COMMON SENSE QUESTIONS A "CHURCH OF CHRIST" PREACHER CANNOT CLEARLY ANSWER
By Pastor David Martin - Solid Rock Baptist Church
Clearly answered from the scriptures by Larry White
David Martin is pastor of the Solid Rock Baptist Church, 5893 Old Brownsville Rd. E, Bartlett, TN 38135 USA; phone: 901-634-1622. He is a 1984 graduate of Pensacola Bible Institute of Florida, and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1986. He has been in his current pastorate for eight years. No church of Christ preacher can satisfactorily answer any of the questions posed by Pastor Martin.
Larry White is a Christian attending the assembly of Christ in Boise, Idaho. He was saved when he believed and was immersed into Christ on April 9th, 1969. He has preached for several churches for the past 20 years.
Here are Questions for Campbellites
1. According to the history of the "Church of Christ," God used certain men to "restore" the New Testament Church in the early 1800's. Where was the true New Testament church before then? Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). What happened to the church and where was the truth it was responsible for preaching before God restored it?
Answer: One cannot restore that which was never lost. The kingdom of God has been in existence since the first century A.D. (Col. 1:13) Any group of individuals who believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, repent of their sinful pasts and are immersed in water for the remission of their sins are translated into the Kingdom of God and may band together and form an Assembly.
There are no apostolic successions or bestowals of authority from on high. There are no "holier than thou" clergy or reverends to whom you must bow to obtain an ordination to practice the truth in Christ. You just need people with honest hearts to admit that what their denomination teaches cannot be found on the pages of their Bibles and start believing and practicing the actual doctrine of Christ found in the New Covenant scriptures. I suppose that would be a restoration of sorts from all the digression in the denominations.
I was once a Southern Baptist, but I started reading God's word and tried to understand it. So I asked God to open my eyes and show me the truth. The next day I was introduced to some simple people that were doing the same thing I was, opening their Bibles and teaching what it said. So I joined in their Bible studies and learned the truth from the scriptures.
Everything that makes a denomination unique in and of itself, including the Baptists, cannot be found on the pages of the inspired scriptures. Therefore if they did not get their beliefs and practices from God, then from where did they get them?
2. If a "Church of Christ" elder refuses to baptize me, will I be lost until I can find one who will?
Answer: If you have not believed Jesus about being immersed (Mk. 16:16) then you are already condemned and will remain so until you by faith are immersed. If you do not believe that it is for the remission of your sins, then you are just getting wet, (Col. 2:12-13) which sadly is the case for all Baptists.
The person who immerses you does not have to be an elder. (See the example of Philip and the Eunuch Acts 8)
Do I need Jesus AND a Campebllite "preacher" in order to be saved?
Answer: No. But one does need some faith.
If I do, then Jesus Christ is not the only Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) and the Holy Spirit is not the only Administrator (1 Cor. 12:13) of salvation - the "Church of Christ" preacher is necessary to salvation for he is performing a saving act on me when he baptizes me! Is this not blasphemy against Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?
Answer: Preachers for the churches of Christ do not have any authority beyond any regular member of the assembly. One does not need a preacher to immerse you. However, you would be hard pressed to find anyone other than a Christian to immerse you "for the remission of sins." (Acts 2:38)
3. If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.
Answer: If the baptistery is dry then we'll gather at the river. The planet is two thirds covered with water. There is not a place on earth that a man can live where he does not have access to enough water with which to be immersed. Otherwise he has just gone there to die.
Your problem would not be having enough water -- your problem would be an attitude of unbelief in the operation of God in being buried with Jesus in immersion. (Col. 2:12-13)
4. If my past sins are forgiven when I am baptized in water, and it is possible for me to "lose my salvation" and go to hell after being baptized, then wouldn't my best chance of going to heaven be to drown in the baptistry?!! - before I had a chance to sin so as to be lost again? If I wanted to be absolutely sure of heaven, isn't that my best opportunity?
Answer: Baptism is not only an immersion, but also a reemergence from the watery grave. He raises us up along with Jesus to newness (read, spiritual) life. That is what Jesus called being born again of the water and the Spirit. From then on we stand by faith.
One can stop believing. We are saved by faith. If you no longer believe, then you are lost.
The slander and ridicule of drowning in a baptistery is already blasphemy toward the Spirit of grace on your part.
5. If as a Christian I can sin so as to "lose my salvation," just what sin or sins will place me in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin, and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.
Answer: Yes. The sin of unbelief. (Heb.3:16-19; and 4:1-2) Have you never read 2Tim.2:12? "If we deny him, he also will deny us." However, on your part it would be best to worry about gaining salvation than about losing it.
6. If as a Christian I can fall and "lose my salvation," is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God "takes away" my salvation, doesn't that make Him an "Indian giver"? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?
Answer: God does not "take away" salvation. People who no longer believe throw it away. (Heb, 12:16-17)
If a person can regain their faith and repent, they can still be saved. (1Jno. 1:9)
7. After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the "point of no return" so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.
