Satan's Favorite Bible Verse? Why has one of the history's greatest "cottage industries" trafficking on calling Jesus a liar become so popular that people will destroy? Acts 2:38 baptisthêtô hekastos eis aphesin hamartiôn:
baptisthêtô hekastos eis aphesin hamartiôn
Dip in or under water;
every one, each one
letting go, dismissal
of fault committed by one
Kataduô duck the whole person
every single one
EN = within one's power
to discharge from a bond
of guilt and sin
CHARISMATIC: Charismatic worship of Chara--the Grace-only goddess--is most often attached to perverted sexuality.
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Watchman Fellowship Acts 2:38
Is the church of Christ a demonic, procuring cult because it believes what Jesus and Peter said on the surface and in Acts 2:38? That is what The Watchman Fellowship of Baptists claims!
This material being reviewed was posted by Watchman Fellowship, Inc. I could not find out what they believe but they have a lot of what they don't believe. Their "crusades" are primarily at Baptist churches. They also have a catalog. They identify about 1200 cults but I am wary of Christian organizations with an Inc. at the end of its title.
A general theme of these Baptist Watchman Fellowship groups seem pretty intent on identifying churches of Christ as a cult. Bearing false witness is pretty heavy stuff but this considerable animus is directed at those who believe the literal or surface meaning of the words of Christ in the Great Commission and in Peter's obedience on the day of Pentecost. The theology of the false claims is based upon the hermeneutics that Acts 2:38 must be interpreted to mean something other than the surface meaning based upon whether one believes in salvation by faith only.
Most thoughtful people have conceded that the word For in Acts 2:38 means in order to and not because of. This leads this writer to fall back to the position that Christian baptism is Holy Spirit baptism. However, Holy Spirit baptism was promised only to the Apostles to enable them to be witnesses of what they had been taught and would be taught by Christ in Spirit form. The Cornelius event was God's forceful sign to the reluctant Apostles that He meant what He said about Gentiles being accepted as brothers and sisters in Christ.
My comments are in black:
Jesus said that without being born AGAIN of Water and Spirit or Water and the Word you CANNOT, SHALL NOT enter into His kingdom or rule which is the Ekklesia or Christian synagogue or school of the Bible. The seven "spirits" of Isaiah 11:1-4 which would rest on the BRANCH are all related to forms of spiritual knowledge. Jesus said "My Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, you might join a venue for Rock and Roll peddled as "worship" but Jesus Christ WILL NOT be your free-of-charge Teacher until He washes your spirit or mind. Only then do you have access to the seven spirits represented by the Menorah or Candlestick which gave LIGHT to the Holy Place along with the table of bread and the incense altar. Each Christian "priest" must look into the Most Holy Place with their own prayers. Then, you can enter into the Most Holy Place to meet God. Jesus said that the ONLY new PLACE is the human spirit as it gives heed to the Spirit of Truth through the Word. Don't believe the lie that "musical teams" lead you into the presence of God: that makes them claim to be God standing in the Holy Place. Not in the vilest pagan temple could singers and musicians enter into the holy precincts on the penalty of death. Don't follow people making "Christianity" viler than paganism. If you are part of the 5 out of 13,000 congregations then you have become a laughing stock just like the musical idolatrs at Mount Sinai which forfeited and continues to forfeit the Covenant of Grace.
People who refute this have a "spirit" which intends to hurt you real bad.
In the Watchman Fellowship literature we notice that "Churches of Christ: The independent Churches of Christ movement was one of several associations and denominations that developed from Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Barton W. Stone's restoration movement of the early 19th century which was designed to promote unity among Protestants. Many (but not all) Churches of Christ today, however, differ from traditional Protestant doctrine in two key areas.
"Many maintain that water baptism and/or other commandments (rather than grace through faith alone) are a requirement of salvation. Some also believe that today's Churches of Christ are the only true churches on earth and that they can literally trace their history to the first century church in Jerusalem. See "Baptismal Regeneration," "Salvation by Grace," "Salvation by Works."
Erasmus in 1525 confessed that all scholars before him were wrong. While Luther used Sola Fide or Faith Alone he MEANT that one obeyed the BIBLE ALONE which Define BAPTISM ALONE as faithfulness to the Words of Christ. Luther admitted that Erasmus INVENTED faith alone.
The rejection of Baptism does not stretch back beyond the year 1525. Believer's Baptism is an ancient form of Pagan baptism and reads much like that of Zwingli.
The Baptist religion really flourished out of the period of witchcraft which led to the Great American Awakening. Out of that developed about 321 NEW DENOMINATIONS mostly Baptist. There are not 146 known Baptist Denominations in the organizational sense. Rejecting Spirit (mind) in favor of "feelings" has caused Harold Bloom to identify many baptists as GNOSTICS and a "distinctly American Religion." He claims that it has no connection with historical Christianity.
Well, it is pretty obvious that everyone believes that they understand the Bible and that those who teach just the opposite do not. Right? The Watchman Expositors believe that churches of Christ are a demonic cult. Do demonic cultist go to heaven? No. Well, there you have it, the Watchman Expositor believes that they are right and churches of Christ are not the one true church. If the Watchman Expositor can exclude 1200 groups that leaves them pretty much alone. If I believed in John Calvin then I would be a Calvinist. I believe that Calvinsts are as wrong as you can get but I don't claim that they are a demonic cult!
