RE: [Covenanted Reformation] Baptism Redux
- Hi Steve,
Thankyou for your reply.
The "you can't be saved without immersion" argument is implied in most Baptist
churches that I've encountered over here. Then again, most Baptist churches
I've encountered over here are Arminian, and express their 'gospel' as as
form of salvation by (mental) works, as you no doubt will be samiliar with
over there in the USA or whever you are.
It's a short step from Arminianism to promoting sola-credo-immersion along
similar lines. "You must prove that your faith is the real thing by getting
baptised." I.e., you must do the work of believing in order to receive salvation;
and you show your faith by 'taking the plunge'.
Ironically for Baptists who insist that baptism is not a replacement for
circumcision, this argument sounds a lot like the Judaising heresy that
apostle Paul rebuked in his epistle to the Galatians - only they were saying
something like, so it seems to me, "You must prove your faith is the real
thing by getting circumcised." Yoooooow! And so, 'taking the plunge' has
superceeded 'getting the chop' in modern 'Judaising' churches!
I've encountered a lot of wierd stuff, so I wouldn't be surprised about
circumcision appearing again in Christian churches. Old heresies have a
habit of coming around again. And you yourself said that many church denominations
show a lack of basic theological knowledge.
Hmm. I guess that if the other common error that one encounters in the same
circles, namely, "You must prove that your faith is real by telling all
your friends," (i.e., what can we call this, justification by evangelism?)
- if sola-credo-circumcision ever came back, this would have to become,
"You must prove that your faith is real by telling your all friends - when
the swelling goes down and you can walk again."
I dread to think what their testimony meetings would be like! Probably not
as bad as their circumsismal services. But enough of that. Paul wouldn't
needed to tell them, "Let your women keep silent in your churches." You
wouldn't hear them for all the hollering that the recently converted males
were making! And imagine (no, if you can bear it) what it would be like
if ever they had a something resembling a revival!
But seriously, Arminian sola-credo-immersionist churches are easy picking
for the baptismal regeneration heresy, I would think. How short a step it
is from saying "Get immersied in order to prove/confirm your faith," to
saying, "Get immersed in order to properly grasp hold of salvation."
And how short a step it is to slide further from the truth than Arminianism,
from saying "Hypothetically Christ died for everybody, but you must make
it actual for you by adding to it your faith," to saying, "Actually Christ
died for everybody, and we would just love you to enjoy this truth now by
joining us in believing it. Now all you need is to get zapped by the Holy
Spirit, and start laughing uncontrollably and show how much you enjoy the
love of Jesus."
I'm not making this up - that one's been around for a long time now. I first
encountered it in a faith-prosperity church during my mis-spent youth.
I've read about Open Theism in a church newspaper last year. But what's
the "new perspective" on pauline justification that you also mentioned?
Even before you tell me, I already know it will not be so "new".