75-80% of Americans profess to be Christians, but…

One day I stumbled across a “Christian Blog Discusion” while searching out some other information. The subject title of the discussion was: “Baptism Guarantees Salvation“, and I was intrigued enough to begin reading. I read through quite a large bit more material than what I am going to post-comment on here, but this is more than enough to grasp the thrust of the beliefs and ideas offered on the subject.


(I am leaving capitalization, grammar, and spelling exactly as they appeared)

 

  • “there is not just one thing that guarantees salvation.—batieste on 3/13/09”


Nothing was offered as an example of just what things do guarantee salvation by the writer, but the error is obvious enough in the sentence as it is written. The Bible states quite clearly:

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – John 14:6

“batieste” further stated the following in a corresponding post…

  • “(st.john 3:3-7) you need to be baptised in jesus name and baptised in the holy ghost—batieste”

That particular passage of the Bible states:
John 3:3-7Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (3:4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (3:5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (3:6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (3:7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

So what it actually says is “born of water”, referring to physical birth, of his mother’s womb, whose water breaks in the process of childbirth. That is being born. Born again it says, is being “of the Spirit” reborn, regenerated by God, filled (in-dwelt) with the Holy Spirit: Saved. As Jesus said “born of the flesh is flesh”, and “born of the Spirit is spirit”; not baptised of the flesh is flesh and baptised of the Spirit is spirit.

“batieste” also posted this:

  • “speaking in tongues(acts 2:1-4)(mark16:15-20)you need all of that to see heaven says jesus. you also need to repent everyday. even though you have done all of this you can back slide and miss heaven.—batieste”

Sorry. The fact that scripture states that at the day of Pentecost when 3,000 were converted (Go Peter Go!), and the Spirit gave them the ability to speak to and understand one another in each other’s own tongue (language) is in no way a “proof” of the incorrect idea that many Pentecostals adhere to which says if you do not speak in tongues, you are not saved. The instances of tongues written about at the day of Pentecost can more rightly be seen as a symbol that repenting and becoming saved brought the spiritual reunion of the nations who were scattered in their tongues at the tower of Babel. To attempt to use speaking in tongues as a proof of salvation is utter baloney, and it does nothing but promote people to intentionally babble in front of other church people to attempt to show/prove they are saved. False glossolalia is not only un-Biblical on the face of it, but is also another form of the type of false worship used by Pharisees to show themselves as holier than everyone else.

In the verses from Mark 16, Christ speaks of baptism as regards the influx of the Holy Spirit into one who believes, and when he says they shall speak with new tongues (16:17) “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues”, He is inferring that they, having been redeemed unto God, will now speak the words of the Lord to everyone they encounter so that they also may be saved.

  • “Why debate this? Just do whatever Jesus tells you to do. But, as far as the guarantee goes: Nothing is guaranteed. We have free will which means we can reject our Salvation at anytime we wish.—Natalie2 on 3/13/09”

Just doing whatever Jesus tells us to do is the perfect thing to do…so long as by that we mean what He tells us to do by His words contained in the Bible, not by some vague feeling in the pit of our stomachs as proof of His desires for us, etc. The Word tells us, and anything that is true of Christ will be supportable by the Word.

Arminianism teaches that by your free will one can reject Christ, even after having accepted Him as Savior. This of course opens the door to arguments about being re-saved and re-re-saved and so on, as if salvation is a toaster we can keep returning and buying again at the local department store, rather than the most incredible, incomprehensible event that is blessed upon us – who all deserve nothing but the fires of Hell – by the most glorious, merciful, and compassionate lover of our souls: Jesus Christ. You can surely tell that I do wholeheartedly disagree with the Arminian stance on this subject, but I most often hear it so simply and matter-of-factly put from folks who haven’t really ever dug into why it is taught to them in the first place.

  • “were talking about salvation. once you are baptised of the water and of the spirit you are written in the book of life. but you have to maintain living a holy life. 2 Peter 3:17 (New International Version)”

Once you have been saved, not once you have been baptized, no one can erase your name from the book; but you are expected (commanded) to live a holy life unto God.

  • “if heaven was where war and sin broke out then surely heaven has been tainted with it. Only paradise qualifies where by it remains absolute perfect (no improvements required). —earl on 2/10/09”
  • “Jesus stated he is preparing a place for the believers who have once lived for him on earth.If construction has occured then the domain he speaks of will some day compare with perfection but it has beginnings therefore disqualifying heaven as having achieved perfection comparable to paradise.—earl on 2/7/09”

Here is one who decided to attack the subject of Heaven and Paradise by use of really bad eisegesis  – he imputes what he wants the text to be saying, and does so by playing on the words in a context of his choosing. Eisegesis as a way of interpreting the Bible is ALWAYS bad, but this instance is about as weak as it gets. So, let’s clear this up in one short statement: Christ said He was going to “prepare” a place, not “construct” a place – NOT the same thing at all. Not enough? Okay. If I have company coming to stay with me, and I say I am going to “prepare” a room for them, I mean get a bed ready, closet space, alarm clock etc. If I said I was going to “construct” a room for them, then you could safely assume I was going to build an addition onto my house.

