Christ sent me not to baptize, 1 Corinthians 1:17I thank God that I baptized none of you: Paul was not sent to baptize, to water, to give the increase, to harvest, to build the barn or to take the credit. Jesus could say the same thing: "I did not come into the world to baptize" and he didn't.
However, by assuming the role of one "not sent to baptize"-- which is the role of the apostle or evangelist -- as authority not to baptize, one cannot (must not) plant and then remain to water, to weed, to try to force the increase, to harvest, to build bigger "barns," to peddle books and other merchandise or to take the credit: "Soul, take thine ease."
What Paul said was that the "planter" need not water or harvest; he did not say that others must not perform the other roles of the "body of Christ" as its process is compared to that of a farmer or shepherd.
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.
What? He thanked God that he had not been an active baptizer:
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians..1:13
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1 Cor. 1:14
He didn't say "I thank God that I baptized none of you because Christ sent me not to baptize." He meant throughout this passage that Christian baptism can only be in the name of the Master Teacher and not in the name of the preacher.
Why? He was not sent to baptize:
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 1 Cor..1:15
The "planter" too anxious to force the "harvest" will baptize those whom the seed has had no regnerating power. By trying to force tomato plants to produce I have killed them. Or house plants come into my home to die. Therefore, my wife would say: "You may buy the plants but God sent you not to water them."
However, Paul was not making laws. He did baptize certain people in Corinth perhaps because he had extra time. If he really meant that Christ did not want him to baptize then he clearly violated a direct command of "Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecuteth."
Nevertheless, based on what happened when Paul preached, preaching the gospel terminated or had as its goal the preaching of baptism. This is why he defined Christian baptism as not depending upon the teacher or preacher or based on being carried away with the charisma of the preacher:
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 1 Cor. 1:16
For Christ sent me not to baptize, (water)
but to preach the gospel: (plant)
not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 1 Corinthians. 1:17
The word "cross" here is like the word "gospel": It is a short-hand way of involving all that God-Incarnate did. To preach the gospel and focus on the human baptizer would not be the gospel which depended upon the cross of Christ but upon human teachers.
"Chicken soup for the sick" is surely preaching the wisdom of words and vacates the cross of its power however loudly it calls itself "gospel preaching." To have to "slick up" the message to make it effective or to substitute a human teacher invalidates the work of Jesus. However, this does not make preaching the gospel "which does not depend on human wisdom" invalid any more than preaching baptism based on the cross is invalid because of a few false teachers in Corinth.
There are two messages about the apostle and baptism: first, Christ didn't send him to baptize (water) but to preach the gospel (plant). He could preach because he had the inspired word; anyone could baptize.
Secondly, to understand his teaching which Peter claimed to be difficult, he told Timothy not to drink water any longer but to "take a little wine for his stomach." What we must understand is that he said: "Don't drink water only."
No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. 1 Timothy 5:23RSV
In another example, John wrote: "Christ sent me not to work for my food." Well, unless we make John 6:27 conditional that is what he said:
Labour not for the meat (which perisheth), but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. John 6:27
And, didn't John write: "Christ sent me not to believe on Him?"
Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. John 12:44
This is an ellipsis. the whole is included in the parts even when the entire sentence is not spoken.
By putting the focus upon the human baptizer, the Corinthians were really preaching "baptism only."
Because the people were being baptized "in the name" of their favorite preacher; he was not sent to baptize (understood) "in my own name."
were ye baptized in the name of Paul? v. 13
For Christ sent me not to baptize. v. 17
Unless we take this common understanding into consideration, we might have Paul saying in 1 Corinthians 1:17:
Christ sent me not preach the gospel. He meant and stated that Christ didn't send him to preach the gospel using the wisdom of his own words. This means that both the gospel and the baptism was related to Christ and had nothing to do with Paul.
Nor did he have to do the physical baptizing by his own hands. We could say that not even Jesus was sent to baptize:
Jesus himself baptized not John 4:2
By looking at the contextf, the facts become clear:
WHEN therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, John 4:1
(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) John 4:2
Therefore, even if Paul ever (and we have no evidence) preached without baptizing it was because "Paul himself was not sent to baptize, but his disciples."
He was not sent to water and harvest souls:
Comparing Acts 2:38 to Acts 2:44 we know that those "that believed" were those who believed the message and were baptized: Peter "planted" on the day of Pentecost but we don't have a clue as to who did the "watering."
