By Larry Ray Hafley
Mr. L. D. Foreman is co-editor of a monthly Landmark Missionary Baptist magazine in which he writes a regular column entitled, “Bible Study.” In the January 1972, issue of his paper, Mr. Foreman discusses the delivery of Israel from Egypt. Under a subheading, “Saved by the Blood,” he says,
“ Baptists have always held the Bible doctrine that blood must be shed for the remission of sin. Hebrews 9:22 tells its that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission … The fact of the blood shed by an innocent lamb plus the fact that it was literally applied to the doorposts and lintels produced the ‘Passover’ of judgment. ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over you. The fact that Jesus’ blood was shed by whipping, thorns, nails and spear will not save any soul until that blood is applied. The blood cannot be applied except by the individual’s repentance of sin and faith into Jesus. The denominations believe in the blood plus good works, church membership, baptism, etc. Baptists believe in the blood.”
Mr. Foreman makes some scriptural remarks. When he says that the blood of Christ was for the remission of sin and that its benefits are conditionally received, he certainly taught the truth. Mr. Foreman’s teaching, however, raises some questions and comments in view of his union with Missionary Baptist doctrine.
Without Blood-No Remission
It is true that Christ’s blood was shed “for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28), and that without the shedding of blood “there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). It is also true that Mr. Foreman believes the blood of Christ to be an absolute essential. a necessary prerequisite, to the forgiveness of sin. The Bible teaches that Christ’s blood and baptism in His name are “for the remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28; Acts 2:38). The prepositional phrases are identical in the Greek and English languages.
“For the Remission of sins”
Without Blood. No Remission (Heb. 9:22);
Without Baptism, No Remission
If Not, Why Not?
Will Mr. Foreman attempt to answer the question posed in the above diagram? It is not a difficult question for those who believe and preach the gospel pattern of salvation, but it is a problem to the advocates of Baptist doctrine. We trust that Mr. Foreman will either answer the question so as to show us the error of our ways, or accept the force of the argument, deny Baptist doctrine, and begin preaching baptism in the name of Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
The Blood Applied
Mr. Foreman correctly states that Jesus’ blood “will not save any soul until that blood is applied.” If that statement were not true, universal salvation would prevail. The blood was shed for all, but not all are saved; thus, its benefits are received conditionally. But Mr. Foreman says the conditions for forgiveness are “repentance of sin and faith into Jesus.” Baptist doctrine, of which this statement is representative, declares that remission of sins may be had without baptism. The Bible, however, teaches that it is in baptism that the blood of Christ remits sin. “In whom (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). How does one get into Christ to be redeemed by the blood? The word of God answers with a question, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Rom. 6:3)? One is not cleansed by the blood until he is in Christ (Eph. 1:7). One is not in Christ until he is baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:26, 27). Conclusion: One must be baptized before the blood of Christ will pardon.
The Blood Plus Nothing
Mr. Foreman indicates that if one believes baptism is essential to salvation that lie does not believe in the all-sufficiency of the blood; at least, that is the inference of his last paragraph which we noted. If one believes that baptism is necessary, then it is the blood plus baptism, but says he, “Baptists believe in the blood.” This is a subtle inference that will work with equal force against Baptist doctrine. An advocate of universal salvation by the blood might say:
“The denominations believe in the blood plus repentance, plus faith, etc. Universalists believe in the blood.”
This leaves the same impression as Mr. Foreman molded against baptism. If the essentiality of baptism infers that the blood is not all-sufficient, then the essentiality of repentance and faith does the very same thing. The truth is that belief and baptism are essential to salvation by the blood. The Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16).
Missionary Baptists believe that a Missionary Baptist Church is referred to in Acts 20:28 where it is said that Christ purchased the church with His blood. Do they believe tile blood of Christ is sufficient to make one a member of the church of the Lord? Assuredly, they do, but one must be baptized before lie can be a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Does this make them purchased by the blood plus baptism? Does it reflect on the all-sufficiency of the blood of Christ to require baptism? No, they would answer. Just so, baptism as a requirement for forgiveness does not reflect oil tile blood. If they can see how that baptism as a requirement for church membership does not reflect oil the blood, they ought to see the same with respect to salvation. We hope they will.
The apostle Peter said that “baptism dotb also now save us” (1 Pet. 3:21). yet he showed that we are redeemed by the blood and saved by grace (1 Pet. 1: 18, 19; Acts 15: 11). So, gospel preachers today can command baptism in the name of Christ “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; 10:48) and still say, “We are saved by grace, redeemed by the blood.” If Peter could say it what doth hinder us? Or would Mr. Foreman charge Peter with teaching the blood Plus . . . ‘?
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 22, pp. 4-5
April 5, 1973