By Denver Niemeier
Anytime you are interested in starting a Bible discussion, introduce the subject of baptism. Those who are not members of the Church will talk about the purpose, result, and action of baptism. Even members of the Body of Christ have different views on the subject, not necessarily in reference to the above mentioned items, but in reference to how much one needs to know before baptism and who has been scripturally baptized.
As in all religious matters, an appeal to the Standard of all standards to find the answers to the questions should be made. That standard is complete and thorough (2 Tim. 3:1617). What that standard teaches is to be accepted as final authority on every religious subject. Jesus tells us in (Mk. 16:16) that belief plus baptism equals salvation from past sins. In Acts 2:47, the record shows that God adds ,the saved to the church daily. Paul, in Gal. 3:26-27, teaches that faith plus baptism puts one into Christ. Three things are accomplished as the result of faith (belief) plus baptism: salvation from past sins, one is added to the church, and one puts on Christ.
In Romans 6:17, Paul speaks of “obeying from the heart that form of doctrine (teaching).” A person, therefore, must understand what he is doing and what is to be accomplished as the result of his obedience in order to be delivered from sin and become a servant of righteousness, as Paul stated in Rom. 6:17-18. Since baptism is involved when one is “obeying from the heart,” how then can a person be baptized without understanding that he will have his sins washed away, become a member of the Lord’s body (church), and be in Christ where all spiritual blessings are found (Eph. 1:3)? People’s knowledge of Bible baptism, as well as of other basic Bible doctrines, has suffered from our neglect of preaching on. the subject. A return to the old paths of preaching the Gospel and the necessity of a continual walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:7) would clear up confusion regarding who are “brethren” and who are to be “fellowshipped” (2 Jn. 9-11).
Truth Magazine, XVIII:29, p. 2
May 23, 1974