The Water Baptism that Saves
Water baptism is crucial to their salvation, they list 5 things for the remission of sin.
“a) in the name of the lord Jesus Christ b) with the head of the baptized bowed c) complete immersion d) performed in natural living water e) The baptist himself must have received the Holy Spirit.”(4).” The baptist must already have received baptisms of water and the Holy Spirit. The baptism must be full immersion in natural, living water and must be administered in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the candidate’s head facing downward” (Water, Blood and Holy Spirit). They do not believe in any man made facilities for this salvation event.
“The ‘one baptism’ expounded by Paul (Eph 5:4) refers to one mode of baptism and that a person should only be baptized in one correct baptismal mode” (West Malaysia web).
Their mistake; Paul is speaking of a Spirit baptism that puts one in the Spiritual body of Christ not water, and one cannot combine both. The simple reason is that they are two completely different things. You can’t say water is the Spirit baptism because we see people baptized in water and not receiving the Spirit and we also see people receiving the Spirit without being water baptized. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). The one baptism (the Holy Spirit’s work) is a Spirit baptism according to the Bible, and it has nothing to do with water. “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5) Christ always distinguished salvation apart from baptism in His ministry and so did the apostles. Granted, there are a few Scriptures that have baptism accompanying belief and exercising faith. We must always remember the clear teachings determine the unclear. When the apostles qualify and teach the church on a certain doctrine in the epistles, that is what resolves an issue. So these will be addressed separately.
“Salvation is given by the grace which Jesus brought about through His death on the cross, and also through faith in receiving the washing of regeneration [water baptism], and in receiving renewal by the Holy Spirit. These are the two basic requirements for Salvation” (True Jesus Church website).
Notice that one is saved through faith in baptism or the washing of regeneration and not in faith alone in Christ. Nowhere does the Bible add these for salvation. The gospel is what saves a person not in part, not half way or two thirds but completely. The gospel contains nothing about baptism, good works, service, church membership, tithing, sacraments or rituals, diet or clothing. No amount of any of these will help save you. In fact they will hinder you if you are doing them to be saved.
Lets read the whole scripture quoted in context.
Titus 3:5-7 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and
renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through
Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we
should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
This is not what
the Bible teaches at all, they have it backwards.
Rom. 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Paul makes it clear in Acts13:39 “and by him (Christ) everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
The True Jesus Church has made it clear the emphasis that they place on baptism. Consider this “The church emphasizes baptism, not only because the Lord Jesus commanded it of us (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16), but also because baptism is essential for salvation.”
Is it? Does the Bible teach one is unsaved until they are baptized (a certain manner is also required).
Does Jesus have to save me in baptism? If so then the cross is not the saving point of their gospel. The blood of Jesus is then ignored as sufficient despite the witness of the old Testament sacrificial examples and the clear teaching that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. This always took place at the altar apart from water.
We do not deny
the necessity of baptism, but the purpose that they claim it is used for. Just
as all good works and acts of obedience have necessary uses. Everything has its
purpose but they do not have the same use. Water is necessary for baptism, but
not for everything else. If one needs to be baptized for their salvation then
Jesus’ atonement is not the focus of cleansing. Then their is a physical work needed in
addition to faith for salvation. this exactly what Paul declared is not
possible. Eph.2:8-10: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast.” Our faith is alive before baptism or any other work it.
A gift is not a work.
Under the topic- What Are the Sacraments? They describe them as “three New Testament institutions begun by Jesus Christ: baptism, footwashing, and Holy Communion. These divine institutions make use of physical elements or actions—such as water, immersion, washing, bread, juice, eating, and drinking—to effect salvation of the soul.” (Australian website).
This is what the Roman church has been saying about sacraments (sacramentum) for centuries. They too believe baptism removes ones sins and that communion is important for salvation. So the cross is clearly not enough for one to be forgiven and cleansed one must do a number of these rituals that Catholics have held to (minus the footwashing) as imparting grace.
Under the topic- Sacraments and Grace “Sacraments mark the entrance to the way of salvation, regeneration, a covenantal relationship with God, and the kingdom of God.”
That a “personal relationship with Christ through the sacraments.” “During baptism, our sins are cleansed and our spiritual life begins. By accepting footwashing, we have part with Christ. Through the Holy Communion, we partake of the life of Jesus Christ.” They claim “Without them, all subsequent works of faith amount to nothing.”
