I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
A little bit of wisdom goes a long way.
What defines their differences?
Cults: Usually a one man/woman based system of beliefs that have a smidgeon of scripture to make them appear to be of Christian origin. Often they are rife with angelic appearances, visions and a special hotline to God. Very regimented doctrines and specific requirements that must be adhered to … always or be shown the door. Requirements can include attendance, tithing, in some cases appearance and strict obedience to the words of the leadership, whether written or spoken. Trait: ultra-legalistic.
Grace Plus Works Crowd: A great deal more scripture than the cults with a well laid out agenda for preaching, teaching and keeping the crowd involved. Similar to the cults, they lean heavily upon the teachings of one or two men as if they were the only real spokesmen for God. They have their requirements also; not as severe as the cultic but fail to follow one of their creeds and it is out on the street for you. Trait: very legalistic
Charismatics: Scripture is up to one’s personal interpretation, the rules are not as constraining and it is come to have a good time in the Lord. They also have founders of their worship choices, usually based upon miracles, super spiritual gifts and very persuasive writings; extra-biblical of course. They are the most fun to be around if you want to pick one of three. Why? Their trait is being non-legalistic on the other end of the pendulum.
What do all three mostly have in common? They require water baptism or you are not counted among the saved. Ergo: every time the word baptism is used in the Bible, it has to mean ‘water’. Also, they purposefully avoid the biblical references that might cause some confusion upon their go-to doctrine in Mark. Water baptism or the lack thereof has come to mean something slightly different to each of these groups but is of major importance to all three.
Mark 16:16 - Seems to Have Added an Additional Clause to Jesus' Words??
Mark 16:16 - The victim of bad grammar and poor exegesis, giving many a false hope.
- In the Word, for each positive requirement for salvation there is in scripture a negative statement declaring that one’s salvation is at risk. The requirement of belief found in Acts 16:31 and the opposite, unbelief in John 3:18. Also the requirement of repentance in Acts 17:30 versus the lack of repentance as in Luke 13:3. Nowhere within the scriptures can one find the contra to the word baptism in the Mark passage. One must be careful not to add to that which is written in either the Greek, Hebrew or in this case, English. Adding to His Word per Proverbs 30:6 makes you a liar and in Revelation 22:18-19; it just may cost your soul.
- Secondly; the word baptism in Mark 16:16 is what is called a transitive verb, enjoined to the command of believing. It is not in the imperative which would make it a command nor is it in the subjunctive mood of a conditional clause; which would cause it to read, ‘IF one believes and is baptized he shall be saved.” The words baptize, baptism or baptizing are never found in the imperative; not even in the Matthew 28:19 passage where the word ‘teaching’ is an imperative but ‘baptizing’ is not.
- When one assumes the word baptism means water only, they have omitted one of the most powerful doctrines found in the Word that brings life to the spiritually dead. It is also one of the most abused set of scriptures claimed by the charismatics; the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- Why is it that John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter in scriptures delineated between the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus?
The testimony of John - Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8 John defining what the baptism of Jesus entailed; Luke 3:16; John 1:25-27 stating that Jesus was preferred over John’s water baptism; Matthew 3:14 John stating his need of Jesus baptism.
The testimony of Jesus - Acts 1:5
The testimony of Peter - Acts 11:16 remembering exactly the testimony of Jesus and its definition.
- Titus 3:5 - the washing of regeneration comes not by water but by the Holy Ghost.
- As James 2:19 states: ‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble’. Matthew 20:16; 22:14 … many are called, but few are chosen. Today’s churches are filled to the brim with the ‘called’, claiming they believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be. We would call them believers, but … unless the one who is called is also among the chosen, they are not saved. Those who are chosen are those who have received the Holy Spirit, the baptism of Jesus. No man can choose God unto salvation for we must first be drawn by the Father (chosen) to Jesus (John 6:44,65). The baptism of Jesus seals us as an inheritance of our Lord and Savior. Ephesians 1:13-14
Summary: Called and water baptism = lost. Called, chosen and the baptism of Jesus = eternally saved.
Then, what good is water?
Water baptism is one’s first righteous act as a true believer to the testimony of becoming a new creation in Christ. As Jesus’ instruction to John’s concern knowing that Christ did not need water baptism, Jesus countered that He was there to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus’ first act of righteousness in the Word was initially for John’s benefit. God gave John the sign of the dove, thereby letting him know that his ministry was coming to an end - he must decrease and the Lord must increase. Secondly, it was for our benefit being the model of testimony as our first righteous act before the world and the Church.
Why the Need for Deception?
The Deceivers Far Outnumber the Purveyors of the Truth.
Here are just five easy to comprehend reasons:
- The leaders, who demand water are quite possibly depending upon water as their personal security for heaven.
- It feeds off both the need for something simple to assuage the fear of pending judgment and it keeps people coming back to reaffirm their salvation due the nagging doubt that hangs over the congregation’s heads.
- The followers do not need to be proficient in the Word and leave that up to the preachers and teachers of this doctrine. Their followers will parrot the founding fathers and their current ministers of doctrine as the Word is very difficult for them to grasp.
- By giving the people a step-by-step manual along with charts and graphs all according to their dictates, no critical thinking is required nor desired.
- Follow the money; it is difficult keeping small crowds in tow, let alone large numbers.
It is the disease of the new gospel on both ends of the pendulum. There is a definite lack of context for most doctrines; just enough to keep the adherents placated. By making it a requirement to be a member and water baptized by them only; they exclude over 99% of the world’s population as being heaven bound according to their doctrines. The deaf, dumb, blind, deathbed bound, battlefield cries for mercy and all non-members are without the hope of heaven, for then they would have to have exceptions to the rule. One exception to any rule, negates the rule.
One last note: the Mark passage using KJV ends with the word 'damned' while nearly all other versions end with 'judged'. Of which are you more afraid; being judged or being damned?
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 02, 2020:
Marvelous. This brings to mind, to me, of "Ordinary" and "extraordinary". I so often think of "thou shall not kill". Unless....
So difficult this area. And well, to not let our hearts be too troubled.
John Gardiner on August 01, 2020:
Not unlike the Pharisees of old, it comes down to control. Regardless of the doctrine, what "leadership" says, goes.
We spent twenty years being part of a congregation which eroded to something resembling the old Discipleship Movement (you may know of this, but if you don't, look it up). The last few years we were there, the pastor made more demands which put himself in the position of all and final say. My wife and I were reprimanded for doing something...a good thing for another person...without talking with him, first. Yeah...we did not last long after that.
I, too, am one to challenge old orthodoxies which wind up contrary to the teachings, example and Person of Jesus. It is high time these things are brought to light and encourage people to get back to Jesus.
Well done, sir.