Is baptism with water really
necessary for salvation? / Commentary, Anonymous 00, 2014-10-08.
Knowledge in part.
Baptism in the Old
Baptism in the New
Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Baptism by water.
Last Words of Great Men. /
Alexander Seibel, West Europe Mission.
Receiving the Holy Spirit.
The loss of the Holy Spirit.
The Evangelical churches no
longer go in for adult baptism. / Commentary C.M., 00, 2014-09-03
(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)
Dear Mr. Horak,
(...) Now I would like to ask you to give me a bit of help with the question of baptism! Without quoting the Bible, I would like to explain to you my point of view, and for me the following questions suggest themselves:
- If (and it is a big if!) baptism with WATER were really necessary for salvation, I ask myself who actually has the right to baptize someone. I know a few pastors who I do actually find to be nice people (for example, the pastor of the Free Church I told you about), and if so, this is the one I would choose. But in view of the in otherwise much more important (in my eyes) question of the Millennium, I don’t think I would want to be baptized by a pastor who does not believe in the actual coming establishment of the Kingdom of a Thousand Years of our Lord Jesus Christ...
- What would be the situation, for instance, with people who convert literally in the last second? Should we, on the point of death, just throw ourselves as fast as possible into the nearest river? What about people stuck in an iron lung?!? And besides, I understand the matter in such a way that the SPIRITUAL and true baptism – which because it is spiritual is probably the only one reserved to our Lord – MUST be performed by HIM / by the Father and the Holy Spirit (the Trinity is a tricky subject!) and only then is it POSSIBLE for the WORLDLY/FLESHLY baptism to take place!!
In my present opinion, baptism by WATER is so to speak a symbolic act which, when carried out with firm faith, can certainly be meaningful for other brothers and sisters whose faith is not yet so well established! But it still remains, after all, a comparatively fruitless external ceremony, as a “show” for the benefit of others. Unless, that is, the spiritual baptism, which cannot ever really be recognized by any human being! – most certainly not by any of these presumptuous soi-disant would-be “representatives” of our Lord, in whatever city of this lost world they may happen to be! – unless the true baptism which is solely reserved to our Father and God takes place in the most inward being of a Christian believer through the action of the HOLY Spirit!
May God give us his abundant blessings at this time and in his grace enable us to continue to grow in understanding! Amen.
But I do still have this remaining feeling of nagging doubt – should I perhaps really find a person and get him to dunk me in a river?!? Perhaps you will pardon me the slightly “satirical” tone, but I am firmly convinced that in spite of all seriousness God does have a sense of humor and that we, when we have run our earthly course, undoubtedly have a whole lot of beautiful and joyful times to look forward to!! Until then I wish you and all Christians who are now already facing the worst kind of persecution, and so are exposed to terrible spiritual and fleshly suffering, the support that God has assuredly promised till the end of all our lives!!
I am in doubt over this question above all because it has actually been preached at me by evangelists whom I find very credible in other respects. So for some people, baptism appears to be essential for salvation... and I just don’t believe that.
(...) I am really delighted that you too think there is a need for further information on the issue of baptism! E.g. I see this in a dear friend of mine. She attended a baptism service at the Free Church. She is really very interested in the Bible, and so she of course also wonders whether she should get baptized or not. But she also said that in observing this baptism by water she had negative feelings, or even feelings of repulsion. And I can certainly understand her point of view, but as for really explaining whether it is a necessity or not... no chance?! To my mind it is one of the most confusing features of the case that baptism by water is actually preached by people I find extremely deserving of credit, like Rudolf Ebertshäuser (so far as I understand what he is saying). http://www.das-wort-der-wahrheit.de/
It is comforting to know that one thing that applies to us all is Paul’s saying that here we know in part, and prophesy in part (1 Corinthians 13,9).
I would be very interested to hear your estimate of the position. As I see it, the Last Days seem to be not far off, and I wish you and all children of God His blessing and that He may give us the strength to really prevail until the end! Warmest wishes.
The visitor prefers to remain anonymous.
Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments. I
acceded to your wish to remain anonymous.
All the same it strikes me how in recent times more and more visitors insist on withholding their names. When you think what hair-raising nonsense some of the millions of contributors to Facebook and other social media write on their own account, where they not only testify to their ignorance of grammar and spelling but also, more importantly, document their daily “goings-on” – sometimes with the most intimate pictures – and all this under their own name and without any kind of concealment, then you have to ask why anyone who writes about their Christian faith and our Lord Jesus Christ should want to remain anonymous. But never mind that.
Everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also.
Lk 12,8 "And I say to you, everyone who
confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels
of God; 12,9 but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the
angels of God. Lk 12, 8- 9;
Seeing that the subject of baptism has never been discussed at
Immanuel.at in the past, and clearly uncertainty prevails in other Christian
circles on the deeper sense of baptism, it seems like a good idea to analyze
this matter in the light of the Bible in order to ascertain the actual
Although it is not in fact directly relevant to the subject, I
would like to start with the passage from Paul which you refer to – that about
faith, hope and love, in the famous Chapter 13 of his First Letter to the
Corinthians. As you correctly quote, Paul writes here in verse 9: “For we know
in part and we prophesy in part”.
Unfortunately this quotation is also frequently used by Christians who wish to draw a veil over the complacency which makes them reluctant to study the Bible and so grow in their knowledge of the Word of God. Justifying their position with the sanctimonious argument that we cannot ever know anything anyway, because everything is concealed from us, these brethren put their feet up and suppose they have no distance to travel.