  • “If we believe that Jesus died for us personally we are saved, and have eternal life with him.—Mark on 1/5/09”

By this simplification, I could sit at a nudie bar stuffing dollar bills into places I shouldn’t, snorting cocaine, and shooting people with a .45, and so long as I choose to believe Jesus died for me personally…I’m golden. Not!

First we have to face up to the fact and admit that we are sinners, and as such deserve only death and nothing more (Romans 3:23, 6:23). So we must repent (turn from our sin) before God. We must truly believe and also admit that Jesus Christ is Lord, is God, and ask for His forgiveness. (Romans 10:9, 10:13) We realize and accept that Christ, out of unwarranted love for us, stepped down into humanity and walked as a physical yet sinless human being – God in the flesh, and was crucified – tortured and killed violently on a cross for us, for our sins, so that we might be redeemed – saved. And in doing all of this we submit ourselves unto the rule of Jesus Christ for now and forever as our Master, our Lord and King. Simply believing Jesus came and went for you is meaningless, as it says in James “even the demons believe” that Jesus is God. They believe AND tremble, the demons (unlike most of us) are wise enough to be fearful of Holy God.

  • “If someone gets baptised just for social or ritual purposes or just to conform to what your family expect, and without ‘authentic belief and confession’, would that baptism be valid? —alan_of_UK on 12/21/08”

In God’s eyes, it would not only be invalid, it would a grave sin. One no one in their right mind should ever consider committing. Impress your family by having scruples and integrity – even when it opposes them. And Christ even said that anyone who doesn’t put Him high above their parents, family and friends wishes cannot belong to Him.

  • “Baptism is essential for salvation. Baptism is not an option. —denna9368 on 12/11/08”

Denna started with the incorrect view stated in sentence one, and went on about that point for a while. However, her final sentence – on its own – was actually correct: Baptism is not an option for the believer. God has said in His word that once we are saved we are to be baptized as a symbol to the world that we have died to ourselves and risen as new creatures in Christ who now lives in us and through us to shine His light to others in the world (Galatians 2:20). It’s sad how often the things we “struggle” with understanding about God, are really just us looking for loopholes in His word. We all want to live like God gave us the Ten Suggestions, and a little encouraging life-chat on the mount for dessert.

  • “Actually Baptism guarantees salvation given the time and place of baptism, it allows admission into heaven, it absolves Original sin. ‘all’ sin is washed away as “a one & first time only” so if you die as an adult ‘immediately after Baptism’ you get (salvation) admitted.This Baptism of desire repentance as seen By Jesus in the Good thief is a prime example of his salvation.Ps: you should get Catholic First hand information from the correct source.Take lessons!!—MIC on 12/10/08″

Thus speaks the Catechism and the Vatican, but it is not supportable by the text of the Bible itself, and the Bible always stands first and foremost over all other things. If something is true, it will not contradict the Bible, and you do not ever need the Bible plus something else to be forgiven, to be saved, or to have close contact with God. There is one Intercessor given to us by the Father, and that is His son. You CAN be completely assured of gaining entrance to Heaven, you don’t have to live your life as if it is all a raffle that can fall apart at any second if you can’t happen to find your ticket stub at some point.

  • ” Baptism does not guarantee salvation there is no guarentee to salvation it can be thrown away at any time.but if you have the baptism of the Holy Ghost than as long as you keep the Holy Ghost he is a guarantee but if you lose him you loose your warenty. Calvinism teaches saved by baptism not the bible.—HENRY on 12/9/08″

I’m not using this one to start whacking away at Arminianism, and honestly, it does a good enough job on its own at showing just how vapid much of the folks who hold to that school of theology are. However, I am going to address the last sentence ” Calvinism teaches saved by baptism not the bible.“. Utter and complete DUNG!! Calvinism does no such thing in any way shape or form, and stating such only serves to show that the writer is totally ignorant of what Calvinism teaches, more so even than his ignorant exposition of the Arminianism he aspires to believe. He ought to get himself checked out while he’s still under “warenty”.

  • “Baptism is a very important step in salvation. It is absolutely essentialfor candidates to be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. —lorna5589 on 12/9/08”
  • “Candidates” she says. That tells you more than enough about how she forms her beliefs about baptism – solely on what someone in a church told her rather than on what the Bible actually says. Candidates! Faith as Fraternity! Sheesh!!
    “Baptism is a symbolism which Jesus did once He believed God was His heavenly Father.—Karen on 12/9/08”

This started off okay, but after the first four words it went as far south of okay as I can possibly imagine. “Once He believed God was His heavenly Father” she said. As much as people either cannot spell and have no sense of grammar, or are just too lazy to employ any (or to even use Word’s built-in checkers), I appreciate Karen taking the time to be respectful and capitalizing the name of Jesus, He, and God. However, I would like to know where she ever got the idea that Jesus spent 30+ years walking around NOT believing that God was His Father. Jesus always knew who He was, and I’d ask anyone who tried to tell me different to begin by explaining their way out of Luke 2:49“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” He was 12 years old and He was already doing His Father’s business as in God the Almighty, not father as in step-dad Joseph’s. He was teaching the priests about the scriptures, not hammering together a table for them to place their chalices on during services.

