If we want to know Yahweh’s will on anything found in His Word, we must do an exhaustive search of the Bible pertaining to the subject in question. Yahweh denounces "smorgasbord-style" Bible study:
We are not at liberty to go through the Bible randomly collecting scriptures that, by themselves, appear to authenticate a particular doctrine or belief. Everything that the Bible states on any subject must be considered and harmonized in order to determine the truth about that doctrine. Additionally, one scripture can never be used to trump or negate another scripture.
People who argue against baptism as a part of the biblical plan of salvation for the reason stated in Objection 1 seldom apply the same standard to other doctrines in the Bible. For example, it is generally accepted that in order to have our prayers answered we must ask (James 4:2), in the name of the Savior (John 14:13-14), believing (Matthew 21:22), without doubting (James 1:6), according to God’s will (1 John 5:14), with pure motives, and not for our own pleasures (James 4:3). There is not one verse or passage that contains all that is required to have our prayers answered. A person must search for the sum of Yahweh’s will in many passages in order to correctly ascertain the truth regarding prayer.
The same is true concerning salvation. John 3:16 says nothing about repentance. However, from Luke 13:3, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 and 2 Peter 3:9-10, we understand that a person must also repent of his sins. Neither does John 3:16 say anything about confession. However, from Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 10:9-10 and 1 John 4:15, we understand that a person must also confess Yeshua as the Son of God and as Lord. And John 3:16 does not say anything about baptism. However, from Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21, we understand that a person must also be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins.
Objection 2: Sound hermeneutics demands that our conclusion on any doctrinal matter must side with the weight of Scripture. Therefore, faith alone is all that is necessary for salvation.
Answer: By this criterion, repentance and a confession of faith must also be discounted, denied and rejected. Sound hermeneutics relies upon the sum, not the weight, of Yahweh’s Word to determine truth.
Objection 3: In his second sermon in Acts 3:19, Peter said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…." Peter made no mention of baptism in this sermon.
Answer: Peter’s sermon is probably not recorded in its entirety. Therefore, it cannot be said with certainty that he did not mention baptism in Acts 3. Furthermore, if someone has the right to pit Acts 3:19 against Acts 2:38 then someone else would have just as much right to pit Acts 2:38 against Acts 3:19. But who gets to decide which is correct? Acts 3:19 no more nullifies Acts 2:38 than Acts 2:38 nullifies Acts 3:19 – the sum of Yahweh’s Word is truth.
Objection 4: The thief on the cross was not baptized.
Answer: The command to be baptized for salvation came forty days after the thief, and more importantly after Yeshua had died. Consequently, the thief was still under the Old Covenant when he was granted salvation and was not required to keep the New Covenant commission first given in Matthew 28 and Mark 16.
The New Covenant did not take effect until Yeshua died:
A testament or covenant is essentially the same as a will. Because Yeshua had not yet died when He granted salvation to the thief on the cross, He could provide salvation to him under whatever terms He chose. However, since Yeshua’s death there is only one way by which a person can obtain salvation, and that is by the conditions of Yeshua’s last will and testament – faith (Hebrews 11:6), repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), confession of Yeshua (Romans 10:9-10) and baptism (Mark 16:15-16).
Objection 5: Other than the Apostle Paul, there is no biblical record of the apostles ever being baptized.
Answer: Doctrine cannot be established by silence. The fact that the Bible does not record the apostles’ baptisms does not prove they were not baptized. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that the twelve apostles were not baptized because they did not need to be born of the water (Romans 6:3-4) anymore than Adam needed to be born of the womb of a woman. Spiritual life began for the apostles in a similar fashion to how Adam’s physical life began – Adam received physical life by Yahweh breathing upon him (Genesis 2:7), and the apostles received spiritual life by the Yahweh breathing upon them (John 20:22). Although Adam was provided physical life in a special way, everyone else from that point forward had to be born by the physical laws of reproduction. In like fashion, although it appears the apostles were provided spiritual life in a special way, everyone else from that point forward had to be born by the spiritual laws of reproduction (Mark 16:15-16, etc.).
Objection 6: Revelation 3:20 teaches that Yeshua is knocking on the door of our heart and that if we ask Him to come into our heart, He promises to fellowship with us. There is nothing in this verse that indicates that baptism is necessary for this saved relationship with Yahweh.
Answer: Neither is there anything in Revelation 3:20 to indicate that someone is supposed to ask Yeshua into their heart in order to come into fellowship or a saved relationship with Yahweh. This verse has been robbed of its context, and it is repeatedly used to teach something it does not teach. It has nothing to do with someone’s initial salvation or relationship with Yahweh.
The context of Revelation 3:20 begins with verse 14, which was written to the church of the Laodiceans. The Greek word "ekklesia" translated church means those called out and denotes people who had already been saved. These were the same Christians to whom it was written in verses 15 and 16, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Verse 20 is not an explanation concerning how to be saved, but rather how backslidden Christians can come back into a pleasing relationship with Yahweh.
