The 5 B’s of Baptism

There is much confusion about baptism. Many do not believe that a person must be baptized to be saved from his sons. Others say baptism is necessary for salvation. Some say sprinkling or pouring are acceptable forms of baptism. Others say only immersion in water is acceptable. There is only one way to settle the confusion about baptism. We must go to the New Testament, which is the law for all men today. What does the Bible tell us about baptism? Its teaching is clear on this subject. Let us notice the five “B’s” of Bible baptism.

First, baptism is a BURIAL. Notice the apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 6:3-4: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were into His death? Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Paul states clearly that baptism is a burial. To bury something is to cover it completely. Sprinkling or pouring will not substitute for the burial which baptism demands. In fact, the word “baptism” itself means “to immense, dip, plunge.” Bible baptism is a burial.

Second, baptism is for BELIEVERS. Bible baptism is for those who can show they believe in Jesus, the Son of God. In Mark 16:16, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” No where in the New Testament will one find a person baptized who was not able to express his belief in Christ. In Acts 8:12 we read, “But when they believed Philip as preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” Notice that “both men and women” were baptized, not little children. Why? Because baptism is for believers, not babies. Babies are born innocent. They are not guilty of the sins of their parents, as some teach (Ezekiel 18:20). Jesus used little children as examples of humility, and said we must become like them to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-5). Would Jesus use sinful children as examples of what we must become to be pleasing to God? Certainly not!

Third, baptism is BEFORE the forgiveness of sins. Jesus made this clear in His statement, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Jesus said belief AND baptism bring salvation. He did not say belief brings salvation, and then one is baptized. One cannot be saved without baptism. In Acts 22:16, Saul of Tarsus, a man who believed in Christ, repented, and confessed Jesus as Lord, still had to be baptized to wash away his sins. Thereis not a single instance in the New Testament where anyone was said to be saved until he was baptized. Baptism comes BEFORE forgiveness.

Fourth, baptism is the BIRTH of the Christian. It is the beginning of the Christians’s life. In John 3:5, Jesus told a man named Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” To be born of water and the Spirit involves being baptized in water in obedience to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. How does the Spirit teach us? He does so through the Word of God. In the New Testament we learn of the importance of being baptized in water. So it is the Spirit who teaches us to be baptized as we read His Word. This is what the apostle Paul meant in I Corinthians 12:13. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” Paul says all must be baptized into the body of Christ, which is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). It is by the teaching of the Spirit through the Word that we learn of our need to do this. Then, we must “drink into one Spirit,” which means we are to continue to study the Word which the Holy Spirit has given – the New Testament. We must grow in our knowledge of God’s Word, and we must remain faithful in the one church (Revelation 2:10).

The final “B” is that Bible baptism is where the BLOOD of Christ is applied to cleanse us from our sins. Can a person be saved from his sins without the blood of Christ? No! But only in baptism is the blood applied from Heaven to take away our sins. The blood of Jesus was shed in His death. The soldier pierced the side of the slain Savior of the world, and “...immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34). Then, in Romans 6:3-4, Paul speaks of being buried in the “likeness” of Christ’s death through baptism. The blood that was shed in Christ’s death is reached only in the likeness of His death – baptism. In Revelation 1:4-5, John says Jesus washed us from sins in His blood. When does that washing take place? It is the washing of baptism. Remember what Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” When we look at Acts 22:16 and Revelation 1:4-5, we conclude that in baptism the blood of Jesus is applied to wash away our sins.

We should never forget the five “B’s of baptism. They remind us of what the Bible teaches about this very important subject. The Bible says baptism is a BURIAL. It is for BELIEVERS, those who can express their belief in Christ. It comes BEFORE forgiveness of sins. It is the BIRTH of the Christian, and it is where the precious BLOOD of Jesus is applied to wash away our sins. Have you received BIBLE baptism?

Author Unknown


  • Sorrow cannot be divorced from sin.
  • Truth cannot be changed by majority vote.
  • Measure your fellowman by his excellencies, not by his shortcomings.
  • Since the days of Adam, men have been busy disclaiming personal responsibility.
  • Men regret their words more often than they regret their silence.
  • A human creed hampers faith and spiritual growth. Let us make the Christ – His life and teaching – our only creed.
  • The man who speaks evil of your brother in his absence would speak evil of you in your absence. To a backbiter, lend no encouragement — Do not lend him your ear!


