EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was in The Elk City (Okla.) Daily News a few years ago. It pictured the religious landscape then, and nothing has changed today.
Four weeks ago, we at the Northeast church of Christ published an article called “Wash Away Your Sins,” which argued from the Apostle Paul’s conversion in Acts 9, 22, and 26 that sinners are not saved from their sins until they are baptized.
Below the article, we listed our mailing address and an e-mail address for anyone with questions or comments. No one has responded, in spite of the fact that approximately 92 percent of you who read the article disagree with its conclusion.
This is too bad. We hoped that someone who disagreed might write to us explaining how he thought the article misfired. We hoped for real dialogue.
Last spring, after publishing some articles on Mormonism, a kind and courteous Latter Day Saint wrote to us to make his case, and we have enjoyed a cordial and robust discussion comparing the Bible with the Book of Mormon since then.
But with baptism, no takers.
This, in spite of the fact that salvation by faith alone, or one of its off-shoots, has been common among Protestants since denominationalism arose in the 1500s. And based on the radio programs, articles, tracts and conversations we’ve observed over the years, almost no one is teaching the biblical requirement of baptism for the remission of sins.
This may be symptomatic of a problem in America today: People don’t discuss the Bible. There’s plenty of talk about “religion,” but little or no discussion of biblical passages.
Our last article covered the passages dealing with Paul’s conversion from Acts 9, 22 and 26, and we concluded that Paul was still in his sins after believing and repenting. His sins weren’t washed away until he was baptized.
There must be widespread disagreement among those of you who read it, yet no one responded, even though opening the Bible and reasoning from the scriptures is in the tradition of the Apostle Paul (see Acts 17:1-3).
And the subject is an important one since it deals with salvation. If salvation depends on baptism, then many of you have been misled and your souls are in danger. If our last article was wrong, we are in danger for teaching error.
Hopefully, you care enough about souls—yours own, and ours—to think about these matters. And hopefully, one day soon, we’ll see people actually want to discuss the Bible, the way people around here, in the so-called “Bible Belt,” used to.