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Thanks for posting this sermon. I pray that we might have more like this every time a Christian miister opens his mouth.


Chris, sadly I have heard several ordination sermons and none of them really never commend the minister-to-be to true ministry of Gospel. This sermon is so far out of the catagories of contempory Evangelicalism that even our seminaries don't even get it (maybe it's foolish to them as well?) Thank God He keeps His promises and continues to raise up His men to give the gospel of Christ to a dying world.


Thank you for posting this sermon. It helped me to stay on track.

Billy Chia

Thank you for your comments on baptism at Inept as Icing. I dropped you a note back on my site.


WOW...what a great sermon.

It's one of those that makes you say..."man..I wish I would have said that".


henry frueh

Great sermon.


• You are going to pour simple tap water on the heads of adults and babies alike and God’s word is going to work in that water and wash away their sins.

• You are going to put bread into people’s mouths and wine on their lips and you’re going to tell them, Take eat. This is the true body of Christ given into death for your sin. Take, drink. This is the true blood of Christ shed for you.




When a pastor baptizes an person, Scripture teaches that by the water and the Word, sins are washed away. This is what God does in Holy Baptism. (See http://www.extremetheology.com/2006/09/baptism_saves.html) .

As for Holy Communion, we find the forgiveness of sin when we eat the body and drink the blood of Christ that is in the bread and wine. (See http://www.extremetheology.com/2006/11/just_bread_and_.html).

I find that many American Christians view of both Holy Baptism and Holy Scripture placed the believer over Christ since both are treated as something we do and not something that Christ does for us.

One of the key roles of a pastor is serving the means of grace, Word and Sacraments, to the people of God.


Henry (Rick) Frueh

Both of those "sacraments" as you say are carry overs from the RCC. They are shadows of the law.

Chris Rosebrough


That was a joke right?

Are you really going to argue that Baptism and the Lord's supper have their origin in the RCC instead of the New Testament?

Be careful how you answer this. My gun is already loaded with some clear New Testament passages that will 'kill' your theory.

Do you want to rethink this?

Henry (Rick) Frueh

Of course not, I meant that infant baptism is a shadow of circumcision invented by the RCC, and transubstantiation, later modified by Luther, is an invention of the RCC.

So they did not institute those two observances, God did, the RCC changed them into sacramental avenues of grace. The only avenue of grace is Jesus Himself, not the emblems that are representative.

Steve Newell


Please supply evidence to support your position. You will find that both Chris and myself have strong biblical as well as Church history support for our position.


I must say that I agree with Henry. Nothing that you DO can wash away sins. Anyone that can face a Holy God on the day of judgment and say that they have a right to pass through the gate because they...(were baptized, or took communion, or never ate pork,or always kept the sabbath, or walked on water or prayed a prayer, or any other thing) this man has not placed his faith in Christ, but in his own act of obedience to Christ. It is not the act of obedience that has the power to save! It is Christ that has the power to save. Listen to Spurgeon on the subject. "Remember therefore, it is not your hold on Christ that saves you. It is Christ! It is not you joy in Christ that saves you. It is Christ! It is not even your faith in Christ that saves you (though that is the vehicle) it is Christ's blood and merit. Therefore, do not look to your own hand with which you grasp Christ, but look to Christ! Look not to your hope, but to the source of hope, look not to your own faith, but the author and finisher of your faith." I would even add, look not to your baptism, but to Christ, look not to your obeying the sacraments, but to Christ. This idea that baptism has the power to wash away sins is no different than the Catholic belief that obeying the Catholic sacraments forgives sins. All you have done is shortened the list of sacraments. This is not conducive to a person placing ALL faith in Christ, and NOTHING in what he has done. In fact, it encourages a man to place faith in something other than Christ. What then is the difference between this belief and the RCC belief that obeying the RCC sacraments leads to the forgiveness of sin?


