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One Baptism:

the True Meaning of Peter's Words at Acts 2:38

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Question #1: 

Bob,

Read you article on water baptism not being necessary for salvation. In your first paragraph you determine that water baptism is a work since it is requires effort on our part, it comes from us rather then God. Therefore you deterime that it is not necessary to receieve salvation. You confuse what we must do to respond to God through Jesus Christ with earning our salvation, this is a very common and popular mistake. The point that Ephesians 2:8-10 makes is that we do not have the ability to earn our salvation that is why we have no reason to boast. Paul brings the same point in Romans 4 when speaking about 'works' associated with the Mosaic Law. Pauls point is simple, Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross, he offers us his righteousness that he not us earned on that cross.

1. We accept this by our faith, believing that his atonement can and does save us wholy and entirely.

2. We recieve this in an expression of faith this is confession of the mouth and the physical Act of water baptism Ro 10:8-13, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16.

Works of merrit are not the same as obediance to God. Unlike the Law of Moses we have no other sacrafice then Christ to offer for our sins, however our faith in Christ if true faith is one that is active (James 2:22). Our faith is made perfect by our actions this is the entire point of James 2:20-24. Lets use some examples. The Harlot, Publican, Paralytic, and the Theif on the Cross. At what point were they forgiven of their sins? At the point of faith (alone) before their expression of faith or after? Did they all reach out in a physical way to recieve God/Jesus mercy? At what point were they forgiven before they acted or after? What about in the case of Paul the Apostle? He saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was ministered to by him, blined by him, prayed and fasted 3 long days, did he not believe, repent, or pray? Why was faith alone aparently not enough to remove his sins? Were his sins greater then ours? This pattern does not fit the pattern of modern teaching, since it was not untill he called on Jesus name in baptism that his sins were washed away. He believed, he was sorry, he needed to be baptised in water. When this was done his sins were removed this harmonizes with John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Ro 6:3-15, Gal 3:27, Eph 4:5, Col 2:11-15, 1Corith 12:13, Heb 10:22, Titus 3:5, and 1Peter 17-22 ( of which he wrote most).

You are incorrect to state that we need not do anything to be saved this does not fit the pattern of scripture at all concerning the new testament. We must:

1. Believe (John 6:26-30)

2. Repent (Acts 3:19)

3. Confess (Ro 10:8-13)

4. Be Baptized in water (Acts 2:38)

5. Live for Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Water baptism does not earn salvation any more then driving your car to a radio station to recieve the free tickets you won on the air a week ago earns you those tickets. A gift means the work is done, recieving it is no more then reaching out in faith.

Acts 2:38 & 22:16 gives us the understanding that:

1.We call upon the name of the Lord in water baptism.

2.Our sins are remitted or washed away

3.We recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit

4.We and all who the Lord will call are promiced all of the above when we do call on his name this way.

If someone believes that baptism alone saves them apart from faith, repentance, confession, then they have not been paying attension to the plan God set forth in his word through Jesus Christ.

1.What baptism (Water or Holy Spirit) does Jesus command of his diciples to perform in Mark 16:16, Matt 28:18-20, after his ressurection and before his assection?

2. Is water baptism what is refered to by baptism in Jesus name in Acts 8:16:17?

3. Isn't the wording in the passage just about identical with the description in Acts 2:38 and Matt 28?

4. If so then the promices associated with Acts 2:38's water baptism are with the rest no?

5. John baptism in Act 19:1-5 was not good enough so a baptism in Jesus name was done. Is the wording of 'baptised in Jesus Name' not the same as it is in Acts 8?

6. Why in 19 did the Apostles NEED to place hands on them to recieve the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues? How is it possible with no living Apostles present to be saved if this is the pattern on how water baptised unsaved believers are to be saved?

7. Are you saying our salvation necessitates the assistance of an outside party to lay hands on us to recieve the Holy Spirit and thus be saved? Are you teaching a 'works' based faith now?

8. How come the Samaratians , Jews, and those in Acts 19 were not saved after they believed in Jesus Christ but needed some one to come and lay hands on them? What about Paul and the 3000 at Penticost? When were they baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues?

9. Why does Scripture lay out the Holy Spirit baptism as happening up belief, reception of the Holy Spirit as with laying on of hands, and recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit as associated with the promice given at water baptism?

10. Is speaking in tongues evidence that you are saved? If so what passage of the bible mensions this? What promices are associated? How is the promice of Acts 2:38 not applicable to us?

11.When should water baptism be done before or after one is baptism in the Holy Spirit? Are you saved then water baptised, or water baptised then saved? Explain the difference in occurance from the Jew Acts 2, Acts 8, and Acts 10&19?

12. Have you spoken in tongues as evidence that you are saved? If not how do you know that you are saved, since this is the pattern you contend saves us?

13. How can you prove scripturally that Acts 2:38, 22:16 ,John 3:5, Titus 35, Heb 10:22 does not link water and baptism by the spirit into the body of Christ (1Cortih 12:13) together in one event (eph4:5) placing Holy Spirit baptism Acts 2,8,10,19 in another category other then salvation?

14. If the Baptism of Matt 28 is not water baptism but Holy Spirit baptism as you say why does Jesus command them to do it? Are they helping the Spirit some how? Again Acts 2:38 speaks of baptism in Jesus name that Acts 8 and 19 mirrors yet upon the basis of this baptism the remission of sin gift of the Holy Spirit is given not before in context with the passage.

15. What passage promices us the Holy Spirit upon placing our faith in Jesus Christ apart from speaking in tongues as evidence that you have attained this?

I would like a personal responce to each and every question I have laid before you, not an overview. My questions are specific because I expect specific answers, anything short of this is a waste of my time. I am not intrested in repeating over and over again the same things, as I have done in the past. Just answer my questions word for word or don't bother with any responce at all. Sorry to be curt but I have lost lots of time on stupid arguements from those of the faith alone flavor who want to pussy foot around rather then getting down to brass tax and deal with exactly what the passages are saying and meaning. Thanks for you time.

In Christ

Response #1: 

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your e-mail. I will try here to give you specific answers to your questions, but will also attempt to help you understand the truth of this issue which is very important indeed. Water-baptism has always been a stumbling block in the Church, but in these last days of our Laodicean era when lukewarm believers are relying more and more for their salvation on ritual and on membership and on false expectations of a pre-Tribulation rapture, the sort of alternating guilt and/or false confidence that water-baptism provides is nothing but trouble. One further point by way of introduction, there are many articles available at Ichthys which deal with the topic of water-baptism directly, and many others which fill in other additional points which have a bearing on the issue. From the tone, tenor and substance of your e-mail, it is clear that 1) you have not read them all, and 2) you have not precisely understood my views on a number of these things (some of which you have completely wrong). Please keep both of these observations in mind as you read on.

1. Acceptance by faith: We have no argument whatsoever on the point that there is a distinction to be made between "works" on the one hand and the heretical notion that one "need not do anything whatsoever for salvation and spiritual safety" on the other. That should be obvious to all Christians who have read the Bible. Sadly, however, I often get "beat up" on both sides of this issue, both by those who complain that my positions are adding to the gospel when I expound on the need to maintain faith and (ideally) spiritual momentum for spiritual safety resulting in salvation (i.e., there is no absolute eternal security); and also by those like yourself who complain that I am teaching some sort of hyper-libertarian gospel because I point out that we are not saved by works, and that to the extent that we are depending upon the same for our salvation we are actually putting our salvation in jeopardy. In truth, both aspects of my teachings are biblical, for it is a mistake to be either myopically focused on either our own behavior to the exclusion of God's gracious forgiveness on the one hand, or on the other hand on God's grace in forgiving us to the point of denying that what we think, do and say after salvation is of no consequence. The biblical truth is in the middle, of course: God saves us; He also expects us to follow Jesus after we are saved; if we do, we are safe; if we do not, we risk the atrophy of our faith (and if faith dies, so does our eternal life).

I fully accept that a person can be water-baptized without any serious spiritual harm. It is possible. However, to the extent that a person is water-baptized out of guilt, that is extremely spiritually detrimental, and to the extent that a person is tempted to live their life without God – because they "feel" safe to do so, since after all they have been water-baptized and thus have their salvation "sealed", they are placed in the most grave spiritual danger. Surely you have run into weak and faltering Christians who have precisely this mind-set – I know I have. If your experience is so sheltered that you have not, please consider that this is what the Roman Catholic church does: it contains all manner of individuals, many of them (or perhaps most) not saved but feeling "safe" because they consider themselves part of "the church", water-baptism being one the rituals that has helped to produce this sort of false confidence in them. They teach, or course, that if you are a member in good standing of their church, then you are saved; otherwise (like you and I), you are not. If there were indeed a biblical mandate for believers to be members of the Roman Catholic church, they would be right to teach this; since there is not, what sort of judgment awaits them from the Lord? Likewise, if there were indeed a biblical mandate for believers to be water-baptized, you and others would be right to encourage it. Since there is not . . .

I start with the biblical facts. The last thing that Jesus said to the apostles before He ascended to the Father was:

(4) And gathering them together [Jesus] commanded [the disciples] not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father (i.e., the Holy Spirit) "which you heard about from Me. (5) For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Spirit not many days from now".
Acts 1:4-5

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".
Acts 1:8

The other "book-end" for these passages is what John says – the one to whom we owe the practice of water-baptism which anticipated the coming of the Messiah:

(11) Now I am baptizing you with water for the purpose of [your] repentance. But the One coming after me is more powerful than me and I am not worthy to carry His sandals. It is He who is the One who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Matthew 3:11

Everything that can be said about Spirit baptism and water-baptism must be placed in the context of these two passages to have any validity. For beyond all question, Jesus our Lord, and John His herald, put the focus on the Spirit, not on water, with the result that we should begin by noting how out of touch with the biblical emphasis current discussions about "baptism" really are. That is entirely the result of tradition and does not come from the Bible.

2. "We receive this through confession and baptism": You couldn't be more wrong, and on both counts. First, this is your language, and not the way scripture puts it. As Jesus says, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (Jn.6:29 NIV):

a. Romans 10:8-13: In fact, this passage teaches that "confession" is the flip side of the coin from "belief"; that is to say, they are not two separate things which are both required for salvation, but dual representations of the same exact thing: saving faith. If you believe, you will confess (for no one who truly believes will deny the Lord: Matt.10:32; 2Tim.2:12); and if you confess, it means that you have truly believed (for no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit: 1Cor.12:3). Note that at Romans 10:8 there is only ONE "word" (rhema) which is both believed and expressed (indicating the essential unity of the process of saving faith). Indeed, the only way that both "no one who believes will be put to shame" and "everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved" is if they are in fact part of an indivisible whole, two sides of the same coin, with true faith always being truly expressed and a true expression of faith always coming from true faith. The belief of the heart and the expression of the mouth (Rom.10:10), if not understood as inseparable would have to be mutually exclusive and that is of course impossible. And of course, this passage does not even hint at water-baptism.

b. Acts 2:38: First of all, Peter is an apostle and is addressing Jews familiar with John's baptism during apostolic times (four separate, critical facts which do not obtain to most of us today). John was the Messiah's herald and Peter's audience needed to be appraised of Jesus' Messiahship; for those people of that generation in that time, water-baptism was the ritual which connected the Law to the One who fulfilled the Law. In short, this was the moment of transition so that it is not surprising that Peter is given to make use of transitional methods; but just as there are no more apostles and we now understand Christ's fulfillment of the Law, there is no further need of such devices (in fact, they are harmful, because just as continued sacrifice proclaims that Jesus' work was not good enough, so continued water-baptism, the ritual of anticipation of the Messiah, proclaims that He is yet to come). Secondly, this is not a command given to the Church but a historical account of Peter's actual words on the day of Pentecost. It thus does not have the force of a scriptural mandate (this is a common mistake people make with the book of Acts). Third, Peter does not actually command these hearers directly: he uses the third person imperative, not the second, that is, he uses an exhortation rather than a direct command (although he certainly could have phrased it the other way). Fourth, the direct command here is "repent", and it is that imperative which should be connected with "for the forgiveness of sins" (i.e., salvation is dependent upon faith whose necessary prerequisite is the understanding of the need to express faith: repentance). Fifth, the reason for the water-baptism is not salvation but the reception of the Spirit, a part of the quotation usually overlooked by advocates of water-baptism: "and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". During the very early part of the apostolic times, the Spirit was initially given only through the laying on of the hands of the apostles. This was so that their authority in the Church might be properly established (cf. the Samaritan believers in Acts 8). Later, once this has been satisfactorily accomplished, the Spirit was given automatically (Acts 10), with the result that by the writing of Romans Paul can say that every Christian has the Spirit (Rom.8:9). The temporary and transitional continuation of water-baptism under the apostles is thus intimately connected with the mediation of the Spirit in early apostolic days; later, Paul would complain that the negative side-effects of the ritual out-weighed any good it did (indicating that it should have lapsed when all believers began to receive the Spirit without mediation: 1Cor.1:17). By the writing of Ephesians 4:5, there is only "one baptism", the baptism of the Spirit.

c. Mark 16:16 is not part of the Bible. It only occurs in some late and inferior manuscripts. It was added hundreds of years after the fact by those who had personal agendas they wanted to buttress with these made-up verses. This is demonstrable fact, as can be seen both from basic textual criticism and from an analysis of the language that shows these are not Mark's words. I caution you severely against altering scripture in support of your cause.

I have no problem with believers acting to express their faith. Of course we do that. It does not follow, however, that we are only forgiven and saved when we "do something", let alone when we are water-baptized. The only concrete example of this you provide is Paul's salvation experience, and scripture directly contradicts your position. For Acts 9:18 gives the following sequence: 1) Ananias gives Paul the gospel; 2) the scales fall from his eyes (he was blind but now he sees = saved); 3) he allows himself to be water-baptized. So the verse actually puts God's seal of His repentance immediately after Paul's hearing the gospel but immediately before water-baptism.

I have already cleared up, I trust, your misunderstanding of my position of salvation. As to your five points:

1. Yes of course, salvation comes when we put our faith in Jesus Christ.

2. Repentance, as explained above, is not a discrete step so much as the necessary orientation towards the truth necessary to accept the truth. That is, we have to turn away from what we are doing/thinking as unbelievers in order to turn to Jesus in faith; the two things are inseparably connected. The problem with seeing them as discrete is that people who do so want to add "feeling sorry", weeping, wailing fasting, self-flagellation, etc. as prerequisites for salvation. This is legalism of the worst sort. If a person believes they are saved even in part because of such performances, odds are they are not saved at all.

3. Not what the passage means at all; see 2.a. above.

4. Not indicated by the passage at all; see 2.b. above.

5. Believers live for Christ; unbelievers do not. If you are genuinely a believer in Jesus, you cannot help but live for Him – at least to some small degree; if you stop living for Him at all, it is because your faith has died. Spiritual safety lies only in following Him diligently and completely, but salvation is most certainly not a function of anything we do.

Your further four points: see above on Acts 2, et al. But please note that the experience of Cornelius and his friends in Acts 10 refute your incorrect understanding of these mechanics entirely. As soon as they heard Peter give them the gospel and believed, they received the Holy Spirit. Think about that. They had not yet been water baptized nor had they called upon the Name of the Lord, and yet they were saved through faith and had been given the gift of the Spirit, something that shows unequivocally that they were believers at that point (and before participating in any of the rituals you commend).

Now to your long list of questions:

1. What baptism does Jesus refer to in Matthew 28:18-20 (Mk.16 not being part of the Bible)?: Jesus is very clearly referring to Spirit baptism and not to water-baptism as anyone who spends a few short minutes of careful investigation can easily determine. Wouldn't it be more than a little odd for our Lord's last words before leaving us (Acts 1:4-5 quoted above) to focus on Spirit baptism but for this synopsis of our duties in life to go entirely the other way? In fact, water is not mentioned here by our Lord at all. Misunderstanding of Matthew 28:19 has more to do with the improper continuation of water-baptism than perhaps anything else. While many wrongly understand it to mean "by baptizing them [with water] into the Name/Person of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [through immersing them in water]", please note that linguistically it may just as well mean "by baptizing them [with the Spirit] into the Name/Person of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [through the laying on of your hands (initially)]". The right answer is obvious, and it is so obvious that Jesus did not feel the need to make it any more clear, for between John's prophecy and Jesus' emphasis throughout the gospels on the coming of the Spirit (He never talks about water-baptism) anyone who had been paying attention to Him would know immediately that He was referring to the Spirit. Moreover, understanding water-baptism here is impossible because no mere physical ceremony can make us spiritually one with the Trinity, but we do know that it is indeed the Holy Spirit who makes us "one" with Jesus Christ (e.g., 1Cor.12:13; 1Pet.3:18-21). Jesus is talking about near future realities, not the shadows of John's symbolic water, but about the Messiah's literal gift of the Spirit (Matt.3:11; Acts 1:5).

2. Is water baptism what is refered to by baptism in Jesus name in Acts 8:16:17?: Of course – that's my point exactly. These Samaritan believers had not received the Spirit even though they had believed AND had been water-baptized. But according to your theory they should have received the Spirit since they had met all of your requirements. This has to do with the issue of apostolic authority explained above.

3. Isn't the wording in the passage just about identical with the description in Acts 2:38 and Matt 28?: Not at all; they are entirely different, especially in the Greek (to take one of a dozen examples, we have a present active participle of baptizo in Matthew, and an aorist active third person imperatival form in Acts). Beyond all reasonable argument "baptize" can and is used of non-water activities in the New Testament (as when Jesus says that He has "a baptism to undergo" and is referring to the cross). So, no, I don't see anything which affect the interpretation I have advanced on either passage here.

4. If so then the promices associated with Acts 2:38's water baptism are with the rest no?: Since there is no force to you point in 3, thus 4 does not follow.

5. John baptism in Act 19:1-5 was not good enough so a baptism in Jesus name was done. Is the wording of 'baptised in Jesus Name' not the same as it is in Acts 8?: According to your theory, these "disciples" should have received the Spirit with their water-baptism. In my explanation, they had believed before Pentecost and thus had not received the Spirit which in the early days of the Church was being mediated by the apostles. Note well: this is the reason Paul does what he does: NOT to "save them" but so that they may have the Spirit. I find no water in this passage, but even if you disagree, nothing in the essentials changes: they are believers who have been water-baptized but don't have the Spirit. According to your theory, one water-baptism is enough, right? Or are you saying – and as I have been good enough to answer all your questions "by the numbers", please do not overlook mine – are you saying that Peter and the other ten were re-baptized into the Name of Jesus with water after Pentecost? I can't find that in my Bible. But, consider, Peter and all the others who believed before Pentecost were never water-baptized into the Name of Jesus, since John's baptism never mentioned Jesus by Name, and they did not receive the Spirit at a water-baptism, but while sitting in an upper room.

6. Why in 19 did the Apostles NEED to place hands on them to recieve the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues? How is it possible with no living Apostles present to be saved if this is the pattern on how water baptised unsaved believers are to be saved?: I have never said that an apostle needs to place on hands for salvation. You have gotten me confused with someone else. Salvation comes through faith, by grace. It can happen on a desert island with no other living human being around for thousands of miles – if only a person is willing to respond to God's truth in Jesus Christ, His Person and His work which are the gospel.

7. Are you saying our salvation necessitates the assistance of an outside party to lay hands on us to recieve the Holy Spirit and thus be saved? Are you teaching a 'works' based faith now?: No. No. Are these trick question?

8. How come the Samaratians , Jews, and those in Acts 19 were not saved after they believed in Jesus Christ but needed some one to come and lay hands on them? What about Paul and the 3000 at Penticost? When were they baptised in the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues?: They were saved. What makes you think they were not? Acts 8:14 says very emphatically that they had indeed "accepted the word of God".

