Knowing baptism doesn’t save, can any harm be done if they do so anyway?

I sent you an email probably a month or two ago on baptism, talking about how I was against baptism. I have not changed my point of view really, but this is the best “pro baptism” argument I have seen. It doesn’t refer to baptism as an ordinance, like most people try and pull. It was written by my dad, but I think he learned it from Dr. Dave Reese. (I am just guessing, it sounds like what Dr. Reese says in the appendix of his Hebrews study) When you find the time, could you tell me what you think of this “argument”? Which to me, the water baptism issue isn’t a big deal, as long as you know it doesn’t save you. (or make you win favor with God or anything else unscriptural ) If someone does get water baptized, the most it could possibly be is just a testimony thing. Like I said, I haven’t changed my mind really, but I think the whole issue causes too much division among believers, when it is not a big deal to me.   I have come to the conclusion, that you are not “out of Gods will” if you aren’t baptized, nor in his will for getting baptized. If you want to do it as a testimony and picture of the death, burial, and resurrection, go ahead. But that’s all it will be, and don’t try and talk everybody into being baptized if they aren’t, Paul didn’t think it was a big deal nor did he emphasize it AT ALL. All anybody can scripturally say is that Paul is our pattern for this age, and he baptized new converts. However, we don’t follow everything he DID, as much as what he taught and told us to do in his epistles. Do you agree with this last paragraph, and what do you think of my Dads view below? Thank you for your time sir.

Baptism is certainly not part of the gospel for this age.  If it was then it could not be called “Grace.”  Church attendance, giving to missions, studying the Bible, etc. are not part of the gospel either.  A person can be saved without attending church, giving an offering, or ever studying the Bible.  This, however, does not mean we should not participate in any of these things.  I do not see specific command to be water baptized under Grace.  We are told to be followers of Paul as he is of Christ.  Paul certainly water baptized during his ministry.  There is no specific statement of Paul stating that he is stopping the practice of water baptism.  Note what Paul says in the following about water baptism.


[13] Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

[14] I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

[15] Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

[16] And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

[17] For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Paul indicates in verse 13 that it would be wrong to be baptized in Paul’s name.  In verse 14 Paul names two people that he baptized.  In verse 15 Paul says that he thanks God that he baptized only these two, not because baptism was no longer for this age or was gradually fading out, but people would falsely accuse him of baptizing in his own name.   If verse 17 teaches that water baptism should not be practiced, then why did Paul baptize Crispus and Gaius?  If water baptism was wrong for this age wouldn’t Paul have said in verse 14 & 15, “I thank God I baptized only Crispus & Gaius, because the practice is not for this age or will cease in the future?”  This would have been the perfect place for Paul to state water baptism was not for this age or that this practice was going to cease.  Paul was careful to mention things that would cease in 1 Corinthians 13, “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
[9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
[10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”  Water baptism is not in the list! 

The strongest argument against water baptism is the “one baptism” statement in Ephesians 4.  The problem with this argument is that Paul is not necessarily arguing about a number in relation to quantity but to quality.  Ephesians 4 states, “[4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
[5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
[6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” 

Is there more than one body Yes.  Note in 1 Corinthians 15, “[39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
[40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.”  Note there are celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies.

Is there more than one spirit?  There are at least two.  The spirit of man and the Spirit of God.  “1Cor.2

[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

There is more than one faith.  Ephesians 1:15 speaks of personal faith in Christ.  Romans 3:22 mentions the faith of Christ. 

There is more than one Lord.  1Cor.8

[5] For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,). 

In Ephesians 4 Paul is referring to these different things as being one in the spiritual sense.  There are many physical bodies, but only one spiritual body of Christ.  Water baptism is a physical baptism, yet there is only one spiritual baptism.  A person could be baptized in water more than once, but he can only be spiritually baptized one time into the Body of Christ.

Most people over emphasize water baptism.  Some even equate or almost equate it with salvation.  This is wrong.  Many of the people that teach water baptism is not for this age over emphasize their position as well.  With many this seems to be a “hobby horse” doctrine.  My position is that since Paul water baptized after a person received the gospel of grace I am going to follow that same pattern, since Paul is our pattern (1 Tim 1:16).  Since Paul made no big deal out of the subject, neither will I.

When I first came into an understanding of Pauline Dispensational truth for the Body of Christ, I had the same point of view as your conclusion.  That was until I was teaching the book of Romans and got to chapter 6 where I learned that the power of living the Christian life was in knowing that I have been baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In Him I have a new life and identity.  If that truth gets watered down by teaching water baptism is a picture (which is what most teach Romans 6 is about and what is put on most of the baptism certificates) then you’ve have just destroyed a new Believers growth.

There is also two other problems with that view.  The first is that it is unscriptural.  Water Baptism in the Bible was “for the remission of sins.”  We cannot make up our own reason.  Either it is for the remission of sins or it has been superceded by the preaching of the cross.  When we make up a reason to continue the practice we are teaching others not to go by what the Bible says, we can also go by our own understanding.

The verse that finally got me to totally dismiss water baptism in the present age of grace is Ephesians 4:3-6.  After the teaching of Ephesians 1-3 – the doctrinal reason God formed the Body of Christ, Ephesians 4:3-6 tells us we are to endeavor to keep the unity the Spirit of God has created in this age of grace.  We do that by protecting (not adding to or taking away from) the perfect seven-fold unity of all members of the body of Christ.  One of those is “One Baptism.”  If we add another baptism (other than 1 Corinthians 12:13 “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”) we destroy God’s unity for the sake of creating our own unity.  Hence “I’m a Baptist,” I’m a Presbyterian,” “I’m a Lutheran” ….etc. 

As far as the teachings that follow your paragraph, 1 Corinthians 1:14 & 17 clearly state the reason Paul was glad he only baptized a few is because “Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.”  So this person thinks Paul continued to do what Christ sent him not to do???

The horrible twisting of Ephesians 4:3-6 is self evident.  How dare someone say there is more than “one faith, one body, one Lord” contradicting the verses he just quoted and using the same words in another context for the sake of adding another baptism.  The context of Ephesians 4 is “UNITY” and the person says “ONE” is not an emphasis in the passage.  The error is self evident.

Give it some thought and be patient with those who still have not “heard of the dispensation of the grace of God” – Ephesians 3:2.