The doctrine of asking Yeshua into your heart is completely foreign to the Bible and is nothing but a tradition of man. There are no passages that teach this doctrine nor are there any examples of anyone doing this. Additionally, those who teach this false doctrine usually teach one or any combination of the following things about baptism – it is a symbolic outward sign of inward grace, a witness to others, just an act of obedience, a work of man, it has nothing to do with salvation – none of which can be found anywhere in the Bible. In other words, one man-made doctrine begat other man-made doctrines.
Objection 7: "Baptism is a work of man, and the Apostle Paul informed us in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by the grace of God through faith, not by works."
Answer: The works addressed by Paul in Ephesians 2 are works of the law:
Nowhere is baptism identified as a work of man. Instead baptism is equated with salvation in Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21, forgiveness of sins in Acts 2:38, 22:16 and Colossians 2:11-13, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38, circumcision of the heart in Colossians 2:11-13, a new life in Romans 6:3-4, becoming children of God in Galatians 3:26-27, putting on Christ in Galatians 3:27, and being added to the body of Christ in Acts 2:41, 47 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. The teaching that baptism is a work of man is a man-made doctrine that circumvents what is clearly taught in the Bible.
The same people who identify baptism as a work often employ Romans 10:9-10, which requires confession with the mouth that Yeshua is Lord, as the formula for salvation. However, confession is something we do with our tongue whereas baptism is something we allow done to us. If baptism can be identified as a work of man, then confession can also be identified as a work of man, negating scriptures such as Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 10:9-10 and 1 John 4:15.
Objection 8: The Apostle Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that he had not been sent to baptize but to preach the gospel. Consequently, baptism cannot be necessary for salvation.
Answer: The same commission given to the other apostles in Mark 16:15-16 was also, by extension, given to Paul. In other words, Paul actually was sent to baptize, and 1 Corinthians 1:14 records that he indeed did baptize. So was Paul lying? Not at all, he was making a point that it did not matter who does the baptizing.
1 Corinthians 1:17 does not conflict with Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38, or Paul’s own statements in Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27 and Colossians 2:11-13 regarding the relationship of baptism to salvation, the forgiveness of sins, walking a new life, becoming children of God and putting on Christ. Paul’s statement can only be understood in the context in which it was given. The context reveals that he was addressing a pride problem in the Corinthian church wherein certain people were promoting themselves based upon who baptized them.
Paul understood that it does not matter who does the baptizing any more than it matters who delivers a baby at its natural birth. If a Caucasian man plants his seed in a Caucasian woman, it will not make any difference if a non-Caucasian man is involved in the delivery – the baby will still be Caucasian. Likewise, if the word of God, the seed – 1 Peter 1:23, is planted in a human heart and it is not aborted along the way, it will not matter who does the baptizing – a Christian will be the result.
Paul was not negating baptism, but simply putting the emphasis back upon the preaching of the gospel, which will lead a person to belief and baptism into Yeshua the Christ. Those who accepted the gospel Paul preached would be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins whether he did the baptizing or not.
Objection 9: Nowhere does the Bible provide instructions concerning who is qualified to do the baptizing, therefore baptism must not be all that important.
Answer: The only thing that can be deduced from this is that it does not matter who performs the baptism.
Many people believe baptism is important, they just do not believe it is as important as Yeshua and the inspired authors of the New Testament considered it – for salvation, forgiveness of sins, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, circumcision of the heart, a new life, becoming children of God, putting on Christ, and being added to the body of Christ.
Objection 10: If we are to accept Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 at face value, baptism would replace Yeshua and His blood-atoning sacrifice.
Answer: Because nothing in the context of Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 would indicate that it should be otherwise, they must be accepted at face value and, therefore, must be harmonized rather than pitting other scriptures against them.
Baptism no more replaces Yeshua and His blood-atoning sacrifice than does faith or repentance. Only the blood of Yeshua can provide regeneration, remission of sins, spiritual birth and salvation. The blood is what accomplishes these things, but Yahweh has a scriptural means as found in the sum of His Word on this doctrine for contacting the blood.
Objection 11: The Greek word "eis" in Acts 2:38, in the phrase "be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua Christ for [eis] the remission of sins," should have been rendered "because of" not "for."
Answer: "Because of" is only one of two possible choices. Therefore, the context of Acts 2:38 must be consulted to determine whether eis in this instance should have been rendered "because of" or "for." Note particularly verses 40 and 41:
Peter did not recognize those Judahites as saved and added to the body of Christ until after they were baptized. The context, therefore, proves that "for," not "because of," is the correct translation of eis in this instance.
The Greek phrase translated for the remission of sins is identical to the same phrase found in Matthew 26:27-28 when Yeshua "…took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." If eis in Acts 2:38 should be rendered "because of" then it would also have to be rendered "because of" in Matthew 26:28. This would mean that Yeshua shed His blood because our sins had already been forgiven, thereby nullifying His death, burial and resurrection.
It is the blood of Yeshua that ultimately remits or washes away our sins, and if we accept the clear teaching of Acts 2:38, we must conclude that His blood washes away our sins when we are baptized. Of course, in order for any baptism to be legitimate, it must be preceded by faith and repentance.
Objection 12: Faith alone is sufficient for salvation in Christ.
