Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas Movies; Boatwright

Phil Boatwright, author of Movies: the Good, the Bad, and the Really, Really Bad, reviews movies from a Christian point of view. 

Following are his recommendations for Christmas movies: 

For Children (and adults): 
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Little Drummer Boy (1968)
The Miracle Maker (2000)
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)

For Adults (and maybe children)
The Godfathers (1948)
The Gathering (1977)
The Fourth Wiseman (1985) 
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
The Nativity Story (2006)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
White Christmas (1954)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Scrooge (1970)
Elf (2003) 
A Christmas Carol (1951)
Picture a Perfect Christmas (2019)

Read the full article and brief reviews of these movies at: 
Christmas Movies for Everyone

No, I have not seen all these movies, and I’m sure I would disagree with this or that in each one.  After all, they are Phil Boatwright’s recommendations.  But I thought some of you might be interested in his list. 

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Honor Jesus with your church attendance, giving to missions (you can start with the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the International Mission Board, and Samaritan’s Purse), your lifestyle, and your witness. 

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.  -Luke 1:46-47  NKJV

-David R. Brumbelow,, December 18, AD 2019. 


More Articles (Labels) in lower right margin. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Does Baptism Save? No

The Brazoria County News, West Columbia, TX, did an excellent job covering the news of mainly West Columbia, Brazoria, Sweeny, Damon (West of the Brazos River).  It was a weekly paper.  Unfortunately, like too many newspapers, it recently closed down. 

For years, I suppose, two area churches placed articles in the paper promoting the view that you must be baptized in order to be saved.  I never saw any articles to the contrary, so I decided to place a couple.  I believe our side should be told and made easily available.  The first article, listed below, was placed in the Brazoria County News on July 4; August 1; August 8, 2019.  My purpose was to briefly deal with the issue, but not get personal or lob insults. 


Does Baptism Save?  No

Here one view of baptism has often been presented.  The following is a little of why so many Christians have a different view. 

Does baptism save?  No, Jesus alone saves.  Some point out several Bible verses that at first glance seem to imply you must be baptized for salvation.  They ignore, however, the many Bible verses that clearly teach faith alone in Christ alone brings forgiveness and salvation.  This article is not long enough to quote them, but you can look them up:
Mark 1:15; Luke 7:50; Luke 13:5; Luke 23:42-43; John 1:12; John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:40; John 11:25; John 20:31; Acts 3:19; Acts 10:43; Acts 10:47; Acts 13:39; Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:3-5; Romans 5:1; Romans 10:9-13; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:16: Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9; 1 Peter 2:6; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 5:1. 

These verses (and many more) do not mention baptism at all. Simply repent, believe, turn your life over to Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  Scripture teaches if you don’t believe, you will be condemned; it never says if you are not baptized, you will be condemned. Baptism is a good work, yet we are not saved by good works.  We do good works because we are saved; we do not do good works to get saved. 

To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. -Peter; Acts 10:43 NKJV

-David R. Brumbelow, P.O. Box 300, Lake Jackson, TX 77566.  David is a Baptist preacher & author of “Wit & Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow.”  See “Baptism” at


Brazoria County News

-David R. Brumbelow,, November 18, AD 2019. 


Other articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Discipline - A Trip to the Drive-In Store

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  -1 Corinthians 9:25 NKJV

A while back I was driving through Houston, TX and stopped at a Drive-In Store (Convenience Store).  You know, the kind that has just about everything.  I was alone, and no one there knew me. 

As I walked in, I began thinking of the things there I could not have. 
They had beer and all kinds of alcohol.  But I could not have that. 
They had dirty magazines.  I stay away from that. 
They had tobacco, but I don’t smoke or chew. 
Lottery tickets, but I don’t gamble. 
They had all manner of candy (Snickers, Milky Way, Reese’s, Butterfinger, 5th Avenue…).  I’m diabetic so I could have none of that.  That included kettle cooked jalapeno potato chips, pretzels.  They say bread and chips just turn to sugar; it’s not fair.  Sadly, I could have no Little Debbie Cake Rolls. 
I could not even get an icee (frozen drink) or a regular soft drink; too much sugar.  I just can’t win! 
So, I kind of laughed at myself, bought a Diet Dr. Pepper (sugar-free soft drink) and left.  And hey, I did save a lot of money. 

Some may argue that’s legalism.  No, it’s just being prudent and wise  (Proverbs 22:3; Romans 16:19).  Self-destructive behavior is, well, self-destructive.  We are to be temperate in all things. 

The Sunday School Helper of 1896 wisely quoted, “Temperance is the moderate use of all things helpful and total abstinence from all things harmful.” 

So, as I raise an ice-cold Diet Dr. Pepper, here’s to you.  May you live a wise, prudent, productive life. 

-David R. Brumbelow,, November 5, AD 2019. 

PS – I will admit my eating habits are not perfect, but I’m sincerely striving to do better.  I do eat my fruits and vegetables and drink V8 (vegetable juice).  It seems all life is a discipline. 


Many more Articles in lower right margin. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Intermediate State; Do You Have a Body Between Death and Resurrection?

1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 
3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 
4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.  -2 Corinthians 5:1-4  NKJV

Does the Christian have a body in the time period between his death, and his resurrection (or Rapture)? 

At death a believer’s spirit / soul goes immediately to Heaven to be with the Lord.  His / her body is buried.  At the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), believers will return with Jesus Christ, and they will be reunited with their resurrected bodies.  But are they simply disembodied spirits between death and the resurrection?  No, they will receive, “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  An interim body, if you please. 

When a church is without a pastor, they often call an interim pastor to serve in the meantime, until a permanent pastor is called.  When a company CEO (Chief Executive Officer) resigns, they often elect an interim CEO.  A university may elect an interim president.  Some auto repair shops offer you an loan car to drive until your own car is repaired.  In a similar way, it seems God will have an interim body immediately ready for us upon our death. 

The witch of En Dor and King Saul (1 Samuel 28) saw and immediately recognized, the recently deceased Samuel (this seems to be an unusual, one-time event, when God allowed a dead saint to actually appear on earth with a message for Saul). 

Moses and Elijah were seen and recognized, apparently in bodily form, on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9). 

In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, after their deaths, their physical bodies are referred to: eyes, tongue, finger (Luke 16). 

In Revelation 6:9; 20:4 the Apostle John uses the phrase, “I saw the souls,” of those who had died. 

While these instances may not spell it out, they seem to imply a physical body after death, but before resurrection. 

The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, seems to more strongly point out upon our death, “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands.”  While many scholars claim this is speaking of the resurrection, Paul does not say so.  It also uses the present tense, immediately upon death, we “have” this building from God.  The word “house” is used to refer to our bodies on this earth, and “house” is used to refer to those bodies we will receive in Heaven.  Why not take the simple meaning of this passage rather than saying it does not mean what it seems to mean?  Paul spoke of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4), and here he speaks of our receiving a body during what is often called the “intermediate state,” the time between death and the resurrection. 

To sum up, when a Christian dies, his soul / spirit leaves the body and goes to Heaven to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; John 14:3).  At the resurrection (or rapture) we will return with Christ and be reunited with our resurrected bodies (1 Thessalonians 4; 1 Corinthians 15).  But in the meantime (intermediate state), the Bible implies we will have an interim body (2 Corinthians 5:1-8). 

John R. Rice (AD 1895-1980) was an independent Baptist pastor, evangelist, author, and founding editor of the Sword of the Lord.  Of this passage he said, 

“Does Paul mean here that before the resurrection there will be some heavenly body prepared for us?  It seems so.  He expects to be clothed and ‘not be found naked’ (vs. 3).  He says ‘Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon’ (vs. 4). 
When the departed Samuel appeared to the Witch of Endor, did he not have some kind of a body, although he had died and was not yet resurrected?  Moses and Elijah appeared to the Lord Jesus and the three apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Did they not have some bodies – visible and definite bodies?  Elisha [Elijah?] had been changed and had been taken to Heaven without dying, but Moses died and God had buried him. 
So whatever that heavenly mystery shall prove to be, those who die now are not left as wandering spirits, without form, without recognition by other loved ones, without physical senses.  The Lord Jesus in Heaven has a physical body, a resurrected, glorified body.  Do you think the saints in Heaven that rejoice with Him when a soul is saved do not have some form of body also, or the equivalent of a body, while they wait?  Oh, Paul rejoiced that he would not be unclothed.” 
-John R. Rice, The Church of God at Corinth, Sword of the Lord Publishers; 1973. 

