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Imperfect Baptism pt. 1


“You see, the baptism verses are there, and they are true, and we understand them largely correctly — so don’t waste your time citing Acts 2:38 etc. to me. I know them and agree with them. But all those faith-only verses are there, too. We usually deal with them by reading the baptism verses second and saying the baptism verses explain them (away), while the Baptists are reading the faith-only verses and saying they explain (away) our baptism verses. Both arguments are illegitimate.”  Jay Guin, One in Jesus


“But all those faith-only verses are there, too.” 

Is this statement true?  Are the Scriptures replete with verses that teach salvation or eternal life are by faith only?  Does the statement, “He became to all those that obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” mean that salvation is by obedience alone. Surely not.  I wish that Jay had made a little different statement.  (Hebrews 5: 9b)


What do the Scriptures state? 

There are many verses that list only one factor, faith, as resulting in salvation or eternal life.  But there are also many other verses that list several other factors, baptism, confession, repentance, hope, enduring to the end other factors, as resulting in salvation.  But perhaps most telling, there are no verses that state salvation is by faith only.  On the contrary, James says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”  (James 2: 24)


What is the agenda of Jay Guin and his fellow progressives?

“Ultimately, the mission of this site is to set forth an understanding of the Bible that will allow for the unity of all followers of Jesus.”  Jay Guin. One in Jesus.

This mission appears to be very worthy, for there are many who claim to be Christians,  appear to be sincere , do many good things and conduct themselves in a commendable way but were not baptized in the right way or for the right reasons.  Plain Talk does not want to give the wrong impression, there are of course those who were baptized correctly but are not living as they should.  Correct baptism is not the end all.  But neither does stating a lofty goal justify misrepresenting the Scriptures.  Plain Talk will have more to say about this aspect later.


How do they attempt to set forth an understanding of the Bible that will allow for the unity of all followers of Jesus?

The attempt appears to be centered on marginalizing baptism, that commandment that appears to divide.  Hence they put forth the concept of an imperfect baptism


What is a “follower”?

Follower- a person who accepts the leadership of another.  A follower of Jesus the would be a person who honors Him as Lord and Christ and renders obedience to Him

Can there be people who are professing to follow but are not?  Of course, Jesus warns us of that very situation.  He warns us against false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are wolves.  Generally speaking we can know them by their fruits.  Not all who profess to be followers of Christ are in truth followers, but the acid test is obedience to the will of the Father.  (Matthew  7: 13-23)


Give an example of a faith-only verse according to Jay.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  (John 3: 16)

Really?  Is this an example of having eternal life by faith only?  If there is such a thing as rightly dividing the word of God, then there is such a thing as wrongly dividing the word of God. This is a faith that saves; this is a faith the avails; this is a perfected faith, one that is complete and mature.  (Galatians 5: 6; James 2: 14- 26)  If this is true, then it means this is a faith that works by love.


What is faith? 

Faith is the agreement or assent to certain propositions about God.

·         God exists and rewards those that seek Him.  (Hebrews 11: 6)

·         Jesus is He, the righteous One, the Son of God, the Messiah  (John 8: 24)

·         According to the Scriptures, Christ died for our sins, was buried and was raised on the third Day.  (1 Corinthians 15: 3, 5)

Generally speaking if a person agrees with these propositions we consider that one to believe in God.  Yet we know that there were ones who believed yet were not pleasing to God,  mental assent to these propositions might be called mere faith.  This faith is a mind thing and does not yet involve the heart nor the body in obedience.


What is saving faith?

 The Scriptures also  tell us that faith without love is nothing and faith without works is dead and useless.  We see then that when mere faith is combined with love it is motivated to obey God’s commandments to repent and let ourselves be baptized

When faith obeys in love it is complete, it avails and it is reckoned for righteousness.  This is saving faith.  It is the faith that is found in Jay’s so-called “faith-only” passages,  Far from being faith only, this faith encompasses  both love and obedience,.

The faith of John 3: 16 is a faith that results in eternal life; it is a faith that avails.  It is a faith that saves.  (James 2:14)  Plain Talk must respectfully disagree with Jay.  John 3: 16 is not a “faith only” verse.

God bless

Arland  Pafford  


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Last Update   09/26/12