9. Why does Scripture lay out the Holy Spirit baptism as happening up belief, reception of the Holy Spirit as with laying on of hands, and recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit as associated with the promice given at water baptism?: It does not and I know of no place where it does. You are confusing with scripture the false system of theology you have built up.

10. Is speaking in tongues evidence that you are saved? If so what passage of the bible mensions this? What promices are associated? How is the promice of Acts 2:38 not applicable to us?: The miraculous gifts evidenced by new believers throughout the book of Acts and alluded to in the epistles are indeed "evidence" of salvation, but are not requirements for salvation. For example, tongues is not being given as a gift today, so the fact that a person does not speak in tongues when they accept Christ is not any kind of indication that they are not saved.

11. When should water baptism be done before or after one is baptism in the Holy Spirit? Are you saved then water baptised, or water baptised then saved? Explain the difference in occurance from the Jew Acts 2, Acts 8, and Acts 10&19?: In my opinion, water-baptism is completely unnecessary. Moreover, since it is so often used in a completely legalistic and spiritually dangerous way, doing much more harm than it could ever do good, I will side with Paul and say that it would be better if it were not being done at all. The Messiah has indeed already come. The only water-baptism is John's baptism, a ritual for Jews to indicate their repentance in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah (cf. Acts 19:3-4).

12. Have you spoken in tongues as evidence that you are saved? If not how do you know that you are saved, since this is the pattern you contend saves us?: I am a believer in Jesus. I know that in my heart unshakably. I don't need the gift of tongues to prove it. Why do you feel you need water-baptism to prove your salvation?

13. How can you prove scripturally that Acts 2:38, 22:16 ,John 3:5, Titus 35, Heb 10:22 does not link water and baptism by the spirit into the body of Christ (1Cortih 12:13) together in one event (eph4:5) placing Holy Spirit baptism Acts 2,8,10,19 in another category other then salvation?: Hundreds of ways. I have given you four: 1) Paul saved before water baptism; 2) the believers in Acts 10 saved before water baptism; 3) Paul's statement that there is only one baptism, which must be the Spirit and not water; 4) Jesus' and John's focus on Spirit and not water, with Jesus never commanding water-baptism. On the other hand, water-baptism is never required through a direct mandate to the Church anywhere in the New Testament, not in the gospels, not in Acts, not in the epistles, nor is water-baptism even mentioned in the epistles (except in a negative light), whereas the Spirit's ministry and baptism is ubiquitous. Very strange, don't you think, if what you contend is correct?

14. If the Baptism of Matt 28 is not water baptism but Holy Spirit baptism as you say why does Jesus command them to do it? Are they helping the Spirit some how? Again Acts 2:38 speaks of baptism in Jesus name that Acts 8 and 19 mirrors yet upon the basis of this baptism the remission of sin gift of the Holy Spirit is given not before in context with the passage. It's not a command; it's a circumstantial participle (i.e., it says "baptizing", not "baptize!"). The reference is to the mediation of the Spirit, because His ministry was to be so crucial to the incipient Church (asked and answered).

15. What passage promices us the Holy Spirit upon placing our faith in Jesus Christ apart from speaking in tongues as evidence that you have attained this? E.g., John 7:39; Acts 2:38; 10:47; Rom.8:15; 1Cor.2:12; Gal.3:2; 3:14; cf. Jn.16:15; Acts 1:8.

I have done my best before God to respond to your request, and I dare say I have spent a good deal more time answering this e-mail than you spent writing it. If you are a good Christian man, you will at least take the time to read it and consider it as I have done yours. Your spiritual safety and thus your salvation may depend upon it.

Here are some links to the places where these matters are discussed in more detail:

Baptism:  Water and Spirit

The Great Commission

The Baptism which now Saves You

Is water baptism required for Christians today?

Baptism and following Jesus

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

The baptism of the Holy Spirit as distinct from speaking in tongues.

An Extended Conversation about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Sin, Baptism, and the Book of Revelation.

Baptism and Salvation

Does baptism play a role in being born again?

All Things Charismatic

In the One who is the Word of Truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:  

Robert,

Thanks for the timely responce, and thank you for actually giving attension to each and every question I asked you. Your belief as seriouly flawed however you did at least do what no other has ever done that contends a different doctrine and that is attempt to answer all my questions. congrats and good on you. I agree with some of what you say and was even suprised to read that you can see there is a logical difference between works of merrit and works to recieve something. PhDs seem to have difficulty with this simple concept only when it comes to salvation however. I have made this point over and over in many conversations to no avail.

I also agree that water baptism is not all that is required of one to be saved. Belief is first and foremost in the process of recieving salvation. Repentance, and confession are also necessary with out these you may as well have a swim since baptism is just a ritual to you. God gives life and meaning to all things. The idea is that they are all expressions of the belief we have in him unto salvation.

I do not agree with you however that water baptism is not required unto salvation, is a doctrine based on tradition alone, and is unbiblical. Nor do I agree with you that Holy Spirit baptism is what is required of us to be saved, you have no scriptural merrit on the assumption based on taking scripture out of context. I will comment further as I contintue my responce to you. I like to be fairly through with my responces as I see you do too. Good for you! Lets start here:

2. Confession and baptism. You say that this is my language and NOT the way scripture puts it. Well, yes and no. I had a little trouble understanding you meaning on this but you are saying that my succesion of the events of confession and baptism to not show up in scripture correct? If this is what you are saying then I would have to agree that the process does not seem to be stated in this way no. However when we review the scripture on a topic such as salvation and how to get saved we must be diligent to find the passage that speak of what we must do to be saved and obey. Do you agree? I know there is a little more to it then this but that is the gist.

a) Ro 10:8-13. Confession of the mouth is just the other side of the same coin of faith. Well this is your description and not what the Paul is saying in this passage. You spin the meaning of the words to fit your doctrine where as I have accepted the words at face value and employed them as described there in. As a member of the Pentecostal Church we taught the sinners prayer and employed this passage litterally then too. Furthermore the whole reason we are discussing this is to determine the critera of what is necessary for recieving salvation and the point of salvation. It seems to me that faith is a two sided coin indeed and James does a very good Job pointing out which side of that coin is the point of salvation. Faith is completed by works, we are saved by completed faith. We are justifed by works and not by faith alone (James 2:22-24). Works of merrit as to earn salvation, NO. Works of obediance to God, this is the meaning of an active saving faith and has nothing to do with faith being the only critera as you even noted in you email.

b. Acts 2:38. It is interesting that these Jews that didn't even speak the language of John the baptist would be familiar with Johns baptism don't you think? Is this fact on an assumption Rob? If fact how can you prove it? Furthermore Johns ministery was to make straight the way for the messiah. His job was to perpair the people for the comming of Christ, No? What was Christs mission? To remove our sins and restore our relationship with God? What was his baptism of? Johns baptism was one of repentance for the remission of sins. You are correct to state that Jesus baptism was beyond the capacity of his. His baptism didn't include the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus did. Question is if you accept that Johns baptism removed sins before Christ went to the cross and if it did who did the removing of sins? Was it the water that removed sins or the Holy Spirit? What about in the case of the Jews making animal sacrafice under the Laws of Moses? Were their sins removed by the blood of bulls and goats or by the work of the Holy Spirit? Hebrews has some answers on this. We find out that Jesus sacrafice covered the sins of all, even those who were praticing under the Law. It then stands to reason that those baptized by John would have had their sins removed apart from the Law made good at the cross.

Jesus takes up where John leaves off, he never abandons water baptism NOR its purpose, what he does do is he adds to it a seal Eph 1:13 the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell with in us. His atonement for our sins is applied to us in water baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us as a promice so Peter tells us. Acts 2:38.

He makes water baptism a mandatory requirement to be saved after his ressurection Matt 28, Mark 16. Acts 2:38 Peter institutes this as what we must do to be saved, gives the purpose of baptism (remission of sins) and gift of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, Wrong again, since you are not reading the word of God for what it is teaching Rob. This is a manifestation of Christs command given to the Apostles see passages just mensioned above. This both a historical account and a command given to the Church since this historically is when the Church began. The diciples were told to wait until Jesus assended to the Father and released the Holy Spirit before they left Jerusalem and began to minister. This marks that Point and the 3000 were the first converts into this Church which was done by calling upon the name of the lord the way Peter made manifest in this very passage backed up with John 3:5, and the passages mensioned above Matt and Mark.

Thirdly, now you concede that Peter is commanding the hears only you contend now it is indirectly. Now you contradict your first statement. Also there is nothing indirect about the command. What Peter says in context is a direct command and if you wish to play games with the greek grammar then we can make this our focus to in the next few emails since Christian Courier has logged the first time this arguement was presented and obliterated in I believe a public debate the first time it surfaced. I am sure Wayne Jackson would be happy for me to present the facts on this if you wish to proceed with this course of logic.

Fourth. Now you really are stepping in Rob. You say now the direct command is to repent. You said first of all that this is NOT a command to the Church, then you say it is just not a direct command. Now you maintain it is a Direct command. Which is it? You also state that repent SHOULD be connected with the phrase "for the forgiveness of sins". The key would in your responce here is SHOULD not the passage clearly state "Repent, for the remission of your sins".

This brings up other matters. Since you are obviously going to lots of trouble to manipulate the passage to state that it is repentance, NOT baptism that is required FOR or 'TO RECIEVE' as you are using EIS in this account the remission of sins.

-You are by default admitting the scripture in this passage does NOT clearly teach that repentance not baptism is for the removal of sins. If it was your lengthly explaination would not be necessary would it? Do I need a lenghly explaination to understand what Ephesians 2:8-10 teaches? No! Why? Since I accept the truth of what it says with out the need of grammatical or contextual manipulations, such as you are tring to achieve with this.

-To contend that this passage SHOULD be rendered as you have put it is to deny the Scholary work of thousands of scribes and bible councils over two thousand years. Do you expect me to accept your word over theirs? Find me one Biblical Translation (aproved) that renders this passage in the fashion you have rendered it. If I were to contend that Ephesians 2:8-10 teaches that the greek word of grace was to imply the necessity of works as a wage to earn salvation beyond the cross you would pound the pulpit and call me a liar(and rightly so). What you have presented here is nothing less then just that, lies.

Fifth. Wrong again Rob. The Gift of the Holy Spirit at its earliest point was administed with out the laying on of hands (Penticost), and then was recorded as done in the same way with the Gentiles in Acts 10. Acts 8: 16&17 is the reference given to laying on of hands given to the Samaritains who incidentally had been baptised in water and therefore repented. Since you contend that repentance removes sins and baptism in water follows I have a question for you.

Question: Were they (Samaritains) saved before or after the laying on of Hands and reception of the Holy Spirit? Keep in mind you just made the point above on repentance not baptism is the requirement necessary to have sins removed and the Holy Spirit given. If their sins were remitted on the basis of repentance and the gift of the Holy Spirit is given as promiced as you just stated, before the reception of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands, what grounds you now have to contend that Holy Spirit baptism is a salvation issue and is the the baptism of 1 Corith 12:13? Does it then NOT stand to reason that reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit refered to in Acts 2:38 must be different from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit mensioned in Acts 8, 10 and else where and is there for by definition NOT a salvation issue but has the purpose to show Gods approval of groups otherwise rejected by Jews (Gentiles/Samaritians) as well as to establish his Authority of the Church through the Apostles and manifest his wisdom in the form of his written revelation for us now?

-You are also incorrect that the spirit was given automatically after the point of Acts 10. Perhaps you can adequately explain to me why this process shows up again in Acts 19:1-7. This passage records a rebaptism from Johns baptism in to the NAME OF JESUS which fits the wording of Acts 8:16&17, as it does Acts 2:38 and Matt 28. Then they all 12 Paul laid hands on them and they recieved the Holy Spirit with evidence of tongues and prophecy, have a good look. This is beyond the Acts 10 you state.

-1Cor:1:17 What merrit can I give you for this? Really not much. You want to say that Paul is complaining or down talking baptism in water. Since water is not mensioned as it is not in Acts 2, Mat 28, Ro 6:3, Gal 3:27 you must assume from the context that this is what Paul is refering to, especially since it is in a negative tone. Ok, well your not the first. and the answer to this one is also very simple if you care to look at the over all context of the passage and take his own testamony into account you will find that Paul is not down playing Baptism as you slant. Paul is dealing a quarreling that broke out based on a heresy of ownership. Who was greater by which Apostle baptised them, placing the importance of their baptism on the Apostle who baptised them. Paul brings in the brass tax issue of baptism by asking if they were baptised into his name or if he was crucified for them. If anything this shows that Paul understood the role of Baptism as the signifying act of ownership of Christ who paid it all and of which no Apostle is greater. His negativity put into perspective here signifies that he wanted nothing to do with their petty quarrel. He wanted to wash his hands of it (no pun intended).

-Baptism of Ephesians is water baptism since that is what Christ commanded of his diciples in Matt and Mark. Baptised into Jesus Name is Physical. Acts 2:38 also makes this certian, and passages such as Titus 3:5, John 3:5 mension water and spirit in connection with one another for the purpose of purification. So you are incorrect once again.

C. Mark 16:16 Not apart of the Bible hey? What version do you have? Bible gateway has many versions and all approved ones contains this passage. You are correct that it does not appear in the earlies manuscripts. However it does appear in my Bible I declair as Gods word and I am betting it occurs in yours too. Again I must bring up the point that you are not a Scholar no am I so lets leave the wording of passages and what is in the Bible, to be in the Bible. If we cannot agree on what is cannonized then we divide on not on doctrine but on what is actually inspired correct? Furthermore if the inclusion of this passage is as you contend 'made up verses', then who is to say that such shotty scholary work does not exist through out the entire Bible? How then do you determine what is or what is not the standard of Gods word? Perhaps we should just tear out all passage we don't agree with and call them apostate. I can tell you Acts 2:38, 22:16 would be among the first to get the boot from your side of the fence. I however see that Mark 16:16 is agreement with the rest of the scripture as a whole so I have no problem with it. This is rich:

You say after you disect Act 2:38 gramatically above:

"I caution you severely against altering scripture in support of your cause."

Ahh, you can't see the forest for the trees can you? How exactly does rendering scripture that appears as the cannonized word of God in every modern translation I know of constitute 'altering scripture'? As far as I have read,You ought to take your own advice since Acts 2:38 does not read in any modern translation in print today:

'Repent for the remission of sins and be baptised in Jesus name....'

as you and others contend. This is nuts and not Gods word. You are playing word games to fit your preconcieved notion that we are saved apart from water baptism. You may not be the Faith alone brand I have dealt with two others like you Rob, this heresy is not new and still necessitates manipulation, rejection of plain teaching and sound doctrine straight from the word of God. Shame on you!

-Rob, come on now. Do I need to bring up every example (Eunich and Philip, the Jailor and his Family, 3000 at Pentecost saved in water baptism, samarititans, etc)? Scripture contradicts my position. You just said that Paul's example was a 'concrete' example of evidence we are saved in water baptism? However this must not be how you mean it or again this is a contradiction? I assume you mean something else. Lets see:

Acts 9:18 Ok now we are playing games again with semantics Rob. If you want to argue truth use his testamony to Felix as well in Acts 22, since it is a further revelation the same story?

1. At what point does Ananias give Paul the Gospel? What Gospel since the gospel is clearly defined in 1Corith 15 and Acts 2?

2. Why was Paul on the street straight praying and fasting for 3 days in his sins after meeting Jesus? Did he NOT believe or repent? Is an encounter with Christ not enough to be saved? Was it not enough for the Paralytic, Harlot, Theif on the Cross? If so Why NOT Paul? Does our salvation depend on the hands of Others?

3. At what point is Paul saved upon repentance, hearing the Gospel, or baptism in water since baptism in the Holy Spirit is not even mensined?

4. What does Acts 22:16 state and mean in context?

My five points

1. Ok well is Faith alone the point of salvation?

2. Repentance necessary? What exactly does this mean? Seems like a lot of double talk to me. It is not a descrete step but a necessary orrientation towards the truth necessary to accept the truth. Is repentance necessary? Yes or NO.

3. The passage is two part one hinges on the other accept or reject it it is what it is.

4. It is not indicaed you are correct bravo! It is however commanded which his way more direct then an indication see above.

5. agreed.

Rob you are in error because you add to this passage. What passage in Acts 10 clealy teaches that Cornelious and his house was saved upon Holy Spirit baptism? What passage? On what basis scripturally do you make this determination. On the basis that they were Baptised in the Holy Spirit? How can you prove beyond all doubt scriturally that this was NOT simply God's revelation to the Jews that he appoves of Gentiles too? Since we Know from Acts 2:38 that water baptism is for the remission of sins as Peter declairs as the scripture clearly reads beyond all doubt we also find out that Holy Spirit baptism was the final straw that made the Jew aware that God had granted the Gentiles repentance unto Life and there was nothing to stop them from being water baptised. The whole pupose of Holy Spirit baptism here seems to prove only that Gentiles are granted the same promices as the Jews this then gave them the right to be water baptised and thus have their sins removed and recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you can find a way Act 10 reads differently then this by all means let me know. However since this is how it reads and the message it carries in my Bible it harmonizes with Acts 2 and the rest.

I always have a long list of questions:

1. Spirit Baptism is not correct Rob. Baptism into Jesus NAME in Acts 8:16&17 was NOT this baptism and this wording is the same as in Matt, Acts 2:38, 19:1-7 etc.

Water baptism is administered by men Holy Spirit baptism is not and where it does show up as recieveing by laying on of hands baptism into Jesus NAME is done prior too showing that ONE baptism is administered in water. Unless there are two Spirit baptisms you are contending and if so with on places you into the body of Christ?

Improper continuation of water baptism? Why doesn't scripture say this?

I will check scholatically on this spin you present to Matt but I believe you are up in the night on this one Rob.

-Doesn't the Holy Spirit alone do the Baptism into the Body of Christ? How then can we be commanded to do it or the Apostles. Isn't that impossible. Why would Jesus command us take part in the work of the Holy Spirit?

2. Ok if water baptism is what is refer to by baptism in Jesus name then You are wrong concerning Matt 28 and Acts 2:38 as I have stated over and over now. Who is to say they didn't recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost as promiced in Acts 2:38?

3. Denial is an ugly thing Rob.The idea is that we are to be honest with one another and I feel you are not intrested in honesty here but rather denial at all costs. The scripture define ONE baptism resulting in remission of sins, and reciet of the Holy Spirit Rob Acts 2:38. This is our promice from GOD to those who believe. The gift of the Holy Spirit is seal. This process of water baptism you say should not continue, does continue and the process is the same each time.

4. Failed to answer this

5. No not my theory Rob, the Biblical promice is given to all obey and are baptised in water for the remission of their sins in Jesus Name Acts 2:38. You theory is not based on promices, or commandments just you own loosely based ideas concerning baptism of the Holy Spirit. They did recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit. You seriously contend that this passage does not refer to water baptism? Your logic is seriously flawed Rob, some how I get the feeling you are convinced of this heresy however.

Rob I would be happy to answer any and all your questions by the numbers but you must be honest with the scritptures and me not continue to hack and manipulate Gods word the way you are doing in your responce to me.

1. Were Peter and the other Ten rebaptised into Jesus name after pentecost? Perhap they were? I don't know since as you say I can't find that in my Bible either Rob. Does this then prove that they were not some how? Are we going to play the mensioning game? If so then were the 3000 water baptised at Penticost saved that day since Holy Spirit baptism is not mensined or speaking in tongues from any of them? You ask me a question Rob then answer it yourself which tells me you are all about drawing your own conclusions. Now I have a question along the same lines: When was Paul baptised in the Holy Spirit? We learn that he was filled not baptised with the Holy Spirit the wording is similar to that of Luke 1:15,41,67 refering to John the Baptist .his Mother Elizabeth, and his father, before pentecost. Not only this but Peter, and the diciples were filled with the Holy Ghost more then once according to scripture. Acts 2:4, 4:8. Paul in 9:17, 13:9. At what point does this save you, first second or third time? Or perhaps it does not have to do with salvation.

