Calvinists often quote Ephesians 2:8-9 in placing the action and responsibility of salvation solely upon God. It is argued that baptism is a work man and thus falls outside the scope of salvation since salvation is by grace alone and through faith alone. Passages such as Acts 2:38, Acts 2:16, Mark 16:16, and 1 peter 3:21 are twisted to mean something other than their clear teaching in order to harmonize with the Calvinist's desired meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9. Through the years I have read many strong and sufficient answers to the Calvinist argument based off of Ephesians 2:8-9, but never have I found an answer as stout as the one issued by W. L. Oliphant in the Oliphant - Rice Debate (p.384). May honest men consider Oliphant's statement in the light of God's Word:
Though one of the monumental events in the life of Christ, His baptism is greatly under appreciated and misunderstood. The question is not, "Why did Jesus have to be baptized?" so much as it is, "How was the baptism of Jesus the fulfillment of righteousness?" We invite you to open you Bible and follow along as we investigate the introduction of the New King to His people.
In this excellent study Brother Randy Loftin demonstrates how four common false views of Mark 16:16 do not measure up to the true teaching of Scripture. Five Views of Mark 16:16 is a practical study you might consider sharing with a friend or using as a springboard to share the gospel.
We hope you enjoy the study and that it will be beneficial to the kingdom.
If a person is baptized for the remission of their sins having confessed faith in Christ, are they allowed to later claim that they were baptized out of improper motivation and thus be re-baptized and avoid the consequences of an unscriptural divorce and remarriage? There are a number of factors to consider as well as many arguments to answer. What say the Scriptures?
If you have ever had a conversation with anyone about the Bible, there has likely come a point where you and the other person came to a disagreement. Having a discussion from two different points of view is not sinful (Acts 17:2-3), but the purpose of such discussions should be a searching for truth (1 Thess. 5:21). In many instances, unfortunately, one side or the other sells out on the pursuit of truth and simply tries to win at all costs (most importantly the cost of truth).
In political discussions “winning at all costs” is called “mud slinging”. If one candidate cannot meet the other candidate’s position, the losing candidate with jump ship and attempt to salvage a win by attacking the other candidate’s reputation, shortcomings, or intelligence. Unfortunately, the tactics employed by political candidates often mirrors those used by people claiming to be Christians in “defending” the truth.
The following list, though by no means complete or exhaustive, exposes several deceitful tactics used in religious discussions.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
It is believed by many that this passage negates all "works" done by people in an effort to be saved. For example, this passage is often used to teach baptism is not necessary for salvation. Baptism is declared to be a "work," and since this passage teaches people are not saved by "works," the conclusion is: baptism is not necessary. Here is one sample of many which could be offered to demonstrate the reasoning:
1 Corinthians 1:17
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Many have read this passage and have drawn the conclusion that baptism must not be necessary. After all, it would seem that if baptism were essential for salvation, then Jesus would have sent all the apostles forth to baptize.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Brother Richard Degough while I was in California did a few recordings. I asked Brother Richard to tell some stories about the early days of the church in California, the preachers who had an influence on it, and how he and his family came out of digression.
I hope some of our younger followers will listen to these recordings and gain a greater appreciation for the history of our brotherhood. I appreciate brethren like Brother Richard for all the work they have done in the kingdom and the trials they have faced. A brotherhood does not come about by chance; it is the result of hard working brethren who love the truth and one another. May we learn to appreciate our heritage and the labors of faithful brethren. May God bless the church and may she shine brightly for His glory.
is an evangelist of the Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.