Changing God’s Message
There was an amusing little story about a Vermont restaurant near an Interstate highway that had a large sign saying “STEAK.” But when the restaurant was sold, and became a Chinese restaurant, it no longer served steaks. The new owner, however, didn’t change the sign until people began to pressure him to stop advertising what he didn’t sell. Finally he solved the problem by removing the letters “S” and “K” so the sign read “TEA.”
God’s original message in the Bible can also be changed by removing parts of the message. For example, God tells us to believe in Christ, (Mk. 16: 16; Jn. 3:16), repent of our sins (Lk. 13: 3; Acts 2: 38), confess our faith in Jesus (Rom. 10: 9-10; Acts 8: 37), and be baptized in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 2: 38). But many have removed baptism from the message. True, many still practice something called baptism, but in many churches real (scriptural) baptism has been replaced with mere sprinkling, and baptism of believers has been replaced with infant baptism, and baptism for the remission of sins has been replaced with being baptized because one already has remission of sins, and to qualify for membership in a denomination.
However, in the Bible, baptism was immersion, and it was for people who believe, and it was never administered to join a denomination. Thus, Acts 2: 38, Acts 22: 16, Gal. 3: 27, 1 Pet. 3: 21, and other places in the Bible teach that baptism is a part of what God requires of people who want to be saved and become Christians.
Like the restaurant sign that was changed from “STEAK” to “TEA” by removing some of the original letters, preachers who have tried to remove baptism from God’s plan of salvation have changed the original message. For example, 1 Pet. 3: 21 says “even baptism doth also now save us.” Thus, preachers change the “w” to a “t” making the apostle Peter say “even baptism doth also not save us!” Better think on these things.
Dennis C. Abernathy
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