Who Told You Baptism is a Work?

Good Friends, Great Debate

Baptism is a Work!
Baptism is an act of faith, not a work.

Recently, a good friend of mine studied the issue of water baptism with a religious buddy of his. These two were like “peas in a pod” growing up and they maintained their close friendship through the years. His friend does not believe baptism is necessary for salvation.

My friend, wanting to show his buddy the Biblical Plan of Salvation, provided all of the scriptural information he could possibly provide with patience and respect. His friend was equally patient and understanding, genuinely interested in what was being taught. He diligently studied everything out but genuinely could not see my friend’s position.

“Buddy,” he said, “I can’t agree with you because… baptism is a work.”

The argument always comes down to those four words, and those four words constitute the firm foundation on which the entire argument rests!

“Baptism is a work.”

But guess what, there is a huge flaw in the reasoning. Let’s work through this together using logic and the scriptures.

Building Our Case

For the sake of our argument, let’s agree; baptism IS a work. This is our position. From this position we naturally and logically conclude, since baptism is a work, it cannot be necessary for salvation.

Sooner or later, someone will step forward to challenge our position. We need to mount a defense How should we begin?

Continue reading “Who Told You Baptism is a Work?”

A Credit of Righteousness

Abram Father of the Faithful

Credit, not a Gift!
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A curious phrase, appears ten times in the Bible, nine of which concern Abram. We discover it first in Genesis. It’s a small, subtle, one line blessing for the man of faith, which will go on to rock the centuries of the religious world! Genesis 15:6: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

This important statement identifies a core ingredient of all religious faith, “belief.”

We look to Abram as our spiritual model, progenitor of the tithe, father to three world religions and a friend of the Almighty.

Armed with Abram’s “belief,” we climb mountains. The goal? A righteousness like that of the Patriarch!

We admire Abram’s faith as we surmise, Abram believed God and received righteousness. It is for this type of faith, we all strive!

As always, at A Faith that Obeys, we are compelled to define our terms before we begin our journey of discovery, striving for deeper understanding on that smooth, winding, country road of life and doctrine.

Buckle up. We’re gonna go for a little ride!

Continue reading “A Credit of Righteousness”

Workin’ on Works

That’s a Funny Sounding Word

Nailing Down a Definition
Nailing Down a Definition – Dana Haynes

Works, that’s a funny sounding word when you just say it out loud.

Works!

This little word can have a variety of meanings.

A computer “works,” meaning it operates.

A municipality has public “works,” the infrastructure, built to support the smooth operation of a community.

A person “works,” meaning they put forth labor to produce something.

A religious person might perform good “works” or good “deeds,” meaning they are performing a religious activity or action for the purpose of pleasing God.

The Go-To Word!

When we have that debate about God’s requirement that a person must be baptized to be saved, it is often to this word, “works,” the argument turns. The anti-baptists say, “Man cannot be saved by works.”

I can’t argue with that statement.

They are correct because the Bible teaches, “Man cannot be saved by works.”

Surprisingly, both the anti-baptism folks and the folks who believe that baptism is indeed necessary for salvation agree on this point. We cannot be saved by works… so, what’s the problem?

The problem is we have not defined the meaning of the word, “works.”

What is a “work?”

Well, it depends on the “word use.” You know how the word is being used. This depends heavily on the context of where and how the word is being used.

If we are using the word “work” to refer to a “good deed” someone does in order to gain favor with God, that’s a different “word use” than if we say, “We are working FOR God” as God commands us to do.

Is Prayer a Work?

For example, when Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We don’t consider his instructions to mean we are to perform some kind of good deeds kind of work. We see his instructions and we are obligated to obey, to the best of our ability. In this case we might say to a friend, “I have really been working in prayer for you.”
Continue reading “Workin’ on Works”

John 1:12 – A Most Misused Scripture

A Most Misused Scripture

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:12
John 1:12 – Dana Haynes

This passage of scripture is used by the evangelical church to demonstrate that a person becomes a Christian when they accept Christ for the first time. A popular metaphorical formula was developed, probably in the 60’s to help people remember this plan of salvation. It reads like this: “Believe + Receive = Become.” In other words, if you believe in Christ and you receive Christ, you become a Christian. The problem is, this formula is wrong.

Grammar 101 – Verbs

The verb is not “become,” it is “gave.” When you believe and receive, God gives you something. He gives you the “right” to become. We don’t “become” anything upon our decision to receive the message with an open heart. While it may be true that God gives us a new gift, the “right to become his child,” this is not yet salvation!

The problem with this form of teaching lies in the conclusion it offers. The conclusion the Evangelical world presents is that a person is saved when they receive Christ. This is wrong; dangerously wrong.

