The church of Christ at Penngrove
Why do you teach that a person has to be baptized to be saved?
Because that’s what Jesus Himself said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). It’s also what His apostles taught through the rest of the New Testament, beginning with Peter at Pentecost. In response to the question the multitude asked at the end of Peter’s sermon (“What must we do?”), the apostle responded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). Peter would later state plainly that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21).
Doesn’t the Bible say we are saved by faith only?
Many religious teachers say this, but the Bible does not. In fact, the one place in the New Testament where the words “faith” and “only” (“alone” in some translations) appear together is in James 2:24, which reads, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.”
The Bible teaches that many factors contribute to our salvation: God’s grace (Ephesians 2:5,8); the gospel(Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2); love and knowledge of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Timothy 2:4); the blood of Jesus (Romans 5:9); the life of Christ (Romans 5:10); repentance(Acts 2:38; Acts 11:18); hope (Romans 8:24); the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12); calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13); confession (Romans 10:9); faith (Acts 16:31) and baptism (1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5). None of these can be emphasized to the exclusion of the others. Nor can any one be dispensed with. All are necessary.
Can’t I just accept Jesus into my heart, or pray a “sinner’s prayer,” to become a Christian?
Although both of these teachings are quite common today, you won’t find either in the Bible.
The New Testament book of Acts, a history of the early church, records several specific instances of conversion to Christ: three thousand people on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:37-42); a large number of men and women in Samaria, including a former magician named Simon (Acts 8:12-13); the royal treasurer from Ethiopia (Acts 8:26-40); Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19); a Roman centurion named Cornelius (Acts 10); a wealthy woman named Lydia and her household (Acts 16:13-15); a jailer in Philippi of Macedonia (Acts 16:25-34); Crispus, the leader of the synagogue at Corinth (Acts 18:8); twelve men who had been disciples of John the baptist (Acts 19:1-7). In each of these cases, without exception, people heard and believed the gospel and were baptized.
Search though you may, you won’t find a single recorded incident where a person “accepted Jesus into his or her heart” or prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” (or any other kind of prayer) in order to be saved, or where anyone was commanded by the apostles to do any of these things.
Why do you not have music in your worship services?
As a point of fact, we do have music: vocal music, congregational singing in which every worshiper participates. What we don’t have is music made using mechanical instruments.
The reason is simple — the Bible only authorizes Christians to sing praises to God. We are told to “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” to “sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Our sacrifice of praise is to be “the fruit of our lips” (Hebrews 13:15).
Although we are told to “sing psalms,” we are never told to “play psalms” in the New Testament. Nor do we have any example in Scripture of the early Christians, as led by the apostles of Jesus, using instrumental music. For us to add this practice to our worship when God has not authorized it would be to “think beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6) and to fail to abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). We don’t employ musical entertainers, such as choirs or soloists, for the same reason — God’s Word does not instruct us to have these.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
— Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16)