I know that you're going to argue that God is the one that is active in baptism, and the one getting baptized is passive. This sounds nice, but there isn't any backing for such a position. If it were true, then we can assume that all Catholics are saved. As well as Mormons, JW's etc. etc.
The fact remains, those who trust that baptism has taken their sins away, when standing before God will say, "I deserve part in your kingdom because I got baptized" anyone that approaches God and says, "I deserve part in the kingdom because I...." is not of the kingdom. Only those who approach God and say "I deserve part in the kingdom because YOU..." has a right to the kingdom. Don't even try to claim for one second that those who trust in baptism to forgive their sins will approach the throne and say, "I deserve part in the kingdom because You baptized me." Baptism is always preceded by the preposition "I" "I got baptized" never "God baptized me" Active vs. passive. Baptism is an active verb, and I have never heard it in my life in the passive voice. Even in the sermon, the minister does not say, "God will baptize them" he says, "you (another minister) will baptize them" notice that he does not say, "then Christ will work salvation" he says, "that some water poured on the head of an adult or baby works salvation" Does Christ work salvation or does water work salvation? If Christ, then why didn't he say that? Why did he say, "water" works salvation?
Water is H2O, it is nothing, it has no power to work anything. Christ has all power. Christ works salvation!

Steve Newell


Please explain all the New Testament scripture references to baptism as doing something. Also provide scriptural proof for your position. Again, Chris and I have scriptural basis for this historic position of the Church.

Chris Rosebrough


Lets take a few verses on Baptism for starts.

Acts 22:14   “Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Acts 2:38   Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.


These verses clearly tell us that in baptism...

1. Our sins are forgiven & washed away
2. We are buried with Christ
3. We are raised with Christ
4. Our hearts are circumcised by Christ

Would you care to comment on what these verses say?

henry frueh

The references in Acts are narrative, not teaching, and were understood in an embryonic way which the Holy Spirit amplified later through Paul. The Pauline Scriptures you quoted present a metaphorical reality using baptism.

They also compare baptism with burial which of course speak to immersion, and these obviously are speaking to adult believers.

Paul again uses circucision as a metaphor for putting off the old man. BTW - the "we have Scripture" line can be used by everyone from many perspectives and it smacks of inerrant interpretation.

The entire reason for baptism is a public identification of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church changed it to mean the washing away of sins which is works. Luther could not shed some things he learned from them.

And no one, not even the parents, can stand in for some else's sins. There is only one mediator between God and man and it isn't the parents. That is OT covenant theolgy of the ceremonial/sacramental observances of the law. The New Testament is of the Spirit, not written on tables of stone but fleshy tables of the heart.

PS - I was raised Lutheran so I am acquainted with there beliefs.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

Even Peter who gave a somewhat less than accurate invitation in Acts 2, later in his first letter said that baptism was a figure, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but a figure of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Pet.3:21) He also meantions the answer of a good conscience which assumes a non-infancy state.



So why baptize if it means absolutely nothing?

Steve Newell


I was raised in the SBC church so I understand the view that Baptism have towards both baptism and the Lord's Supper.


Henry (Rick) Frueh

The most obvious reason for baptizing and being baptized is the diect command of Christ.

The second reason is the public evidence of your faith in the Lord Jesus. It means very little in this culture, but an Islamic convert may lose even his life over it.

Baptism is just like the Lord's Supper, sacred and meaningful, but of no addition to the complete work of Christ. Bot are to be observed by sinners who have been changed by "believing on the Lord Jesus Christ".

You are correct if you believe that the evangelical world has relegated these observances to almost a meaningless obligation. The NT churches would observe communion every Sunday, and believer's baptism was a solemn and sacrifial event. Not so today.


I'd like to address the issue this way. Let's take the phrase "that some water poured on the head of a baby works salvation"
Please give me scriptural support for this.

Steve Newell

Why is baby any different any other individual. The baby is sinful and in need of salvation just as anyone one else.

In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded that we are by make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the triune God. Jesus is not excluded babies from this.

In Acts 2, Peter clearly states that the forgiveness of sins for the hearers and their children.

Paul baptizes the entire household of the jailer in Philipi. This would include infants if they are members of his household.