6. I'm sorry Rob but I have to tell you straight up that you have not given me one solid passage in the entire body of this email responce that gives me a solid grip on how exactly you are saved concerning Holy Spirit baptism. You deny plain evidence from scripture that Acts 2:38 , Matt 28 is refering to water baptism which is absurd. You deny that you believe we are saved by faith alone then you do not give me straight yes or no answers if repentance and confession of the mouth are necessary. You twist them up with faith as tho they are one thing when the scripture specifically mensions them as seperate. You are clearly making this all up as you go Rob since your take on Gods word is so out of step with what is written.

7. Do you find them tricky?

8. You now contend that they were saved Rob. I can't keep up. Your whole point has been that water baptism is not enought to be saved, NO? That is why the laying on of hands was necessary, to recieve the Holy Spirit? Isn't your point we and they are not saved until we are all HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISED not water baptised. Come on Rob this is the point of your entire position don't give up now. If you maintain they were saved BEFORE hands were laid on them and the recieved the HOLY SPIRIT then you concede by default that baptism in JESUS NAME (water baptism) is how they were saved and reception of the Holy Spirit is more of a second blessing.

9. Really then breakdown my origional question and deal with each aspect of it throughly. You answer here is more of an opinion then a proper responce.

10. That's funny that tongues is not given today, are you sure then that baptism in the Holy Spirit is for today? Tongues were always associated with tongues and prophecy in the early church. Again you are talking opinions not scriptural truth. What indication do you have that you are saved upon belief (alone) that you are saved? What promices do you have?

11. Again your I don't care what your opinion is Rob, it does not matter to God either. What matters is what you do with his word? You side with someone that for sure but it is not Paul in any strech of your imagination.

12. Do you know that in you heart unshakeably Rob? Your critera for salvation is unscriptural yet you contend this as truth, I am shocked each and every time I see it in all its forms. It is never about proof for me Rob it is about reciving Gods promices based on obediance to his call. This you have forsaken and traded for false teaching. Holy Spirit baptism is Given by Christ yes you are correct on this point alone. You falter by replacing the context of clear passages that refer to promices and commands given pertaining to water baptism.

13. 1. Paul was in his sins until he was instructed to get up and be baptised washing away his sins calling on his name. 2) Believers in Acts 10 were saved most likely upon water baptism. 3)Rendering Eph 4:5 as spirit baptism is not accurate but rather again your opinion. 4) I cannot agrue with what you refuse to see. Water baptism is commanded is manifested, Historically was the process for 1500years if that is NOT enough then you have your head buried to far into the sand to hear a thing I have to say.

14. Not even close my friend. It is a command! What do you call a commission? Is it not an instruction a delegation? Open you eyes so you can see! I am really really tired of repeating the same thing over and over to those who are not willing to accept.

15. No mension of salvation in John 7:39

Acts 2:38 correct but this is associate with water baptism

Acts 10:47 this is acutally an indication that they are about to be saved not that they are saved upon recieving the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:15 ,1Corinthians 2:13, Gal 3:2, 3:14 this refers to the Gift of the Holy Spirit not salvation through recieving baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 mension power not salvation. Power for what? to further his truth and build his Church.

These passages confuse the gift of the spirit promiced in Acts 2:38 with the baptism of the Holy Spririt which is associated with tongues.

What evidence do you have to contend that tongues and prophecy are done away with? Espeically since charismatic Churches like the pentecostals still practice this today? Base you faith on promices not assumptions Rob. I must say that I am still impressed that you actually responded to all my questions one by one. If you want to continue I am game.

Also I just had a couple more questions for you.

1. Does baptism mensioned in Acts 2:38 refer to water baptism or spirit baptism?

2. Since the baptism or reception of the Holy Spirit was always with external evidence scripturally looking to the point of reception using the example you provide on the topic, how can you be sure you have recieved this since you have NOT recieved the Spirit with this as evidence?

3.Does it not stand to reason that if you are to use Acts 2, 8, and 10 as examples of salvation through Holy Spirit baptism alone that this evidence must also follow in like pattern?

4. What evidence to you have to prove beyond all doubt that we are living in a time with out the gifts? The gifts are the external evidence of Holy Spirit baptism according to scripture Rob or perhaps you missed this little biblical fact?

5. Please answer my question yes or no. Does Paul say in Romans 10:8-13 that confession of the MOUTH saves us? If so is this then necessary to be saved?

6. Please answer the question yes or no. Does acts 3:19 & 2Corith 7:10 teach that repentance comes before salvation and is necessary requirement to be saved?

7. James 2:24. He states that we are justifed by works and not by faith alone? I want a straight answer. What 'works' is James refering to that justifies us?

8. James 2:22. He states that we are saved by a completed or perfected faith. What is one requirement James does mension is necessary for our faith to be completed or perfect? What is it perfected by? What word does he use to describe this scripturally?

9. On what basis are we saved according to Heb 9:5?

10. On what basis does this passage tell us we recieve the Holy Spirit Acts 5:32?

You approach the scripture with a preconcived notion that water baptism is not necessary for salvation. You maintain Holy Spirit baptism is, others that we are saved by faith alone.Your formula is nothing new to me. Faith aloner first quote Ephesians 2:8-10 and Romans 4 then state that these passage teach we are saved by faith alone, and set this as the standard all scripture must be viewed under. You begin you responce to me in the same way. Your preconcived notion is that we are saved by Holy Spirit baptism then you proceed to shift meanings of baptism (water to spirit) manipulate passages such as Acts 2:38 and proceed to out wardly reject Mark 16:16 etc. You position is as flawed as those who maintain salvation by faith alone.

You personally however I will say have been the first to attempt to respond to every question I have given which I have never encountered in 3 years (other then by a Church of Christ minister) I have been at this. I do appreciate your effort Rob you have at least some integrity which speaks volumes for you in my opinion. I also would like to recognize that you did not get really nasty and name call, etc. This is also a very commendable quality. These are good atributes to your nature Rob, and I appreciate them. More of your kind should be so bold even if you are dead wrong. Now if you only had the truth. Well, we will work on that.

In Christ

Response #2: 

Dear Friend,

We are certainly at logger-heads in terms of our beliefs. As passionate as you are about defending your position, however, I must stick with the scriptures as the Lord has led me to understand them through painstaking and diligent study over many years.

Let me point out that it is my policy to try and provide a detailed and honest answer on scriptural matters for all who express interest in the truth. I am happy to hear that you felt my effort worthy in spite of disagreeing with just about everything. From great experience, I have learned that once it is clear that when responses such as I provided, while they may be appreciated on some level, are not deemed acceptable for whatever reason, voluminous and detailed exchanges accomplish little thereafter. I would be happy to continue the discussion, but ask that we do so by taking things one step, one question, one passage at a time. Otherwise, the two disputants quickly begin to talk past each other. For example, your format, to which I attempted to adhere, expanded significantly in your second e-mail, and did so in a way that makes any sort of responsive answer very difficult – at least any sort of response wherein you would understand to what point I am replying and how and why. Volume is certainly not a substitute for quality, nor is the pronouncement that the other person is "wrong" any sort of an argument.

Also, you are still incorrect about my views in several key areas. Let me be clear. It is not that you disagree with me (that is certainly your privilege), but that you have not understood some key tenets of my teaching upon which all else depends. So let me begin by attempting to clear up a few things. First of all, I most certainly do not believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation. All twelve of the disciples with the exception of Judas were indeed saved before Pentecost – and all Old Testament believers who preceded them were likewise saved without this truly wonderful blessing of the gift of the Spirit that Church Age believers enjoy. True Christians today all do have the baptism of the Spirit (Rom.8:9), so that if a person does not have the Spirit, that person is not saved – not because of the lack of the Spirit but because of lack of faith in Jesus Christ. This is a very important distinction, especially nowadays, because there are many charismatic groups or related sects which do equate Spirit baptism with "true salvation" or at least with "completeness". But, in fact, the notion of a believer without the Spirit is an erroneous and impossible status. Still, it is faith which results and precedes the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, your statement that "my preconceived ideas" have led me to the truth that water-baptism is not authorized by scripture for Christians today couldn't be more wrong. Indeed, there are not too many groups out there (though there are some) who do not practice some form of water-baptism, and most of the groups with which I have associated in the past have accepted it to one degree or another, in one form or another (though I confess I have been blessed never to have had any intimate dealings with those who profess it as a necessary condition for salvation). And I have been baptized, often: I was sprinkled as a baby, confirmed as an adolescent, and later underwent a full-immersion baptism. I am happy to report that none of these did me the least bit of good, but, blessedly, the salvation which I enjoy by grace through my faith in Jesus Christ and the gift of the Spirit that has been mine from very early youth when I first began to trust in Him has been of such immense benefit I cannot begin to describe it.

Perhaps the best place to begin again are the introductory verses, since in truth so much depends upon them. I note for the record that the framing of baptism in terms of the Spirit by John and Jesus has ignored by you – but it is an absolutely critical point that must be answered if water-baptism is to be rehabilitated as valid for the Church today.

Forgive me if I do not reply directly to every single thing you have said here, but, after all, most of these statements of yours are built in whole or part on misunderstanding my position in the first place. I will attempt here to re-initiate on this verse. Since you had the first word and first list of questions, surely that is at least fair?

On Romans 10, the "two sides of the coin" analogy has a proof, namely, : "If you believe, you will confess (for no one who truly believes will deny the Lord: Matt.10:32; 2Tim.2:12); and if you confess, it means that you have truly believed (for no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit: 1Cor.12:3)." Thus we see the two sides of the coin really are inseparable, so that this is not just a good illustration but an accurate reflection of what scripture teaches. Your bringing in of James is really an apples and oranges comparison since James is very clearly talking about works of faith which stem from salvation not what is required to bring about salvation. Otherwise you are saying that Abraham was not saved until at over 100 he took Isaac to Mt. Moriah (that is James' example, after all).

On Acts 2:38, to take the second of but many examples, it is very clear even from your own exasperation and multiple, different characterizations of my explanation that I have failed to make my positions here clear. I have no problem with your disagreeing with my interpretation. I do have a problem with your characterizing it in a completely incorrect way and then disagreeing with your incorrect characterization. We will never get anywhere that way.

1. Language: Of course Peter's audience spoke the same language as John the baptist – otherwise they couldn't have understood Peter. There were no doubt those in the crowd who spoke no Hebrew or Aramaic, having come from far and wide, but they all spoke Greek (as did John and Jesus and everyone else in the crowd) – that was the lingua franca of the day from Spain to Afghanistan, and that is the reason why the New Testament is in Greek.

2. Sin: Sin is removed by the Son of God dying for sin at the cross. Atonement is universal. There is only one sin for which Christ could not die and that is the sin of rejecting the eternal life that comes through faith in Him.

The one who believes in Him is not being judged, but the one who does not believe has already been judged on the grounds that he has not put his faith in the Name (i.e., the Person) of God's only Son.
John 3:18

Unbelievers go to hell out of choice; when they are judged, they are condemned "because ye do not believe in Me", not for their sins which have been forgiven. The rituals of the Law are replete with "baptisms" since dipping in water is both a physical means and a spiritual analogy of cleansing (cf. Heb.6:2). That is the context of the baptism of John, namely, it connects the Law to the Messiah was coming to fulfill it. Water-baptism is thus a Jewish ritual, and a pre-cross one at that. John's baptism-with-water was an illustration looking forward to the remission of sins which the Messiah would accomplish on the cross – it did not save anyone. Many of the Pharisees were water-baptized and are in hell today.

3. Grammar: Please feel free to ask anyone else you please to weigh in, or to advance whatever arguments you like. The point is to find the truth. The difference between the two imperatives in Acts 2 is not insignificant, nor is the attribution of the eis clause to "repent", nor is my understanding of what "repent" means. Repentance is essentially equivalent to faith; it is the flip side of faith since true repentance leads to faith and true faith has never lacked repentance. Repentance is not a discrete and separate step but another way of expressing the same thing. That is why Peter does not have to say here "believe in Jesus", but you may be sure that it was just such faith in Jesus that saved those who responded.

4. History: This is a historical passage; it describes what actually happened, not what should happen ever after (a not insignificant distinction). To find out what proper faith and practice is for the Church, we look at all the evidence. I find nothing in this passage, properly understood, which indicates that water-baptism is something even authorized today, let alone good, let alone necessary for salvation. The key thing that happened here is that as a result of Peter's speech many put their faith in Christ; i.e., they turned away from their former futile manner of life and accepting Jesus as their Savior – this they did in their heart and were immediately saved. What Peter did in this instance was legitimate because he had been told by Jesus to make sure they had the baptism of the Spirit, and that is what was accomplished by the apostles laying on of their hands, water or no water. Today there are no apostles, and no delay in reception of the Spirit, so that ritual water-baptism has no further legitimate role to play whatsoever.

5. Consonance with Scripture: My essential understanding of Acts 2:38, one which I have sufficiently backed up and stand ready to do so again and in more detail, is that Peter was making a gospel appeal. Those who responded did so in faith. They were possibly water-baptized on this occasion as neither the audience nor the apostles yet fully understood these issues in the detail as they later would (n.b., Peter later does "get it": "then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" Acts 11:16 NIV; cf. 1Pet.3:21), but the key fact was their reception of the gift of the Spirit "promised to you and your descendants". It was in the giving of the gospel and in the mediation of the Spirit by the apostles (this last element was not to continue forever) wherein Peter fulfilled the mandates of Matthew 28:19, giving them the gospel (i.e., making them disciples) and seeing to it that they received the Spirit (i.e., mediating it to them by laying on his hands). Therefore there is nothing in this passage which I find out of consonance with the rest of scripture wherein it is the Spirit that is key and wherein water-baptism, when and if it does occur, is a throw-back to John's baptism, and now an unnecessary and unhelpful one at that. Peter would learn that over time, and so would the others. What is amazing to me is how difficult it seems to be for most believers today to do so.

On "Mark 16:16": It is not in the Bible. Period. If you wish a retelling or expansion of the explanation of how I know that to be true, I am only too happy to oblige (see the link: Interpolations in the Bible).

Finally, Jesus never water-baptized anyone, and deliberately so (Jn.4:2). He also never told anyone to be water-baptized or that they needed to be water-baptized. Don't you think that is odd if necessary for salvation? Very few people in the history of the Church have tried to make water-baptism "essential for salvation" as you are trying to do. That should also give you pause. Before the Reformation, we know of no one who had been immersed for over a thousand years, and very few had been water-baptized after faith in Christ. I am confident that they are not in hell as a consequence.

In the One who underwent the baptism of the cross for us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Rob,

Hey, thanks for being patient with me. I would like to respond to at least a few comments that you wrote to me in your last email. I talked to you about dealing with one issue at a time however I did feel the need to do a follow up on your email to me. Deal with it one matter at a time then move to the next. Ok.

1. We are at loggerheads. This is as far as I can see the truth, since I have serious reservations when someone tries to tell me the apple I have in my hand is a oversized grape, orange, softball, etc. You claim honest study of the scriptures, you are a nice guy and I appreciate that but I cannot agree that your are honest if you have the ablity to read what is written understand what it plainly and boldly states then deny its clear meaning, consult a four part critera and employ this as its newer and truer meaning. Acts 2:38, 22:16, Matt 28:18- , and all the others I have already mensioned in my emails to you stand completely in oppostion to your beliefs. I believe that I have the truth since I do not need to resort to a 4 or 5 part explaination of why the passage that says I am wrong is actually not teaching what it clearly states. I have the ability to accept what God has written in his word for what it says.

2. You want to stick with the scriptures you say as the Lord has led you to understand them through painstaking and diligent study over many years. In the face of the Biblical record (The Apostles baptizing in water), the Historical record Catholic Church has taught water baptisms essentiality since the time of Christ till present what concrete evidence do you have that water baptism intended to be phased out? Why would God allow this meaningless ritual to even be created, let alone carried over to present time. Perhaps it is NOT everyone else that has been mislead? If you truly stuck to the scriptures rather then your position you would allow yourself to conider for a moment that you may be wrong. Again I say it, your teaching and belief does not fit the plain teaching of Gods word.

3. Your postion I have not gotten until recently. I know now that you believe that we are saved by faith and that alone, baptism is of the Holy Spirit for this day and age. Water baptism has no place in the Church according to you. You teach that after Cornelious Holy Spirit Baptism is given automatically to believers and water baptism counts for nothing, even thought this was the very indication that Cornelious and his family were to be baptised with water (according to the scripture). Funny how a baptism that is not necessary keeps being praticed? You still have not addressed in anyway the question on Acts 19 about the 12 that were baptized after Cornelious had his experience by the laying on of hands, since you conclude that Cornelious what the turning point for this?

4. It's not what you report to me that will matter Rob it is what you report to God. His word is his word, it is really your choice if you wish to obey it. The worse part of all this is 'if' God rejects you on the basis of your rejecting his word he may reject all those you have had a hand in decieving by your false teaching. Where will your studing, and good intensions then be?

5. Romans 10:8-13. You say that I continue to missunderstand you. Well, you have really missunderstood me on this one. I am not asking your opinion on this passage, however thank you for restating it. What I am looking for from you as I was with Acts 2:38 ,22:16, James 2:22&24 is an honest ommition of exactly what the Apostles say in these scriptures verbatum as you seem to understand verbatum meaning just fine else where in scripture. Repentance, Faith, Confession, and water baptism are all the same coin just different sides and yes they are all refered to when the passages speak of salvation such as in Titus 3:5, or other areas where only one of the 4 are mensioned. You are wrong to conclude that faith is perfected with out the action. This passage would NOT mension confession of the mouth IF that was not a requirement unto salvation, that is the whole point of the passage. Pauls definition is simple believe in your heart AND confess with your mouth. Peters definition is just as simple repent AND be baptised.

6. James never once comes close to ever teaching works that come from salvation in 2:14-26. I think you had better go back and have another good look at this passage. If James was defining a completed faith apart from works as you describe then perhaps you can explain to me why James states clearly and precisely the only kind of faith that saves (making this a requirement unto salvation) is one that is completed or made perfect by what? WORKS!!!! Faith is made perfect by works. As for Abraham why don't you have a good solid read of James 20-24 in context with what is stated in Romans 4 and you tell me when Abraham was saved. The wording is identical. So perhaps God did not impute rightousness to him until he offered Issac on the Alter since this is exactly what James is stating here.

7. Acts 2;38 comment. Language? No Rob they didn't speak the same language since they were all from different areas, and you have provided me in your email with absolutely NO evidence that Peter was speaking Ancient Greek, that yes was the international language of Trade at that time. The whole point of Pentecost was that those who herd Peter were amazed since they could hear him speak in their native tongue. So according to scripture Rob you are wrong on your point that they all spoke the language of John the Baptist and Peter (hence it being a miracle).

a) Biblically. You have provided no concrete evidence that Holy Spirit baptism is the replacement of water baptism. Water Baptism is the Baptism of Acts 2:38 which you even admit. Peter filled with the Holy Spirit spoke the very words that we read off the page with the inclusion of Water Baptism. Peter filled with the Holy Spirit relays the message that those who repent and are baptised will have their sins remitted and recieve the Holy Spirit. He then declairs that this is a promice.

8. I do find it suprising to hear you say that unbelievers go to hell out of choice. Who's choice mans or God's?

9. Technically Jesus sacrafice paid the price for all sins under the Old and New Covenants. However the process of being saved was based on entirely different conditions. One was of animal sacrafice the other Christ sacrafice. Obediance to the commands of either covenant are however imperative unto salvation. This does mean water baptism. My question to you is what does the scripture say that Johns baptism was for verbatum? Was it for the remission of sins? If so then you have no authority to claim that none were saved as a result of being baptized by it.