I know of no church of Christ effort so extreme that it has identified 1200 other groups as cults. That pretty well leaves out anyone who teaches anything not Baptist. No member of the church of Christ has ever said that they can trace their history to first century Jerusalem. Because all history pollutes any movement, churches of Christ specifically rejects historical continuity as the mark of a true church. The reason that Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists added corrective restorationist measures from time to time was the fact of the great apostasy away from Scripture (and therefore Christ) in every generation. Those who "came out of her" identified themselves as the Christian Church and later churches of Christ when there was a siren call back to belief regeneration and instrumental music.
The fact is that the Word of God is the "seed" of the kingdom. The seed can be lost for centuries, planted and the kingdom will sprout. Of course, the very idea of "Restoration" means that you are always open to pruning off any thing which tradition or history has attached to the kingdom. Belief Regeneration was one of those latter-day revelations which Baptists again rejected.
It is a historical fact that baptism was considered a requirement to discipleship from the command of Jesus until about 1500 when Zwingli needed to construct a counter-Catholic theology. John Smyth, who called his group the church of Christ, adopted faith only as the theme after 1500. These groups then called themselves Baptists.
Therefore, baptismal degeneration was the rejection of the command of Christ in "the latter days."
Watchman Fellowship also defines Baptismal Regeneration as: The belief that salvation or eternal life is conditioned upon water baptism. Most groups teaching this doctrine also add that proper mode (immersion or sprinkling) and/or proper minister (one authorized by the organization) is necessary. This has been historically seen as teaching a form of works salvation, which was repudiated by the Reformation and is rejected today by fundamental and evangelical Christianity (Ephesians 2:8-10).
"Mode" is not a valid word connected with baptism. The word literally means to dip or immerse, and the substitution of sprinkling for the seriously ill did not change the understanding of the meaning of the word. External sprinkling is truly the only practice of baptismal regeneration because it is performed on infants who can neither hear, believe, repent, confess or become a disciple in Christ by imitating the death, burial and resurrection of the Master to whom they entrust and name themselves.
No literate member of the church of Christ believes in water regeneration. Rather, they believe that regeneration occurs at the time and place where the body is washed with pure water and one asks God for a clear conscience (1 Peter 3:21). Now, if anyone believes in water regeneration they would not baptize in any ones name but their own. So this is a false charge along with the charge of being a cult.
A cult, by definition, could not exist without a human organization which usually sees godliness as a means of financial gain and which attempts to exert control over others.
Churches of Christ have no organization larger than the local congregation, do not have a "head teacher" and therefore could never be a cult.
Churches of Christ are always on the watch for cult types who would love to build an organization larger than the local congregation. Some within churches of Christ at the moment are more closely aligned with Baptist theology than the Bible. At the same time, Bible Scholar among the baptists believe what the Bible SAYS without tampering with the word.
Would it be fair to count Martin Luther as part of the Reformation? Well, if so, listen while we quote him although he accepted infant baptism:
"We have now finished the three chief parts of the common Christian doctrine. Besides these we have yet to speak of our two Sacraments instituted by Christ, of which also every Christian ought to have at least an ordinary, brief instruction,
because without them there can be no Christian; although, alas! hitherto no instruction concerning them has been given.
But, in the first place, we take up Baptism, by which we are first received into the Christian Church.
In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God's commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself,
moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat.
For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly,
because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit.
Here, then, we must not estimate the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their nobility.
But insane reason will not regard this, and
because Baptism does not shine like the works which we do, it is to be esteemed as nothing.
[Note: We believe it to be a fact that baptism is so despised because it gives those not included in the so-called predestinated group God's right to become children of God after they have believed. Therefore, it may be the mark of a cult that one can presume to be part of Christ's body without the initiation and approval of the inside group]
Watchman Fellowship: Craig Branch of the Watchman Fellowship identifies those who believe Jesus's surface command, as cults and demon-agents. His statement is in black, our comments are in red:
"One of the most common methods cult leaders use to establish their false doctrine is to employ segmented text attention. [I like that. A lot better than proof-texting] That is, isolating verses which on the surface seem to the novice Bible student, to affirm the cult's doctrine.
The "doctrine of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1) seeks to undermine the Person and work of Christ (i.e., a different Jesus and a different gospel, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
It's the Vipers and Demons who HATE water:
Tertullian: b. c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia] d. after 220, Carthage
The consequence is, that a viper of the Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism.
Which is quite in accordance with nature; for vipers and asps and basilisks themselves generally do affect arid and waterless places.
That sounds like a pretty harsh judgmental charge which may implicate Jesus because He issued the "surface" command about baptism and the only condition was belief and repentance which a novice can do without a Phd. But those who "rejected the counsel of God for their lives" in Jesus' baptism along with John also said that Jesus "taught the doctrine of demons."
Cults, demonic, Oh, My! Isn't that the mark of a cult? The gospel or good news of Jesus was: "Go, preach, baptize and save." Those who say, "Go, preach, save and baptize" seem to be preaching a gospel other than what is recorded as that "which the Bible says." To look for "what does it mean opposite of what it says" is not good news at all.
NOW the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1 Timothy 4:1
It was in the much latter times that Zwingli departed from baptism as having the value placed in it by Lord Jesus Christ which thousands of novices understood on the day of Pentecost and following. Zwingli and his branch rejected 1500 years of Biblical scholarship.
You see, "the faith" is not just the good news or gospel: the good news is available only to those who follow the doctrine (teaching) of Jesus.