But if we now take a closer look at this statement of Paul's, it applies not just to us and to our times, but also of course to Paul’s own time and above all to Paul himself, and so to all biblical authors. They all knew only in part and prophesied only in part.
And this now put the significance of this statement of Paul’s in a quite different light. All of us who study the Word of God, who reflect on it and analyze it, know only in part (the tongues and the prophecies, according to Paul’s prediction in the preceding verse, should in any case have already come to an end). But it was in the same way that Paul too interpreted the sacred texts, by quoting from the Old Testament, drawing conclusions on this basis and so coming to new insights and understanding (e.g. Rom 9:15-16,10:5-9,19-21).
So the fact that we all know only in part should not be any reason for excusing ourselves from the effort of studying the Bible and preferring to occupy our time with worldly matters. Above all because in studying the scriptures we have help in a big way – from the Holy Spirit.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Jn 14,26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring
to your remembrance all that I said to you. Jn 14,26;
This promise applied to the authors of the New Testament just in
the same way as it applies to us now. And just as was the case for them in the
past, so we today also find that it is easy to miss the Holy Spirit’s
promptings. The Spirit of Truth guides and directs our thoughts extremely
quietly and carefully. Someone who doesn’t try hard to listen, or quite simply
doesn’t want to listen, is not going to notice him. And anyone in our own day
who is expecting to experience fabulous visions and revelations is most likely
to end up with a spirit of the wrong kind.
That is also the reason why we have false doctrine and spurious sects in Christian circles. Either they do not pay any attention to the Spirit of God at all, and just burble on with doctrines of their own invention, like the so-called "prophetess" of the Bavarian Wittek sect.
(See also Discourse 116: “Pantheism
– does God manifest himself in his entire creation?”)
… or they let their thoughts be directed by a false spirit, as
e.g. in the appearances and messages of the "Mary" of the Catholic church in
Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje.
(See also Discourse 52: “Can
the actions of Mary avert the prophecies of the Bible for the end-time?”)
The Bible – the Word of God – is the “seed” from which we are rebegotten – not “reborn”! That only comes with the rebirth in the resurrection (Mt 19:28). Therefore in all the corresponding passages in the Bible likewise the Greek participle anagegennemenoi must be translated as "rebegotten" - or more correctly “begotten from above” (ana) - and gennethenai, the infinitive, as "to be begotten" not “reborn” / “born” (see Nestle-Aland and the notes in the Elberfeld Bible). Only because the translators couldn’t make any sense of “rebegotten” or “begotten from above” did they resort to the term “reborn” in their translation.
The seed is the word of God.
Lk 8,11 "Now the parable is this: the seed
is the word of God. 8,12 "Those beside the road are those who have
heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that
they will not believe and be saved. 8,13 "Those on the rocky soil are those
who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root;
they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 8,14 "The
seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they
go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this
life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 8,15 "But the seed in the good soil,
these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold
it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Lk 8,11-15;
That, incidentally, is also the reason why the teaching of “rebirth”
through baptism in some denominations is incorrect. Rebirth occurs only in the
resurrection, before the Last Judgment and not at any earlier stage, certainly
not in the lifetime of a human being.
(See also Discourse 85: “True
and false rebirth.”)
As we can see, in this parable the Lord lists those people who
“hear the word” and yet, apart from a small remainder, fail to come to the
true faith. Those billions of people in our day who just do not want to hear the
word at all, out of a complete lack of interest – all godless persons and
worshipers of idols in all social classes, from homeless persons to university
professors – these the Lord Jesus does not mention here at all. They are all
going to damnation and are not worth mentioning.
So it is completely correct that we know only in part, but we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back in false modesty either – as in view of the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ that he will send us a Helper who will teach us everything, we will still be able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to understand what the Lord wants us to understand. And that is actually a very great deal.
But for this we must study the Bible and become familiar with it. Just as Paul quotes the books of Moses in the above passage, we must likewise know roughly what is to be found in the Bible and where, in order to make comparisons and draw conclusions. And only then will we acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to judge an interpretation of the biblical texts and to discern whether it is true or false, when we are already somewhat familiar with the texts quoted and have thought about them on our own account.
That is also the reason why here, in biblical interpretation at Immanuel.at, we always give the relevant biblical passages either directly or in the form of a link. This makes it possible for any statement to be immediately checked and evaluated. A biblical commentary that does not state the biblical passages on which it is based, as a justification for the interpretation it advances, is just the personal and unauthoritative opinion of the author and in most cases will not repay perusal.
But let us now turn to the matter with which we are actually
concerned. We want first of all to get clear what is the significance of baptism
in the Bible. What does “baptism” really mean? Surely not the idiotic
sprinkling of babies with water a few days after they are born, as offered by
the Catholic church to its members for the purpose of naming the child.
The word “baptism” is found in the Bible for the first time in the New Testament – in the gospel of Matthew, in his report about the appearance of John the Baptist, who baptized the Jews in the wilderness of Judea.
And they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
Mt 3,1 Now in those days John the Baptist
*came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 3,2 "Repent, for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 3,3 For this is the one referred to by
Isaiah the prophet when he said, "The voice of one cryinf in the
wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the LORD, make His path straight.’"
3,4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around
his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 3,5 Then Jerusalem was going
out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;
3,6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. 3,7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3,8 "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 3,9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Mt 3, 1- 9;
In this baptism, then, the Jews “confessed their sins” and
so did penance. As John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet (Mt
11:13), we look for the word “penance” in the Old Testament. But here we do
not have any luck either – apart from the headings added at a later date,
there is no mention of penance in the Old Testament.
