Church of Christ West Side

Times of Services

Sunday A. M. Bible Study - 9:00

Sunday A. M. Worship - 10:00

Sunday P. M. Worship - 5:00

Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:30

Address

3232 Edgewood Drive

Evansville, Indiana 47712


Contact

(812) 424 -1051

email


Gospel Plan Of Salvation

Hear - Romans 10:17

Believe - Hebrews 11:6

Repent - Acts 17:30,31

Confess - Matt. 10:31,32

Be Baptized - Acts 2:38

Live Faithfully - Col. 3:1

Copyright 2017

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).


“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).



“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16).


Every Bible student is familiar with the words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost. In response to the questioning mass of Jews, he replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Later Saul of Tarsus was told to "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Peter would later write in I Peter 3:21: "baptism doth also now save us." It should be obvious how important baptism was to the Christians of the first century.

Following New Testament times, it was also obvious how the early church fathers understood baptism. In the second century, the Shepherd of Hermas said, "our life was saved and will be saved through water...there is no other repentance except that one when we descended into the water and received the forgiveness of our former sins."

Justin Martyr, who wrote his Apology about 153 A.D., noted, "For Christ...became the beginning again of another race, who were born again by him through water, faith, and wood (that is, the mystery of the cross)."

Tertullian wrote about 197 A.D.: "It has assuredly been ordained that no one can attain knowledge of salvation without baptism. This comes...from the pronouncement of the Lord, who says, "Except one be born of water he does not have life'" (Christian Chronicle, Dec. 1997, page 22.).

According to church historian, Dr. Everett Ferguson, baptism in the writings of the early church fathers "was understood as bringing the forgiveness of sins." He continues: "Only a few Gnostics on the remote fringes of Christianity denied water baptism or its necessity for the remission of sins" (Early Christians Speak, Dr. Everett Ferguson, p. 36).

Some 1300 years later, Martin Luther (1483 - 1546), a Catholic priest, professor, and the leader of the German Reformation Movement, would write the following in his commentary on the book of Galatians:

"This old man must be put off with all his works, that of the children of Adam we may be made the children of God. This is not done by changing of a garment, or by any laws or works, but by a new birth, and by the renewing of the inward man; which is done in baptism, as saith Paul: "All ye that are baptized, have put on Christ." Wherefore, to be appareled with Christ according to the gospel is not to be appareled with the law or with works, but with an incomparable gift; that is to say, with remission of sins, righteousness, peace, consolation, joy of spirit, salvation, life, and Christ himself. This is diligently to be noted, because of the fond and fantastical spirits, who go about to deface the majesty of baptism, and speak wickedly of it. Paul, contrarywise, commendeth and setteth it forth with honorable titles, calling it "the washing of the new birth, the renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3). And here also he saith, that all they which are baptized have put on Christ. As if he said, Ye are carried out of the law into a new birth, which is wrought in baptism. Therefore ye are not now any longer under the law, but ye are clothed with a new garment; to-wit, with the righteousness of Christ. Wherefore baptism is a thing of great force and efficacy" (Comments on Galatians 3: 27).

In 1536 John Calvin would publish his monumental book, Institutes of the Christian Religion. This book is sometimes considered the most important Protestant publication of all time. In it Calvin wrote the following: "From baptism our faith derives three advantages, which require to be distinctly considered. The first is, that as proposed to us by the Lord, as a symbol and token of our purification; or to express my meaning more fully, it resembles a legal instrument properly attested, by which he assures us that all our sins are canceled, effaced, and obliterated, so that they will never appear in his sight, or come into his remembrance, or be imputed to us. For he commands all who believe to be baptized for the remission of their sins. Therefore those who have imagined that baptism is nothing more than a mark or sign by which we profess our religion before men, as soldiers wear their insignia of their sovereign as a mark of their profession, have not considered that which is the principal thing in baptism; which is, that we ought to receive it with this promise: "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). In this sense we are to understand what is said by Paul, that Christ sanctifieth and cleanseth the church "with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26); and in another place that "according to his mercy he saves us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit"(Titus 3:5); and by Peter, that "baptism doth now save us" (I Peter 3:21).

Again from the writings of John Wesley (1703-1791), minister of the Church of England and founder of the Methodist Church, we read: "Baptism administered to real penitents, is both a means and a seal of pardon. Nor did God ordinarily, in the primitive church, bestow pardon on any, unless through this means" (Notes on the New Testament, page 350).


 MEANING OF BAPTISM

According to the inspired apostolic record of the New Testament scriptures, baptism was described as "a burial" (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4); a "planting" (Romans 6:5); and a raising up (Romans 6:4). So Philip and the Ethiopian "went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip" (Acts 8:38). Baptism occurred where there was "much water" (John 3:23). All these observations point to immersion.

The word, "baptize" is further proof that immersion is meant. Scholarly Greek dictionaries and lexicons define the word as "immersion, submersion, and emergence" (W.E. Vine Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. 1, page 96); "dip, immerse" (Arndt and Gingrich's Greek-English Lexicon, page 131); "dip repeatedly, dip under" (Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, page 126).

Baptism was still considered in this way by the early church fathers. Tertullian wrote: "Baptism itself is a bodily act, because we are immersed in water" (On Baptism, 7). Origen (182-251) commenting on the crossing of the Red Sea mentioned "the evil spirits seek to overtake you, but you descend into the water, and you escape safely;" (Homilies on Exodus, V: 5). In his work, On the Holy Spirit (XV: 35) Basil of Caesarea (born 330 A.D.) penned : "We imitate the burial of Christ through baptism. For the bodies of those being baptized are as it were buried in water." Again, Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures (XVII: 14) wrote: "For as he who plunges into the waters and is baptized is surrounded on all sides by the waters, so were they also baptized completely."

In fact, according to Williston Walker in his book, A History of the Christian Church, "Immersion continued the prevailing practice till late in the Middle Ages in the West; in the East it so remains" (page 88).

SUBSTITUTE BAPTISM

On an eventful day in 253 A.D., a man named Novatian lay in illness, apparently upon his death-bed. Believing in the necessity of immersion for salvation, but unable to leave his bed, he was permitted by a local "bishop" to substitute the pouring of water all about him in its place. This episode, reported by the famous church historian, Eusebius (Church History VI. xliii. 14,17), constituted the first known historical substitution of another action in place of immersion. Since pouring was administered to those bed-fast with infirmities, the practice came to be known as "clinical baptism" after the Greek word for bed, kline. The first approval of pouring for baptism came in 753 A.D. when Pope Stephen declared it to be acceptable in "cases of necessity." It was not until 1311 A.D., however, that the council of Ravenna ruled that means of baptism other than immersion were matters of indifference under any circumstances! ("Immersion, Pouring and Sprinkling: A History," Bruce Edwards, Jr., Truth Magazine, May 15, 1975, pages 6 and 7)

"Immersion has remained the practice of the Greek and other Eastern Churches until this day. The exceptions came to prevail in the medieval Western Church, and from that development most Protestant churches are familiar only with sprinkling or pouring" (Early Christians Speak, Everett Ferguson, 1971, page 47).


LARRY ALBRITTON

BAPTISM: A HISTORICAL LOOK
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