Well, we demon-possessed know that even without segmented text attention Paul was speaking of forbidding to marry and abstaining from meats. So the text has been segmented and makes the writer cut out too small a segment to draw attention to the true text:
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 1 Timothy 4:2
We noted above that it was only in "latter times" that Calvin-following "Protestants" departed from 1500 years of the faith which demanded the necessity of baptism although the 'mode' fell into error much earlier. Churches of Christ honor the command of Christ by just listening to His Words without considering history.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: In line with the cult's false gospel of works as opposed to grace (Romans 11:6), in order to be justified (declared righteous) before God,
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Rom 11:5
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Rom 11:6
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded Ro.11:7
The WORKS of Israel was the Law which had been imposed "because of transgression" that being the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. In Paul's letters the ELECT are the INVITED which includes EX-Jews and Gentiles because the middle wall of partition was broken down by Christ's acts.
God's purpose is from the Greek:
Predestination: "In the Scriptures there is not one term in either the Hebrew or the Greek which encompasses the term "predestination." In the OT a number of words indicate the divine plan and purpose: esa (to counsel, Jer. 49:20; 50:45; Mic. 4:12); ya'as (to purpose, Isa. 14:24, 26 - 27; 19:12; 23:9)"
In Hebrew predestination is:
Yaac (h3289) yaw-ats'; a prim. root; to advise; reflex. to deliberate or resolve: - advertise, take advice, advise (well), consult, (give, take) counsel (-lor), determine, devise, guide, purpose.
And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. Nu.24:14
The predestinated counsel in Greek:
Boule (g1012) boo-lay'; from 1014; volition, i.e. (obj.) advice, or (by impl.) purpose: - / advise, counsel, will.
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel (advice, invitation) of God (for) themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
In Romans 10 Paul had made preaching, hearing,
In Rom 10:13 Paul quotes Joel who said--
"And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. Joel 2:32
On the day of Pentecost when the apostles spoke by the Holy Spirit, the people were confused but Peter confirmed that they were not drunk but speaking tongues to the Jews in judgment--
"No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: Acts 2:16
We understand what Joel predicted when as a result of Peter's preaching the people called out "what shall we do?" Peter directed them to the name of Jesus and commanded that they be baptized:
"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
In Acts 22:16 when Paul CALLED on the name of the Lord he was baptized. According to Peter in 1 Pe 3:21 one is baptized as an act of faith and REQUESTS A clear conscience or consiousness.
God had a predestinated plan including the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law. They rejected this counsel of God. Therefore, it is possible not to take God's eternal advice. In the end, rejecting God's will predestinates you to damnation.
Grace is the power to be conformed to the will of Christ. When there is no conformity (obedience) there is no grace.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: many cults teach that one of several necessary steps to becoming saved is to be baptized in water.
This inevitably removes the focus from Christ's finished work
Wouldn't faith and repentance remove the focus also? Paul in Romans 6 says that baptism puts the focus on THAT FORM OF DOCTRINE. "Faith only" takes the focus off Christ and "believeth nots" are "baptized not" and call God a liar and are defined by the word as being treacherous and infidels.
Water Baptism is the grave which identifies and focuses the believer with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Grace only or Faith only, on the other hand, takes the focus off the redemptive work of Christ. Even demons believe. Even Pharisees believed. Even Jews believed but rejected the counsel of God for their lives not being baptized. Believing is our WORK--
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? John 6:28
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent John 6:29
However, there is no work in baptism. Therefore, to put the emphasis upon "Faith" or belief is to trust to ones own work and this is what Luther charged--they trusted their own superior schemes because in fact baptism is a humiliating experience which only the "dead" can tolerate if they understand its full abandonment of self.
No, Paul didn't tell the Ephesians that faith was the gift of God. Grace saves through faith and salvation is the gift of God when you ask for it:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (salvation) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8
The subject is salvation as a gift:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: and imputed righteousness to the individual (faith in Christ alone by grace alone),
Is it grace only or faith only? Oh, it is grace through or by the means of faith? Grace isn't available until one does the work of hearing, understanding and believing. Then the work is over and baptism is the ultimate picture of pure grace: a dead man walking!
Did you know that the Bible really uses the term "faith only?"
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. James 2:24
However, James 2:3 uses that word "imputed" to prove that it is not earned but neither is it imputed without our active acknowledgment of the free gift:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? James 2:21
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? James 2:22
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. James 2:23
Of father Abraham, the example of faith only, God said that he was approved:
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Genesis 26:5
Abraham did whatever God asked him but God didn't count the works as having any value; he counted the faith which moved Abraham to obedience.
"Works" here is not the "procuring" or "earning" kind; it is "faith working through love." It is having our bodies energized by faith. James would state the obvious: "No energy, no faith." And Jesus would say of the Pharisees: "No baptism, no accepting of the will of God for your lives."
God in Genesis, Jesus and now James show that DEAD FAITH is the "believeth not" faith because it simply calls Jesus a liar for putting "believeth" which includes trust and baptism together. And why "believeth nots" have a dead, rotten, treacherous and the heart of an infidel.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: and subtlety or overtly leads to the conclusion that "official" baptism by and into the cult (the one and only true church) actually will save.
Another false claim. Churches of Christ are "believeths" and understand that people are baptized into Christ and not into the church. Christ adds the baptized believer to His body and no human group can take this away from Him without being a cult. It is the writer's group which baptizes into the church. Isn't that amazing?
Most members of the church of Christ do not care when or by whom one is baptized: they come to the church, claim to be baptized believers and they are "members" of the "society" because they are members of the church.
Christ, in accordance with Acts 2:47, adds those who were being saved to the church. Faith only people, to the contrary, claim that faith only saves and baptism is the only way into the church with, of course, the approval of human adders or subtracters to their institution.
