Alexander Campbell Saved?
Reply: First, by reading pages 396-398 of Robert Richardson's biography, Memoirs of A. Campbell, Vol. I, our querist might see Mr. Campbell's view of the purpose of baptism when he was baptized by Matthias Luce.
Second, how one assesses the design of water baptism is not to be determined by a process of evolution. Are not the Scriptures clear enough?
When we show an individual the passages cited above, are they sufficient to lead him to "an understanding (that baptism) is for (the) remission of sins"? If not, are those Scriptures sufficient to lead him to "an understanding that repentance is for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38)? Does our inquirer ever wonder how "we have evolved to an understanding" that repentance is "for the remission of sins"? We do not believe that repentance is mandatory because it is likely that the one who baptized Mr. Campbell believed it essential. We believe it is necessary to repent because that is what the Savior said (Lk. 13:3; 24:47). So, why not the same with respect to baptism?
Are the Scriptures cited sufficient to show one that he must believe before he can be saved (Mk. 16:16)? If those verses are able to lead one to understand that he must believe and repent in order to be forgiven and saved, why are they not complete enough to teach him that he must be baptized, too?
Therefore, away with this talk about "our" having "evolved" to an understanding of baptism, as though it were something that "we," as Christians, gradually developed and adopted. What was heard, understood, and obeyed in Acts 2 ("they that gladly received his word were baptized" for the remission of sins 2:41) is as clear today as it was then (Acts 8:5, 12, 35-39; 18:8). It can be obeyed today by an understanding heart, one that knows the point and purpose of baptism as assuredly as they knew it when they first heard it proclaimed in the first century (Matt. 13:15, 23; Rom. 6:3-6, 17, 18).
Yes, I know that error has darkened the counsel of God from time to time, but the light of truth always has shone through to honest hearts (Acts 17:11, 32-34; Eph. 3:4; 1Thess. 2:13).
"I was wondering since Campbell was baptized by a Baptist how it is possible we have evolved to an understanding it is for remission of sins?" Suppose Campbell had been sprinkled with water by a Catholic priest? Would that make one today, who is content with the Scriptures, slow to believe that baptism is immersion?
Third, we are asked if Alexander Campbell was saved if he never was baptized for the remission of sins. Let me ask, "If Campbell did not repent for the remission of sins," would he be saved? Again, either way, what does this have to do with what the Bible teaches? Does Campbell's eternal destiny change what the word of God says a man must do in order to be saved? No, not one bit. (For further study see my book, The Christ, The Cross, And The Church, 109-111, 121-166).