Got the Wrong Answers about Baptism from “Got Questions Ministries”

Many have received the wrong answers from the “Got Questions Ministries.” The site teaches that salvation comes before a believer is raised with Christ, made alive, and saved by grace.  This is found throughout their articles including this one, “Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?” This article asserts that salvation comes before God raises a believer with Christ and saving by grace. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a serious false teaching. This great error is in contrast to the Truth presented in the Scriptures: “Why Does 1 Peter 3:21 Say, ‘Baptism Now Saves Us’?” Because of this error, I was compelled to write. Here is my letter to “Got Questions Ministries,”

Dear Mr. Houdmann and all of your volunteers,

Why is it that your website teaches people that they are saved by grace before being raised with Christ?  When is a believer made alive and regenerated with Christ?

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2:5–9, emp. added).

Are not believers born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Pet 1:3, emp. added).

Why do you not present that the saving Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1–4)?  What did Jesus command all people after He was resurrected?  Yet, you teach people to be saved like the thief on the cross before Jesus’ died, was buried, and resurrected.  The New Testament began at the death of Christ, and you teach people to be saved like someone under the Old Testament.  Not only are you rejecting the resurrection by putting salvation by grace before the resurrection, you are putting salvation by grace before the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and thus before the whole salvation of the Gospel.  Are believers not saved by the Gospel (Rom 1:16)?

Please, read and understand.  When are believers raised with Christ and saved by grace?  Please, post your answer to that question.

Who has convinced you to believe these things? What did Jesus command to make disciples after He was resurrected? Was that command from man or from heaven? Why libel what Jesus commanded to reject that element “water”? Would I be right to reject Christ’s crucifixion and being crucified with Christ because I label it as “just wood and nails salvation”? Can you really have been born again through the resurrection when you oppose being buried with Christ in His death? How can you then by raised with Him? Will you not be overcome by temptations when you have not put to death the works of the flesh?

I write this because you all appear to be sincerely religious. Yet, like Cornelius being devout, God-fearing, praying, and giving alms was not saved until Peter told him “words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14).  You know that Cornelius must have been born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Cor 6:11), and you know that Cornelius was taught that “the forgiveness of sins is through His name for whoever believes in Him” (Acts 10:43).  What was Cornelius commanded to do in Jesus’ name (Acts 10:47–48)?  Who can forbid this instruction in Jesus’ name?

What work of Moses’ Law is there in submitting to Christ’s Law? What in Moses’ Law is of faith and of the Spirit of life?  Are Jesus’ commands the works of the Law of Moses?

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:27–28).

Christ overcame the curse of the Law, and He did the work.  He died, was buried, and was resurrected.  Do you not really believe (Gal 2:20; 3:26–27)?  His love compels true believers to die with Him (2 Cor 5:14–15).  If you truly believe, then answer, “When does the believer begin to ‘walk in the newness of life’ (Rom 6:3–7)?” When are believers freed from sin by being united with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection? When are believers buried with Christ and raised with Him through faith in the working of God (Col 2:12–13)?  When are believers made alive with Christ having been forgiven of all trespasses? Are believers not saved “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 3:21)?

My plea is for you to rethink, reconsider, and pray.  Consider God’s Judgment.  How will you stand before God if you have changed the Gospel (Gal 1:6–9)?  Be careful, and do not be like those who are as Jesus described, “For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matt 23:13). This will be posted as an open letter. I await your response.

May God bless us through His saving Gospel,

Scott Shifferd, evangelist, GodsBreath.net

__________________________

Here is the response from “Got Questions Ministries”:

Scott,

The “biblical answer” is already available on our website in numerous different articles on baptism. You can use the phrases “being raised with Christ,” and “made alive and regenerated with Christ” all you want, but it does not change the fact that you are talking about water baptism. Simply put, we do not believe that water baptism is when a person is spiritually raised with Christ, made alive, or regenerated. Yes, water baptism illustrates those events, but it is not necessarily the time when those events actually occur. The vast majority of Scripture verses you point to can easily be interpreted as referring to Spirit baptism, as water is nowhere mentioned in the contexts.

Sincerely in Christ,

Shea

GotQuestions.org

__________________________

Here is my following response:

Hi Shea and all,

Please, forgive my delay. I have been traveling. As previously addressed, I presented to you that a believer is raised and made alive from baptism, and this is when one is saved by grace (Col 2:12-13; Eph 2:4–7; cf. Rom 6:3–7). Any person teaching otherwise is separating faith from the resurrection of Christ that we have with Him.

