Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

The Parameters of Acceptable Baptism

I recently wrote a letter to a preacher discussing what consitutes Bible baptism. By this I mean the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5. It is the baptism that an alien sinner must submit to in order to receive the remission of his sins.

Our discussion centered specifically on whether individuals in denominations who were baptized “for the remission of sins” (Christian church; Mormons; Some Pentecostals) must be immersed again to be acceptable to God. He says they do not, and I disagree with his assessment. Following is a portion of my letter to him.

The Parameters of acceptable Baptism:

  1. Salvation is predicated upon an individual’s acceptance of, and response to the word of God (cf. Rom 1:16).
  2. An individual must believe the preaching of Jesus (cf. Acts 8), confess Him as the Son of God, Repent of his sins, and be immersed in water in the name of Jesus for the remission of his sins.
  3. It does not matter where he receives that information which precedes his response, or from whom. (I have never believed that, and I don’t think that most preachers do either).
  4. I recognize that a man could be taught by a Christian church preacher, a Baptist preacher, a Mormon preacher, or an atheist, and as a result of that preaching, be scripturally baptized if that preacher taught him the truth. He could learn it on his own, from a Correspondence Course, or in many other ways.

However, I also realize that the Baptist, the Disciple, the Mormon all teach what constitutes a perverted gospel (cf. Galatians 1) in which there is no salvation. The Mormon and the Oneness Pentecostal (both teach baptism for the remission of sins) don’t even have proper concepts of God!

My major point is this. Baptism must be in the name of our Lord (by His authority). It is not enough for it to be “for the remission of sins.” After all, John’s baptism was the same, yet was not in Jesus’ name. Teaching on baptism does not come in a vacuum, and I am firmly convinced that in almost every case, those who are baptized in denominations, “for the remission of sins”, are not baptized in the “name of Jesus.”

They are reacting to a perverted gospel taught to them, (even if it contains some truth). Their response to that gospel is intended to gain them entrance into that denomination (even though they believe it to be part of the universal church, it is not necessarily the case).

They are not added to the Lord’s church, not because Jesus has failed in His promise to them, but because they have not acceptably responded to His pure terms. I do not want to exclude any that Christ has accepted. At the same time, I am doing no favors accepting into fellowship those who I fear stand condemned before God.