And it just went on and on, page after page of outright junk. There were a few who had their theology and major doctrines right, and fewer of those even who could reasonably articulate it, but the vast majority of the posts (an easy 95%) were of the nature and form I’ve presented here.

Is it any wonder then that 75-80% of Americans think/profess to be Christians when nearly no one even has a right grasp of what that truly means or how it comes about?

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4 thoughts on “75-80% of Americans profess to be Christians, but…

  1. Very thoughtful and well constructed. I do have a couple complaints, however. The biggest one is where you state "He is inferring that they, having been redeemed unto God…"I believe you meant to use "implying" and not "inferring." Inferring is deducing or reasoning, whereas implying is suggesting.The other thing is you repeatedly spelled that "batieste" person's name incorrectly! Remember the 'e'! :)Oh, also, in arguing against the Pentecostal/Assembly of God rubbish about speaking in tongues. . .i personally like to cite 1 Corinthians 12:(28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.(29) Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?(30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? &1 Corinthians 14:(2) For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.(3) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.(4) He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.(5) I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.(6) Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?– then, a bit later –(27) If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.(28) But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. It never ceases to amaze me how various denominations/sects of Christianity manage to ENTIRELY IGNORE verses (or worse yet, chapters) in the Bible. It's as if Paul's epistles are all great and divinely inspired, but he kinda strays from the Word now and again, so just ignore that stuff.

  2. serloren says:

    “Inference is the act or process of deriving a conclusion based solely on what one already knows.”That definition is why I chose to use the word.Spelling of the name batieste have been corrected. Thanks.

  3. There are several references to throwing away salvation, turning away, saving and re-saving, etc… I would suggest that is one can truly “thrown away” salvation, turn away or feel the need to be re-saved, then they were never saved to begin with. True faith produces fruit (see James); if there is no fruit, we have to wonder if in fact one is saved at all (of course, not judging). Any thoughts on that?

  4. serloren says:

    Once upon a time, I thought that salvation granted could be thrown away. Folks would quote John10:28 to me, and I would respond with, “The scripture doesn’t say that I can’t choose to jump out of His hand”.The other side of that coin of course was the very simple “If anyone doubts, they aren’t saved” which you tend to hear from over the top types on the opposite side of the fence.Before I go any further, let me say that over the years our great, gracious and merciful God has taken me down some amazing avenues, and has never left my side when I chose to go down ones I should have avoided; and while I once was very much on the opposite end of things, I now stand firmly on the side of the reformers and would put more stock in one hastily scribbled note by Jonathan Edwards than I would the entire writings of Rick Warren, or all the heretical blatherings of Brian MacLaren and his ilk.Let me also mention that the Book of James is one of my very favorites – I read it through several times a year, study and prayer on sections several times a year, and even wrote a Bible study on it (only the first chapter so far – but that lasted 16 weeks). I truly believe that James has a wealth of solid knowledge and teaching to offer us in walking our daily lives unto God.All that said…I do think there are many within the realm of “church” who are not truly saved – far more than would make anyone comfortable to dwell on it long. Easy beliefism, weak teachings, no doctrinal saturation, and outright pandering to the desires of the lost to get them to show up has filled the church with hordes of false Christians. In Matthew 13 Christ was quite clear as to what will happen to them in the end.However, I also believe that there are many Christians who for various reasons come to question their salvation, to doubt their status within the Kingdom; indeed, James states that we should all inspect ourselves fully to be sure of our salvation, and there is nothing in his writing that gives the impression he means we should only look at it once. Anytime we aren’t walking God’s direction along the road, we need to stop and ask ourselves why, and the correct it immediately.If we find that we were “saved” 10 years gone, and today remain virtually fruitless…we most certainly need to worry about our salvation, because we know from the Word of God that every single redeemed soul WILL BE CHANGED by it.I’ve found in my own struggles and though my own errors that we can backslide much farther than I would have believed possible; and His hand remains on us, His desire for our restoration will outlast our apostacy…if we be truly saved.While we live and breath on this earth, there is always hope for us, but our lives are but a vapor, and our time is so very short that nothing rings more hollow than “There’s always tomorrow”. There isn’t.All of these things can mash together to be confusing and frustrating for us, and the answers are seldom as easy as we’d like them to be when it regards someone else we know or love. But knowing that there are really only two options when it’s over should be scary enough that all of us are afraid to let the matter out of our heads until we are very sure of who we are. Are we in Christ, or in Hell?So, yes, I absolutely believe that once you are truly saved, you are always saved. But, with those consequences, none of us should ever be so arrogant as to think we’ve got it made when our lives are filled with actions that call our faith into question.

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