The 10 Theses Of BaptismPeter Kucenski
(An Official Theological Statement of the ACCS)
Thesis I God’s Judgment is for All and He has a plan of Salvation for All
God has made no distinction at all between young and old, male and female in regard to the need for salvation (Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:12-14) or in his judgment of them (Genesis 19:23-25, Exodus 20:5, 1 Samuel 15:3 and 2 Peter 2:4-8). God therefore also has a plan of salvation for all people regardless of their age or sex (2 Peter 2:9, 2 Samuel 12:15-23, Luke 1:39-45 and 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Thesis II Salvation is not of us or from anything that we do
The Gift of salvation cannot be tied to anything that we do or profess, but rather it is of God and freely given by God (Ephesians 2:1-10, Ephesians 1:7-10 and Acts 16:14). Therefore those who cannot physically perform any good works or state any outward profession, namely the unborn, the infants, the disabled, certainly can be saved by God (2 Samuel 12:15-23 and Galatians 2:16). However those who can profess shall and will desire to do the good works of faith (James 2:14-26) and profess their beliefs (Matthew 10:32, 33).
Thesis III Baptism, which has taken the place of circumcision, is for all people of all generations of all ages, of both sexes marking them as a member of God’s people and it is the sign of His covenant with them
Baptism, which is the sign of the new covenant, has taken the place of circumcision, which was the sign of the old covenant (Colossians 2:11, 12 and Hebrews 9:11-15). Therefore if circumcision, which was performed on infant males of Israel and the adult males as well to mark them as God’s people as a sign of God’s covenant (Genesis 17:9-14), it would be unreasonable to not consider if baptism must also be performed on infant males and adult males of Christian families as well. We see that it can and should be practiced on them because God Himself commanded that all nations, which were not limited by age or sex, should be baptized (Matthew 28:18-20). This is further exemplified by the many examples of entire families (households) being baptized (Acts 16:11-15, Acts 16:25-34, 1 Corinthians 1:14-17, and Acts 10:24, 34, 35, 44-48) and the entire nation of Israel who was baptized in the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1, 2). Finally, God commanded that the children must not be hindered from coming to him and woe to those who would forbid them (Mark 10:13-16 and Mark 9:42). Therefore, baptism is not limited by sex (Acts 8:12) or by age and marks all His people as children of God as a sign of His covenant with them.
Thesis IV In addition Baptism is also the washing of sins. Therefore, because of that, it cannot be of the law or of ourselves
Baptism is wholly a part of Grace and not of the law because it confers upon us on the one hand both the physical representation and the actual and spiritual markings of the new covenant (Thesis III). Then on the other hand also the physical representation and the actual forgiveness of sins through the spiritual (Acts 22:14-16, Romans 6:4, 1 Peter 3:21, 22 and Ephesians 5:25-27). Therefore, because we know that anything that is of salvation (i.e. the forgiveness of sins) is from God (Thesis II) then baptism must also be of Grace. The physical is through the water and the Spiritual is through the Word (Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 1:5). However, neither the spiritual nor the physical can be separated from the other because this is how God commanded a baptism to be performed (Matthew 28:19). That makes Baptism the anti-type of circumcision because circumcision was of the law (if one was not circumcised they would have been cut off from God’s people (Genesis 17:9-14) and Grace cannot and does not judge therefore it must be of the Law) even though circumcision was a sign of the promise and the promise is of Grace (Galatians 3:17).
Thesis V Children and infants are under the rule of their parents, adults under the Governance, but both to God First
Children are to be subject to their parents and therefore ought to do as they say (Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20, 21 and Exodus 20:12). Those who are adults are no longer under the rule of their parents (Genesis 2:23, 24), although they still ought to honor their parents, and they are still not only subject to themselves, but also to the governing authority (Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, 2 and Mark 12:17). Finally, whether young or old, all must honor the governing authority, but they all must also obey God first. In this not using God as an opportunity to disobey the governance nor the governance as an opportunity to sin (Acts 5:26-32, Daniel 3:13-18, Mark 7:9-13 and Romans 13:1-7).