Baptism is an ordinance, to shift the forgiveness of God on a ceremony and not the person of Christ is sacramentalism, (a sacrament is a outward sign that claims to give grace. Biblically they are unable to convey grace they are only shadows and symbols of the true substance or event.)
They teach One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water (John 19:34). “The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus on the cross opened a fountain for cleansing that flows to this day. Anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus and repents of his sins may be washed freely through water baptism.” (Basic Beliefs, Baptism of Water also Words of Life 22). This they interpret as being born of water and the blood.
The problem with this mixing of water and blood is that Jesus already said it is finished and then He died prior to this. The next significant event for the believer is the third point of the Gospel was his burial and resurrection, not a spear in his side. This had nothing to do with our redemption except to show He really died on the cross. Scripture is crystal clear it is always by blood that our sins are forgiven and Jesus said it was completed before he bowed his head and dismissed his spirit. So this interpretation is lifted completely out of the context of the Bible and is never taught by the apostles.
Yet they insist “Water baptism is to receive redemption by the blood of Jesus” “ Baptism has the power to forgive sins...” (12). “Without water baptism, ones sins are not forgiven and the Holy Spirit would not dwell in the body of a sinner” (13). “He cleanses us during baptism and gives us the Holy Spirit just as he promised.” “Baptism carries the marvelous power to remove all sins” (Our Basic Beliefs).
shift the forgiveness of sins from the cross to the act of water baptism. Yet
we see Jesus forgive sins without the act of water baptism before the cross
and afterwards, as He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven
(Matt 9:2). Once he went to the cross it became the only way to receive
forgiveness and cleansing.
Along with their teaching water baptism is a divine command of Jesus and must be performed to be “saved”. After Jesus resurrected, he said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Jesus also said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). One comes in contact with blood through baptism. (much like the International Churches of Christ who claim the same exclusiveness.)
They use 1 Jn.5:6-8 interpreting Jesus coming by the water and the blood as… “The precious blood of the Lord Jesus is still in the water during baptisms performed by the Church “(5). “The baptism conducted by our church has the spirit, water and the blood as the witnesses and is effective for the forgiveness of sins”(12).
How Jesus’ blood got in the water and is still in the water today is not explained, they call it a mystery. One thing for sure, the Bible does not teach the blood is mixed in the water. The blood was separate and the Bible treats it as such. Priest were cleansed by water before they partook in their ceremonies. The atonement was always by blood (Heb.9) on the altar put on the mercy seat by the high priest, it was never mixed.
Notice what they have done to this passage, it is focusing on Jesus who came by water and blood. V.6 and the Spirit bears witness of this fact. It has nothing to do with our baptism, but Jesus being a true flesh and blood human being, this is the witness we receive. And vs.10 makes it even clearer that those who believe in the Son of God (coming as a human being) have the witness in himself. It has nothing to do with baptism for the believer. John was refuting the Gnostics who did not believe he came in flesh.
They claim that baptism is confirmed by “countless visions of Jesus’ blood in the water and by the working miracles of healing” (Our Basic Beliefs). “The blood of Jesus is in the water” (12).
Nowhere does the Bible teach the blood is in the water or the same as the water. This is clearly baptismal salvation by water. There is no cross mentioned for salvation but water. Paul’s gospel was explained in 1 Cor.15:1-4 as Christ’s death and resurrection. The blood atones for sin and has nothing to do with water which is a ceremonial explanation illustrating this. Yet they teach “therefore, baptism is much more than a symbolic act” but the literal act that saves.
Baptism in Jesus name ONLY
In order for the baptism to be valid, you must be baptized “in the name of Jesus” and by the true church. (Accept instructions by the true Church according to Biblical instructions for the remission of your sins-Our Basic beliefs). But is only through the use of Jesus’ name that your sins can be forgiven in the baptism. (1 Cor.6:11; Acts 2:38; 4:12; 10:43; 22:16, Luke 24.47). The water baptism is necessary for salvation because it is through this act, he cleanses during the baptism and they give the Holy Spirit using Acts 2:38, 8:16; 10:48; 19:5, 22:16. (Our Basic Beliefs- Baptism of Water). Verses they use to prove their point should be read in their context and put next to what the same writers of Scripture said was the gospel.
