Baptismal Rapprochement Between Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ?

John Mark Hicks: Just as Zurich (“Zwinglianism”) and Geneva (“Calvinianism”) found sacramental common ground in the Consensus Tigurinus, my paper at the 2009 Christian Scholar’s Conference explored whether such a rapprochement is possible between Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ who, in many ways, are the credobaptistic heirs of Zurich and Geneva

Consensus Tigurinus: Calvin does not locate the chief purpose of baptism in its public profession. On the contrary, he believes its primary significance is its correlation to saving faith. In other words, baptism is more about what God does in relation to our faith than it about what we do in our profession of faith.

Bryn MacPhail

Calvin also anticipates the objection, "how are infants, unendowed with knowledge of good or evil, regenerated?"(Inst.4, 16, 17). Calvin's reply is that "God's work, though beyond our understanding, is still not annulled"(Inst.4, 16, 17). Calvin is cognizant of the fact that if infants are born sinners, as Scripture affirms(Eph.2:3; Ps.51:5), either they remain hateful to God, or they must be justified. While Calvin agrees that the water itself does not necessarily save, he reminds us that John the Baptist was sanctified in his mother's womb(Luke 1:15), and for Calvin this is "something he could do in others"(Inst.4, 16, 17).

When others object to infant baptism on the grounds that baptism is given for the forgiveness of sins, Calvin suggests that this "abundantly supports our view"(Inst.4, 16, 22). Calvin argues that since we are born sinners, we need forgiveness and pardon "from the time in our mother's womb"(Inst.4, 16, 22). Since God does not withhold from children the hope of mercy(Matt.19:14), Calvin argues that "they must not be deprived of the sign"(Inst.4, 16, 22).

John Mark Hicks: I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology.

Institutes 4

And hence, even infants bring their condemnation with them from their mother's womb, for although they have not yet brought forth the fruits of their unrighteousness, they have its seed included in them. Nay, their whole nature is, as it were, a seed of sin, and, therefore, cannot but be odious and abominable to God.

Believers become assured by baptism, that this condemnation is entirely withdrawn from them, since (as has been said) the Lord by this sign promises that a full and entire remission has been made, both of the guilt which was imputed to us, and the penalty incurred by the guilt.

They also apprehend righteousness, but such righteousness as the people of God can obtain in this life, viz., by imputation only, God, in his mercy, regarding them as righteous and innocent. 

The real John Calvin wrote that baptism IS our confession

Baptism serves as our confession before men, in as much as it is a mark

by which we openly declare that we wish to be ranked among the people of God,
by which we testify that we concur with all Christians in the worship of one God, and in one religion; by which, in short,
        we publicly assert our faith
, so that not only do our hearts breathe,
        but our tongues
also, and all the members of our body,
        in every way they can, proclaim the praise of God.
In this way, as is meet, every thing we have is made subservient to the glory of God, which ought everywhere to be displayed, and others are stimulated by our example to the same course.

To this Paul referred when he asked the Corinthians whether or not they had been baptised in the name of Christ, (1 Cor. 1: 13;) intimating, that by the very circumstance of having been baptised in his name,
        they had devoted themselves to him
        had sworn and bound themselves
in allegiance to him before men,
        so that they could no longer confess any other than Christ alone,
        ......unless they would abjure the confession which they had made in baptism.

(Baptism to be received with trust in the promise of which it is a sign, and not repeated, 14-18)

14. Sign and thing

Now that the end to which the Lord had regard in the institution of baptism has been explained, it is easy to judge in what way we ought to use and receive it.

For inasmuch as it is appointed to elevate, nourish, and confirm our faith, we are to receive it as from the hand of its author, being firmly persuaded that it is himself who speaks to us by means of the sign; that it is himself who washes and purifies us, and effaces the remembrance of our faults; that it is himself who makes us the partakers of his death, destroys the kingdom of Satan, subdues the power of concupiscence, nay, makes us one with himself, that being clothed with him we may be accounted the children of God

Our confession that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God" is that which enables our baptism and therefore out salvation.  Confession is a PUBLIC SEAL.

Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men,    
        him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
Luke 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

John Mark Hicks: Calvin positions himself between two extremes. 
On the one hand, we must not think that “such graces are included and bound in the sacrament, so as to be conferred by its efficacy;”

but on the other hand, “nor does he merely feed our eyes with bare show,” but rather God “leads us to the actual object, and effectually performs what he figures” (Institutes, 4.15.14).

The sign conveys the “substance and reality, inasmuch as God works by external means” but only “insofar as we receive [it] in faith” (Institutes, 4.15.1). “God, therefore, truly performs whatever he promises and figures by signs” (Institutes, 4.14.17).

15. Baptism as confirming faith  We have a proof of this in Cornelius, the centurion, who,

after he had been previously endued with the graces of the Holy Spirit,
was baptised for the remission of sins
not seeking a fuller forgiveness from baptism,
but a surer exercise of faith; nay, an argument for assurance from a pledge
John Mark Hicks: I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology.
Cornelius was already a just man: God sent Peter to tell him what to do to be saved:
Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion,
        a just man,
        and one that feareth God,
        and of good report among all the nation of the Jews,
        was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Dikaios of persons, observant of custom or rule, Od.3.52; esp. of social rule, well-ordered, civilized, politēs a good
[“Kheirōn dikaiotatos Kentaurōn11.832,  2. observant of duty to gods and men, righteous,
b. legally exact, precise, 2. lawful, just, esp. to d. right, opp. to adikon, Hdt.1.96, A.Pr.189 (lyr.), etc
toumon d. my own right, E.IA810; elthein epi touto to d. bring the case to this issue, Antipho6.24 citizen.
The Holy WIND was not a  person but like the upper room where the sins were  WIND and FIRE.  Pneuma meaning 'an angry blast.'  This supernatural sign was to disable the doubting Jew.