Author Unknown

The Purpose of a Pattern

I am aware from the very beginning that there are those who decry the idea of a pattern for our religious practices. Some are opposed to what they call “pattern mentality.” Should this cause us to move away from a discussion of such in an objective manner? I think not and so do many other people.

When you speak of a pattern, you speak of a plan to follow. You speak of that which is like a map or blueprint. It speaks of something that has been revealed to man in such a way that he can know what God will expect of him. This is surely the case in God’s dealings with man.

We should have no reluctance in using the term “pattern.” Didn’t God use that word when speaking to Moses (Exodus 25:9, 40)? Isn’t this the same word that was used by the writer of the book of Hebrews when he said, “See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount“ (Hebrews 8:5)? Listen to the apostle Paul, “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me“ (II Timothy 1:13, ASV). How would it be possible for one to hold a pattern if one did not exist? The term “hold” carries the idea of “adherence to.” But how could you adhere to that which does not exist? Yes, there is a pattern, and it serves a very useful purpose. We need to take the time to look at some of the purposes of a pattern.


None of us should deny the need for direction for “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps“ (Jeremiah 10:23). Such was surely the case with Noah in the long ago. When he was told to build the ark, he was told exactly what he was to do (Genesis 6:14). He was told to use “gopher wood.” That would mean only gopher wood. He was given directions as to its size. These directions were followed (Genesis 6:22). He had no trouble knowing what God wanted him to do for he had a pattern to follow.

We have a pattern which gives direction as to what we are to say. Peter points this out when he says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God“ (I Peter 4:11). So a man has a pattern to follow as he speaks. He is not left to say just anything in the name of the Lord. It must be according to and in harmony with the words of God. He has a pattern for His speech. This would surely be a part of the reason men are not to add to or take from the Word of the Lord. Such would alter the pattern and in so doing not say what God’s Word would say.


If all follow the same pattern, and we must, then all will speak the same thing. There will be unity of speech if all “hold fast the pattern of sound words.” This would be a part of the reason Paul would say, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also“ (II Timothy 2:2). Take a moment to look at that passage. Paul says, “the things.” That would mean something specific, something definite, something understandable. It would mean the propositional truth that Timothy heard from Paul. It would be the teaching of an apostle. This becomes the pattern. This is the blueprint that is to be followed. After such is heard, this could in turn be passed on by teaching other men. Those men would be able to pass this same thing on also. This would surely insure unity of speech. This would mean that one generation after another could continue to speak the same thing. Culture or the passing of time would not change it.

Such will promote unity of action. Paul knew that this possibility existed for he said, “as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye“ (I Corinthians 16:1). By following the words of the apostle as a pattern for action, you will have unity of action. All in the church at Corinth could do as all in the churches of Galatia. This would be consistent with what Paul had said before, “as I teach everywhere in every church” (I Corinthians 4:17). If all those churches would follow the pattern laid out by Paul’s teaching, you would have unity of action. There would be no division.


The thing that helped identify the child of God under the Old Testament was the pattern which he followed. He was given certain instructions as to how he was to act. You will find that the Jew was to observe the sabbath as a holy day (Exodus 20:8). This would serve to set him apart from the inhabitants of the land into which they came. They would be identified by such practices as they followed the Word of the Lord. His Word would be the pattern for their lives.

This is also true of the child of God today. He is what he is because he follows a certain form or pattern of teaching. In fact, Paul said of those at Rome, “but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you“ (Romans 6:17). This would be equal to saying they  had obeyed the gospel. Each one of those in the church at Rome would be what he or she was because they had all followed the same pattern in obedience. They had all come from the same form or mold and thus would all be the same. They would all be one in Christ. There would be no difference in their religious identity. To change their identity, you would have to change the pattern they follow. As long as men follow the same pattern, then they will all be the same in kind.