Nonetheless, these headings inserted by the translators may perhaps offer us some light. In all cases where they have written “penance” we find references in the text to the “return” of Israel, as already in the first of these passages, in the First Book of Samuel:
If you return to the LORD with all your heart.
1Sam 7,3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of
Israel, saying, "If you return to the LORD with all your heart,
remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts
to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the
Philistines." 7,4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the
Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone. 1Sam 7, 3- 4;
A further mention of “penance” in a heading is to be found
in the Second Book of Samuel, in the story about the serious sin committed by
David. He had placed Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, in the forefront of the
battle, so that he would be killed and he, David, could take Bathsheba as his
wife (2Sam 11,1-27).
But when God sent Nathan the prophet to David, who made it plain to him that he had committed adultery of the worst kind (2Sam 12,1-12), David acknowledged his great sin (2Sam 12:13), humbled himself and returned again to God.
And David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.
2Sam 12,15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the
LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very
sick. 12,16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted
and went and lay all night on the ground. 12,17 The elders of his household
stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling
and would not eat food with them. 2Sam 12,15-17;
Likewise the next text under the heading of “penance” has to do with return. Ahab, the king of Israel, had committed fearful sins, and after having been condemned by God, he experienced a conversion.
He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently.
1Ki 21,27 It came about when Ahab heard these
words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in
sackcloth and went about despondently. 21,28 Then the word of the LORD came
to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 21,29 "Do you see how Ahab has humbled
himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring
the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s
days." 1Ki 21,27-29;
So we have to conclude that evidently there was no term for “penance”
in the Aramaic and Hebrew of the Old Testament. But based on the texts referred
to above, we can recognize that statements in the Old Testament where we find
“penance” written as a heading are always concerned with situations where
people realize that they have sinned against God, humble themselves and return
Only in the Greek of the New Testament do we find clear statements indicating that “penance” indeed stands for a conversion, with people acknowledging their sins and turning back to God.
If the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Mt 11,20 Then He began to denounce the cities in
which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 11,21
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had
occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long
ago in sackcloth and ashes. 11,22 "Nevertheless I say to you, it will
be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 11,23
"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will
descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in
you, it would have remained to this day. 11,24 "Nevertheless I say to
you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment,
than for you. Mt 11,20-24;
What is at stake here is that these cities of the time, Chorazin,
Bethsaida and Capernaum, had seen the miracles that the Lord Jesus had performed
in them, but were unwilling to recognize that such miracles could not be brought
about by any human being or even by any spirit, but only by the Son of God. They
would have been able to see this, but they refused to do so.
By contrast with Tyre and Sidon, these cities had for the most part Jewish inhabitants – who, like the overwhelming majority of the Jews of that time, saw Jesus of Nazareth as an impostor and blasphemer (Jn 10:33) and ascribed his miracles to Beelzebul (“supreme of demons”) (Mt 12:24). Consequently at the Last Judgment the inhabitants of these cities will be condemned for having denied God.
And in the light of the Lord’s above statements, they will be more severely judged than Tyre (Ezk 27) and Sodom (Gen 19). The basis for the differing judgment on these cities is to be seen in the fact that the people of Tyre and Sidon did admittedly carry a heavy load of guilt, but if the Lord had worked such miracles there, they would have recognized him as the Son of God and would have done penance and converted to God.
The process of a human being’s conversion to God, based on these statements in the New Testament, can be broken down into four phases:
1. The realization that in the sight of God he/she is a
This may come about either through the intervention of other people (like Nathan’s remonstration with David), or in our own times perhaps as the result of a biblically grounded sermon, or for that matter through the individual’s own realization (by studying the Bible or true biblical literature).
2. Contrition and confession of sin to God in prayer.
3. Penance by humbling oneself before God.
With the Israelites of old, this involved tearing their garments, putting on “sackcloth and ashes” and fasting. In our day, the true biblical baptism fulfills both penance and also the humbling of the individual before God.
4. The forgiveness of sins by God.
After the realization and confession of sin, and the individual’s humbling himself/herself before God (baptism), God grants the sinner forgiveness of his/her sins in the name of the vicarious sacrifice of his Son.
Precisely this sequence is what we also find in the appearance of John the Baptist:
Mk 1,4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 1,5 And all
the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and
they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
Mk 1, 4- 5;
o John preached repentance to the people (Mk
1,4) who came to him, in the wilderness (Mk 1,5; Lk 3:3).
o They repented and confessed their sins (Mk
o They did penance and humbled themselves before
God, by letting themselves be dipped in water, in other words letting themselves
be baptized (Mk 1,5).
o And as a result they received from God the
forgiveness of their sins (Mk 1,4).
And with that we have now also explained the New Testament
significance of baptism by water. As we can see, all these are processes which
are completely inconceivable in the case of a child just a few days old (as
baptism is practiced in the Catholic church), so biblical baptism has nothing
whatever to do with the “naming” of a child either. Nor does this child need
forgiveness, as it has not yet committed any sins.
The reason for this complete nonsense in the Catholic church is the fact that the Catholics are hardly familiar with the Bible, because they have never been encouraged to read the Bible by their “shepherds”, and on the other hand – and not least for this reason – because in the course of past centuries they have fallen away more and more from the true faith and have been led astray into a swamp of idolatry (worshiping the Catholic “Mary”, Isa 10:3-5), the cult of the dead (prayer to dead Catholic “saints”, Isa 8:19) and occult “magical practices” (the Catholic “transubstantiation”, 1Cor 11:23-25).