Acts 11:12 And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting.
        Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:
Acts 11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him,
        Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Acts 11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

When the WIND fell on Cornelius it was an act of justment and violence as in the upper room:

Epipiptō, fall upon in hostile sense, attack, assail,  of storms,  of winds meeting one another,

This was  a sign of the WINNOWING process  promised to the Jews as a race of vipers:
Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,
        and begin not to say within yourselves,
        We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you,
        That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Luke 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:
        every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit
        is hewn down, and cast into the fire
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all,
        I indeed baptize you with water; (as  would Peter and other humans)
        but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:
        he shall baptize you with the Holy WIND and with fire:
Luke 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand,
        and he will throughly purge his floor,
        and will gather the wheat into his garner;
        but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Xen. Ec. 18.6
“‘Will not our next task be to clean the corn by winnowing, Ischomachus?’
“‘Yes, Socrates; and tell me, do you know that if you start on the windward side of the floor,
you will find the husks carried right across the floor?’
“‘It must be so.’

Ec. 18.7
“‘Is it not likely, then, that some will fall on the grain?’
“‘Yes, it is a long way for the husks to be blown,
        right over the grain to the empty part of the floor.’
“‘But what if you start winnowing against the wind?’
“‘Clearly the chaff will at once fall in the right place.

John Calvin Institutes 4

2. In this sense is to be understood the statement of Paul, that "Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word," (Eph. 5: 25, 26;) and again, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," (Titus 3: 5.) Peter also says that "baptism also does now save us," (1 Peter 3: 21.)

For he did not mean to intimate that our ablution and salvation are perfected by water, or that water possesses in itself the virtue of purifying, regenerating, and renewing;

nor does he mean that it is the cause of salvation, but only that the knowledge and certainty of such gifts are perceived in this sacrament.

John Mark Hicks: I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology.


In Matthew 28  Jesus defined the CENI perfectly. The apostles were to go into all the world and
Make Disciiples by
Baptizing those who believed
Teaching them what He had commanded which was in the prophets and apostles.

Baptism was to DISCIPLE people to Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY Teacher and we attend ekklesia as STUDENTS of the Word. I can imagine these people preaching that you can get a Phd from Lipscomb by BELIEVING that Lipscomb existed.
That is why they missed the reading of Ephesians 5:

Eph. 5:26WEB That he might sanctify and cleanse it
        with the washing of water
        [INTO] the word,   (In Verbo, En, Eis)
        Into Converto , epistles of a writer, to be occupied in,  Into
        Philo-sophos Love of education, an academy Philo-mathes or Philo-Logos
              OPPOSIITE of A. master of one's craft, adept, expert, of diviners, musicians
                                  Parapaion Khelon (play the harp, Hieron Melon (Melody in a religious shrine).
                                  A quibbler, cheate, one who gave lessons FOR MONEY.
                                  Fides (not faithful to the community) but Fides (faithful to Apollon)
Discourse, conversation, Oral by word of mouth urnio plura verbo quam s
                cripturā mandata dedimus,   In eccl. Lat. as a translation of logos,

Consistent with the direct command of Jesus Christ, we are BAPTIZED into the Word or into DISCIPLESHIP to the Word of Christ. 

But, Peter says that BAPTISM SAVES US: that is because water baptism is the only time and place to call on the Name of the Lord requesting A good conscience which is A holy spirit. This is the instrumental means predestined by God just as appearing to mankind as His Personified Word in flesh was His instrumental mean: 

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. Acts 2:38 or A holy spirit

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
        having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
        and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb.10:22

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 Pet 3:21

John Mark Hicks:  Calvin believes baptism is a genuine means of grace that is effective through faith and the internal working of the Spirit. Concerning the sacraments in general, Calvin wrote: 
        “God…performs by the secret virtue of his Spirit that which he figures by external signs, 
        and, accordingly, that on the part of God himself, not empty signs are set before us, 

        but the reality and efficacy at the same time conjoined with them.”[11] 

John Mark Hicks: I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology.

John Mark Hicks as a neo-trinitarian believes that the Holy Spirit is a person or "people" who superceded the work of Jesus of Nazareth whom God made both Lord and Christ.  This is contrary to the Bible and to Alexander Campbell whom John Mark Hicks often misrepresents:

Thomas Campbell: Directoperation of the Holy Spirit: I am not to be understood as objecting to the detection and exposure of a false and unscriptural experience, which, from your words, appears to be the thing intended; for, in your foot note, page 141, you assert, that we are taught, that "since those gifts have ceased, the. Holy Spirit now operates upon the minds of men only by the word;"and at the close of said note, you further assert, that "we are positive of one point," namely, "that the scriptures teach us not the doctrine of physical operations of the Divine Spirit in order to faith."

