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…
the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said
to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we
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.
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.
Baptism is an act separate
from the receipt of the Holy Spirit.
The act of baptism in the
name of Christ brings a forgiveness of sins.
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
John the Baptist. John taught baptism was essential to being forgiven.
[John] went into all the country around the Jordan,
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of
He also taught that there
was a second baptism to be taught by Jesus:
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
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
If a sect or cult teaches
water baptism is unessential, they are a false and
fraudulent system of beliefs.
Post-Biblical Baptism Practice
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
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.
About Passages Saying We are Saved by Grace and Faith (Eph
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:
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!
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
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
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.):
the forgiveness of sins" (WEB Bible)
the forgiveness of your sins" (NASB, NIV,NLT, NAB,
New Century Ver., Bible in Basic English)
the remission of sins" (KJV, NAV, Webster 1833, 21st
that your sins may be forgiven" (NRSV)
remission of sins" (Darby)
that your sins will be forgiven" (CEV, God's Word,
the forgiveness of and release from your sins"
the forgiveness of your sins"; footnote 79 says, in
part:"…although a "causal" sense has
been argued, it is difficult to maintain…" NET
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."
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."
of an unbaptized Christian is simply not entertained in
[the] New Testament" (F.F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book
of Acts, Eerdmans, 1984)
Single Bible Translation Supports the Concept of People
Being "Baptized Because of The Forgiveness of Sins"
Grammar Does Not Make for Good Theology
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,
"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'.
Edition, also does not include a 'causal eis' usage or
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
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.
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
Here are pointed and clear
verses concerning baptismal salvation:
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"
16:16 "The one who believes and is
baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe
will be condemned."
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."
"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?
2002 Robert B. Vukich firstname.lastname@example.org