Well, I let the cat out of the bag in my last blog, so I am going to have to clarify. I regularly define water baptism as one of the most divisive doctrines in Christianity. I’ll not revisit the reasons for this statement now. In my last blog, I mentioned the scriptural mode for water baptism is SPRINKLING. No, I’m not a Catholic, but I am a Bible believer. It takes very little study to see how clearly the Bible itself describes water baptism. Those of you that would fight over your immersion have no clue that the Bible DOES NOT support water baptism by immersion. You must understand NO water baptism is required in this age of grace, so I am not saying anyone should be sprinkled or immersed, but you should at least know the truth. You have most likely been preached at and taught your whole Christian life that scriptural water baptism is immersion. There is NO PROOF for this in scripture! I spent 7 weeks teaching specifically on water baptism, and the TRADITION being taught by pretty much every denomination and non-denominational church today. The handful of phrases used as proof texts by immersionists today can quite easily support sprinkling as well (“in Jordan” “much water” “down both.”) The truth is, there are NO verses to support baptism by immersion in scripture and there are dozens of verses to support SPRINKLING. Why don’t you know this? Ask the people you listen to and trust to teach you every week. The book of Hebrews was written to explain Israel’s new covenant (8:6). Hebrews explains baptism clearly as the “divers washings” Israel had to do under the law. Israel’s “washings” are very clearly explained as baptisms. It’s even the same Greek word. Hebrews 9:18-19 and 10:22 say in clear black and white that they were SPRINKLING! The OT set the precedent very clearly starting in Ex 12:22-24 that sprinkling would be an important part of Israel’s ordinances. Lev 14:1-7, + 49-53, Num 19:4-21, Ps 51:1-7, and other places are clearer than day. The OT formula for baptism was using a branch of Hyssop to SPRINKLE. In MANY sections of scripture, sprinkling is the common denominator. In Matthew 15 when Jesus corrected the Pharisees on the subject, the Disciples in verse 12 were quite alarmed that Jesus had offended them. Today when I show the clear teaching of scripture ALONE, many will also be offended at me. Why? Christianity will fight for its tradition and ignore the clear teaching of the Bible on the subject of Immersion. When John the Baptist shows up baptizing, he is following the OT example of Baptism which IS dipping Hyssop in the river and SPRINKLING hundreds of people at a time. How else can one man baptize the entire city of Jerusalem, Judaea, and the surrounding area? (Matt 3:5) I understand the immersionists will say that John’s disciples helped him. I have talked to enough Christians in the last few years to VERY CLEARLY understand that it does not matter that the Bible DOES NOT teach water baptism by immersion because most are unwilling to believe for even a minute that they could be wrong. If you have an interest in learning about this subject, get your concordance out and start studying “Hyssop” “sprinkling” “water of separation” and some of the other words I used in this blog. Don’t bother looking for “immersion” because it’s not in the Bible. I leave you with this to think about: John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ and Baptized with water. Jesus then shows up as the one to offer the New Covenant to Israel as prophesied in Jer 31:31, and water baptism was part of his ministry and REQUIRED by him!! Ezekiel 36 very clearly identifies the baptism that would be part of this offer.
Eze 36:24-27 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Baptism by immersion has no Biblical support. Sprinkling is clearly taught in scripture over and over. Why then do you still sit and listen to people telling you that you must be immersed either to be saved or to join a church? We teach how to believe your Bible literally every Sunday. Tradition has sunk its claws into almost all teaching and preaching today. Why don’t you come learn what the Bible teaches for itself?