10. Grammar for Acts 2:38, I have found a really good page I want you to read throughly, it breaks it down very well. To avoid copy right laws you can go to site your self by typing in to your seach engine,( Acts 2:38 an analysis).(www.bibletruths.net/archives). Yes faith and repentance are linked closely. However even with the story the rich young ruler that asked Jesus what he must do to be saved we learn that repentance requiring sacrafice goes beyond all our faith and good intensions. Or will you argue that he did not believe that Jesus had the way to eternal life? He was not willing to act upon his faith since he was not willing to give up all he had to Join Christ.

11. Historically: You logic here is contradictory. Acts 2:38 is as historical as your account of Acts 10 which you claim is the pattern by which all are saved and yet not one instruction or command is uttered by the Apostles. It is purely a historical account of Gods acceptace of the Gentiles nothing more. The same cannot be said of Acts 2 since the how in recieving salvation was defined that day.

You state that to find out what proper faith and pratice is for the Church, we look at all the evidence. You look at a hand full of passage and skew the plain teaching of all the others to fit it. Your 'proper understanding' of Acts 2:38 is anything but. You have violated this scripture and twisted it to mean what it does not say otherwise we would not be arguing this very point right now. Your definitin is NOT the even close to the account given in Acts 2:38 nor mensioned, nor did Peter tell them they need not do anything since they were already saved. You are making it up, this is not a theological mistery, it is a plain truth.

You didn't back up anything with Scripture just affirm your postion to me Rob. If this is what you call sufficient then I really do have nothing more to learn from you other then you are unwilling to accept the word of God for what it says. You can call in Billy Graham, Thayer, John Calvin himself but that will not change one word in this passage, so what good will it do you? By the virtue that this passage is written in English as all modern translations are and render it in a similar way you are completely defeated on this matter, but hey give it your best shot what have you got to loose?

12. Mark 16:16. It is loud and proud in my Bible and I will bet it is in yours unless you tore it out. Again we are placing the canonicity of the scripture in question. Perhaps we should just accept the four Gospels and throw away the rest since the time line on some of the books of the bible are almost 200 years or more after the time of Christ from the earliest records. It is also very suspicious that we have the dead sea scrolls and other writings of antiquity that predate Christianity however we have NO origional copies in existance. What happened to them? How much of scripture is reliable? Didn't our Bible come out of the Catholic Church? Aren't they an unsaved cult? How do we know for sure that men didn't write the Bible to controll the masses? Martin Luther didn't Believe James was inspired, what makes you so sure it is? What about the book of Revelation? The Greek othodox Church for what I can understand still has not cannonized this book. How much of the Bible can we trust Rob? Do the scholars know what they are doing? I have a page on this you may be interested in, The Assault upon Mark 16:16. www.christiancourier.com

13. Jesus never water baptised anyone deliberately. You assume this Rob, you do not know this. John 4 is the passage you are refering to and weither he or his diciples were do the baptizing it was being done under his authority thus continued on. That is a lie, John 3:5 denotes water baptism as does Matt 28:18-20. There is absolutly no evidence you have provided thus far to prove that Matt 28:18-20 historically, Biblically or logically is other then water baptism. Since water baptism is what is refered to many times after this passage was given especially at pentecost you are at a loss to prove other wise. Logically Holy Spirit baptism is out of the Hands of men to perform. God and God alone baptized in the Holy Spirit. Historically this passage is and has refered to water baptism and been used at countless baptisms. You said you were baptised, a few times, how did that Go? Was or wasn't Mark 28:18-20 quoted in some form or another?

14. Before the reformation sir no one had any idea that we were saved by faith alone? No one had any idea that we were saved apart from the Holy Catholic Church. This is what put Kings on their knees begging the forgiveness of Popes in the cold of winter. You want to call immersion absurd using this example then back at ya. At least the Catholics had the idea that baptism is essential and that was believed for 1500 years after the time of Christ. Even Martin Luther himself taught that Baptism is essential for salvation.

15. You provide me with sustainable facts to solidify your statement that no one was baptised by immersion for 1000 years and very very few had been baptised after faith in Christ.

Response #3: 

I am happy to continue. As I have already stated, however, there is little profit in this for anyone if we are all over the map. I suggest one passage / one issue at a time, because otherwise we will only be talking to ourselves and to no one else. Here I will attempt to deal with Acts 2:38 and your most recent comments about it, because this has still not been resolved to the point that both of us can agree. I feel certain that if there is going be any middle ground, it will be found at critical passages like this. For, along with "the great commission", this passage, Acts 2:38 seems to me to be about the only legitimate "evidence" that proponents of mandatory water-baptism have from the Bible (as opposed to tradition or non-biblically derived doctrines). I can honestly see where a person who had not thought and studied it out might think at first glance that these two passages are requiring water-baptism (though not after they are properly understood by means of careful study and in light of the other pertinent scriptures). As I have mentioned repeatedly, John talked about the coming Messiah's baptizing with the Spirit and not water; and Jesus' last words before the ascension were about the Spirit baptism we all share. Thus, the burden of proof clearly lies with those who wish to overturn this undeniable scriptural emphasis. Further, Jesus never said anything about water-baptism and never personally did it (one caveat here: I am happy to be "educated" on this matter, however, calling me "a liar" because I have pointed out to you an uncomfortable truth which you are unable to disprove with scripture is a sure way to end this discussion; it would be more Christian just to give up). Since your case rises and falls with these key verses you first adduced, let us stick with these before moving on.

Acts 2:38:

1) Language: People can only speak in one language at a time; Peter was speaking in some language; we have this recorded for us in Greek with no indication in the text or in the book of Acts that this is a translation; further, Greek is the only language he spoke which would have been capable of being understood by everyone in this mixed assemblage containing Jews from all over the Mediterranean world; we conclude that he was speaking in Greek. Even if you disagree, the Spirit has given us exactly what he said, so that the words are accurate in the original Greek language of the New Testament, properly understood (i.e., not in the KJV or in any other derivative version).

2) "Peter filled with the Holy Spirit relays the message that those who repent and are baptised will have their sins remitted and recieve the Holy Spirit": Not at all. What Peter says is "repent . . . so that your sins may be forgiven", and that is much different. The page you are reading is in English, and you are assuming what you wish to believe. That is your choice, but it is clear to me from the original text that Peter rightly understood that it is faith/repentance results in the forgiveness of sins, not water-baptism (the " – let each of you be baptized – " part is not a direct command, but is an aside added for reasons discussed below). Secondly, "you will receive" is part a new sentence; logically it is likewise dependent upon "repent/have faith", the first (and only direct) command Peter had previously given (i.e., it is not dependent upon the non-binding third-person imperative added as an aside). Understanding the passage in this reasonable way squares it with all of the other descriptions in Acts (as well as with Jesus' teachings' on the subject and with everything else we have in the epistles). To understand the syntax your way would make this passage a complete "outlier", whereas to take it the more natural way (in the Greek) results in a statement that is completely consistent with all other scripture and with all other true doctrine. Therefore to slant the passage here to an unusual and non-biblical meaning is not appropriate.

3) History: Properly understood, Acts 2:38 squares entirely with the doctrine that we are saved by grace through faith. Understanding this passage as a speech actually given to a particular group on a particular occasion is important to help explain what would otherwise be oddities that might lead well-meaning Christians like yourself to erroneous conclusions (like "water-baptism is necessary"). Since this was only the day of Pentecost, the apostles still needed their authority established; the means God employed to that end in large part (in addition to the exceptional miracles they were given to perform which you and I are not being given to perform) was the mediation of the Spirit; being a Jewish audience aware of John's baptism (many of whom had never participated in John's Jewish water-baptism designed to prepare the Jewish nation for their Messiah) to associate this new baptism of the Spirit with John's water-baptism was natural enough (since it included a way for them to repent of their prior refusal to accept John and Jesus). But that is historical; these unique circumstance did not pertain later on; as Spirit mediation gave way to the automatic gift over time and as the apostles' authority was established, so water-baptism became less of an issue as Jewish evangelism yielded to predominately gentile evangelism, and as, through progressive revelation, Peter and Paul, e.g., came to place water-baptism in its proper place and perspective (i.e., as a Jewish ritual of anticipating the Messiah, not as a rite necessary for the Church). To use Acts 2:38 to promote water-baptism is to say, in effect, that a person is an apostle, like Peter, capable of mediating the Spirit, and is speaking to an all Jewish audience who had personal familiarity with John's baptism and their nation's rejection of the Christ. In short, it really is an apples and oranges comparison to what we have today: automatic Spirit baptism on belief in Jesus Christ, totally dry.

These are exegetical facts which flow directly from the Bible, as you are free to see from the above, from the two previous emails, and from the links already provided where the details are laid out ad nauseam – nevertheless I am happy to discuss the finer points with you at length. I understand that you do not agree, but your vociferous denial of these facts does not equate to me having "made them up".

So far, you have not provided me with any convincing line of argument or parallel scripture or exegetical proof that would lead me to alter my interpretation of Acts 2:38, its true meaning in its true context.

I feel certain that if you are correct, it would be possible to show in a measured and reasoned way that the passage does teach the necessity for water-baptism, and to do so without personal invective, ad hominem attacks, emotional outbursts or the like. I respond only to the truth, clearly and accurately presented. Please state your case in such terms – if you have a case.

In Him who is the truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Rob,

In regards to your comments on just Acts 2:38:

1. Language: You conclude again that Greek is the language Peter spoke in this passage. The points you make here are;

You say: People can only speak in one language at a time.

My response - Yes that is true concerning man. You avoid the entire point I made previously. God is the one speaking through Peter and his is capable of ALL things including speaking multiple languages at one time.

You say: 'We have this recorded for us in Greek with no indication in the text or in the book of Acts that this is a translation.'

My response - God spoke through Peter and his Apostles in multiple tongues that day, this is indicated by the Greek text known by its appearance in the English versions (see Acts 2:4 & 8-11.). There seems to be is no break in the context of 1-14 to suggest that Peter was not speaking the Godly Language while he preached to the foriegners that day. Ancient Greek is the language used by those inspired to write the Bible, I am not sure however that it was the Language employed by those who are represented by in the New Testament.

You say: 'Even if you disagree, the Spirit has given us exactly what he said, so that the words are accurate in the origional Greek Language of the New Testament properly understood (i.e.,not in the KJV or in any other version)'.

My Responce - I do agree with you that the Spirit has given us exactly what he said regardless of language. My point here is provide Biblical evidence to sustain the idea that Peter did or may have spoken in tongues since the text does not indicate otherwise.

I am curious however so, Correct me if I am wrong but I am getting a very clear picture that you do not trust any other translation other then the Greek? Is this correct? If this is the case then why do you support any English rendering of the Holy Text? I know that this is yet another can of worms that will lead us all over the map, but it is an honest question. A question that pop up in my mind again and again is how you accept and refer to the passages rendered in English when it refers to Holy Spirit baptism, yet reject the plain English wording of this passage when it comes to water baptism? To me this is clearly a double standard.

2. You quote Acts 2:38 almost verbatum at first then distort it.

You say: "/Peter filled with the Holy Spirit relays the message that those who repent and are baptised will have their sins remitted and recieve the Holy Spirit/': Not at all. What Peter says is "repent . . . so that your sins may be forgiven", and that is much different. The page you are reading is in English, and you are assuming what you wish to believe."

My responce:. Ok, well since you wrote to me in English I can only read in English and trust the scholars are competent enought to translate accurately lets compare notes, using the English text.

I state that Acts 2:38 teaches that we must repent and be baptised in Jesus name for the remission of our sins and the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

You state: What Peter says is (Acts 2:38) 'Repent . . . so that your sins may be forgiven'. Then you correctly add, 'and this is much different.'

Acts 2:38 states: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, an be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost." (KJV).

Since your passage omits baptism in Jesus name, it is your rendering of this passage that is inaccurate not mine, what more do I need to say?

You say:"That is your choice, but it is clear to me from the origional text that Peter rightly understood that faith/repentance produces forgiveness of sins, not water-baptism..'

My responce: The English text is our translation of the Greek. I accept this obviously you do not, I cannot help that. You do not have the origional text Rob to view since there is not one origional in existance. Even the precious Greek manuscripts are none other then copies, I guess you are refering to one of these? What passage renders Peters understanding as you do faith/repentance as necessary for the forgiveness of sins and boldly states as you just did that water baptism is not? Please provide chapter and verse (I expect to see it exactly the way you have rendered it or your point is invalid). If you do not then we both know that you cannot and once again you are defeated on this point.

You say: 'Let each one of you be baptised is not part of a direct command'. The page I have sent to you declairs that this is on par with Repentance which is a direct command conjoined by the word AND or 'KAI'. The conjugation brings baptism into equality with repentance, which does make this a command. A more indepth explaination can be found on the site. I encourage you to do us both a favor and read it at length before we discuss this matter any further.

You say: 'Understanding the passage in this way squares it with all of the other description in Acts..." Such as with Acts 22:16 and all those in Acts and else where that include the necessity of water baptism as the point of conversion. No this does not. Perhaps you can explain to me why I should accept what you are telling me this passage says when that is cleary NOT what I read off the page. Your error is obvious to all and are not fooling me here Rob.

3) History: Improperly rendered Acts 2:38 means anthing other then what it says (ie how you have rendered it). Your description of the Jewish nation and the necessity of Johns baptism mediating Spirit baptism is a clearly unfounded by this passage or any other. I challege you to produce the passage giving the Historical account as you do, since as of yet you have not produced it. This is an explaination visible to you alone, but alien to scripture, and true doctrine. Verse 39 concludes that the promice is for all who are far off, that is us. The context of Acts 2 is more then a lecture but a description on how we enter Christ. To deny this is to twist the word God. This is what you are doing.

You say: 'So far, you have not provided me with any convincing line of arguement or parallel scripture or exegetical proof that would lead me to alter my interpretation of Acts 2:38, its meaning in its true context.'

My responce: That is simply not the truth Rob. I have provided you with this scripture verbatum, opposed to your erronious version I quoted above. If scripture verbatum is what you refer to as no convincing argument or proof they you are correct I have nothing else? If you choose to reject the very words of God as proof then what other evidence can I provide? You believe in another gospel, I accept the only true gospel rendered plainly in this passage.Parallel passages you asked for: Acts 22:16, Matt 28:18-20 (which you do not accept), John 3:5, Titus 3:5, Ro 6:3-15, Col 2:11-15, Heb 10:22, 1 Peter 3:17-22, Mark 16:16 (which you utterly reject).

In Christ

Response #4: 

Dear Friend,

1. You're not really trying to suggest that Peter spoke multiple languages at once on Pentecost – something that would be unique in all of biblical history and with no indication of this from the text – so that even though Peter spoke in ____ language, nevertheless God gave everyone in the crowd to understand it their own language? If the Bible can made to say this, it can made to say just about anything. It's not an issue of what God can do. God can do anything. It's a question of what He did do, and the Bible doesn't give us any indication whatsoever that this is what happened here – or anywhere else at any time in all of human history. The separation of human beings by language and nationalism came from God (the tower of Babel) in order to save us from destroying ourselves. Further, God had just made it possible for the Christians to speak in different languages one on one so that these unbelievers could understand when talking to the appropriate person. If God were going to override the language barrier altogether, the gift of tongues just given would be to no purpose at all.

2. As to translations, I am of the "trust and verify" school. I have no problem with using translations. Personally, I read the Greek and Hebrew every day, and when I do access English translations, I usually make a point of checking them against the original, especially if the translation seems suspect for any reason. There is no substitute for the original.

3. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In the same way, a translation is the best interpretation of any passage, because in order to translate, the translator has to first understand what he/she is translating. Therefore I offer you here my translation of the passage in question since we are getting a bit confused about the arguments of grammar (at least you seem not to be understanding what I am trying to say). Please note: this is not a "distortion" but a translation. If you disagree with it, please feel free to say precisely why that is from a grammatical or other particular point of view (i.e., "this is wrong!" is not much help unless accompanied by an explanation of why it is that you think it is wrong specifically). Please also note: square brackets indicate interpretive additions offered as explanation (the KJV uses italics when they do this). Like the italics in the KJV, these parenthetical additions reflect what the text actually means:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent [of your unbelief]". He said also (Greek: phesin kai), "Let each of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus as a demonstration of the forgiveness of your sins [which comes as a result of this faith/repentance], [so that] then [as a result of your faith/repentance] you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (i.e., through that laying on of hands in the baptism)."
Acts 2:38

Please note a couple of critical things which the translation above makes clear. First, it is repentance from unbelief to belief, AKA faith in Jesus Christ, which results in salvation and the forgiveness of sins (that is what true repentance means – Judas felt sorry for his sins, but it didn't save him because his "repentance" was not "faith-repentance").

Secondly, water-baptism is not said here to forgive sins; rather, as Jesus tells us quite pointedly, only the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins. The translation "as a demonstration of the forgiveness of your sins" could also be rendered "in reference to the forgiveness of your sins" (Greek eis aphesin), but in either case it is not expressing purpose but rather is adding an explanation as is often the case in this idiom (though it is often incorrectly understood). As in John's baptism, which is now appropriated by Peter, water-baptism merely represents and portrays the forgiveness that comes from faith in the One who died for those sins (cf. Mk.1:4 where the language is nearly identical). The difference is that now, in contrast to John, the water-baptism here will be conducted by apostles who will mediate the Spirit: "[so that] then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit".

Thirdly, that this mediation of the Spirit is the entire reason for the water-baptism, that is, for the laying on of hands through which the Spirit is [temporarily] mediated, is clear from the syntax. "Repent [of unbelief]" is the direct response to the question from the audience in the previous verse "What are we to do?!" The second part of verse thirty-eight is added not as a direct command but as more of a voluntary suggestion/encouragement (i.e., it is in the third person form -eto, not in the direct-command imperative). That is because the gift of the Spirit to be mediated by the water-baptism is a blessing, so commanding the baptism in the same direct way that repentance/faith is commanded would be inappropriate. Peter wants his hearers to understand that they have to believe in Jesus to be saved ("repent!"); then they will have the opportunity to receive the same Holy Spirit they have just witnessed poured out on upon the assembled believers. Peter clearly was under no illusion that water-baptism was necessary for salvation and that is why he takes pains here to disconnect the two. He had a lot of learning yet to do on this point (in disassociating himself from legalism and the Law for the most part), but he already understood perfectly well that salvation comes only through faith in Christ and is not dependent upon any ritual, water-baptism included. That is very clear from this verse, properly understood, acceptably translated, and effectively explained. I hope that it will also be clear to you from the above. Understood in the way I have explained it here, Acts 2:38 squares with everything else scripture has to say on matters of salvation, the transitional apostolic period, the ritual of water-baptism, the mediation of the Spirit, and the primacy of Spirit baptism, sin, repentance, and the like. Taking the passage as an outlier which contradicts everything else the Bible teaches can only come from improper understanding of the original text, improper translation, reading into English translations, and the like.

I stand by everything I have written and everything I have previously said.

In Him who is the Truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Rob,

1. Did I not mension Acts 2:1-14? What does the text say in context? What indication do we have from the text that suggest that Peter was not addressing the Jews that Day in Tongues but ancient Greek? That was the question. I am well aware of what you believe on the matter, now sustain it with proof from the information provided in the text or move on.

2. You continue to use the term 'origional'. Yet there are no origionals in existance today. I mensioned this in my last email and apparently you missed it. Copies of Greek manuscripts exist not origionals. I am 100% sure that no matter how many times I bring up the wording of this passage in plain English you will reject it claim the Greek Text explains it properly. So you tell me Rob what Greek Text are you using? I know a fellow who was on the council for the creation of the NIV and is a professor at Harding University, the other is a Ph.D. Both are accredited scholars equipt to deal with your Greek Text and this passage approprately. So do me the honors and tell me what it is so I can verifiy your translation of it. In fact you can even send me a personal email of what you how you are translating this in English and I will have them do the appropriate checks to make sure it is accurate. If you pass then I will have to re-evaluate my position. If you fail what are you willing to do?

