Desiring to be God – Part 5

Every Christian faith persuasion has its own doctrine about salvation. It is important to learn how other faiths teach that people come to individual salvation. We will give their faith persuasion because you will not be informed properly unless you understand the process in churches around you. Remember, we are all using the same Bible, and we all believe salvation comes through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Below is a simplified explanation of the salvation process. The person walking down the aisle toward the pastor to accept Christ most likely has no idea of the theological complexities of each faith denomination, and truthfully they don’t have to know anything except that are responding to the desire within themselves to be saved. At this point in their lives they probably have no idea what living for Christ means, and certainly have not formed deep theological expressions of faith.

Churches of Christ believe that individuals make their profession of faith, and that they must be baptized in order for salvation to be complete. Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists baptize infants in the trust that those babies and children will later make their decision in confirmation classes or through life decisions.

United Pentecostals believe that people are not saved unless he or she speaks in tongues, and is baptized, and, as expressed above, they also believe that the promise in Acts 2:38 means that if a person is baptized in Jesus’ name, he or she will be saved at a later time. Assemblies of God rose out of the United Pentecostal faith, believing that when a person is saved, they are sanctified, but do not have to speak in tongues in order to be saved, even though speaking in tongues is common among them.

Presbyterians follow John Calvin (1564) with one of the strangest salvation process of them all.  Calvinists believe that God allows certain people to call on Him and be saved. “Calvin defines predestination as ‘God’s eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each [person]. For … eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others.’ So predestination is an act of God’s will through which God elects or chooses those whom God calls to faith and thus to eternal life, and through which God chooses those who will not receive faith. Other theologians have seen in predestination only a positive calling to eternal life. Still others have seen it as God’s foreknowledge of who would choose faith.” You can see from this statement by John Calvin that he actually says that God creates certain people to be damned to hell. What kind of God is that?

Others believe that salvation is a process and that you are not actually saved until you die. Catholics believe in a purgatory where salvation can be delayed until certain conditions are met.

Generally baptism follows a personal decision to follow Christ, or in the case of some faiths such as United Pentecost, adult baptism can be performed before salvation with the assurance that salvation will happen. They also baptize in Jesus’ name, rather than in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as most churches baptize. Some faiths believe that salvation is a two-step process, and is not complete until the person is baptized. Some faiths baptize both infants and adults. Most faiths, Baptists included, baptize very young children.

All those faiths will baptize adults after the adult has expressed a belief in Jesus Christ as savior.

Some Christian faiths believe salvation can be lost, and if a person falls from grace, that person must be saved again. Relatively few people feel the need to be saved again, so even if it is a church’s official doctrine, few practice it.

In the next post we will discuss what salvation means to Southern Baptists.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Desiring to be God – Part 5

  1. Pingback: Desiring to be God – Part 5 | bWe Baptist Women for Equality's Blog – speakingintonguesblogs

  2. “Churches of Christ believe that individuals make their profession of faith, and that they must be baptized in order for salvation to be complete.”

    Its ironic (considering their name) that “Baptists” don’t believe this! And it is their rejection of this, by the way, that results in the moronic belief in Calvinism and in OSAS. Why do they need OSAS? To keep the people who purportedly believe in Christ but refuse to be baptized saved!


    • I am not sure I understand this, but I think you are saying that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. And if we don’t believe that a person must be baptized as the step of completion for salvation, then we are Calvinists. I disagree with that assessment. I also disagree that all must be baptized to be saved. There are other denominations who do not believe that baptism is an absolute requirement for salvation and I don’t think most of them even know who Calvin was.


      • There are, of course, many denominations since the Reformation that more or less ignore baptism. Prior to Luther and Calvin, however, of course, only the Gnostics did. Because Gnostic belief was that matter is evil, and therefore God cannot in any way involve anything material in the process of salvation. So water, being material, and thus evil from a Gnostic perspective, was to be rejected, which is why they interpreted the concept of baptism in the Spirit as some kind of substitute for water baptism rather than as an experience that gave one miraculous gifts. This position isn’t really sustainable, however, since in reality water and the Spirit are both involved in water baptism, as Jesus says in John 3 that we must be born “of water and of the Spirit,” and Acts 2:38 shows what this means when Peter says “Repent and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” While yet in the water, they would receive the Spirit, and be born of water and of the Spirit. While the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a separate thing, not something that saved, but what gave miraculous powers, as when the Holy Ghost came upon the apostles at Pentecost, or even upon Cronelius’ house in Acts 10 as a sign to Peter that the Gentiles are acceptable candidates for baptism. Acts 10, of course, is the passage that the Calvinists (like the Gnostics of ancient times) would cite to argue against water baptism: “See, the Gentiles were saved by the Holy Ghost coming down on them BEFORE water baptism.” Note that the Holy Ghost came on them BEFORE water baptism, not as a replacement for it. God did not do this to show Gnostics that salvation can be had without water baptism, but rather to show Peter that he should stop being racist. What does Peter do immediately after the Holy Ghost falls on these Gentiles? He says “Who can forbid water that these should be baptized?” So, unlike Calvinists and Gnostics, Peter doesn’t say “Holy Ghost baptism replaces baptism with water which is material and therefore evil and unusable to God,” but rather, Peter recognizes that by deviating from the normal order of salvation (i.e. receiving a normal measure of the Holy Spirit while being baptized, per Acts 2:38) God caused the Gentiles on this occasion to receive the Holy Spirit first (and in a miraculous measure) as a sign to show Peter that he should start baptizing Gentiles in water and accepting them as Christians rather than preach only to Jews.