According to their own teaching no one can go to heaven except by being baptized in the Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. But the fact that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit before their baptism proves their own teaching is wrong. Cornelius and his group were saved before they were baptized, they received the Holy Ghost as proof. Since the speaking in tongues proves one receives the Spirit (according to their own doctrine), then it also disproves their gospel they are promoting. This is something to dwell on as it shows the internal flaw of their theology. Acts 10 states they spoke in tongues receiving the Holy Spirit before their baptism. To deny this would mean that they have to deny their other requirement of tongues as the proof one is actually saved. It should be accepted that since the Gentiles spoke in tongues before their baptism therefore they were saved without baptism.
“Two requirements for salvation baptism of water and of the spirit which are more often separate.” We are born of the Spirit of God not creation (water). The source of the new birth is the Holy Spirit who actually regenerates the heart without water and the means is the Word of God (the gospel). God will not use fallen creation to institute the new birth. He Himself is the source. By God’s indwelling, the believer is made the temple of the Living God. The Spirit is the one who gives life. The Bible teaches that a man is born of (Gr. EK - out of) God. This description occurs four times in John’s epistle alone, (1 Jn. 3:9, 4:7, 5:1,4) which they point to insisting on water being the means to save. In all the instances where the source of the new birth is mentioned, the language in Greek is EK Him, EK God, or EK Spirit. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God uses creation as part of conveying the new birth. In John 3:3, the term “born-again” literally means “to be born from above.” The very essence of regeneration is by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They are saying, like other baptismal salvationists, they are born from below.
Not only must one receive two separate births but they must do it the correct way or its invalid. “A proper baptism also calls for immersion in fresh water. (Mat.3:16; Acts 8:38-39). You must go down into the water, head bowed forward.” “We are obligated in our baptismal rite to conform to the manner of his death in which He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
necessary because they teach baptism requires a death,
must be in the likeness of the Lord’s death, with head bowed.”
Notice they say “baptism must be,” in this bodily position to relate to his death. Where does the Bible instruct us in the position of the body in immersion? It doesn’t. Immersion is what baptism is about, (not sprinkling) and there is no commanded position. To believe that if one is not baptized with their body forward makes it inadequate is ridiculous. For such an important matter surely Scripture would make it clear, but it does not. It’s unfortunate that people untrained see the word baptism or cleansing to mean an affiliation with water every time it is mentioned. Jesus said I have a baptism to be baptized in. This was after Jesus was baptized by John in water, he was speaking of the end of his ministry, a baptism or immersion in death for our sins. There was no water around when Jesus died, this is not water baptism, but a baptism unto death. Remember when Jesus told his disciples “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) After being asked to have her two sons sit on each side of Jesus, he answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with (Matt 20:22-23). The baptism he was speaking of was about his suffering on the cross for himself, and the suffering they would have to follow him by picking up their cross.
Rom.6:5 says that we were united in the likeness of His death. “Likeness” shows us that it is an illustration or a shadow of the substance. It is a figurative action of the real suffering and death that Christ experienced. We were represented by Christ in His death and resurrection. It goes on to say that we shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. Only his has occurred, ours has not. Yet after our baptism we rise out of the water as a symbol of new life showing his resurrection.
The teaching of a persons head needing to be bowed when baptized isn’t mentioned in the Bible and therefore must be rejected. If we bring this teaching to it’s logical conclusion, taking it as literally as they do: we would need to be baptized with our head bowed forward as Jesus died, and really be dead. We also need to be in Israel, in the nude, bloody on a cross for it to be accurate and valid. Should two thieves also be standing on either side of the person about to be baptized etc. This is typical of those from the Oneness persuasion that are very legalistic. But they have gone further than most Oneness Pentecostals. According to their view even being baptized in Jesus name is not acceptable unless one is baptized in this required manner (face forward along with some other peculiarities). This should not make the UPCI or Apostolics not too happy, for their baptism in Jesus’ name is not valid. So even if one is baptized in Jesus’ name they are still unsaved.
Now with all this being said, if someone wants to bow there head, shout Praise the Lord! Or anything else during this wonderful moment in a believers life then by all means praise Him accordingly. But remember your head being bowed or your voice being lifted during baptism has no affect on your baptism or eternal destiny. God is significantly more interested where your heart is toward him than the position of your head. Neither is saying “the name” in baptism the only way to make one acceptable to God. One can just as easily call on Jesus to save them without baptism (just as Romans 10 states: we call upon Him for salvation.)