3..Grammar of this passage. 'This is wrong, is not an answer,unless you explain why?' Unlike yourself I am not learned in Greek that is why I provided you with the explaination on the web page I left you on the last 2 emails. Go to your seach engine and look up (Acts 2:38 an analysis). Then come back and we will discuss the finer points, agreed?

4.Only Jesus has the power to forgive sins. True! However he Choose water baptism as the mode of reception, not me (Matt 28:18-20). As for the futher explainationof what the translation of Acts 2:38 may say, or could say, it still does not answer the question of why the text is rendered in English the way it is rendered so many times by so many versions in English.

5.Johns Baptism stopped being Johns baptism in John 3 - 4. Jesus took it up, and it was then praticed at the start of the Church and Holy Spirit baptism actually Lead Cornelious and his entire family to be baptised in water. Which should have been redundant and unnessary by this point according to you idealism. It however has been a crutial part of Church history for 1500years there after, or taught as absolutely necessary until the time of John Calvin.

6. Faith is not even mensioned in Acts 2:38, to me it seems that you are more concerned with trying to push a faith alone adjenda then accept the truth. Your problem is not a lack of education. Your problem is that you will not accept Acts 2:38 as I do written in English.

You state: 'Repent (of unbelief) is the direct response to the question from the audience in the previouse verse (37)'.

My responce:

a) 'Repent and be baptised', is the responce in every English translation other then yours, however you have pointed out this fact several times now and I will leave it you to provide me with the Greek Texts you are refering to so I can pass it along to the proper authorities to provide me info on what this text actually states.

b) You have stated a few times now that as a result of faith one is placed in Christ. When I challenged you on Romans 10:8-13 you avoided explaining of the wording verbatum (Why does Paul make the point in the text that when one confesses with their mouth the are saved? Does this then not conclude by virtue of what is said that if you do not confess with your mouth you will not be saved, is this not the point of saying it in the first place? Those you pay the toll will pass throw the gate! The question becomes, what happens to those that do not pay the toll? )but rather concluded that faith and confession are opposite sides of the same coin if you have one you have the other. You also made clear you understand that repentance and faith are of a similar nature, if you have one you have the other.

This passage seems to throw a chink into the chain. Verse 37 shows beyond all doubt that the Jews were shaken by what they heard and seen that day. Their belief would have come like it did with Cornelious. Meaning belief would have come at some point before verses 37 or 38, such as when the Baptism of the Holy Spirit fell on the Brothers (speaking in Tongues) or during the course of Peter message.

The Jews should not have been in need to repent or be baptized since salvation should have been granted before hand as you have made clear to me over and over. Why did this not happen for the Jews? Theres more. You equate repentance as inseperable from faith meaning, if you have true faith you will have repentance. If faith and repentance exists already in the hearts and minds of the Jews why does Peter command them to Repent? Remember he is being lead by God (filled with the Holy Spirit). Why would he not know they were already saved? Perhaps the repentance he is commanding has a little more to do with action or an expression of their faith in God and calling upon him for mercy? This undoubtedly leads to the water as the expression of Faith.

Were Jews saved the moment they believed/repented hearing the message (prior to verse 37), or after Peter told them to repent in verse 38? If after then you are forced to conclude that more then faith alone is required to be saved. Since their salvation was then conditioned to their obediance to Peters command to "Repent". The passages does show us that repentance still a choice given to the believer after they have faith.

You state: 'that this mediation of the Spirit is the entire reason for the water - baptism, that is , for the laying on of hands through which the Spirit is temporarily mediated, is clear from the syntax'.

My responce: Clear from the syntax. In order for what you have said above to fit the rules of the grammar in this passage it must first appear in the passage. Laying on of hands did not occur until later and is mensioned no where in Acts 2.

In Christ

Response #5: 

Dear Friend,

1. Acts 2:1-13 is talking about the miraculous speaking in tongues done by the believers collectively which allowed the assembled Jews from all manner of places to understand the gospel in their own language. This caused "amazement" since all were astonished that these Galileans could speak the various languages mentioned specifically by scripture. However, in verse 14, Peter addresses the entire crowd himself at one time. He did so in a language and that language was Greek. You would be hard pressed to find any other Christian scholar or group or even any secular scholar or even any average Bible reader who does not understand the above. You are the only one I have ever met who seems to have a different idea about this, but it is mistaken. There is no proof or even any indication from the Bible that Peter is speaking "in many tongues at once" – that would be unique in all of human history and is never mentioned as possible in the Bible. These assembled Jews, in addition to speaking the native tongues of their home areas, also spoke Greek – the one language necessary for travel, commerce and the like during that day and age (analogous to the universality of English today). That is the language Peter used, as recorded for us by Luke.

2. Greek is the original language of the New Testament just as Hebrew is of the Old Testament (with each containing small bits of Aramaic). These are the original languages in which the Bible was originally written. The textual evidence we have for the original autographs is immense, especially in the New Testament. Scholars of all persuasion and all groups are in complete agreement as to about 99+% of the text of the Bible. It is true that the other (somewhat less than) 1% is very important, so that anyone wanting to "really know" what the Bible has to say does need to have some facility with the art of textual criticism as well. I have devoted my adult life to these matters and can say with confidence that we possess everything we need, due to God's blessings, to establish accurately the correct text which, for all practical and reasonable purposes, is the original. A translation, on the other hand, is something completely different. A translation is essentially an interpretation. It is impossible to translate "literally", and anyone who even attempts such a thing of any document from any language to any other will produce only gobbledygook. The KJV, for example, is not any more a "literal" translation that the NIV (or pick your version). As I tell my students, there are good translations and bad ones – stay away from the bad ones. The KJV is a good translation, but it is incorrect both in its understanding of the text in some places and in its interpretation of the text in many others. That is certainly understandable because to translate accurately, one has to understand completely and correctly what the original means as well as what it says, then find the perfect way to represent that precisely in the target language (no easy feat). Translating Acts 2:38 into "good English" and yet reflecting the shift of imperatives from the direct second person to the less direct and necessarily permissive third person construction is difficult to render into "smooth English", and for this reason no doubt is overlooked entirely by most published translation (where style is of greater moment than content) – but see below on the NASB's rendering. If you would like to understand what the passage actually says, stopping at published translations will always be a very limiting factor. I would recommend consulting a good grammatical commentary. These may not always (often even) give you all the answers you would like, but at least they will sometimes alert you to issues not clear for English-only Bible students.

As to my translation, I gave that to you in my last e-mail. The translation is based upon the Greek text of Acts 2:38. There is almost no variation in the various manuscripts of this text. The text I have translated is identical to that which occurs in the oldest and best manuscript of the Greek New Testament, codex Sinaiticus (Aleph), and essentially the same as that of the 26th Nestle edition (though they bracket phesi(n), inappropriately in my view – it is there in Aleph). There are a few minor variations in the various mss., but none of these in my view are of any great significance. The bottom line here is that it is not a question of the text but a question of how one is understanding it and then translating it (as I said, most versions plaster over the switch of persons in the imperatives, leave out the phesi(n), and misunderstand the eis aphesin).

Also, most people who come to this verse bring their baggage with them. Your position is a perfect example. Peter does not say "Every Christian should be baptized" or "Every Christian must be baptized" or "If you are not baptized, your sins are not forgiven" or "Unless you are baptized, you are not saved" – and yet from our correspondence it is my understanding that this is precisely what you assume Peter means (even though it is not what he says). So you are reading your own views into the passage. What Peter actually says is "repent!". What that actually means is "change your thinking!" The change has to do with one's attitude towards Jesus Christ – a change from unbelief to belief. After all, Peter is only following up here on his sermon to the effect that Jesus is the true Messiah, and it is to that point that the audience has responded in distress. Moreover, as I have repeatedly pointed out, Peter is speaking to a particular group on a particular occasion, and it is contrary to all canons of literary interpretation to ignore the audience and the occasion in interpreting what a speaker has said. Not all people in the history of the Church thereafter would be 1) Jewish, 2) have a personal knowledge and experience of John's baptism, 3) have had prior wrong ideas about Jesus of Nazareth, 4) have heard a multitude speaking in tongues, 5) be receiving this new information at the very beginning of the Church when the apostles' authority had not yet been established, 6) be receiving the gospel before the Bible was completed, 7) be receiving the gospel before the Spirit was automatically given. One could go on. Every one of these factors conditions the way Peter delivered this address. I am firmly convinced that if Peter were giving the gospel today in, say, Cleveland, to a group of gentiles who had heard of Jesus and the Bible, only were not saved, that he would say absolutely nothing about water-baptism.

3. I had a look at the website, but didn't find anything particularly deep or helpful there. They continue the mistaken idea that eis plus the accusative means in this context "purpose". Wrong. It means "in reference to" here, or simply "for" in the sense of reference rather than purpose. That is made clear enough from the other passage the site brings up, Acts 3:19, where the "wiping out" of sins, an equivalent to "the forgiveness of sins" in Acts 2:38, is expressed completely apart from any appeal to water-baptism. PLEASE NOTE: in Acts 3:19 "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out", the repentance is described as a "conversion" or "complete turning" back to God (the result of changing one's thinking) and results in forgiveness, the wiping away of sins without water-baptism which is not present in that context. This is important because in Acts 3:19 we have Peter speaking again and in close proximity to his Pentecost speech. Now if he thought water-baptism was an essential part of the process of salvation, it is inconceivable that he would have said here a few days later that a mere change of heart (i.e., "faith") could produce forgiveness – unless that was what he was thinking all along. My translation of Acts 2:38 squares it perfectly with Acts 3:19, but no translation of Acts 3:19 can be made to square with an erroneous interpretation of Acts 2:38 which seeks to link water-baptism to the forgiveness of sins. Peter understood, even at this early stage when his learning curve was still steep, that faith produces forgiveness, not the ritual of water-baptism – otherwise he would have linked the two here, which he most certainly does not.

4. You have never addressed the fact, as proven in previous e-mails, that Matthew 28:18-20 is speaking about Spirit baptism and not water-baptism, and in fact cannot refer to water-baptism (contrary to what is often erroneously assumed). Jesus never authorized water-baptism, never water-baptized anyone, and in fact always made the Spirit the issue (e.g., Jn.14-16; Acts 1:3-8), never water-baptism. This squares with the prophecy of John (that the Messiah will baptize with the Spirit not water), with the Old Testament prophets (e.g., Is.11:1-3), and with the NT epistles (Eph.4:5). As mentioned repeatedly and never answered, the whole thrust of all the prophecies and actions and statements about our Lord and His Church are focused upon Spirit baptism and not water-baptism. That is why it is so important to get this passage, Acts 2:38, correct, since it is often used to mislead people on this issue. Matthew 28, however, as pointed out exhaustively in the past, cannot refer to water-baptism for many reasons, not the least of which is that a water ritual cannot make a person an integral part of the Trinity; we can only be made "one" with God through the power of God – by the baptism of the Spirit. If you would like to revisit this passage after we are finished with Acts, that would be fine, but please don't assume that it is "proof" of your position since it is in fact proof of the opposite.

5. Jesus never water-baptized anyone, and scripture states this very clearly (Jn.4:1-2). As to your unique theory of a "Jesus' baptism", show me in scripture where the phrase "Jesus' baptism" occurs and we can discuss this. In fact, water-baptism is John's baptism, as even Jesus says repeatedly (Matt.21:25; Mk.11:30; Lk.20:4; cf. Acts 1:22; 19:3-4). Jesus' baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11 TNIV

"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Acts 1:4-5 TNIV

The fact that water is used in the transitional period as part of the mediation of the Spirit is no argument for a "Jesus' baptism" as a separate, new type. That is so even in places were "in the Name of Jesus" is used as a formula. Why? Because Jesus never authorizes this formula or this practice. The intoning of His Name was a way for people to link the old (John's) with the new (the Spirit). When the mediation was no longer necessary, the entire rationale for the water was gone, which is why it was discontinued. You state that water-baptism has been a feature of the "church" for centuries. Do you believe in immersion? If so, then you will have to dump that line. Immersion was only reintroduced during the Reformation. If you are appealing to Roman Catholic practice, well, they say that you have to be Roman Catholic in good standing to be saved (no matter how many times you've been water-baptized). They also put a very low premium on faith.

6. Faith is precisely the problem to which Peter is responding in Acts 2:38. Don't miss the entire earlier context. The crowd assumed that those speaking in tongues were drunk, then Peter addressed the crowd and explained to them that this was the pouring out of the Spirit they were witnessing, then proved to them from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus was indeed the Christ, then they appealed to him "what shall we do?!" (i.e., in order to be saved), then he responded with Acts 2:38, which tells them to change their thinking – about Christ (the whole context of his earlier appeal: have faith that He is the Messiah, the true Christ, whereas before they had doubted it); as a result, they would have the Spirit too (mediated at the water-baptism). Faith in Jesus Christ is precisely what this context is all about; Peter preaching to a group of religious Jews who had not accepted Jesus; but the pouring out of the Spirit gave authority to Peter's words . . . about Christ, and made them ripe for salvation . . . though faith. You are assuming a meaning for "repent" based upon the English word and your particular organizational context. The Greek word is meta-noeo which means, "literally", to change one's mind/thinking. If believers are in view, the change of mind may well have only to do with sin (because we already believe). But with unbelievers in view, while sin is an issue (it clearly needs to be forgiven, especially with this group who are "pricked to the heart" because they now realize they have rejected the true Messiah), it is by changing one's mind about Jesus and having faith in Him instead of disbelief, that this forgiveness is effected (Acts 3:19); that is what is meant in Acts 2:38 by "change your mind", and that is the force of the "in reference to" / "for a demonstration of" / [or simply, "literally"] "for the forgiveness of sins" – they are forgiven through faith in Jesus.

a) Repent . . . and [let each one] be baptized

Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized . . ." NASB

Seems I'm not entirely alone. The NASB is a very good, conservative translation. I prefer mine, but this lets you see, I hope, something of what I am saying. The type of verbal mood used for "[let] each of you be baptized" (the flavor is permissive following a direct command) is critically different from that of "repent" which is indeed a direct command. The fact that most translations don't bother to get the details correct here is something for which I have no need to apologize. This is a great example of why doing theology without the linguistic tools is fraught with many dangers. From the NIV, one would not even realize there is a difference in the two verbs. There is, and a critical one at that. If the NIV were absolutely correct here "repent and be baptized" then Peter would be changing the game at Acts 3:19. In fact, what he says there is entirely consistent with what he says here, correctly understood. He is not making water baptism a condition for salvation or forgiveness. He is encouraging it on this one occasion as a way to mediate the baptism of the Spirit in order to fulfill the mandate of Matthew 28 "baptizing them [with the Spirit] into the Person of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit".

b) Romans 10. Here is what I wrote you before:

[first occasion]: Romans 10:8-13: In fact, this passage teaches that "confession" is the flip side of the coin from "belief"; that is to say, they are not two separate things which are both required for salvation, but dual representations of the same exact thing: saving faith. If you believe, you will confess (for no one who truly believes will deny the Lord: Matt.10:32; 2Tim.2:12); and if you confess, it means that you have truly believed (for no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit: 1Cor.12:3). And of course, this passage does not even hint at water-baptism.

[second occasion]: On Romans 10, the "two sides of the coin" analogy has a proof, namely, : "If you believe, you will confess (for no one who truly believes will deny the Lord: Matt.10:32; 2Tim.2:12); and if you confess, it means that you have truly believed (for no one can say "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit: 1Cor.12:3)." Thus we see the two sides of the coin really are inseparable, so that this is not just a good illustration but an accurate reflection of what scripture teaches. Your bringing in of James is really an apples and oranges comparison since James is very clearly talking about works of faith which stem from salvation not what is required to bring about salvation. Otherwise you are saying that Abraham was not saved until at over 100 he took Isaac to Mt. Moriah (that is James' example, after all).

*Yes, Paul says "if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved". But please note, according to your own logic, that means baptism is not necessary since it is not mentioned as a condition of salvation in the literal "verbatim" presentation here.

I see no "chink" in my understanding. They asked Peter "what shall we do?!", and he told them: "repent/have faith in Jesus". I have already explained many times now the reason for the "and let each of you be baptized" part: the mediation of the Holy Spirit: "and you will receive the Holy Spirit" (v.39).

Finally, your statement about the mediation being impossible without a direct expression in the text makes no interpretive sense. Clearly, these people were water baptized by the apostles.

Would you like to explain to me how you can water-baptism someone without touching them?

In Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Rob,

I am sorry for the delay. I am a busy guy. My wifes birthday is this weekend, and I have lots of work to get done as well as spending time with my little one. I am working on a responce to your last email, on the points I can respond to. As for the Greek to English translations I am have emailed IBS (International Bible Society) asking for a contact list of those who are responcible for the translation of Acts 2:38 as well as a couple other places. There will be a learning curve on this for me as I am not familiar with Koine Greek. I do have some understanding of Demotic (Modern Greek) so I hope that grammatically it will be similar. Thanks again for your patience, I hope that you and your family stay well over the flu season. I hope to send you what I can soon.

In Christ

Response #6: 

Dear Friend,

By all means, take your time. I will be very surprised to learn that IBS is willing to let out any information about translators. Generally speaking, the policy for all these versions has been to keep this information very close to the vest (for a variety of reasons). Please let me know how that goes. One of my former professors years ago was a translator for the "New King James", and he told us that they were very insistent about anonymity. As to Modern Greek, it's quite different from Classical-Koine (which latter two are essentially the same for almost all intents and purposes).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Rob,

Thanks for the pit stop, I appreciate it. I have put out my shingle with quite a few different sourses. I have not however had much success as of yet on the Greek. Maby every one went on vacation at once? I don't know. What I can assure you of is I will not let it die until I get to the bottom of it. It does not benefit anyone to accept a lie in the place of the truth (you or me). As for you comment on the IBS, I would not be suprised. I did however get the name of one translator on council of the NIV as a result of someone telling me the Church of Christ (baptism for the forgiveness of sins group) was not represented on the preface of the NIV. They are and I proved it to him. However like all those I have confronted on the matter of baptism thus far he did not admit any mistake on his part (that would be impossible), instead he told me he would look into it and get back to me. It has been months and months and I am still waiting. A tree is know by its fruit. If one cannot be honest about things that are not important how can I trust them when the speak on matters that are?

You mensioned that your professor was on the committe of translator of the NKJV. I would like to contact him for to start with. Perhaps he can explain to me why or how the rules leading to the English translation of this passage render it with as you put 'a very different' meaning from the Greek. If it is as you say to submit to a perticular style rather then the truth his comments ought to sustain your claims.

Anonymity. I know the NWT of the Watch Tower and Bible Track association make this claim for sure. I thought however when it came to Christian scholars translating our bibles our policy was more on the front lines, open to scruteny? I thought this was Chrisendoms calling card? I guess I will find out? Yes, I will keep you posted. Until I do get a Greek Scholar I will comment on the other stuff, up and comming.

In Christ

Response #7: 

I have not had any contact with said professor for decades and have no idea where he is today.

The KJV really began the whole anonymity thing (in terms of which team member did which verse). Obviously, if I were to translate the entire Bible myself, then you would know whom to praise (or blame) if you like (or don't like) the result. During the days of the KJV, since this was going to be an "official" translation for an "official" state-sponsored church, heavy politics were involved, and you can understand how a lowly professor on the staff at the University of London as a member of one of the three translation teams would really not want to lose his job for the trouble of doing the service of translating, say, the book of Esther – just because someone might later take offense at one of his renderings.

