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Does it matter how we are baptized and who baptizes us as long as it’s in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? I'm getting baptized at my friend's church which is Calvinistic; I'm more of non-denominational Bible-believer, but anyway, they're going to baptize me in a swimming pool. Should I go through with it?
Dear Diving In,
Why you are baptized is one of the most important elements of baptism, and a Calvinistic church will not baptize you for the right reasons. People are baptized all the time without being saved! The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means ‘immersion’. The word ‘baptism’ is the same word that Greeks used when a ship sank to the bottom of the ocean or when someone dove to the bottom of a swimming pool. In the most technical sense, people are baptized when they take baths, go swimming, etc. Taking a bath will baptize you, but it definitely won’t save you.
The Bible teaches that baptism saves you. According to the Bible, baptism is a requirement of salvation. Peter said so in Acts 2:38 when he preached the first sermon after Christ’s ascension. In 1 Pet 3:21, it specifically says that baptism saves us. Mk 16:16 says that baptism is as integral a part of salvation as belief, and Paul tells us in Rom 6:4-5 that baptism buries us with Christ, so we might be born again without our sins. The Bible clearly teaches baptism as a prerequisite for salvation.
Now, here is your problem. Calvinism teaches that baptism is “an outward showing of an inward grace.” That means that Calvinistic churches do baptize people, but they believe it is only for show and that you were already saved before you were baptized. Therefore, the reason they baptize people is completely wrong. If you are baptized for the wrong reasons, you just get wet – not saved. We would be happy to get you in touch with a congregation that isn’t tied to denominations, teaches the whole Bible (Rev 22:18-19), avoids manmade traditions (Matt 15:9), and will baptize you for the right reasons. Just e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the general area of the country you live in and we will happily put you in contact with a faithful church. You may also find the article “Calvin And Sobs” on Calvinism of use to better understand this manmade religion.
Are we predestinated to be saved according to Acts 13:48 and Ephesians 1:4-5 amongst others? Is Calvinism true about predestination?
Chosen By God
Dear Chosen By God,
We here at AYP firmly believe in election, grace, and predestination because they are all terms clearly mentioned in the Bible. The important questions to ask are:
- How are we elected?
- Who receives grace?
- What is predestined?
Many false doctrines have been created because people failed to ask these questions. Calvinism (a very popular false doctrine that has infected many churches) teaches that people are elected by God without any conditions and that it is impossible to choose to serve God; it is all up to God. It also teaches that grace can never be lost and that it is impossible to fall away even if you become an axe-murderer or live a homosexual lifestyle. Calvinism also teaches that God predestined specific people throughout history to be saved and that only those specific individuals will go to heaven – everyone else is lost by default. (For further information on Calvinism, please read “Calvin And Sobs”.) This is an example of how the words ‘election’, ‘grace’, and ‘predestination’ have been abused when we didn’t clarify their biblical meanings.
God teaches that He has elected certain people to be saved. John 6:44-45 says that God draws people to Him through the Bible. When we listen to what the Bible says, we are called by God. 2 Thess 2:14 makes it even clearer when it says that we are called through the Gospel. ‘Called’ is another word for ‘elected’.
Those who turn to Christ will receive grace. ‘Grace’ means ‘unmerited or undeserved favor’; grace is a gift you haven’t earned… in this case, it is the gift of salvation. We receive grace when we live by faith (Eph 2:8). Jesus died and paid a price none of us could ever pay – the price of our sins. When we walk according to His teachings, His blood cleanses us from sin (1 Jn 1:7). A faithful life isn’t a perfect life, but it is a life that is guided by God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
The Bible also teaches that God predestined something to be saved. ‘Predestined’ means ‘to set the limits’. Before God made anything, He set the limits of who would be saved and who wouldn’t (Eph 1:5). God said that those in Christ will be saved (2 Tim 1:9). Everyone who is washed in the blood of Jesus will be saved – He is the only way to God (Jhn 14:6). God predestined only a certain group of people to be saved – the church (Acts 20:28). The question we must all ask ourselves is: am I a part of God’s church?
When we are born, are we guilty of sin?
Not Born Yesterday
Dear Not Born Yesterday,
The teaching that we are born sinful is a Calvinist teaching called ‘Total Depravity’. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society. If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).
I was wondering if it is possible to ever lose your salvation? And what verses back up your answer?
Looking For A Guarantee
Dear Looking For A Guarantee,
Yes, you can lose your salvation – but not by accident. There are two extremes when it comes to discussing salvation.
One extreme is the Calvinistic view that your salvation is never in jeopardy, regardless of what you do. This view is called ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ – the belief that if you are saved, you will always persevere without ever needing to worry about your salvation. This view is simply not biblical. Consider several verses from the book of Hebrews. Heb 6:4-6 talks about ‘enlightened partakers of the Holy Spirit’ (certainly this refers to saved christians) who then ‘fall away’ and ‘crucify afresh the Son of God’. There can be no doubt that this is talking about people losing their salvation. Heb. 10:26-27 talks about knowledgeable christians rejecting the gospel and the terrifying expectation of judgment to come upon them. Paul said he feared that his preaching had been in vain to the Galatian brethren because they were turning away from the pure word of God (Gal 4:11, Gal 1:6). Yes, we most certainly must watch how we live and act so as to not miss the prize of heaven (1 Cor 9:25-27).
The other extreme is to have zero confidence in your salvation. This is the attitude of “unless I am living perfectly, I am going to be lost.” This view is also wrong. Christ died to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15), and it is His blood that pays the price for your entrance into heaven (1 Pet 1:18-19). Your salvation is not dependent upon perfect living but FAITHFUL living (Eph. 2:8): hearing God’s word (Rom 10:17) and then living by that Word (Jas 2:14-18) to the best of your ability. Perfection is not a requirement of salvation in Christ – commitment is. A committed christian, though he often may fall short of who he wants to be, can be confident in his eternal reward.
Once saved, always saved. True or false?
The idea that you can’t ever lose your salvation is a warping of Christ’s message in Jhn 10:27-29. “Once saved, always saved” is a basic doctrine of Calvinism (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on the errors of Calvinism). The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6).