John Phillips (AD 1927-2010) was a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary (D.Min.) and served as director of Moody Correspondence School and Emmaus Correspondence School.  He taught on the Moody Broadcasting radio network and was the author of a number of Bible commentaries.  John Phillips on 2 Corinthians 5:1-8: 

“Down through the ages, saved and lost alike have described things they have seen and heard at the hour of death.  D. L. Moody, for instance, while awaiting the moment of his death, clearly saw his two deceased grandchildren in heaven.  Moreover, he was able to tell his son Will, their father, that he could see them.  The evidence seems to be that when we die we receive some kind of a body suited for life on the other side.  D. L. Moody saw children.  The witch of Endor saw an old man.  What they saw they could describe.  In the case of Samuel both the psychic and King Saul saw him… 
“Let us gather these various ideas together.  The believer’s present body is like a tent suited well enough for our present, earthly pilgrimage, but something temporary and transient.  It can be taken down at any moment.  It is a very fragile affair at best.  When the ‘tent’ is taken down we shall find that God has already made provision for the believer’s soul to be housed in a suitable, God-made dwelling pending the resurrection and transformation of his present body.  This intermediary home for the soul is eternal not temporal.  Nor is it natural but spiritual.  It cannot be affected by the things that assail the believers present body.  At the same time it is not his resurrection body although it may well be related to it just as his present natural body will be related to it. 
“Paul is so confident about these things that he says, ‘We have it.’  It is already awaiting us in heaven… 
“Paul mentions our dread: ‘If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked’ (5:3).  The human body is an essential part of us.  The soul shrinks in horror from the thought of being bereft of it.  Paul here agrees that one reason why we long for our heavenly covering is because the idea of being a naked soul is both humiliating and horrifying.  We recoil from the thought.  As F. F. Bruce points out, a person’s body is essential to him as ‘a means of communication with his environment.’  Therefore, to be deprived of it would be a dreadful experience, it would be ‘to experience fearful isolation.’
“It comes as a great relief to know that God has provided for us so that no such dread eventuality is allowed to overtake us.  ‘We shall not be found naked.’  More, since the new body is to be put on like a new robe, we shall not miss the old body.  We cannot imagine the restored prodigal lamenting that ruin of rags he discarded when he donned ‘the best robe’ provided for him by his father (Luke 15:22).  It seems likely, too, that the changeover will be as instantaneous as the changeover from the natural body to the spiritual resurrection body at the Rapture.  Paul has already told the Corinthians that that metamorphosis will take place ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52)…
“Paul himself evidently thought that there was something to look forward to in death.  He anticipated being ‘with the Lord,’ in conscious enjoyment, the moment he died (Philippians 1:20-23) – and this, in clear distinction from the transformation to take place at the Rapture (Philippians 3:20-21).” 
-John Phillips, Exploring 2 Corinthians, Kregel Publications; 2002. 

Randy Alcorn has served as pastor, author, and taught at Multnomah Bible College and Western Seminary. 

“Unlike God and the angels, who are in essence spirits (John 4:24; Hebrews 1:14), human beings are by nature both spiritual and physical (Genesis 2:7). God did not create Adam as a spirit and place it inside a body.  Rather, he first created a body, then breathed into it a spirit.  There never was a moment when a human being existed without a body… It appears that we are not essentially spirits who inhabit bodies, but we are essentially as much physical as we are spiritual.  We cannot be fully human without both a spirit and a body. 
“Given the consistent physical descriptions of the present Heaven and those who dwell there, it seems possible – though this is certainly debatable – that between our earthly life and our bodily resurrection, God may grant us some physical form that will allow us to function as human beings while in that unnatural state ‘between bodies,’ awaiting our resurrection.  Just as the intermediate state is a bridge between life on the old Earth and the New Earth, perhaps intermediate bodies, or at least a physical form of some sort, serve as bridges between our present bodies and our resurrected bodies…
“If we know there is physical substance in Heaven (namely, Christ’s body), can we not also assume that other references to physical objects in Heaven, including physical forms and clothing, are literal rather than figurative?” 
-Randy Alcorn, Heaven, Tyndale; 2004. 

