Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 10, 1954

Valid Baptism

J. D. Tant

The scriptures teach that a man must believe and understand that baptism is for the remission of sins to make it valid.

All Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians teach a man must NOT believe nor understand that baptism is for the remission of sins. Some of my brethren, knowing this denominational requirement, contend that those immersed in these denominations have been scripturally baptized, and we should accord them full fellowship as Christians. I deny this. Then how shall we settle the matter? To the law and to the testimony:

Jeremiah says God was to write the law in my heart, and when said law was written in my heart, I should not be taught to know the Lord, for I would know him. (Jer. 31:33, 34) Again, Christ says I must hear and learn of the Father to come to Him (John 6:45). All things necessary to bring me to Christ I must learn and know; for I cannot come to God until I learn and know of the Father. Then the question arises, Is baptism necessary to bring me to God? I answer "yes." But must I understand that baptism is necessary to bring me to God? Christ says, "I am the Way" (John 14:6). He also declares that if a man climbs up some other way he is a thief and a robber (John 10:1).

But, as Christ is "the way," is baptism in that way?

Then the question, Must I understand that way? The answer to this question depends upon whether baptism is, or is not, for the remission of sins, and whether baptism for the remission of sins is a part of the gospel. Jesus Christ teaches that I must hear the gospel AND UNDERSTAND IT (Matt. 13:23). If baptism for remission of sins is a part of "the gospel" then I must understand that. Otherwise I cannot obey it. With me this settles the matter.

Consider what we have learned:

1. The gospel teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

2. Baptism for the remission of sins comes before fruit bearing.

3. We must hear the word and understand it before we can bear fruit.

4. Baptism far the remission of sins is a part of that word. Therefore, no one can hear the word, receive the word, and understand the word (as Christ says we must do), without understanding that baptism is for remission of sins.

But must a man believe that baptism is for the remission of sins to make his baptism valid? The gospel teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38); Christ teaches that I must believe the gospel (Mark 16:16). Therefore, no one can believe the gospel without believing that baptism is for the remission of sins.

But consider again:

1. I must believe in Christ to be scripturally baptized (Acts 8:37).

2. I must believe the gospel to be scripturally baptized (Matt. 28:19). No man can believe in Christ who rejects the teaching of Christ. Human churches reject the teaching of Christ on the subject of baptism. Therefore, human churches do not believe in Christ.

Two things equal to each other are equal to the same thing. "Christ" and "the gospel" teach the same thing on the subject of baptism for the remission of sins; to reject one is to reject the other; to disbelieve one is to disbelieve the other.

When I do NOT believe that "baptism is for the remission of sins," I do NOT believe Christ. Hence, my baptism is not an act of faith. One could just as logically give Christian fellowship to a Mason or an Odd Fellow on the basis of their Masonic or Odd Fellow ritualism as to fellowship a member of a human church on the basis of his ritual.

If a soldier enlists in the army of Germany, such does not entitle him to the benefits of soldiership in the American army. If a woman is married to man number one, that does not entitle her to live with man number two under the first marriage contract. Then boldly affirm that the God of sectarianism is not the God of the Bible. Denominationalists have an unscriptural faith, and unscriptural repentance, and an unscriptural confession. They do not teach a scriptural gospel. And if gospel faith, gospel repentance, and gospel confession are all scriptural causes to produce a scriptural effect (scriptural baptism), and if the denominations do not have a single one of the four — neither gospel faith, gospel repentance, gospel confession, nor gospel baptism — by what process of reasoning can they have the thing that these four produce, forgiveness of sins?

Brethren, I know this teaching is unpopular. Yet it is of God. Then will it not be best to quit our foolishness of a half-way gospel and tell our sectarian friends the truth, and persuade them to obey God rather than man. You may all do as you please, but as I care not for what they say, I shall continue to preach and practice it straight. And if this teaching disturbs the church, I pray to God to let me live long enough to tear them all up!