|Vol. 2, No. 7||Page 5||July 2000|
New Testament Doctrine
The ideas or creeds of men are the source of much religious division around the world. And, though men sometimes change their religious creeds, the New Testament or doctrine of the church of the Bible does not change. Only the changeless doctrine of the New Testament (if men will accept it alone) can produce religious unity. For instance, the New Testament alone binds the independent congregations of the churches of Christ together.
Further, the New Testament alone is the absolute and final standard of authority in religion today. By the New Testament all souls now living will be judged someday. Once again hear the words of Jesus: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching.” The New Testament teaches man how to live with his fellow man, how to acceptably serve and worship God, and how to receive the blessings of the Gospel and the hope of heaven. Dear reader, accept no substitutes; make no subtractions, additions or changes to the Word of God.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
A popular religious error is the idea that babies are born with the sins of others on their souls. We inherit physical traits from our parents, but we do not inherit their sins. Nor has anyone ever inherited the sins of the first couple, Adam and Eve; this, too, is a widely believed error.
God caused the prophet Ezekiel to clearly teach that sin is not inherited. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity [sin] of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity [sin] of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). This verse also teaches that a soul is only guilty of his own sins.
Misguided men began the practice of baptizing babies to take away their sins. But, since babies are NOT born in or with sin, they do not need baptism (some call it christening). Further, the Bible plainly teaches that Christian baptism is for believers: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved . . .” (Mark 16:16). Babies, though, are unable to believe. Also, baptism is described in Scripture as a burial or a planting (immersion) -- not something ideally suited to babies.
How can one know that babies are not born in sin? First, as noted from Ezekiel 18:20, sin is not passed on from parents to their babies; each person is only responsible for his own sins.
Second, Bible verses like Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is only for believers and results in salvation from sin. Therefore, babies are unable to practice Christian baptism and are not in need of salvation that it brings.
Third, baptism (immersion) is suited to adults that their sins may be taken away. Immersion is neither for babies, nor are they in need of the salvation that follows baptism (immersion). Every mature person, however, has committed sins and needs to be baptized for the remission of his sins. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “. . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . .” (Acts 2:38).