-David R. Brumbelow,, October 23, AD 2019. 


Other Articles in lower right margin. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Open Letter to Greta Thunberg

1.  Stop worrying about catastrophic global warming / climate change.  You can have a long, happy life if you stop buying the hype left-wing environmentalists are selling.  Yes, there is plenty wrong with the world, but it is also filled with love, happiness, freedom, beauty. 

2.  When I was a little younger than you, I was taught catastrophic global cooling!  Curiously, I do not recall any of the experts apologizing to me when they changed their minds and began teaching the opposite, global warming; or when they then switched to climate change. 

3.  As far as rising sea levels, it is interesting that even climate change promoter President Obama just paid millions for ocean-front property.  Apparently, he is not as concerned as he has previously appeared.  Meanwhile the ice caps and glaciers wax and wane.  The media never seem to emphasize the places where ice is actually increasing. 

4.  Proponents of climate change regularly fly private jets, own gas guzzling vehicles, etc., revealing their hypocrisy. 

5.  Fossil fuels, if they were discovered today, would be considered eco-friendly.  Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace activist, said, “If fossil fuels were banned every tree in the world would be cut down for fuel for cooking and heating,"

6.  God’s Word assures us in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (NKJV).”  You can find much comfort, truth, assurance in the Bible. 

7.  Even relatively recent history (last 300 years or so) tells us weather goes in cycles and the climate changes regardless of man.  We have warming, cooling, stormy, rainy, drought cycles. 

8.  We should all be against pollution.  May we support reasonable environmentalism, while wisely using the resources God has given us.  For years I have planted fruit trees, shade trees, native grass and flowers, gardened, and enhanced the environment for wildlife.  I encourage others to do the same. 

9.  I challenge you to consider the other side of climate change and man-caused global warming.  A good, free place to begin is the Cornwall Alliance: For the Stewardship of Creation ( 

Greta, regardless, may you have a long, happy, fulfilling life, with just enough struggle to make you strong. 

David R. Brumbelow
9-24-AD 2019

Note: Greta Thunberg (born AD 2003) is Swedish and an environmental activist.  She recently told the United Nations: “This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” 

-David R. Brumbelow,, September 24, AD 2019. 

Other Articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Quotes on Mark 16:16; Baptism, Salvation

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  -Mark 16:16 NKJV

Mark 16:16 is probably the second favorite verse of those who believe baptism is a part of salvation.  But while the verse at first glance seems to say you must be baptized to be saved, a closer look dispels the problem. 

And, remember the many, many verses that teach believing in Jesus is what saves (John 3:15-18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 20:31; Acts 2:21; Acts 10:43; and many more). 

The following quotes easily explain Mark 16:16. 

H. A. Ironside
On Mark 16:16, “Those who received the message in faith were to witness to it by being baptized, thus declaring themselves openly as His disciples.  There was no saving virtue in the ordinance itself, but it was the expression of subjection to Christ.  Those who refused to believe would be judged (see R. V.).  Note that He did not say, He that is not baptized shall be judged.”  -H. A. Ironside, Mark, Loizeaux Brothers; 1948, 1973. 

Bob L. Ross
“You will notice that while Mark 16:16 speaks of one who believes and is baptized and of one who believes not, it does not have anything to say about the person who believes but has not as yet been baptized.  There is an intermediate period between faith in Christ and baptism.  Mark 16:16 does not mention this period; it has nothing to say about he that believes but has not yet ben immersed.  Can we find the answer as to the condition of such a person?  Yes, we read in John 3:18: ‘He that believeth on him (Christ) is not condemned.’”  -Bob L. Ross, Campbellism, Pilgrim Publications, Pasadena, TX; 1962, 1981. 

Warren W. Wiersbe
“A superficial reading of Mark 16:15-16 would suggest that sinners must be baptized to be saved, but this misinterpretation disappears when you note that the emphasis is on believing.  If a person does not believe, he is condemned, even if he has been baptized (see John 3:16-18, 36).  It was expected in the early church that believers would be baptized (Acts 2:41; 10:44-48).”  -Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, David C. Cook; 2003, 2007. 

