Baptists/Conversion without Legalism/Rules
I was in the United Pentecostal Church International UPCI; 'Holiness Oneness Apostolic Pentecostal' minister.
Two views of conversion that I get mixed up about:
1. Acts 2:38 view - must be baptized in Jesus' name [only] by immersion [only] to be saved, must receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues, and have the standards of holiness to be saved (e.g., what to wear and not wear); some of the rules was long skirts, women must wear hose, long sleeves, no jewelry, no make-up
2. Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. And, at the moment you call upon the name of the Lord, is when the conversion occurs, without the requirement of water baptism, without the requirement of speaking in tongues, and without rules, without legalism, and without standards. Just the faith statement: when you call on the name of the Lord.
How does one keep Acts 2:38 and Romans 10:13 to be saved without contradiction?
Later, I started going in with the United Methodists. As Methodists, we believe:
-we absolutely convinced that we are saved by grace through faith without legalism
-the moment you believe and confess
-that conversion occurs with just the faith statement, when you call on the name of the Lord; and to do it without tongues, legalism, and without water baptism. It is the moment you believe and confess.
I'm in a Methodist Church where that is how we do it and believe.
1. Some Baptists think that because we are Methodist we are not saved, why is that?
2. I am about to preach my first sermon in the Methodist church, would love to try preaching this conversion, on Romans 10:13, and to get them to call on the name of the Lord with just the faith statement, without tongues, without legalism, without rules, and without baptism. They [the Methodist] found out about it. They also found out that I was a strict Pentecostal that believes in standards and being strict. Because of that, some of the girls, were coming forward, asking the office, if they could make just the faith statement, if they could call on the name of the Lord, without standards, and if they could do it while wearing a miniskirt, and if they could be and do it bare-legged. THe girls want to experience conversion in the United Methodist church, and call on the name of the Lord, and they asked to wear a miniskirt and to do it bare-legged, some others in the church said it was okay, because we are saved by grace through faith without legalism.
I've grown from legalism, I want to say it is okay for them to do it. To celebrate salvation without legalism, so that the girls can call on the name of the Lord, for conversion, while wearing a miniskirt and being doing it bare-legged. Because, I was into legalism, I would like to say that I think the girls look very pretty. How should I? And, is it okay?
I had to get this out, from after coming out of legalism. To God be the Glory!
Thank You for hearing and helping,
ANSWER: As I wrote to you a couple of years ago on this subject, “Any reliance on outward expression for salvation is risky, because it may or may not be an expression of a genuine belief in God's salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Acts 2:38 and Romans 10:13 both say we have to be willing to accept Jesus as our Lord (call upon the name of the LORD, not the name of a friend, sugar daddy, or savior from pain or persecution). You can’t accept Jesus as your Lord if you aren’t willing to repent (die to your sins, which is what is outwardly shown as being buried under water baptism), and willing to have the Holy Spirit live in you to guide your obedience to your Lord Jesus Christ.
It sounds like miniskirts may cause you to stumble. If so, I suggest that you ask a mature Christian woman to explain Romans 14:21 to those who wear miniskirts with bare legs.
As before, I agree with you wholeheartedly, “To God be the Glory!”
That's the key answer to all our concerns and questions--what DOES brings God glory in a given situation?
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Just a couple more matters:
-Oneness Pentecostals believe - 4-step conversion; must repent, be water baptized, receive the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and be compliant to all the standards of holiness (rules).
-Holiness churches - 2 or 3-step conversion; must repent, maybe sanctification, and be compliant to all the standards of holiness (rules)
-Roman Catholic Church - 2-step conversion; must do penance (have to track all sins) for justification, must be water baptized
-Greek Orthodox Church - 2-step conversion; must repent, and be baptized
-Other Protestants (Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Church of Christ) - 2-step conversion; must repent and be baptized
-For regular evangelicals, that believe that conversion occurs, at the moment of, when you believe and confess, without/before water baptism, etc.
What are some scripture references that show conversion is instantaneous? At belief only/faith only; without/before water baptism?
-A member from my prior denomination, United Pentecostal Church International UPC, gave there reason for not taking and using the book of Romans to preach salvation (conversion, how to become a Christian) and said,
“As far as the book of Romans goes, I believe Paul was specifically speaking to the Roman church. These people were already saved. If I am not mistaken, Paul wrote several letters to churches that were already established.”
-This is the UPC patent answer as to why they do not look to Romans or any of Paul’s letters to preach salvation, or conversion, or how to become a Christian.
If someone were to give you this answer, line of reason, or (we could say cope out), what you say?
How should I handle it? – should I go into the fact that I used to be UPC and now Christian, an Evangelical, in the United Methodist Church? Do you think this should be included as part of a good testimony? Or, should I just go straight to communicating what I believe, speaking as a Methodist, a regular Christian?
Thank You Much,
Sounds like you’re getting good mental exercise, analyzing the different categories of beliefs. Might get to be an endless task.
There are all kinds of excuses for not giving God the glory for His salvation and His Word that He has provided and preserved for us at great cost. The whole Bible (not just Romans) testifies to God’s plan from the beginning to have a love relationship with humans if we recognize our need for God and rely on His provision for salvation from sin to have everlasting life.
There may be people who don’t have the “correct” words or verses to explain their reliance on God, but God knows the hearts of everyone and knows who has entrusted themselves to Him and who hasn’t, even though we can’t know for sure.
A good testimony is giving thanks for all God has provided for us, most of all salvation, and how our Creator can be trusted, no matter what we face in this temporary life.
Our perspective of “timing” of conversion may not be quite as accurate as God’s perspective, since He knows beginning, end, and everything in between. We just need to assure people to always have a heart willing to follow Him. We can’t change yesterday, whether we were converted or not, but we can open ourselves to Him today, through His Word.
John 3 is helpful.
May the Lord guide you with His love and truth.