With these declarations as I understand them, I am quite satisfied; for, since the sacred canon has been completed, it seems to be the general opinion, at least of

    all the most eminent Protestant writers that have adverted to this subject,
    that we are not to look for any new revelations of the Spirit;
    and that, of course, his saving operations in the production of faith and repentance,
    and of every other gracious effect by which we are made partakers of a divine nature, (2 Peter i. 4.)
           is by the word of truth being put into the mind and written upon the heart, (Heb. viii. 10.)

            for this certainly is one of the exceeding great and precious promises above referred to, (2 Peter i. 4.)
            by which the Lord has graciously engaged to save his people, (Heb. viii. 10.)

As to regeneration itself, or, as it is commonly termed, the new birth, we are divinely assured, that it is effected by the word of truth.

(James i. 18.) Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth; and
(1 Peter i. 23-25.) Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
        by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.
        And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you
John Mark Hicks: The Consensus bridged a gap between Zwingli and Luther by stressing the instrumentality of the signs by the power of the Spirit. The signs effect nothing by themselves (Article XII) but    
        “they are indeed instruments by which God acts efficaciously 

        when he pleases” while at the same time “salvation” is “ascribed” to God “alone” (Article XIII)
        because “it is God who alone acts by his Spirit” (Article XII).

John Calvin:

It will, perhaps, be objected, Why did Ananias say to Paul that he washed away his sins by baptism, (Acts 22:16; cf. ch 9:17-18) if sins are not washed away by the power of baptism?

I answer, we are said to receive, procure, and obtain, whatever according 
        to the perception of our faith is exhibited to us by the Lord,
        whether he then attests it for the first time,
        or gives additional confirmation to what he had previously attested.
All then that Ananias meant to say was, Be baptised, Paul, that you may be assured that your sins are forgiven you. In baptism, the Lord promises forgiveness of sins: receive it, and be secure.
Faith, says Paul, comes by hearing the preached Word of God: faith is not infused into the head which would be a sign that God had predestinated the person to salvation.  The act of baptism, contrary to what God told Paul, "arise and be baptized and wash away they sins calling on the  name of the Lord" is wrong: baptism is just another SIGN of the FAITH bestowed to the predestinated.

Credobaptism is "Believer's Baptism". It was  reading the Bible which caused Alexander Campbell to reject all of the Calvinistic views including sprinkling infants. Whatever Calvin said about baptism, he was including infants and founded on the principle that some had been predestinated to Live and the rest to burn in hell.

Their first child, a daughter, was born on March 13, 1812.[3]:83 His daughter's birth spurred Campbell to study the subject of baptism. He ultimately concluded that Scripture did not support the baptism of infants. He came to believe that individuals had to choose baptism and conversion for themselves. The various denominations tracing their roots to Campbell believe that baptism is necessary for salvation

Synonyms for rapproachment ae "Communion, fellowship, rapport." "Scholarly" writing speak of "jointness as integration of merging and separateness in object relations and narcissism."  It is SELF and OTHER focused and clearly and deliberately in this paper leaves the Word of God out of the "bundling" process.

Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others.The name "narcissism" was coined by Freud after a Greek myth about a pathologically self-absorbed young man.

The task of the Baptist  is to simply follow the direct commands of Scripture and the "scholars" within the Church of Christ cannot move toward  the CONCENSUS CENTER without abandoning the Word of God.

As John Mark Hicks tries to twist Alexander Campbell into being a closet trinitarian, he also attributes the Restoration views of baptism to "credobaptists heirs" of Calvinism. From A history of the Baptists, Ch VIII

The first churches planted and organized since the great apostasy, with the Bible as the only creed or church book, and the name Christian as the only family name, was organized in Kentucky in the year 1804 (Roger)
Their aid gave a new impetus to the Reformation which was in progress, especially among the Baptists of Kentucky; and the doctrine spread and greatly increased in the West. The only distinguishing doctrine between us and them was, that they preached baptism for the remission of sine to believing penitents. This doctrine had not generally obtained among us, though some few had received it, and practiced accordingly.

Since there is presently a renewed discussion among Southern Baptists and British Baptists concerning baptismal “sacramentalism” 

and there is also a new openness among Churches of Christ toward a more historic Calvinian understanding of baptism as a means of grace,  there is hope for some kind of “rapprochement” between Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ in the United States.  

Has any one ever  denied that  Baptism is a  means of Grace? Has anyone ever said they could save themselves just by being baptism?  Of course not. But, Grace like Word is another name for Jesus whom God made to be both Lord and Christ.

Now it was not GRACE which Jesus brought but the grace OF GOD. See the difference? Now notice some parsing:

Titus 2:11 For the grace
        of God
        that bringeth salvation

        hath appeared to all men,

You will notice that Grace is to bring salvation.  In spite of them telling us that they can LEAD us into the presence of God (trumping Jesus), we know that they DO NOT bring salvation.

Now, GRACE like WORD or SPIRIT are personified: Grace is not a singing sister but a SPEAKING brother. That guards agains the ccharismatic, orge or pleasuring Paul outlawed in the synagogue.

This Grace TEACHES.  This word means "to train up a child, educate, instruct, discipline."

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that,
        denying meaning to contradict, reject, refute
means irreverent, impious: that will get you burned Heb 12. Zoe "calls down the fires."
        and worldly lusts
, "A longing for that which is FORBIDDEN." Don't ring a bell?

we should
        live soberly
, Sound mind: music deranges the mind.
, innocent giving NO offense.
        and godly
, devout or reverent without which you get burned.
        in this present world
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope,
        and the glorious appearing
                of the great God
                and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us,
        that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
        and purify unto himself a peculiar people, (by baptism)
        zealous of good works.

