Questions About Baptism
Yesterday I posted the following blurb on Facebook:
Food for thought regarding baptism and “deathbed conversions”:
The necessity of being baptized as an act of faith in order to have ones sins forgiven and receive salvation as is taught in Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21, is often rejected on emotional grounds. In response to Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21 people make emotional arguments and appeal to the inability of baptism to save a person who is on his or her deathbed. Criticizing the preacher’s inability to baptize a person on their deathbed and thus save them is like criticizing a doctor who is not able to save the drug addict that has overdosed with medicine. The doctor didn’t make the man take the drugs that cost him his life. The doctor did not cause the addiction that resulted in death. The man chose his path knowing full well the end result. When the drug addict dies it is not the doctors fault. No matter how much the drug addict might regret his decision to do drugs in the final few minutes of life, the doctor cannot save him, and it’s not the doctors fault. In the same sense, the person who has pursued sin, practiced sin, and reveled in it all his life, constantly refusing the salvific hope of the gospel, and waits too late to receive that which can save him (baptism as an act of faith - 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38), can no more blame the preacher for his lost condition than the drug addict can blame the doctor for his overdose.
Some who read the post posed the following four questions and one argument. I have responded to each question and argument at length and am sharing my answers for the benefit of anyone interested.
So far in 2020 I have found three articles that have been extremely beneficial in my studies, and I wanted to share them with my reading audience.
The first can be found in the Introduction of Gordon J. Wenham's commentary on the Book of Numbers. Within Wenham's introduction to Numbers are two sections titled Theology and Christian Usage. These two sections are worth the price of the book. Wenham's commentary on Numbers is part of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series.
The other two articles I am recommending are provided below in PDF format for a free download.
The following article contains sermon notes centered around a discussion of James 2:8-13. The notes were compiled by Nathan Battey and are not copyrighted. We simply ask that the material not be altered or quoted out of context.
Here is a free PDF version of a good and provocative work.
Below you will find a transcript of the material presented in the Been There / Read That Podcast regarding Biblical Theology. If you would like to listen to the episode, CLICK HERE.
The following document contains reviews of various reader's favorite books of 2019. Feel free to download, enjoy, and share as we seek to encourage the reading, learning, and enjoyment of God's Word.
As many of you know, I am a big baseball fan. If you keep up with the sports world at all you are aware that there has been a huge cheating scandal surrounding the Houston Astros and their illegal use of technology. Baseball Commissioner Manfred conducted a lengthy investigation into the alleged cheating and has now brought punishments against the Astros’ General Manager Jeff Luhnow, Manager A. J. Hinch, and former bench coach Alex Cora (now the ex-manager of the Boston Redsox). As a result of the Commissioner’s findings the Astros’ fired their general manager and manager and the Redsox fired Alex Cora as well.
Below you will find a downloadable PDF version of a worksheet on the subject of God-centered worship. The worksheet was designed for use in home Bible studies and we pray it will serve as a useful tool to explain the concept of Biblical God-Centered Worship.
Everyone loves logic until their position is found to be illogical. Those who cry out against logic do so because they cannot employ logic as the means to the end they seek. When logic is abandoned, he who cries loudest rules the day.
When God created the heavens and the earth He did so through the power of His Word. When God created man, He chose in his infinite wisdom to make man in His image and according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). When God chose to communicate with man he at first spoke directly to Adam, then generally to mankind through the prophets (Heb. 1:1), and finally through His Son. Though God at times spoke directly, and at other times through messengers, He always used words to do it.
The word of God is, “…living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God expressed His full will and revelation in words, inscribed them in a book, and then preserved them so that all mankind can hear Him speak the same message. (Jude 3) Yet His Word is often neglected and maligned most forcefully by those who claim to believe its message. As a result, faithlessness abounds (Rom. 10:17) One cannot have faith without the Word of God.
In order to know God we must first begin with a belief in truth. If there is no truth, there is no God for not only does God claim to be the expression of truth (John 14:6) but it would be impossible to know Him without truth.
