"What Prevents Me From Getting Baptized?"
The title of this article is taken from an article in the Jehovah's Witness' Watchtower.(1) It discussed the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. They reveal some very enlightening attitudes which the Jehovah's Witnesses have toward the Bible and baptism.
If you read the biblical account and then compare it with what the Jehovah's Witnesses say happened, you will wonder if they are reading from another Bible. In the article, they can tell the story accurately up until the eunuch is to be baptized. However, verse 37 is left out completely in their Bible. Then in the article, they conclude the account with the following statement: "The chariot was halted; they went into the water together and Philip baptized him on the basis of his accepting Jesus' sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. - Acts 8:36-39."(2)
If a Jehovah's Witness tells you they baptize "for the remission of sins" don't you believe it! They teach in this article and other sources that one must "dedicate his life" to Jehovah. This is done by going to Jehovah "in prayer through Jesus Christ and express your desire to be one of his servants, walking in the footsteps of his Son. It is appropriate that you tell Jehovah that you want to belong to him and that you want to do his will both now and for all time to come. In this way you dedicate yourself to God. This is a personal, private matter. No one else can do it for you."'(3)
After one has "dedicated his life to Jehovah," then they are to "symbolize their dedication to Jehovah" by being baptized. You are to go to the "overseer" of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and make this known.
It is very obvious to one who knows the truth that this is not scriptural baptism. It is also obvious that they do not believe one has to be baptized when they say the following:
What, then, does Christian baptism signify? It is not a washing away of one's sins, because cleansing from sin comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. Rather, it is a public demonstration that one has made a solemn dedication to Jehovah God and is presenting himself to do His will. Thus, Baptism is not to be viewed as of little importance. It is a requirement for all who obediently walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.(4)
Isn't this amazing that they can read the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch and come up with all this jargon? We wonder where it says that the eunuch went to Jehovah in "prayer" to "dedicate" his life? Then we wonder where the Bible says he went to the "overseer" and made it known that he wanted to be baptized. Then we want the Scripture that tells us when the "overseer" told Philip to go ahead and baptize the eunuch. I suspect we will be waiting for a long time if we want the Jehovah's Witnesses to give us the answers from Scripture.
To further prove they do not believe that one has to be "baptized to be saved" we quote the following:
Associated with Jehovah's Witnesses around the world today are many who have not as yet been baptized in symbolism of their dedication to Jehovah. The worldwide peak number of those sharing in preaching the "good news" in 1981 was 2,361,896 (of whom about 25 percent are not baptized as yet). But at the Lord's Evening Meal in 1981, the combined worldwide attendance was 5,987,893. This means that over one half of those attending some meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses are not as yet baptized. Is this cause for alarm? No, but it is a cause for loving concern. Some of these have been associated for more than a few months.(5)
Can you imagine such a thing in the Lord's church? They admit that over one-half of those assembling for the Lord's Evening meal have not yet been baptized! They also, admit that twenty-five percent of their members who are teaching have not been baptized. It is very obvious that they do not believe one must be baptized to be saved.
They also admit another problem that is very enlightening. They explain that God has been "harvesting" the anointed ones to be a part of the 144,000 who will live in heaven. They also tell that there may be a few of the "anointed ones" that will forfeit their heavenly calling by becoming unfaithful. So, they are urging all their "dedicated members" who have not "symbolized" their baptism to do so. Then when Jehovah picks a replacement, they can be picked. If what they say is true, what difference does it make whether you live in heaven or here on earth?
"What prevents me from getting baptized" can be answered very easily if we go to the Bible. 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" (Acts 8:37). It's that simple; if you "preach Jesus" (Acts 8:35), you will have this kind of response. He stopped the chariot, they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. "What prevents me from getting baptized" will never be answered by the Jehovah's Witness because they will not baptize as Jehovah commands.
1. Watchtower, February 15, 1982; pp. 27-31.
2. Ibid., p. 28.
3. The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p. 182.
4. Ibid., p. 183-184.
5. Watchtower, February 15, 1982; p. 28.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 13, p. 405