Many have received the wrong answers from the “Got Questions Ministries.” The site teaches that salvation comes before a believer is raised alive with Christ being 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 from baptism. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This 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)?
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 of “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”:
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,
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 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 you 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,
Scott Shifferd, evangelist, GodsBreath.net