I recently watched an interview Bill Maher did where he supposedly talks with an “intelligent” Christian. If you don’t know, Bill Maher is a talk show host for an HBO program where he regularly and quite easily ridicules and mocks Christians. In this interview the Christian author he interviews supposedly does a good job sidestepping Maher’s jabs. This was accomplished by pretty much agreeing with Maher’s Atheist points and then attempting to massage the Bible into just a bunch of moral ideas that are relative and subjective. I wanted to throw up. Most Christians today would sit around talking about how horrible a person Maher is. There is a MUCH bigger picture that Christianity today is oblivious to. Christianity as it stands today in fundamental churches CREATED people like Maher! The Christian author and supposed expert enables Maher to be an atheist! Pastors EVERY SUNDAY read verses in their Bibles and then teach a Denominational position based on the tradition they were taught in seminary instead of leaving God’s words alone to stand ON THEIR OWN. God can handle writing his word. Stop changing it! Christianity today ENABLES people to become atheists because it is far more concerned with fighting for its pet tradition than believing the words AS WRITTEN. I ask you one very simple question to make my point. If God promised Israel an earthly kingdom throughout the ENTIRE Old Testament, how in the world can you let your preacher continue to tell you that Jesus is offering you a Gentile heavenly streets of gold in Matthew – John? Either the Holy Spirit is a liar or your preacher needs to start believing his Bible as God wrote it. If you have an ounce of curiosity, then just read Luke 1:67-77 and try to find yourself in what Christ came for. Yes God had a plan to save Gentiles but it’s most definitely NOT the plan your Sunday school teacher teaches every week. Bill Maher can easily mock and ridicule Christians because Christians DO NOT take the bible literally! I understand you probably think you do but, maybe you should start reading all the verses that get skipped and spiritualized every Sunday from the pulpit. Bill said something very logical and TRUE as he easily made this Christian look FOOLISH. He said “if it’s not all true then it all falls apart” This is a FACT! Maher the atheist is more logical than most professing Christians because he understands this fact. Why then do Christians choose to believe the allegorical interpretation of scripture as taught in seminaries today rather than to believe the actual verses in scripture? Satan has infiltrated the doctrine of Christianity as a whole and we all fell for it. Maher can easily poke holes in “Christian” doctrine week after week and Christians point the finger at him. Christianity is at fault! Christianity enables atheists to stay atheists by the false covenant position taught weekly in fundamental churches today. Why do you claim Jesus was speaking to you in the Gospels when he said he wasn’t? Why do you bicker and fight over water baptism when Paul said he was not sent to baptize. Why do you fight over water baptism being immersion when the bible clearly teacher is was SPRINKLING in scripture (Eze 36:24-28) Why do you try to hide the biblical FACT that almost everything Jesus taught about salvation contradicts what Paul taught about it? If you think this last statement is heresy it proves you have NEVER read all the things Jesus said about his gospel. WHY DO YOUR KIDS LEAVE FOR COLLEGE AND RETURN PRACTICALLY ATHEISTS THEMSELVES OR LEAVE THE CHURCH AFTER GETTING AN EDUCATION? I could go on with the questions but my point is clear. You have taught your kids tradition that they can’t successfully defend themselves. Why? I leave you with another Bill Maher quote: he said “the Bible is not intellectual” Why is this true in Maher’s eyes? Please just have the guts to ask yourself this question. Because he is using his head and he sees you spiritualizing all the verses to make them say what YOU want them to say! This enables him to stay an atheist and for good reason. Because you’re making up your religion! Bill can visit 100 churches within 20 miles from where he lives and hear 100 preachers promising their congregation things that the Bible NEVER does. God has TWO programs in scripture very clearly defined but never separated in Christianity today. One is earthly and revolves around ISRAEL. One is heavenly and revolves around the body of Christ. These are separate and distinct in scripture, just not in what you hear week after week. Why then must you continue to take what you want from Israel and claim it for yourself? This mistake is the reason Bill Maher can mock, ridicule, and laugh at YOU week after week on his show. You don’t believe your bible, you believe your denomination. Study your bible intellectually the way God wrote it by reading the words to whom they were written and you will stop supplying Maher with ammo to fire at Christianity. Keep teaching your own doctrine into the bible and atheism grows by the thousands day by day. Your choice. The decline in Christianity and the explosion of humanism proves who is winning this fight. Most will continue to point fingers at Maher when the problem faces you in the mirror each morning. The Bible is the most intellectual book ever written. Why must you continue to give a “spiritual” meaning to clear words that the Holy Spirit simply asks you to read and believe?
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul