Larry Ray Hafley


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Contending for the Faith

Baptist Baptism VS Bible Baptism


I'm a member of the lord's church.  I've been ordering your sermons (www.biblework.com), and it is an honor to receive and view those sermons on the word of God.  I just received the Wilkin / Hafley debate on water baptism.  You most certainly CRUSHED his idea on faith only!

Larry, my wife and I often have discussed the topic of denominational baptism.   We were both baptized in a Baptist church.  At a later time, I came to the understanding that they (the Baptists) were in error, but my wife, on the other hand, feels that she was baptized for all the right reasons.  Although they teach faith only, she says she was baptized for the remission of her sins.  I told her that you could not be taught wrong and be baptized right.

Could you help me with any information on why denominational baptizing  is wrong.  I'm still a babe in Christ.  I'm learning, and it's really frustrating when I can't counter someone's questions on Bible topics.  Thank You very much.


Dear Bob,

Thank you for your kind comments.

I am sure you have told your wife that no Baptist preacher would have baptized her "for the remission of sins."  No Baptist preacher would have taught her the truth on the nature and purpose of water baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).  It is the truth, not error, that makes one free (John 8:32; 17:17).   One must obey the truth "from the heart," that is, understanding what God has done for us and what he requires of us (Matthew 13:15, 23; Romans 6:17, 18).

Generally, one who is to be baptized by a Baptist preacher must confess that he has received Christ by faith and that God has heard his prayer for forgiveness.  That is what a penitent believer usually confesses or acknowledges before a Baptist preacher will baptize him.

However, a penitent believer in Acts 22:16 was told, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).  No Baptist preacher would ever tell anyone what Saul was told.  If a Baptist preacher saw one praying, as Saul prayed, and saw one who had repented and was sorrowful for his sins, and who believed in the Lord, as Saul did, he would say that man was saved.  No Baptist preacher would ever tell him what Saul was told – "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

If this is doubted, she might ask the preacher who baptized her if one is forgiven and saved before baptism.  She might also ask that same preacher if he understood that she was being baptized "for the remission of sins."  His answer will be, "no."

Baptist baptism makes one a member of a Baptist Church.  The "one baptism" of the New Testament never made anyone a member of a Baptist Church.  One is baptized "into one body," the body of Christ, the body of the saved, the kingdom of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3, 5; Ephesians 2:16; 4:4; 5:25, 26).  Since your dear wife's baptism put her into a Baptist Church and gave her fellowship with the Baptists, she did not receive the baptism of the New Testament, for baptism in the name of Jesus Christ never enrolled one into a Baptist Church and never gave him fellowship with Baptists.  (There were no Baptists or Baptist Churches in the first century.  In fact, there is no record of a Baptist Church, or of Baptist Churches, in any literature, either sacred or secular, written before 1600 A.D.)

Suppose an infant was immersed by a Catholic priest "for the remission of sins."  Would that baptism be scriptural?   Even though it was for the right purpose, and even though it was an immersion, the baptism would not be scriptural, for it was not preceded by faith and repentance, nor was the baby a sinner in need of forgiveness.  Thus, it would not be baptism "in the name of" (by the authority of) Jesus Christ.  Likewise, in your wife's case.  Though she was immersed, her baptism was not in harmony with that of the New Testament.  Her baptism was not, therefore, "in the name of Jesus Christ."

If your wife can see these facts, perhaps they will help her.  "Holler back" if you have further questions. 

Brotherly, Larry

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