As you agreed, a believer is saved when baptized, but you have excluded Jesus’ command of water baptism in His name. Why? There is big problem with your belief that “Spirit baptism” excludes Jesus’ instruction for baptism in water (Matt 28:19; cf. Acts 2:38). See, baptism in Jesus’ name is in water (Acts 10:47–48). Does the Holy Spirit have anything to do with this water baptism that Jesus commanded in His resurrection? This baptism is in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Matt 28:19). This is the baptism of 1 Corinthians for it is the name of Christ within the proclamation of the Gospel (1 Cor 1:11–13). The Spirit washes, sanctifies, and justifies a believer when washed in His name (1 Cor 6:11). This is the baptism spoken of throughout 1 Corinthians as it is compared to the water baptism of Israel (1 Cor 10:1–2). This baptism in the name of Christ is “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13). Faith in the resurrection is essential to this baptism or one is baptized for the dead (1 Cor 15:29).

The baptism that Jesus commanded is the one baptism (Matt 28:19; Eph 4:5; cf. “water” Eph 5:26). Christ commanded His baptism in His name after His death, burial, and resurrection. Likewise, remember that the Pharisees also rejected John the Baptist’s baptism (Matt 21:25–27; Mark 11:30–33; Luke 20:4–8). I plead with all by the love of Christ to reconsider the baptism that Jesus Christ commanded in His resurrection. Do not have the spirit of the Pharisees, who closed their eyes and ignored Christ’s words as the rest of the Scriptures? As proved before, one is raised and made alive from this baptism, and this is when one is saved by grace (Col 2:12–13; cf. Eph 2:4–7). This is really is undeniable unless one denies Christ and the Scriptures altogether. Note that I am not saying that the water has any power outside of the commands of Jesus Christ. I am not saying a believer is regenerated and saved when entering the water or under the water, but that believers are regenerated and saved when raised with Christ and this is when God has raised the believer from the burial in water. Therefore, this is God’s work and His grace that raises us. This is taught in Ephesians 2:1–10. Look to Jesus again. He said that salvation does not come before this baptism, but salvation comes after belief and baptism (Mark 16:16). “Can anyone forbid water?” (Acts 10:47). “And now why are you waiting? Arise be baptized, washing away your sins calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Why is it that no one waited to be baptized in Acts? Yet, many wait until a certain time of the season to be immersed now. Is that scriptural? Look to Acts at all those believers, who obeyed by faith Christ’s command of baptism to become His disciples (Matt 28:19–20).

I urge to to seriously consider what you are teaching. Read these scriptures and be willing to make a stand for Truth no matter what you have been previous taught. Remember James 3:1 and 2 John 9 among many scriptures that warn us to teach the Truth or be judged strictly. This is why I have sided with Christ in all things concerning His command of baptism.

May God bless you all in opening your heart to the Truth,

Scott Shifferd, evangelist, GodsBreath.net

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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58 Responses to Got the Wrong Answers about Baptism from “Got Questions Ministries”

  1. Damon says:

    I read the comments here, with great interest, concerning baptism, what’s right or wrong, what power Jesus possessed, which comes first, and whatever. It is quite interesting to witness just how much vehemence is expended by those who harden their hearts, rather than open their hearts, to God’s Word. Didn’t Jesus tell us to love one another and go into all the world and teach the Word of His Father to all people? Some say He was only talking to His 11 Apostles, who have all long since died and been buried. I see so much hatred and name calling in this world today that I sometimes have a sense of how Jesus felt when trying to convince those who knew they were right and would never accept that they were wrong, and Jesus plainly told of the reward those who prophesied, cast out devils, done many great works in His name would receive, ate and drank with Him, and taught His Father’s Word in the streets (Matthew 7:22-23 and Luke 13:26-27).

    Jesus was sent into this world by His Father to simply deliver the Truth of His Word and was hated for so doing, even though He plainly told everyone that if they didn’t believe what He was saying, to at least believe what they saw (making the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, healing disease, and ultimately raising the dead), but they still didn’t believe Him. He even went on to say that if you believe in Him, you will do greater works that He did (John 14:12), so Jesus knew just how hard it would be to change a heart. If you read John 1:1, you would know who Jesus is, and what John went on to say in First John (chapter 2, verse 27), if you believe in the divisions men created in adding chapters and verses, whether it be in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, or 16th centuries, and whether it be Langton, Stephanus, Caro, Kalonymus, Pagnini, Estienne, Whittingham, or whomever, that added the divisions (which some are quite obviously amiss), and they all apparently thought they had it “right”, which is no different than the holy trinity doctrine that was created in the 4th century or the Pharisees in the time of Christ. Yet many so-called Christians believe (90% plus) that the Nicene Council got it right, but Jesus never said or taught the He was His Father (God, Elohim, Yehovah, Jealous, or whatever). He only said that there was one who was good and that is God (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, and Luke 18:19), and He went on to say in John 14:28 that His Father was greater than He was, but if you don’t believe in the immaculate triangle (which is declared by men as the “Godhead”, then you are wrong). I find it interesting that the word trinity is found nowhere in Scripture, and the word Godhead is only found in a few translations, and if you look at the three places it is found in the KJV (Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9) and look at the words in the Greek, in each case, the word is not even spelled the same (one is theion, one is theiotEs, and one is theotEtos), but the four translations (that even mention Godhead) say it is the same, even though they are spelled differently, cased differently, and have a different meaning. I think Paul summed it up pretty well in First Corinthians 14:23, when he clearly stated that God is “not” the author of confusion.

