By Larry Ray Hafley
With the above title, a Missionary Baptist preacher, Wayne Camp, wrote the article below:
“In West Monroe, La. it was Sunday morning. A large congregation had gathered for worship. During the invitation a sincere penitent lady went forward and made the confession: `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ Her baptism was scheduled for that evening.
“That afternoon her life was snuffed out in an auto accident. The preacher of the church declared that she had gone to hell! Yes even though she had repented of her sins that availed her nothing, she had gone to hell! Yes! Even though she had confessed Christ as the Son of God and Savior of sinners, she had gone to hell.
“Many members of the congregation were horrified. They suddenly did not agree with the doctrine of baptismal regeneration they had stoutly defended before. Many left. The plan of salvation propounded from their pulpit was not good enough to die by. IS YOURS?
“Consider the Bible plan of salvation. `Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’ (Acts 16:30,31).
`Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’ (1 In. 5:1). Christ gives eternal life the moment one repents of his sins and receives Him as Savior. Would you now trust Him for salvation that will be good to die by even if you die in the next few moments? `He that believeth on the Son hath (note the present tense) everlasting life’ (Jn. 3:36)” (Wayne Camp, Washington. Ill. Courier).
This article shows the need to baptize one immediately. There is not a single case of delayed baptism in the New Testament. “Then they that gladly received his word (the word to repent and be baptized `for the remission of sins’) were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). “And he took them the same hour of the night (midnight-Acts 16:25), and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his straightway” (Acts 16:33). The lady mentioned by Mr. Camp should not have tarried. “And now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
The Bible does not teach baptismal regeneration. One obtains forgiveness of sins, newness of life, and is regenerated when he obeys from the heart the form of doctrine delivered in the New Testament (Rom. 6:3,4,16,17; Titus 3:5). These blessings are not received prior to baptism “into Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Baptists believe that salvation and regeneration are received at the very moment one believes Jesus is the Son of God. Is that the doctrine of “faith regeneration”?
A Parallel Predicament
“In Washington, Illinois, it was Sunday morning. A large Baptist Church had gathered for worship. During the invitation a sincere, penitent lady went forward and was coming to the front where she planned to pray and receive Jesus into her heart as her personal Savior, but on her way down the aisle, she dropped dead of a massive heart attack. The preacher of the church declared she had gone to hell! Yes, even though she had repented of her sins, that availed her nothing, she had gone to hell! Yes! Even though she had gone to pray for the Spirit to implant faith in her heart that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of sinners, she had gone to hell.
Many members of the Baptist Church were horrified. They suddenly did not agree with the doctrine of faith regeneration they had stoutly defended before. Many left. The plan of salvation propounded from their pulpit was not good enough to die by. Is yours?”
One cannot help but wonder about those “chief rulers” who “believed on” Jesus in John 12:42,43. They would not confess Him, but they believed on Him. Suppose one of them was killed in a chariot accident that afternoon. Imagine how horrified the disciples would have been if the Lord had said they had gone to hell. Even though they heard Him, even though they believed on Him, they had died and gone to hell? Yes, their doctrine of “confession regeneration” was good enough to preach in the synagogues, but it was not good enough to die by.
The Real Question
The question of salvation is settled by the Word of God, not by emotional experiences or suppositional situations. One who dies without faith in Christ is damned (Jn. 8:24). One who dies without being baptized, dies outside the promise of the Word of God. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16).
Men are lost because they are in sin. They are not lost because they do not believe. They are not lost because they will not repent. They are not lost because they will not confess Christ. They are not lost because they have not been baptized. They are lost because they are in sin. What is the remedy of sin? The blood of Christ was shed “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Christ’s death reconciles us to God (Col. 1:21-23). We reach the benefits of the death and blood of Christ when we are “baptized into Jesus Christ,” “baptized into his death” (Rom. 6:3,4). Car wrecks and dying soldiers in foxholes will not change the Word of God. It is not a matter of the sadness of a situation. It is a matter of what the Bible teaches.
Can one be saved apart from the blood of Christ? “No,” say even the Baptists. Now, will one who dies without complying with the terms of pardon set forth in the New Testament be saved by the blood of Christ? One who dies without faith in Christ is lost, even according to Baptist doctrine. It is not that they are cruel tyrants who want to pronounce judgment on one’s salvation. It is a question of what the Bible teaches with respect to who shall be saved. They concede that the person who fails to believe and “receive Christ as his personal Savior” is lost. The same is true with respect to baptism. Baptism in water is one of the conditions of salvation set forth in the New Testament (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Baptism puts one “into Jesus Christ” and “into his death” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Will one be saved who does not obey the Lord and meet the requirements of the Gospel? An emotional story will not alter or abrogate the Word of God, whether one speaks of faith, repentance, confession, or baptism.
Consider the Bible Plan of Salvation
Mr. Camp’s conclusion does not cite a passage that mentions the necessity of confessing Christ as Lord. He says repentance is essential, but he does not cite a passage to that effect. He says one should “receive” and “trust” Jesus as Savior, but he does not say how this is done. So, consider the Bible plan of salvation in contrast to the Baptist plan. All are sinners. Christ died that we might be saved. His blood brings redemption by grace through faith (Rom. 3:23; 5:6-8; Eph. 1:7; 2:8,9). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
Truth Magazine XXI: 14, pp. 220-221
April 7, 1977