Ben Thinkin’ #6: Denominational Baptism, Job’s Wife, How To Prepare Fish4 min read
[The Ben Thinkin’ series is a venue for answering questions my readers have submitted. I answer several questions in each post. If you would like to submit questions for future Ben Thinkin’ posts, please leave them in a comment at the end of the article or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Kristy asks, “Do you believe baptism within/by a denominational church is acceptable?”
Not wishing to over-simplify the answer – no. I wish all denominational/interdenominational churches would not only cease from baptizing, but also would close their doors and disband entirely. Jesus hates denominationalism (1 Cor. 1:10-13; John 17:20-21). If the question is about baptism being “acceptable,” (as in it being good, preferable, ideal) then the answer is clear. We have no choice but to discourage anyone from being baptized into a denominational church; it is neither good, preferable, or ideal.
We understand that doing the right thing is essential to salvation. Three times in the New Testament the question is asked, “What must I do to be saved?” (cf. Acts 2:37; Acts 22:10, cf. 9:6; Acts 16:30). This is not to say that our actions alone save us. Clearly, God’s grace is what saves us (Eph. 2:8-9). But to be saved, we must follow His prescription on how to receive His grace and be forgiven of sin. To be saved by God’s grace, we must (a) believe in God, believe in the resurrection of His Son, and believe in Christ’s kingdom (the church); (b) repent of our sins and begin walking after Christ; (c) be baptized specifically for the forgiveness of sins and into the body of Christ (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16, cf. 9:18; Acts 16:31-33). I do not know of many denominational/interdenominational churches that teach that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (cf. 1 Pet. 3:21; Mark 16:16), nor do I know of many denominational/interdenominational churches that teach that baptism is what places us into Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). Additionally, denominational baptisms are often scheduled weeks in advance, and they are often not even done by full immersion in water.
We also must understand that knowing the right thing is essential to salvation. Throughout the New Testament’s examples of conversion, there are certain explicitly stated or implied facts one must believe in order to faithfully obey God’s prescription to be saved by His grace. First, one must believe in God (Heb. 11:6) and know that salvation and eternal life is found in Christ (cf. 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 John 5:11). Second, one must have at least a basic knowledge of Christ’s kingdom (Acts 8:12), which is the church (cf. Matt. 16:18-19). There is only one church (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4), and when we are saved, we are added to that church (1 Cor. 12:12-13 cf. Acts 2:47). Obviously, being baptized into a denominational church would demonstrate that one does not understand the nature of Christ’s church. Third, one must understand what repentance involves (Acts 2:38; 3:19; Matt. 3:8; 21:28-29). Fourth, one must understand that baptism is what puts us into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4) and that at the point of baptism we are forgiven of our sins (Acts 2:38).
It breaks my heart when someone is baptized for the wrong reasons or with a perverted understanding of baptism. Jesus wants us to compassionately “teach” and then “baptize” (which necessitates that there are some things one must know first) in order to make faithful disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).
Mary asks, “What happened to Job’s wife?”
I do not know; perhaps only God will ever know. She is mentioned briefly in Job 2:9 when she told her suffering husband, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” Indeed, Job’s wife must have been suffering too; not only did she have to witness her husband’s debilitating pain, but she also witnessed the death of her children and the loss of her family’s wealth (Job 1:13-22). She will forever remind us of how discouraging it can be when a man’s helpmeet forfeits her faith in God.
Did she die? Did she repent? Maybe one day we will find out. I like to think she repented, and that she was the mother of the ten additional children with whom Job was blessed (Job 42:12-17).
Hunter asks, “In Luke 24:41, how did Jesus eat fish after He was risen from the dead?”
Verse 42 says He ate it “broiled.”
On a serious note, we need to remember that Jesus’ resurrection was a physical, bodily resurrection. That He physically ate fish reminds us of that fact. The apostle Thomas was told to touch the wounds on Jesus body when he doubted Christ’s bodily resurrection (John 20:27). In fact, over 500 people saw Jesus after He arose from the grave (1 Cor. 15:6). This was no myth, legend, or symbolic fairytale – this really happened! And because of this, we have hope (1 Cor. 15:12-19). All of Christianity rests on this fact.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged, even if they are in disagreement. However, please keep your comments relevant to the article. For my full comment policy, click here.