The Bible shows us the right path here, when we are told in Isa 8,19:
Should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD.
Deut 27,15 ‘Cursed is the man who makes an
idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of
the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and
say, ‘Amen.’ Deut 27,15;
And even Pope Francis warned Catholics on St. Peter’s Square
in his first sermon after he was elected:
“Anyone who does not pray to God is praying to the devil.”
When shortly after this he launched into the Hail Mary, and so – according to his own statement – prayed to the devil (along with the thousands of Catholics on St. Peter’s Square), he was presumably too borne up by the excitement of the occasion to notice the fact.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.
2Jn 1,9 Anyone who goes too far and does not
abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in
the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 1,10 If anyone comes to you
and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not
give him a greeting; 1,11 for the one who gives him a greeting
participates in his evil deeds. 2Jn 1, 9-11;
(See also Discourse 115: “Will
the last Pope be the false prophet of the Antichrist?”)
Now there are some denominations where it is taught that in baptism we receive the Holy Spirit. As a biblical proof of this assertion, we find them referring to Mt 3,11 (with the statement of John the Baptist) and Acts 2,38, with Peter’s promise in his Pentecost sermon:
I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Mt 3,11 "As for me, I baptize you with
water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and
I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit
and fire. Mt 3,11;
Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2,38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and
each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of
your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2,38;
Here we would like first of all to quote a few biblical passages which prove the contrary, and then we will endeavor to explain what the above statements by John and Peter really mean.
Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?
Acts 10,44 While Peter was still speaking these
words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
10,45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because
the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 10,46
For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter
answered, 10,47 "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be
baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?"
10,48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they
asked him to stay on for a few days. Acts 10,44-48;
Here the Jewish Christians, who thought at the time that only
they, as baptized Jewish Christians, could receive the Holy Spirit, were
extremely astonished to learn that after Peter’s sermon in Caesarea even
unbaptized and non-Jewish believers of Gentile origin had received the Holy
Spirit as well.
Paul had also experienced something similar, though the situation was the other way around, when he came to Ephesus. On arriving there he met twelve believing disciples, who told him that although they had been baptized with the baptism of John, they knew nothing whatever about the Holy Spirit.
We have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.
Acts 19,1 It happened that while Apollos was
at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found
some disciples. 19,2 He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when
you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even
heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 19,3 And he said, "Into
what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John’s baptism."
19,4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the
people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 19,5
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19,6
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on
them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 19,7 There were
in all about twelve men. Acts 19, 1- 7;
So these twelve men had been baptized with the baptism of John,
but they knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. And so Paul baptized them a second
time – this time with baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus. But neither on
this occasion nor thereafter did they receive the Holy Spirit. Only when Paul
laid his hands on them did the Holy Spirit come upon them.
And alsos Peter’s statement quoted above, in Acts 2,38, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” actually does not imply that the Holy Spirit is received in baptism, but only that they will receive him after they have been baptized.
For when we then look, just a few verses lower down, at the further course of events, we learn that they have all been baptized, but there is no information at all to indicate that this large body of people had already received the Holy Spirit on being baptized:
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2,41 So then, those who had received his
word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand
souls. 2,42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’
teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts
So based on all these biblical facts, we can assume first off
all that the Holy Spirit can be received even by unbaptized believers – which
constitutes a proof that baptism is not necessary for salvation. And on the
other hand, conversely, baptized believers, both those baptized with the baptism
of John and those baptized with baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus, did not
receive the Holy Spirit in any way in baptism. So neither is baptism the event
whereby the believer necessarily receives the Holy Spirit.
And here of course the question suggests itself, why baptism by water was instituted by the Lord at all.
Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Mt 28,18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them,
saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
28,19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 28,20
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age.". Mt 28,18-20;
If we look at the texts above (Acts 10,44-48 and 19,1-7), we can
see that at that time baptism by water was irrelevant – at least for the
reception of the Holy Spirit. Some received the Holy Spirit without having been
baptized; others did not receive him even when they were baptized, but only
afterwards, at the laying on of hands.
About the actual reception of the Holy Spirit we will have more to say shortly. But what is the position, in our own day, with baptism by water? Is it necessary? And if so, does it make something happen for the believer – what, specifically, does baptism effect in Christian believers?
If, to begin with, we again turn our attention to baptism in the Catholic church, we can recognize the whole problem complex of this community of faith. On the one hand, naturally no one follows the further course in life of these children who are just a few days old when they are baptized.
But if we were to do so, we would find that in 20 to 30 years some of these dear little babies – no differently from other, unbaptized babies – have turned into thieves, robbers and murderers. So realistically speaking, this baptism has had no effect whatever on the conduct of the persons in question.
And then when we look at the “baptizers”, the Catholic hierarchy in other words, the people who give these still innocent infants baptism, and with it their “blessing”, these include – as we know today – child abusers, rapists and homosexuals in their ranks.
(See also Discourse 1152: “Homosexual
secret society in the Vatican”)
But even a “baptizer” in an Evangelical congregation who
denies the Millennium, the Thousand Year Kingdom of Peace of our Lord Jesus
Christ at the end of time, as our commentator above reports, is not just ill
qualified to conduct a baptism but in fact should not exercise any kind of
office in the congregation at all, and should get to grips with the Bible and study this topic at the earliest opportunity.
(See also Chapter 10: “The
In baptizing newborn infants, the Catholic church is of course
adopting an extreme position. It is quite different in the Evangelical
congregations, where only adults are baptized – adults who have taken the
decision themselves, are aware of the responsibility they are taking on and feel
committed to it.
And here we finally hit upon the actual point of baptism. It is not the reception of the Holy Spirit, nor is it a spurious “rebirth”, as some believe – it is purely and simply the public confirmation of our decision to enter into the Christian faith, with all the associated rights and obligations.
Baptism by water is therefore a kind of “signature” at the bottom of a contract we have entered into. And many baptized brethren in the Evangelical camp generally believe that this does the business – that nothing more is needed, as they are already automatically in the fast track for heaven.
These people have clearly not read the “text” of the agreement – that is to say, they have not understood the meaning of baptism, or it has not been explained to them. This is because, in addition to our confession of Jesus Christ and acceptance of his redeeming sacrifice for our sins, the small print also includes the following obligations:
o Daily prayer in your “inner room” (Mt
6:6-8). Not just a rattling off of texts learned by rote in public, where the
confession of certain sins is not in any way possible. But rather a wholly
personal and intimate dialogue with God, our Father in heaven.
o This dialogue includes intercession. Not just
praying that we may be forgiven our sins, based on the vicarious sacrifice of
the Son of God. It also includes intercessionary prayer for our families and for
those people who are dear to our heart – though not that their sins may be
forgiven, as this is something that only the individual is in a position to
bring about in a completely personal way, by coming to faith in Jesus
o Then there are prayers for our own personal
wellbeing – that we may be preserved or healed from sickness, the prayer for
help in critical situations and prayer for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, with
a view to arriving at further insights and a better understanding of the Word of
God. Also the prayer that we may successfully carry out the mandate of our Lord
Jesus Christ in Mk 16:15 finds a place here.
o Then the prayer of gratitude. Starting with
thanks to our heavenly Father who, through the vicarious sacrifice of his Son,
has created this possibility that we, although we are sinners, may now again,
having had our sins forgiven, stand before him as righteous persons justified
through grace, pray to him, intercede with him and talk to him. And then of
course thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for his having died also for our own
o Nor should we forget thankfulness for all the
help God has sent our way in the past: for preservation from misfortune (a thing
we most commonly only realize in retrospect), for the successful outcome of
health problems and operations etc., as well as for God’s strengthening us in
our life of faith, and for the positive reception of our message by those
people to whom we are concerned to convey it
o And finally, study of the Bible – which is
indispensable for understanding and growth in the Spirit, even for the simple
believer. Although a certain amount of methodical planning is important here, we
should also, as correctly believing Christians, allow our biblical reading to be
directed by the Holy Spirit.
That, then, is the mandatory part of the agreement, and the time
that needs to be devoted to daily prayer may – depending on your particular
concerns – easily add up to something like an hour. But we should spend at
least a small portion of the time which we use for private or business purposes
in the company of our God as well.
And study of the Bible – if it is to be serious – should certainly be carried out in your leisure time, at the weekend say, in order to avoid being subject to time pressures. So this is something quite different from a hurried prayer on Sunday in church or in the congregation.
And it is something quite different, too, from the “Way of St. James” which some Catholics glorify and from which they expect so much. In fact they only get blisters on their feet and cramp in the calves. Perhaps in this way you may get a better view of your own godless life as a Catholic, but you have no chance of establishing contact with God or with our Lord Jesus Christ. You would be more likely to get in touch with the Catholic idol ";Mary", who is of course invoked constantly with the "rosary" all along this pilgrims’ route.
But in order to ensure, in Evangelical congregations, that the baptized individual will actually remain faithful to this “contract”, baptism is given in public. That was so in the past and remains so today. The brethren who take part in this baptism, then, are the "witnesses" of this contract concluded between God and the baptized person. They can confirm, but they can also “control” whether this person adheres to the terms and conditions of the contract.
Of course this ";control" cannot touch the thoughts of this person, but it does apply to their behavior. Every Christian person who has based his or her life on Jesus Christ reveals a disposition of a certain sort, which can be observed by the persons around him. This is not just restricted to obedience to the commandments of God, but also, and in particular, includes the person’s words and deeds.
And here, regrettably, we very often find that the words and deeds of some baptized Christians are widely divergent. They “preach water and drink wine”, as the saying is. These brethren have signed the contract, certainly – in that they have received baptism – but they do not adhere to the agreements and obligations involved. And so they get further and further away from the core of their vocation as correctly believing Christians, and end up by being "Christians" only in name.
(See also Discourse 60: “When
should a Christian leave a Church?”)
But there is no question that we do also find, in churches and
congregations, the exact opposite of this pattern of behavior. These are the
people who meet the contractual conditions down to the last detail – not just
out of a sense of obligation, but because they have an inner need to do so.
These are the ones who love God and our Lord Jesus Christ, because he died for
us and for our sins.
For them, one of these standard prayers to God which some Christians rattle off en passant would be approximately similar to a situation where they wanted to talk to their earthly father about an important matter, and instead of doing so were to recite “My Captain, Oh My Captain” and then just walk away. In other words, a complete farce.
These Christians who love God also have a completely personal relationship with God and our Lord Jesus Christ. They "communicate" with them – not verbally, but in spirit, and not just when they pray but at every minute of the day. They recognize and are thankful for the way in which everything in creation is planned and functions with such astonishing exactitude. Not just in the capabilities and performances of human beings either, but in nature as well – the plant and animal kingdoms and the whole design of the universe.
As we can see, these people are both subject to the "control"; of the brethren and to the supervision of the Holy Spirit. And they do not just fulfill the obligations of this contract, they go further than that – they live it out in practice. And so, in accordance with the will of the Lord, it is the prayers of these brethren which – like the prayer of Cornelius in Acts 10,25-48 – are heard.
