Dad often said, “I DON’T BELIEVE IN BAPTISM, I BELIEVE IN JESUS… HE COMMANDED IT, SO I DO IT!” Having said that (and hopefully gotten your attention), Mike Kellett mentioned 7 things for studying the Scriptures which I like. In short they are:
1. Context is king
2. Establish “What it means then and there, before what it means here and now. (This includes researching the cultural history as well.)
3. Scriptures have a “center of gravity”. (All Scripture is inspired of God, but not all Scripture are equally important.) (Seek BALANCE and don’t pit one Scripture against another.)
4. Must strive to be “full of grace and truth (genuineness).”
5. Look for harmony with other texts (Matthew 12:1-7).
6, Must involve the Holy spirit, and be humble (in searching the Scriptures.)
7. Parallel (contributing) Scriptures must be considered.
There is no doubt as to the meaning of “Baptism” as well as it’s purpose in the New Testament. “Restore” it, by “understanding what it meant then and there, before teaching it here and now.” Faith finds it power in the object. Don’t believe in “repentance, confession, or baptism… BELIEVE IN JESUS, and do what He says. You cannot separate “baptism” from faith, grace, remission of sins, nor the Spirit. These don’t contradict each other, they “work” together. “We have heard the glorious sound, JESUS SAVES, JESUS SAVES…” Don’t forget it!
The word “baptism” is transliterated or taken from the Greek word “baptizo”. It is “from “bapto,” to dip. Immerse, submerge for a religious purpose, (John 1:25).” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament” by Spiros Zodiates). It was understood then, and it should be understood now, to mean the same thing. The purpose is made clear in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name (possession of) Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Dad went somewhere to preach and he noticed the banner above the baptistery which proclaimed only the first part of Acts 2:38. He got up and said, “What happened to the rest of the verse? Don’t you believe that too?” Pretty tough! Not many preachers would do that. The point is, we tend to over emphasize “baptism” we leave people thinking that we believe in “water regeneration,” which we DO NOT! Jesus taught in John 3:5 “I tell you the truth, NO ONE can enter the kingdom of God (be saved) UNLESS he is born of water and the Spirit.” Seeking balance and harmony in Scriptures force me to the understanding of ONE BIRTH, with TWO ELEMENTS. I can only baptize in water, but I cannot give the Holy Spirit. You cannot put one before the other, but then you cannot separate them. Jesus is the Giver. Restoring “baptism” involves two elements in the ONE BAPTISM (Ephesians 4). “A Spiritless water birth is no more beneficial than a waterless Spirit birth.” As Dad put it, “water without the Spirit gets one wet, without the life giving power of God.
Yes, restore BAPTISM!