As you see the gospel move throughout the Roman world, you see men and women following the same instructions. They are all Christians. You do not have one kind of Christian in Jerusalem and another kind in Antioch. They all came from the same mold or pattern. The same seed that was planted in Jerusalem was also planted in Antioch. The seed brings forth after its kind (Genesis 1:12). Such will surely preserve identity. That is surely the case with the gospel which is the pattern for all to follow in matters which pertain to the soul.

J Winfred Clark

Faith is a Condition of Salvation


The text  of Mark 16:15-16 begins, “He that believeth....” Of this believer, our Lord concludes, “shall be saved.” The essential nature of belief for salvation is obvious in the closing words of the verse, “but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). One of the conditions upon which salvation depends, according to this verse, is faith (belief).

This is a point upon which almost all are agreed throughout the religious world. The New Testament makes it clear that God requires faith, on the part of the sinner, for his salvation. For example, we are told, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The entire eleventh chapter of Hebrews shows the important role of faith in the lives of those pleasing to God, even in the days of the Old Testament. But, the faith described in that chapter is not faith alone; it is faith that responds in obedience to God. Even here, in verse 6, we have action inferred by the references to coming to God and seeking Him. It is that kind of faith (active, obedient) that justifies (Romans 5:1). Bear in mind that this faith comes from hearing God’s Word (10:17). As noted earlier, in the verse preceding our text, Jesus commissioned the preaching of the Gospel. That is the God-given way for people to hear the Gospel. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21).

We will soon note in Mark 16:16, faith is not the only condition of salvation according to the Gospel. James’ words are emphatic on the connection between faith and action. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (Jam. 2:24). This, by the way, is the only Biblical reference to faith only. It is significant that James tells us that justification (another word for salvation) is NOT by faith only in spite of the very popular denominational teaching to the contrary.

James then concludes his discussion of faith and works with these words, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (2:26). It could not be any clearer! The faith that saves involves more than mental assent; faith must act to save.

There are even New Testament examples of some who believed, but were not saved. Consider those among the chief rulers: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43).

Consider the devils (demons, ASV): “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Felix believed and “trembled” at the preaching of Paul (Acts 24:25). King Agrippa also believed according to Paul’s own appraisal, “I know that thou believest” (26:27). It is, therefore, clear that man is not and cannot be saved by faith alone; nevertheless, faith is absolutely essential to salvation.

Obedience is also necessary for salvation. Referring to Jesus, the writer of Hebrews notes, “And having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). According to this, Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation” to “all them that obey him.” Add to this the statement of Peter, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22). Souls are purified (i.e. cleansed, forgiven of sins, etc.) by “obedience to the truth.”

According to the context of Mark 16:16, that which is to be believed is the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. The historical facts of the Gospel are the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul wrote that the resurrection was the powerful proof that Jesus was the Son of God, “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). Hence, Jesus insisted, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and thereby cause us to be in need of salvation. If sin remains unforgiven in our lives, we will be lost! Therefore, part of the Gospel which must be believed in order to be saved is that Jesus is God’s Son. Recall that when Philip had preached Jesus to the Eunuch on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza and when the eunuch desired baptism, Philip said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (Acts 8:37). The Ethiopian then properly confessed his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (cf. Matthew 10:32), and was baptized. Paul commented on faith and confession in Romans 10. He wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10).

Infants And Others Exempt From The Requirements Of This Verse

The necessity of belief to be saved rules out infants and the mentally deficient. Babies cannot believe, nor can those who lack the mental capabilities to learn and make rational decisions for themselves. These are not candidates for baptism since they are incapable of belief which is prerequisite to baptism.

Indeed, these individuals are not in need of salvation for they are safe. The Bible refutes the claim of Calvinism of “inherited total depravity”—that babies are born sinners of the worst sort! Children are born innocent and those who do not mentally progress to the point of making rational decisions based on information given remain in that innocent condition. We are told that we are responsible for our own sins, and not for the sins of our ancestors, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him (Ezekiel 18:20).           

Jesus further told us that in order to be saved, we must become like little children, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

So, we must conclude that children should not be baptized because they cannot be believers, and that children are not in need of salvation until they become sinners.