John R. Rice
“Christians are supposed to be baptized as soon as possible after they are saved.  In Bible times they were usually baptized the same day, oftentimes the same hour of their conversion, even if it were midnight, as in the case of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33.  In fact, baptism is a public profession of faith.  One can see baptism; one cannot see faith in the heart.  It is natural to think of baptism following salvation, and Jesus said that those who believed and were baptized should be saved.  He did not mean to contradict the rest of the Bible, though, as you will see from the following words in the same verse; for He added, ‘But he that believeth not shall be damned.’  That makes it clear that the matter which settles it is believing, just the same as is taught in John 3:18:
‘He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’
The above verse, John 3:18, settles it that the man who believes in Christ is not condemned, whether or not he has been baptized.  It also settles it that a man is condemned ‘because he hath not believed.’  Salvation is settled by belief in Christ, and only by that.”  -John R. Rice, Bible Baptism, Sword of the Lord; 1943, 1971.  Rice (AD 1895-1980) was an independent Baptist preacher, evangelist, author, and founding editor of the Sword of the Lord. 

B. H. Carroll
On Baptism:  “The church authorizes; the subject must be a disciple, and the act is immersion. The purpose is to make a public declaration, or confession, of faith in Jesus Christ, to symbolize the cleansing from sin, a memorial of Christ's resurrection, and a pledge of the disciple.”  -B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible. 

“‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved’; that is true. He that endures to the end and is baptized shall be saved; that is true also. But when the negative is stated, it does not say, ‘He that believeth not and is not baptized shall not be saved, or shall be condemned.’ When you put it negatively it has no reference to baptism. It does not say, ‘He that is not baptized shall not be saved.’ It does not make any difference how many things one may put in – believe, be baptized, keep the law, go to church – with salvation, it does not affect salvation. If the first one was to secure salvation, it will be true if you put all of them in. That will not take away from the truth. He that believeth hath everlasting life; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Some would make it read: ‘He that believeth and is baptized and goes to church every Sunday, etc., etc. etc., hath everlasting life.’ You can put in as many as you please and they all follow from the first one. But to put it negatively, you could not say, ‘He that does not go to church every Sunday will be lost.’ And in negation it does not say, ‘He that believeth not and is not baptized’ – it stops at the believer.”  -B. H. Carroll, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Broadman Press; 1938.  Carroll (AD 1843-1914) was a pastor, author, and founding president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX. 

J. B. Jeter
“There is perfect accordance between this promise [Mark 16:16] and the plain, literal declaration of Jesus, that ‘He that believeth on the Son is not condemned.’  Certainly, if he that believes on the Son is not condemned, he who not only believes in the Son, but, in submission to his authority, is baptized, is not condemned.”  -J. B. Jeter, Campbellism Examined, Sheldon, Lamport, & Blakeman; 1855.  Jeter (AD 1802-1880) was a Baptist Pastor, author, and editor of the Religious Herald, Virginia. 

Jerry Vines
“The main thought in that verse [Mark 16:16] is not baptism.  Jesus was not teaching that you have to be baptized to be saved.  The crucial word is believe.  Baptism does not confer salvation; it confirms it.  Baptism is an outward act that demonstrates an inward experience.  Jesus did not say, ‘He that believeth not and is not baptized shall be condemned.’  It is he that believeth not who is condemned; that is, he shall be under judgment.”  -Jerry Vines, Exploring the Gospels: Mark, Loizeaux Brothers; 1990. 