The same Paul wrote the same things to the Romans

Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom
        ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
        whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Rom. 6:17 But God be thanked, 
        that ye were the servants of sin,
        but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom. 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

With historical perspective and theological reflection Churches of Christ and Southern Baptists are potentially on the verge of a Consensus Americanus

John Mark Hicks: I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology.

Generally, the Consensus united the Protestant Swiss Cantons in their sacramental theology and offered a mediating position between Zwingli and Luther which was ultimately Calvin’s own position

In particular, the sacraments, according to the Consensus, offer (praestat) what the signs symbolize (Article VIII), the reality is not separated from the sign (Article IX), and the signs are themselves instruments of divine grace (Article XIII). The Consensus bridged a gap between Zwingli and Luther by stressing the instrumentality of the signs by the power of the Spirit

The signs effect nothing by themselves (Article XII) but “they are indeed instruments by which God acts efficaciously when he pleases” 

while at the same time “salvation” is “ascribed” to God “alone” (Article XIII) because “it is God who alone acts by his Spirit” (Article XII).

That means that  God  decides whom and when one is  saved by injected faith which is  attested  by baptism "which does nothing."

God PLEASES that:

1Ti 2:3 For this is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be SAVED,
        and to come unto the KNOWLEDGE of the TRUTHS.

1Ti 2:5 For there is one God,
        and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men,
        the man Christ Jesus;

1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and LIE not;)
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

The Word of Good came personified as Jesus of Nazareth.  As  Spirit Christ guided them  apostles into all truth as He had guided the Prophets. He fully expressed His will:

2 Pet 1:15 Moreover I will endeavour
        that ye may be able after my decease
        to have these things alway in remembrance.

2 Pet 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables
        when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
        but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

2 Pet 1:17 For HE received from God the Father honour and glory,
        when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,
        This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

2 Pet 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard,
        when we were with him in the holy mount.

2 Pet 1:19 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:

2Co.3:18 But we all, with open face
        beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
        are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
        even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Pet 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation

While that is true, salvation is ascribed to God alone without the death, burial and resurrection.  The body "prepared for" Christ was not theological material and was made of about 85% water. Would we say that the cross as the instrumental means is SUBSEVIENT to God's purpose for ALL people whom He pleases to save.  As God in Christ Jesus The Christ of God gets to define the INSTRUMENTAL means of his operations. John Calvin agrees with this perfectly.  If Christ in Spirit prophesied a future WASHING by water and John connects it to the baptism by John and the disciples of Jesus then the eunuch was pretty smart when just by knowing Isiah he made the request.

Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water;
        what doth hinder me to be baptized

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, 
        If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.
        And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
If Calvin and Hicks are correct, how is it that Philip had to ask if he believed. The eunuch had been reading Isaiah who by Christ the Spirit promised baptism as  a MEANS of obeying.
Acts 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still:
        and they went down both into the water, both Philip
        and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water,
        the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip,
        that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

G2967 kōluō ko-loo'-o not suffer, withstand.

1812 was a significant year for both Churches of Christ and American Baptists. In that same year Alexander Campbell, Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice were immersed upon their profession of faith in Jesus and embraced credobaptism as biblical theology. 

Credobaptism is "Believer's Baptism." People are baptized BECAUSE their sins are already forgiven by Faith only.  This fact is proven because the Baptists planned to disfellowship Alexander for his teaching. The History of the Baptist church DENIES that Campbell ever agreed with them.

In the Missing Lunenburg Correspondence, Alexander Campbell wrote among other things:

5. In the last place, to be satisfied with any thing that will just do in religion,
        is neither the Christian disposition nor character;

        and not to desire to know and do the whole will of God,
                places the individual out of the latitude and longitude

                of the opinion which we have advanced.

These things being so, then we ask,  wherein does the avowal of such an opinion
         disarm us of arguments for professor or profane,

         on the value of the baptism in the Christian Institution;

                or the importance and
necessity of separating one's self
                from all that
will not keep the commandments of Jesus;
                and of submitting without delay to the requisitions of the illustrious Prophet
                whom the Almighty Father
has commanded all men to obey?

Their heirs, however, engaged in hostile and sometimes bitter disputes over the design of baptism. 

One suspects that no more abuse has been heaped upon any group than from the Babtists agaisnt Baptism FOR the remission of sins and NOT beginning to use noise machines after never using noise machines. This is a psychological ploy to intimidate people against teaching that the Bible and most recorded history demands that baptism is required for the remission of sins.

Generally speaking, conservative Stone-Campbell adherents—particularly among 20th century Churches of Christ—

moved away from Campbell’s own Calvinian understanding of baptism as a “means of grace”
to a positivistic watershed line between heaven and hell and conservative Baptists—particularly Southern Baptists—embraced a Zwinglian understanding of sacramental theology.

However, there are signs that there are converging interests and theology among leaders within Churches of Christ and Southern Baptists.