The Wrong Path

When a person is taught they become a Christian when they first believe and receive, it sets them on a false path to Heaven. Just think about it. If I follow this unbiblical practice and believe I am saved at the time of my acceptance there is no point in a variety of other commands Jesus gave his disciples which always precede the forgiveness of sins. Because I believe I am already a Christian, what is the point of confession, repentance and baptism, all of which precede the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, when we look at those issues in the Bible.

Following this incomplete pattern does not lead to salvation. Yet this pattern is presented, practice and promoted, with vigor, by most Evangelicals today. It bears a striking resemblance to a pattern Jesus identified in his own ministry. Take a look.
Continue reading “John 1:12 – A Most Misused Scripture”

A Dead Religion

A Listening Ear

I recently converted the entire lesson series at A Faith that Obeys to audio. This is the first lesson from that series. Eventually, all eleven lessons will make it into the Podcast feed so be watching for them.

In case you are not aware that there is an entire video series available, it all begins at afaiththatobeys.org.

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 005 – A Dead Religion
Audio from the video series – Lesson 1

An Awesome Gift

A Listening Ear
A Listening Ear – Dana Haynes

Today’s lesson is something which has been on my heart for years. I have shared the Biblical Plan of Salvation with many religious leaders, pastors and elders over the years. They are pretty quick to reject it. The one common factor in each case was their lack of willingness to listen to me… to hear me out.

Several years ago, I was amazed when I discovered that the Bible actually talks about this condition quite a bit so I thought I might share that lesson with you today.

Have you ever considered the critical emphasis, the Bible places on our ability or our willingness to “listen?”

From the opening accounts of Genesis where Adam and Eve listened to… but chose not to obey God’s commands, to the very end of the ages where the angel of Revelation tells us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches;” there is an extraordinary and unmistakeable emphasis placed on our need to constantly listen for God’s direction and commands.

Regarding God’s directions, sometimes the message comes from the most unexpected place. This is why we must always be on our toes… carefully listening. Once, God’s direction came from from a burning bush. Once it came by way of a gentle whisper. Once, it happened all over Pharaoh in the form ten plagues. Godly advice even came from Jethro, Moses father-in-law, who was a pagan priest of Median, not a Jew.

Sometimes Godly direction or prompting comes through that patient small voice of a neighbor, close relative or even a child. God’s message might come to us in a variety of ways but the only reliable verification of what we hear are the scriptures themselves. Not every prompting which seems to come from God is from God. And, we must always carefully test the message.

The only way we can ever be sure is by carefully evaluating what we hear by exposing it to the light of scripture. While God providing direction might come from a variety of sources… God’s commands… which must be obeyed… will ONLY come from the Bible.

We must carefully listen for both God’s direction and commands. Let me present a few passages of scripture and consider just how critical listening is, EVEN for salvation.
Continue reading “An Awesome Gift”

Misquoting Scripture

A Serious Thing

A Pillow Fight
The garden where we have our chats.

Everyone agrees; it is a serious thing to misquote scripture. Jer 14:14 and Deu 18:20 tells us about that! However, scripture is often misused and misquoted. There are a handful of favorites. How about, “Money is the root of all evil?” That’s a misquote. The Bible actually says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money itself is not the problem, the problem is greed. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Misusing or misquoting the Bible is commonplace. It can be excused when coming from an atheist and frankly, an atheist using the bible as his source of authority when arguing about a religious matters ought to be excused. Misquoting the bible can be understood when when it comes from a believer who is not really familiar with the scriptures. But misquoting the bible should never be tolerated when it comes from some of our greatest and most trusted biblical scholars!

A Stunning Revelation

Recently, in the course of my regular, daily Bible study, I was absolutely stunned when I realized how pervasive, entrenched and completely accepted one particular misquote has become. Entire denominations have been built around this misquote. Yet, when I stopped to really think about it, I was left flabbergasted. How could a biblical error so obvious be so missed and even accepted by some of our best biblical scholars?
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Website Update 5.11.18

Lot’s of cool things are happening at AFTO!

A Pillow Fight
Under construction – Courtesy of pixabay.com

The web site is coming together nicely. I have forums up and running and organized the way I hope helps folks find things easily. I just got a new Google Voice Number which is 304-607-2386 or 304-607-AFTO and I have added that to the contacts page… which is also new. Just by clicking the phone number above, you can now leave a voice mail comment or suggestion.

On the Contacts Page, you will find links to just about every imaginable avenue with which you may contact AFTO. You can email us, snail mail us, drop us a voice mail, get involved in The Forums and more. I am even looking for like-minded contributors. You’ll find all that info on the Contact Page.