        We must also take note of the context of Nicodemus’ discussion with Jesus on the rebirth. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. The Pharisees rejected John’s baptism. Nicodemus comes to Jesus saying “We know you are a teacher come from God.” Jesus’ first words in response are “Ye must be born again,” ye being a plural you. Why is this what Jesus says? Because the group Nicodemus represents (the Pharisees) are basically the only ones who have rejected John’s baptism. Scripture tells us plainly that “all Judea and all Jerusalem went out to John to be baptized,” and in Luke chapter 7, that when Jesus spoke favorably of John “the people glorified God, having been baptized by John. But the Pharisees had rejected God’s will for them in not having been baptized by him.” Again, we later find Jesus asked the question by the Pharisees in Luke 20 “By what authority do you do these things?” and Jesus answers with another question, “Tell me, the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?” And the Pharisees reason among themselves, “If we say from men, the people will stone us for they count John as a prophet. But if we say from heaven, he will say, Why then did you not believe him?” It was the mark of a Pharisee to reject baptism. And this is why Jesus’ first words to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who purports to recognize that Jesus is a teacher come from God, are “Ye must be born again.” Not only that, but notice the context of John 3-5. Immediately after Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus on being born “of water and of the Spirit,” why does Jesus do? He went and baptized a bunch of people! John 4:1-2 “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (although Jesus didn’t personally baptize, but had his disciples do it) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.” Why did he go and have the disciples baptize a slew of people right after the interview with Nicodemus? And why, when the Pharisees hear about it, did he move on? It seems he did it to make a point to the Pharisee: Ye must be born again. Today’s Pharisee’s, the Calvinists, need to hear the same message.


      • Thank you again. I believe that Jesus died for our sins and that water baptism is not a necessary step 2 in salvation. In other words, I don’t believe salvation comes in 2 parts, acceptance and baptism. But I am covered, just in case!

        > Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2014 23:47:31 +0000 > To: >


      • I understand that. But consider how impractical, and ultimately sophistical such a position is.

        In the great commission, Jesus says to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But what do most denominations do today? They don’t baptize people. And if anyone says, “hey, shouldn’t I get baptized?” they say, “What, are you crazy? We’re saved by faith alone — why would you want to get baptized? You heretic. You need to repent! You believe in works salvation! Obviously your profession of faith was fake!”

        But wait, whose profession of faith is truly fake? Peter, in 1st Peter 3:21, goes so far as to say (of all the shocking things) “Baptism now saves us,” but he quickly clarifies, “not in washing away the dirt of the flesh, but in being the answer of a good conscience towards God.”

        That is, you are creating a false dichotomy between accepting Jesus and being baptized. You are treating them as two seprate things, one after the other, when in reality, biblically, according to Peter in 1st Peter 3:21, they are one and the same, and even Paul says so in Galatians 3:26-27, “You are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus because when you were baptized into Christ you put on Christ.”

        There is a reason Paul says “when” rather than “if” — that is because baptism IS the profession of faith. When you were baptized is the moment you finally accepted Jesus for real. Its the answer of a good conscience (that is, a conscience that accepts the gospel) towards God. Someone can pray the sinner’s prayer all day long every day, but if they know they need to be baptized but refuse to do it, they have still not accepted Jesus in reality. Its not 2 parts at all. In Acts we read, Acts 2:41 “As many as accepted his message were baptized….” meaning anyone who wasn’t baptized had not in reality accepted the gospel, even if they had prayed “Lord Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, save me.” Peter had told them to be baptized, and they rejected it, so they had not accepted the message, but as many as accepted the message were baptized.

        This is not to say that there isn’t a sort of grace period for someone who determines to be baptized until the point where they can actually do it (provided they aren’t just putting it off and putting it off for laziness’ sake). But when a denomination is teaching “Oh, you don’t need to be baptized” they are teaching outright heresy, and denying the great commission, and calling Jesus a liar for saying “make disciples, baptizing them…”

        Also, its an easy step from “baptism not needed” to “faith in Jesus not needed.” If we can ignore all the verses on baptism, we can easily ignoe John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, an the light, not man cometh to the Father but by me.” — “But that’s mean! Shouldn’t God just look at the heart? God can’t requires things.” Its the exact same argument used against baptism. “Its mean for God to require baptism because what if someone lives on that one place on an earth that’s 76% water where there is no water and is somehow still able to survive (which is impossible)?” Allow that argument against baptism, and the next argument is: “Its mean for God to require faith in Christ. What if you were raised in a Muslim country.” And pretty soon if you allow this line of reasoning, you’re a Unitarian Universalist, or maybe a liberal Jew, and then finally an atheist.


      • This is not to say that there isn’t a sort of grace period for someone who determines to be baptized until the point where they can actually do it (provided they aren’t just putting it off and putting it off for laziness’ sake).Where is this found in the Bible? > Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 02:00:41 +0000 > To: >


      • Where is telling people not to get baptized found in the Bible? Something made up that defends the ordinance of God is more defensable than something made up that attacks it.


      • Now you are misunderstanding me. I did not say that the Bible tells people NOT to be baptized. What I said is that the Bible does not say that it is necessary to be baptized as a requirement for salvation. Big difference.

        > Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 04:23:53 +0000 > To: >


  3. Estelle says:

    As I understand it, Baptism is an outward sign of an inward transformation that has occurred when one accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour. Where is is possible to be baptized then do it e.g. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, but where it is not possible, then one’s faith is not nullified e.g. the penitent thief on the cross.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.