Thursday, February 12, 2009
Where does it end? James A. Harding opined that no man since the time of Christ had understood the design of baptism when he submitted to it. Of course by design Harding meant more than Acts 2.38 ... as our recent post makes clear. All that was biblically required was submissive faith in Jesus as the Messiah the Son of God. J.W. McGarvey argued, convincingly, that God requires simply faith and repentance for biblical baptism. Because baptism "belongs to God and not man."
Some demand that a candidate must must know specifically "the remission of sins" though there is not a single text that makes such a demand. But once one starts "adding to" the list of requirements necessary for baptism where does the "slippery slope" end??
Barry Grider for example wrote in the "Forest Hill News" (vol 27.9) of the Forest Hill Church of Christ on February 27, 2001 an article called "Scriptural Baptism." If my memory serves correctly this is the home of Memphis School of Preaching. Grider makes some pretty hefty demands on the part of the candidate:
1) Must have the correct mode. That is it must be immersion under all circumstances.
2) It must be done for its one and only one scriptural purpose. "If someone is baptized for some reason other than the remission of sins, such a person has not been scripturally baptized." My emphasis.
3) Baptism must be preceded by repentance.This is applied to divorced and remarried "unbiblically" are to be refused baptism if they don't repent. "[A]n administrator of baptism should not baptize a person who refuses to repent" that is of their "adulterous relationship."
4) The candidate must not only be baptized for one and only reason (remission of
sins) this person must "understand the concept of the New Testament church." "A
few denominational churches baptize for the remission of sins, yet the individuals baptized are not added to the one true church."
I scratch my head folks! I see no such demands in the NT placed on the candidates. I hate to say it but it is sectarianism in the extreme but where does the slippery slope of adding unbiblical demands end?
There are many, not a single, biblical reasons to be baptized. And how many folks out there understood the "the concept of the New Testament church" at their baptism? I would say there is misunderstanding present in Barry's own article on this point ... he declares that the church is the kingdom and this is not so. Once we have decided to cut ourselves off of anyone else new conditions have to be added to keep us "distinct" ... so where does it end?