Re: Is Baptism Important?
“As an evangelical, I discovered while I was at Wheaton College that it was possible to dismiss the entire church as having gone off the rails by about 95 A.D. That is, we (evangelicals) with our “open bibles” knew better than old Ignatius or Polycarp or Clement who had been taught by the apostles themselves. We knew better than they just what the church is and what it should look like. Never mind that our worship services would have been unrecognizable to them, or that our church government would have been equally unrecognizable,or that the vocabulary in which we spoke of the Christian life would have been equally unrecognizable. We were right and the Fathers were wrong, that settled the matter.
The trouble for me here was that what these wrong-headed men wrote about God, about our Lord Jesus Christ, about his church, about the Christian’s walk and warfare, what they wrote was so titanic and so rich and so luminous that their error seemed infinitely truer and more glorious than my truth. I gradually felt that it was I, not they, who was under surveillance. ‘The glorious company of the apostles, the noble army of martyrs and the holy Church throughout the world,’ to quote the ancient hymn, the Te Deum, judge me, not I them.
Ignatious, Polycarp, Clement, Justin, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Cyril, Basil, the Gregorys, Augustine, Ambrose, Benedict, it is under the gaze of this senate that I find myself standing. Alas, how tawdry, how odious, how flimsy, how embarrassing seemed the arguments that I had prepared so gaily to put forward against the crushing radiance of these men’s confession. The church is here, in all its antiquity, judging me.”
When speaking of Baptism or any other doctrine or dogma in the church we should look to the scripture and to those who walked with Jesus or His disciples. These things have been passed down through the millenia unchanged. Yet we tend to look through our denominations eyes which more often than not has a history not much more than 500 years. Or we subscribe to a personal revelation which makes us no different than the heretics who deviated from the truth time and time again. At least ask yourself why you believe the way you do and investigate what has been believed since the beginning of the church. Sola scriptura is an abberation. Yea, a deviation (Al Sharpton accent). After a few centuries the ones claiming scripture only wanted to claim tradition. Yet, it was a tradition much older than theirs that even gave the possibility of the scriptures. Tradition was what approved which scripture was God breathed. It was what was passed from Jesus to the Apostles to the bishops after them that acknowledged which scripture was God ordained. So there is a link between tradition & scripture that if severed will certainly lead to a misunderstanding of the Faith. This is why there has always been and always will be creeds. A definition of what the church has believed, taught, and confessed. And if you subscribe to “well the Holy Spirit told me” doctrine it better line up with tradition and scripture.
Until then I hold on to this scripture, (1Tim. 4:16) “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
I still see that holding the belief that baptism is a requirement for salvation is holding the position that Jesus making the payment for our sins is insufficient for salvation.
I believe that baptism is part of salvation. It is all connected. Like the Word, communion, the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit, etc. I don’t like to disect salvation.
Sorry if I scare you Graphite. I love ya man. or woman….jk