The Baptism Debate Essay

3000 Words Aug 24th, 2013 12 Pages
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THE BAPTISM DEBATE

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO

PROFESSOR MARSHALL WICKS, PHD

IN COMPLETION OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR

THEO 350-B02

BY

RANDY WILSON

LYNCHBURG, VA

MAY 28, 2011

Introduction The debate over baptism has become one that encompasses so many areas. Where most theological discussions are concerned with a primary topic, baptism debates consist of many. Debates on the purpose of baptism, the benefits of baptism, who baptism was designed for, and what is the biblical mode of baptism are just some. These areas will be discussed here in this paper. It will be discussed (1) the purpose and benefits, if any, of baptism, (2) was baptism designed for infants or just those who have believed
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Today, we regularly think of baptism as the ritual occasion when an infant is given a name. In the ancient church, however, “christening” had a different meaning. It was not primarily about naming someone; it was about inducting them into the resurrected life of Christ. Baptism, in other words, was the cause and ritual celebration of the candidate’s removal from the realm of sin and idolatry.
It shows specifically that baptism is the “cause” for the removal of sin. It seems that man wants to be his savior instead of God. The act of baptism for salvation brings a ritual to be one in the same with faith; meaning that in order for salvation to be considered valid one must have faith and be baptized. The church needs to isolate faith from baptism in the area of salvation. Baptism needs to be a sign, but Hunn comments; “As Fung does, many other commentators refer to baptism as a ‘sign’, for example, of union with Christ or of the beginning of new life. Walter Hansen cautions here that ‘[o]nly when there is genuine faith in Christ is baptism a sign of union with Christ’.” At the crucial point of not becoming idolaters, people need to focus that nothing a person can do outside of faith in Christ that saves, not baptism, communion, or any other sacrament. As the debate over baptism grows, the purpose of baptism will start to settle other debatable issues as will be seen such as candidates and modes.

Candidates for

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