Nowhere are babies excluded from baptism either in Scripture.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

Dogma - they do not believe that as you stated it. They believe that the faith of the parents starts a process that must be substantiated by the child when he grows. And then when the young people reach a certain age, after they have taken two or three years of Lutheran catachism, all of them, on one day, confirm that baptism by their own faith and then they take their first communion.

It is structured and liturgical and is a shadow of the OT covenant theology. I went through the whole process and was pronounced a member of the church and I was as lost as Hitler. The same can be said for evangelical church membership, so church membership is unbiblical and gives some lost people false assurance of their salvation.

How many evangelists have said in their sermon "You may even be a member of the church and not be saved!"? What is he saying? He is saying that the church has falsely said you were saved. Very serious.

Chris Rosebrough


Great Dodge. We don't have to believe what the book of Acts teaches on baptism because it was said in a narrative.

The Four Gospels are Narrative does that mean we can just cast aside any doctrines found in the Gospels that you don't agree with because they were told in a narrative.

Here is another doctrine found in the book of Acts. This is a doctrine pertaining to salvation.

When asked by the Philippian jailer what he must do to be saved the Apostle Paul and Silas told him:

Acts 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Using your interpretational theory we should NOT believe that in order to be saved we must 'believe in the Lord Jesus' because that was told in a narrative during an embryonic stage of the church.


Henry you have no latitude to pick and choose those things from scripture that you want to believe. Deal with the passages.

The apostles taught that Baptism washes away sins (the text says it), they believed that in our baptisms we are buried and raised with Christ (the text says it), and our hearts are circumcised by the hand of Christ (the text says it).

All you've offered us is an inconsistent hermaneutic that seeks an excuse for denying what these clear passages teach.

Steve Newell


Does an infant need salvation? If so, then how does God have that infant?

You're understanding of Lutheran theology appears to be limited.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

It is not a dodge, it is rightly dividing. The quotes of the book of Acts are only authoritative if they are substantiated by the epistles, especially Paul.

If you will look at Acts chapter 7 verse 4, you will see that Stephen states that Abraham left Haran after Terah, Abraham's father, died. But if you go to Genesis 11:26, you'll find that Terah was 70 yrs. old when he fathered Abram. Look at Genesis 11:32 and you'll see that Terah died in Haran at age 205.

Genesis 12:4 tell us that Abram left Haran at age 75, which means Terah would still be 145 yrs old and still alive. So the Book of Acts correctly records Stephan's words but Stephen incorrectly gives the chronology.

That is why everything must begin with Paul and anything in the narratives must be supportive. Rightly dividing the Word.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

The salvation of an infant is a subject that is not dealt with in the New Testament so all opinions are just that. Many quote David's observation about his dead son, but there again that is David's opinion.

Many evangleicals state that all aborted babies and infants that die go to heaven. That is a presumption based upon nothing in the Word and mostly our human emotions and wishful thinking. It may or may not be true, but there is no authoritative teaching on that in the New Testament.

Steve Newell


Everything begins with Christ.

Based on your view of Scripture, we can treat parts of Holy Scripture as non-doctrinal and other as doctrinal. This is a very dangerous position that you are taking. So should we exclude Acts from Holy Scripture? How do treat the Gospels? Either All Scripture is God breathed and good for teaching or it's not. There is no middle ground.

Steve Newell


Do didn't answer my question on infants. Do infants need salvation? I have yet to see a biblical support for your position.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

All Scripture is inspired but not all are teaching Scriptures in the doctrinal sense. Revelation? Leviticus? Song of Solomon.

Come on, Steve, you know there are a variety of Scriptures that give examples, prophecy, the OT law, Christophonies, life of Christ, narratives, demonic quotes, and doctrinal teachings that apply to the church, the body of Christ. If they are all equal and for the church today, then what part of Leviticus do we adhere to?

Do we place cloths on our body to heal the sick? Walk under someone's shadow for healing? Call blindness on someone who interferes with our witnessing?

No middle ground on inspiration, but rightly dividing the Word.

Steve Newell

So you are stating that Paul was wrong in what he wrote to Timothy. Do I understand you correctly?

Do you understand the concept of Law and Gospel and how the Reformation uses this to understand all of scripture?