They are the people referred to by Gottfried Daniel Pomacher, an Awakening preacher from Wuppertal, when he says:
“Christianity does not consist in words but rather
in the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer. The pillars of the temple are
not those who attract the admiration of their hearers with their public
utterances of ‘Lord, Lord’, but rather those who - at home, in the stillness
of their own room, and without any audience - address their prayers to the Lord:
these are the ones who really support the congregation.”
These brethren are then also comparable with Cornelius (who
prayed to God that he would send Peter to him) and his household, and also of
course with Peter himself and indeed the apostles generally – and we have no
indication whatever in the Bible that they had received baptism by water from
anybody. Without baptism by water, they all straightaway – just like Cornelius
and his household following Peter’s sermon – received the baptism of the
Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-45).
Now this baptism too involves obligations. Of course these will vary from person to person, and will be based on the “talents” (Mt 25:14-39) which the Christian believer has been given by God. But important components could be the following:
o Preaching – that is to say, preaching the
true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not just the “prosperity gospel”
disseminated by some preachers, who set up their stall and offer the Christian
faith free of charge, with salvation through grace as an added bonus.
o Service to the brethren. This could be a
preaching service in the congregation, or engaging in activity as a member of
the council of elders. Taking on other responsible tasks, up to leadership of
the congregation, might also be included. (Would God we had more brethren like
this among congregational leaders).
And now we can also see that the uncertainty of the above
commentator about baptism is altogether understandable. On the one hand, in some
churches and congregations we are always coming across “baptizers” by whom
one would prefer not to be baptized; on the other there are also baptized
persons who lead you to doubt whether they have any idea at all what obligations
they have entered into through baptism.
Other brethren again confirm in their behavior, through their acts and omissions, that they are indeed correctly believing Christians and do not just do their duty to God and our Lord Jesus Christ, but are lovingly devoted to them. And that even if they have not been baptized. These brethren are not ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ either, but refer to him openly and by name in their public utterances (Mk 8:38).
So before anyone thinks they don’t need to be baptized themselves, they would do well to carefully read through the "contractual conditions" listed above. Only when you can confirm, in truth and in uprightness of heart, that you meet all these preconditions – that is to say, the mandatory part of the contract – and you still cannot find a suitable church or congregation with credible baptizers can you justifiably decline baptism.
Finally, as for those people who are supposed to convert on their deathbed – we have to point out that according to the Bible, there is no such thing as a deathbed conversion. If you have lived a godless life all your life long, you won’t manage to convert to God on your deathbed, not in truth and with an honest heart. That is a pious fairy story of the Catholic church, with its completely absurd “absolution” – a device to boost its own importance and rake in the money.
Either the person in question has at least made a beginning on this path previously – as a result of which they will probably, by the grace of God, bring it successfully to completion before dying. That applies equally in case of an accident or some other kind of sudden death, by a stroke say.
Or else the person has never shown any interest in Christianity all their lives – they just haven’t wanted to know about it. Then it may well happen that they recognize before dying that they are lost, but they are hardly going to find the will and the spiritual capacity (and they are highly unlikely to find the time) for contrition and conversion, so they will meet their end in the same godless way as they have lived the rest of their lives.
In this connection Alexander Seibel, of the West Europe Mission, has made a very telling compilation of the last words of famous men.
(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)
Nothing is more reliable than the testimony of a dying
person. Even liars confess the truth then. A glance at words uttered on a
deathbed often reveals more than all the great words and deeds done in one’s
lifetime. At that moment, when people are confronted with death, many lose
their masks and become genuine. Many have to acknowledge that they have
built their houses on sand, that they have given themselves to an illusion
and have followed a great lie. Aldous Huxley writes in his foreword to his
book, Brave New World, that one should judge all things as if he saw them
from his deathbed. The Bible says: “So teach us to number our days, that
we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90,12).
VOLTAIRE, the famous skeptic, had a
horrible end. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t
want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
DAVID HUME, an atheist, cried: “I am in flames!” His desperation was a horrible scene.
HEINRICH HEINE, the great skeptic, repented later. Towards the end of his life he wrote this poem:
The old lyre has been smashed on the rock called Christ!
The lyre, upon which the evil spirit prevailed to produce evil celebration.
The lyre that calls for revolt, that sang doubt, mockery and apostasy.
O Lord, o Lord, I kneel down, forgive me my songs.
Count Monthlon wrote of NAPOLEON: “The
Emperor died forsaken by all, on this horrible rock. (St. Helena) His death
struggle was awful!”
CESARE BORGIA, a statesman: “I have taken care of everything in the course of my life, only not for death, and now I have to die completely unprepared.”
TALLEYRAND: “I suffer the agonies of the lost.”
CHARLES IX. (France): “I am lost, I see that clearly.”
CARDINAL MAZARIN: “Oh my poor soul, what is to become of you? - Where do you go?”
HOBBES, An English philosopher: “It's my turn, to take a leap into the darkness.”
SIR THOMAS SCOTT, once president of the English House of Lords said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
GOETHE. “More light!”
NIETZSCHE died insane.
LENIN died in a state of insanity. He prayed to the tables and chairs for forgiveness for his sins. Our revolutionary youth will enthusiastically and vociferously state this cannot be true in ant case true. It would be too painful to have to admit that the idol of millions has so obviously toppled himself.
