Unbaptized Christians?

John A. Keith

When I heard recently that a member of the staff at David Lipscomb University had made a statement to the effect that there are "un-baptized Christians" in all denominations, I had to find out if that was the case. Hearsay can be very dangerous. Although I trust my brethren, it is best to get facts straight from the source.

I found Gary Holloway's e-mail address on the internet and posed this question: "Is it the case that you believe there are UN-baptized Christians in denominations?" Two days later, his reply came as follows: "I'm simply saying what I have been taught all my life in Churches of Christ, We are Christians only, not the only Christians. Exactly what that means I think we must each discover for ourselves."

In my second letter to him, I attempted to use the Scriptures to instruct an obviously confused brother. This short letter printed here may be of some use to one or more of you, dear readers. (Incidentally, I e-mailed this to Mr. Holloway on February 13, 2006; and, as of June 8, I have not received a response.)

"I have never heard that 'We are Christians only, not the only Christians' in churches of Christ. The church of Christ is not the authority in these matters anyhow. The gospel of Christ is THE authority (Romans 1:16). Obviously, congregations can, and have, departed from the truth, but the gospel of Christ remains the same.

"How can one fellowship and worship 'in spirit and truth' (John 4:24) those who claim salvation by faith only? 'Faith only' is mentioned but once in the Scriptures; James 2:24 'Ye see <G3708> then <G5106> how that <G3754> by <G1537> works <G2041> a man <G444> is justified <G1344>, and <G2532> not <G3756> by <G1537> faith <G4102> only <G3440>.'

"Matthew 26:28 Jesus says, 'For <G1063> this <G5124> is <G2076> my <G3450> blood <G129> of the new <G2537> testament <G1242>, which <G3588> is shed <G1632> for <G4012> many <G4183> for <G1519> the remission <G859> of sins <G266>.'

"Acts 2:38 Luke writes, 'Then <G1161> Peter <G4074> said <G5346> unto <G4314> them <G846>, Repent <G3340>, and <G2532> be baptized <G907> every one <G1538> of you <G5216> in <G1909> the name <G3686> of Jesus <G2424> Christ <G5547> for <G1519> the remission <G859> of sins <G266>, and <G2532> ye shall receive <G2983> the gift <G1431> of the Holy <G40> Ghost <G4151>.'

"Notice the highlighted phrases in the above two passages and permit me to make a couple of observations: First, according to Matthew 26:28, Christ's blood had to have been shed before remission of sins was available through Him. Second, according to Acts 2:38, one must repent and be baptized (immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins) before remission of sins is availed to that one. Therefore, one who has not been baptized for the remission of sins is not saved.

"So, my question, then, is, 'How can an unsaved person have any claim to being a Christian?'

"As for each one discovering 'for ourselves,' Proverbs 16:25 ('There is <H3426> a way <H1870> that seemeth right <H3477> unto <H6440> a man <H376>, but the end <H319> thereof are the ways <H1870> of death.') <H4194> comes to mind. We must look to God's prophetic word to discover what He wants, not what we would like." -70 Gale Ave., Newport, OH 45768. (740) 473 2528.


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