Until you are baptized baptist's cannot take of the Lord's Supper so you are not part of the body of Christ until the church says, "by my permission."
A cult demands conformity to the human institution; churches of Christ ask just one question: "Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God?" If they confess Jesus, the person is baptized and Christ adds them to His church and not our congregation. He or she is free to move on and be a member in good standing anywhere in the world.
Actually, any believer can baptize another into Christ without consulting with the "clergy", and the "clergy" will accept them as members: if they are happy with their baptism then who else can question it? My oldest daughter fell into one of those "retreat" baptisms and therefore did not think too much about it. Later, she wanted to be truly baptized and asked me to do it. The preacher was delighted. That can never happen in most institutional churches (denominations).
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: Several groups teach baptismal salvation. Among them are Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, United Pentecostals, and many Churches of Christ.
The baptism of the Armstrong's is identical to Baptist baptism: it is just a SIGN of the salvation you had prior to baptism. Watchman has identified himself with the Armstrongs.
Is this guilt by association or what? Actually, Jesus said: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." It has been taught once for all times. We don't teach it, we just read it.
In Acts 2:38 people were told what Jesus told Peter and were baptized. Then:
...the Lord added to the church daily such as should (were being) be saved. Acts 2:47b
As Paul might say: "baptism does not save and not being baptized does not save: keeping Christ's commands is what counts." In the case of baptism practiced by John and the disciples of Jesus, the Jews were not condemned because they were not baptized:
they were condemned because they "rejected the counsel of God for their lives."
So, you see, this is an approved example showing that Christ really meant: "He that is not baptized shall not be saved."
Unless, of course, one can be saved while rejecting the counsel of God. One first believes the counsel and then acts upon it or one rejects it and it is just belief and not faith.
And Peter said that was not the water baptism as a mechanical "body wash" which saved but baptism was the time and place which Christ ordained by which we ask God for a clear conscience and He, and not the water, gives it:
In the case of Mark 16: 15-16 Jesus said that:
He that believes and is baptized shall be saved
He that believes not-----------shall be damned
You see it takes both to be saved. However, in the latter case,
the person is not damned because they were not baptized,
but damned because they didn't believe.
Their refusal to be baptized, in John's baptism, was proof that they didn't trust themselves to Christ. Their failure to be baptized was rejecting the commands of God and it was the rejection in the mind and not the absence of the water which damned them.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: There are about eight main verses that the cults use as proof-texts for their doctrine of baptismal regeneration, but the most popular is Acts 2:38, "And Peter said to them, `Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"
Notice that on the surface it seems to prove their point, but not when one applies sound principles of interpretation.
It is heresy to claim the power to INTERPRET rather than BELIEVETH the surface meaning where Jesus FURTHER EXPOUNDED the unclear message to the Apostles. Peter assures everyone that God expressed Himself in His Word. This would be a MARK which would identify false teachers. If they try to use private interpretation:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Peter 1:19
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 Peter 1:20
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21
BUT there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
Peter repudiates being a Doctor of the Law and taking away the key to knowledge. Interpretation:
Epilusis (g1955) ep-il'-oo-sis; from 1956; explanation, i.e. application: - interpretation.
Epiluo (g1956) ep-ee-loo'-o; from 1909 and 3089; to solve further, i.e. (fig.) to explain, decide: - determine, expound.
But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. Mk.4:34
exe-ge-tice , es, f., = exêgêtikê, the art of interpretation, exegesis
Greek with similar meaning
suristikê (sc. technê), hê, the art of piping, Sch.D.T.p.111 H.
I. art, skill, craft in work, cunning of hand, esp. of metal-working, Od.; of a shipwright, Il.; of a soothsayer, Aesch., Soph.
2. art, craft, cunning, in bad sense, doliê t. Od.; in pl. arts, wiles, cunning devices, id=Od., etc.
The singers, instrument players and cunningly crafty rhetoricians and PRIVATE INTERPRETERS will go back into Sheol with the Babylon Harlot according to John especially chapter eighteen.
That is why the Campbells were wise enough not to speak of HERMENEUTICS.
exêgêsis [from exêgeomai]
I. a statement, narrative, Thuc.
II. explanation, interpretation, Plat.
hermên-euma , atos, to, interpretation, explanation
epithesis , eôs, hê, setting on its base, tou andriantos
laying or putting on, application
application of epithets, tas e. poieisthai Arist.Rh.1405b22 .
imposition of increased burdens, Cat.Cod.Astr.7.134
setting upon, attack, Antipho 2.2.13; This was imposing an extra tax when the nation was NOT at war.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: Notice that on the surface it seems to prove their point, but not when one applies sound principles of interpretation.
Or as John MacArthur might say: "It MIGHT be that Acts 2:38 means what it says."
Peter OUTLAWED trying to make Acts 2:38 mean other than what it CLEARLY says.
Therefore, Watchman should not take the Place of the inspired Bible.
Barclay Newman and Eugene Nida edited The Translator's Handbook On The Acts Of The Apostles. This book, published by the United Bible Societies, says on page 60: "So that your sins will be forgiven (literally 'into a forgiveness of your sins') in the Greek may express either purpose or result; but the large majority of translators understand it as indicating purpose. The phrase modifies both main verbs: turn away from your sins and be baptized." See David Padfield
Paul believed that he could communicate the mind of Christ in words which none Phds could grasp:
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, Ep.3:4
Just what part of "shall be damned" does it take sound interpretation to grasp?