Answer: Pistis and pisteuo, the Greek words most often translated faith or believe, mean to believe in, adhere to, trust in, rely on and obey. Therefore, when biblical faith is understood for all that it is, faith alone is sufficient for salvation because this word automatically includes a total adherence and obedience to the one in whom you believe. Everything included in that allegiance to Yeshua is not going to be found in any one verse or passage. All of the scriptures that pertain to following Yeshua, including Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, etc., must be consulted to understand what He expects from us when we believe in Him.
In Acts 19, Paul went so far as to even use "believed" and "baptized" interchangeably:
Objection 13: In Acts 10:47, Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized, demonstrating that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit does not occur during baptism, and therefore baptism cannot be for salvation.
Answer: Acts 10:44 and 11:15 reveal that Cornelius did not receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but a falling upon of the Holy Spirit, which is identified in Acts 11:16 as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Every time that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and/or the miraculous gifts are addressed, the gift of the Holy Spirit is identified as a pouring, sitting, falling or coming upon, not an indwelling. If these former descriptions are indicative of the indwelling, then the Samaritans in Acts 8 neither received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when they believed, nor as they were baptized. Instead, one would be forced to conclude that they received the indwelling only after the Apostles came down from Jerusalem and laid hands upon them, which would set a precedent that the same is required for all of us to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as well. If this were true, then no one has been granted salvation since the death of the Apostles. Obviously, pouring, sitting, falling or coming upon is not equivalent with the indwelling.
This falling upon or baptism of the Holy Spirit was Yahweh’s final proof to Peter and his fellow Judahites that Cornelius and his household could be saved. Therefore, in perfect harmony with what he had been commissioned in Mark 16 and what he preached in Acts 2, Peter commanded Cornelius to be baptized in water in the name of the Lord. And it would have therefore been for the same reason he commanded baptism in the name of the Lord in Acts 2:38 – for the remission of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Objection 14: Mark 16:16 simply says that faith plus baptism results in salvation. It does not say anything about one who places his faith in Christ but has not been baptized. Therefore, the claim that baptism is mandatory for salvation cannot be supported by this passage.
Answer: Using the same reasoning, a person who places his faith in Christ but who never repents of raping or murdering people can also be saved because John 3:16 and a score of other passages do not say anything about the necessity of repentance.
Objection 15: A verse like Mark 16:16b – "but he that believeth not shall be damned," stating that without water baptism one cannot be saved – must be provided to prove that water baptism is required for salvation.
Answer: By whose rules? Nevertheless, consider carefully the following three passages, all of them written by the Apostle Paul:
Because those who do not obey the gospel of Yeshua the Christ will be punished with everlasting destruction we must know what the gospel is that Paul declared we must obey. In 1 Corinthians 15, he informs us what the gospel of Christ is:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen [in His new body] of Cephas, then of the twelve. (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)
The gospel that Paul tells us we must obey is the death, burial, resurrection and the new body of Yeshua that was seen or evidenced by others. So how do we obey Yeshua’s death, burial, resurrection and His being seen? There is only one passage in the Bible that provides us with the answer:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
Therefore, unless a person is baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, he will suffer everlasting destruction away from the presence of the Lord.
Romans 8:1 informs us that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Being in Christ keeps us from being condemned. There are only two passages that describe how we get into Christ:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ … buried with him by baptism … that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
Therefore, the Bible does teach that anyone who is not baptized into Christ will be damned.
Objection 16: Mark 16:16 concludes by saying, "but he that believieth not shall be damned." Because it does not say that he who is not baptized shall be damned, baptism is not required for salvation.
Answer: The latter half of this verse does not negate the first half, which still says what it says. This is the worse case of pitting scripture against scripture I have ever witnessed. In this instance, it is a case of pitting a single scripture against itself.
To have included baptism in the second half of the verse would have been redundant because no one would be baptized who did not first believe. It would be analogous to someone first saying, "I’m going to the park today, and I’m going to swing on the swing set, teeter on the teeter totter and slide on the slide," and then say, "No, I’m not going to go to the park today, and I’m not going to swing on the swing set or teeter on the teeter totter or slide on the slide." If he is not going to go to the park, it is a foregone conclusion that he is not going to swing, teeter or slide – just as it is a foregone conclusion that anyone who does not believe is not going to be baptized.
Objection 17: Some ancient manuscripts do not include Mark 16:15-16 in their text.
Answer: This is true. But the majority of the textual evidence weighs in on the side of Mark 16:15-16 being authentic. Furthermore, there is nothing therein that is not stated somewhere else in Scripture. The fact that Mark 16:16 is precisely what the apostles and disciples taught and wrote is the strongest evidence on behalf of its veracity.
Objection 18: Water is not mentioned in either Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38, therefore the baptism required in those passages was a spiritual baptism, not a water baptism.
Answer: Had baptism in Mark 16:16 been a spiritual baptism, Yeshua would not have commissioned His disciples to do the baptizing; instead He would have told them that He or the Holy Spirit would do the baptizing.