Robert L. Sumner
“Mark 16:16 says ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved’!  Exactly!  But it does not say, ‘He that believeth and is baptized THEN shall be saved!’  This verse most certainly does not say that a man is not saved until he is baptized with water. 
Perhaps by giving a parallel sentence I can make clear the fact that ‘shall be saved’ does not depend upon ‘and is baptized.’ 
For example, take this sentence: ‘He that boards the bus and is seated will arrive at Los Angeles.’  Obviously, the man who gets on a bus bound for Los Angeles will arrive in that city, regardless of whether or not he is seated.  No doubt he would sit down if a seat were available – it would be so much more comfortable riding that long distance to do so – but even if he remained standing all the way, he would arrive in Los Angeles IF HE GOT ON THE BUS!  In exactly the same way, a man who gets on the salvation vehicle – the man who believes  - will get to Heaven whether he sits down or not, whether he is baptized or not. 
Now, wait a minute!  If he doesn’t sit down he’s going to be mighty uncomfortable!  If he disobeys one of God’s commands – baptism or any other – the Lord will chasten and divine blessing will be withheld from his life.  BUT THAT WILL NOT EFFECT HIS ARRIVAL IN THE GRAND CENTRAL STATION OF HEAVEN IF BY FAITH HE GETS ON BOARD THE GOSPEL EXPRESS!  So I say unto you, ‘Get on board, get on board!  Then, after you are on the bus, sit down!  Enjoy the blessings of the Lord in their fullest measure!  But the thing that damns is not failing to sit down, it is failing to get on board.  ‘He that believeth not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16).”  -Robert L. Sumner, Does the Bible Teach That Water Baptism Is a Necessary Requirement for Salvation?, Biblical Evangelism Press; 1970.  Also in Biblical Essays, Biblical Evangelism; 2013, by Sumner. 

Be sure to check out other articles here on salvation and baptism.

Note:  Mark 16:9-20 involves a Textual issue.  See footnote in NKJV.  But we will save that issue for another day. 

-David R. Brumbelow,, September 2, AD 2019. 


Other Articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Quotes on Acts 2:38, Baptism, Salvation

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  -Acts 2:38 NKJV

There is an old joke, told by Baptists and others, of a country Church of Christ.  Just behind the church building was a frog pond.  Because they heard it so much, instead of saying “ribbit,” the frogs would croak, “Acts 2:38.” 

Acts 2:38 is a favorite among those who believe you must be baptized to be saved.  Baptists and many others, of course, believe baptism is a symbol or picture of salvation, but is not a part of salvation.  I thought it might be helpful to give a few outstanding quotes on Acts 2:38 from various authors: 

Warren W. Wiersbe
“It is unfortunate that the translation of Acts 2:38 in the King James Version suggests that people must be baptized in order to be saved, because this is not what the Bible teaches.  The Greek word eis (which is translated ‘for’ in the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’) can mean ‘on account of’ or ‘on the basis of.’  In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist baptized on the basis that people had repented.  Acts 2:38 should not be used to teach salvation by baptism.  If baptism is essential for salvation, it seems strange that Peter said nothing about baptism in his other sermons (Acts 3:12-26; 5:29-32; 10:34-43).  In fact, the people in the home of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:44-48)!  Since believers are commanded to be baptized, it is important that we have a clean conscience by obeying (1 Peter 3:21), but we must not think that baptism is a part of salvation.  If so, then nobody in Hebrews 11 was saved, because none of them was ever baptized.”  -Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Commentary, David C. Cook; 2003. 

John R. Rice
“It is clear from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15[-16] and the universal practice of New Testament Christians, that converts ought to be baptized.  Baptism was not essential to salvation, but it was essential and is essential to obedience.  Baptism did not procure salvation, but it declared salvation one had already received. 
Since many Scriptures expressly declare that one who trusts in Christ for salvation instantly has everlasting life (John 3:15,16,18,36; John 5:24; John 6:47; Acts 13:38-39), then the one who has trusted Christ is immediately saved and the baptism which followed could only declare that which had already occurred. 
Baptism is a work of righteousness (as Jesus stated in Matthew 3:15).  But Titus 3:5 declares, ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ Salvation is ‘not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Ephesians 2:9. (See the author’s book, Bible Baptism, Sword of the Lord.)
Jesus never needed to repent.  He could not repent as our example.  Jesus never was in unbelief and never needed to come trusting for forgiveness.  He needed no forgiveness.  If baptism were a way of securing salvation, then Jesus could not be our example in baptism.  But since baptism is a token of heart surrender to the soul-saving work of the Lord and pointing toward the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, then Christ could be our example in baptism.  So He was baptized and immediately the Holy Spirit came on Him in an anointing for His ministry and so we may be baptized like Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, as Acts 2:38 says.”  -John R. Rice, Filled With the Spirit, The Book of Acts: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary, Sword of the Lord; 1963, 1973. 

