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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Water Baptism vs. Spirit Baptism.
Centuri0n, in discussing infant baptism, made a side comment about membership in the church (see the comments section), that I felt could use a bit more light.

"As for "unequivocally wrong", I think that anyone who requires baptism to be a member of the church is unequivocally right -- because that's what Scripture teaches. No question. "

To be certain, I think Centuri0n is talking about water baptism, and when he says "the church" he means a local congregation. It is worded however in a way that leaves a question mark floating in the ether with respect to what moment of time a believer actually becomes a member of the universal church.

John the Baptist, in heralding the coming Messiah says, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." - Matthew 3:11 (c.f. Mark 1:8 "...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit", Luke 3:16, "...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire", John 1:33, "...this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit")

We see in John the Baptist's declaration, which is echoed in all of the gospels, that Jesus Christ personally baptizes men with the Holy Spirit. This is the same baptism spoken of by Paul in Romans six, the baptism "into Christ" The moment that a believer enters into the "New Covenant," through faith in Christ - that believer is sealed unto the day of redemption with the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ Himself. John MacArthur describes it in better detail than I can here, but the gist of it is that the "Baptism of the Spirit" takes place the at the moment of justification.

If this is so, and I contend that it is, then one becomes a "member of the church" the moment one is justified, as that is the same moment that one is spiritually baptized. Water baptism is therefore an act of obedience performed upon someone who is already part of the body of Christ.

Perhaps Centuri0n holds water baptism as an "unequivocally right" prerequisite to membership in a local assembly because at some point in his understanding of scripture he has interpreted "baptism" in a technical sense? That is, perhaps he has read "baptized" in scripture and presumed the term was referring to "water baptism" (Carson, in that wonderfully concise work, Exegetical Fallacies, refers to this sort of assumption - whereby one presumes a technical meaning when no such meaning is required - as an exegetical fallacy). I am not trying to put words in Centuri0n's mouth however, I am merely speculating (not to be confused with a straw man :-D). As John the Baptist announced that Spiritual baptism would be the sine quo non of the Messiah, it seems right then to allow room for that interpretation of baptism in some of the texts we examine. Thus when Centuri0n says, "because that's what Scripture teaches. No question" I am inclined to say, that there is room for question - even by those ( I am referring to myself ) who are not trying to be obtuse about it :-D

I agree that "water baptism" should be a prerequisite for legal association with a local congregation - it is just easier that way. But if I were to split hairs, that is, when I talk about the ideal over and above the practical, I must make this distinction - if Christ has already accepted a believer into the body of Christ through spiritual baptism - that believer is already a member of the church whether he is affiliated with a local assembly or not, and whether or not he has obediently followed the Lord in water baptism.

posted by Daniel @ 10:16 AM  
  • At 3:56 PM, October 19, 2005, Blogger dogpreacher said…

    Avery good article indeed. THIS is (or at least should be) how iron sharpens iron.

    This is also a good example of how our "sincerely held beliefs" (Presuppositions), keep us from doing sound exegetical work to arrive at the truth.

    Daniel, I would appreciate you weighing in on my latest 2 posts @ http://dogpreacher.blogspot.com/ for you seem to be someone who holds all things up to the light of scripture.

    The DOGpreacher

  • At 8:15 AM, October 20, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    I will definitely check it out sir. Though I am busier today than most days.

  • At 1:23 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger FX Turk said…

    Can I say nothing without some zealot ham-handing it with his sausage-like fingers?

    A pox upon ye, skinhead! I shall come back with much Latin and bravado to kneecap this vile knavery.

  • At 1:38 PM, October 21, 2005, Blogger Daniel said…

    Surely you know Frank, that I had to post something... I spent a lot of time making that image :-D, I expect to get some mileage out of it.

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