Vol. 11 No. 12 December 2009
Must a Person be Baptized
to be a Member of the Church?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Do you need to be baptized to become a member of the Church? If so why? Thanks for your help. Bill Dieringer
Only the Scriptures can define requirements for becoming a member of the church of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the New Testament Scriptures have defined the requirements for becoming a member of the church of the Bible. One of those requirements is immersion (baptism) according to Acts 2:38, 41 and 47.
(38) “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins… (41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (47)…the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Hence, the saved are the church. Anyone not in the church is not saved (from his past sins). Anyone who has not been immersed for the remission of his past sins (baptized) is not saved and has not been added by our Lord to His church. The unprejudiced and honest mind cannot help but acknowledge that the New Testament teaches that baptism (immersion) has a part in salvation. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins…” (Acts 22:16). “There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).
Like faith (John 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:3) and professing Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:32), baptism pertains to obeying Jesus Christ, and our Lord saves those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). In addition, immersion in water resembles and imitates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“…as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5).
Yes, if we are talking about the church of the Bible, it is necessary for a person to be baptized to be a member of the church. Why? God through the New Testament says so! Why? The New Testament teaches that baptism places one into the death of Christ where our Lord’s saving blood may be contacted.
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Mr. Rushmore, I recently read your article refuting Mr. Arnold Murray on premillennialism. I have never heard of Mr. Murray until I read your article. Men such as Ryrie, Scofield, Pentecost, Hodges, Fruchtenbaum, and J. B. Hixon make a strong case for a literal millennial kingdom. Their interpretation of eschatology is consistent. Are you saying that these men are wrong also? Shalom, John Ivins
“…let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4). We only borrow this statement from the apostle Paul to emphasize that what I or any other human being thinks is irrelative compared to what God through the Bible has revealed. In short, what can we discern from the Bible respecting the concept of “a literal millennial kingdom” or premillennialism?
The Bible is always right in its teaching, irrespective of who we may be, how studied we are or what other biblical matters we may have correctly learned. The doctrine of premillennialism or “a literal millennial kingdom” does not correspond to Bible teaching. God has another end-of-time habitation in mind for His faithful followers — and it is literally out of this world (John 14:1-3)!