hello again , I was just wanting your thoughts on the following verses that tend to show baptism as a part of salvation and quotes from early church fathers who believed it was.
VERSES THAT SEEM TO SHOW BAPTISM IS A PART OF SALVATION:
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
THE EARLY ANTE NICENE CHURCH FATHERS BELIEVED IN BAPTISM REGENERATION:
110-165 AD Martyr The "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles" also refer to John 3:5. There, the one who refuses to be baptized is to be condemned as an unbeliever, partially on the basis of what Jesus told Nicodemus.... "He that, out of contempt, will not be baptized, shall be condemned as an unbeliever, and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says: 'Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned.'" (Justin Martyr "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, pg. 456-457.)
110-165AD Martyr "there is no other way [to obtain God's promises] than this-to become acquainted with Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the remainder, to live sinless lives." (Justin Martyr, Trypho chap. 44)
110-165AD Martyr "Those who are convinced that what we teach is true and who desire to live accordingly are instructed to fast and to pray to God for the remission of all their past sins. We also pray and fast with them. Then we bring them to a place where there is water, and they are regenerated in the same manner in which we ourselves were regenerated. They then receive the washing with water in the name of God (the Father and Lord of the universe) and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ said, 'Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"' [John 3:5]. (Justin First Apology chant 61)
120-205 AD IRENAEUS "As we are lepers in sin, we are made clean from our old transgressions by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord. We are thus spiritually regenerated as newborn infants, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'" Irenaeus, "Fragments From Lost Writings", no. 34, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 574)
120-205 AD IRENAEUS "This class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole faith." (Against Heresies, bk. 1, chap. 21, sec. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, pg. 345.)
140-230 AD Tertullian "Baptism itself is a corporal act by which we are plunged into the water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from our sins" (Baptism 7:2).
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life! A treatise on this matter will not be superfluous; instructing not only such as are just becoming formed in the faith... The consequence is, that a viper of the Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism. Which is quite in accordance with nature; for vipers and asps and serpents themselves generally do affect arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes after the example of our ikhthus, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water; so that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes, by taking them away from the water!" (On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 669.)
140-230 AD TERTULLIAN "The prescript is laid down that 'without baptism, salvation is attainable by none' chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, 'Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.'" (On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, pg. 674-675)
150-200 AD CLEMENT "Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal... This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing. Washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly." (Clement of Alexandria, "The Instructor," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pg. 215)
While time doesnot allow me to 'dig' into all this information you have sent me, Iwill try to shed some lighton your question about baptism. First you need to see how rhe Bible uses "baptize." I'm sure you know that baptism is a distinctively New Testament practice. We first hear about baptism in the Gospels, in their report of John the Baptist's ministry. John was calling the people of Israel to turn back to God in preparation of their coming deliverer.
Those who responded were to repent and , in acknowledgment of their sins and their personal commitment to change their way of life, they were to be baptized publically by John. The water did nothing. It was a ritual to 'show' others that they were turning their lives around and turning back to God. Note, the ritual had no value in itself. That's important to know and remember as you study the Fathers of old.
Years later John's baptism was set in contrast with people who knew Jesus and had entered into a relationship with God far deeper than those who the Baptish had baptized.But do remember Josh, John the Baptish DID warn of a powerful person who would soon appear and baptize not with water "but with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 3:11; Luke 3:16; Mark 1:8). Acts tells of a day when that promise WAS fullfilled (Acts 2:1-4; 10:45-47; 11:15-17). Read this and hold on to it. The Holy Spirit was given to the church (believers) and filled all of them! In that unique event, marked by the outward signs of visible flames and a rushing wind, a new spiritual age began. To find the real defination of 'spiritual baptism' read I Corinthians 12:13: "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body __ whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free___ and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." Theologically Josh, baptism is that special work of God the Holy Spirit by which the person who believes IN Jesus IS joined TO Jesus and his body IN spiritual union.
Paul reflects the same thing. Dwell in Romans 6:3-5, 8; Col. 2:12. So as you study the Fathers and other critics, keep in mind OUR VIEW of baptism should be shaped by the deep spiritual significance of 'UNION' with Jesus. "Except a man be baptized of water 'and of the Spirit', he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven." As with the Baptish, the people of Isrel who responded, was baptised (a ritual), bur the 'spiritual baptism' includes the Holy Spirit of God. Water baptism (ritual) does not spiritually unite us with Jesus. It takes an act of God!
Josh, you would have to do an indepth study on each of the Fathers to know fully what they believed in regard to baptism. I'm sorry that time does not allow me to research each of those you sent to me. But as you seek your conclusion on each of them, keep before you all that I stated in the beginning of this communication. Spiritual baptism is the work of God the Holy Spirit (not water - not a ritual), but God only. God washes away our sins by the blood of Jesus.
I appreciate the quotes you sent me, I hope to find 'personal time' to delve into them. We must remember that they are only people like us, with opinions, bias,education, experience and vision. The ground is level at the cross. Like them, we study and we strive. Jesus says if we seek we will find! I'm always reminded in the Gospels where Jesus said " They say...., but I say.." We need to listen carefully to what Jesus says Josh. He backs everything He says by His actions... look to the cross.
I hope this is helpful to you. If you need more please let me know. Try to shorten your inquiry because of the time limit put upon me. You are a very impressive young man and it pleases me that you are interested in such important subjects. I know God will continue to bless you as you strive to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
God bless, my friend.
Rev. Ramona Stonecipher