Thesis VI By Faith and obedience towards God of the Parents, Children and Infants are Baptized
Those who are Christian Families, who have had children, will desire to do the works of faith and be obedient to God under Grace (James 2:14-26). Therefore having an understanding that God works faith through hearing of the word, that God has promised that their Children are clean, and that they are heirs by their heritage (Deuteronomy 7:9, 2 Kings 10:30, Genesis 17:1-8, 1 Corinthians 7:10-14 and Acts 2:38, 39) Christian parents will baptize their children having confidence in their salvation. That confidence is because their children are under their authority and come to God by their direction and their obedience (Acts 16:11-15 and Acts 16:25-34). Moreover it would be sin for them not to do so because it is their good work (James 4:17). However, if their child falls away and utterly refuses the training and admonition in the Lord that their parents have given the child, then the parents will be held blameless and the child held accountable (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
Thesis VII By Faith and obedience towards God of the individual, Adults are Baptized
Those who are adults who have become Christians will desire to do the works of faith and to be marked as a child of God. Therefore, they will both confess God and desire baptism out of their own faith and obedience to God under Grace. Moreover, when an adult has become a Christian their baptism occurs at or closely following their conversion (Matthew 3:13-17, Acts 8:9-13, Acts 8:34-39 and Acts 2:37-41).
Thesis VIII Baptism is not a requirement of Salvation nor is it a guarantee of Salvation
Baptism is an instrument of salvation (Galatians 3:26-29, Romans 6:1-4 and Mark 16:16), but salvation is through faith (Ephesians 2:4-10). And faith, working in us creates the desire to be baptized (Thesis VI and Thesis VII). However, baptism is not a requirement nor is it a guarantee of salvation (Mark 16:14-16). However, with faith and Baptism comes the promise of God that he is faithful to us regardless of our faithfulness to Him (2 Timothy 2:13) and He being much more diligent and longsuffering towards us will seek us out when we are lost (Matthew 18:10-14, Luke 15, John 10:25-30 and 1 Corinthians 1:4-9). Although we should not use God’s promise as a means by which we believe we can then harden our hearts towards God and sin without consequence and judgment (2 Timothy 2:11, 12, Hebrews 10:26-31 and Romans 6:11-23). We still come to God and each other with a contrite and repentant heart when we sin (1 John 5:16, 17 and Matthew 5:23, 24), but now believing that he forgives our sins (1 John 1:8-10) and having that knowledge we go forward in the joyfulness of that forgiveness desiring to sin no more (John 8:2-11).
Thesis IX Baptism does not have a required amount of water nor is the amount what is important
When God commanded that we should baptize in Matthew 28:19 He did not specify the amount of water to be applied. Therefore, no amount of water can be mandated for the performance of Baptism nor does the water hold the power, rather it is in the Word (Thesis IV). So then if the power is in the Word than more water does not confer more or less benefit than using less water. In the same way more water is not more or less righteous than using less water.
Thesis X Baptism is applied once
First considering that Baptism has taken the place of circumcision (Thesis III), and circumcision could only be performed once, it is reasonable to consider that Baptism also should only be performed once. Moreover, Baptism is the washing of sins and the marker of God’s new covenant in which we are baptized into both his death and into his resurrection (Thesis IV). That being true, than we must also consider this, that Christ died once and was raised once for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:11-15, 23-28). Therefore many baptisms are not necessary nor are they beneficial because there is only one time to be baptized into. Finally, those who were baptized by John, who prepared the way for Christ (Matthew 3:1-3), were baptized into repentance (Matthew 3:7-11). John’s baptism prepared them for the Baptism of Christ (Acts 19:1-7) because John pointed them to the future for their savior (John 1:29-31) just as Moses pointed the Israelites to the future Prophet (i.e. Christ) (Deuteronomy 18:15). Moreover, those who were baptized by John still would have been saved even without the Baptism of Christ just as the Israelites and Moses were saved before Christ.
Copyright © 2011 by Peter Kucenski. All rights reserved.