In Acts 2:38 we are informed that baptism in the name of Yeshua the Christ is for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This was in obedience to Yeshua’s commission fifty days earlier found in Mark 16:15-16. Yeshua’s commission and what Peter preached harmonize perfectly and both were a water baptism. This is proven in Acts 10:47-48 where Peter commanded Cornelius and his household to be baptized in water in the name of the Lord:
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…. (Acts 10:47-48)
Baptism in the name of Yeshua the Christ and baptism in the name of the Lord are obviously the same baptism, and if one was in water then the other was also in water. Therefore, water baptism – not a spiritual, figurative or metaphorical baptism – was for salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Salvation, forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit occur at the same time as when a person is circumcised in heart (Colossians 2:11-13), begins to walk a new life (Romans 6:3-4), becomes a child of God (Galatians 3:26), puts on Christ (Galatians 3:27), and is added to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Therefore, these passages are all referring to water baptism as well.
Water baptism is also indicated in Acts 8:36 when the eunuch said, "See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized," and in 1 Peter 3:20-21 that declares "wherein … eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…."
Objection 19: In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist did not declare that Yeshua had come to baptize with water but with the Holy Spirit. Therefore Mark 16 must have been a spiritual rather than a water baptism.
Answer: The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a different baptism altogether from the baptism Yeshua commanded in Mark 16. This is proven in both Acts 2 and Acts 10, the only two instances in the Bible where baptism with the Holy Spirit is recorded. We know these are the only recorded instances because these are the only two locations that the Bible identifies baptism with the Holy Spirit, and because they are different from anything else recorded in the New Testament.
Acts 1:4-5 identifies what happened to the Apostles in Acts 2:1-4 as baptism with the Holy Spirit, and Acts 11:15-17 identifies what happened to Cornelius and his household in Acts 10:44-45 as the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was something altogether different from the baptism preached by Peter. In Acts 2:1-4, when the apostles were baptized by the Holy Spirit, it came directly from Yahweh and was somewhat of a surprise to everyone there, just as it was when Cornelius and his household were baptized with the Holy Spirit in Acts 10:44-45.
In both instances, Peter commanded his listeners to be baptized (Acts 2:38 and Acts 10:47-48) in obedience to the Great Commission given him in Mark 16:15-16. In other words, it was to be a decision that the hearers had to make for themselves rather than one made solely by Yahweh as in Acts 2:1-4 and 10:44-45. Therefore, the baptism with the Holy Spirit7 and the baptism that Peter preached are not one and the same baptism.
Even more convincing is the fact that after Yahweh baptized Cornelius and his household with the Holy Spirit in Acts 10 (which was the final proof to Peter that these Italians could receive salvation), Peter preached the same baptism that he preached in Acts 2. In Acts 2:38 Peter declared "repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua the Christ for the remission of sins…." and in Acts 10:48 "he commanded them to baptized in the name of the Lord." Clearly baptism in the name of the Lord is the same baptism performed in the name of Yeshua the Christ. In verse 47, just prior to commanding Cornelius and his household to be "baptized in the name of the Lord," Peter declared "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized…?" Acts 10 identifies the baptism Peter preached in Acts 2 as a water baptism, performed for the remission of sins. It was the same baptism for salvation that in Mark 16:16 he was commissioned by Yeshua to preach.
If the water baptism preached by Peter in Acts 2 and 10 is not the baptism commissioned by Yeshua in Mark 16, then who commissioned him to preach this baptism? Moreover, someone needs to identify the baptism that was commissioned by Yeshua in Mark 16 and later preached by Peter.
Objection 20: Because Ephesians 4:5 declares there is only one baptism, water baptism must give way to baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Answer: Ephesians 4:5 is talking about the one Lord, one faith, and one baptism that include and unify us in the body of Christ. This one baptism is not the baptism with the Holy Spirit7 that only the apostles and Cornelius and his household experienced, but instead the baptism preached by Peter in Acts 2:36-41, 47. Note especially verses 41 and 47:
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls…. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is what the apostles experienced in Acts 2:1-4. But it was water baptism that added the 3,000 Judahites to the body of Christ. Therefore, the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is not the baptism with the Holy Spirt, but baptism in the name of Yeshua the Christ for the forgiveness of sins, performed in water.
Objection 21: Nowhere is it recorded that the apostles baptized with water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost as commanded in Matthew 28:19. Therefore, this baptism must have been spiritual.
Answer: The disciples did not baptize using the formula "the Father, Son and Holy Ghost." Instead, they baptized in the Hebrew name that accurately represents all three entities – Yeshua. Baptism in the name of Yeshua occurred in Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5 and 22:16 and is identified as a water baptism in Acts 10:47.
Objection 22: Water is not mentioned in either of the two accounts recording Paul’s baptism, therefore it must have been a spiritual baptism.
Answer: In Acts 22:16, Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul, was commanded to "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling upon the name of the Lord." The command to "arise" would not have been necessary if it were simply a spiritual baptism.
The Apostle Peter, who was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, first preached baptism in the name of Yeshua (in the name of the Lord) for the remission of sins in Acts 2:38. This was the same thing that Ananias preached to Paul – to be baptized, calling upon or in the name of the Lord, that his sins might be washed away. In Acts 10, Peter, who still had the same keys, preached baptism in the name of the Lord and clearly demonstrated that such was a water baptism − Acts 10:47-48. No matter how some people try to avoid it, the baptism recorded in Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27, Colossians 2:11-13 and 1 Peter 3:21 were all performed in water.
