The Baptism Controversy
by Andrew Strom
A number of people replied to my last article
saying that I am "over-emphasizing" baptism. Some even think that we are preaching "baptismal regeneration"! These people really need to read that email again.
Listen - I have just spent the last 14 years of my life travelling around the world speaking on Repentance and Holiness. And I still preach on those things. But baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit are important too. In fact, in the Bible they were all "one package". There is no "Ask Jesus into your heart" in the Bible. There is no 'Pray this little prayer to get saved'. It doesn't exist. (Proof of this is below).
20 years ago in 1996 I published an article called, "Ask Jesus Into Your Heart??" Torben read it. Maybe you did too. It was one of our main ones. This topic needed discussing. The church was going around the world telling people to do something for "salvation" that the apostles never preached. "Just pray this little prayer after me." Very 'convenient' but also very unbiblical. In the book of Acts we see literally thousands of people getting converted. But never once were they told to do anything like that. So what did the apostles actually preach?
When I teach on this topic these days I always start with the "Six Foundations" of Hebrews 6:1-2. If you look at this passage it actually describes the six things that are "foundational" in the life of a new believer. Please note that 'Asking Jesus into your heart' is not one of them. So what are these six things according to this passage? (1) Repentance, (2) Faith, (3) Baptisms, (4) Laying on of Hands, (5) Resurrection of the Dead, (6) Eternal Judgment. Those are the six foundations.
Then I take people over to the book of Acts to see what the apostles did when they got people converted. In Acts chapter 2 we find the very first occasion where a group of people is getting saved. And what did the apostle Peter tell them? "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).
Can you see what Peter is doing here? He is using the "foundations"! They asked him what they should do, and he replied by telling them three of the initial foundations: (1) Repent, (2) Be Baptized, (3) Receive the Holy Spirit. And we see this pattern over and over again.
PREACH the FOUNDATIONS!
When we go right through the book of Acts and look at every conversion in the whole book, we find again and again that what the apostles were doing was LAYING THESE FOUNDATIONS in the conversion of people. Repent, Believe, get Baptized, get Filled with the Holy Spirit. Foundations 1, 2, 3 and 4. Over and over. The Samaritans, the Gentiles, the Ephesians, everyone. Friends, we are supposed to use these FOUNDATIONS when we are getting people converted! And all of this was expected to happen on the FIRST DAY! There were no delays. This was "day one" Christianity for every convert. Read it and see for yourself.
So why are we so different today? Why have we gone around the world getting people "converted" in a way that is utterly different from the Bible?
I can understand why people get upset about this because it is so different to what we have been taught all our lives. But the fact is, no matter what people say, I am going to keep using these 'foundations' when getting people converted. If you want to stop me doing that, you are going to have to prove those 'foundations' wrong - or prove to me that the apostles did not use them when getting people saved.
I am not really a "baptism" preacher. And I am not just a 'repentance' preacher either. What I want to be is a "whole foundation" preacher. And that is what I believe God is calling us all to be.
-PLEASE COMMENT on this topic at the following website-
Why Do Demons Hate Baptism?
God bless you all.