Paige Patterson
“Unfortunately, some read the verse [Acts 2:38] to mean that obedience to the act of baptism somehow brings about salvation.  But neither this verse, nor the New Testament as a whole, assigns saving efficacy to the waters of baptism.  The misunderstood term in the verse is the preposition ‘for’ in the expression ‘for the remission of sins.’  This preposition has various nuances in English.  If you were asked, for example, ‘Did you go to the store for your wife?’ there are several conceivable meanings.  Did you go to a store to select your wife?  Or did she, as your wife, call from the store for you to come and get her?  Or did she simply request that you go to the store in her place and fetch a loaf of bread? 
The Greek preposition eis, translated here as ‘for,’ also has numerous nuances.  Does the verse mean that a person is to repent and to be baptized for (i.e., in order to obtain) forgiveness of sin?  Or does the verse mean that forgiveness of sin is the provision that leads to repentance?  Then the word ‘for’ would be read ‘repent and let everyone of you be Baptized for (i.e., because of) the remission of sins already fully provided by Christ on the cross.’  This last sense is the proper understanding.  For example, in Matthew 12:41, the men of Nineveh are said to have repented ‘at (in Greek the same word eis) the preaching of Jonah.’  They repented because of the preaching of the prophet!  In the same way, because of the atonement of Jesus, all are called to repent and to follow Jesus in baptism.”  -Paige Patterson, What Is Baptism?, Seminary Hill Press, SWBTS; 2011. 

John B. Polhill
“The connection of baptism with the forgiveness of sins in v. 38 [Acts 2:38] has often been a matter of controversy.  A literal rendering of the verse runs:  ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for/on the basis of the forgiveness of your sins.’ The disputed word is the preposition eis, which could indicate purpose and thus be taken to mean that baptism is the prerequisite for the forgiveness of sins.  There is ample evidence in the New Testament, however, that eis can also mean on the ground of, on the basis of, which would indicate the opposite relationship – that the forgiveness of sins is the basis, the grounds for being baptized.  Perhaps more significant, however, is that the usual connection of the forgiveness of sins in Luke-Acts is with repentance and not with baptism at all (cf. Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31).  In fact, in no other passage of Acts is baptism presented as bringing about the forgiveness of sins.  If not linked with repentance, forgiveness is connected with faith (cf. Acts 10:43; 13:38f.; 26:18).  The dominant idea in [Acts] 2:38 thus seems to be repentance, with the other elements following.  Repentance leads to baptism, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Spirit.  The essential response Peter called from the Jewish crowd is the complete turnabout that comprises true repentance, to turn away from their rejection of the Messiah and to call upon his name, receive baptism into his community, and share the gift of the Spirit they had just witnessed so powerfully at work in the Christians at Pentecost.  Peter concluded his appeal with a promise, the promise of Joel 2:32 (cf. v. 21): ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  The universal scope of the promise is emphasized.  Salvation is not only for the group of Jews present at Pentecost but for future generations (‘your children’) as well.  It is not only for Jews but for Gentiles, for those ‘who are far off.’  -John B. Polhill, Acts, The New American Commentary, Broadman Press (B&H); 1992. 

Bob L. Ross
“Only a baptismal remissionist thinks that Acts 2:38 means a literal baptismal remission.  The evangelical, holding that literal remission came in the death of Christ, and that experimental remission comes by faith (Acts 10:43), stands on the ground that the only remission to be found in baptism is a declarative, ceremonial, representative one – the same sense as the body and blood of Christ are in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.”  -Bob L. Ross, Acts 2:38 and Baptismal Remission, Pilgrim Publications, Pasadena, TX; 1976, 1987. 