Answer: No. (1Jno. 1:9) Notice the word -- If.
8. If I committed some sin -whether in thought, word, or deed, one minute before a fatal car crash - would I go to hell if I did not have time to repent of it? And, please, don't just say that it's up to God without giving me a specific Bible reference.
Answer: All these questions show that you apparently have never read 1John chapter 1. Look at verse 7.
9. Why does the "Church of Christ" insist that their name is scriptural when it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible? The church is referred to as the "church of God" eight (8) times in the Bible, but never is it called the "church of Christ." The verse they use is Romans 16:16, but it doesn't say "church of Christ." Where does the Bible call the church the "church of Christ"?
Answer: The churches of Christ do not have a name other than "Christians". (Acts 11:26)
Paul's description of the churches as "of Christ" in Rom.16:16, is just that -- a description.
If you want to attend a church that is of Christ, you must find one that follows the doctrine of Christ, not a Methodist Discipline or a Lutheran Catechism or a Baptist Manual. The churches that are "of Christ" have only Christ as their head.
10. If the "Church of Christ" claims to worship God only as "authorized" by scripture because they sing only (and do not use instrumental music), then where do they get the "authority" to use hymnals, pitchpipes, pews, and indoor baptistries in their worship services? If the answer is that they are "aids to worship," where does the Bible allow for that? Where is your required authorization? If a pitchpipe can be an "aid to worship" for the song service in the "Church of Christ," then why can't a piano be an "aid to worship" for Baptists who may need more help in singing?
Answer: No one "needs" a piano to sing. An aid does not add. Although some have made the argument that a piano could actually aid us in drowning out the singing. Using an aid you should only accomplish what is commanded; what you set out to accomplish. With a piano, or small orchestra now-a-days, you accomplish much more than just singing. The denominations' worship has turned into an entertainment industry. It's embarrassing.
As history shows us, the first churches sang a cappella for over 300 years. The early church writers all condemned the use of instruments in general society as lascivious and wanton. (check any church historian).
Even the Baptists taught against it at one point -- Quoting from J. D. Bales work, Instrumental Music and New Testament Worship, "Baptists -- almost two centuries ago Andrew Fuller in England gave scriptural reasons for rejecting it. (The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, London: Henry G. Bohn, 1845, pp.859-861) David Benedict, a Baptist in Texas, rejected it over a century ago. (Fifty Years Among the Baptists, 1859. Reprinted at Glen Rose, Texas: Newman & Collins, 1913, 205-208) C. H. Cayce, (Editorial Writings from the Primitive Baptist, Thornton, Arkansas: Cayce Publishing Co.,1938, IV. 221-222)"
Modern Baptists have digressed and allowed their worship to be corrupted.
11. The "Church of Christ" teaches that a sinner is forgiven of sin when he is baptized in water by a Campbellite elder. Where does the Bible teach that water baptism is required in order to have one's sins forgiven? Every time the phrase "for the remission of sins" occurs it is speaking of the fact that sins have been forgiven previously! The Bible plainly teaches that the forgiveness of sins is conditioned upon repentance of sin and faith in Christ - never upon water baptism! (Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 20:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 4:5; et.al.) Where does the Bible teach that forgiveness of sin is linked with water baptism? When Christ made the statement in Matthew 26:28, "for the remission of sins," it had to be because they had been forgiven all through the Old Testament! Christ shed His blood because God forgave repentant and believing sinners for thousands of years before the Son of God came to "take away" sins and to redeem us and pay the sin-debt with His own precious blood. How can one say that "for the remission of sins" means 'in order to obtain' in light of the fact that God never uses the phrase in that sense? In the Old Testament God forgave sin on the basis of a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22) - the Old Testament saints had their sins remitted (i.e., forgiven) but they were not redeemed until Christ came and shed His blood at Calvary. Their sins were covered (Romans 4:7; Psalm 32:1), but the sinner was not cleared of his guilt (Exodus 34:7) until the Cross (Heb.10:4). Before Calvary, the sins of believers were pardoned, but they were not paid for (i.e., redeemed) until the crucifixion (see Romans 3:25 and Heb. 9:12-15). When Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30), all sin - past, present and future - was paid for, and the plan of salvation was completed, so that 'whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins' (Acts 10:43). In Acts 2:38, the people were baptized because their sins were forgiven (at Calvary when Jesus said, "Father, forgive them,") and they received the blessing of forgiveness when they repented of their sin of rejecting Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. Friend, heaven or hell depends on what you believe about this.
Answer: It does not matter what the churches of Christ teach, it matters only what the Bible says, although if anyone is teaching that you must have an Elder to immerse you, they did not get that from the scriptures.
Since you did not bring up "the thief on the cross" argument you must have conceded that age-worn point, which means that you are open to change. Good. I have never yet met a Baptist who understood the difference between the Testaments.