    I attend different congregations, and what I see astounds me, and that astounding is justified by those who claim they have the truthful version of the Truth, and yet they won’t even speak to one another or associate with one another in any way, form, or fashion, and if it the individuals are Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, or whatever, they avoid them like the plague. I see preachers who won’t preach, unless they are paid, and when I ask where in Scripture did Jesus (God’s Perfect Example, who never committed a sin, yet demanded to be baptized by His forerunner) ever collected money from people, they can’t point me to one single verse, which is no different than the man-made creed of the holy trinity, because Jesus never said He was God. It is no wonder in Revelation chapter 11 that John was told that God will send His two witnesses, who will prophesy for 1,260 days, until their testimony(truth) is finished, and people won’t like what they hear. Those two witnesses will be killed, and the people of earth will rejoice and send gifts to one another in celebration, because they are dead and will be left unburied for three and a half days, but God will raise them up, and a great fear will come those that see them, just as it did at the time when Jesus was crucified. The worst is yet to come, but it seems that the House of God is still devise, rather than cohesive. After all, there is only one church, one body of Christ, and one God, and it is men who continue to create the divisions.

    I could go on and on, but I don’t have to, because the Word of God is forever, and we all must study and learn. I often ask preachers, elders, and deacons why they love God, and I always get the same answer. They are seeking a reward. So, I ask if they would still love God, if He didn’t reward them, and the silence is deafening. I can only say that I love God, because He is the only thing and everything that is good, and I seek goodness, not a reward. If He allows me to be His humble servant, then I am rewarded already.

    Like

    • Romans 9:5b, “according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”

      Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born,
      Unto us a Son is given;
      And the government will be upon His shoulder.
      And His name will be called
      Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

      Isaiah 48:16-17, “”Come near to Me, hear this:
      I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
      From the time that it was, I was there.
      And now the Lord God and His Spirit
      Have sent Me.”
      Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
      The Holy One of Israel:
      ‘I am the Lord your God,
      Who teaches you to profit,
      Who leads you by the way you should go.'”

      Is Jesus God?

      Like

    • Just Passing Through says:

      John 10:30

      “I and the Father are one.”

      Like

    • Hi Damon,

      Can you not see why do many believe Jesus is God in the flesh? John recorded that the Word, which was with God and is God, became flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:1, 14). The prophecies of Isaiah clearly state that the suffering Servant is a child born of a virgin, who is Mighty God. In Isaiah 48:16, the LORD said that God and the Spirit sent Him. These are of many passages that I plead with you to reconsider your understanding of God in Christ. You may not believe in the equality of the Spirit and the Son to the Father, and thus you may rightly not accept the equality definition of the “Trinity”. Still, God the Father is the Head of Christ (1 Co 11.3), and the fullness of God dwelt in the Jesus bodily (Cl 2.9).

      Like

  2. Love wins says:

    Phil i’m with you. Scott why are you so willing to be a slave to the law. Grace.

    Like

  3. Phil says:

    Do you even know what slander is???

    Without the marriage ceremony the love union still exists.

    Like

    • Phil says:

      The water baptism does not create the spiritual union with Christ anymore than the the wedding creates the love that the ceremony represents. This is so clear, yet you miss it.

      Like

    • Just Passing Through says:

      And yet you couldn’t say the two were married before the ceremony, could you? I pray you really think about that

      Like

  4. Phil says:

    “More stupid accusations and foolish talk. You slander me again as though I believe that water is magical. Jesus commanded baptism in water, and believe in Him. Pardon me for being indoctrinated with Christ’s words.”

    And this is not slanderous? I guess it’s ok for you to slander but not ok if it’s seemingly done to you.

    You have yet to make the distinction between a spiritual covenant and a physical covenant. You assign attributes of the old covenant (of the letter) to the new covenant without regard for the fact that this new covenant is spiritual in nature, and is based upon inner faith and not on outer works and physical action. Under the new covenant any physical action is an effect of the spiritual cause that precedes it. The new covenant is founded in cause and not effect. That is because the effect can be a product of that which is not spiritual. Fear can create the obedience that you seem to deem as paramount. Yet fear is not from the Spirit.

    Physical baptism is an effect of a spiritual “cause” that precedes it. But physical baptism is not the cause of spiritual transformation, and therefore cannot precede the actual regeneration that it represents. A wedding ceremony does not precede the love that the ceremony represents. It is a physical effect of that love. Likewise water baptism is a physical effect of the spiritual baptism (the actual transformation) that precedes it.

    Sorry you don’t get this.

    Like

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