About STALIN’s death struggle, his daughter Swetlana Allilujewa, who in March 1953 was called to the dying dictator in his dacha in Kunzewo, stated: “Father’s death was terrible and difficult. God gives the righteous an easy death.
SINOWJEW, the President of the Communist International, who was shot by Stalin: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
CHURCHILL: “What a fool I have been!”
YAGODA, Chief of the Russian Secret Police: “There must be a God. He is punishing me for my sins.”
JAROSLAWSKI, President of the International Atheist Movement: “Burn all my books! Behold the Holy One! He's been waiting long for me, and He is here!”
BUDDHA: “I did not reach my goal!”
JESUS CHRISTUS: “It is finished!”
Voltaire, David Hume and others would certainly have laughed
or been scornful if it had been explained to them during their lifetimes
that they would be lost eternally without Jesus. Nevertheless, they had to
see at that moment that it was true and that the Bible was right when it
says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this
comes judgment.” How will you die? Will it also be too late for you? What
will your last words be? (…)
West-Europa-Mission EV (West Europe Mission EV) in Wetzlar http://www.wem-online.de/
(See also Discourse 105: “Why
should an atheist believe in the God of the Bible?”)
But now we must turn to the statement of John the Baptist in Mt
3,11: “He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. So what
is this baptism of fire with the Holy Spirit by the Son of God? Here we will
just take a closer look at the situation of the apostles and the Lord.
We do not find any statement in the Bible telling us that the Lord baptized himself. And this means that he didn’t baptize the twelve apostles either. Based on the Lord’s statement in Acts 1:5, it does not seem probable that the Twelve were baptized by John the Baptist, nor do we find anything to suggest it.
And yet we do have reports indicating that the apostles received the Holy Spirit – above all in the well-known miracle of Pentecost:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2,1 When the day of Pentecost had come,
they were all together in one place. 2,2 And suddenly there came from heaven a
noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were
sitting. 2,3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing
themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 2,4 And they were all filled
with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was
giving them utterance. 2,5 ¶ Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem,
devout men from every nation under heaven. Acts 2, 1- 5;
This baptism of the disciples by the Holy Spirit, which the Lord
had announced to them on the day of his farewell and Ascension (Acts 1:5),
occurred about 10 days thereafter, at the feast of Pentecost, and so 50 days
after his Raising.
But there is another, relatively less well known passage in scripture which confirms that the disciples had already been filled with the Holy Spirit at an earlier stage – indeed on the first day after the Raising of the Lord, and by the Lord Jesus himself:
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit”.
Jn 20,19 So when it was evening on that day, the
first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace
be with you.” 20,20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands
and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 20,21
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I
also send you.” 20,22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and
said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 20,23 If you forgive the sins of
any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they
have been retained.” Jn 20,19-23;
It was right away on the day of his Raising, after Mary Magdalen
had seen him at the tomb (Jn 20:16-17) and he had to ascend to the Father. When
he then, on the evening of this day, returned from the Father to earth again
(his Resurrection), he also appeared to the disciples for the first time. And
here he breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. So
this was 50 days before Pentecost, and was the moment at which the disciples
actual fact filled for the first time with the Holy Spirit. The baptism “with
fire and the Holy Spirit” would only take place at Pentecost.
(See also Discourse 97: “Raising
and Resurrection ‒ the realities of another dimension.”)
This “fire” of the Holy Spirit is nowhere else to be found
in the Bible, though we do find the gift of languages, or speaking in tongues,
which the disciples received at Pentecost. This again appeared a few other
times, when the Holy Spirit came upon Gentile disciples (see above: for
Peter, after the sermon, before the baptism in Acts 10,45-46; for Paul, after
the baptism, after the laying on of hands in Acts 19,6).
In Acts 2,41-42, referred to earlier, we learn on the other hand of 3000 disciples who were baptized without any manifestation of the Holy Spirit in any form, either before or after. So we can see that none of these other situations – conversion, baptism, prayer of the brethren, laying on of hands or even hearing a sermon – can really bring about the blessing of the gift of the Holy Spirit, if the individual believer does not himself or herself ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit from the heart. This is the indispensable precondition for the reception of the Holy Spirit. And this is just what the Lord Jesus promised us:
How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
Lk 11,11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is
asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish,
will he? 11,12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion,
will he? 11,13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those
who ask Him?” Lk 11,11-13;
(See also Discourse 51: “The
reception of the Holy Spirit – how does it happen?”)
There is another very common misunderstanding – to the effect
that the Christian believer who has once received the Holy Spirit is incapable
of sinning. Here again we see people grossly overestimating their own capacity
– and it comes about in this case through a confusion of cause and effect.
It is undoubtedly correct that the believer in whom the Holy Spirit dwells must be without any unforgiven sin. But it is certainly not the case that someone is without sin because they have the Holy Spirit, the truth is the other way around – they have only been able to receive the Holy Spirit, because they were without any unforgiven sin at that point. But just as God cannot endure sin, so too the Holy Spirit will relinquish forthwith the person in whom he is indwelling, if the latter becomes sinful.
A good example of this can be found in the Old Testament king David. In Mt 11:35-37 the lord Jesus quotes a statement from Psalm 110, composed by David, and confirms that David made this utterance in the Holy Spirit. So at this point in time, the Holy Spirit manifested itself in David.
But this was only a transitory manifestation – as shown in the fact that David incurred massive guilt through his affair with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite (2Sam 12,1-12), which could not possibly have happened while the Holy Spirit was dwelling in him. So the conclusion “Once filled with the Holy Spirit, always filled with the Holy Spirit” is false and must be rejected.
