November 22, 2017

Max Lucado on Baptism

By Larry Ray Hafley

In a television interview in Nashville, Tennessee, July 2, 1997, Max Lucado said:

I believe in baptism. Jesus was baptized. The Bible teaches baptism. I just don't believe that baptism saves you. I believe that Jesus Christ saves us. And baptism is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of the faithful believer.

Israelite on Brass Serpent

Let us construct a parallel to brother Lucado's remarks. Suppose an Israelite in Numbers 21 had said: "I really believe in the brass serpent. Moses teaches the brass serpent. I just don't believe the brass serpent heals you. I believe God heals us. And looking on the brass serpent is one of those ways we celebrate our healing. It's really the initial step of the healed believer."

If an Israelite had said that, would he have been healed?

Naaman on Dipping in the Jordan River

Suppose Naaman in 2 Kings 5 had said: "I really believe in dipping in the Jordan. Elisha told me to dip in the Jordan. I just don't believe dipping in the Jordan will heal me. I believe that God will heal me. And dipping in the Jordan is one of those ways I will celebrate my healing. It's really the initial step I'll take as a healed believer."

If Naaman had said that, would he have been healed?

Blind Man on Washing in the Pool of Siloam

Suppose the blind man in John 9 had said: "I really believe in the pool of Siloam. Jesus told me to wash there. I just don't believe that the pool of Siloam will cure my blindness. I believe Jesus will cure me. And washing in the pool of Siloam is one of those ways I'll celebrate my healing. It's really the initial step I'll take as a healed believer."

If the blind man had said that, would he have been healed?

Before proceeding, note again brother Lucado's statement. "I really believe in baptism. Jesus was baptized. The Bible teaches baptism. I just don't believe that baptism saves you. I believe that Jesus Christ saves us. And baptism is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of the faithful believer."

In view of his statement regarding baptism, let us observe some parallels to it.

Max Lucado on Faith, Repentance, & Confession (?)

I really believe in faith. Jesus believed. The Bible teaches faith. I just don't believe faith saves you. I believe Jesus Christ saves us. And faith is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of the faithful believer.

I really believe in repentance. The Bible teaches repentance. I just don't believe repentance saves you. I believe Jesus Christ saves us. And repentance is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of the faithful believer.

I really believe in confession. Jesus confessed. The Bible teaches confession. I just don't believe confession saves you. I believe Jesus Christ saves us. And confession is one of those ways we celebrate our salvation. It's really the initial step of the faithful believer.

How would brother Lucado answer a "Hardshell" Primitive Baptist if he were to make statements like those above?

Besides a lack of faith in the word of the Lord (See Deut. 9:23; Ps. 78:22; 106:12, 24; Heb. 3:19; 4:6; one may believe in God's existence but be an unbeliever), a part of brother Lucado's problem is that he fails to distinguish between the basis or grounds of our salvation and the conditions of salvation. In 1 Peter 1:18, 19, the Bible teaches that we are redeemed by the blood of Christ. The blood is the basis, the grounds of our salvation. However, the saving power of that blood is not applied until one obeys the truth (1 Pet. 1:22; cf. Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9).

In 1 Peter 3:21, which brother Lucado does not believe, the Spirit says that "baptism doth also now save us." Yes, baptism saves, but it does so upon the basis, or the grounds of, "the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (cf. Rom. 4:25  Christ was raised from the dead "for our justification," but this justification was not granted until they had "obeyed" the gospel  6:17, 18).

Neither the serpent of brass, dipping in the Jordan River, nor the pool of Siloam could heal anyone. God must do the healing. However, none was cured and cleansed until he obeyed the terms or conditions which he set forth. Like-wise, neither faith, repentance, confession, nor baptism can forgive sins. God must do the forgiving, the cleansing and the healing. However, none is forgiven, justified, and saved until he believes, repents, confesses, and is baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 10:9, 10).

Guardian of Truth XLI: 21 p.8-9 
November 6, 1997

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