Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baptistic missing the point?

I got this from a Statement of Faith of a Calvino-baptistic group.

Baptism is an important action of obedience for a Christian and signifies a person's identification with Christ. It is not necessary for salvation. It is an outward manifestation of an inward reality of trust in the sacrifice for Christ, of conversion, and of identification with Christ. The act of water baptism does not save anyone. We are made right before God by faith, not by faith and baptism (Rom. 3:28-30; 4:3,5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16, 21; Phil. 3:9; see alsoActs 10:44-48).

Now I can see why it is so hard to understand how Baptism could be a gift. I was thought the above and that paradigm is so rationalistic it for a while makes sense, until you live the Christian life and observe that it leads Baptism to nothing. So when Jesus commanded to baptize, it was some whimsical idiosyncratic idea that Jesus decided to cook up at that time.

I just notice how Acts 2:38 is missing in the above:

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The baptism part of the verse is passive, i.e. it is being done to you. Then the kicker - "for the remissions of sins". Part and parcel of repenting is the belief that baptism is connected with the forgiveness of sins. The statement of faith extrudes the two from each other. This is what rationalistic interpretation does.

13 comments:

Larry said...

LP,

Yep. I was a Calvinist Baptist and that is standard believers baptism lingo/confession.

It's just a "sign", "manifestation" of an "inward reality"...etc...

It is thus your work and note well how it turns a man inward looking for something, which is of course to CAUSE, I'll repeat that CAUSE a man to sin. Recall sin is really inward turning. So believers baptism turns the gift of God into an occasion for the very CAUSE of sin. The very opposite of what they want it to "represent".

Also it turns faith into false faith, a faith that is in fact a work.

It's difference from Rome's apostate doctrine is merely a matter of reshuffling the nouns and verbs, not the content.

Thus their 'saved by faith alone', is nothing more than implied works, a salvation by faith (as a work) alone.

When we turn from God where He has spoken and said "HERE is Christ and the Gospel" or we call the use of such (where God works and has spoken the Gospel) as work (believers baptism denying infant baptism, the LS etc...) we invariably end up at works again even if we call it "gospel" and "grace". That's really all Rome did to, they didn't make up new sacraments, just redefined them and sent men looking elsewhere. So does the rest of heterodox protestantism.

It's like this: Someone has a general view of God and says, "I believe God is gracious and forgives sin...so why do you Christians insist on all this legalistic insistence on believing only that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life?"

To move grace away from where God says it is, e.g. in the sacraments, to some other phenomena is to return to works based salvation...a theology of glory which looks for God's favor elsewhere. E.g. conversion experience, evidence of a changed life, power to suddenly subdue sin.

All of these false gospel do nothing but turn a man inward (sin) all the more than when he was a gross immoral sinner. Like Augustine once said sin, inward turning, can take on quite a nice looking gloss. A gross sinner "cleaned up" in this way or a sinner turned inward to look for signs of God's favor in conversion, etc...doesn't get closer to God or Christ at all. In fact all he/she does is coil up tighter and more inward than ever before. Thus, increases as he coils more and more inward. NOTHING makes a man more inward than looking for "graces" of conversion. Not even an open thief is so inwardly turned than the religious man trying to clean up his life, get more holy, work more sanctification...etc....

Yours,

Larry

J. K. Jones said...

Yep.

Baptists are off base.

L P said...

Larry,

You comment brought something to mind. Under this scheme or statement of faith, I must be able first to say that I have repented and therefore I may now be baptized.

I can see the need for instrospection. On the otherhand, if baptism does not do anything anyway, you have these folks running around wondering why they need it. Funny but that is exactly what happens with converts under this scheme.

So if someone says I want to be baptized, they are asked, have they repented first and then they may. But then it is not necessary so there are those who repent but resists being baptized because the teaching is teaching against its necessity.

This looks like a double headed monster of confusion.

I see that baptism itself is the repentance. For why would you like to be baptized if you do not believe through it you receive the work of Christ?

If a Jew wishes to be baptized, by default that is the repentance of course, he is made to believe like the revivalists of today.

LPC

L P said...

JK,

I see that you have moved away from SBC and no longer baptistic.A re you in a PCA church?

I hope you study what we mean by Means of Grace as well.

LPC

Steve said...

I have been dealing with folks that say that the 'repent' part of Acts 2:38 is the operative word, as if it is a work that we do.

I do believe they fail to see that without God working repentance (leading us to it), there would be none.

L P said...

SM,

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the baptism itself is the repentance for why would one like to be baptized in the name of Jesus if one does not believe it does not do anything i.e for the forgiveness of sins?

The Nicene Creed even states it - we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

LPC

Steve said...

"...why would one like to be baptized in the name of Jesus if one does not believe it does not do anything i.e for the forgiveness of sins?"

The folks I'm arguing with are having a problem with infant baptism.

L P said...

They should read Acts 2:38. It is a promise, to us and our children, the HS is with us in Baptism.

It is a promise, so what is the problem, no?

LPC

Steve said...

Their problem is that they cannot get past the 'repent' and be baptized... part of it. They view that as a demand that we are to fulfill by our effort, our decision, our seriousness and committment.

They don't realize that God gives to us what He demands from us.

Dawn K said...

I've heard this before - "but infants can't repent." Well, neither can adults. Repentance is something that God has to give you. In so many circles repentance and faith are seen as acts of the will rather than gifts of God.

L P said...

DK,

Yes I was taught that too as a Pentecostal and my own rational mind said so too.

But when you look at what Jesus said, unless we have faith like a child and Jesus referring to them as these little ones that believed in him, you get the idea that it is the Word of Christ versus the Mind of Man.

Baptists being influence by Calvinistic rationalism, cannot conceive of babies having faith etc.

LPC

Anonymous said...

LP's got it, its basically rationalism trying to resolve the paradox that faith MUST live in. The same issue arises concerning the Reformed it just shows more clearly in their version of the Lord's Supper.

It's really NOT wanting to live by faith alone and getting down off of the cross of suffering. Reason doesn't want to suffer a paradox, it rebels against the very idea. So it creates a "resolution" to the paradox. Yet faith of NECESSITY must remain in paradox. It hangs on a word, the Word, that's what faith means to trust perfectly nakedly on the Word alone and that Word is out of reach, as it were, of reason, affections or experiences. Only faith CAN have or apprehend that paradox. When rationalism (or affections or experiences) attempt to resolve the paradox, it creates the toxic atmosphere that true faith cannot live in, rather a false "faith" arises that has no paradox since reason has "resolved" it.

Then this reason must then necessarily interpret the Word rather than be TOLD BY the Word. For it wishes to subdue and be even the god of the Word, rather than the Word subduing it as its God.

Larry

L P said...

Then this reason must then necessarily interpret the Word rather than be TOLD BY the Word.

I like the way you put it Larry!

Made me think why again Lutherans are the minority - it is an un-intuitive take on Scripture where as Calvinistic reading is so humanly oriented and so easily convincing. You wonder if faith is ever needed.

LPC