Today, it's a question of commercial interests. Every version wants to come across as masterfully authoritative and carefully homogenized. But if we knew who did what book or what section of which book, then 1) we would easily be able to see the differences in the way Dr. X translates certain phrases from the way Dr. Z does it (= differences in style and authority), and we might even contact (or harass) either or both professors in places where we are upset. So the translators would rather not be known, and for commercial reasons the translation companies would rather they not be known. I would like to say that this is all about "style", but that is clearly not the case. I am sure there are style guides given to the translators, and you can bet there are committees who review, vet, and edit the work in all cases. That is where the style – and the politics – would come in. But in the end, there is no way around the fact that in order to get the final answer on all questions of interpretation, one has to go to the Greek and Hebrew originals oneself.

Every time I read the Hebrew and Greek (which is every day) I find things and see things that are not obvious from any English translation. And more often than not when I translate a verse, I end up putting things in a way that no other English version does – even if only through parenthetical expansions or explanations. I have the advantage of not caring that my translations are not the most melodious since I am interested in meaning over style. But of course anyone who wants to produce a publishable translation usually makes the decision to sacrifice a certain amount of clarity for the sake of uniformity of style and smoothness of rendering. There is also the point that if a person is translating a verse or a chapter or even a book without really having the goal of teaching the underlying theology and meaning of all that is in it, a certain superficiality must result just because that person has not gotten to the point of figuring out precisely what the author is really saying in the argument. To take but one example, in Romans 3:23 versions consistently translate "for all have sinned". That sounds nice in English, but the Greek verb is in the aorist. The first idea should be "all sinned" (i.e., a simple past tense), and while neither this nor the usual translation is impossible, a theological exegesis would at least examine the curiosity whereas a mere translation is moving too fast to have time to bother – it "works" and sounds reasonable in English, so leave the fine points to the commentaries, etc. In fact, what we have in Romans 3:23 is not some Hebrew-perfect influence on the Greek, but a Greek idiom known as the gnomic aorist, that is, using what is normally the simple past tense used instead as a statement of generality, a statement of proverbial application: "Everyone sins, and thus falls short of God's glory". Mistranslated, it produces a cottage-industry of support for the false notion of some "imputation of Adam's sin", which in fact exists no place in Romans at all (though most Christian theology across a wide-range of disparate groups accepts that non-existent "doctrine" as a given, largely on the basis of just such inadequate translations going back to the Latin Vulgate).

No one can, of course, spend the time necessary to get everything out of every verse every time, and, indeed, there is a learning process here (or should be), so that the reality is that no complete translation of the Bible is every going to come close to offering a perfect solution. We will never get away from our need to carefully exegete the original Greek and Hebrew texts. Acts 2:38 is a wonderful case in point. If you are lucky enough to find someone with the necessary bona fides to discuss the Greek text in detail, please keep in mind that whoever translated the verse for, say, the NIV version, probably didn't spend more than a couple a minutes on it at the most – probably much less. Translators of versions usually work off of prior translations (as, for example, much of the famous KJV phraseology actually goes back to Wycliffe, which goes back to earlier Old English versions which go back to the Vulgate Latin version which goes back to the Old Latin . . .). If a translator is looking at several earlier versions as his templates, and if after looking at (in this case) the Greek he is easily satisfied that there is no great disagreement in the earlier versions as to the essential way to render a passage such as Acts 2:38, he will probably just homogenize the earlier composite English text to his style and that of the current version overall. Occasionally, one or two points might researched, but please understand that the people involved in such exercises are not digging into the language aggressively to "try and really understand what it really means" – that is not seen as "their job". For simple, narrative texts, that might cause little problem, and, indeed, when quoting OT or NT narrative portions I often am able to find a version that accurately reflects what is "really there" without any great problems, and does so in a pleasing style to boot. But where complex theological issues are involved, such as in our passage, a very precise translation which really understands what exactly is meant is absolutely key for believers, but seldom provided by versions. Often times, the problem with the versions is that they have seized upon a way to translate problematic verses of this kind without "taking sides", and indeed in the "use the templates" method, favorite phrases are not only the ones that ring in our ears, e.g., "the nations are like a drop in the bucket" (actually the Hebrew says "like a drop from a bucket"), but also ones that approach difficult theological problems with "creative ambiguity" – that is, a really "nice" way of putting something that lets either side of a debate read into the translation what they wish, or by being vague doesn't open up the version for "taking sides". To get back to our exemplar, Acts 2:38, one of the operative phrases is "eis aphesin ton hamartion hymon":

NIV: "for the forgiveness of your sins"

KJV: "for the remission of sins"

NASB: "for the forgiveness of your sins"

AMP: "for the forgiveness of and release from your sins"

NLT: "for the forgiveness of your sins"

MSG: "so your sins are forgiven"

What all these versions have in common, even the more expressive "daring" ones, is that they do not really explain the phrase with their translation – both of our positions can be reconciled with any of these. If I believed what you believe, I would tie the prepositional phrase very closely to the baptism and express it as a result: "so that as a result [of being baptized] your sins will be forgiven". Now of course as you know I do not believe that is what it means, nor, I would argue, is this really what the phrase does (or perhaps even can) mean when viewed from a purely linguistic critique, but at least such a translation would be taking sides in an obvious way. As shared before, I would prefer to translate "be baptized . . . as a demonstration of the forgiveness of your sins [which comes as a result of this faith]"; less "in your face" renderings might simply say "in reference to the forgiveness of your sins" for my side, "for the purpose of forgiving your sins" for yours. But please note that none of the versions dares to go that far in either direction. And if this is true on a verse that is largely narrative in nature, how surprised should we be when versions are even less helpful in dense theological territory like the Pauline epistles? What all this means, and this is the most important point of my email, is that one really cannot use an English translation as "evidence". An English translation which one has produced oneself can make clear what the self-translator understands the verse to "really mean", but that will have to be defended and further explained in the exegesis of the passage. English versions, however, leave us with no translator to "ask" for further info, and as the above exercise has sought to demonstrate, in the vast majority of cases we cannot really expect that the translator has "really understood" all the theological implications of the translations he has produced in the first place. People often erroneously assume that translating the Bible has as its goal explaining the Bible, but nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, it is perfectly possible for an unbeliever with zero interest in the meaning of scripture to translate the Bible and to produce a stylistically pleasing result, but we should not assume that because it "sounds nice" to us in English, that it really brings out the true meaning of the passages rendered in every case. That is because, the Bible being what it is, there are plenty of occasions where without truly understanding what is being said in the Hebrew/Greek, a translation is going to be at best unhelpful, and at worst very misleading – as in the case of Acts 2:38.

Anyway, apologies for the long-winded response. I will be on the lookout for your next epistle.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Rob,

1.I appreciate the time you have spent in your explaination of how the bible was translated. The picture you paint of the entire translation process needs more validation then just your personal understanding or opinion if I am to accept it. You should be able to provide me with evidence in the from of facts by those who are known scholars in this field (Thayer, Strong, Mantley, At Robertson, Daniel Wallace, Ralph Marcus, etc).

2. Your first paragraph seems to be making the point that Political coruption was first on the adjenda when it came to the interpretation of the KJV not an accurate rendering of the Bible. This is a huge hack on the authority of any and all English translations with absolutely no proof other then your own word. What known scholars or scholary work can you cite as evidence other then your own to back up the accusations you have made? In short where are you getting this information?

3. Second paragrah. Dr. W,X,Y,Z may all have different styles and authority in translation, however at the end of the day the passage is always given the same meaning. A quick look at the various way Acts 2:38 is written in English in these various versions makes this very clear. Not one passage in any version I have ever read to date has ever rendered Acts 2:38 as you have in our email correspondance thus far,("repent . . . for the remission of your sins"). Nor does any passage provide the paranthesis that you do in your other translations (with the added explaination that you do). I challenge you to find me one English version that does render this passage in such a way?

4. Third paragraph. You end the second with the statement that to get a final answer on interpretation, one has to go to the Greek and Hebrew origionals oneself. Comming out of this light you define the process of translation of English versions from the perspective that translators do not dig into the real meaning of the Greek to provide exactly what is rendered but rather resort to a method of curtailing their translation to reflect the rendering given in the series of templates they have before them. You do again provide me no factual evidnce to prove such a tale. I would argue given just what you have said that these templates could have to have been translated from earlier manuscripts and what Translators of English (modern) may be doing with these templates is saving the copies from individual interpretations of the Greek (such as yours) and thus corruption. Case in point is our opposite ideas of what Acts 2:38 says in plain English. We are told plainly in English that baptism is for the remission of your sins. You attach your meaning to it, I accept it as it is reads and thus we have two entirely different understanding of what is written in the passage. This could be exactly what councils and translators are affraid will happening to the translations if they allowed those to depart from the orgional translative wordings. The system seems more to be to be a system of checks and balances to keep the scripture accurate.

Another point I bring up is known Greek grammatarians such as AT Robertson and Daniel Wallace, and Thayer do not accept baptism in water as a means of reaching the blood of Christ as I do. Yet they have not come out with their own (proper) rendering of this passage in a modern translation. There must be a good reason for this? If Koine Greek is as you say not rendered accurately thus far in English, we should have seen a translation that is? That seems very odd to me, especially since they are the ones rejecting the plain rendering of this passage in English and adding their commentaries as to how we must understand similar to what you are doing.

Lastly Acts 2:38 from its translation provides no complex theological issues from its plain rendering. You make it complex by attaching meanings that are not even mensioned in the context of this passage. How on earth could you expect me to accept such a position?

4. Meanings of 'for the remission of sins'. You state:

What all these versions have in common, even the more expressive "daring" ones, is that they do not really explain the phrase with their translation -- both of our positions can be reconciled with any of these.

Not true, and this has been my point all along! Acts 2:38 in any and all English Translations only reads one way from the context given. A baptism of repentance for the remission of sins is what Peter commands of Jews that clearly repented and believed prior to his command. Their responce to the Gospel in Verse 37 is evidence of this, of which you have yet to deal with in full (in addition to the question I gave you emails ago citing the parallel passage of Acts 22:16). .

What all this means, and this is the most important point of this email, is that one really cannot use an English translation as "evidence".

So you are saying that my English translation is essentialy unreliable to evidence or support any position? This seems to me to be a very scary sectarian statement and again with out citing any known Scholars commentarys to support such a statement. What exactly is your academic achievement in Greek and Hebrew (Masters/Doctorate)? Where did you attend school? What known Scholars will back up the statements you have made regarding the scholastic work of English translations?

Response #8: 

Dear Friend,

The last email was for not meant to be controversial but edifying. I am very surprised that you are taking what seems to be a hostile view of it. These are facts that anyone who wants to interpret the scripture and get to the truth beyond a superficial view of things has to know – whatever position they take on Acts 2:38, for example. I have five advanced degrees and have spent three decades doing this sort of thing for a living and as a ministry (secular and divine material considered respectively). My CV is available on line (see the link); I think I have earned the right to have an opinion. It was proffered for your benefit – but you certainly don't have to accept it.

And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Luke 3:3 KJV

Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.
Luke 3:8 KJV

As the above ought to make clear, repentance is, as I have said all along, the act to which "remission of sins" is attached semantically . N.b. it is not as your position on Acts 2:38 assumes a "baptism of/for remission" but a "repentance of/for remission" that John preached: repentance/faith producing the forgiveness Q.E.D. Thus the result of repentance ought to be proper behavior (Acts 2:38: *John does not say "fruits worthy of baptism", but "of repentance*). It is the repentance (and the faith which corresponds to it) that produces the remission, not the baptism. This is clearly what Peter understands too, and that is why he adds baptism parenthetically and in a less authoritative way. Any translation which fails to make clear that it is the repentance, not the baptism, which is to be linked directly to the remission misunderstands both the Greek and the theology. In my professional analysis of the major versions, they have sought to take a neutral stance on this point. But the truth is clear, and anyone comparing any English version of Luke chapter 3 with Acts chapter 2 (Luke, is the author of both books, by the way) can readily see – if they are willing to see.

In the One who is the Truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Dear Rob,

1.I do not want to be hostile or take any such view towards you or anyone. The matter we are discussing is not a matter to be taken lightly (that includes all comments to verify positions). If we were discussing family or sports then the mood and content would be vastly different as we would be more care free about what we believe and say on the subject.

2.You have earned your opinion? It is my understanding that an opinion origionates with the one who has it. It's owned by the individual. An opinion is not earned by anyone but rather created by the individual. Your opinion works to define who you are. It is the opinion of Charles Darwin that man evolved from a common ancestor (Ape). He is defined then as Scientist of Evolution or an 'Evolutionist'. Right or wrong his opinion origionates with and belongs to him alone and does not require the acceptance of others. Neither do ours.

3.Respect from other people, on the other hand, at times must earned. As for our conversation you have earned my respect in some areas and not in others. Your attitude in this conversation has been for the most part good (other then some mild attacks on my personal integrety which until this email I have not responded to). I also respect and appreciate the fact that you have taken up study of ancient Greek and Hebrew and recieved 5 degrees, this I can imagine required much studing, toil, and just old fashioned hard work.

I am not trying to down play your lifes work, however we both know two award winning PhD(s) can have opposite points of views on the same topic of study and provide 'evidence' to back their point of view (as can two lawyers in a court room). Since the evidence they provide opposes each other there is only one of two correct answers (both are wrong, or one is correct). Looking at the matter at hand, you claim it is possible for Act 2:38 to be understood from both perspectives (mine and yours) from the English rendering. In order for this to be true the text would need to express this teaching plainly. A simple reading of the passage entirely proves your statement false. Let me be clear you are wrong on this not because I say you are wrong, but rather because syntax and context of this passage does not allow it. If it did you and I would agree, however your meaining does not exist in this text beyond the bias/baggage you force into it.

4. Although you call your senond to last email to me one of edification and are upset with my hostile attitute, it is not with out merrit. You gingerly hack down the authority of English translations in your 'edifying email', going as far as to state that I cannot use them as 'evidence' since they are not available to back up what they have done. Please make no mistake no matter how pleasant you are here Rob you are you still have the motivation of attacking and destroying the plain meaning of the English text in mind, and this is exactly what you are trying to achieve here.

I do not confuse hospitality with patronization. Since we are opponents on this matter of baptism and see each others views as false/spiritually dangerous that is the mood of the conversation. I would like to be your buddy and even learn from you but you have not gained my trust. For any such thing to ever happen you will need to stop fighting me on the plain rendering and meaning given in at least the English texts but rather accept them for what they do say. If you continue to be hard pressed to convince me otherwise, no matter how many times you proclaim validation for your beliefs. Since I know you will either quit or continue to promote the position you have thus far I expect to see more then your own words on the page but rather I expect to see back of from various approved scholatic sourses to back up your belief system.

5. You state that I link the prepositional phrase 'so that as a result (of being baptised) your sins will be forgiven'. I have done no such thing ever, I read the Bible and extract meaning from the words in context, and cross reference it with what the Bible teaches on the subject in other areas to make sure it fits. I can provide for you proper English translations that bare this very rendering you use (with the addition of 'repent') if you would like.

6.The 'evidence', you provide is all your opinion. You have presented no other name of authority to substantiate you claims then your very own. Even the great evangelical scholars and PhDs provide references to support their positions from other great minds (hence reference notes, bibliography). You provide nothing of the sort other then generalities. Your postion is at no time is represented by a clear plain reading and acceptance of what is said looking clearly at the context of the passage at hand Acts 2:38 nor by any other passage I have cited to you in previous emails. Your 'evidence' provided for the English rendering of Acts 2:38 foriegn to the plain rendering and context of this passage therefore it is not valid. In addition your scholary validation does not extend beyond your own credentials.

7. As for edification, you have made perviously demeaning personal accusations or 'attacks' at me, and others for simply reading and accepting what the passage clearly states. Although you have been the best at keeping the blantantly abusive comments to yourself, and personal attacks out of the conversation for the most part, it is clearly not beyond you to down play my very intellegence and honesty by stating that my view of Acts 2:38 is;

a) 'superficial' meaning that my belief does not have depth or a foundation. It is interesting that you use this word. I could actually take this as a back handed complement since on the flip side you are recognizing that I have read and accepted the plain meaning of this passage at face value. Oddly enought you expect no more then a 'superficial' rendering of Acts 3:19, John 3:16 and other passages that make no mension of water baptism. I do not see harmony between scriptures in this doctrine of yours just a need to cover up what is plainly seen through the means of manipulation of semantics (trading the truth for lie).

b) We bring our baggage to the text Act 2:38. Yes this is an insult to say the least. Since it imply that we/I am forcing an adjenda foriegn to the text at hand. This calls my honesty and integrety into question in addition to my intellegence. You have no idea what you are talking about or who your are talking to. So let me fill you in on exactly what baggage you ignorantly refer to.

I over looked the purpose of baptism from the scriptures for about 30 years. My understanding of baptism has been that it is the outward sign of the inward act (salvation). Yes, salvation before water baptism and I never questioned it. It was not until I was forced to validate my belief that the pupose of baptism was not for salvation using the litteral wording of scipture in context that I found myself utterly defeated. Let me make this very clear, the last thing I ever wanted was to be challenged and scripturally defeated on a matter so personal to me as that of salvation. That is why I went beyond my translation to any and every site that would give me excuse to reject need from baptism. I used every excuse (other then the one we are now discussing). It hit me hard that I had no biblical backing for my beliefs that salvation was granted apart from baptism. I didn't give up my pet doctrine, I knew I was wrong since I only had to read the scriptures presented to me for what they said to be sure. All my excuse texts were harmoniously satisfied. I still refused to repent and be baptised for a little while. However as time went on I knew it was going to get me nowhere so I accepted the truth and was baptised once again. This time for the remission of my sins. If anyone would have cause to prove your case that baptism is NOT for the remission of sins or even necessary it would be me. That is the bagbage I bring to this passage. Please do not make the mistake of slotting me in with all those who have not made the transition from one doctrinal belief to another. I am not championing the COC as a denomination above all others I speak only in defence of what I have learned. For the sake of all my relatives and friends and even you who still reject baptisms purpose I hope that you are right that we are saved by faith alone. If you are correct then we will all laugh about it later in heaven. However Gods word is not based on what I want but on his will. It is not mine or yours to bend so we can satisfy our own personal feelings and securities regarding self and family. Truth is truth and plainly understood from Gods word and that is my entire point.

Anyway I am still researching the Acts 2:38 grammar evidence you provided me with in the previous email. I am in contact with the CBT (committe of bible translation). I have emailed them, as well as others. I have recieved a discourse from a someone who does not want to be involved or is allowing me to use their responce. It would have been some what useful in our discussion here but that is not available to me, yahoo. Thank you for your patience however. In the mean time you can answer more questions if you so choose, yaaa.

This pertains to the context of Acts 2:38 so please read and answer. Thanks.

1.a) Did the Jews, repent and believe before, during, or after Peter preached the Gospel?

b) Did you repent/have faith/confess as the Gospel was preached to you, or after it was over and only in the very moment the preacher commanded it of you?

c) If it was during the preaching that you began to believe in Jesus Christ would it not stand to reason then that the same process would apply to all people including the Jews on the day of Pentecost as well as the gentiles? Please explain to me the very likely hood of 3000 people all believing/repenting/confessing christ in one moment? Does this truly seem plausable?

d) If the Jews had repented/believed/confessed before Peter commanded it why was this then not enough to be saved before his command? According to your theory their sins should have been washed away by faith long before Peters command to repent. Verse 37 tells us with out a doubt that the Jews were pricked in their hearts.

e) Verse 37 'pricked in their hearts'. This shows that they believed in Jesus and the message of the Gospel. According to your own definition belief is a 3 sided coin. If you have belief you have repentance, if you have belief you have confession. So by your definition these Jew believed/repented/confessed before Peter commanded anything of them. This is probably why many groups to day teach that repentance is a product of salvation that comes by faith alone rather then a requirement of salvation as you are teaching here.

This being a fact Peter knowing that they believed still required of them repentance? Repentance in the form of water baptism. The repentance Peter mensions in verse 38 can only be an active form not mental. They had changed their minds in verse 37 since they had 'FAITH' (they are inseperable remember?). So what kind of repentance is Peter talking about? It cannot be the sort that is inseperable from faith since they had that long before his command? What is worse is that the faith they had did not save them since verse 38 defines that they were still in their sins and needed to repent. Since they repented already at the point of faith and should have been saved by clearly were not what repentance is Peter talking about?

Baptism is the act of repentance necessary for the remission of sins and from the context what Peter is mensioning here. Otherwise we would have to conclude that commanded repentance is the necessary element since the kind that is accompanied by faith is not suffient to save. Also, I did not say that baptism 'is' repentance that is to put words into my mouth. From a verbatum rendering of this passage there simply is no other understanding from the context. It is as inseperable in this context as faith is from repentance (mentally). Sackcloth and ashes were also an act repentance towards God done from the heart to call upon God and beg his mercy. Baptism draws a very similar parallel to this. We call upon the name of the Lord for mercy and it is granted. The questions above encapulate such acts of repentance from the heart that got the attension of God and mercy was granted. Baptism however is required Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16.

Repentance produces remission of sins? Really????? I thought is was the imputation of Christ righteousness that produced remission of sins? I thought that it was impossible for us to earn remission of sins? Apparently you are do not agree. Nothing we can do can ever produce remission of sins otherwise we would have no need of Christ. Not faith, not repentance, not confession, not baptism, nothing we do can produce remission of sins. It is a gift of God, that Christ alone produced on the cross and is imputed to us.

f) At what point was the Theif on the Cross saved before or after he called to Jesus to have mercy. Did he have faith before or after Jesus promiced him paradice?

g) At what point was the harlot saved, before or after she washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with here hair? Did she not believe until the moment Jesus said your sins are forgiven you or before?

h) At what point was the Publican forgiven before or after he beat his chest begging Gods mercy? Did he have faith in God before or after?

i) Did the Jews instantly Repent/have faith/confess the moment Peter commanded it of them? Is this then a work of obediance or ritual/formula unto salvation similar to the pattern of baptism?

I cannot get past the bare obvious fact you cannot satify your belief (salvation by faith alone) from a plain rendering of this passage. There is simpy NO mension of such a doctrine anywere in scripture and especially not here.

In Christ

Response #9: 

Dear Friend,

You have your opinion. I have mine. My opinion at least has the virtue of being developed based upon considerable experience, education, and linguistic tools. I went out of my way to get these credentials because I felt it was important not only to actually have them but also to be able to show proper qualifications for God's work. Somehow I fail to see how that puts what I say at a disadvantage to what you say.

As to Acts 2:38, you know very well (if you have read what I said, that is), that I support the scriptural position that the flip side of repentance is faith (the two cannot be separated as Romans makes clear). After all, Peter never tells these Jews to "believe", but we know they must have done so.

In addition to the careful exegesis, explanations and translation of Acts 2:38, I have also shown you an irrefutable parallel that make very clear what Peter is actually saying: repentance/faith results in the gift of the Spirit (not water-baptism): "preaching a baptism of repentance-for-the-forgiveness-of-sins" (Mk.1:4; Lk.3:3). Repentance-Faith brings forgiveness-salvation – and that is what opens the way for the baptism of the Spirit.

This has been a valuable exercise for me in that it has demonstrated to me very clearly not only the correctness of the Spirit-baptism position in somewhat greater detail, but also how the opposite position inevitably adheres to an attitude which seems from your present tone somewhat less than filial. That might not be a decisive indication of error, but it is not without moment.

Finally, I don't really find much new in your email that has not already been addressed many times now. You've already made it abundantly clear before that you do not accept what I find to be the simple truth of what Acts 2:38 is really saying and really means. The truth is that what Peter tells this crowd is completely consistent with everything else scripture teaches everywhere else on these subjects – something that would not be the case if there were "magic in the water". But we know (or should) that it is the Blood of Christ which washes away sin, not literal water, ritually applied to our physical flesh.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
John 6:63 NASB

In Jesus through whom and in whom we have eternal life.

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Rob,

I know you will not agree but. Here is some, 'new stuff' for you to concider as you answer the list of questions I sent you:

1.Historical records show that the view of water baptism has been for the remission of sins dates back to the first century. see www.bebaptized.org/UndeniableFacts.htm

2. This article shed a some light on what baptism (water) is agreed upon by most scholars when it comes to the great commission represented by both Matt 28 and Mark 16

a)http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/917-does-mark-16-16-involve-water-baptism.

b) http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/247-the-great-commission-according-to-matthew

3. This article is also interesting as it provides a one on one responce to the grammar issue you have brought up concerning Acts 2:38. Wayne Jackson parallels this discussion and takes it to F.W. Gingrich, a name you may respect. See link

http://christiancourier.com/articles/77-acts-2:38-not-so-tough

4. As for Water verses the Spirit in New Testament baptism

http://www.christaincourier.com/articles/465-new-testament-baptism-in-water-or-the-spirit

Hope you enjoy! I will provide more on the grammar issues of Acts once I get a responce from the CBT from the IBS.

You said: You have your opinion. I have mine.

I wonder if you even read any of my last discourse to you? What you are really saying above is that you do not accept my opinion since I have not as you have made very clear, 'studied it out fully'. My responce to this is and has always been that the point of an English translation is to furnish the readers with an accurate representattion of Gods word so they can have salvation and spiritual guidance with out the need of learning another language. You speak as though you are the only one who has earned an opinion in these matters. Pride comes before fall my friend. All the scholars who translated this passage stand opposed to your rendering of it or there would have been at least one english translation that submits to your rendition of it. Since none do you have no proof other then your own sectarian belief, which in my opinion has a much scholastic value as does the NWT or the emphatic Diaglott.

You said: As to Acts 2:38, you know very well (if you have read what I said, that is), that I support the scriptural position that the flip side of repentance is faith (the two cannot be separated as Romans makes clear). After all, Peter never tells these Jews to "believe", but we

know they must have done so.

Here you have me? I don't even know what you are refering to? I have your definition of what repentance is and that is why I asked you the list of questions at the end of my last email that you once again ignored.

If faith was so closely strung to repentance as to be inseperable then the Rich young ruler would have repented, Judas Escariot would have repented. Simon Magnus would have repented. Repentance comes from faith that is its' point or origion. Faith is the beginning that leads us to repentance if both are given automatically then there would be no need for Peter, Jesus, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, Noah, etc. to tell the Jews or anyone for that matter to repent, nor would Paul have a need of writing 2Corith 7:10. Repentance is as much of a Choice as is belief, confession, and baptism. The questions I provided last email prove beyond all doubt.

You said: In addition to the careful exegesis, explanations and translation of Acts 2:38, I have also shown you an irrefutable parallel that make very clear what Peter is actually saying: repentance/faith results in the gift of the Spirit (not water-baptism): "preaching a baptism of

repentance-for-the-forgiveness-of-sins" (Mk.1:4; Lk.3:3). Repentance-Faith brings forgiveness-salvation -- and that is what opens the way for the baptism of the Spirit.

I have no problem with accepting these passages as I have explained to you before Jesus had taken over Johns ministery of baptism, this is clearly the plain context recorded in John 3:22-36.

1.Fact you cannot ignore: Johns diciple found Jesus baptizing in water by his own authority (weither he or his diciples were doing it it was by his authority they did so) this was the very point in scripture of the transiton of authority to Jesus. From this point forward water baptism belongs to Jesus and his Disciples not John as you erroniously conclude.

2.Fact you cannot ignore: Johns speach makes it very clear that upon the act of Jesus baptizing his mission and ministery was over(see verse 29&30)

3. A baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. This is exactly what is said. Baptism is the act of repentance God ordained for us to call on his name to be saved (Acts 2:21 paralleled with Acts 22:16, fulfilled at the end of Peters sermon in Acts 2 ( Acts 2:38), which is the manifestation of the great commission of Matt 28:18-20 and Mark 16:16, John 3:5.).

It would makes no difference in meaning to call this A Baptism of Faith, Confession, or repentance since it all refers to the same thing. This baptism is the very expression of our acceptance and inclusion into Jesus death, burial, and ressurection. This is exactly what is symbolized and realized as stated in Romans 6:3-15 , Col 2:11-15, Gal 3:27,and 1Peter 3:17-22. You say that the purpose of water baptism is the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 and this is simply Johns Baptism meant to dissapear. However as I have just demonstrated the transition in scripture of authority from John to Jesus of water baptism your opinion remains void of valid evidence. Furthermore laying on of hands continues past Acts 10 as does the act of water baptism. It seem odd to me that Jesus would authorize his desciples to baptize in water, and that the Holy Spirit would inspire the Apostles to continue a pratice that was meant to dissapear. In fact I have not found one passage that states that water baptism was meant to remain with John. God does not make mistakes and so we have water baptism praticed today to your shegrin.

Another good point of this passage:

In fact the great part of this baptism is that 'WATER' is like Matt 28:18-20 never mensioned in association with Jesus only with John. If this was beyond Pentecost you would be making the argument from what is said here that the word 'baptism' is refering to 'Holy Spirit' baptism but you cannot satisfiy that argument yet so you are forced to agree that this is water baptism. Jesus takes it up? This is very strange since his baptism is NOT water baptism but the greater Spirit baptism correct? Why would Jesus then be baptizing (Himself or providing his disciples with the authority to baptize)? Furthermore Peter was with Jesus at this time as Jesus has clearly been given authority to baptize in Water as the passage is stating and Johns baptism then becomes secondary. The only baptism on Peters mind was the one he commanded and that was of water. Find me one passage that states that Jesus had mensioned to the Diciples that they would baptize by laying their hands on the people apart from water baptism? Therefore Matt 28:18-20 as most scholars will agree is refering to water baptism, not Holy Spirit baptism. Furthermore Holy Spirit baptism is never mensioned as occuring by the hands of men only recieving the Spirit (so get your facts straight).

You said: This has been a valuable exercise for me in that it has demonstrated to me very clearly not only the correctness of the Spirit-baptism position in somewhat greater detail, but also how the opposite position inevitably adheres to an attitude which seems from your present tone somewhat less than filial. That might not be a decisive indication of error, but it is not without moment.

Well at least you make me look up the words you intend to insult me with. Is this how you teach your students? Filial refers to respect for elders. You are insulting me and no degree or education you have mastered ever gives you this right or authority over anyone. If it is a discussion you are after, 'cut the crap' and stick to what you can prove. Is that clear enough for you?

You said: Finally, I don't really find much new in your email that has not already been addressed many times now. You've already made it abundantly clear before that you do not accept what I find to be the simple truth of what Acts 2:38 is really saying and really means. The truth is that what Peter tells this crowd is completely consistent with everything else scripture teaches everywhere else on these subjects -- something that would not be the case if there were "magic in the water". But we know (or should) that it is the Blood of Christ which washes away sin, not literal water, ritually applied.

You have failed on anwer any of the questions I provided in my last discourse or respond to Acts 22:16, Acts 19 dealing with the twelve. I will respond on the manuscripts and the greek rendering of Acts 2:38 when I get the information this I asure you. As for magic in the water, if you were reading my emails you would know that water does not save that is not the point. Water is the mode, our obediance to Gods commands regarding water baptism how Christs righteouness is imputed. We reach the Blood of Christ in the water of baptism (Heb 10:22).

In Christ

Response #10: 

Dear Friend,

I find it interesting that you are now relying upon "scholarly opinion" about first century "tradition" to buttress your case. Forgive me if I stick with scripture.

Water-baptism is a ritual. Certainly, we can agree on that (i.e., you say that "water is the mode" and say further that you understand that there is not "magic" in the water). Therefore, when scripture says "baptism of-repentance-for-the-remission-of-sins" even the first-time reader can understand that the water-baptism externally represents the internal "repentance for the remission of sins"; water thus does not produce remission of sins – because otherwise water-baptism alone would be sufficient for remission, no matter how a person felt/thought inside: it is repentance which is the operative, behavioral word here. As such, it is the repentance, the flip side of faith, which produces the forgiveness, not the ritual of water-baptism, which merely represents the internal process. Thus water-baptism is merely a way to demonstrate the internal, invisible process of a person's heart by an external, ritual representation.

Even most adherents of water-baptism acknowledge the above. I still am at a complete loss as to what possible basis you have for not understanding this simple point.

I am happy to explain again why it is that this ritual is unnecessary at all. But I continue to be amazed at your unwillingness to get past the clear and obvious teachings of scripture in both testaments which make salvation a matter of faith, not of accomplished ritual.

And [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 KJV

The absence of water-baptism in all of the hundreds of NT passages which talk directly about salvation is a ringing indictment against any notion or water-baptism necessary for salvation. Perhaps that is why almost no evangelicals believe this incorrect position now, and why no one believed it before the Reformation – if they had, they would have surely felt that being "baby baptized" was insufficient (no "obedience" there, after all). Are all these Christians over nearly a millennium and a half lost as a result? I suspect not.

Now that we have settled that in Acts 2:38 Peter is saying by way of his formula precisely what John was saying, "repent . . . for the remission of your sins", it is high time to recognize that the water-baptism part was added by Peter because of the "you will receive" the gift of the Spirit part; i.e., the Spirit was mediated during the ritual and was the reason for the ritual being employed at all on that particular day. But when it came about that there was no longer any need for the laying of hands for that reception of the Spirit, then there was also no longer any rationale for water-baptism (which is why Paul repents of it).

You are clearly very interested in scripture, but adherence to this false, legalistic position is even more clearly hindering your spiritual growth and hampering your possible effectiveness for the Lord. Rather than being an "evangelist" for the bad, standing up for a wrong cause, I earnestly entreat you to open your heart to the truth in Jesus Christ. That is true obedience. In the quest of this holy goal, I offer you all the resources of this ministry. I never "count coup" over brothers and sisters who repent of false beliefs and turn back to the truth. The purpose of this ministry is to help them to do so. You certainly don't ever have to tell me about it – I understand the principle of emotional investment in such things. It is enough for me that you put the Lord and His truth first and allow the scriptures to guide you closer to Jesus Christ in the privacy of your own heart.

In the One into whom we have been baptized by the Spirit, and in whom we have God's righteousness – by faith – our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Rob,

Thank you for your responce and your patience. I am working on a rebuttal for you however I noticed that you didn't bother to answer the questions that I had for you on Acts 2 regarding your definition of how faith and repentace are inseprable, and at what point salvation was recieved based on given examples. I hope you are keepin well and look forward to specific answers to these questions. Thanks once again.

In Christ

Response #11: 

On your question, if you check the string of previous emails I have addressed this point over and over again (in loc. Rom.10 et alibi).

I suppose it would be fair to ask how one could possibly separate repentance and faith? If I do an about face (physically), by definition I am now pointed in a new direction altogether. Spiritually, if I do an about face, then I am also looking in the other direction. There are no biblical examples of repentance without faith or of faith without repentance (that includes Matt.27:3 et al. since Judas only "repented" of betraying Jesus, not of his sinfulness generally).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Rob,

I do appreciate your responce. However as stated previously I cannot accept your position based on the absence of its appearance in word of God. Much of this we have discussed at length. I will however repeat to you again why I continue to dismiss your position as invalid.

1. Your position stands opposed to the clear wording and context of passages (esp. Acts 2:38, 22:16, Mark 16:16, Matt 28:18-20, John 3:5, 1Peter 3:17- 22) they clearly define the role of water baptism in the remission of sins, and salvation. In fact your theory of Holy Spirit baptism replacing water baptism is entirely alien to all passages of the NT including Matt 3:11.

2 a) The passage (Matt 3:11) tells of another baptism that was to come (Holy Spirit Baptism) this much is true. It is possible to read this passage and attain the understanding that the baptism of Jesus (Holy Spirit) is greater or more full then Johns ministery of baptism in water in that it's blessings were many. Water baptism was simply a baptism of repentace for the remission of sins.

In other words it the act of repentance necessary for removal of sins until Christ was to take over. Holy Spirit baptism provided the Apostles with power to evangelize and write the scriptures for our instruction on Godly living. For others apart from the Apostles it provides manifold gifts to strengthen people in the faith (tongues, prophecy, etc) in addition to the recieveing the gift of the Holy Spirit which seals us in Christ and ensures our salvation.

As you can see this provides much more then just remission of sins as is the purpose of water baptism. Acts 2 seems to give a very clear account of the out pouring of the Holy Spirit and the manifestations and gifts that were associated with it (Holy Spirit). The promice declaired by Peter is clear and minus the necessity of an Apostle to recieve it as you have denoted. Peter states that the promice is for you, your children and all who are far off. Since water baptism has the purpose of remission of sins and we both know water alone in not cabable of this. Holy Spirit is the agent that immerses us in this blood and we are washed clean. Acts 2:38 marks this event as taking place in the water. It is the very event it signifies by virtue exactly what God is doing for us as we are submerged in the water. Paul stakes the claim that his sins were removed through it.

It is however impossible to determine from this text in view of John 3:5, 14-36, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 2:38,22:16, etc. that the office of water baptism for the remission of sins was meant to be replaced by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact it was the very day the Holy Spirit was 'poured out', that Peter was filled and inspired to command all those who believed to 'be baptised' in water. If this baptism was meant to cease as you say Peter would have simply commanded the Jews to line up so he could 'lay hands' on them. The evidence that water was and remains a necessary part of salvaion is found clearly by Peters inclusion of it in (Acts 2:38, 1Peter 3:17-22), Jesus inclusion of it in (John 3:5, 14-36, Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:16), and Pauls inclusion of it clearly stated in (Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-15, Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-15, Eph 4:5).

This is even futher demonstrated by Peters command, to baptize the entire house of Cornelious in Water Acts (10:47&48), and the continuation of water baptism by Paul in Acts 19:1-7. In addition we see over and over again in the NT tales of those baptized in water (Paul, Eunich, Samaritians, Jailor, Cornelious, Pentacost, etc) as further validation for its God given place within the Christian faith.

b) Paul 'repented' of water baptism? Paul tells us that he is 'glad' he never baptized many of them (Corinthains), and that his job is not to baptize but preach the Gospel. How exactly does this qualify as repentance? Paul does not say, baptism is wrong and I 'repent' of ever doing it, and beg Christ forgiveness in this matter. Paul does not show sorrow for baptizing anyone, nor prohibit anyone form baptizing or being baptized here as you claim.

Paul rebukes the heresy of the Corinthians, places baptism in its proper perspective (It is Jesus who died for you, it is his name you are baptized into, therefore it is he you are to follow not us. See 1Corin 1:13.), and distances himself from playing any role in their heresy. That is all that is stated and therefore all that we know for certian. Paul make no negative comments concerning baptism in water at all only concerning a 'heritical' form of baptism.

c) Matt 28:18-20 has always been taught and understood as water baptism as far back as I can remember and that was long before I was in the local body of the Church of Christ. Your understanding of this passage does not harmonize with Jesus taking up this office as shown in John 3:14-36.

It also does not 'fit' the critera previously establish which concludes that baptism which appears in the scripture refers to water baptism when mensioned in association with being done into a Name(s) ( as in Acts 2:38, 8:16&17, 19:1-8, 22:16) unless water is specifically mensioned.

Laying on of Hands is not the instruction of Jesus christ up to or apart of the great commission for the reciet of the Holy Spirit, nor is there any indication that the Apostles had such an understanding at this time. Nor does it fit common logic or the context of the passage that the diciple would be instructed to baptize them in the Name of the Holy Spirit which would be done by the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is the only conclusion and beautifully harmonizes with John 3:1-36, 4:1, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, etc. Hebrews 6:2 in context seperates the laying on of hands from the very description of 'baptism(s)' this would include water and Holy Spirit baptism. Furthermore Holy Spirit baptism is not done by the hands of men but by God alone.

