The Golden Isles church of Christ

Weekly Bulletin

Volume 3, Number 12

March 23, 2003


by Dick Ward

Friend, baptismal controversy has vexed the religious world for centuries and people today are still divided on this subject. If nothing else, this division reinforces the plea to return to the Bible to find God's answer on the subject of baptism.


Often, an appeal is made to the modern English dictionaries for the definition of baptism. The affusionist appeals to the modern dictionary because he likes the following: "To dip or immerse in water, to POUR or SPRINKLE water upon. . . ." (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 69). So, the affusionist wants to take the idea of pouring and sprinkling from the dictionary but will refuse to take other definitions from the same dictionary! For example, Baptism is defined as, "a sacrament by whose reception one becomes a Christian. . . 2. purifies. . ." Will the preacher who argues for sprinkling and pouring from Webster also take the part that states, "by whose reception one becomes a Christian. . . to cleanse, purify. . ."? Most denominational preachers deny baptism "cleanses, purifies" and they also deny the act of baptism makes one a Christian. let us look carefully at the Bible to learn about scriptural baptism.


Look at the clear picture painted for us in the following scriptures speaking of baptism. Can we think sprinkling and pouring are "modes of baptism" after reading the following?

"went up straightway out of the water" Matthew 3:16

"because there was much water there" John 3:23

"and they went down both into the water" Acts 8:38

"buried with Him by baptism" Romans 6:4

"buried with Him in baptism" Colossians 2:12

No question now can be in the mind of the Bible-believer. We see baptism described as a "burial" not a sprinkling or a pouring! Also, the leading Greek scholars in the colleges and universities are quick to point out there is not a standard Greek-English lexicon that gives sprinkle or pour as meanings for baptizo. Two arguments can clearly show BAPTISM is not sprinkling or pouring: (1) The formal definition of the original Greek word and (2) the Bible word picture describing the act of baptism as a "burial". --Dick Ward

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This church will GROW as God would have her grow IF:

- We work at sowing the seed of the kingdom...

- We ask others for the opportunity to study with them...

- We live as Christians should live so others can see Christ in us,

- GOD will give the increase!

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The Conversion of the Ethiopian

by Mike Johnson

The conversion case of the eunuch from Ethiopia is one of the more familiar conversion cases in the Bible. We know that the facts are accurate because they come from the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).

The conversion is recorded in Acts 8. The account takes a natural division. First, verses 26-29 tell us about the bringing together of the preacher and the sinner. Next, verses 30-35 reveal Philip preaching Jesus to the Ethiopian, and then verses 36-39 tell of the response of the eunuch. Consider the following lessons.

1. The importance of the individual is seen. Philip, according to Acts 8:5-25, had been preaching in the area of Samaria. This was a populated area and was a place where Philip had much success. Yet, an angel of God spoke to Philip and told him to go to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. There he met the eunuch and preached to him. Thus, Philip was sent from a populated area to preach to one person. This shows us that God views each individual as important. He wants salvation for everyone (II Pet. 3:9).

2. A religious man needed to be saved. The eunuch was a religious man. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God (v. 27).

Nevertheless, he still needed to hear the truth and obey Christ so that he might be saved. Such was also the case with Cornelius who was a God-fearing man (Acts 10:2,22) but was an unsaved man (Acts 11:14). It takes more than being a religious person to be saved.

3. Preaching Jesus meant preaching baptism. Verse 35 says that Philip "...preached unto him Jesus." After hearing "Jesus preached" they came to a certain water, and the eunuch said, "See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" This helps us to see that preaching Jesus involves preaching baptism. The Bible tells us that baptism is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38). Many claim to "preach Jesus," and yet they hardly ever mention the subject of baptism.

4. The proper mode of baptism is seen. The Bible teaches that baptism is a "burial" (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12). The word translated baptism means "immersion." The case of the eunuch (Acts 8) is in perfect accord with the rest of the Bible's teaching that baptism is a burial or immersion. They came "unto a certain water" (v. 36), they "went down both into the water" (v. 38), and they "came up out of the water" (v. 39). The language is quite clear if immersion is being described. However, it is difficult to understand if sprinkling or pouring water is under consideration. Sprinkling or pouring water on a person's head is not baptism at all. The Bible teaches that baptism is immersion or burial.

5. He confessed Christ. The eunuch was not required to confess and memorize various articles of faith or to pledge allegiance to a denomination before he was baptized. No, he simply confessed Christ (note Rom. 10:10). Many are guilty of adding conditions before baptism that the Lord does not require.

6. He was baptized immediately. The eunuch did not have to wait for the church to vote on him before he could be baptized. He did not have to wait for others to decide to be baptized so that they could have a big baptizing day. He did not have to tell his experience. He simply responded to God's Word and became a Christian. He was baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:27). Have you ever read in the Bible where one had to be "voted on" before he could be baptized?

The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch serves as a pattern for us today. Each individual is important to God and worthy of our teaching. Our teaching must center on Christ and baptism cannot be ignored in salvation. Most important, we must follow God's will explicitly and not take it upon ourselves to change His will for our convenience. - Mike Johnson

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