Cled E. Wallace
As long as men—and some preachers are the worst offenders—rant against the plain teaching of the New Testament, it is our duty to oppose them. L.W. Carlin had a long article in the Baptist and Reflector on “Salvation By Grace” and prayed “that God may use it to refute the Christ dishonoring, soul destroying doctrine of salvation by works.” Some of the language he uses reveals the fact that he is highly inflamed by prejudice and thereby disqualified to examine certain texts of scripture. He says among other things:
All the works of men such as baptism, church-membership, right-living and all other bodily acts for (in order to) salvation are excluded. All who are ever saved, are saved before, and without baptism. The gospel which saves is not a gospel of works but a gospel of grace: baptism, and those who add baptism, church membership, and other works of men for salvation, do not preach the gospel, and therefore they have no saviour, no salvation, and are under the curse of God.
A man who thinks that baptism and church membership are incompatible with grace knows too little about both grace and works to break loose in the paper. He should be receiving instruction instead of trying to give it.
Paul says that Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb. 5:9). He also says that both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to God in the one body, the church (Eph. 2:16). When convicted sinners asked Peter what to do to be saved he told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). Baptism is not a work of human righteousness. It bears the names of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and belongs to the “obedience of faith.” “Ye are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Can a man be saved out of Christ?
Mr. Carlin did not reach the climax his article really deserved. His closing sentence should have been “He that believeth and will not be baptized shall be saved.” Christ says that “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” How can it be “Christ dishonoring, soul destroying” for a man to have confidence enough in Jesus to do what he says and expect him to fulfill his promise? A man is not depending on his “own works for salvation” when he comes to Jesus, hears his words and does them. A man who refuses to obey Christ must depend on his “own works” or nothing. He is certainly not depending on the Lord.