Rethinking Water Baptism By Frank Viola

Frank Viola posted an article called Rethinking Christian Baptism on his blog recently. It is an excellent article and I commend it to you and encourage you to read it. At the end I have posted some additional thoughts in bold.

Here's the article...
 
So you’ve repented, believed, and have become a follower of Jesus Christ.

But what’s the next step? The answer: water baptism.

Before the Lord Jesus ascend­ed into heaven, He ­told His disciples,

Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I command­ed you…He that BELIEVES and is BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; but he that believes not shall be damned (Matthew 28:19,20 & Mark 16:16).

Now look at these other texts:

Mark 16:16 – He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. 

Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS . . .” 

Acts 2:40-41 – And with many other words did he [Peter] testify and exhort, saying, SAVE YOURSELVES from this corrupt generation. Then they that gladly received his word were BAPTIZED.

Acts 22:16 – And now what are you waiting for? Get up, BE BAPTIZED AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS AWAY, calling on his name. 

1 Peter 2: 21- this water symbolizes BATPISM THAT NOW SAVES YOU also . . . 

These passages have led some Christian denominations to teach baptismal regeneration. Other denominations have essentially buried these texts, choosing to ignore them rather than engage them at all.

I don’t subscribe to baptismal regeneration. But because I believe the Bible to be God’s inspired Word, fully reliable and fully authoritative, I don’t think we can rightfully ignore these texts either.

To my mind, the solution is in understanding two things: (1) how the word “saved” is used throughout the New Testament, and (2) the relationship between faith and confession.

Keep reading here... And then come back and read my thoughts.

Sorry, not allowed to post the article in its entirety.  







Some final thoughts on Frank's article and baptism... 

If you have heard the Word, if you have believed the Word, if you have truly repented of your sins, if you believe that Jesus is Lord (God in the flesh) and Savior and has been raised from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God and you have not been baptized...then
  1. Perhaps you are immature in your faith and/or have not been properly discipled and theologically trained.
  2. You are greatly deceived on the importance and significance of baptism (by immersion).
  3. You may not even know it, but you are in a state of sin and rebellion against the One who saved you and commanded you to follow His commandments and to be baptized into His name. You do know, so to continue professing to be a Christian and not being baptized is hypocrisy. 
  4. You could be in "spiritual limbo." Your salvation is not complete.
  5. Worse case scenario, you are a phony! You are not one who has truly repented and chosen to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you can't follow Him in baptism, then you are not His disciple! If you can't obey His command to be baptized, then what other commands are you breaking or will you break? Sure, you may be a good person, give money to your church, do many things "in His name", but remember what He said to those in Matthew 7 that claimed the same thing..."Depart from me you workers of iniquity."
So as with Frank, my plea and your Lord's plea (if you are truly saved and a follower of Christ), is to immediately rise up and go be baptized (by immersion). You will need to be baptized by a genuine believer who has been baptized themselves. Ideally your baptism should take place within a local body of believers, but is not necessary if you don't have one yet. And that will be your next step after baptism, find a genuine New Testament church to be a part of.