CHAPTER 27-SACRAMENTALISM AND BAPTISM
#Mt 3:11 12:41 Ac 2:38 1Pe 3:21
It is the glory of Baptists that we have preached a non- sacramental gospel. We are about the only great denomination in the world that holds that baptism neither saves, helps save, or keeps us saved. We have consistently held to the symbolism of the ordinances over against the sacramental idea. Baptism symbolizes a salvation already obtained through faith and sets forth in beautiful picture the great redemptive acts which are its objective causes.
Catholics have seven sacraments, Protestants have two, and Baptists have none. W. C. Taylor says that sacrament is a word of pagan militarism, alien to the New Testament and to apostolic Christianity. It took centuries to get the false translation of the word out of the printed Bibles, but the idea has outlived the word, and many religionists have no other concept of the ordinances.
And the idea is still expressed in the sacramental translation of the preposition eis. Sacramentalists make the preposition look only to the future, expressing purpose and never backwards, expressing cause. It can look either way and the context determines whether it looks forward in the sense of purpose or backwards in the sense of cause. Dr. Robertson says that it is not Greek grammar that determines the translations, but whether a man is evangelical or not. The general idea of the preposition eis is with reference to the context determining what the reference is "I indeed baptize you with water unto (eis) repentance" (#Mt 3:11). Phillips, an Anglican, translates #Mt 3:11: "I baptize you as a sign that your hearts are changed." Baptism is with reference to repentance; not in order to get a man to repent, but because he has repented.
Nineveh repented eis the preaching of Jonah; not in order to get Jonah to preach but because of his preaching.
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (#Ac 2:38) :etc. C. B. W.: "You must repent and, as expression of it, let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that you may have your sins forgiven." W. C. Taylor: "Be baptized on the basis of the remission of sins previously obtained by repentance."
"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" (#1Pe 3:21). R. S. V.: "Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience." In the Greek, the word for body is sarx, meaning the old sinful nature and the word for dirt is the word that means moral defilement. What Peter is saying is that Baptism saves only in figure and is not the washing away of the moral turpitude of depravity. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (#Re 22:11); "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (#Jas 1:21): James is not prescribing a physical bath for salvation. He is speaking of moral filth.
Sacrament: ``In classical usage means an oath, especially a military oath, and also a gauge in money laid down by two contending parties in court, is not strictly a Scriptural term, but occurs repeatedly in the Latin Vulgate as a translation of the Greek mysterion (mystery). It was first loosely employed for all sacred doctrines and ceremonies, and then more particularly for baptism and the Eucharist, and a few other solemn rites connected with Christian worship.''Schaff Hyphen Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
"The word was used in two senses
2. as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers." The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.