate when you say you HAVE to be baptized to be saved.

    If someone who's heart is changed but maybe didn't have time, weren't aware of the need for (in a remote village where they don't have the Bible but the Holy Spirit has changed them), or physically couldn't have a water baptism before they die does that mean they are not saved?

  5. I don't mean to jump in the middle of your discussion, but i thought i could offer my thoughts...Katherine, in your 1st response to Jenelle's blog u state "Be Careful there, it sounds like you have to DO something in order to earn salvation. Believing in your heart is the only thing anyone needs to "do" to be saved." I wonder why you have two categories of dos or works. Yes i do understand that we are saved only by grace, but in order to receive Gods grace YOU believe we must 1st say a prayer, how is that any different then getting baptized. Belief is just as much of a work as baptizm. According to John 6:29 Believing is a Work.... To further illustrate my point look at the verse quoted by Jenelle....Act 2:37-38...The people were cut to the heart and said WHAT SHALL WE !DO!...and you know the rest....Now if he said don't do anything just sit there and let God's grace shower upon you then i would agree with you but he doesn't say that he says "repent and be baptized everyone of you! i think that is the best evidence i can give in favor of baptism....

  6. Good point Tony. I guess I should have made clear that you must in fact "do" something, but the ONLY thing you have to do is believe that Jesus is the risen son of God and the savior of the world (not necessarily say a prayer btw).

    Perhaps it's the word "Saved" or "Salvation" that's throwing me off. If being "saved" or receiving "salvation" from Christ means you no longer experience eternal separation from God then I stand by my view that water baptism is not a requirement for being saved. Jesus spoke to the criminal hanging next to him on the cross and said that he would join Him in heaven. I don't think that criminal had time to be water baptized before entering into God's presence in heaven.

  7. Kat, the criminal next to Jesus most definitely did go to Heaven as promised, but there was no need for baptism b/c if you study baptism it is to die to our old selves as represented through Christ's resurrection. Jesus commanded us to go a baptize AFTER his resurrection. Read Romans 6:1-7 to further understand.

    p.s. I took your stance but then I studied water baptism. I used to argue the same things as you without fully studying the context.