Question: Do I need Jesus and a “Campbellite preacher” to be saved? If I do then Jesus 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 the Holy Spirit? (Question 2 of 13.)
Answer: Author’s note: these 13 questions appeared on the biblebelievers.com web page in March 2017. They were asked, under the banner, “Common sense questions a Church of Christ Preacher cannot clearly answer”, by Pastor David Martin of the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Bartlett, TN. I have been asked to answer them.
Let’s begin with answering the question; who is authorized, by the Bible, to baptize? We do have a command to baptize therefore baptism is not an option and we find that Jesus commanded the apostles to teach and baptize (Matt 28:19).
In Acts 2:37-47 we find that 3,000 souls who heard the gospel, believed and repented of sin were baptized by the apostles and others. It is not reasonable to believe that twelve apostles could baptize three thousand men and women in less than one day. In Acts 8:5-38 we find that Phillip baptized believers in Samaria as well as the Ethiopian servant.
In Acts 10:47 at the house of Cornelius the Bible doesn’t say “who” did the baptizing. In Acts 16:15 & 33 we find that Paul and company was likely the ones that baptized Lydia and her household. In Acts 18:8 we find Crisps and many Corinthians being baptized by someone. In Acts 19:5 we find that 12 disciples that had been wrongly baptized were re-baptized by; likely Paul and company. In Acts 22:16 we find that Saul was baptized to have his sins washed away, and we assume that Ananias did the baptizing. In 1 Corinthians 1:11-16 we find Christians at odds with one another over, possibly who they were baptized by. Therefore, it is not uncommon, in the Bible, to find baptism being administered by different people. As a matter of fact God used and uses a third party to fulfill His desire. (See Num. 19:18-19 & Rom 10:14.)
Now let’s notice the truth of 1 Tim 2:5 and Jesus as the Mediator: Paul clearly states that Christ is the one and only Mediator (go-between) between God and man. Just because God has chosen to use a third party, see above paragraph, in administering baptism does not make the third party person a mediator.
Now let’s notice the truth 1 Cor. 12:13: since the Holy Spirit is a spirit, He does not do physical baptism as Mr Martin seems to think he does; therefore the thought here is that all people that have been scripturally baptized received their instruction to do so from the teaching of one Spirit. I believe we have answered, from the Bible, the first part of Mr. Martin’s question.
Now let’s see what and who does the saving at Baptism: Peter plainly says that water baptism does the saving (1 Pet 3:21). Yet Mr. Martin denies this and accuses me of teaching a “water-works” based plan of salvation.
In Rom. 8:24, Paul says we are saved by hope. Being saved by hope alludes to the fact that our hope for everlasting life motivates us to believe and obey the gospel from the heart (Rom. 6:17).
In Acts 4:12 we see that Jesus is our source for salvation. Period! It was Jesus who said we show our love of Him by obeying His commandments (John 14:15). Therefore, when Jesus says to believe and be baptized (Matt. 28:19), we easily understand that just believing is not enough. Rom. 8:33 tells us that man is justified (freed from sin) by God. In other words it is God that frees us from sin not man. And, doctrines such as Calvinism (saved at the point of faith) which is taught by Mr. Martin versus the biblical teaching (gospel) of being saved by hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17); believing the gospel (Rom 10:10); repenting of sin (Acts 17:30); confession of faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10); and then baptism to wash away sin (Acts 22:16) as taught by God in the Bible. The one doctrine of the Bible can and does save souls while the doctrines of men such as Calvinism leads people astray resulting in eternal punishment in Hell.
Then in Rom 6:3-4 Paul says we are set free from sin when we are buried with Christ in baptism and resurrected by God a new creature. Please note that the newness of life comes at the point of baptism not at the point of faith as false doctrines teach. So, we see from the Bible that; baptism in water saves us; that hope of eternal life motivates us to believe and obey God’s form of doctrine; that we cannot get to heaven without obeying the commands of Jesus; that God justifies all those who believe and obey His will and not man’s and that we must obey from the heart.
Last but not least let’s understand the consequences of blasphemy, which will keep our souls out of heaven (Matt. 12:31). The root meaning of the word blaspheme is “injurious speech.” Thus when we teach a false doctrine (no book, no chapter and no verse, no thus saith the Lord, no direct command, etc.), (1 Pet. 4:11) we are teaching injurious words. The sad part of this is many people believe and follow false doctrine and don’t even realize it because that is what they have been taught from the pulpits of local churches for so long they honestly believe it to be the truth.
Do you have a Bible question or comment you would like to have answered? Call Marshall Stubblefield at 423-272-2404.
(PUB. NOTE: Articles of a faith-based nature and other commentaries appear in the Review as they are submitted and as space allows. Views expressed by guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper, its owners or staff.)