Cherry's Blog

"The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them." Hosea 14:9b

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Why Baptism

A friend emailed me and asked why I believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Here's my quick reply. I realize it's not the most eloquent, but with a four month old on my lap as I type, it'll have to do.

“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” --Mark 16:6

My friend asks: How is requiring people to be baptized for salvation different than requiring Gentiles to be circumcised?

Paul, in Galatians 5:15, answers that question. He says, “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” How do we become a new creation? John 3:5 makes clear that one must be saved by being born again.

Circumcision was a remnant of the old covenant that Jews could not let go of. Baptism, however, was instated by Jesus as necessary for salvation. Jesus does this by his example, his directions and, by his commission of Peter holding the keys of the kingdom:

First, there is Jesus’ example in Matt 3: 13-17. Jesus himself was baptized and immediately after, God’s voice came down from heaven and said “listen to him”—that is, be like Jesus—doing what he says and imitating his lifestyle. Jesus said in Luke 13: 24 that many will try to be saved but will not be and that Christians should make every effort to enter in through the narrow door. Jesus went on to command that his followers go on and baptize others (Matt. 28:18-20).

Jesus also gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, meaning that Peter was to be the one in the early days dictating how believers were to enter the kingdom. Peter, filled by the Holy Spirit, commanded believers who wanted to be saved to, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, for the forgiveness of Sins that you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Baptism was THE way Peter told the group to get rid of their sin and receive salvation. This was also a necessary condition to receive the Holy Spirit.

There are plenty of verses that make clear baptism is necessary for salvation:

Romans 6: 3-5 makes baptism the qualification for being united with Jesus in his resurrection. Paul says that “IF we have been united with him like this [the baptism that he mentions in the previous verses] in his death, [then] we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection”.

Galatians 3:26-29 makes it clear that water baptism will unify believers into one body. Paul says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ…..” If you notice, these Scriptures speak of baptism as a given. There was no debate about whether baptism was necessary, but more of how much significance it carried.

1 Peter 3:21 --Peter in this verse speaks of the “baptism that now saves you also” and that baptism “saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

Other verses back up baptism as expected for salvation:

Titus 3 4-7
John 3:5
Mark 10:39
1 Corinthians 12: 12-13
Ephesians 4:4-6
Colossians 2, esp. 11-12

In addition, there are all the many examples of conversions in Acts:
-The crowd in Jerusalem (2:37-41)
-Samarians and Simon the magician (8:9-13)
-The Ethiopian (8:26-39) (His reaction should be humbling to those resisting baptism today : “Look, here is water, why shouldn’t I be baptized?)
-Saul (Paul) 9:17-19; 22:12-15
-Gentiles at Caesarea (10-44-48)
-Lydia (16:14-15)
-The Phillipians jailer (16:27-34)
-Crispus and other Corinthians (18:5-8)
Ephesian believers (19: 1-5)

Some who are rather defensive against baptism as necessary for salvation note that there are Gentiles in Acts 10 who receive the Holy Spirit before they are baptized. I believe that this is a special example, a special gift of the Holy Spirit to a few Gentiles to show Peter, and other Jews, the extent of God’s grace—that even Gentiles deserve to be baptized into Christ. Soon after Peter and some other Jews see these Gentiles filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter “orders” them to be baptized, not as a punishment, but as an extended gift—salvation going from the Jews to the Gentiles also.

Some also use the example of the criminal on the cross as a reason for not being baptized, because one criminal on the cross alongside Jesus had not been baptized, yet Jesus granted him entrance into heaven nonetheless. This however backs up my argument that baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). He gave a special exception to the guy on the cross but to the rest of us, he has made it plain that baptism is our way into heaven and communion with Him. Since we cannot expect a special revelation from heaven: “Cherry, I grant you permission to not be baptized…” we should all do what the Bible makes clear: Be Baptized for the Forgiveness of Sins!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Women Leading the Church

Here's a post that will further elicit debate among Christians. On this issue, I will also admit that I feel strongly against women holding positions of authority or teaching men within the church.

I especially agreed with Frank's comment:

Scripture does not prohibit women from proclaiming the gospel. In fact, it encourages them to teach one another. However, it is clear women are not to be in authority over men in the church. Certainly we have all heard gifted women speakers. But the biblical mandate is not an issue of ability but one of authority. It's God's church. He has every right to determine how and by whom it will function.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Baptism: The Never-Ending Debate

As one who firmly believes baptism is necessary for salvation, I found this post interesting.

The Right and the Left: Divided Fundamentally

Dennis Prager has a good article explaining the differences between those on the right (essentially, we favor morality over law) and those on the left (they honor law above morality).

While Prager does an outstanding job making sense of senseless people (i.e. leftist pacifist environmentalists), a must read book is America's 30 Years War by Balint Vazsonyi. I relish this book so much that I believe it should be required reading for voting. This book examines historical forces that have shaped our government and foreshadows how leftist groups plan to overtake our democracy.

And not only do I think this book should be required reading for suffrage, but I believe that everyone wishing to cast forth a ballot must first be able to pass a basic civics test. I've said it before and I still stand by my thinking that if one wishes to be able to change the government, he or she must first have a basic understanding of our government. That is, those who cannot identify our government as a republic, or those who cannot list the rights protected in the first amendment have no business cancelling the votes of those in this country who understand our government and are ready to vote on its future.

Call me a conservative bigot, I don't care.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Thoughts From a Fellow Protestor

Here are some sentiments from a preacher who recently protested outside of our local Planned Parenthood.

One sad rememberance Bayly points out:

A seventy-year-old man gave me the finger as he drove by, lifting his arm between his head and the window so his wife wouldn't see it. What was that about?
How sickening to see an old man facing the winter of his life and hating another man holding up a sign saying "Abortion kills children." Putting the best/worst construction on it, maybe he once had a daughter caught in a crisis pregnancy and he encouraged her to have an abortion? But I'd be willing to put money on it that this man's conscience is killing him. May he come to Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, as I have and do.

My Own Experience:

As a woman who has protested off and on outside of Planned Parenthood for several years, I've seen many shocking sights--from the passers-by and from those going in the 'clinic'. However, what I find more grievous than the cursing, fist-shaking and visual IQ's (you know, flipping the bird) is the apathy. Many women enter the place laughing, smoking, or slurping a fast food beverage. And countless more drive by Planned Parenthood on their way to work oblivious to the carnage inside the building or even to abortion in general. Quite often a driver will look over to the protestors and quickly turn away, pretending he doesn't see the signs about stopping abortion.
Apathy. It will kill the soul. May we all fear apathy.

(Thanks to Scott Tibbs for alerting me about Pastor Bayly's post.)

People Doubt Kerry released some poll results today that bear significance. Here's some:

•For the first time since he emerged as the Democratic nominee, Kerry doesn't have an advantage when it comes to handling the economy. Those surveyed by 6 points say Bush would do a better job. On handling terrorism, Bush has a 27-point advantage.
•A 52% majority says Bush has a clear plan for handling Iraq; a 63% majority says Kerry does not. For the first time, the number of voters who say Kerry could handle the responsibilities of commander in chief fell below 50%, to 49%.
•Likely voters by 54%-44% say Bush's policies would move the country in the right direction. By 49%-44%, they say Kerry's policies would move the country in the wrong direction.
By 52%-39%, voters say they expect Bush to do a better job than Kerry in the debates. And 18% say the debates could make a difference in deciding their vote.

The sad finding is that there are those out there who still think Kerry would do a better job than Bush in defending our country. Who are these people and why in the world do they get to vote alongside intelligent people on November 2nd?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

James Taranto Earns Quote of the Week

"[T]he Associated Press reports that Massachusetts' Sen. TedKennedy 'is launching a seven-week election drive' on Kerry'sbehalf. As if Kerry needs help running his campaign off abridge."

Friday, September 17, 2004

New Blogspot to Bookmark

I don't know what was wrong with Blogger, but it was not accepting my posts last week. I'll make a new post, but I don't feel like correcting the ones that were affected. Sorry.

Be sure to check out the new and dazzling Hoosier Parliament run by none other than Christopher Crabtree himself. Well-written, informed and humorous, these tidbits are sure to keep you up to par with the Hoosier political scene.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Why We're a Republic

Republics are built on integrity; our limited government is based on principle and does not operate merely for its own good or to receive reward or thanks from others. We do what is right regardless--or at least that's the idea. Civics classes mistakenly teach us that we are a democracy, in which majority rules all the time. That's not so and would be madness if it were the case--how many people out there think they've spotted a UFO or Elvis walking the streets?

Which is why the U.S. continues to liberate those who may or may not appreciate our aid. And may turn around and