Feb 06

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First, on the mind of a student of the New Testament and the subject of baptism should be that of John, the first person found to be baptizing. The subject in this series of articles is that “taught wrong, baptize biblically.” John and some who came to him to be baptized will serve us well just here.
John is in the region round about Jordan when the multitudes came to him in order to be baptized. However, John was unwilling to baptize some. Matthew wrote of the event: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt 3:7-9). First, from this event we should notice that John refused to baptize some. Therefore, not all people are fit subjects of baptism; in that they are lacking something. They may not have been taught; thus, they are not fit subjects of baptism. Second, they may have been taught, but have not obeyed what they have been taught; thus, they are not fit subjects of baptism. Third, one of these options being true, John refused to baptize some of the Pharisees and Sadducees. But, does the text identify which was the case; for what reason did John refuse to baptize these Pharisees and Sadducees? It is clear in John’s words, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance,” that they had not repented. Keep in mind that John preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (verse 2). So, the conclusion is correctly reached that these Pharisees and Sadducees had been taught correctly; at least they had the opportunity to have been taught correctly, but failed to obey it. They had not repented! Repentance was a prerequisite to being baptized according to John’s baptism!
Is it the case that today, a person may come to be baptized, having been taught the truth, the necessary prerequisites, but having never done one (at least one) of them; therefore, is not a fit subject for being biblically baptized? Yes! This being true, would it not also be the case, if a person came to be baptized having never been taught, at least one of the necessary prerequisites; thus, having never obeyed this necessary prerequisite, if he was baptized anyway; would his baptism be a biblical? No! In the case of those Pharisees and Sadducees who came to John seeking to be baptized and John refusing to baptize, then we have a Bible example of a necessary prerequisite, being grounds for refusing to baptize them. But, this case also shows us the necessary prerequisite; something that is required in order to be baptized according to John’s baptism, which in this case was repentance!
However, this is not the only case that the New Testament gives us. Paul came to Ephesus and here he met twelve men who had received John’s baptism. From the context, it appears these folks had been baptized in John’s baptism after it had ended. Therefore, Paul says to them: “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus” (Acts 19:4). John’s baptism not only looked at the present, repentance, but it also looked forward: “that they should believe on him which should come after him.” Therefore, even though John’s baptism was “the baptism of repentance,” it was also forward looking; and these are here shown to be prerequisites; but after Jesus had come, the forward looking part was null and void. John’s baptism was no longer acceptable. Thus, a rebaptism was called for!
The twelve folks in Ephesus give us a clear case that if one is taught incorrectly and baptized, their baptism is not acceptable, it is not New Testament baptism, and they must be re-baptized! This case also allows us to see that a person in order to be baptized biblically, according to the baptism of Christ, must know why he is being baptized and it must be according to the teaching of Christ! Clearly, if a person believes that he is saved before being baptized; his faith is not according to the teaching of Christ! If a person has not repented, but has been baptized, his baptism is not according to the teaching of Christ.
We must understand, repentance is a matter of faith, confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is a matter of faith; and being baptized in order to have our sins forgiven is a matter of faith. Therefore, the person who has been baptized believing that he is saved before being baptized; has a faith not according to the teaching of Christ. He was taught according to the teaching of man and he cannot be baptized biblically!
Those who would “shake the hand” of those who have been baptized in a denomination; who do not teach “the teaching of Christ” and welcoming them into the body of Christ; are causing such a one to continue in his sins, and doing great harm to the body of Christ! Talk about sitting upon the Throne of God, such have done just this!

— Frank R. Williams

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