我們寫這篇文章主要是評論國際基督教會網址內的一篇文章 'Answers to the Critics'，這篇文章是他們被指為異端所作的申辯。他們的偏差主要是 :
一。主耶穌只建立了一間教會 (太16:18; 弗1:22-23, 4:4; 西1:18)，而每個城市只有一個聚會的地方 (林前1:2; 帖前1:1; 啟2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14)。
評論 : 他們混亂了新約中教會這觀念 (原文 : “ekklhsia”)其實有兩方面的意義 :
在各地聚會的信徒群體， 每個也代表著整體的教會 (1 Cor1:2; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; Rev1-3; Acts 5:11; 8:1; 11:22; 12:1,5; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor16:9; Col 4:15; etc)。現今不同的教會正是在不同地方聚會的信徒群體，像聖經時代各地也有不同的教會。
普世的信徒 (Matt 16:18; Eph1:22-23; 3:10,21; 4:4; 5:23; 1 Cor10:32; 11:22; 12:28; Col 1:18,24; Heb12 :23)。聖經中指的，主耶穌建立的教會乃指普世的信徒，而非只有一間教會。
二。認定只有他們是獨一純正和得著救恩的教會 : 他們指出 "We are aware of no other group anywhere today that teaches and holds to these standards for every member to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of his church."他們所指的準則乃 :
評論 : 除了第三點的 "受浸使罪得赦"外，以上四點也是純正福音派教會所持守和實行的基礎真理。
評論 : 這一點是他們與純正教會在教義上最大的差異，我們也十分重視浸禮，但決不視之為得救的必須，因違反了因信稱義的重要真理。以下是一些傅統福音派的論點:
浸禮沒有純一的外在功效 : 它不能賦予人重生的生命(1 Cor. 1:17; Heb. 9:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:21)，人只能因主耶穌的受死和復活得新生 (1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:25-26; Tit. 3:4-5)。浸禮是見証我們與主同死同活的事實。
內容引述自 : [A. Oepke, I, 529-46] Kittel, Gerhard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, Editors, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1985.
內容引述自 : Enhanced Strong Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995
約3:5中的"從水和聖靈生"，其中的 "水" 並非指浸禮，因在約1:33中早已將 "用施洗"與"用聖靈施洗"分別開來。這裡乃指聖靈重生的工作。
內容引述自 :The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.
徒2:38中並非指受浸是當時的門徒領受聖靈的方法，乃是應驗了之前早已有的預言(Mt3:11; Mk1:8; Lk3:16; Jn1:33 and Act1:15) - 於五旬節中聖靈會第一次明顯公開地降臨，表示新時代的開展。所以，領受聖靈非因受浸，乃因神早已有的應許。就如使徒門是在五習旬節前悔改信主，故他們是在悔改後便領受了聖靈。
徒 22:16中，保羅並不是指他的罪是靠浸禮洗去的，這裡乃指浸禮是罪得赦的明証和表徵。彼前3:20 中也指出，"這水禮本不在乎除掉肉體的洗禮，只求在神面前有無虧的良心"。可見，浸禮只能給人赦罪的知認知和肯定，但罪得赦乃是"藉著耶穌基督復活的拯救"而得，別無他法。這並不是要貶低浸禮的重要性，只是不想將其重要性過份地提高，置於信心之上，否則便是辜負了神無條件的恩典。浸禮是神賜給我們赦罪的一個表徵和保證，很寶貴和重要。可是，浸禮本身卻沒有什麼赦罪的功效，這是聖經十分明確的教導。
內容引述自 :Institutes of the Christian Religion , John Calvin, Ch.15, Sessions1.
1. They claimed that :
Jesus did not die to establish hundreds of churches, but only one church (i.e. Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23: 4:4; Col. 1:18), with a single congregation meeting in each city (i.e. 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; Rev. 2:1,8,12,18;3:1,7,14). When Christians walked into Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth or Rome, they did not have to ask for their kind of church. There was only one and everyone knew who the disciples were (Acts 11:26; 1 Cor. 1:2). Today that one original church has been broken into hundreds of disjointed pieces, contrary to Jesus' dying prayer (John 17: 20-21).
It seems that they have confuse the 2 important meanings of “Church” in the NT. The word “ekklhsia”in NT is refering to both :
This means that the one church as they claimed does not means one single church only, but universal believers - the whole body of those who through Christ’s death have been savingly reconciled to God and have received new life. Besides, what they refer to as “single congregation meeting” is actually the individual groups of believers in a specific place like Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth or Rome etc. Today that one original church has never been broken into hundreds of disjointed pieces (John 17: 20-21) , but only with different groups of believers in different places as that in the Apostle’s time.