Ultimately it is Yeshua who, as the baptizer, washes away our sins. But the vehicle through which He has chosen to do so is water baptism, preceded by faith and repentance.
Objection 23: Taken in isolation, Acts 22:16 appears to teach that baptism has something to do with the forgiveness of sins, but there are many more scriptures pertaining to forgiveness of sins that say nothing about baptism. Therefore, Acts 22:16 must mean something else.
Answer: Isolation? Those who take the position that baptism has nothing to do with salvation, isolate every passage that teaches baptism for salvation and deny it, tear it apart, explain it away, and then declare, "See, this passage agrees with all the rest!" Acts 22:16 means exactly what it says and harmonizes perfectly with all the rest of the scriptures on this issue, provided they are all taken for exactly what they say.
Objection 24: In Acts 22:13, before Saul was baptized, Ananias addressed him as "Brother Saul." Therefore, Saul’s baptism could not have been for the purpose of washing Saul’s sins away.
Answer: Ananias seemed to think Saul’s baptism was for washing his sins away. Moreover, Acts 22:13 does not say that Ananias addressed Saul as a brother in Christ. His salutation could have pertained to Saul as a fellow Judahite. Verse 13 alone does not provide us with enough information to decide either away. However, to conclude that Ananias was greeting Saul as a brother in Christ is to pit verse 13 against verse 22, whereas to conclude that Ananias was greeting Saul as fellow Judahite is to harmonize verses 13 and 22 and the remainder of the passages on baptism.
Objection 25: When the twelve were commissioned by Christ in Matthew 10:1-15 and Mark 3:13-19, and when the seventy were sent out in Luke 10:1-20, they were not commissioned to baptize.
Answer: It is speculation that Yeshua’s orders to preach were not understood to include baptizing, especially in light of John 4:1-2 that informs us "…that Yeshua made and baptized more disciples than John (though Yeshua Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)." More importantly, these Old Covenant commissions prove nothing concerning Yeshua’s New Covenant commission recorded in Mark 16:15-16.
Objection 26: When Christ sends out the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation, Revelation 11:3-6 does not say that they will be sent to baptize with water.
Answer: Doctrine cannot be established by silence. The same argument could be employed to say that the two witnesses were not sent to pray because praying was not specifically mentioned in this passage either. Even if they were not sent to baptize, it still proves nothing as it concerns what Yeshua commanded in the Great Commission in Mark 16:15-16.
Objection 27: To require baptism as a part of salvation is essentially the same mistake made by the first-century Judaizers who demanded that a person must be circumcised to be right with Yahweh.
Answer: Then Yeshua (Mark 16:15-16), Peter (Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21), Ananias (Acts 22:16) and Paul (Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27 and Colossians 2:11-13) all made the same mistake.
The Judaizers were those who added or replaced their own requirements to those already given by Yeshua. To preach the necessity of water baptism because Yeshua and His disciples did so is not to judaize, or Yeshua and his disciples were all Judaizers. To not preach the necessity of baptism is to judaize because Yeshua’s instructions have been rejected and replaced with surrogate teachings.
Objection 28: To teach the necessity of baptism for salvation implies that Yeshua’s death on the cross was insufficient to save us, and therefore adds to the finished work of Christ.
Answer: To teach the necessity of baptism no more adds to the finished work of Yeshua on the cross than to teach the necessity of faith or repentance, all of which are required by Yeshua and his disciples as clearly stated in the Bible. To not teach the necessity of baptism is to take away from the finished work of Yeshua on the cross because He died to establish his New Covenant, a part of which He commissioned in Mark 16:16.
Objection 29: Romans 10:9-10 states that it is by believing with your heart that one is justified and by confessing with your mouth that one is saved. Because Paul does not mention baptism so many times when talking about salvation, it must not be required for salvation.
Answer: Paul and others did not mention baptism every time simply because it was unnecessary, just as it was unnecessary to mention repentance every time, and just as it was unnecessary to mention confession of Christ every time – the sum of Yahweh’s Word is truth.
Baptism is required for salvation if you believe what Yeshua declared in Mark 16:15-16. A person can choose to accept either Mark 16:15-16 or Romans 10:9-10 and thereby pit one against the other, or he can choose to accept and harmonize both.
Furthermore, Romans 10:13 tells us that "For whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved." There is only one place in the Bible where we are given an example of someone doing this − "And now why tarriest thou [Saul]? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)
Objection 30: In 1 Peter 3:20-21, we are told that the flood in Noah’s day is a figure of New Covenant baptism. Noah and his family were not saved by the water; they were saved from the water.
Answer: This is a clear case of scripture denial. 1 Peter 3:20-21 does not say that Noah and his family were saved by the ark, but instead by water and that in like manner we are saved by the waters of baptism through the resurrection of Yeshua the Christ:
By Yahweh’s grace, Noah and his family were saved from the corruption of that day by the water. This is a perfect figure of what happens when a person is baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. By Yahweh’s grace and Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection a repentant believer’s sins are destroyed and left behind as he is raised from his watery grave to walk a new life in Yeshua the Christ.
