And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 15 March 09, 2008
In this issue:
Because Jesus commanded water baptism in order to be saved in Mark 16:16, some might impulsively exclaim, “There isn’t anyone I wouldn’t baptize” in answer to the above question. Without minimizing the necessity of baptism, the Bible teaches some should not be baptized.
1) Infants should not be baptized. Humans are not born with the stain of original sin or with an “inclination to sin”. That is false doctrine. “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18:20). Water baptism, when obeyed by the right person for the right reason, washes away sins through the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3). Since babies are sinless, those who baptize babies do so in vain. Indeed, most of them do not really baptize babies at all, since they merely sprinkle water on them (an exception being the Orthodox Church, which immerses infants). Furthermore, baptism is the appeal of a good conscience toward God (1 Pet. 3:21). Pray tell, how does a newborn child have a consciousness of sin, prompting it to be baptized to be saved?
2) Sinners who will not repent should not be baptized. John the baptizer rebuked sinners who were coming to him to be baptized who refused to repent of their sins and bear the fruits of repentance (Lk. 3:7-8). John refused to baptize them. On the other hand, he readily baptized those who were “confessing their sins” (Lk. 3:6).
A friend of mine who is a Mormon posed the scenario to me of a Saudi who is legally married to three wives in Saudi Arabia. He moves to America (where polygamy is illegal) where he learns the gospel and wants to be baptized. Would I baptize him? My answer: not until he repents of his adultery. What must he do? The Bible answer is not difficult to give; having multiple wives is adultery, regardless of whether a country legalizes it, a religious book (like the Quran) approves it, or a religious organization like the LDS Church once practiced it. The gospel of Christ says it is sin (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 6:9; 7:2; Heb. 13:4). Repentance demands that our Saudi friend end his adulterous marriages – then he is ready to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-38). The sinner who is baptized without repenting merely gets wet.
3) A Christian who sins should not be baptized. He was already baptized to be saved from his past sins (Mk. 16:16; Rom. 6:1-4). He must now repent of his present sin and pray the Lord to forgive him, not return to the waters of baptism for cleansing (see Simon, Acts 8:13, 18-24; 1 Jno. 1:9).
Yes, there are some people I will not baptize; not because baptism is unimportant, for it is essential for salvation (Mk. 16:16). We will not baptize those who are not ready to be baptized. Every person who has sinned, who believes Jesus is the Son of God and will confess his faith and repent of his sins is ready to be baptized into Christ - and must do so in order to be saved (Acts 2:37-38, 41; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4).
When the decision of the elders was announced to the church, part of the congregation applauded, while some left the gathering with tears. The elders had announced that they would add a mechanical instrumental service to their future plans. Last week the web site for the Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma advertised the first service as “instrumental” and the second service as “a cappella.” It may have been a difficult 2007 as changes were being envisioned. But apparently the change has occurred despite the tearful leaving of some.
In a recent video, Mark Henderson, the “senior minister,” answers questions of an interviewer on how the church of Christ has viewed this issue. He says we have historically “interpreted the silence” of the Scriptures as “intentional” and “restrictive”, therefore leading us to think that mechanical instruments are adding to the word and therefore sinful.
Brother Henderson is not describing my views or those of whom I know who oppose the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship unto God. We do not interpret the “silence” but honor the “revealed” word God has spoken. We understand we are not to add to or take away from God’s Word—the expression of His mind. (Revelation 22:18-19). We respect his authority, by “singing”- do what He has commanded (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16-17).
We respect the Lord’s authority and will not be presumptuous and interpret his silence as permissive (cf. Heb. 7:12-14) This is the Scriptural view, not a mere historical view.
But this shows where this church through its leaders has been led. Brother Henderson describes those whose concern for the change is how it will affect their relationship with their family. They are okay with the change, but do not want the pain of family members condemning where they worship. What teaching has prepared them to think it is
okay? Or, is it that many untaught members are clamoring for the change to be like other popular churches? One of the reasons brother Henderson gives for going to the “instrumental service” is to “keep” those who are leaving because of the practice of not having the mechanical instrument.
In a sermon, “Tearing Down Walls and Removing Barriers,” designed to prepare the people for the changes, Mark Henderson makes the point that members should be willing to “embrace discomfort” for the “sake of the mission”. The “mission” to brother Henderson and the elders is to “reach” out instead of following the easier path of “keeping” members happy.
Does “reaching out” mean we must add unauthorized practices? Can we not “reach out” to the world and show through teaching and example how we are to “reach up” to Him honoring Him in worship which we know is in spirit and truth (John 4:24)?
The course for Quail Springs has been set. She will have, and will not have mechanical instruments in worship. You are free to attend the one that pleases you, not the one honoring what God has authorized. Oh, we want to keep everyone. If you do not like our additional instrumental service, do not fret. We have an “a cappella” service for you. Forget the fact that you are part of a church that has compromised truth for numbers. Don’t cry, we are reaching out!
Glad Tidings, February 3, 2008
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Psalms 32:1-5
1. Confess: “lit.,
to speak the same thing, to assent, accord, agree with.”
I. TO WHOM DO WE CONFESS OUR SINS?
A. To God, 1 Jno. 1:9; Psa.
51:3-4; 32:3-5 (Acts 8:22.
II. REQUIRED FOR CONFESSING SIN.
A. Godly Sorrow over Sin
(proper heart), Lk. 18:13; Psa. 38:18.
III. WHAT KEEPS US FROM PUBLICLY CONFESSING OUR SINS?
A. Pride, Prov. 16:18; Jas.
IV. GUIDEPOSTS FOR THE PUBLIC CONFESSION OF SINS.
A. Publicly Known Sin needs to
be Publicly Confessed (Ezra 9; 10:1-2).
Gk. proskartereō (pros-kar-ter-eh'-o)
DEFINED: To be earnest towards, that is, (to a thing) to persevere, be constantly diligent, or (in a place) to attend assiduously all the exercises, or (to a person) to adhere closely to (as a servitor): - attend (give self) continually (upon), continue (in, instant in, with), wait on (continually). –Strong’s Concordance
Devotion plays a large part in the life of a Christian. The early Christians were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42). They were earnest toward, persevered in, were constantly diligent toward and adhered closely to the apostles’ teaching.
Devotion plays a large part in our lives out in the world. Retention of our jobs requires we are devoted to pulling our share of the workload. Devotion causes us to love this country, to cover our hearts as we pledge our allegiance to the United States of America. Our loved ones who are serving in the armed forces around the world, and those who have died in that service, have done so because of their devotion to their country.
In Romans 12:12, one of our duties is to be devoted to prayer. We should always be earnest, persevere, give ourselves to and continue in prayer. We are urged to pray for all men, especially those in authority, that we might lead a tranquil and quiet life (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
In Romans 12:10, we are to be devoted (philostorgos) to one another. Although this is a different word, it denotes the kind affection we, as brethren, are to have each for one another, as between parents and children. We are the family of God.
Without devotion in our marriages--they will not endure. As stated in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Does love (agapao) include devotion? Sure it does! Our love and devotion to our spouses will cause us to do what is in the best interest for each other.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 03/10/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA