28 August, 2010

Baptism discussed with Hoyt Sparks

(HOYT SPARKS) ” It is your assumption, and that of any man-made writings, that Jesus Christ was not immersed/dipped in Jordan. The Bible refutes your false contention.”

(Cristoiglesia) No, I do not make assumptions on theological issues without considering the entirety of biblical teaching on the issue or in this case the absence of biblical teaching on this issue. The Bible is entirely silent on the method of Baptism. I am sure that if you knew of any proof from Scriptures that you would have provided them but you cannot because they do not exist. Certainly there is no biblical evidence of Jesus or anyone else being immersed or dipped in the Jordan as the methodology of Baptism. So your accusation that the Bible refutes my contention is without any merit and is only wishful prejudiced assumption on your part lacking scholarly evidence.

(HOYT SPARKS) “Water baptism does not wash or cleans the soul of sin; and does not in any way prepare, or help prepare, anyone for eternal peace and happiness in Heaven and immortal glory.”

(Cristoiglesia) I truly understand your opinion on Baptism but I must advise you that your understanding of Baptism is contrary to the teaching of Scriptures. The Bible also speaks of the necessity of Baptism.

Acts 2:38 (King James Version)

38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

Here you see St. Paul teaching that Baptism is a necessity after one has repented for the remission of sins and for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He then goes on to say that this Sacrament and the grace it provides is necessary for everyone whom the Lord has called. St. Paul also teaches of the urgency of Baptism in the following:

Acts 22:16 (King James Version)

16And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Here we see that indeed Baptism washes away sins which indeed purifies the soul in preparation for heaven where no sin shall enter.

As you can see from Scriptures, your assumption that Baptism has no efficacy in preparing one for their eternal promise is a false assumption contradicted by God’s Holy Word. Certainly a purified soul is necessary for heaven and immortality. Baptism is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel which states the following:

Ezekiel 36:25-27 (New International Version)

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

(HOYT SPARKS) “Question: How could one read Strong's and then ask WHERE do we get the word "immersion, or submersion, or whelmed (overwhelmed) as a meaning for the word "Baptizo" or those who are "Baptized" by a Baptizer ?”

(Cristoiglesia) Well, I am a Greek scholar and rarely use Strong’s as a source for understanding Greek. Let me lay it out for you…. Strong’s makes the reference of baptizo meaning submersion, what you failed to research is that there is only one source for such an assumption as to apply this meaning to baptizo and that is contained in Attic Greek instead of the first century Koine Greek. The problem you have created is why would one apply this meaning since the language was dead for hundreds of years before Christ and this meaning is found in only one place and that is ancient Greek literature in describing a ship being sunk or submerged. The author was probably trying to be poetic in describing the sinking of the ship in this way. Certainly we find this word describing an object being dipped. In Fact we have only one instance of this and that is in an ancient pickle recipe describing them as being dipped in the vinegar solution. All other instances of this word it is used to describe washing which is the only appropriate definition to match Scripture and the teaching of Christ and St. Paul on Baptism.

(HOYT SPARKS) “Note: To say that "water baptism" is a washing that does not require "immersion, submersion, dipped, or to be completely covered with water" is contrary to sound doctrine and practice, and contrary to what millions and millions of professing Christians have believed for over 2000 years.

(Cristoiglesia) Immersion only Baptism is only a couple of hundred years old and is a Protestant doctrine introduced by the Anabaptists. Prior to that and continuing for 2000 years was the practice of immersion or of pouring three times in the name of the Trinity. Sprinkling was rarely used and today used only by some Protestants. The modernist doctrine of the Anabaptists has no Scriptural support and is contrary to the teaching of the Church for 2000 years. Personally I prefer immersion for its symbolism but it has no more efficacy than pouring or sprinkling according to the earliest teaching of the Apostles recorded in the Didache.

(HOYT SPARKS) “Today, Water Baptism by immersion is the doctrine and practice of the Old School Primitive Baptists, but they are not the only ones to still insist in correctly following the precepts set forth by Jesus Christ on this subject.

(Cristoiglesia) Well sir, if you think it is the teaching of Jesus then it must be from personal revelation because it is NOT in Scriptures. I thought Baptists were sola Scriptura advocates and do not believe in this type of personal revelation. If what you say is so then why can it not be found anywhere in Scriptures?

