This is a question that should be considered carefully. Today, we have many in the world who have not been baptized according to the Lord's command, and thus have been led to believe that they are members of His Divine Institution, the Church. There are many in the church of Christ who have asked about their baptism. They are concerned with the destiny of their soul...and they should be.
Some people have been baptized in order to qualify themselves to become a member of some organization that the Lord knows nothing about (Matthew 7:21-23), because He did not have anything to do with establishing it. In fact, the trend today seems ot be that as long as you were baptized, you are all right and are a member of the Lord's Body. Many times, often years later, they become concerned about their baptism and whether or not the Lord really added them to His Church.
In this article, I intend to deal with the teachings of the Apostles in their preaching of the Gospel, showing that this teaching is not only important, but that this way - and this way ONLY - makes one's baptism Scriptural.
When Paul wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus, he said, "There is ONE BAPTISM" (Ephesians 4:5). What kind of baptism did the Apostle have in mind when he penned these words? It is agreed that this one baptism was WATER BAPTISM, and that it must be ministered Scripturally in oreder to make one a Christian (a follwer of Christ) and remit one's sins and ADD one to the Church.
The Lord, upon giving the authority to His followers, expressed the need to TEACH them first. In Matthew 28:19-20, His words were "Go ye therefore, and TEACH ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". Again, in Mark 16:15-16, He said, "Go ye into all the world, and PREACH the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth NOT shall be damned".
Today, we have a lot of mis-taught people in the world, and (although they have been baptized - even immersed), their purpose of baptism has been converted into a shameful representation, rather than the divine command of God. Thus, it becomes void.
I am determined to teach as the Lord gives the authority, and I cannot accept the fact that one can be TAUGHT WRONG AND BAPTIZED RIGHT. When one is Scripturally taught, he will understand what baptism is for and what happens when he is baptized, according to the New Testament. When one is rightly taught, he will be baptized for a number of purposes:
We cannot join this body, the church. The Lord does the adding, when we have properly obeyed His Gospel.
Many deceived persons today are baptized, thinking and confessing that their sins have already been forgiven, thus making baptism non-essential and only for the purpose of entering some man-made denomination. THE NEW TESTAMENT GIVES NO SUCH DESIGN FOR BAPTISM. One can read the record in Acts chapter 8, concerning the conversion of the Eunuch, and see that he had to be taught right so that he might be baptized right. He was taught by the inspired teacher (Philip) and was taught the RIGHT reason for being baptized, because he asked what hindered him to be baptized (Acts 8:36). If we are taught by the Apostles, we will have nothing to worry about. This man - after being taught right - was a subject of baptism, and not before.
In Scripture, no one can find a SAVED PERSON BEING BAPTIZED, and no one can produce AN ACCOUNT OF AN UNBAPTIZED SAVED MAN! Thus, we ask you, dear reader: Are you willing to take a chance on your baptism? Are you willing to stand before Christ in judgement and take a cance of NOT being baptized Scripturally, thus not being added to the Lord's church, thus standing as ETERNALLY LOST? Is it worth a chance, when the Gospel is being taught, and it is so simple and so sure?
It has been said that those who were baptized in wather - no matter what they have joined - are Christians and should be accepted into the Lord's Body as such. But it seems to me that is this is true, then the ONE GOSPEL, the ONE FAITH, the ONE CHURCH, the ONE WAY, has been classed as being unimportant in the teaching of God's word, and the way that one is baptized is not essential to one's salvation. Subjects of the ONE BAPTISM must have been TAUGHT the Gospel, BELIEVED it, REPENTED of their sins, and CONFESSED their faith in Jesus (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 8:37, 7:30; Romans 10:10). Because of these teachings, one is baptized right, and is a member of the right church.
Now, if you were sprinkled as a baby, you WERE NOT SCRIPTURALLY BAPTIZED! Why not? Because you were mis-taught, otherwise you would have been buried in the waters of baptism (Romans 6:1-4). If you were not immersed, you were not baptized - no matter how old you were! If you were baptized and then became a member of an organization that is not heard of in the New Testament (one that you cannot read about), then you were not baptized Scripturally. May I add too, that NO ONE has the authority to say that you can be accepted into the Church of Christ having been baptized, and having been mis-taught. I do say that one may be taught right and then be baptized right, even though they were previously "baptized".
But why take a chance? Even if you have been added to the Lord's church and were taught wrong, all you will be doing is getting wet. But on the other hand, if you haven't been added to the church because of having been mis-taught, IT WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD when you stand in judgement!
As long as this world stands, and every day that you live, you still have an opportunity to be taught right, and baptized right. Don't let it pass by. DO NOT BE MISLEAD.
On my desk, I have a leaflet with the following words:
The simple plan of salvation is that you are a sinner. Because you are a sinner, you must die, or else believe on Christ, Who was your substitute and died in your place. Just call upon God and live, realizing that you are a sinner. Ask Him to have mercy upon you and save you for Jesus' sake. Then, just take His word and - by faith - claim salvation. You say, 'Surely that is not all that is necessary to be saved.' YES, it is absolutely all.
This is being misled/falsely taught, and anyone who acepts this teaching HAS ACCEPTED FALSE TEACHING that is contrary to every teaching of the New Testament (in respect to the alien sinner). But this is no worse than accepting false teaching of any kind and being baptized because of having been mis-taught and having been worshipping God in a way that is unpleasing and unacceptable to Him.
Perhaps some will say (about me) that this fellow is narrow-minded; I do not deny this in the least. The New Testament IS narrow, and the teachings are narrow. Just ONE WAY is taught in the Word of God, and I want to be in that WAY and be classed witht the few that will see inside of the GATES of Heaven. This, my friends, is the very reason that you should be interested in your soul and YOUR BAPTISM! Read Matthew 7:13-14.
Why not seek out a gospel preacher today, and be sure of your being taught right and baptized right?
- Mel Myers (Indianapolis, IN); Truth Magazine Vol. 7, #1, October 1962, p.8 www.truthmagazine.com