Lester Kamp


The noblest man on earth is he who puts his hands cheerfully and proudly to honest labor and goes forth to conquer honor and worth. There is a dignity and glory to toil. The greatest names in history are of those who worked hard; no one who posterity delights to honor ever dreamed or idled his time away to gain game.

Labor is beautiful and the world has long since learned that men cannot be truly man without employment. We do not consider man noble because of his dress but because of his honor acquired through labor. It is the spirit back of the performance of the task that gives dignity and honor to the accomplishment. Through labor the very elements are brought under subjection and made to contribute to the good of other men.

The victories of labor are seen everywhere about us in the city or in the field. Labor makes the poor man’s heart rich with content and crown the weary head with honor, dignity and peace. Labor evokes and disciplines obedience, self-control, attention, application, and, perseverance gives a man a deftness and skill in his physical calling.

As in the material, so with things of the soul. Labor and toil are essential. Holy scripture bids us to “work out” our salvation and the master of toil bade His followers to strive not for the things that perish but for those that endure until life everlasting. In the realms of the spiritual the dignity of labor reaches its highest valuation. Through man’s toiling in obedience to the word of God, he can live such life as to receive the highest reward in heaven after this life is over.


When one reads the book of Matthew, he will find a record of various reactions to the Word of God. Jesus gave a great deal of time and attention to this very serious matter. You will find that our Lord considered this matter to be of paramount importance. He had some things to say on one occasion that will serve to introduce us to our study for this time.

There was an occasion when some of the scribes and Pharisees would confront him about the conduct of His disciples. They wanted to know why His disciples transgress the tradition of the elders. This they said was being done when they did not wash their hands when they ate (Matthew 15:1-2). Jesus responded with a question. “Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Matthew 15:3)?

Jesus then proceeded to tell them which commandment he had in mind. It was the commandment having to do with honoring father and mother (Matthew 15:4). But how were they reacting to this word?


What was being said by these scribes and Pharisees would have the result of saying this commandment is not in effect. Their tradition would say to a father or mother, “It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me: and honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free” (Matthew 15:5-6). In this case, a human tradition would set aside the commandment of the Lord. Thus, what was in effect is, to them, without effect or power. They would deprive the commandment of its authority or power. They will use in its stead the doctrines and commandments of men. I am persuaded that this same kind of thing occurs in our day. This can be seen when you discuss the subject of baptism with some of our religious neighbors.

Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). This is a plain statement of our Lord. There can be no doubt about the place of baptism in the plan of man’s redemption. But how many times have we seen people who will take this plain passage and seek to break the force of it by saying, “Man is saved by faith alone”? In so doing they seek to make of none effect the Word of God. That is, they seek to say by this and other statements that baptism is not necessary, that it is of none effect. But what would the difference be between this sort of statement concerning baptism and the one the scribes and Pharisees made concerning the responsibility to honor father and mother? I fail to see any at all. They would be exactly the same in principle. These would seek to make the Word of God of none effect concerning baptism.


One can read some of the epistles of Paul and find a number of people who sought to continue to observe the law of Moses after it had been taken out of the way. Listen to an argument he used to the Hebrew Christians, some of whom were turning back to the law. You will see him trying to help some of his brethren at Colossae. There were some men who were trying to beguile them (Colossians 2:4). Some would take them captive by vain deceit (Colossians 2:8). Some would seek to bind upon them the law concerning meats and drink, holy days, new moons and sabbath days (Colossians 2:16). Paul would have them to know that such a law was not now in effect. Notice what he had to say about what Jesus did concerning the law in His death upon the cross: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).

Again, you will find him making the same observation, in a different way, in the Galatian letter. Here he will tell them not to go back to the law. Notice that he will have to say: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). There can be no question that he is speaking of the law (Galatians 5:2-4). Here he shows that if one goes back to the practice of the law concerning circumcision, Christ will profit him nothing, he makes himself a debtor to do the whole law and he would fall from grace. So for them to seek to practice that which was no longer in effect would place their souls in danger.

But would this not be the same with those of our day who would return to the law for a day to observe, such as the sabbath, or the use of the mechanical instrument? If not, what would be the difference? The principle is the same. Would this not be an attempt to practice that which is not in effect?

