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The Church of Christ believe that musical instruments are not to be used in church service, they practice baptismal regeneration, and they use the Church of Christ title so that others will know who they are. They are a denomination!!!

As to musical instruments in Church, cult leader Johnny Robertson argues from their absence of mention in the New Testament. I have no doubt that the early churches probably did not use musical instruments. Also, I have no problem with someone who chooses not to use musical instruments in church. I think the acappella voices of the saints of God are beautiful and often in our Church service we sing without musical instruments. However, I do not think something is evil and wrong to use in Church just because it is not mentioned in the apostolic records of the New Testament. No Church in the New Testament owned its own building, but met in homes or in other public places. No Church in the New Testament had pews. No Church in the New Testament had electricity or sound systems. The Bible never mentions whether any Church service included a time of announcements or a Sunday School. We have all of these and I am convinced that they are acceptable. I assume you have none of these in your Church, Mr. Robertson.

For instance, the New Testament does not mention the Sunday School since it is a much later invention. However, if the Sunday School is properly used to teach the Bible (a scriptural command) and to reach the lost (another scriptural command), then the Sunday School becomes a scriptural practice. However, nothing is to be justified by using unscriptural means to fulfill a scriptural end. For instance, using a church bazaar to raise money for the work of God may sound scriptural, but the Bible teaches us that we are not to finance the work of God with the funds of the lost. Therefore, it becomes unscriptural.

Musical instruments, if used with care, can enhance the singing of praise to the Lord. That was seen by the Christian Church that split from the Church of Christ (I wonder if you consider them a denomination). They were obviously considered a help to praise in the Old Testament and in heaven. It seems strange to say that something God thought was a blessing in the Old Testament and is considered a blessing in heaven is an evil in the New Testament church. I think the burden of proof would lie on you and not on me. When and why did God change His mind?

 

ACOC

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Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn’t include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), and the few places that do mention water baptism do not include it as part of one’s salvation. Water baptism follows salvation as one of the first steps of obedience for the new believer.

In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists like Johnny Robertson remain steadfast in their heresy, insisting that Acts 2:38 sets forth water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Thus, this verse of scripture has become Satan’s favorite Bible verse. In fact, many are trusting water baptism alone for the salvation of their souls! Indeed, Mr. Roberston has deceived multitudes by his perversion of Acts 2:38.

Another error that many make with Acts 2:38 is the error of assumption. It is assumed that the word “for” must mean “in order to get.” That is, being baptized “for” the remission of sins supposedly means to be baptized “in order to get” remission of sins. However, a closer look at the scriptures will reveal that this isn’t the case at all.

Notice Luke 5:12-14: “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus made this man clean in verse 13, yet in the next verse, verse 14, Jesus tells him to go offer a sacrifice “for thy cleansing” as a “testimony.” Here the word “for” cannot mean “in order to get” because he had already gotten his cleansing in verse 13! It obviously meant “because of” his cleansing. If a man goes to jail “for stealing,” then he goes there “because of” the stealing that he’s already done, not “in order to get” a chance to steal again.

Some like to argue that the Greek word “eis” means “in order to,” but this isn’t always the case. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Greek word for “at” is “eis.” Does this mean that the men of Nineveh repented “in order to get” the preaching of Jonah? No, they repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. So, even “the Greek” doesn’t demand the popular interpretation of Acts 2:38. The word “for” can be used different ways, not just one, so it is wrong to assume that it must mean “in order to get” in Acts 2:38.

The fact is that Acts 2:38 is NOT the “model” plan of salvation, nor are any of the other “water verses” which the cultists like Johnny use. Only by taking such verses out of their context can one teach such heresy. All of the Bible is true, not just the favorite “proof texts” of the cults. Baptism saves no one. It only serves as a testimonial picture of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ AFTER one has believed on Christ (Acts 8:36-38). Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17 that “. . . Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” This “gospel” is defined by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and it does NOT include water baptism. The dying thief was not baptized, yet Jesus saved him (Luke 23:42-43), and John wrote that we are washed in the BLOOD of Christ (Rev. 1:5), not in the water. In fact, the saints in Heaven claim to have gotten there by the blood of Jesus (Rev. 5:9), not by water. By faith in the blood of Jesus Christ one is saved (Rom. 3:25). Water baptism only follows this faith as an outward step of obedience.

 

ACOC

In Psalm 51:5, when David said he was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin, what did he mean?  We know that his parents were married when he was conceived, therefore the circumstance of his conception was not in sin.  Rather, David his saying that from the moment he was conceived, he was a sinner.  That an unborn child who has never committed any acts of sin is generally hard for most people to believe.  But David did not say he had personally committed any acts of sin but that he was a sinner.

Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Sin entered the world when Adam ate the forbidden fruit.  God told  Adam “…. of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  Ge 2:17

Not only did Adam die but his death passed upon all men.  And the reason all men die is because we all have sinned.  Romans Ro 5:19 concludes, For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

There you have it.  By one man’s disobedience many (in this case everyone who is a descendant of Adam, which excludes no one), in other words everyone, became a sinner.  Even infants die.  Romans 5:12 tells us the reason is because they are sinners not necessarily by action but by nature.  When the scripture says, “for all have sinned,” it means we sinned in Adam or were in Adam when he sinned and are therefore sinners.  The sin nature is passed down from generation to generation, all the way from Adam to this present generation.  Only Jesus Christ can change a person’s sin nature through the new birth of the Holy Spirit.

Because children are born with a sin nature it doesn’t take long for that nature to be made manifest.  Psalm 58:3 states, The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.  The estrangement is not from their parents but from God.  And it is because of every person’s estrangement from God that “the wicked” which includes all unbelievers, including unregenerate children, need corrective behavior.  It doesn’t take long for an infant to begin speaking lies.

Lies and sins in general are based on our natural self-centeredness.  This self-centeredness is part of man’s fallen sin nature inherited from Adam.  It is part of the parents job to teach their children that this is sin and will not be tolerated.

 ACOC

 

Baptism is necessary for salvation because 1 Peter 3:21 also says “baptism . . . now saves you.” Jesus as the only Savior uses the waters of baptism to save people from their sins. Further, our Lord once said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

 

When Jesus said that you must be “born of water,” what was he referring to? Natural birth? That would be equivalent to him saying that you have to be a human being to enter the kingdom—as opposed to being an animal or something else—which seems unnecessary. It seems more natural to read his words as meaning that you have to be “born of water” in some deeper sense.

 

I don’t believe that water has some inherent power to forgive.  It is a symbol, as some say, but it is also more than a symbol.  Otherwise, what Ananias said to Paul makes no sense, “be baptized and wash away your sins.”

 

 

Having said this, do I believe God can save apart from baptism?  There are examples in the Old Testament where God acted outside of His plans, so I don’t see why he can’t today.   This is where I draw the line with the hyper-Church of Christ conservatives.  They are quick to point out that if one is not baptized “purposely” for remission of sins that the person being baptized is just being dunked in water, despite his faith in Jesus and despite his turning from self to Jesus.  Strange they always leave off rest of Acts 2:38 “and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”    I don’t know too many Church of Christ folk being baptized with that “purpose” in mind.   Luke records remission and the gift of the Spirit as something received at baptism, so if we are to make one invalid when not properly understood, we must do so with the other.   Thus, the reason I disagree with the Church of Christ ultra-conservatives.

 

I use the word “symbol” with caution. To say that baptism is “just a symbol” takes away from the depth and beauty of water baptism. Baptism is a symbol, but it is so much more than that.

 

When we are saved, we are spiritually baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27,) and into His Body , the church (1 Corinthians 12:13.) Water represents inner cleansing (Ephesians 5:26, Hebrews 10:22,) and spiritual rebirth (John 3:5,) both of which are central themes of baptism.

 

“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 6:4

 
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”-Colossians 2:12

 

Being baptized is a command from God, not an option. It is an act that God requires of every believer.

 

ACOC

           “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 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. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:44-48)

          In Acts 10:44-48 Cornelius and those present with him, when Peter preached the Gospel to them, believed and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; following this they were baptized in water. If water baptism was necessary for salvation why did the Holy Spirit indwell them as believers BEFORE they were baptized in water? The baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life and receiving the new nature from God. Peter asks the question, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47) Peter is effectively saying that Cornelius was saved and had received the Holy Spirit as Peter had and those who believed with him, at Pentecost in Acts 2. Peter further said that Cornelius, who was now saved along with those there with him, should now be baptized in water. If salvation is received at baptism, as some believe, this passage would then be essentially and incorrectly interpreted as saying that the Holy Spirit will indwell the unsaved.

I don’t know the origin of the “sinner’s prayer”  but my study has lead me to Moody and Billy G.  I do know it’s often used to help lead people to Jesus.  It’s how it’s used that could become a problem.

 

Some treat it as the authoritative formula for conversion, but it’s not the biblical to ask someone to pray this prayer.  I can’t find an example of this kind of a prayer, though there may be one.  But, does this mean one cant seek God in prayer?

 

Personally, I never ask someone to pray the “sinner’s prayer.”  No one has to pass a theology test to become a Christian, but what ultimately matters is whether someone has trusted Jesus not whether they’ve prayed a prayer.  Still yet, I would not condemn the practice. 

 

The Church of Christ has bluntly spoke out against the sinners prayer and I do understand their concern, if the prayer is treated as authoritative formula for conversion.  However, I do see examples of men seeking God in prayer.  The thief on the cross even ask the Lord to remember him, which was not an authoritative formula for conversion, but a heart desiring forgiveness.  The typical argument of the Church of Christ is to say the thief was prior to Jesus death and resurrection, which means he could be forgiven, seeing Jesus was on earth and could forgive as he please.  Can Jesus still not forgive as He pleases or must he only act in accordance to our interpretations.   The Church of Christ often say Jesus had authority on earth to heal and forgive, but then they conclude these days have past.  Please provide a verse stating Jesus authority changed when he left earth. 