2. They claimed that :
We are not trying to start a new church. We are calling as many people as possible to become a part of the one and only church that Jesus Christ founded nearly two millennia ago. In 1979, as a small group in Boston, Massachusetts, under the leadership of Kip McKean, we began a determined effort to restore the church that Jesus built……Every member must hold the Bible to be God's inspired word (2 Tim. 3:16). Every member, relying on the grace of God, must accept Jesus, not only as personal savior, but as Lord of every area of his/her life (Luke 9:23). Every member must be born again (immersed in water as a believing, committed adult for the forgiveness of sins) (John 3:1-5; Acts 2:38). (Link to Baptism Article ). And every member must have the same purpose as Jesus - "to seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10; Heb. 12: 15)….. We are aware of no other group anywhere today that teaches and holds to these standards for every member to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of his church.
They claimed that they are the only one church that follow the 4 “MUST”, with no other group holds these standards. However, this 4 points is only the basis of Christianity that is believed and always reinforced in all evangelical churches (refer to The Apostles’ Creed and The Nicene Creed) :
J.I. Packer identified 6 evangelical fundamentals as follows (quoted from Evangelical Truth, John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press,1999, p.26-27):
The above 6 fundamentals seems even more comprehensive( including the 4 MUST) and essential. For the lacking of Immersed in water(baptism) will be discussed in details in the next point, since this issue is our main discrepancy.
3. They quoted Bible verses :
Including John 3:5; Matt 28:18-20; Luke9:23,14:33; Acts 2:14-40; 1Peter 3:20; Acts 22:16; Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 12 :13; Gal 2:12, 3:26-27 and claimed that, “the only candidates for baptism are those who truly believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and who repent (a). We are to baptize disciples in water for the forgiveness of their sins (b).”
As a member of evangelical church, I fully agree with a) the only candidates for baptism are those who truly believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and who repent. The only thing not in common is b) We are to baptize disciples in water for the forgiveness of their sins. We do not agree with the point that “forgiveness of sins” is an effect or result of “baptize disciples in water”, as this is contrast to the most important Christian doctrine – Justification by Faith alone. Here are some important Christian writings in response to their wrong approach on “Baptism” :A. Our claims - Baptism has no purely external efficacy : “The goal of baptism is eternal life, but not primarily by way of vivification (賦與生命)…… baptism has no purely external efficacy and in itself is unimportant (1 Cor. 1:17; Heb. 9:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:21). As the action of God or Christ, it derives its force from God reconciling work or Christ atoning death (1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:25-26; Tit. 3:4-5)……Baptism is participation in Christ’s death and resurrection which effects a transition to the new creation.”
Quoted from : [A. Oepke, I, 529-46] Kittel, Gerhard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, Editors, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1985.B. Our claims - Baptism is only an public identification after confession : “The Greek word ‘baptizo’ meaning ‘immersion, submersion’. Baptism of Christian - a rite(儀式)of immersion in water as commanded by Christ, by which one after confessing his sins and professing his faith in Christ, having been born again by the Holy Spirit unto a new life, identifies publicly with the fellowship of Christ and the church. In Rom. 6:3 Paul states we are baptised unto death, meaning that we are not only dead to our former ways, but they are buried. To return to them is as unthinkable for a Christian as for one to dig up a dead corpse! In Moslem countries a new believer has little trouble with Moslems until he is publicly baptised. It is then, that the Moslems know he means business, and then the persecution starts.
Quoted from : Enhanced Strong Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995
C. They claimed that in John3:5 'regenerated of water'= of water baptism
Comments : “In Jn. 3:5, 'born of water and Spirit' the most likely reference to baptism.This beginning of new life in Christ is thought of either as :
It is clear however that the dominant thought is the work of the Spirit. And in view of the contrast between baptism in water and baptism in Spirit in 1:33 we should hesitate to substitute baptized in for “born from” in 3:5.”
Quoted from : The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.D. They claimed that baptism is the point at which a disciple receives the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Comments : This is the promise early recorded in Mt3:11; Mk1:8; Lk3:16; Jn1:33 and Act1:15, referring to "the baptism of the Holy Spirit" which happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts2. This explanation is based on the sermon of Peter to the Cornelius' family (Acts 11:16) Therefore, the receive of the Holy Spirit is due to the promise of God, not the baptism. For the disciples who hard conversion experience before the day of Pentecost, they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the out pouring of the Holy Spirit ) after their conversion experience. In Acts8, the conversion of the Samaritans, though they believed after the day of Pentecost, they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the out pouring of the Holy Spirit) after their conversion as the apostles. This is because by the sovereignty of God, the Holy Spirit had to be come by the ministry of Peter so that the Jewish church and the Samaritan Church would not be divided into two(Acts 11:15-18).
E. They claimed that in Acts 22:16, “Paul understood that his sins were forgiven at his baptism”(Acts 2:37; 1Peter 3:20 )
Reference : Institutes of the Christian Religion , John Calvin, Ch.15, Sessions1.