Truth exists and everyone believes in some form of truth however logically or illogically their belief is formed. Even people who claim truth does not exist cannot help but advocate for truth as they assert their prized truth that there is no truth.
Not only does truth exist, truth also necessitates both words and logic. Though some truths can be experienced without words, truth finds its fullness in logical expression. Illogical truth and truthless logic are oxymorons. When logic loses truth it is no longer logical and when truth loses logic it is no longer truth.
When logic is applied to Scripture man has undertaken a noble endeavor to use their God-given mind for God’s glory. Noble as it may be, many are the slain who lie fallen in error on the field of logic. As a result, many decry logic rather than error.
The greatest malefactor of logic according to the illogical is the Law of Necessary Inference. Though the illogical deny the Law of Necessary Inference exists, logic touts it, revels in it, and demands it.
Consider the following illogical statements:
“When human reasoning is involved, men always err.” No doubt the one who makes such a claim has erred for they are condemned by their own words. Such a conclusion, though false, can only be reached through (poor) human reasoning.
Again, many claim, “Only what is expressly stated in the Bible can be understood.” Oh yeah? And where is this truth expressly taught in the Bible? A claim based on inference and logic should not be allowed to deny the use of logic and inference.
Again, “Only the doctrines God has expressly stated in the Bible must be considered grounds of fellowship!” And where is this doctrine expressly stated in the Bible? Have such advocates not made a binding doctrine for the church that has been achieved through means of (non-necessary) inference?
All three of the afore-mentioned arguments cry out against the use of logic, yet all must attempt an appeal to logic in order to have their case heard.
“There is no way we can agree in matters of inference!” is itself an inference that pleads for agreement in an inference. If we can and must agree on this inference, why must we give up hope of agreeing in other matters of inference?
Simply stated, every statement of Scripture, every example, and every precept cannot be understood without the Law of Necessary Inference. To deny the Law of Necessary Inference is to deny both the comprehension and application of Scripture. Or, to state it another way, if we cannot infer what God has implied, His words are meaningless and a failure.
Consider the implications of the most basic truths held by all professing Christians:
“Jesus is the Son of God.” This statement implies there are at least two distinct members of the Godhead, that God is the Father, that the Son became incarnate, and that the sonship of Christ continues to this very moment. All of the inferences just made are necessary, not because I have made them, but because God implied them when He stated, “You are My Son, today I have begotten you.” (Acts 13:33)
“God loves me.” The love of God is understood through inferences drawn from His words and His actions. Nowhere in Scripture will you find your name, yet God expects you to draw the necessary inference that He loves you. God’s provision implies His loving Fatherhood (Matthew 6:26). His general statements of love imply His love for the individual (John 3:16). The clear statement that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) has far reaching implications that all of humanity must necessarily infer.
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) These words necessarily imply that God is pure goodness and is not the author of evil, John Piper not withstanding. It also necessarily implies that God cannot dwell with sin. We must understand that God used light and darkness as metaphors in this passage. When light appears it destroys darkness and such is the result when God interacts with evil. The passage further implies that God will conquer evil as light conquers darkness. Though a rather clear passage, necessary inferences abound.
Every truth carries necessary implications because God is the author of truth and He has placed necessary implications within truth. Men must infer what God has implied and to deny man’s possibility to do so is to imply that God is incapable of communicating a message to man in an indirect method.
Man’s failure to grasp the mind of God is the result of either man’s ignorance or rejection of logic. God is a rational being who created rational creatures in His image and expects them to think rationally when He communicates to them through His Word. May we use the ears to hear our God when He speaks and our minds to understand what He has spoken.
For those interested in pursuing the use of logic in understanding God’s Word for God’s glory, I would recommend the following books:
Hermeneutics by D. R. Dungan
How Implication Binds and Silence Forbids by George F. Beals
Love Your God With All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland
Tactics by Greg Koukle
is an evangelist of the Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.