 

The Bible tells us that one of the main jobs of the Holy Spirit is to bring “conviction” to the sinner. Bottom line – Jesus Christ came to our earth in the flesh to die on a cross for all of our sins.

 

What this means is that you cannot begin to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior unless you can see and realize that you are truly a sinner in need of a Savior. If you can’t see and admit that you are truly a sinner, then you will see no need to accept what Jesus did for you when He died on the cross for you.

 

All men and all women have sinned and have fallen way short of the glory of our God. There is none of us that are righteous before the eyes of God the Father – and with what little righteousness we think we may have, this righteousness appears as nothing but as filthy rags before God the Father.

 

  1. “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation …” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
     
  2. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
     
  3. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)
     
  4. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalms 51:5)
     
  5. “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” (Romans 3:23)
     
  6. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one …” (Romans 3:10)
     
  7. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind …” (Isaiah 64:6)
     
  8. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us …” (Titus 3:4)

Here are 6 very powerful verses showing that all sinners will now have all of their sins fully forgiven and fully wiped clean from their past, present and future if they are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

  1. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace …” (Ephesians 1:7)
     
  2. “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
     
  3. “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
     
  4. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
     
  5. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities … For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:2,11)
     
  6. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Each person who gets saved and born again receives the Holy Spirit Himself at the exact moment of their conversion. And then the Bible takes it one step further. It says that we are then “sealed” with the presence of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
     
  2. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world …” (Ephesians 2:1)
     
  3. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13)
     
  4. And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” (Acts 10:15)
     
  5. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:25)
     
  6. Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38)
     
  7. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13)
     
  8. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
     
  9. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.” (2 Corinthians 1:21)
     
  10. “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)

 

A sinner can get saved anywhere, anytime and at any place. It can happen at an altar call at a church or as you are witnessing to someone in the privacy of your own home or their home. It can happen out in a public setting such as a shopping mall, on a street corner, in a car, on a train, on a plane, etc.

 

There is no end to the different ways and in the different places that God will use to try and get someone saved. And in many of these situations and places, God is wanting to pull that person in through another believer.

 

The Bible tells us that God the Father wants all of us to become fisherman for Him. As such, every single Christian should always keep their radars up and be sensitive to any leadings, promptings or unctions they may receive from the Holy Spirit to work with an unsaved person.

Too often, today, we have those in the conservative Church of Christ, attacking and condemning those whom they consider as false brethren.  Frequently, these well-intended men point to baptism as the dividing line – calling those in other denominations sinners because they failed to comprehend that baptism saves.  In other words, one must not only direct his faith in the risen Lord, but one must also direct faith in the act of baptism.

Does the bible teach such doctrine?  

Can a sinner be saved apart from baptism?

I am sure many reading this already know some of the favorite verses, so often used as proof text for supporting baptismal regeneration.  I am sure you have heard Acts 2:38 a few times, haven’t you?  Let’s assume the correct interpretation is that the Jews were forgiven when they were baptized in water, which one must agree that the scripture in question does seems to state.

How much of me needs dunked to make baptism valid?  Say I truly believe and truly repent but when I am baptized, I reach a hand out of the water accidently?  I would guess that would make my baptism invalid.   Or would God see my heart and grant forgiveness to me based upon my faith in His son? 

Peter preached Jesus and this moved the people there to such a degree, that they desired to correct the mistake they done – the mistake of killing the very Lord of creation.  Imagine you were a Jew and you just heard that you participated in killing the Son of God. Imagine the fear that would take your soul captive.  Imagine you then hear that God used Jesus whom you killed as an atonement for your sins.   You would want to know how to obtain forgiveness, so you would ask.   The people there ask Peter “what shall we do” – Peter tells the Jews that they must repent ( turn from self and sin ) and be baptized ( immersed in water ) for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   

Did these Jews see baptism as the door to salvation?  Did they see baptism as something that “causes” remission of sins?  I don’t think so.  Luke always connected repentance to remission of sins.  Does repentance “cause” remission of sins?  I don’t think so.   Not in and of itself anyway.  What one must have is faith in the living Lord – faith in what he done!   It is this faith that makes one whole – this faith that makes one repent – this faith that makes one be baptized

Did Peter always preach baptism as a means to be saved or did Peter preach Jesus as a means to be saved?  And, what about the Gentiles?  Did Peter baptism them prior to their salvation of sin, or were they baptized after being free from sin?

At this point, I realize I have left many questions unanswered and I done so to create some dialog, so please feel free to address the questions or present your own.

 

-ACOC