Undoubtedly, Campbell lived and died holding some Calvinistic views.  Many of his twisted statements come from the context of rebaptism or holding that baptism was  SOLELY for the remission of sins.  Many believed that they  would have to be rebaptized if they sinned.  Therefore, he argues that baptism is not exclusively  a means of forgiveness of sins in the future.  People who THOUGHT that they had remission of sins BEFORE their baptism made the  mistake that if baptism IS INDEED for the  remission of sins, the had better  get to the pool each time they had a sin to remit. This is proof that Campbell etal taught the necessity of Baptism the first time FOR the remission of sins.
I trust we need not attempt to show that Jesus Christ has not ordained any institution solely for the remission of sins--any rite or observance for expiation. Remission of sins is, indeed, connected with baptism; but so is adoption, sanctification, and all the blessings of the new institution.

The salvation of the soul, which comprehends every thing which can be enjoyed in this present world, is attached to it. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. To be baptized for the remission of sins exclusively, is not what is meant by putting on Christ, or by being immersed into Christ. No person, intelligent in the christian religion, can be baptized for the remission of his sins apart from all other blessings. For one, then, that has been born again, [482] born of water and of the Spirit, one who has been baptized into Christ, confessing his faith in the person, character, and mission of Jesus,
to be baptized a second time for the remission of sins by itself, or for the Holy Spirit by itself, or for any one blessing, is without command, precedent, or reason from the New Testament.

          Besides, no person can be born twice to come into the same kingdom. 

The first birth introduces us into the kingdom of nature; regeneration, or being born of water and the Spirit, brings us into the kingdom of grace; and being born from the grave will introduce us into the kingdom of glory. No man can be born twice into one and the same kingdom.. MH Monday, Nov 7, 1831 No 1, Vok 

Hicks means A means of grace along with other means of grace.  However, the Bible says that Baptism is THE MEANS ordained by God in Christ as HIS plan for people to REQUEST that they be saved: that request in 1 Peter 3:21 is baptism. A form of doctrine is a "pattern capable of being imitated." We imitate that patter and only THEN are we said to be free from sin or saved.  If Baptism is just ONE means of Grace (which Calvin nor Campbell never taught) then there must be OTHER means of Grace.  Grace is Christ PERSONIFIED as He was the Word of God personified. Otherwise Grace is a goroup of browned-eyed Greek prostitute goddesses made known as SINGERS.

Whoa! The only leader in the Church of Christ is Jesus Christ. Elders as pastor-teachers "teach that which has been taught" and personal opinions or HUMAN INTERESTS have no role to play in the Discipline of Christianity.

Alexancer Campbell notes:

And while I would unhesitatingly say that I think that every man who despises any ordinance of Christ or who is willingly ignorant of it, cannot be a Christian
still I should sin against my own convictions, should I teach any one to think that if he mistook the meaning of any institution while in his soul he desired to know the whole will of God he must perish forever.
But to conclude for the present--he that claims for himself a license to neglect the least of all the commandments of Jesus because it is possible for some to be saved who through insuperable ignorance or involuntary mistake, do neglect or transgress it;  or he that wilfully neglects to ascertain the will of the Lord to the whole extent of his means and opportunities 
because some who are defective in that knowledge may be Christians,
        is not possessed of the spirit of Christ and cannot be registered
        among the Lord's people.

        So I reason; and I think in so reasoning I am sustained
        by all the Prophets and Apostles of both Testaments 

Since 1999 a large number of monographs and journal articles have appeared in British publications that have argued for baptismal sacramentalism, that is, baptism as the “evangelical sacrament” that is a normative part of the conversion narrative and A means of grace (cf. Anthony R. Cross, “The Evangelical Sacrament: Baptisma Semper Reformandum,” Evangelical Quarterly 80.3 [2008] 195-217 which is available at Jay Guin’s website–see also his posts on Baptist Sacramentalism and the work of Stan Fowler). This movement has embraced a Calvinian sacramental theology. Indeed, the Baptist World Alliance has come to some agreement with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches on the meaning of baptism.

There are a growing number of Southern Baptists who are moving in this direction as well though they are reticent about sacramental language. Their linguistic hesitation is rooted in some of the same qualms and perceived baggage that is also current among historic and contemporary Churches of Christ. 

Nevertheless, there is a recognition that Southern Baptist practice has de-emphasized baptism. The most significant evidence of this shift is Broadman & Holman’s 2006 Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ, edited by Thomas R. Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright.

Robert H. Stein writes a particularly illuminating chapter on baptism in Luke-Acts, arguing that the components involved in one becoming a Christian—repentance, faith, confession, the gift of the Spirit, and baptism—

Bible readers will notice the switching. Acts speaks of believing, repenting, confession of sins, Baptism, the remission of sins, then the gift of A holy spirit.  A spirit is A holy spirit when sin has been removed: this is never promised outside of baptism.

are all very closely related temporally in Luke-Acts, often taking place on the same day (52). Rightly emphasizing the corporate nature of water baptism, Stein shows that the church baptized believers only in the book of Acts, as those being “added” to the church (Acts 2:41) involved both faith and baptism (55-56). 

In the book of Acts, to speak of a believer or one who comes to believe in Christ is to speak of one who has been baptized; indeed, water baptism is intimately connected to the new birth.

Jn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
    Except a MAN be born AGAIN
    he cannot see the kingdom of God.

It is not possible to miss what Jesus said:
A MAN must be born AGAIN to SEE the kingdom.
The parallelism is
A MAN must be [future] born of H20 and Spirit.
Jn 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him,
        How can a MAN be born when he is OLD?

        can he enter the second time into his
        mother's womb, and be born?
Jn 3:5 Jesus answered,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
    Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
    he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God.
It insults Jesus to have him say that you cannot enter the kingdom until you are BIRTHED

Baptism, then, is not for those who have yet to receive the gift of the Spirit by faith, but only for those who have repented of sin and trusted in Christ alone for salvation.