Objection 31: 1 Peter 3:21 describes the baptism that saves us as figurative.
Answer: In this passage baptism is not a figure of something else. Instead, the waters of Noah’s flood are a figure or a type of the waters of baptism. In other words, the waters of baptism are an antitype of the waters of Noah’s flood. The Greek word translated figure is "antitupon," meaning antitype, referring to the waters of baptism.
Objection 32: 1 Peter 3:21 declares that baptism is not for the "putting away of the filth of the flesh."
Answer: "The filth of flesh" is referring to what is washed off in bath water. It is contrasted with a good conscience, which can only come when someone’s sins have been washed away. In other words, Peter was declaring that the baptism waters are not for washing the outward man, but the inward man, whereby he can gain a good conscience.
Objection 33: The last phrase in 1 Peter 3:21 declares that we are saved by Yeshua’s resurrection, not by baptism.
Answer: This is another example of pitting a scripture against itself. The last phrase does not negate the first phrase of the same verse, which still says what it says. Take out the middle explanation that water baptism does not clean the physical body and the verse reads as follows: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also save us … by the resurrection of Yeshua the Christ." It is the resurrection of Yeshua that saves us when we are water baptized.
In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter is perfectly consistent with what he preached in Acts 2:38, what Christ commissioned in Mark 16:15-16, what Ananias commanded Paul in Acts 22:16, and what Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27 and Colossians 2:11-13 – unless, of course, what those passages so plainly teach has already been twisted and denied. Deny one of these passages and you must deny them all.
Objection 34: One must will to be baptized. Water baptism, therefore, cannot be necessary for salvation because salvation is not according to our will. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
Answer: John 1:12-13 does not contradict Yeshua’s command in Mark 16:16 to be baptized for salvation, anymore than it contradicts Yeshua’s commands in John 8:24 to believe and in Luke 13:3 to repent. Just as a man cannot believe and repent unless the Father draws him (John 6:44), he also will not be baptized for the remission of sins unless he is called of the Father. If someone is not baptized for the remission of his sins, it only proves that he has not been drawn by Yahweh. This would be in fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 that declares, "...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth…."
Objection 35: Acts 2:39 reveals that salvation comes through the work of God’s elective choice, not the actions or plans of man such as is required with baptism.
Answer: This is another case of pitting scripture against scripture. Acts 2:39 does not negate verse 38; it is a commentary on verse 38. It testifies to the fact that Yahweh’s call includes baptism for the remission of sins.
Objection 36: John 6:29, Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 1:29 and Hebrews 12:2 describe faith in Christ as not initiated by man but as a gift from Yahweh. Acts 5:31, 11:18 and 2 Timothy 2:25 also describe repentance as gift of Yahweh. Baptism, however, is something we must do on our own, and therefore cannot be for salvation.
Answer: In Acts 2:38, the Apostle Peter declared that "the gift of the Holy Spirit" is the result of being baptized. Therefore a person’s decision to be baptized has to be a gift as well, otherwise the Holy Spirit that comes with being baptized cannot be a gift, but instead what is due.
Objection 37: Ephesians 1:4 teaches that we are in Christ because Yahweh chose us to be so. Baptism for salvation takes away from Yahweh receiving all the glory because in the mind of someone baptized for that purpose he was saved because he got baptized.
Answer: Ephesians 1:4 does teach that a person is in Christ because Yahweh chose him to be so. Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 teach that a person enters Christ when he is baptized. Which is true? Both, of course – the sum of Yahweh’s Word is truth – a person is baptized into Christ because Yahweh chose him to do so.
Furthermore, if baptism takes away from Yahweh receiving all the glory then so does belief, repentance and confession of Christ for the same reason.
Objection 38: What about the poor soul who has repented, believed and even scheduled baptism, but is killed in an accident prior to being baptized?
Answer: This is a hypothetical situation, and the scriptures should never be judged by hypothetical situations. However, if a person has been called of Yahweh and truly has a heart to follow Him, it is unlikely that Yahweh will keep that person from what is required to reach the blood of Christ. The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 is a biblical example of Yahweh’s faithfulness in this regard. In such situations I suspect that Yahweh will either spare the life or provide the water.
In the early 1980’s, I was involved in a jail ministry in Fort Collins, Colorado. The county jail was without immersion facilities, and it was run by a Baptist sheriff who did not believe baptism was required for salvation. The first prisoner to respond to the gospel was a high-security convict. To everyone’s astonishment, the sheriff allowed this prisoner to be removed from the jail to be baptized, while assigning two deputies to be shackled to him at all times. Consequently, three men were "baptized" rather than just one. This convict’s life was so transformed that the sheriff subsequently deputized two of the men in the jail ministry, and they were permitted to take prisoners out of the jail to baptize them anytime one of them made a decision to surrender his life to Christ. Indeed, Yahweh can provide the water or spare the life!
Objection 39: In Romans 6:3-4, baptism is symbolic of Yeshua’s death and new life, and our own as well.
Answer: There is more than symbolism being described in this passage because Romans 6:4 describes new life beginning after, not before, a person has in faith and repentance been baptized into Christ.