(HOYT SPARKS) “ROMANS 6:3-7 speaks of BOTH our "spiritual baptism" INTO Christ AND water baptism as a "likeness" and testimony of that which God has performed in our hearts. By no means does it teach that one is "baptized INTO Christ" by water baptism”

(Cristoiglesia) Baptism results in a justification of the spirit in which the old man is dead and a new man is born. The old man is dead and we are grafted branches into Christ so that we can bear fruit through a virtuous life. We come into a familial relationship with God as our souls are cleansed as we are justified from sin. Our sinful bodies are destroyed by Baptism and we become dead to sin and we must sin no more just as Christ dies no more. Christ in his establishment of Baptism as a means of Grace by water is indisputable as the graced bestowed is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

(HOYT SPARKS) “ Such a doctrine would be the false doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration. MARK 16:15-16 verse 16 is a continuation of verse 15. To teach that the Gospel must be preached and that the hearers MUST believe and be baptized, is the same as teaching "Gospel Regeneration", and fails to take into account the Doctrines of Election, Predestination, Calling and Justification - which is done by God alone. IF one MUST do something in order to have eternal life - then it is by works and not by Grace.

(Cristoiglesia) Baptism is not a work of the law as are forbidden in Scriptures but instead an act of obedience to Christ who taught of the necessity of Baptism by water. Why would Christ teach a false doctrine as the Bible clearly teaches of our justification through Baptism? Jesus personally said to Nicodemus that we must be baptized.

Higher Calvinist heresy should not be applied in understanding Scriptures as Calvinist teaching and doctrine are the doctrines of devils and results in a misunderstanding of the fundamental characteristics of God’s grace and the opportunity for mankind to have an equal opportunity of receiving the efficacy of that grace.

What is “done by God alone” in a soteriological perspective is that God writes the law on everyone’s heart so that we can respond to the Holy Spirit when it appeals to that law. Our response in this way brings us to faith and not by divine lottery as Calvin surmised. We all have an equality of free will to respond to God’s grace. The Gospel is but one means that the Holy Spirit appeals to the law but Gospel alone for regeneration is truly not sustainable as a doctrine from Scriptures but neither is predestination except in the understanding of God’s middle knowledge. All salvation is by God’s grace regardless of works.

(HOYT SPARKS) “For someone to take the FOUR times "baptismos" is translated into the English word Wash or Washings - and try to Change the PRECEPTS taught in the Scriptures about Water Baptism being by Immersion and a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ - can be compared to what Jesus said to the Pharisees: "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:24).

(Cristoiglesia) I agree with you about the symbolism of immersion Baptism. But, again this is nowhere taught in Scriptures nor is there any evidence of anyone being baptized by immersion. Therefore, Matthew 23:24 seems to apply to you rather than my contention that there is no biblical reason to insist on immersion alone. You have confirmed this fact from your failure to connect the Scriptures to immersion only. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

1 comment:

  1. Before my first response to you I was aware that the twain shall not meet. You being a freewiller and I am a Predestinarian. You using your man-made writings and dogma, while it is clear to me the KJV sets forth dipping.
    I am not a follower of John Calvin, nor do I believe in how he practiced or carried out what he declared to be of a "religious" nature. Neither do I need to be adivsed by anyone of what and how I should believe and practice what I see as the truth, as it is in Christ Jesus.
    Why do the Greeks dip? Is it because they understand Greek better than the Latins?
    Rome dipped until they went the way of the world by devising and following man-made practices, thus they departed from orthodoxy.
    It is possible that your steepness in Greek prevents you from understanding English in the KJV. Matt 3:16 indicates Christ went UP straighway OUT OF THE WATER. Jesus was DOWN IN the water, and He was not taking a bath.
    Mark 1:9-10. John the dipper was IN Jordan. If John sprikled or pured water on Jesus, it was not necesary to be IN Jordan. John could have filled a pitcher with water, sprikled or poured it upon Christ, and saved all the trouble wading around IN Jordan. Also, John could have sprinkled or pured water on those he baptized by staying in town and catching water from the cistern.
    Peter, who you claim was your first pope(I deny such), stated that baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward GOD, 1 Peter 3:21.
    You wrote: "Thank you for the inspiration and the opportunity to contend for the faith delivered once for all". This is not true: Jude 1:3 indicates it is of the faith delivered to the saints, not to everyone.
    So you see, your freewillism demands that you distort scripture to deceive many.
    There are many, many things that I could respond to from your latest post, but I'm certain the result will be the same, of no avail or benefit for you or me. And it is of a disadvantage for me to be restricted to the limits of your blog, rather than direct emails.
    I sincerely hope that you do not dupe anyone with your false doctrine and practice, but that is not in my hands, GOD only will do as HE sees fit: He saw the end before the foundation of the world and will do HIS pleasure. Hoyt Sparks