John Calvin speaking of this notes:

This error had its origin in the fictitious sacrament of penance, on which I have already touched. What remains will be said at the proper place. There is no wonder if men who, from the grossness of their minds, are excessively attached to external things, have here also betrayed the defect, - if not contented with the pure institution of God,

they have introduced new helps devised by themselves,
as if baptism were not itself a sacrament of penance.
But if repentance is recommended during the whole of life, the power of baptism ought to have the same extent. Wherefore, there can be no doubt that all the godly may, during the whole course of their lives, whenever they are vexed by a consciousness of their sins,
recall the remembrance of their baptism, that they may thereby assure themselves of that sole and perpetual ablution which we have in the blood of Christ.

John Mark Hicks: Churches of Christ are more open in recent years to moving back to Alexander Campbell’s own original Calvinian understanding of the instrumentality of baptism as a means of grace

Click for our comments above.

Grace is another name for Jesus as the Christ of God. He came TEACHING us to deny what the grace-only people want to allow.   The death, burial, inspiriting and resurrection of Jesus is a tupos or "pattern capable of being imiated." By imitating that  pattern in baptism we have the remission of sins and all of the rights of a child of God.  Only after imitating the PATTERN of pure graceare  we "then free from sin" and able to serve  Jesus Christ.

If we are saved by GRACE and baptism is an instrumental means of grace, then how does that differ from being saved by baptism (by God) because that is the only time and Place Christ commanded us to REQUEST that grace.  John Calvin had a host of things to say about baptism: true it is a sign of many things but it is also a means.  A check is a sign that someone has given us some money. However, it has no valueuntil we present that SIGN at the bank.

John Calvin "that as many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ, were baptised into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death," that we "should walk in newness of life," (Rom. 6: 3, 4.)

By these words, he not only exhorts us to imitation of Christ, as if he had said, that we are admonished by baptism, in like manner as Christ died, to die to our lusts, and as he rose, to rise to righteousness;
but he traces the matter much higher, that Christ by baptism has made us partakers of his death, in grafting us into it (Rom. 6:5).

And as the twig derives substance and nourishment from the root to which it is attached,
so those who receive baptism with true faith truly feel the efficacy of Christ's death in the mortification of their flesh, and the efficacy of his resurrection in the quickening of the Spirit (Rom. 6:8). On this he founds his exhortation, that if we are Christians we should be dead unto sin, and alive unto righteousness (Rom. 6:11).
He elsewhere uses the same argument, viz., that we are circumcised, and put off the old man, after we are buried in Christ by baptism, (Col. 2: 11-12.) And in this sense, in the passage which we formerly quoted, he calls it "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," (Tit. 3: 5.)
We are promised, first, the free pardon of sins and imputation of righteousness; and,
, the grace of the Holy Spirit, to form us again to newness of life.
We are promised it by grace, we receive it by grace, "the grace of God hath appeared TEACHING us to deny ungodliness."  Baptism is a SIGN that we are REQUESTING A good conscience or A holy spirit.  When we SIGN that request then Peters says without equivocation: BAPTISM DOETH NOW SAVE US.

Noah was saved by PURE GRACE:

Heb. 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet,
        moved with fear,
        prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
        by the which he condemned the world,
        and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Heb. 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
        obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Gen. 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,
        and will give unto thy seed all these countries;
        and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Gen. 26:5 Because that Abraham
        obeyed my voice,
        and kept my charge,
        my commandments,
        my statutes,
        and my laws.
Gen. 26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar

John Mark Hicks: Campbell’s baptismal theology articulated an instrumental understanding of baptismal grace but at the same time valued character more than ritual and mercy more than sacrifice. 

Certainly, Campbell would rater have an unbaptized godly person as a friend over a  baptized drunk. However, Campbell  used the lower case "c"hristian to speak of people who had  a Christian character.  However,  he never  considered any righteous person as a true Christian and saved who had not been baptized.

John Calvin He elsewhere uses the same argument, viz., that we are circumcised, and put off the old man, after we are buried in Christ by baptism, (Col. 2: 11-12.) And in this sense, in the passage which we formerly quoted, he calls it "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," (Tit. 3: 5.)

        We are promised, first, the free pardon of sins and imputation of righteousness; and,
, the grace of the Holy Spirit, to form us again to newness of life.

As for SIGNS:

What greater boast could the apostles make, and what greater those who baptise in the present day?

For they are only ministers of the external sign,
whereas Christ is the Author of
internal grace,
as those same ancient writers uniformly teach, and, in particular, Augustine, who, in his refutation of the Donatists, founds chiefly on this axiom, Whoever it is that baptises Christ alone presides.

John Mark Hicks: A living faith that exhibited a transformed character was more important than the full enjoyment of assurance in baptism. 

Yes, I value old profane Jimmy Joe just up the valley more than the baptized brethren because if I needed help he would be the first one there. But, that would not make me so judgmental that I would not tell him about baptism.