Objection 40: Church history does not support the position that baptism is required for salvation.
Answer: Yes, it does, beginning with Mark 16:15-16 and throughout the remainder of the New Testament, and continuing with the remnant of true believers who have obeyed this commission and who have made up the church/ecclesia since.
Objection 41: It is true that many modern churches do not have the urgency that the first-century churches had about baptism. Nevertheless, the mere fact that many people in the book of Acts were immediately baptized after placing their faith in Christ does not mean water baptism is a necessary condition for salvation.
Answer: This would be true if it were the only fact by which we had to determine the purpose of baptism. But even this fact alone should tell us that something is wrong with the way most churches approach baptism. This is because the first-century church, unlike many churches today, accepted Mark 16:15-16, 22:1-16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27, Colossians 2:11-13 and 1 Peter 3:21 for what they literally say, instead of attempting to force them to say anything but what they actually say.
Objection 42: We are redeemed, made alive and cleansed by the blood of Yeshua the Christ. People who believe in baptismal regeneration teach that we are redeemed, made alive and cleansed by water baptism, thereby replacing Christ’s blood with baptistry water.
Answer: I have been a Christian for thirty years and preaching the gospel for twenty-eight years8 and I have yet to come across anyone who teaches that it is the water in baptism and not the blood of Christ that regenerates, makes alive and cleanses us from our sins.
If people who accept the plain teaching of Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, etc. can be accused of believing in "baptismal regeneration" then people who believe the plain teaching of 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, 2 Peter 3:9-10, etc. can be accused of believing in "repentance regeneration."
"Baptismal Regeneration" is a catch-phrase and a straw man employed to pigeon-hole people. In all my years as a Christian, I have never come across anyone who believes that baptism can regenerate someone. Baptism cannot regenerate or save anyone, but it is true, according to the Scriptures, that it is in baptism, when preceded by faith and repentance, that Jesus regenerates or saves someone lost and condemned in their sins.
Objection 43: In Romans 6:3-4, baptism is only used to signify our death to our old way of life and our resurrection to new life in Christ.
Answer: Paul does not say that baptism signifies anything; this is simply a tradition of man. What Paul does say is "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Because a new life begins when a person is born, we are born from above (John 3:3-5) or become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) when, in faith and repentance, we are raised from the watery grave of baptism.
Objection 44: It is a common mistake for some to confuse the importance of baptism with the necessity of baptism.
Answer: Yeshua and His apostles did not seem confused. They understood that baptism’s importance was its necessity. The only people confused are those who do not accept the scriptures for what they plainly teach.
Objection 45: Just as the holy law of God was misused by the Pharisees in Jerusalem and the Judaizers in Galatia, so baptism has been misused by people who claim that it is for salvation.
Answer: Who is misusing scripture − those who take Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27 and 1 Peter 3:21 for what they literally say – or those who tell you that none of those scriptures really mean what they plainly teach?
Objection 46: Baptism is only a symbol and an outward manifestation before men.
Answer: There are no scriptures that declare this. This is a tradition of men who have rejected the plain teaching of the Bible.
Objection 47: Unless we have been saved first by faith, the symbol of baptism is meaningless.
Answer: The Bible never identifies baptism as a symbol, and it is man’s order that says, "He that believes is saved and then gets baptized." Yeshua’s order is "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…." (Mark 16:16).
Objection 48: The Holy Spirit has not moved me to be baptized for the forgiveness of my sins. He has never let me down. I choose to listen to Him instead of my own limited understanding.
Answer: The Holy Spirit is often used as an excuse to ignore or reject what the Scriptures literally say. The Holy Spirit is never in conflict with the written Word. However, the so-called Holy Spirit is often used to justify the personal or denominational biases of some people.
A person must be careful about interpreting what they are "hearing." It may not be from the Holy Spirit at all. Or it just may be that Yahweh is speaking to them – but not with a voice that they should be excited about hearing. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 we are warned: "…they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth...."
Paul did not write that what we think the Holy Spirit has told us is "given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Only the Holy Scriptures accomplishes all of those things. If it contradicts what Yahweh has inspired in His Word, it is not from His Spirit.
A person must guard against judging the Scriptures by his experiences and feelings rather than judging his feelings and experiences by the Scriptures. If people would do the latter, many will discover that what they thought was a salvation experience was merely their conversion. A person cannot be saved without being converted. But he can be converted without yet being saved, as demonstrated in the conversion of Paul and his salvation three days later (Acts 22:1-16).
Objection 49: If baptism is for salvation, how would you respond to someone who has never been baptized but who has placed their faith in Yeshua alone for salvation?
Answer: I would implore him to become saved just like Peter did those on the day of Pentecost who had already believed in Yeshua but had not yet repented and been baptized for the forgiveness of their sins:
Objection 50: Provided someone is baptized in water in the Savior’s name, there’s no problem.
Answer: Ephesians 4:5 declares that just as there is only one Lord and one faith, there is also only one baptism that makes it possible for us to be a part of the body of Christ. For baptism to be valid, it has to be performed for the reasons found in the Bible, not those conjured up in the minds of men who have rejected the plain teaching of the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible teach that baptism is an outward sign of inward grace or that it is to be performed as a witness to others. To be scriptural, it needs to be done for scriptural reasons, for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38), understanding, of course, that it is only the blood of Yeshua that saves and forgives sins.