I have reworked the Podcast Page and it is looking pretty spiffy. On that page, you can find links to subscribe to the Podcast through iTunes, Android, Google Play, Stitcher, Email or a plain ol’ RSS feed, so you can subscribe from any of your favorite Podcatcher Apps. Podcasting is such an under-estimated technology. The fact that AFTO is on the same playing field as CNN,  The New York Times, Grace to You and a multitude of other media and religious organizations just boggles my mind! Podcasting and Blogging both give the average Joe a soapbox to the world. Amazing!

I have two new Podcasts I am working on. The first one is “How to Argue” and the second one is “Defining Grammar.” Those are working titles and will probably change. I am not currently working on any new video’s just yet, but you will notice that I mention… in the last video about baptism, called, “Faith Alone – The Grammar,” that we are about to discuss the most prominent scriptures used by the Evangelical Community in their position. That’s the next video. (I just got a haircut so I need to let it grow back in just a bit so matches the other videos before I go back into the studio.) Speaking of editorial issues…

I have been alerted to a error in a couple of the AFTO videos. I called the word “and” a preposition. How did I do that? I know it’s a conjunction! I even correctly call it a “coordinating conjunction” right after one of the incidences. This means, I need to go back to the original videos, re-record that brief section, then edit, crunch and upload the fixed copy back to the server. Why do we always spot typos and mis-speaks after the thing has gone to press? I guess that’s why God gave us second editions.

By the way, does it ever bother you that the Bible you read every day just might be a second edition printing? Just asking.

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes

 

Let’s Start an Argument

Let’s start an argument!

A Pillow Fight
Pillow Fight by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am not suggesting the kind of heart ripping, character trashing, irrational, sort of emotional argument like cranky lover’s have. Let’s start an argument like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle or Jesus might have had. Let’s start one of those amazing arguments which ultimately leads us both down a path toward deeper, richer discoveries of truth, beauty and wisdom… a grand argument of enlightenment!

Remember how Jesus did it? An issue was raised and all he needed to do was ask one question to get the rolling ball halted in its tracks. 

“But what about you… who do YOU say I am?” 

“Whose inscription is on this coin?” 

“Tell me, John’s baptism… was it from God or from men?” 

A Cleverly Crafted Question

Wow! A good presupposition can sure crumble under the scrutiny of a clever question! In fact, really good arguments may be more about crafting the question than presenting your position! A carefully crafted, sharpened to a fine point question… at just the right time… makes us think… makes us reconsider… and if we’re humble enough, makes us surrender our weaker positions.

Let’s have the kind of argument which so strongly embraces our shared quest of drawing closer to our mysterious and majestic God, that it forms a bond between us… so strong; nothing will ever tear us apart! Let’s forge such an indomitable relationship that the rusty ol’ gates of that ancient abyss will rattle with fear! 
Continue reading “Let’s Start an Argument”

Delicate Beginnings

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

With this statement, Frank Herbert launches his fantastic, now quintessential epic science fiction series, “Dune.”

For me, no other tale paints such an on-target caricature of modern society, with all of it’s delicate and intricate interplays between, religion, politics, economics and the sinful heart of mankind. Herbert’s universe is boiling over with intrigue, plans within plans, amazing beauty, wild imagination, heroes and villains… lot’s of villains… lords, leviathans, and love.

But, at the heart of it all… at its core… lies humanity’s ultimate contest; the battle with a fallen human nature, scraping and cunning to get all it can get and all for itself. Even the noblest of heroes in Herbert’s story, are not immune to the affects of this corruption.

As I write this, I am not unaware that I live in a world similar, in many ways, to the Dune universe. We all share the impact of that ultimate human tragedy; man’s inhumanity to man, the result of our sin stricken hearts.

“A Faith that Obeys” steps into this fray with a tiny hope that together, we might bring some logic, reason, understanding and wisdom to a world missing the greatest gift ever given it, The Plan… a detailed map out of the mess. We have held The Plan in our hands for nearly 2000 years but sadly, it is ignored, twisted, misconstrued and flouted as a path to self serving riches.

Never has such gross negligence been laid upon the back of such a priceless yet humble gift.

Beginnings are a very delicate time. They lay the foundation for all which will come after. They build upon cherished history and the wisdom of those giants who have come before us. My prayer is that for all I am about to do… all I am about to undertake, the foundation I build will be strong enough to endure, supple enough to permit remodeling and beautiful enough to attract a wonderful person like you to join us in these lively discussions.

Together, we will bend space and time. We will build bridges and repair ancient foundations. We will agree. We will disagree. We will find truth. We will humbly challenge error… including our own!

In our quest to discover and celebrate The Plan, let’s agree to be unified that Jesus is the Christ, The Messiah and our diligent seeking will always be done in such a way as to honor Him and respect one another.

Shall we begin?

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 001 – Delicate Beginnings