However, that is what churches of Christ believe also. On the surface and in the case of every saved person in the Bible, they were baptized. Before and after baptism we are justified by faith in every act of our lives. However, baptism is connected with becoming a disciple and putting ourselves under Christ. You can believe in Christ without wanting to get into Christ.
While there are many symbols in the Bible, the issue of baptism is not couched in fuzzy-wuzzy language. When God Incarnate says: "Go, preach, baptize" the obvious surface meaning is: "Go, preach, baptize." How would you say it differently if you meant, "Go, preach, baptize?" Does God lack communication skills?
Peter (1 Pe 3:21) said that the water of the flood was the symbol but water baptism was the reality. Baptism is a symbol but more. It has been made into the means ordained by a physical Christ to knock on the door to the Spiritual realm.
The only way to weasel out of the clear meaning is to set the statement of Christ in opposition to statements of many things which are said to save. We are saved by the blood of Christ. When? Where? How? Can we breath without being identified by the cult watch cult charging legalism? Can we hear? Can we believe? Can we confess? Can we repent? Can we be baptized without causing God's "house of cards made of faith only to crumble before our eyes?" Doesn't the repudiation of those who follow the surface meaning of God's Words indicate a fragile faith built upon the "perhaps God has predestinated me and I must not jeopardize my shaky confidence?"
Remember the question to always ask is, "What does the passage mean", not, "What does it say?".
Funny. I always begin with "what does it say?" Unless I have some reason not to I accept the words of Jesus to mean what He thought. Only if I find words like "the water of baptism is like something else" then I might try to wiggle out of the surface meaning. If God cannot communicate through "surface" meanings then how are we to permit God to speak to us.
Our quoted expert is going to say we don't decide to believe based on what Acts 2:38 says. Rather, we understand Acts 2:38 based upon whether we have already believed about baptism!
Isn't it pretty dangerous to charge that the Incarnate God of the Universe inspiring the Word of God by personal teaching and further teaching through His Spirit to the Apostles cannot mean what He says?
The Post-Modern heresy according to Jack Deere asks:
"Are you having difficulty discerning or receiving this "new revelation"? Then you have been interpreting your Bible in the "old way,"
comparing Scripture with Scripture, studying diligently to account for every jot and tittle and being careful to rightly divide the Word of truth.
If this describes you, then you belong to the "Old Generation"
which will not enter in to "possess the land" in the Latter Rain Revival.
You may even be a member of a denominational church, with its dogmatic confession of faith and statement of doctrine.
These legalistic forms will be relics of the past in the up and coming "Post denominational Church." Paul Cain advises that you "dump all that carnal stuff" (doctrine) and listen to what the "spirit" is saying to the churches through the Latter Rain Prophets and Apostles, who are dispensing many "new, sacred truths.
For instance, Jesus seems to say in Luke 14:33 that one cannot be a disciple (Christian) unless he first gives away all his possessions. Obviously we have to interpret the verse in light of the context and in relation to the rest of Scripture.
Well, Jesus doesn't seem to say anything. He told the multitudes any time and any place multitudes went out looking for a command-less Messiah just what He meant:
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, Luke14:25
Only later does He tell the multitudes:
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
This is because the multitudes had already rejected the clear words of the Old Testament based upon what they said and had another "translation" of what they thought they meant:
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Matthew 13:11
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Matthew 13:13
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: Matthew 13:34
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Matthew13:35
Jesus explained his parables to those who cared to know truth.
However, there is no multitudes and no parables when Jesus said so clearly that no one can misunderstand with help:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
None of the Apostles asked: "Doeth thou speak plainly or in parables?" No. They heard it, they believed it, they obeyed it and this was understood until Zwingli.
If this doesn't mean that salvation is conditioned upon belief in addition to baptism to make one faithful then how could the Holy Spirit say it to mean that belief plus baptism is our prayer (1 Pe. 3:21) to God for salvation? How?
And in Matthew, Jesus said:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matt 28:18
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matt 28:19NKJV
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt 28:20
Teach in the Greek is:
Matheteuo (g3100) math-ayt-yoo'-o; from 3101; intrans. to become a pupil; trans. to disciple, i.e. enrol as scholar: - be disciple, instruct, teach.
Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Acts 14:20
And when they had
preached the gospel to that city,
and had taught (discipled) many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Ac.14:21
After preaching the Good News there and making many disciples, they returned again to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, Acts 14:21LIV
Paul couldn't be faithful to Jesus without making disciples by BAPTIZING and TEACHING.
If the "gospel" is just the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus then why would one enroll people as students to make sure that they understood the price of discipleship? Baptism is our confession and "registration" in the "college" of Lord, Jesus Christ. Common knowledge says that we are not devoted to Jesus as our Master Teacher without being admitted to a condition where the "Gift of the Spirit" is access to the Mind of Christ and the same "spirit" which rested upon Jesus (Isa 11:1-3). The gift of the Mind of Christ comes after baptism.
"At the latter ceremony two disciples of the wise stood by to tell him more of the light and heavy commandments. When he came up after the immersion, those assembled addressed him saying: 'Unto whom has thou given thyself? blessed art thou, thou hast given thyself to God; the world was created for the sake of Israel, and only Israelites are called the children of God... After his baptism he was considered (reckoned to be dead and now alive) to be a new man, 'a little child newly born'; a new name was given him." (Int Std Bible Ency, Proselyte).
"The effect of this baptism was held to be complete regeneration; he was born anew. He was called a little child just born, the child of one day. All his sins were remitted because God cannot punish sins committed before he was born." (Barclay, William, Romans, p. 84
Once one is enrolled as a student pledge to Lord Jesus Christ as our Teacher, then we are able to profit from the rest of the command:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20
Didasko (g1321) did-as'-ko; a prol. (caus.) form of a prim. verb daoÑ, (to learn); to teach (in the same broad application): - teach
Salvation means that we are members of Christ's household and are saved or safe from the onslaught of cults who deny the very words of God:
Sozo (g4982) sode'-zo; "safe"); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (lit. or fig.): - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole
The salvation Jesus was to bring was:
Soteria (g4991) so-tay-ree'-ah; fem. of a der. of 4990 as (prop. abstr.) noun; rescue or safety (phys. or mor.): - deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.
Those who were baptized were added to the church by God Himself:
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Ac 2:47
We are not added to the church and therefore saved by "faith" which refuses to get into Christ through 'accepting His will for our lives by being baptized' is simply outside of Christ and the "faith only" is just simple belief.
The word eis or for means into:
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Acts 8:16
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3
Well, this is what God Incarnate said through His Spirit to Paul. But if the meaning is as advertised, we should have Paul say:
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized because of Christ Jesus were baptized because of his death? Romans 6:3
Baptism is the time and place where faith accepts the free grace by allowing Christ the Spirit to baptize us into His body:
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: First is the historical context. Jesus and the Gentile converts to Judaism were very familiar with the symbol of baptism for cleansing and separation. It was normal practice (Unger's Bible Dictionary, p. 122; New Bible Dictionary, Douglas, p. 131). John the Baptist continued the symbol of baptismal cleansing of repentance, but noted there was a baptism which superseded it -- that is baptism with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8).
John was a human man and could baptize in water. Peter and Paul were human men and could baptize in water.
Jesus was (is) God and can baptize in "spirit" or His own Mind.
The baptism of the Spirit did not negate water baptism.
Holy Spirit baptism was a promise and not a command which can be obeyed. It was given to the Apostles as a sign of the Power of the present Spirit of Christ guiding them into all truth:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Acts 1:4
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Acts 1:5
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
The baptism of John in water which looked forward to the cross was for the remission of sins and the baptism of Christ was for the remission of sins. This never changed. In Christian baptism one looks backward to the cross. In addition the "supernatural power of the Holy Spirit" was given after baptism and by the laying on of hands. None of those baptized on the day of Pentecost and afterward (about 5,000) were recorded as speaking in tongues or any other sign because the sign was performed to them by the Apostles.
If John had been alive then after Jesus baptized with "spirit" he would have continued (as a human) to baptize in water.
Only the Apostles when they received the power of the Spirit which was in the form of a supernatural reminder of what they had been taught and would be taught, was a baptismal or overwhelming experience because the "Spirit filled the room." In the case of Cornelius, Peter looked back over many years to the upper room experience to find something "like" what was happening.
If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism Jesus commanded (and foolish Philip thought he meant water) then there is no water baptism in the Christian dispensation.
The grammatical context is also important. A key word in Acts 2:38 for the baptismal salvation proponents is "for"; "baptized... for the forgiveness of sins." They insist that the meaning be interpreted "in order to obtain" the forgiveness of sins.
The problem with this insistence is that the word "for" (eis, in Greek) has several connotations in New Testament Koine Greek. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says that eis is a versatile word which primarily "denotes entrance into, or direction and limit: into, to, toward, for, among," (p. 183).
This is true. Therefore, baptism is "into or gaining entrance into" the remission of sins.
"The Greek word translated "for" in Acts 2:38 is "eis." The word "eis" is used 1,879 times in 1,601 verses in the Textus Receptus, the Greek manuscript the King James was translated from, and it is never translated "because". ("Because" is used 301 times in 291 verse in KJV) The common ways "eis" is translated include: "for", "unto", "in", "towards", "on". It always looks forward rather than backwards.
Everyone knows that Jesus did not shed His blood "because" we have already been forgiven, but the wording in Matt. 26:28 is the same in both the Greek and English as Acts 2:38. Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Wayne Wells
Notice that because of is not listed as an option. Try Acts 2:38 with these meanings:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ Into (entrance into) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
Now try what the writer thinks is the meaning but has no evidence from Thayer:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ because of the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
The first is the one written and preserved by the Holy Spirit. The first one is what is said. One could hope that we might reach the conclusion that the first is what the Spirit meant to say.
If remission of sins or salvation is a condition of being in Christ (Galatians 3:27) it is something like being inside of a house. Repentance and baptism are in order to get into or gain an entrance into Christ or into the house or body. If we use the word "direction toward" then repentance and baptism is in the direction of remission of sins. In other words, remission is entered into only after one progresses along the way into and finally in. In no case can the passage mean that we are baptized because we are already in the house.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: In other words the symbol of baptism could either be pointing towards the cleansing and forgiveness (with reference to), or could pointing to the actual procuring of forgiveness (in order to).
The word procuring can be added to cult and demonic to show the intent to obscure the Words of Christ.
Baptism always points to forgiveness in the future tense. There is no example of baptism as a sign or symbol of past forgiveness. It never had that meaning even for proselyte baptism, for 1500 years of church history and until the latter days.
Procuring of forgiveness is not an option since it implies purchasing or working in exchange for something. No one suggests this as an option.
The third option is clearly stated: it is done as a prayer request to God to give us a clear conscience by forgiving us of our sins. (1 Peter 3:21)
Thayer does not say that repentance and baptism just points toward a previous cleansing and forgiveness. This would make a murderer's repentance of murder just be a sign that he was pardoned before he repented.
The people on the day of Pentecost asked: "What must we do in order to be saved?" Peter answered: "Repent and be baptized in order to the remission of your sins
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 2:37
What was the condition of these people who just believed that they had participated in murder? Does agreeing that one is a murder give one pardon from prison? No. Does Scripture ever say: "He that is pricked in the heart shall be saved?" No. Is it said that one is pricked in the heart because they are no longer guilty? No. Pricked means:
Katanusso (g2660) kat-an-oos'-so; from 2596 and 3572 (as with a sword); to pierce thoroughly, i.e. (fig.) to agitate violently ("sting to the quick"): - prick.
They were not asking "what shall we do because we are now innocent." They were still murderers and were asking "what shall we do in order to be free of this horrible guilt we now feel?"
The only work they could do to procure innocency would be to resurrect Jesus.
Therefore, Peter's answer must define the word for the Greek eis in agreement with the question:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (in order to the) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
Not everyone was guilty of murder but all were sinners.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: Renowned Greek scholar A. T. Robertson states that not only does eis signify "aim or purpose" (in order to) as in 1 Corinthians 2:7, it can just as well mean "on the basis or ground of (with reference to), Matthew 10:41; 12:41.
Well, the translators didn't think so!
Let's look at 12:41 because I don't understand the 10:41 quote. The goal is to prove that "at" means because of. It could be but it could also mean: "The people turned in at the gate."
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. Matthew12:41KJV
They were not saved "at" repentance but would judge the modern Jews because they gave heed to Jonah's preaching.
Another version reads correctly:
The men of Nineveh shall arise against this nation at the judgment and condemn you. For when Jonah preached to them, they repented and turned to God from all their evil ways. And now a greater than Jonah is here-and you refuse to believe him. Matthew 12:41LIV
These people "turned into" or obeyed the preaching of Jonah but they did not repent because they were saved:
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. Jonah 3:2
And Jonah began to enter into the city a days journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Jonah 3:4
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jonah 3:5
They may have repented because of Jonah's preaching. However, they fasted and put on sackcloth. This was symbolic of one who puts off the old garment of sin and is baptized into or is clothed with Christ:
For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Jonah 3:6
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: Jonah 3:7
But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Jonah 3:8
The king understood that "turning at Jonah's preaching" did not mean that their sins were forgiven. He told them to turn from their old ways because even after all of this "turning at" the preaching and their fruit of repentance, the king knew that they were still guilty:
Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? Jonah 3:9
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. Jonah 3:10
Of course their repentance did not save them: God saved them. However, He saved them by their faith when they obeyed what they had been taught. Therefore, our conclusion is that this proof-text proves just the opposite of "salvation without obedience to what one comes to believe."
Click for the whole story which shows that the people in Nineveh were not saved by faith only.
He states that, "the illustrations of both usages are numerous in the New Testament and the Koine (New Testament Greek) generally.
The word eis is like a lot of other words: the meaning depends upon into which end of the telescope one is looking. Look at two sentences
Future: "I want you to obey me for (in order) my approval."
Past: "You made me happy for (because of) your obedience."
He believed and was baptized for (in order) salvation.
He was saved for (because of) belief and baptism.
Jesus still says that "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." I just don't know how you can tell Lord Jesus Christ, "You know what you said but you didn't say what you meant. This is what you really meant:
"He that believes and is saved shall be baptized."
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: "One will decide the use here (Acts 2:38) according as he believes that baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins..." (Word Pictures of the New Testament, pp. 35-36).
Why do these Greek scholars agree?
Isn't it self evident? The writer says that he interprets Acts 2:38 based upon whether he believes that baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. For a country boy that seems not too scholarly. Shouldn't one decide the purpose of baptism by reading the Spirit-revealed word?
Secondly, many scholars believe that eis can mean either "in order to" or "because of" based on the context. The context in Acts 2:38 is that it is fulfillment of the command of Jesus in Mark 16:15-16:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
The argument tries to get around Jesus by demanding: "But it doesn't say, 'he that is not baptized shall be damned.'" Well, it doesn't have to, does it? In the case of the baptism which Jesus went through to "fully preach" or fulfill righteousness, Luke records:
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
This means that to toy with the words of Jesus and teach people that baptism is not important say, in effect, you can reject the counsel of God for your life and be saved.
The only logical conclusion is that Peter's application of the command of Jesus must agree with the command of Jesus (granted that He meant what He said!)
Mark records salvation after both believing and baptism. And EIS is defined as:
Eis (g1519) ice; a prim. prep.; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (fig.) purpose (result, etc.); also in adv. phrases: - [abundant-] ly, against, among, as, at, [back-] ward, before, by, concerning, / continual, / far more exceeding, for Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) expressing motion (lit. or fig.)
Strong does not include "because of." It is always into or because of. However, we have noted that it can mean because of based on whether one looks forward or backward.
Watchman Fellowship: Because the rest of Scripture refutes baptismal regeneration.
The word "baptismal regeneration" doesn't appear in my Bible. Salvation is always conditioned upon faith even after one has been baptized into Christ. However, most of these "faith only" passages relate to baptized believers and cannot be used to make the sayings of Jesus of none effect.
Anyway, who believes in baptismal regeneration any more than "faith regeneration" or "repentance regeneration" or any other form of human regeneration? It is assumed that because people obey the first and most obvious meaning of Scripture (agreed to above)that they are procuring something by their own effort. My brain has never been able to wrap around this idea.
By putting ones trust in ones own belief isn't one trusting in self? If not they are trusting in John Calvin's horror that they are one of God's chosen few. Either of these puts the trust in self and not in Christ can never be done without obedience to His commands. Abraham was justified by faith when he obeyed (Genesis 26:5).
Perhaps Martin Luther had the truth, that baptism is rejected because it too obviously deprives the passive believer of any personal work to boast of. Besides, water baptism can be personally demeaning -- just like hanging on a cross:
"Here, then, we must not estimate the person according to the works, but the works according to the person, from whom they must derive their nobility. But insane reason will not regard this, and
because Baptism does not shine like the works which we do, it is to be esteemed as nothing.
Luther properly notes that baptism is something which God does when we just let our human body and pride go limp is submission.
All one has to do is read Acts 10, concerning the account of Peter taking the gospel (which saves, Romans 1:16), to Cornelius and the Gentiles.
Well, Peter took the gospel but the gospel did not include salvation by faith only.
Watchman Fellowship: As Peter proceeds through the gospel message (vs. 34-43), the Scriptures relate that the gift of the Holy Spirit was received upon believing by these Gentiles before they were baptized in water (10:44-48; 11:17-18).
First, we should note that the Pentecost event and the Cornelius event were one-time events and we are not supernaturally chosen to perform a sign. Our "assignment" is recorded in the great commission.
The signs in the upper room were to signify that the power of Christ the "Another" Comforter had come upon the Jews. However, the Jews needed a SIGN that the Gentiles had always been included in God's plan:
After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. Acts 15:7
God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. Acts 15:8
He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Acts 15:9
The purpose of the supernatural appearance to Cornelius before Peter preached was not to save him: Peter would tell him what to do through words.
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he
shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. Acts 10:6
Peter didn't tell Cornelius to praise God in a language which he understood: he was totally shocked by the event. Therefore, this was not for the purpose of obedience.
The purpose of the supernatural appearances to Peter was not to save Peter. The supernatural impulse to cause a Roman soldier to praise God in a language which Jews understood clearly was not to save Cornelius; it was to "convert" the Jews from racial predjuice.
Peter had "perceived" that God was no respecter of persons.
He came to Cornelius and even laid his hands on at least Cornelius to lift him up.
He began to preach to Cornelius.
Cornelius praised God in a language calculated to be a sign to the Jews.
Peter's "perception" was now proven true. This "perception" not that salvation is by speaking in tongues. His perception was now proven by a sign that God had long ago opened repentance to the gentiles.
Peter's response was like a dare: "Who can now refuse water to these people in order that they be baptized."
The Gentiles were baptized because Peter now "told him what he ought to do."
In no case is it recorded that God adds people to the church before baptism.
Peter was invited to remain and fellowship the rejoicing Gentiles.
This proved that they were now members of the same family so that touching, entering into houses and eating with Gentiles was accepted even by doubting Jews.
This is not for us because no man ever spoke in tongues out of the arm's reach of one of the Apostles. Now woman even in the apostle's presence is ever recorded to have spoken in tongues. This was because tongues were a judgmental sign to the Jews that Gentiles could be saved.
Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship: Additionally, the Scripture teaches that this is the same way all are saved (Acts 11:15-18, 15:7-11).
I am not aware that the Cornelius event was ever repeated anywhere even once. In Acts 11 we again see the total purpose of tongues:
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? Acts 11:17
The sign was that Peter could administer water baptism. To refuse to do this would be to resist God as the Jews "rejected the counsel of God for their lives by refusing to be baptized."
When the others heard the story they did not say: "Now we know that people are saved by the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Nor did they say, "Now we believe that people are saved by faith only." What they said was:
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Acts 11:18
Did this manifestation of the Spirit in praising God in words the Jews understand rather than their Roman language save them? Then, it save all of the Gentiles who would ever live.
No, the message of the supernatural sign was that it was God's will that Peter preach to the Gentiles. And a sign is always a symbol of something else.
Peter saw it as a sign that God purifies the heart by faith:
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Acts 15:9
This same Peter in Acts 2:38 told believing Jews to repent and be baptized. Afterward, the "believers" experienced great joy.
"the idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in the New Testament" (F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, p. 77).
In 1 Peter 3:21 this same Peter said that the heart is purified from an evil conscience at the time and place of the application of water to the body.
The symbol or the type was God's use of water to bear the ark above death. The reality or antitype or spiritual meaning is literal water baptism:
And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21NAS
And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21RSV
This is not "procuring" salvation. Rather, it is asking God for salvation based upon the purpose and promise of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Without baptism there is simply no request to God for anything. Rather, the idea of faith only is that God has imposed salvation when you really don't want it. God quite easily "shakes the dust off His feet" and moves on when people are, in the mind of Luther, too proud to ask God for salvation in His prescribed way.
Un twisting Acts 2:38 is really not difficult. To understand Acts 2:38 just read the commandment of Jesus, see how Peter applied it and see how Paul applied it in every case where people actually go through the process of salvation.
Justified by faith? Certainly. Before, during and following baptism God never looks to any of our own "work" but to the faith which exercised or energized itself in obeying whatever it is one believes. Abraham was justified by faith when he obeyed God's commands each and every time God told him to do something and not before (Genesis 26:5).
Click on the FBI's Project Megiddo to see the full horrendous slander of attempting to destroy those who have a different understanding of the Bible while at the same time accusing churches of Christ as being judgmental.
The Watchman Fellowship needs to repent and pray that God will forgive them for slandering the world's loosest religious group where everyone regularly denies the "pastor's" right to any control over any member, and elders are selected based on their parenting skills and not on their mind-control emphasis as cult warriors.