Yeshua declared that "…if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:47-48). The people who have rejected the teaching of Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27, Colossians 2:11-13 and 1 Peter 3:21 have not only rejected the teaching of those passages, but also those passages’ inspired teachers, and more particularly the Holy Spirit by whom they were inspired.
It is not as if the passages concerning baptism and the stated purposes found therein are difficult to understand. To be baptized for any reason not stated in those passages, one has to deny what those passages say and instead accept what carnal men teach. This is precisely what I did many years ago. I read Mark 16:15-16 for what it says and believed I should be baptized for the reason stated therein. I went to the man who originally introduced me to the gospel, and I shared with him what I had discovered. He then proceeded to tell me that baptism was important and that I should certainly be baptized, but that it had nothing to do with salvation. In other words, Yeshua had not meant what He said! Shortly thereafter I was immersed9 in water, in the Savior’s name, not for the reasons that Yeshua said to do it, but for reasons my friend supplied. Was I obeying Yeshua, or was I obeying man?
If a non-scriptural baptism is acceptable, it would mean that salvation could be simply stumbled into. Those baptized in this fashion would also never teach others what Yeshua and His inspired disciples taught, but instead continue to teach man-made false doctrines such as praying the sinner’s prayer.
Acts 19:1-5 provides scriptural precedent for re-baptism when any prior baptism was not scriptural:
If the twelve men in Acts 19:1-5, who had been scripturally baptized in John’s baptism (an Old Covenant, but nonetheless scriptural baptism), had to be re-baptized in Yeshua’s baptism, then why would we think that someone who was baptized for unscriptural reasons – even going so far as to deny what Yeshua and His inspired disciples taught about baptism – would not likewise need to be re-baptized?
People are often baptized because the Bible tells them to; but not for the reasons the Bible tells them to. This should bring to mind Nadab and Abihu − "Oh, we’ll offer fire, but not the fire You designated!" (Leviticus 10:1-2). If Yahweh would not accept the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu’s in substitution for scriptural fire, He is certainly not going to accept a strange baptism. A person who thinks Yahweh will accept a strange baptism is gambling with eternity.
Some people will do everything they can to get around what is said in Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, etc., and will be baptized for any reason except the ones stated therein. Anyone who is baptized for any non-biblical reason is in rebellion to Yeshua. Although they might have been baptized, can they truly be described as obedient? As important as the mode9 is, the purpose of baptism is even more important.10
This treatise has been misnamed. Instead of "Fifty Objections to Baptism Answered," it should be "Fifty Objections to What the Scriptures Say About Baptism Answered." Those who deny that baptism is for salvation (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21), the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16, Colossians 2:11-13), the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), circumcision of the heart (Colossians 2:11-13), a new life (Romans 6:3-4), becoming children of God (Galatians 3:26-27), putting on Christ (Galatians 3:27), and being added to the body of Christ (Acts 2:41, 47, 1 Corinthians 12:13), are not arguing with those today who teach these same things. Their argument is with Yahweh.
2. Yeshua, is the English transliteration of our Savior’s Hebrew name, preferred by this author. For a more thorough explanation concerning the use of the sacred names of God, The Third Commandment may be read at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy God in vain may ordered as a book from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363 for a suggested $4 donation.
3. Portions of scripture have been omitted for brevity’s sake. If there are questions regarding any passage, readers are encouraged to open their Bibles and study the text to ensure that it has been properly used.
4. "Yahweh" is the personal Hebrew name of the God of the Bible. For a more thorough explanation concerning the use of the sacred names of God, The Third Commandment may be read at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy God in vain may be ordered as a book from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363 for a suggested $4 donation.
5. Where the Tetragrammaton YHWH – the four Hebrew characters that represent the personal name of God – has been incorrectly rendered the LORD or GOD in Scripture, the author has taken the liberty to correct this error by inserting Yahweh where appropriate. For a more thorough explanation concerning the use of the sacred names of God, The Third Commandment may be read at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/3rdcom-pt1.php, or Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy God in vain may be ordered as a book from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363 for a suggested $4 donation.
6. Ephesians 2:13-15 does not negate Yahweh’s laws for today, but only the requirement to keep those laws to be justified. For a more comprehensive explanation concerning how Yahweh’s laws pertain to today, "Yah’s Laws: Are They for Today?" may be read athttp://missiontoisrael.org/yahs-laws-1.php or it is available as a free tract from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363.
7. A more exhaustive study concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, entitled Testing the Spirits, may be ordered from Mission to Israel, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363. This six-part cassette tape series may be ordered for a suggested $12 donation, or it may be obtained on listen-and-return basis.
9. For a more exhaustive study concerning immersion as the mode of baptism, "Baptism: Sprinkling, Pouring or Immersion?" can be read at http://www.missiontoisrael.org/baptism-immersion.php.http://www.missiontoisrael.org/baptismbythescriptures.php, or it is available as a free tract from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363.
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