John Mark and his circle of friends have put many lies into the mouth of Alexander Campbell. The fact that he had rather have as a friend a godly person in preference to a baptized believer who was not gody is used to say what John Mark has just said.  However, they have never read the lunenburg correspondence.  Campbell used the word "c"hristian as we speak of a christian nation. However, he deined that one was a "C"hristian who had not been baptized. IF there were Christians among the sects then they must "come out of Babylon." Alexander Campbell never came close to fellowship with Baptists whom he worked so hard to convert.

Both Alexander Campell and his Son in Law assert that Alexander Campbell fully understood the meaning of baptism when he was baptized by a human who happened to be a baptist.

Listen to the Baptists: Stone said: When he came into Kentucky, I heard him often in public and in private. I was pleased with his manner and matter. I saw no distinctive feature between the doctrine he preached and that which we had preached for many years, except on baptism for the remission of sins. Even this I had once received and taught, as before stated, but had strangely let it go from my mind, till Brother Campbell revived it afresh. I thought then he was not sufficiently explicit on the influences of the Spirit, which led many honest Christians to think he denied them. Had he been as explicit then, as since, many honest souls would have been still with us, and would have greatly aided the good cause. In a few things I dissented from him, but was agreed to disagree (Rogers).

Are there Christians among the sects: the Lunenburg correspondence.

I. With all despatch, then, I hasten to show that I have neither conceded nor surrendered any thing for which I ever contended; but that on the contrary, the opinion now expressed, whether true or false, is one that I have always avowed.

(Footnote in original reads: It is with us as old as baptism for the remission of sins, and this is at least as old as the "Christian Baptist." Read the first two numbers of that work.)

1. Let me ask, in the first place, what could mean all that we have written upon the union of Christians on apostolic grounds,
        had we taught that all Christians in the world
were already united in our own community?

2. And in the second place, why should we so often have quoted and applied to apostate Christendom what the Spirit saith to saints in Babylon--"Come out of her, my people, that you partake not of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues"--had we imagined that the Lord had no people beyond the pale of our communion!

3. But let him that yet doubts, read the following passages from the Christian Baptist, April, 1825:--

"I have no idea of seeing, nor wish to see, the sects unite in one grand army.
This would be dangerous to our liberties and laws. For this the Saviour did not pray.

It is only the
disciples dispersed among them that reason and benevolence would call out of them, "&c. &c. This looks very like our present opinion of Christians among the sects!!! 2d ed. Bethany, p. 85.

3. To admit that there may be Christians among the sects,

does not derogate from the value or importance of baptism for the remission of sins,
any more than it derogates from the superior value and excellency of the Christian Institution
to admit that salvation was possible to the Jews and Patriarchs without the knowledge and experience
of all the developments of the New Testament.

For besides the Christian disposition, state and character, there are the Christian privileges.
Now, in our judgment,
there is not on a earth a person who can have as full an assurance of justification or of remission of sins,

as the person who has believed, confessed his faith, and been intelligently buried and raised with the Lord; and therefore the present salvation never can be so fully enjoyed, all things else being equal, by the unimmersed as by the immersed.

4. Again, as every sect agrees,
        that a person immersed on a confession of his faith is
truly baptized,
only a part of Christendom admits the possibility of any other action as baptism:

for the sake of union among Christians, it may be easily shown to be the duty of all believers to be immersed,
if for no other reason than that of honoring the divine institution and
opening a way for the union and co-operation of all Christians.

Besides, immersion gives a constitutional right of citizenship in the universal kingdom of Jesus;
whereas with our opponents, themselves being judges, their "baptism"
gives the
rights of citizenship
only in some provinces of that kingdom

For as far as baptism is concerned, the Greek, the Roman, the English, the Lutheran, the Calvinian, the Arminian, the Baptist communities will receive the immersed;

while only a part of Christendom will acknowledge the sprinkled or the poured.
Therefore, our opinion militates not against the value of baptism in any sense.

5. In the last place, to be satisfied with any thing that will just do in religion,
        is neither the Christian disposition nor character;

        and not to desire to know and do the whole will of God,
                places the individual out of the latitude and longitude

                of the opinion which we have advanced.

These things being so, then we ask,  wherein does the avowal of such an opinion
         disarm us of arguments for professor or profane,

         on the value of the baptism in the Christian Institution;

                or the importance and
necessity of separating one's self
                from all that
will not keep the commandments of Jesus;
                and of submitting without delay to the requisitions of the illustrious Prophet
                 whom the Almighty Father

                has commanded all men to obey

John Mark Hicks:  However, few in mid-twentieth century Churches of Christ believed that faith without baptism was transformative. Baptism was regarded more like a line in the sand or, to mix the metaphor, a watershed moment.

“Convergence” (Stan Fowler’s word) or rapprochement (Caneday’s word in Believer’s Baptism, p. 304) is possible within the paradigm shift currently evidenced among some leaders of Churches of Christ and some Southern Baptists. In a paper entitled Consensus Tigurinus and a Baptismal Rapprochement Between Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ for the 2009 Christian Scholar’s Conference (which I have uploaded to my Academic page), 

We  will follow the Word of God if it's all the same.   From this review it is clear that  scholars  feed on  other scholars and never depend  on the Bible for their opinions.  Jesus said that the doctors of the law  take away the key to knowledge: he called the Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.  In the Ezekiel 33  example the hypocrites were rhetoricians, singers and instrument players.