Jesus saving in water (baptism) removes one from faith in His sacrifice that took place on the cross, this becomes ANOTHER Gospel. The new birth is “of the Spirit” not of water (John 3:8). It is Christ’s work that literally redeems and justifies and it is by his blood on the cross. How can a baptism, which is a ceremony of this fact, do the same? Nothing is equal to the redemption on the cross, it is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, not water. We do not have two redemptions, only one. The true event happened almost two thousand years ago in the person of Christ on the cross, not in the water today.
As stated Baptism can be attached to faith (belief). But nowhere does it say “to be baptized to be saved” by itself. However you will find faith and belief mentioned separately from baptism for salvation (over 230 times).
Acts 26:18 “that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me that is in Jesus Christ.” The majority of Scriptures teaching us how to be spiritually born is by faith. The order today is faith the receiving of the Holy Spirit and then baptism, showing that you have died with Christ was buried and raised to new life.
Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Notice what it says and does not say. Those who believe are baptized but only those who do not believe are condemned. Again the gospel is preached and belief (faith) is the response. The greater context in Scripture always teaches salvation occurs before baptism. If they were pronounced saved by their faith before baptism then baptism is clearly not part of the gospel. There are hundreds of Scriptures to prove this. Belief is not the gospel, but it is what is needed to accept the gospel (grace through faith). Baptism is not the gospel because the gospel is something you believe in, not something you do. Mk.16:16 can be paralleled with Jn. 3:18, “He that believeth on Him (Christ) is not condemned” shows unanimously with the rest of Scripture, that believing is what saves and removes us from condemnation without baptism. Baptism is important and should not be neglected, it is an act of obedience to Christ, who gave this ordinance to the church. But if done to be saved you have missed the gospel.
They also teach “during baptism three things appear simultaneously. By the Holy Spirit, the blood of Jesus is in the water…the baptism conducted by our church has the spirit the water and the blood as witnesses and is effective for the forgiveness of sins”(16). There is no such record or teaching in all the New Testament. “With the presence of the Holy Spirit, the precious blood of the lord Jesus is still in the water during baptisms performed by the church” (15).
There are even testimonies of people who were baptized in the True Jesus Church; who witness the waters of baptism turning red, the color of blood. This is one of their miracle signs of proof for what they teach. To me it does not prove the truth at all, no Christian baptism in the Bible ever had the water turn red. The simple reason is that these are not the same events. I do remember the pharaohs magicians turning the water red copying Moses’ miracle of judgment on Egypt.They also claim that people’s terminal diseases were cured by baptism. This certainly is not found as a product of baptism in the New Testament, though I would not consider this is impossible. They claim that these “signs and wonders which attest to the mighty workings of God have further confirmed its claim as the restored Apostolic church in the end time” (21). It’s not a matter of whether the miracles are present but whether they are biblical and confirm doctrines taught by the apostles. Lot’s of religions have signs, but those that are not found as biblical examples have to be questioned from what source they spring from.
How One Receives the Holy Spirit According to the True Jesus Church Gospel
(Acts 2:38-39) they teach “But it never teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in believers the very moment they accept Jesus Christ into their hearts.” “this indwelling has to happen at the moment of accepting Jesus Christ.” Their position is that the book of Acts show that the indwelling is a separate event. Contingent on “a person accepts the complete gospel of salvation.” Which of course is the one they preach.
And we have already seen what they claim is that they have the full gospel. The Bible makes it consistently clear that when a person believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ then they are saved. The Bible does not teach that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is at a separate time. While the spirit can come upon and be alongside the believer the Bible is clear we receive Him who regenerates the believer by faith in the gospel.
They state “In Him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). Responding to Believing in Christ is one of the criteria for receiving the Holy Spirit, and as long as we have faith in God, He will definitely grant us the Holy Spirit in His time. However, this does not mean that we will automatically receive the Holy Spirit once we believe” (website).
Time out - Lets look at what this Scripture actually says.
Eph. 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”
Here Paul explains after hearing the gospel of your salvation and the emphasis is on believing (having faith in its message) you are sealed with the promise – the Holy Spirit. This should be sufficient if one goes by the clear statements of his letters to the Church. Paul continues this though saying in Eph. 3:17 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.” Paul concludes this matter by stating in Eph. 4:30 “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” And when did this happen? When you first believed, according to Paul.
And Paul makes it clear over and over again what this promise is and how it is obtained. He does so in his letter to the Galatians who were adding the law for their salvation and sanctification. Gal. 3:14 “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Not through baptism.
Documents information used -Our Basic Beliefs from the General Assembly, Words of Life, booklets, web and personal conversations.