Questions On Baptism (3)

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Question 11.  Can one be baptized without belonging to a church or denomination? If so, how?

Answer  You have asked a wonderful question that so many are confused about. However, turning to the New Testament, we can clearly answer this most important question.

First, when we see the gospel first preached in Acts 2, there were thousands baptized on that day for the purpose of receiving forgiveness of sins. They were in conflict with Jesus who had been established as Lord and King but when they believed in Him, they were commanded to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Acts 2:36-38. When they did this, they became simply Christians, members of that group of people that belonged to Jesus, His body or church. Acts 2:42, 47, 1 Cor. 12:13-14.

When they were baptized they did not belong to any church or man-made denomination. After they were baptized, they became a part of Jesus' one church (assembly of saved people). They had been baptized into a relationship with Christ, not into any man-made denomination. Gal. 3:2y6-29, Rom. 6:1-7. The only church we should be a part of is the one Jesus built by dying for us, being raised from the dead, receiving authority over all and revealing the message of salvation to us through the apostles by the Holy Spirit. Matt. 16:13-20. His church is composed of all individuals who have expressed obedient faith in Him and continue to follow the apostles' teaching. Eph. 5:22-25, Acts 2:42.

After being baptized, we are commanded to work and worship together with other Christians in local assemblies (churches). Therefore, we should join ourselves to a local church that is seeking to follow the apostles' teaching and not denominational teachings. Acts 9:26, Rom. 16:16, 1 Cor. 1:1-2, Acts 2:42, 1 Cor. 16:1-4, 11:17-34, Chapter 5, 2 Cor. 11:8-9.

How do we know which local church to join? We should look at every aspect of that local church from what they call themselves, to their work and worship and if they are not conforming to the apostles' teaching and refuse to change, then we should look for a group that is seeking to do so. For example, we should not meet with a Catholic or Baptist church simply because they call themselves by humanly devised names and follow humanly devised teachings, none of which can be confirmed in the Bible. This would be true for any denomination.

To summarize, when we are baptized we do not belong to any church whether it is a denomination or Jesus' church (saved body of people). But, when we are baptized for forgiveness of sins by His authority, we become a part of His body (assembly of saved people) His church and are subject to obey him in all things given in the apostles' teaching. Acts 2, Eph. 1:18-23, 5:22-25. As the Head commands us, we search for people who are seeking to follow the apostles' teaching so we can work and worship as He has commanded. We should never seek to join ourselves to any denomination but only to a local group of Christians who are striving to do His will according to the New Testament. For some listings of some local churches you can visit in your area, please go to http://www.bible.ca and click on the picture of the church building on the left side of the navigation image. If I can help you or anyone reading this question on my site in understanding this more or locating a local church near you, please contact me at any time by phone or email. Contact Gary

Question 12.  I've been reading your article on how baptism is necessary and you've convinced me. Now though I need to know who has the authority to baptize me? Does the baptism count if the wrong person does it? Can I do it myself? Can you please back up your responses with scripture?

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Answer  Thank you for your questions which are extremely important for anyone who would desire to be forgiven of their sins. As you know in the denominational world, either baptism is dismissed as being necessary for our salvation or if it is insisted upon, it is done in an unscriptural manner, baptizing infants, sprinkling instead of immersion or immersing people to show they have already been saved instead of for forgiveness of their sins.

In light of these and other false teachings, I believe this is why your questions arise. Even in New Testament times there was confusion about baptism relating to Jesus’ authority not being recognized.

Act 19:1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. Act 19:2 He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Act 19:3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." Act 19:4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Act 19:7 There were in all about twelve men.

From this passage, we come to understand how proper baptism should be accomplished. From here, we will move on to your question regarding who is authorized to baptize someone. But before we do, we must make sure that the person being baptized understand what is involved in Scriptural baptism whether the one baptizing you understands it or not.

What is involved in Scriptural baptism? Subject – The one being baptized must be of sufficient age to understand that Jesus is the Son of God, equal with God and Lord above all. Also, they must be of sufficient age to understand sin and their need to repent of their sins. Therefore no infants could ever be scripturally baptized.

Act 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified." Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. Act 8:36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" Act 8:37 [And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."] Act 8:38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. Act 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

Mar 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mar 16:16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Method – Instead of sprinkling or pouring, one must be fully immersed in water to be scripturally baptized. Baptism means immersion or to submerge.

Rom 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Rom 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Col 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Purpose – Contrary to false teaching, the only scriptural purpose for baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. If one understands he or she is already saved as they are being baptized, then their faith is not in the Word of God but in men.

Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 22:16 'Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

Authority – Now more to the point of your questions that you raised regarding authority and baptism. The authority behind baptism in Jesus’ Name (name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit) resides in the New Testament, written Word of God. In Acts 19, this authority of Jesus was not recognized although all else about their baptism summed to be correct, method, purpose and no infants being baptized. To recognize the authority of Jesus means that we believe in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension into Heaven where is now Lord of all. We also recognize that He does not act alone but in concert with the Father and the Holy Spirit who are also God. It was this Divine authority the apostles were commissioned by and commanded to baptize all according to this authority.

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Mat 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 10:48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

Act 19:3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." Act 19:4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

There is no evidence that people baptized themselves without any human assistance. Also, regarding who is authorized to baptize people? As mentioned in Matt. 28:18-20, we understand that disciples of Jesus were commanded to teach about Him and baptize all for the remission of sins in His name. Whether the person being baptized was forgiven or not depends completely on their faith and repentance and confession of the Lord not on the faith of the one doing the baptizing.

Luk 8:15 "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Word of caution – Although we may be baptized by one who does not have accurate knowledge about the Lord or baptism, we must have this basic knowledge as we are baptized. Also, according to Matthew 28:20, we must learn and follow only the apostles teaching, not the traditions of men so we can remain faithful to Him. Therefore, we cannot join ourselves to man-made denominations and expect to be pleasing to the Lord.

Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Act 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Finally, if you can find someone near you who has been taught properly about baptism (by example, a man), then that would be preferable. However, if there are none in your area who are seeking to follow only the apostles’ teaching, then make sure you understand the basic concept of what you need to do to be saved and ask another man to help you accomplish this. To search for a local church in your area that would most likely teach accurately about these matters, please go to http://www.bible.ca/directory/seek.php?type=church. We hope and pray you might obey the gospel in the way it is revealed by the apostles in the New Testament so that you might be forgiven and then continue to abide in the apostles’ teaching. Contact Gary

 

 

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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,
© Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971,
  1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission."
(www.Lockman.org)

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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,
© Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971,
  1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission."
(www.Lockman.org)

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