I was especially shocked as his letter refutes and denies one most basic and fundamental doctrine of the early church, which is water baptism.
Despite the clear layout and in-depth study and research on the baptism topic by Lewis Muriwai in last Friday’s sponsored newspaper article, the reverend still seems to wander off and away from the truth.
What did he mean by the sarcastic (and I believe blasphemous), words that he had quoted, “You can go into the water a dry sinner and come out a wet sinner?” Did he also mean that anybody can go into a church a dry sinner and come out a dry sinner?
Who is he to know or question the sincerity and humbleness of one who through faith goes to church at any time and take on water baptism as well in obedience and humble submission to the Word of God through faith as the Apostle Paul recorded in Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ”.
Does he not know and realise that all believers who made up the Churches of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, unlike most so-called Christian Churches and denominations there are today, were all baptised believers, from the very birthday of Christianity in Acts 2, when and where “… they that gladly received his (Peter’s) word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about 3,000 souls” (verse 41).
Was he also implying the above cheeky quotation to all baptised believers of the New Testament churches, including even the Apostle Paul in Acts 9: 18?
In actual fact, to my mind, his quotation also makes a mockery of Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, Creator of the Universe, The Great I Am, Author and Finisher of our Faith who was also baptised through immersion at the River Jordan by John the Baptist.
Water baptism was a New Testament doctrine of the Church. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Old Testament as it symbolises or signifies only the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again from the dead and then water baptism was fully executed on the Day of Pentecost only 10 days after his ascension into heaven and when the believers were baptised in Jesus’s Name, upon the laying on of hands of the Apostles, they also received the gift of the Holy Ghost and spoke in other tongues as the spirit of God gave them utterance.
Jesus went to John to be baptised at the Jordan river. It was not that he was a sinner, but he was setting an example for his disciples and all who shall follow after them; and when John forbade him saying, “I have need to be baptised of thee, and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mathew 3: 13 – 15). Water baptism fulfils righteousness and therefore also relates to salvation. He speaks even of righteousness in Romans 14: 17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”.
Can anyone even deny what the Apostle Peter declared in Acts 2: 38: “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…”. Even at water baptism sins are remitted. How? By the pronouncement of the Name of Jesus Christ upon the believer undergoing water baptism.
This is much in the same way that we command healing upon anybody in the Name of Jesus Christ, cast out devils, and everything else that we do in word and in deed, invoking power and authority only in the blood and Name of Jesus Christ.
How much more simple and clear can the Word of God ever be? No believer was ever baptised in any of the Apostle’s names, which prompted Paul to argue as in 1st Corinthians 1: 13 – 17: “Is Christ divided, was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptised in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptised none of you but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptised in mine own name”.
Going through water baptism is not “works” at all as the reverend and so many other bible teachers claim, but obedience to the commanding and commissioning words of Jesus. Peter in Acts 10: 47 asked this vital question as he ushered in the first Gentile family of Cornelius into the Christian faith: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptised?.......And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord”.
The same question can still be asked of any man, preacher or believer in our times: Can any man forbid water, that any should be baptised? A misquote of 1 Peter 3: 21, “…while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water”; the flood water destroyed sin and wickedness of the time in order to save the eight souls.
The ark was but only a vessel keeping them safe from the flood, scripture literally said, “eight souls were saved, not by the ark but by water”.
Then verse 21 continues, saying: “The like figure (the above example) whereunto even baptism doth also now save us”, pointing to water baptism and with a good conscience toward God.
Paul issues this note of warning to all preachers and teachers of the Word of God in Galatians 6: 7 – 8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Jesus’s disciples brought words to their Master Jesus about the Pharisees who got offended by his teaching as thus: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandment of men”.
Jesus replied, “Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Mathew 15: 7 – 14).
One of the biggest traedies throughout Christendom is the sin of omission. Simply knowing to do right but refusing to do so: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good (right), and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4: 17).
To love God is to obey and keep His Word, not try to justify by compromising, adding or taking away.
Be blessed and saved by the Truth of the Word of God which is Jesus Christ, for by Him are we saved, neglecting and denying we are condemned.
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me (Jesus Christ)” (John 5: 35).
Stick to the truth, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Kia Ora no Iesu, live for Jesus!
- Bishop Tutai Pere