Aug 27

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In continuing our response to “The Lutheran Response” of Dr. Keith W. Schweitzer (Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church 505 NE Dodge Street, Greenfield, Iowa 50849) to his so-called: “Campbellite Church of Christ Position.” This article will deal with his response, “The Campbellte Church of Christ: ‘We teach that baptism is for the remission of sins. But only for a person’s past sins.”
Before continuing this article, let it be known to all, there is no one on this earth who has the authority to speak for the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16)! The churches of Christ have but one head and this one head is Christ, who is sitting at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). These churches have no organization on earth larger or smaller than each local congregation. It is true, that there is general fellowship among these churches based upon “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9). Any member, elder, deacon, or preacher, may state or write what is generally believed and taught by these local churches, but no one has the authority to speak for them. The New Testament knows of no organization larger or smaller than the local church/congregation! With this in mind, let us continue with the position: The churches of Christ “teach that baptism is for the remission of sins. But only for a person’s past sins.”
Here is the “Lutheran Response: This is a doctrinal position not well know(n) even among members of the Campbellite Church of Christ.” Before continuing, let me deny one point, that it is not well known among members of the churches of Christ that one is baptized in order to have his past sins forgiven! Just think about it for a moment! If a person were baptized for past and future sins, would such a person not be free to continue in sin knowing that they had already been forgiven? It is more than a “get out of jail free card,” it is a “never go to jail free card!” Yet, the apostle questioned: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1). Now hear the Paul’s answer: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 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” (Rom. 6:2-4). We are not baptized in order to be forgiven of sins not yet committed! Those who are members of the churches of Christ, who have been taught what the New Testament teaches, know that they are not baptized to have future sins forgiven, but past sins!
It is here that Dr. Schweitzer quotes two writers: first, Alan Highers: ““Churches of Christ have stood almost alone in the religious world on the subject of water baptism. We have insisted that immersion of a penitent believer is essential to salvation from past sins.” (The Spiritual Sword, no. 2 (January 1994); and second, C. R. Nichol: ““Though in becoming a child of God, one is commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, it is, and can be, only for the sins committed before becoming a child of God, for he is guilty of no other sins before that time.” (Sound Doctrine, vol. 5, Clifton, Tex.: Nichol Publishing Company, 1920). Once more, just for the sake of truth and understanding, neither of these men speak with authority for the churches of Christ! However, both men have done nothing more than state what the authority of Christ teaches! But, let us look a little deeper into the subject as taught by Dr. Schweitzer and the Lutheran Church. As he writes: “As the Campbellite Church of Christ stresses the absolute necessity of being baptized, rejects the biblical doctrine of original sin, and yet affirms an “age of accountability,’ baptism in the Church of Christ, by definition, must cover only a very small portion of a person’s sins during his lifetime.” You can see that the subject is much larger than “baptism.” As he brings up “the absolute necessity of being baptized,” and what he calls “the biblical doctrine of original sin.” A third point would be what he would call the “mode” of baptism.
As we conclude this article, as space forces it, give thought to some questions: “If a person believes in “original sin,” and Dr. Schweitzer does, and baptism is for the forgiveness of original sin; does it not stand true, that baptism is necessary in order to have original sin forgiven? So, how does he and others deny the necessity of baptism? Another question, why do some “baptize” babies? It is because they believe that babies are born spiritually dead; guilty of their so-called “original sin!” Thus, making “baptism” absolutely necessary!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/a-response-to-the-lutheran-response-7/