To explain the gospel, he used the analogy of "planting, watering and giving the increase" and associated himself with the planting and Apollos with the watering. In First Corinthians chapter three He asks:
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but
ministers by whom ye believed,
even as the Lord gave to every man? 1 Cor. 3:5
I have planted, (Christ sent me to preach not baptize)
Apollos watered; (Christ used Apollos to nurture and baptize)
but God gave the increase. 1 Cor. 3:6
You remember that Apollos knew only the baptism of John: John baptized where there was MUCH water. After he was taught properly he would continue to baptized in the NAME of Jesus Christ
The Corinthians who "believed" were influenced by the Paul who planted and the Apollos or others who watered. When their "belief" or faith was completed in accordance with the commission:"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" then God gives the increase:
Then they that gladly received his word (planted)
were baptized: (watered)
and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (God gave the increase) Acts 2:41
One person can plant the seed, another can baptize but only God adds us to the "harvested souls" and places us in his "building" which is the church.
The message is: the preacher and baptizer are not important except as they carry out the command of Christ who gets the glory. Remember that the division is over whom they had taken as their teacher in connection with their baptism. Therefore, Paul's parables have to do with the role of preacher and baptizer:
So then neither is he that planteth any thing,
neither he that watereth (anything);
but God that giveth the increase. 1 Cor. 3:7
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 1 Cor. 3:8
For we are labourers together with God: ye are Gods husbandry, ye are Gods building. 1 Cor. 3:9
Even today, people hear the gospel from a preacher but want to be baptized by their father or some one else. Paul said: that they work together so that God gets the credit. Paul didn't want or need, indeed could not tolerate, taking the credit for baptizing people who didn't understand that salvation is 100% credited to God
God does not save certain predestinated people by giving them the "gift" of faith and withholding it from others. This would make God a respector of persons and, according to James, guilty of violating every principle of His own laws.
He sends human teachers with human weakness to disconnect the power of the gospel from both a direct, supernatural miracle and from the performance talent of the preacher. By putting the means in the Word He takes the credit away from the preacher.
With human agents planting God's Word, the house of God or the church is built up into a fitting "temple" in which God's Spirit shines forth to the community.
He was not sent to organize the church or do "church growth seminars"
Paul had some difficulty with those whom he labeled "super apostles." They seemed to be trained in the Greek theater (Paul had no such training) and they demanded pay from the Corinthian church. They said, and Paul said in his unique way: "Well, Paul doesn't take wages because his sermons are not worth wages." These were the same preachers building their own factions for their own glory. Even then we are told that they prowled around signing up bookings, selling songs, poems, books, dances, musical performances or as among the Greeks: "How to be a million dollar a year man."
Therefore, Paul used another analogy showing that grace means power to carry out God's will:
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder,
I have laid the foundation,
and another buildeth thereon.
But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 1 Cor. 3:10
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:11
Again, to preach the "core gospel" meant that men with the grace went into all the world laying the foundation which was Jesus Christ; they left the building to others.
The "huper" apostles claimed to be the pillar and ground of the church: everything depended upon them but they laid a foundation of sand. Once Christ Jesus had been placed in a local sense, Paul needed to get out of the way. This means that those who deny that Paul preached baptism as a part of the gospel or good news, cannot in the name of eternal salvation keep rebuilding the foundation over and over: just feeding milk and refusing -- in their own self-interest -- to feed with "meat."
The "gospel" includes the "added value" as a dwelling place for the Spirit or Mind of Christ to be seen by the watching world.
The "gospel" includes the "house" of which Christ is the foundation and Capstone.
The apostle (or evangelist) was not sent by Christ to reap the harvest:
The evangelist was not sent to build houses but to lay foundations. This was the fulfilment of the "gospel plan" extablished by Jesus when He said:
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:
that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. John 4:36
And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. John 4:37
The Apostle could have said with Christ's authority: "Christ sent me not to reap the harvest." And as certain as the sun rises, when evangelists take the title and demand that "Christ sent me not to baptize or allow others to baptize you" eyes are blinded and the "fields" to which Christ assigned the apostles or evangelists are littered with the "cotton" allowed to fall to the ground along with the burrs and dirt.
So, Paul didn't baptize many in Corinth, he was not sent to baptize, he was not sent to build up the church and he was not sent to bring in the harvest and he was not sent to "tear down the barn and build bigger ones."
But he was sent by the Great Commission to plant but he baptized some to prove that baptism was part of the "growth process" which begins with planting and includes watering before God gives the increas. He also watered and he harvested and he engaged in "house building." However, in all of these examples, Paul was unique as an apostle and could not be effective if he got stuck in Corinth when many others could do the rest of the job.
The "rest" of the gospel job in Corinth was to baptize and they baptized. Therefore, to use the unique condition of Paul as an excuse not to plant, water, harvest, build the "house" and continue to lay the foundation in other areas is to try to get out of everything Christ demands of an unspired believer.