J. B. Jeter
“That baptism is for the remission of sins none will deny.  But the import of the passage turns on the force of the term ‘for.’  In Greek the preposition eis is used.  Every scholar knows, and every intelligent reader may learn from unquestionable authority, that it bears in the New Testament various meanings.  It is sometimes, but rarely, rendered for, in the sense of, ‘in order to.’  Its usual rendering is into.  A regard to the context, the sense of the passage, and other considerations, must determine its import in any particular place.  It is only necessary to show that on sound principles of hermeneutics, it may be fairly understood in harmony with what I have endeavored to prove is the plain doctrine of the Scriptures, and this can easily be done. 
In Matthew 3:11, we have these words – ‘I indeed baptize you with water unto (eis) repentance.’  Here the term cannot without gross impropriety be rendered for, or in order to.  We know that John did not baptize his disciples in order that they might repent.  He demanded of them not only repentance, but fruits meet for repentance, before he admitted them to baptism.  He baptized them, not that they might obtain repentance, but as a sign, or acknowledgment that they had repented.  Matthew 3:8-9. 
Now, in the very sense in which the Harbinger baptized his disciples (eis) unto, for, into repentance, did Peter command his Pentecostal hearers to be baptized (eis) for, unto, into the remission of sins – that is, not to procure, but as a sign, or acknowledgment of, this privilege, which God has graciously and inseparably united with repentance and faith.  I could produce many similar examples, but this will suffice to show how fairly the passage harmonizes with the symbolic theory of baptism.”  -J. B. Jeter, Campbellism Examined, Sheldon, Lamport, & Blakeman; 1855.  Jeter (AD 1802-1880) was a Baptist Pastor, author, and editor of the Religious Herald, Virginia. 

B. H. Carroll
“We will now consider a frequent meaning of eis, also determined by local context, in the following still more pertinent passage, for in it we have the verb, baptize, as well as the preposition, eis (Matt. 3:11): ‘I indeed baptize you in water eis repentance.’ All the context shows that John required repentance, and even its fruits, as a condition precedent to baptism. It would be foolish to render it, ‘I baptize you in order to repentance.’ Here the preposition has not its ordinary meaning, in order to, nor its rare meaning, because of, but its frequent meaning, with reference to – a repentance that they had exercised. ‘I baptize you with reference to that exercising of it,’ is what John means. Or, as Tyndale, in his version (it was a very fine version for his time) says, ‘I baptize you in token of repentance.’ That makes fine sense… 

We may apply the ad hominern argument to our Campbellite brethren. They evade the many cases of remission through faith and without baptism, in the life of our Lord, by saying, ‘The law of pardon was not given till Pentecost.’ How, then, do they dispose of Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3, paralleling remission under the preaching of John the Baptist with the preaching of Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2:38? John baptized eis aphesin hamartion, exactly paralleling what Peter did in Acts 2:38. Then, briefly, the meaning of eis in Acts 2:38 is this: Repent ye – plural, and a strong imperative – ‘and let every one of you who has repented be baptized’ – a mild imperative – ‘in the name of Jesus Christ eis aphesin hamartion’ – with reference to remission of sins.”  -B. H. Carroll (AD 1843-1914), An Interpretation of the English Bible, Broadman Press; 1948. 

B. H. Carroll has an excellent, extensive discussion of Acts 2:38 in his An Interpretation of the English Bible, Edited by J. B. Cranfill, Broadman; 1948.  It is available both in book form and on the internet. 

To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. -Peter; Acts 10:43 

-David R. Brumbelow,, August 12, AD 2019. 

 Other Articles: 

More Articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

James 2; Faith Without Works is Dead

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  -James 2:15-17 NKJV

James 2:14-26 tells us faith without works is dead.  He speaks of dead faith and demonic faith (“even the demons believe”).  But then he speaks of saving, dynamic faith.  He also speaks of salvation / faith viewed by God, and salvation / faith viewed by man.  God sees our faith.  Man cannot see our faith, so he must judge our faith by our works. 

James refers to Abraham who believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6).  This is quoted several times in the New Testament (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23).  Then, James refers to Abraham obeying God and offering his son Isaac.  It is significant that Abraham was justified by God (Genesis 15) years before he offered his son (Genesis 22). 

“How was Abraham ‘justified by works’ (James 2:21) when he had already been ‘justified by faith’ (Romans 4)?  By faith, he was justified before God and his righteousness declared; by works he was justified before men and his righteousness demonstrated.”  -Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Mature (also, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary), David C. Cook Publishers. 

Abraham was not saved by faith plus works, but by a faith that works.  We cannot work our way to Heaven (Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:21; Romans 4:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9).  But when we have true faith / trust / belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior, that faith will result in works.  And, that true faith in Jesus is what saves (John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24). 

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  -Galatians 2:16 

One last thought.  If you say you are saved, but have no good works done for the Lord or His church, you might ought to reexamine your salvation.  Again, we are not saved by faith plus works, but by a faith that works. 

-David R. Brumbelow,, July 15, AD 2019. 


 Other Articles (Labels) in lower right margin.