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LDS Baptism

 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:..everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:17, 21, 38-39

Peter's treatment of the subject of how one is saved really could not be more clear.  In a context of preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, he details three important steps:

1.   Calling on the name of the Lord means to repent and be baptized.

2.   Baptism is an act separate from the receipt of the Holy Spirit.

3.   The act of baptism in the name of Christ brings a forgiveness of sins.


History of Baptism


Baptism was an ordinance which precedes the Baptism of John.  We know this from the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the Talmudic writings on purification.


John the Baptist.  John taught baptism was essential to being forgiven.

 He [John] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:3

 He also taught that there was a second baptism to be taught by Jesus:

 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.Luke 3:16

Luke is the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.  In Luke 3 he explains the two baptisms, one which they have, and one which is to come.  In Acts chapter 1, he explains the second baptism is about to come, and in Acts 2, he shows both baptisms being completely taught and explained to new converts.

 If a sect or cult teaches water baptism is unessential, they are a false and fraudulent system of beliefs. 

Post-Biblical Baptism Practice

 Didache 7:1:  But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water; (80-140 AD, date not certain.)

Epistle of Barnabas:  "This meaneth, that we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear [of God] and trust in Jesus in our spirit." (CCEL Barnabas, Epistle:XI, before 130 AD)

Justin Martyr:  As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all... And for this we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe."  (ca. 140 AD)

IRENAEUS : "As we are lepers in sin, we are made clean from our old transgressions by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord. We are thus spiritually regenerated as newborn infants, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'" Irenaeus, "Fragments From Lost Writings", no. 34, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 574)  160-180 A.D.

The examples could be multiplied almost without end.  The point is that all early Christians, the disciples and followers of Christ who knew the Apostles or were taught by those taught by the first Christians, taught the essential need for water baptism.

Churches and sects not following this are false. 

What About Passages Saying We are Saved by Grace and Faith (Eph 2:8, etc)?

Great question.  We are of course saved by grace through faith.  But the faith means we have certain things we must do.  For example, it is impossible for a person to have faith and not repent.  Repentance and cessation from a desire to do evil is essential to salvation.  None of the "grace only" passages address the subject of repentance, but is someone out there claiming we can be saved without repenting? 

In the case of Ephesians 2:8, Paul later writes explicitly that Baptism is necessary for salvation in 5:25-26:

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

It is a false and apostate doctrine to teach "baptism is an outward expression of an inward feeling", or similar sentiments.  The history of Christianity proves baptism was a required ordinance administered by the priesthood of the Church. 

Safety Tip:  If your Cult does not teach baptism is essential it is FALSE!

False Teaching On Baptism: 

Grammar of Acts 2:38 Does Not Require a Meaning of Forgiveness of Sins as a Result of Baptism 

While attending the Arizona Easter Pageant of the LDS Church in 2002, I met a group of apostate Christians attacking the LDS Church.  I told them my reading of Acts 2:38 made it clear that  people must be baptized to obtain a forgiveness of sins and to be saved.  They could not produce a cogent argument to explain away the obvious contradiction of their false doctrine of Faith Only salvation, so they retrieved their "Big Gun":  Some ministerial guy professing to be a teacher of Greek sheepishly said that it was possible to interpret the word translated as "for" in the phrase "for the remission of sins" to be translated as "because of" the remission of sins.   

Since I had never heard this grammatical defense before, I asked him if this was correct.  He assured me it was.  Not that I am distrusting, but I checked a few resources, just to be sure. 

The first observation is there are virtually no grammarians alive today who support this view.  Even the most commonly cited grammarian who believes the "causal eis", as the term is described in Greek grammars, renounced his belief that Acts 2:38 contains such an application. There is simply no support for the belief in this grammar.

What Does the Bible Say About Acts 2:38?

We know what the Greek says:  "eis aphesin ton amartion", with/for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.  But that is clumsy.  Here are a few Bible translations (side note musing:  wouldn't it be nice if we knew exactly what this passage meant when Luke wrote them?  Never mind, that will never happen.):


"for the forgiveness of sins"  (WEB Bible)

"for the forgiveness of your sins" (NASB, NIV,NLT, NAB, New Century Ver., Bible in Basic English)

"for the remission of sins" (KJV, NAV, Webster 1833, 21st Century KJV)

"so that your sins may be forgiven" (NRSV)

"for remission of sins" (Darby)

"so that your sins will be forgiven" (CEV, God's Word, TEV)

"for the forgiveness of and release from your sins" (Amplified Bible)

"for79 the forgiveness of your sins";  footnote 79 says, in part:"…although a "causal" sense has been argued, it is difficult to maintain…"  NET Bible.

Charles B. William's Translation (1950 Ed.) "Peter said to them, 'You must repent--and, as an expression of it, let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ--that you may have your sins forgiven; and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

J.R. Mantey, the only modern grammarian to support a "remote possibility" of a 'causal eis' translation, wrote: "We concluded that it is the best translation of the New Testament in the English language." 

"the idea of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in [the] New Testament" (F.F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book of Acts, Eerdmans, 1984) 

Not a Single Bible Translation Supports the Concept of People Being "Baptized Because of The Forgiveness of Sins"

Bad Grammar Does Not Make for Good Theology 

Grammarians and Lexicologists alike assert "causal eis" is voodoo grammar. 

Daniel Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics", after reviewing all of the evidence of the "causal eis" arguments offered by J.R. Mantey, and the refutations offered by Ralph Marcus, concludes: 

"Marcus ably demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal eis fell short of proof" (370). 

Interestingly, Wallace also does not include a grammatical case including a 'causal eis'. 

BDAG, 3rd Edition, also does not include a 'causal eis' usage or meaning.

As one contributor on the BGreek message board observed:

"As for basing one's translation on one's theology, such a procedure implies that one's theology is not based on scripture. Rather, his scripture is based on his theology. Whence came his theology?"

We know the answer to that:  The ideas of men.

BDAG offers three parallel verses to support their position:  Mt 26:28, Mk 1:4, and Luke 3:3, all with similar constructions which make no sense if "because of" is introduced.

The purpose of ordinances is to make us right with God.   They justify us, we don't.

The Bible Teaches Baptism is Essential

 One of the great mistakes made by those disposed to follow their own teachings is they contrive and wrest the scriptures.  If a verse, such as Luke 24:47, is pointed to as proof that baptism is not required, we politely note that confession and faith are likewise not found there.  It was shorthand for receiving the whole Gospel.

Here are pointed and clear verses concerning baptismal salvation:

1 Pet 3:21  "Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

 Mark 16:16  "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned."

 Matt 7:21  "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Titus 3:5  "he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water F8 of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." F8: Gk [washing]

 Paul uses the word "loutron", translated as washing in water, to make it clear that WATER BAPTISM and Spirit Baptism are required.  This is noted in BDAG (3rd ed., pg 603) and Liddell & Scott.  They cite Eph. 5:26 as support as well.

So there it is.  What do you believe in:  Theology or the Word of God? 

Choose wisely.

Copyright 2002 Robert B. Vukich rvukich@hotmail.com


All material developed and placed on this page and associated subsections is copyrighted by Robert B. Vukich. Reasonable efforts will be made to properly attribute copyright ownership for material reviewed or quoted on these pages.