Being immersed because one has been forgiven is meaningless. It is also not what the Bible says. What version are you quoting? For a man who requires of us to "be specific and give clear Bible references", I would say that you are being very shady here. Why are you hiding the truth? No amount of bold face type or underlining is going to change it.
Acts 2:38 does not say "because", even though you might like it to. What it plainly says is "for the remission of sins" i.e. that is what immersion is given to accomplish. The word "for" here means "unto, in the direction of, towards, for this very thing or denoting entrance into". [Thayer, Greek - English Lexicon of New Testament on the word έις]
Unto, is έις in the Greek which means "with a view to, a contribution toward the result described." [F. L. Godet.] Immersion "tends to realize" the remission of sins, because that is where God quickens us to spiritual life, having forgiven all our trespasses.
If you wanted it to say "because" then you would have to prove that Peter used the word γάρ and then somebody in the past changed it. But even then, someone changing the word or you mistranslating the Greek will not change the truth.
12. If salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, and baptism is a work of "righteousness," then how can water baptism be a part of salvation? (Titus 3:5; Matt. 3:16) In the Bible, we are SAVED BY GRACE, and grace does not involve human effort or merit - grace is grace and work is work! (Just read Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6.)
Answer: Immersion in water is not a work, of righteousness or anything other kind of work. By being baptized one does not merit anything. Baptism is active faith in God's work, not a demand from our own work. We are passive in immersion. It is not what one does but what we have done to us, to what we submit. Peter commanded that we BE immersed.
It is the "washing of regeneration" from your text you cited - Titus 3:5. Therefore it is not a work of righteous that we have done.
The new birth has two aspects: viz. being born of the water and the Spirit. (Jno.3:5) In Titus 3:5, the washing of regeneration (or the bath of the new birth) fulfills the aspect of water; the other is the "renewing of the Holy Spirit" which is the same as saying that we are reborn by the Spirit. This is what happens when we are immersed into Christ. We have our sins washed away by this very "washing of regeneration" and we are "quickened" (made alive by the Holy Spirit) having had our sins forgiven. (Col. 2:12-13)
Try reading Col. 2:12-13 and explain to us all what the operation (the working) of God is when we are baptized -- the operation in which Paul says that we are to have faith. If you can read that honestly with a sincere love of the truth, you will not be a Baptist much longer. No one can tell you the truth unless you are willing to hear it.
13. The "Church of Christ" teaches that "obeying the Gospel" includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. If this is true, then how is it that the converts of Acts 10 were saved by faith before and without water baptism? The Bible says in Acts 5:32 that only those who obey God may receive the Holy Ghost - so what did those in Acts 10 do to obey and receive the Holy Ghost and be saved? In the light of Acts 10:34-48, Acts 11:14-18, and Acts 15:7-11, how can anyone honestly believe that water baptism is necessary to salvation? Simon Peter said their hearts were "purified by faith" (Acts 15:9) and that we are saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ like they were (Acts 15:11); that is, before and without water baptism! We know that unsaved people do not receive or have the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; Romans 8:9). We know that the Holy Spirit is given only to those who have believed on Christ (John 7:39). We know that the Holy Spirit seals the believing sinner the moment he puts his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, before he is ever baptized in water (Ephesians 1:12,13). How does the warped theolgy of Campbellism explain away these clear passages of Scripture without "muddying the waters" of truth and drowning its members in eternal damnation?
Answer: The churches of Christ do not teach that "obeying the Gospel" includes being baptized in water in order to be saved. That is what the Bible says. The churches of Christ simply teach on this point what they hear from Christ in the scriptures.
If one is saved before being immersed into Christ, then why did Peter say that after they were baptized that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 2:38) You cannot have the Spirit sent forth into your heart unless you are a son. (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:14) You cannot be a son of God unless you are born again having your sins forgiven. (Titus 3:5-6) You cannot have your sins forgiven unless you have them washed away by "being baptized", (Acts 22:16).
Acts 10, as was Acts 2, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles were to receive and be endued with power from on high. These are the only two instances of this happening in the scriptures.
The first time was for the Jewish apostles to prove that Jesus was on the right hand of God. (Acts 2:33)
The second instance was with Cornelius and company to prove to those same Jews that the Gentiles were accepted by God and could receive His grace by being baptized. (Acts 10:47)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not purify their hearts, that was done by their faith. The Holy Spirit did not teach them what they must do to be saved, that was done by a preacher. The Holy Spirit did not forgive their sins, because they were immersed for the remission of their sins.
Purification of the heart by faith and the grace of God are not against immersion to have one's sins washed away, they are all part of salvation.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit was given just to overrule the bias of the Jews toward the Gentiles. Who could possibly argue with that? As Peter said, "Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
Why would God go to all that trouble to get Peter and the other Jews to baptize these Gentiles, if it were not required for salvation?
Tell everyone here on the world wide web: If a person came into your assembly and requested of you to baptize him for the remission of his sins, just like it says in the Bible, would you do it for him? or would you forbid the water?
May God help all the poor souls who are listening to you.