4. It is a mistake that water baptism continued in the first century since it was not meant to. This is another statement easily proven false scripurally, logically, and historically. Scripturally, John 3:5 denotes purpose for water baptism in entrance into the kingdom, Jesus takes over this office John 3:14-36, Jesus implements it in in Matt 28:18-20 as previously discussed. Acts 2:38 is the manifestation of this commission which includes water.

The Jailor was baptised in water in the middle of the night, the Ethiopian Enunich was baptised in water after he heard the message from Philip. The summaritans were baptised in Jesus name in Acts 8:16&17. Cornelious and his house hold was baptised in water in Acts 10. Acts 19 records the 12 diciples of John that were baptised in Jesus Name (rebaptised in water) then Paul laid hands on them and they recieved the spirit. Acts 22:16 defines the baptism of Paul as the point his sins were washed away.

All these accounts prove that water baptism is the baptism of the great commission and that is why it has continued. To state that the continuation of water baptism is a mistake on the part of inspire Apostles is misunderstand the nature of God. They were inspired to baptised people as in Acts 2:38 and beyond. God does not make mistakes and I have no reason to believe that his diciples did either on this matter.

Lastly Romans 6:3-15 is commonly used as a passage that illustrates the symbolic meaning of water baptism from the representation of our joining with Christ in death, burial, and ressurection. Baptism represents our death to sin, burial with Christ, and resurrection.

5. Faith is not the flip side of repentance nor is repentance the flip side of faith. This is tailor made theology designed to construct a form of logic to smooth over the obvious conclusion that salvation cannot be granted by faith alone if more is required (repentance and confession). Proof scripturally and logically is easily established and I did so many times in my last emails to you with the list of questions you didn't bother to answer on either occasion. I suggest you do so. In short Acts 2:37 proves beyond all doubt that faith and repentance are seperate. The Jews clearly believed in Jesus before they were commanded to repent. It was their belief in the gospel message and the conviction of the Holy Spirit that lead them to obey Peter and repent. If they had belief they should have had repentance/confession automatically but the obviously did not since Peter had to command it of them. What other conclusion can you clearly make from this passage?

Or would you suggest that they waited to believe in Jesus until Peter told them to repent/believe during the message? It does not matter since their actions in verse 37 makes clear that they did believe. Paul believed in Jesus on the road to Damascus this is evident from his fasting and praying and obedance to Jesus commands that were to follow. We know however that Paul was not relieved of his sins until 3 days after this occured. This is another clear indication that faith is a step of choice as is repentance. Common logic in real life situations also teaches the choice associated with faith and repentance.

There are lots of people who believe that if they eat the wrong foods, smoke, drink, do drugs, it will eventually destroy them and cause them to suffer greatly. Do they stop? No they keep it up because they like the high. Emotions and habitual behavior plays a huge role in how we react.Belief is not enough of itself to bring about change we must respond. Repentance is a choice we make as is belief in God. We can believe and choose to do nothing that is the very purpose James wrote 2:14-26. That is why we are continually prompted to follow and obey the teaching of the Lord. If repentance was a give-in with faith then we would have no need for instructions on Christian living, morality, or obediance since we would naturally pratice all of these things perfectly once we have saving faith. This does not seem to be the case for many Christains I have known. Do you still sin? If so then how do you know you are saved, and have ever seen or known God? .

6. It is interesting that in your last email to me you write: Therefore, when scripture says "baptism of-repentance-for-the-remission-of-sins" even the first-time reader can understand that the water-baptism externally represents the internal "repentance for the remission of sins"; water thus does not produce remission of sins – because otherwise water-baptism alone would be sufficient for remission, no matter how a person felt/thought inside: it is repentance which is the operative, behavioral word here. As such, it is the repentance, the flip side of faith, which produces the forgiveness, not the ritual of water-baptism, which merely represents the internal process. Thus water-baptism is merely a way to demonstrate the internal, invisible process of a person's heart by an external, ritual representation.

I would be more then willing to put a first time reader to the test on what you say and bet the farm that his responce will refect nothing close to what you have written above. I agree however with your last statement. Most adherants to water baptism do not believe or teach it is necessary(In protestant circles), I do.

7. Is water baptism a ritual? Is faith a ritual? Is repentance? What about confession? How about Love? Since these are all commanded of us to be done in obediance to God are they rituals? Here is a better question for you. What makes one NT command a ritual and the other not a ritual? As I see equal necessity to obey all Gods commands including baptism, no it is not a ritual but an act of obediance done out of faith, and love for God.

8. Salvation is a matter of faith. Just not faith alone, as you are tring so hard to prove. Please remember that it was this doctrine that fell vastly short of evidence for me not so long ago. Faith alone is not a first century doctrine but was born in the mind of Martin Luther in appox 1500 AD and borrowed by John Calvin and passed on to all of us. Before Martin it had no existance from the scriptures or in the minds of men. Please explain to me exactly why Martin Luther the founder of this doctrine rejected the book of James calling it an epistle of straw? James 2:14-26 is the death of this doctrine. It utterly rejects such a notion of salvation apart from works (obediance). Obediance is and always has been required by us, not anymore to the Old Testament but now to Jesus Christ.

Please compare Genesis 15:6 with James description 2:20-24 verbatum this is the fulfillment of Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:1-17. At what point was Abraham justified before or after he offered Issac and concidered Gods friend?

9. The absence of the 'mension' of water baptism is not the same as the absence of water baptism. If you are to contend that passages such as Acts 3:19 do not include water baptism based on its lack of mensioning it, then you must conclude that faith is also not necessary as is confession as a result of their absence in other passages concerning salvation. We can flip flop all day through the scriptures in such a way if you wish. However baptism is understood to be present during the conversion of all early Christians according to most of the liturature I have read thus far. So your theory does not work unless you include all the requirements.

10. You state: The absence of water-baptism in all of the hundreds of NT passages which talk directly about salvation is a ringing indictment against any notion or water-baptism necessary for salvation. Perhaps that is why almost no evangelicals believe this incorrect position now, and why no one believed it before the Reformation

If you really believe that baptism was not administered with the understanding that removal of sins and salvation was to be attained from it, before the reformation then you are grossly uninformed. Historical evidence is more then required to validate such an aburd claim, or it will be dismissed as completely false. I also will have no choice but to conclude that you have absolutely no realistic grasp on the historical Church up to the reformation. I am beginning to question how much of your world is wrapped up in fantacy and how much is reality at this point. You reject the plain teachings of straight forward passages in exchange for a doctrine undefined by any passage in the NT and now you are trying to tell me that water baptism has never been understood as for the remission of sins prior to the reformation. Next you will try to convince me that the Holocaust never happened, or that Harry Potter is a real boy. Please read the evidence I have provided and get real. www.bebaptized.org/undeniablefacts.htm

11. Obviouly I do not agree that I adhere to false, legalistic position. You are entiled to believe this if it suits you however. The position I have accepted is based on the evidence that best 'fits' the purpose of baptism and pattern of salvation laid out in the NT. The pattern I origionally was taught necessitates lots of patching and covering up areas that do not seem to jive with many passages in scripture. The doctrince of salvation by faith alone although nice in theory has no support scripturally and that is why I cannot accept it. However I do appreciate your words of encouragement toward the end. I encourage you to accept the plain pattern of the scripture as clearly laid out. Thank you

Lastly: We were discussing the proper rendering of the verbs in acts 2:38 'repent' and 'be baptized' from the Koine Greek. I do not have all the information yet but I do have the general idea. One credible sourse I will cite is a Biblical Scholar of the NIV who didn't work on Acts 2:38 but is a Professor and Knows Greek and Hebrew (Jack P.Lewis). He gave me a simple run down of how these verbs work in Greek and thus in English. It is rather simple.

It seems that both of these terms are in the imparative moods. Baptism is however both in the 'permissive' and 'imparative' voice were as repent is only in the 'imperative'(Not Jacks words here). This is simply because repentance can be done without the assistance of another, where as baptism cannot. You must 'permit', or 'allow' yourself to be baptised, this is the reason 'permissive' is found in connection to baptism.(This is Jacks simple explaination)

'Repent' is second person plural and 'baptism' is third person singular not to distinguish a seperate purpose for each, but rather to define kind action necessary to obey each command, repentance they could do by themselves, baptism needed individual assistance this is directly connected to the voice in each command. Furthermore weither you agree or not 'and', 'kai' joins the two verbs as two actions necessary for one purpose. (This part I figured out on my own) As I gain more info to confirm these affirmations I will include them. Thanks

Why won't you answer the question(s) that I provided you with? You did address Romans 10, this much is true. Regardless of what you said, the fact of the matter is Paul would have had no need to ever mension confession of the mouth as being necessary unto salvation if this was simply a give-in with faith. No amout of intellectualizing on this subject will change this fact.

It is important that you respond properly to each question as they are designed to point to the obvious and only correct conclusion in this very matter. You teach that repentance is given with faith as they are inseperable yet each and every description I provide is rejects this notion as false. Acts 2:38 is a prime example as is any ones own personal conversion. When did the Jews believe, was it before or after Peter told them to repent? Verse 37 proves beyond all doubt that they had faith. Verse 38 proved beyond all doubt that they needed to repent. Even you contend the command is given for the 'remission of their sins'. Therefore they clearly believed prior to making the choice to repent as I have been telling you over and over. I cannot make this scripturally any more obvious from this passage. To accept your definition is to ignore the plain context of this passage. Please answer the questions Thank you.

In Christ

Response #12: 

Dear Friend,

As usual, I disagree with virtually everything you say. What you claim as "fact", does not even past logical muster, let along qualify as biblical (see below on repentance/faith).

Though I keep explaining these things to you repeatedly, you are demonstrating an amazing ability to maintain a determinedly closed-mindedness in spite of actual facts, sound arguments, and irrefutable biblical support. A good example of this is your recent somewhat violent disputation of my observation that you were connecting the prepositional "for the purpose of remission of sins" with the imperative "let each be baptized" rather than with "repent!" Beyond all argument this is what you are doing (although I certainly believe it to be incorrect), but this is a mere description of your understanding of the language in Acts 2:38, not an insult or even an argument, just an attempt to engage in the discussion by describing what you are doing grammatically. For you to refuse to acknowledge such basic facts of the discourse makes me despair of the utility of further discourse. If I tell you "the sky is blue", I fear that you will shout "That's not true!", even if it has no bearing on our argument. When conversation becomes advocacy to such a degree that all arguments to the contrary are rejected because of their source without regard to their validity, I see little point to the process. Therefore, you will have to consider this my final attempt to get through to you on this subject, since by now all of your questions have been "asked and answered" many times. It is becoming clear that you have stopped up your ears so that the only answer you are willing to receive at this point is "Yes, you are right!" However, I have to answer to the Lord, and so I will stick with what I know from scripture to be true.

This entire discussion began, I believe, with your taking exception to the point that adding water-baptism as a requirement for salvation is legalism. Perhaps that truth has gotten lost in all this verbiage. But it is true nonetheless. The entire tone and tenor of the New Testament is one of grace over works, of Spirit over Law, and of reality over ritual. The Old Testament is replete with calls for repentance, but never was water a part of the picture. John's ritual was a transition between the shadow and the reality, but even he made very clear that the Messiah's regime would be different, bringing in the true baptism of the Spirit which the water merely represented. With the Messiah now come in the flesh, with our sins now washed away by His blood on the cross, with the resurrection now an accomplished fact, and with the Spirit now given, and given to all at salvation (Rom.8:9), the point of all the rituals of the past has now been fulfilled. In this age, the age of the Church, we are all about the spiritual realities won for us by Jesus Christ, so that going back to the Law or any legalistic, ritualistic pattern of behavior – especially if any significance is attached to it – is completely out of place and is, moreover, sinfully wrong.

(4) That is how much confidence we have toward God through Jesus Christ. (5) Not that we are so capable on our own account that we can claim to have accomplished all this by ourselves, rather, our capability comes from God, (6) who has made us capable ministers of a new covenant – not the one of the letter (i.e. the Law), but one of the Spirit. That is because the letter (i.e. the Law) puts us to death, but the Spirit brings us to life. (7) Now if the [Law's] ministry of death – engraved with letters written on stone – imparted glory of a type such that the Israelites were not allowed to keep continually beholding Moses' face (because this glory of his face was fading), (8) then how could the Spirit's ministry of life not impart greater glory? (9) For if the [Law's] ministry of condemnation possessed glory, then so much the more should the ministry of justification surpass it in glory. (10) In fact, the glory of the former seems altogether lacking in glory in comparison to the surpassing glory of the latter. (11) For if what fades away has glory, then so much the more is it true that what abides (i.e. the ministry of the Spirit to believers) is glorious.
2nd Corinthians 3:4-11

This passage explains why there is now only the one baptism, the baptism of the Spirit, and it is by that one baptism that we become one with Jesus Christ and are empowered to serve Him in this life.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1st Corinthians 12:13 NIV

As to your latest list of questions, as I say, I will have one last go. Please don't miss the point this time.

1. On the contrary, the Spirit is the point in all of these passages:

a. Acts 2:38-41: the whole point of a physical baptism is to receive Spirit baptism, the "promise of the Spirit" which has just been witnessed arriving at Pentecost.

b. Acts 22:16: it is the "calling on the Name" (= repentance/faith) that saves, and part of the purpose was indeed to be filled with the Spirit as Acts 9:17 (NIV) says: ""Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."".

c. Mark 16:16 is not part of the Bible any more than the book of Mormon.

d. Matt 28:18-20: again, neither water nor Spirit is mentioned, but the only way to be "baptized into" the Trinity is through the supernatural agency of the Spirit, and the formula eis plus the Trinity is never used of water-baptism (for more on this, see the link: "Combating Legalism II").

e. John 3:5; the water Jesus mentions here is the Word of God (see the links: "Combating Legalism II", and "Water of the Word"). We believe the truth, and the Spirit produces our new birth "from above" as a result.

f. 1Peter 3:17- 22: The Spirit is in fact the point behind the digression; Peter begins with the Spirit in both verses 17 and 18 ("made alive by the Spirit"; "by means of the Spirit"); whereas in regard to water Peter explicitly says in v.21 that he is NOT talking about a literal washing away of filth; therefore he is continuing the Spirit baptism point, for it is by "an appeal for a good conscience to God" (i.e., repentance/faith) that we receive the Spirit (for more on this, see the link: "The Baptism which now Saves You").

g. Matthew 3:11 explicitly says "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (KJV). A more clear contrast I cannot imagine, nor do I see how you can read this verse (or any of these verses) and claim in all honesty that they have nothing to do with Spirit baptism.

2. a) As asked and answered repeatedly, your entire argument is based upon an incorrect assumption, to wit, that the baptism of John accomplished remission of sins; but that is incorrect. Only God can remit sins, and He only does so for those who repent/have faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ. It is repentance/faith which is the trigger that unlocks the remission, not any water-baptism; never was, never will be. Otherwise, you are saved, but Daniel, Jeremiah, David, Job etc. are not (never having been "water -baptized-for-the-remission-of-sins) – not to mention the many millions over the last two millennia who were not baptized as believers. And of course, perhaps the apostles are damned as well, for we have no record of them being water-baptized again after Pentecost, and you assure us that the water-baptism of Acts is not John's baptism – or are they uniquely absolved of the need to undergo such a baptism?

The reality is that repentance-faith is what is to be linked up with remission of sins in all of these passages, not water-baptism. I assure you that the Pharisees who were water-baptized but who did not have an actual change of heart are not saved, but that those who for whatever reason were unable to come to the Jordan and be baptized by John (most women, for example, would not have had the luxury of leaving their families for this purpose) but who did repent/have faith in their hearts are saved. The water was a teaching device that represented the washing away of sins, not the actual mechanism that accomplished it. For it is the blood of Christ (by which orthodox believers understand His death for our sins being judged in the darkness on the cross rather than literal blood) that washes away sins.

I am surprised you keep bringing up Cornelius, since we have shown that these individuals were saved before the water was administered (as the baptism of the Spirit they receive immediately upon hearing the gospel makes clear). Peter, moreover, doesn't command the water-baptism afterwards; he merely allows it. Likewise, I don't tell people that water-baptism is a sin, only that it is unnecessary. However, making it into something it is not is wrong.

b) Paul says he is "thankful" he didn't baptize more – that certainly sounds like a change of mind to me.

c) Matt.28, has "always been taught this way": indeed. I don't hold with tradition if it is incorrect biblically. I feel that if you and others really looked at the Bible objectively you would see that all you are doing is standing up for a bad tradition (for more on this, see the link: "Combating Legalism II").

3) no #3 in your email

4) Jesus never mentions water-baptism. Matt.28 and Jn.3 have been explained to you now ad infinitum.

5) Faith and repentance cannot be divorced as Rom.10 shows. If I turn away from the world, the flesh, and the devil, the only place to turn is to God; and if I turn to God, by necessity I have turned away from the world, the flesh and the devil. You failed to answer my question: where does the Bible ever show repentance without faith or faith without repentance? They are inseparable.

6) "Can" is the operative word; for all who seek the truth, the truth is given. For those who would rather make up the truth for themselves than give into biblical authority, God has always allowed the heart to become hard by refusing the truth or accepting the lie (that was the whole point of Jesus' use of parables).

7) No, love and confession are not rituals. Rituals are stylized acts which merely represent an underlying reality. Any good dictionary will make clear this important distinction.

8) Faith in Jesus Christ is what saves; if you add to this some work like water-baptism, in your mind you are saved because of something you did: getting water-baptized. As with joining the Roman Catholic church, to the extent that you rely on this at all for your salvation, to that extent you are not saved; if you do so, then you have cheapened the work of Christ, proclaiming it by your actions as insufficient in and of itself to save you.

9) You may assume what you like. The detailed analysis of all the passages you chose to support your position in point one are shown above to have the Spirit as their operative principle of power. The fact that water-baptism is absent from Jesus' ministry, never mentioned by our Lord, and never mentioned in the NT epistles (except negatively) are facts of profound importance which are ignored to a person's spiritual peril.

10) If you have any evidence of significant believer water-baptism before the Reformation, by all means feel free to cite it. The fact that you have not been able to provide any here would seem to prove my point. The secondary sources you link to are insufficient proof. Show me historical documents that support your position and I'll be happy to eat my words on this.

11) But you have no evidence at all, let along evidence that "fits". You are merely grasping at straws to support a "dearly loved" fiction. Why you love it is unclear to me. But I would remind you that placing a yoke upon the necks of our fellow believers in Christ which God never meant them to carry is a dangerous thing to do – let alone unnecessarily introducing doubts about salvation.

I could go on, but all of your points inevitably come back to the verses discussed above or are again just rehashing of what you have mentioned and I have answered in the past. For example, we have discussed Gen.15:6 at length: it's meaning is clear: Abraham "believed" and that was the basis of his justification unto salvation as Romans chapter four reiterates in great detail. James does not contradict Paul; James is talking about the results of faith not the requirements for faith (clearly, Abraham did not have to wait 50 or so years to be saved when he offered Isaac!).

Finally, as to your expert exegetical help, you expert fails to see the problem with the Nestle text which I pointed out to you, and the addition of kai phesin makes his explanation very unlikely. I stand by my translation and analysis and see nothing in this to make me reconsider. However, the stuff about "needing help" to be baptized and the "permissive" imperative shows a complete ignorance of grammar which I hope is not coming from your expert. "Permissive" is a descriptive grammatical word; it cannot be assumed that it means what the English generic words "permit/permission/permissive" mean as is done here. What "permissive" means in grammatical terms has nothing to do with a particular context (as in "needing help"); rather it means that the person(s) addressed are not obligated to do it (as they would be in the second person forms); they are merely encouraged or allowed to do whatever it is. That is precisely my point: water-baptism is not necessary for salvation.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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