You would have the same thing as those who would follow John’s baptism after the baptism of the great commission became effective. Take the case of those twelve disciples at Ephesus. We know that Paul would encourage them to be baptized properly according to the directions of the great commission (Acts 19:1-6).


We have this being played out before our eyes this very day. There is absolutely no question about the biblical injunctions against homosexuality and lesbianism. Notice the language of Paul in his letter to the church at Rome. Here he said, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” (Romans 1:26). Did you notice the word change? Does this not point up the fact that such a practice is a perversion of that which is right? But this statement will tell you how far they have gone. When he said, “even their women,” he means they are now doing the same kinds of things the men were doing. But there is no endorsement found in Paul’s writing. You will find him commending some who had ceased such practices (I Corinthians 6:9-11). If you will read verse 11, you will find that he classes these kinds of people as those who will not enter the kingdom of God. But men pay no attention to the inspired attitudes toward such sinfulness.

So, when we observe the reactions to the Word of God, we find men seeking to make it of none effect, some practicing that which is no longer in effect, and some ignoring that which is still in effect.

Winfred Clark



Sometimes those of us who have been privileged to routinely hear sound gospel preaching come to take it for granted. To those who have had the “other kind” of preaching, the plain unvarnished truth boldly proclaimed and defended is a cool, uplifting, and refreshing draft of essential spiritual nourishment. I assure you that is not what many churches that continue to have church of Christ “above the door” are hearing. Many of the churches that are not openly promoting false doctrines, refrain from dealing with the first principles and fundamentals of Christianity that set the church of our Lord far apart from denominational sectarian churches founded and sustained on the commandments and doctrines of men.


Someone has well said that “as the pulpit goes, so goes the church.” I may also add that “as the eldership goes, so goes the pulpit.” But, that is not the end to “what and when” and “where they go.” If the church members do not respect Bible authority in all things (Colossians 3:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15; Hebrews 4:12; Luke 8:11,15; Ephesians 6:17; James 1:25; John 12:48), they will not tolerate scriptural elders who superintend the church according to God’s will. Such a rebellious church will raise up elders who are “men pleasers.” When this happens and is not corrected, gone is “the faithful spiritual neighborhood that is the church.”


As noted, one of the first things to go when such rebellion permeates the bride of Christ is the faithful courageous gospel preacher. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:3-4).

Indeed, today we are in the midst of a “fable” loving people. Furthermore, we are living among “forgetful” people. As good Jeremiah declared of apostate fleshly Israel, so it is with spiritual Israel, the church. “Can a maid forget her ornaments or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32). Because so many in the church love “fables,” they have replaced the truth of the gospel with them. In general brethren have forgotten that…:

  1. “God is not man that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19);
  2. To rebellious man “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31);
  3. “God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7)―man shall reap what he sows.
  4. “The conclusion of the whole matter…” for man “is to fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13);
  5. The love of God always manifests itself in faithful obedience to God’s commandments (John 14:15; I John 2:5; 5:3).
  6. Christ saves only those who obey him (John 14:6; Hebrews 5:9; Romans 6:3-4; 17-18; Acts 10:48);
  7. There is only one plan of salvation (Romans 10:17; Acts 17:30; Romans 10:10; Acts 22:16);
  8. There is only one church acceptable to God and she contains all those who are saved by Christ (Acts 2:38; 47; Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 5:25-27).
  9. The Lord’s church exists any time and any where men will obey the gospel and “continue stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; Acts 2:42).
  10. The church of Christ is not a denomination; that is, she is not a part of the whole church, but she is the whole church or realm of the saved (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23);
  11. The kingdom of Christ and the church of Christ are one and the same institution (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 41-42, 47; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9; II Corinthians 15:24-28).                                                                         


While there are other marks of identity of the Lord’s church found on the pages of the New Testament, the above are sufficient to set forth those gospel truths that are not being taught by certain brethren. Yet, to be a faithful gospel preacher one must, with the apostle Paul, be able to declare: “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).~

with a question. “Why do ye transgress the commandment omind. It was the commandment having to do with honoring father and mother (Matthew 15:4). But how were they reacting to this word?

David P. Brown