Ordinances

 

 

Baptism is not a religious ordinance instituted by Christ to be universally observed

 

 

 

Salvation Army does not practice water baptism. In The History of the Salvation Army we read that ‘at first the Christian Mission had adopted the usages of the churches to which its earliest leaders were accustomed, notably outward baptism (christening) and outward communion (the Lord’s supper), and these were continued until – after full and prayerful consideration – the General [William Booth] decided to abandon them, through earnest conviction that there was no scriptural warrant for the view that these observances were essential to salvation or were to be perpetuated’ (R. Sandall, The History of the Salvation Army, London, 1950, Vol. 2, page 130). That’s why the members of the Salvation Army do not practice water baptism.

The main grounds upon which it was decided to cease to perform outward baptism were:

1. That the all-important baptism enjoined in the New Testament was the baptism of God the Holy Spirit.

2. Over and above all other indications that baptism is not required of partakers of the New Covenant is the record that its Author and Finisher, the Lord Jesus Christ, did not baptise.

3. The lack of any scriptural basis for the claim that it is essential to salvation; and the overwhelming evidence to the contrary provided by the multitudes who unquestionably have become ‘new creatures in Christ Jesus,’ and who have continued ‘steadfast in the faith’ without having been outwardly baptised.

4. The conflicting views held as to how and when it should be performed (cf. Ibid., page 132).

Quakers also do not practice water baptism. They say in the Declaration of Faith issued by the Richmond conference in 1887: ‘We would express our continued conviction that our Lord appointed no outward rite or ceremony for observance in His church ….’ According to them, there is no scriptural evidence for the establishment of any ordinance or ceremonial rite for perpetual observance.

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scripture teaches that Christ instituted water baptism and that it must be administered to all those who have believed on Him. Here is what Jesus Christ commanded His apostles before He was taken up into heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you ….” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The apostles of the Lord commanded those who believed in the Gospel to be baptized. The Scripture says that on the day of Pentecost, Peter said to those who were pricked in their heart and asked what they had to do: ‘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” (Acts 2:38). And it says also that Peter, when he saw that the Holy Spirit had come upon Cornelius and his household, “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48 – NKJV).

When Ananias, a disciple who lived in Damascus whom the Lord sent to lay his hands on Saul so that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit, had laid his hands on Saul, he said to Saul: “Now, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized ….” (Acts 22:16 – NKJV).

Philip the evangelist baptized those who believed, for it is written that when the people of Samaria “believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12 – NKJV).

The apostle Paul, even though he said that Christ did not send him to baptize but to preach the Gospel, baptized several believers. He baptized the about twelve disciples he met at Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:5); and he baptized also Crispus, and Gaius and the household of Stephanas (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:14-16).

In the light of what the Scripture says, therefore, all those who have believed in the Lord must be baptized immediately. If you are a member of the Salvation Army or the Society of Friends, therefore, and you have not yet been baptized in water, I exhort you to be baptized as soon as possible.

 

 

 

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