Likewise Paul’s admonitions to the Ephesians in Eph 1,13ff show very plainly that even people who have been sealed with the Holy Spirit are still constantly at risk of falling prey to temptations.
In Christ you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Eph 1,13 In Him, you also, after listening to the
message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you
were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph 1,13;
In this introduction of his letter to the Ephesians Paul
confirms that they already were sealed with the Holy Spirit. He does not speak
of a certain moment but only says: “... after you have believed”.
But subsequently he exhorts them:
That walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.
Eph 4,17 So this I say, and affirm together with
the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the
futility of their mind, Eph 4,17;
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth.
Eph 4,25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood,
speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one
another. Eph 4,25;
Be angry, and yet do not sin; and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Eph 4,26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do
not let the sun go down on your anger, 4,27 and do not give the devil an
opportunity. Eph 4,26-27;
He who steals must steal no longer.
Eph 4,28 He who steals must steal no longer;
but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he
will have something to share with one who has need. Eph 4,28;
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth.
Eph 4, 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from
your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the
need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Eph 4,29;
Now we can proceed from this that Paul here did not make
unnecessary exhortations. In fact it existed – and still exists – the
absolute and real danger that the believers could succumb to all temptations
Paul names here. And although – as confirmed in the abovementioned verse Eph
1,13 – they had been sealed with the Holy Spirit. Paul confirms even this once
more at the end of this paragraph here below in Eph 4,30:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed.
Eph 4,30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Eph 4,30;
And here we again recognize that the Holy Spirit can leave the
believer again when the latter has sinned. Then it is a matter of once more
doing penance, acknowledging one’s sin and asking for forgiveness. And if the
wish of the believer to be blessed with the Holy Spirit still persists, they can
again ask the Father in prayer for the Holy Spirit and will receive him.
Years ago, in connection with this, a visitor to the site asked me if I really believe that the Holy Spirit keeps jumping in and out of the body. My answer to this question was:
For one thing, the Holy Spirit does not “jump”, he makes his abode in the Christian believer!
And We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Jn 14,23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone
loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come
to him and make Our abode with him. 14,24 "He who does not love Me does
not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s
who sent Me. Jn 14,23-24;
Moreover, the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the body but in the
spirit of the human being, provided the latter does not have any sins
unforgiven. A good example of this may be found in the account of the
crucifixion. When the Lord Jesus prayed on the cross to the Father, “Father,
forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34), he was
praying for the Roman soldiers who had crucified him. They were the executive
organs, they were the “body”.
These Roman soldiers were completely unaware of the fact that they were crucifying the Son of God. For this reason they did not bear any guilt of deizide either, and the Lord prayed that they should be forgiven. The “spirit” behind this atrocious deed was to be seen in the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who had condemned Jesus to death and handed him over to the Romans.
They were the driving force, and so all the guilt attached to them as well. And the Lord did not forgive them, nor did he ask the Father to forgive them. Quite the reverse – while he was alive the Lord referred to them as “serpents” and a “brood of vipers”, and prophesied to them that they would go to hell (Mt 23:33).
And it is a similar situation with sin: it dwells in the spirit of the human being, the body is only the executive organ. But since the Holy Spirit likewise “makes his abode” in the spirit of the person, and sin, when it comes, also penetrates into the spirit of the person, the spirit of God must necessarily abandon this person.
As for the “jumping”, it is rather a coming and going. The best example of this again comes from our Lord himself. When he called out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, this was the moment at which all the sins of this world were laid on his spirit. And at that point the Holy Spirit had to leave even the Son of God, because he cannot dwell with unforgiven sin in the same spirit.
(See also Discourse 64: “What
is the sin against the Holy Spirit?”)
(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)
Good evening, Mr. Horak.
(...) I think your last article (Discourse 117: Christian baptism in the light of the Bible, FH) will be very useful for us brethren, because it finally talks about obligations, rather than harping on about the supposed absolute necessity of baptism without going into any of the reasons for it.
In reading it, though, I was struck by the fact that in talking of adult baptism you refer to the Evangelical church. But this church – I am sorry to say – no longer goes in for adult baptism, but has joined the Catholic church in the unbiblical practice of infant baptism.
PS: Please would you only give my initials and not reveal my e-mail address, as otherwise I am afraid I would get a deluge of spam.
Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments.
Of course I am happy to accede to your request to remain anonymous.
Yes, you are completely right. In the Evangelical / Protestant church adult baptism is now carried out only in exceptional cases and on request. And clearly there are fewer and fewer people in this church who wish for it, and on the other hand, more and more who have come over to the Catholic way of thinking.
With the Lord’s Supper, likewise, people in the Evangelical church are little by little moving over to the Catholic side, and now would even like to be allowed to take part in the Catholic “eucharist”. But to the bitter chagrin of the Evangelicals / Protestants, the Catholics still will not allow this.
But seeing that the Catholic church, in hope of increasing its membership and its power, is as we know inviting all Christian churches (and not them alone) to come together under the umbrella of the “one and only Catholic church” (all other churches are denied this predicate – they only count as “communities”), it will not be long before we see the Evangelical and Protestant churches not merely celebrating the occult ritual of “transubstantiation” along with the Catholics but even praying to “Mary, the Mother of God”.
(See also Discourse 32: “Commentary
on the manifesto "Dominus Jesus" of the Catholic Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith.”)
Since I have already had this mistake pointed out to me by
another visitor to the site, I deleted the passages you refer to in the text of
the above discourse on the day after the publication. All the same, best thanks
for your comments.