Accepting People Into The Lord’s Church On Their Denominational Baptism
There are some who say only God knows all things and we therefore cannot know who is saved and who is lost. One does not have to know everything to know some things. One can know the will of God on the topic of salvation. One can know, based on God’s Word, whether or not he has obeyed the Gospel of Christ. Jesus said in John 7:17 that we can know of the doctrine. In John 8:32, we learn not only can we know the truth, but we must know it in order to be saved. From a study of God’s Word we learn that scriptural baptism removes one’s sins and places a person in Christ where all spiritual blessings are found (Acts 2:47; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 1:3).
Accepting people on their denominational baptism is no new thing. This has been discussed and even practiced by some for hundreds of years. If one can be accepted into the Lord’s church on denominational baptism, then denominational baptism is valid. If denominational baptism is valid then the following things would also be true.
- One, if denominational baptism is valid, then one can be taught a lie, obey the lie, and still be saved. In order to be made free, one must know the truth (John 8:32). Denominationalism teaches error about salvation and the church. How can one hear a lie, believe a lie, obey a lie, and be part of the true church, the saved body?
- Two, if denominational baptism is valid then there are many ways to the Lord and not just one way. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus spoke of two ways: the broad way and the narrow way. Jesus did not authorize denominationalism. If one can come to the Lord through a man-made way, the Bible contradicts itself. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.” In Ephesians 4:4 Paul talked about the one faith and the one body. Does the one body include denominations?
- Three, if denominational baptism is valid then there are at least some saved people outside the Lord’s church. There can be erring Christians within the body of Christ, but there can be no saved people outside the body or the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). Salvation is a spiritual blessings and the Bible says all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). The same process that makes one a Christian adds him to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47).
In Acts 19 we read of twelve men who had been baptized unto John’s baptism. After these men were taught the Gospel of Christ, they were baptized into Christ. Some today contend that if a person is baptized for “a scriptural reason” then his baptism is valid. For example, some would say that if a man was baptized understanding at that time that it was the Lord’s will for him to be baptized, that would be good enough. Still others have contended that if a man understands that baptism is for the remission of sins that is all he needs to know and his baptism is valid.
These arguments, however, will not hold up when they are viewed in the light of God’s Word. In Mark 1:4 we are told concerning John’s baptism, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Why, then, were these twelve men of Acts 19 baptized again? They understood at the time of their baptism they were doing the will of God. John’s baptism was for the remission of sins. The baptism of John was not the baptism of the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). At one time John’s baptism was approved by God, having heaven’s authority (but not since Pentecost). Acts 19:4 says that they were taught to believe on Jesus Christ. Many of our brethren today would have accepted these twelve men into fellowship on their former baptism, but not Paul. In Ephesians 4:5 Paul mentioned the one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Denominational baptism, on the other hand, has never had God’s approval and never will (Mark 7:7). If Paul would not accept those in Acts 19 on their baptism, by what authority today could one be accepted into fellowship on their denominational baptism?
The only valid baptism today is the one baptism of Ephesians 4, that is, the baptism of the Great Commission. Denominational baptism is not the baptism of the Great Commission. Therefore, one cannot be accepted into the Lord’s church on his denominational baptism.