John Mark Hicks: I identified four points that are significant for this converging baptismal theology. I explored these in more detail in an earlier essay but in this new essay place them in the more specific context of discussion within the last decade. These four points are:
1. Baptism is a normative part of the New Testament conversion narrative
2. Calvinian baptismal theology correctly identifies the soteriological significance of baptism as a means of grace.
3. Baptism serves faith and is subordinate to faith’s soteriological function
          as baptism participates in the instrumentality of faith

4. Salvation, as a process of transformation into the image of Christ, 
        gives baptism its theological importance 

        and limits its soteriological significance. 


As Southern Baptists move to recognize (1) & (2) and 
        Churches of Christ are increasingly recognizing (3) & (4), convergence upon a biblical theology of baptismal grace is possible.  


Don't ever believe anyone who can speak and thinks purely withing the theological tiny circle.

John Mark Hicks is a Theologian and not remotely a Bible student.  In the profession of theology you are about forced to use the writings of other theologians so that they will use your books and invite you to the "ecumenical" gathering of a superior class. Jesus said that doctors of the law take away the key to knowledge.

It is one thing for people who want to study theological in a neutered atmosphere, but Jesus told us that theologians speak TO and FOR themselves and not for the Church of Christ. When John Mark Hicks makes these wild assertions it becomes psychological violence to try to convince the faithful members that they are ignorant, out of step and will just be laughed at.

The first false claim speaks from the rare atmosphere of accomodative theology but turns ALL of the Bible upside down. That is fine for Theologians, that is their job, that is what they do.

3. Baptism serves faith and is subordinate to faith’s soteriological function as baptism participates in the instrumentality of faith

The Spirit of Christ says that baptism saves; baptism remits sin; baptism is the commanded act by which we request A holy spirit or A good conscience.  Faith simply gives one the trust and authority to do something: the SOMETHING is baptism which is defined as FOR the remission of sins.

Faith and obedience are two words.  It is a fact that in Mark 16, he that BELIEVETH the word demands TO COMPLY so that He that COMPLIETH by being baptized shall be saved.  Believeth not is APISTOS and means to COMPLY NOT, to be a traitor.

I think that there are many passages which prove that one can believe or have faith but not obey. So, faith by itself has no power.
Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans,
God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers
        rejected the counsel of God against themselves,
        being not baptized of him.

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him;
        but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him,
        lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

1Pet. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us,
        what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The Gospel is not a CORE: the gospel was the gospel of the KINGDOM.  Faith that a door exists has no value unless you ENTER IN which is only by baptsm where we ASK God to give us A good conscience or A holy spirit.
1Pet. 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us
        (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
        but the [request for] a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

No, baptism is not subordinate to faith: one has FAITH and the next part of the SEQUENCE is to be baptized.
He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved. Simple reading 101

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
John 1:12 But as many as received him,
        to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
        even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

To receive Christ is to Believe on his name by receiving the Word.

Acts 2:37 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?

Peter told them what they MUST DO: in the Cornelius event Peter told him what to do to be SAVED.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them,  [You MUST do this]

   be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,

[in order that your sins be remitted]

and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 3:19
ye therefore,
        and be converted,
        that your sins may be blotted out,

when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  [recovery of breath, COOLING off. ]

Ab-luo abluere sibi umbras, to remove darkness (by bringing a light), Of the washing away of earth by a shower, Verg. A.2.719 wash away the blood
        In eccl. Lat., of baptism: munere divinitatis abluti, L
II. Trop., of calming the passions: omnis ejusmodi perturbatio
animi placatione abluatur, be removed (fig. derived from the religious rite of washing in expiation of sin),
  1. Those who believed received the POWER to become the sons of God.
  2. In acts 2:37 the people obviously believed.
  3. Peter told them to repent AND be baptized FOR (Eis) the remission of sins.
  4. Only after their spirit was FREE from sin did they have A holy Spirit.
  5. The POWER was never in the FAITH but in OBEYING that form of doctrine.
Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying,
        Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:
        and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

  1. No one was added to them because they believed the word.
  2. After they were baptized, they were saved by their actions and were added to the church.
  3. No one is added to the church by Christ Himself until they request discipleship at baptism
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

They continued in the court and porches. No, they did not worship with instrument music. They taught the apostles doctrine (not a core gospel) because that was where the sinners were.

Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
        And the Lord added to the church daily such as [were being] saved.

No one was added to the Church of Christ until they obeyed the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ.
Hicks is radically wrong: Ephesians 2 says that we are saved BY grace THROUGH faith.  Faith is never and EIS or INTO or UNTO word.  We pass THROUGH faith and from the first part of Ephesians 2 we are RAISED with Christ when we are baptized.


4. Salvation, as a process of transformation into the image of Christ, 
        gives baptism its theological importance 

        and limits its soteriological significance. 

That says that baptism has a THEOLOGY importance but baptism's SAVING significance is LIMITED.

Salvation is equated  to the remission of sins: if rejecting baptism causes you to be damned  it would appear that being born would not LIMIT one's ongoing process of sanctification or growth.

While significant differences still remain (especially as Reformed notions of regeneration and election lie in the background of some of this theological shift among Southern Baptists), I am convinced a new consensus is possible with the self-conscious adoption of something akin to a credobaptist Calvinian baptismal theology—which, in my estimation, is a biblical theology. Southern Baptists and Churches of Christ have an opportunity to live in harmony, practice a shared biblical theology of baptism and together promote the kingdom of God for the sake of the world.