Henry (Rick) Frueh

Paul is the revelator to the church, having received his teaching directly from Christ. Even Peter submits to mhis teaching. There is no law to the church, it has been fulfilled and returning to any of it is returning bto the beggarly elements. I would entertain a continuing communication through my e-mail, spcrick@msn.com


Can a man see heaven without baptism?


If a man can see heaven without baptism, then it is not baptism that works salvation. It is Christ and Christ alone!

Steve Newell


Can a person be saved without baptism? Yes. Can baptism have the individual? Yes. Both are true. Scripture doesn't say that it's one or the other. That is a false distinction.

If one views baptism as only a work of man, then what you say is correct. However, if one views baptism as something God does through water and the Word of God, then both are true.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

And when asked about death bed conversions or believers of a different non-baptism persuasion, the answers again reveal a man made solution.

If baptism is necessary for conversion then there is no excuse for a death bed believer. Infant baptism is an attempt to bring the OT into the church. The RCC uses incense, priestly robes, candles, an altar, infant baptism, and many other artifacts that were done away with in the New Covenant of the Spirit. Luther could not have been expected to completely break from the RCC, none of us could.

He was a man used greatly of God to return to the Scriptures alone and salvation by faith alone.

henry frueh

Water does not wash away any sins, only the blood of the Lamb of God can wash away sins. Baptism is a reflection of that glorious redemption.

Chris Rosebrough


Stop rationalizing.

Your rationalizations hold no water (pardon the pun).

In Acts 22 Paul clearly says that the purpose of his baptism was to wash his sins away. He said this near the earthly end of his ministry. This is supported by the teaching of the Apostle Peter at Pentecost and in 1 Pet 3:21 says "21 Baptism, now saves you.

Romans says that in our baptisms we are buried with Christ and we are raised with Christ and Colosians 2 says that in our Baptisms our hearts are circumcised by the hand of Christ.

You are capriciously denying what these verses say and mean because you have a presupposition about baptism that contradicts these clear passages.

I've been where you are. I didn't start as a Lutheran I was a hard-core Nazarene Evangelical for a long time. I was forced to deal with what these verses say.

Once I did honest exegesis on these passages I had to change my mind (repent) because I was wrong.

I don't know how these things are true. But, the passages are CLEAR what baptism does.

I affirm the scriptures you are denying them.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

"I affirm the scriptures you are denying them."

No, I affirm the Scriptures YOU are denying them. It seems that instead of having a "comparing Scripture with Scripture" dialogue, you continue to go back to such rhetoric.

Shall I list the people who are denying the Scriptures? Spurgeon, Wesley, MacArthur, and on and on goes the list. The "inconsistent hermeneutics" and "a great dodge" and "denying Scripture" phrases are self serving.

Let me add one more name to the Scripture denyers...Ken Silva. I'm sure he'll be happy to know that.

Chris Rosebrough


So far you've not supplied any verses to support your position, only rationalization and conjecture.

I am not dialoging with MacArthur, Wesley or Silva. I am dialoging with you.

I could supply a star-studded list of theologians who believe the same way I do. This doesn't prove anything. The only thing that matters is what the Bible says.

Again, I've supplied the verses that prove the position I am defending. They are clear and none of the rationalizations you've supplied to brush aside what these verses are saying has even remotely overturned them.

Again the verses I've supplied say that baptism washes away sins, saves, in our baptisms we are buried with Christ and we are raised with Christ and our hearts are circumcised by Christ.

It seems very clear to me.

Please deal with the passages.

Henry (Rick) Frueh

"It seems very clear to me."

OK. So be it, but you have portrayed my position as illegitimate and as if someone is shallow who espouses such. I will not dialogue with someone who says such things because it is not a dialogue, it is a monologue.

I thought differently when I visited your blog.

henry frueh

"Again the verses I've supplied say that baptism washes away sins, saves, in our baptisms we are buried with Christ and we are raised with Christ and our hearts are circumcised by Christ."

That is heresy and aligns with John Paul II..

Chris Rosebrough


You've called my position heresy. That is a great starting point! I'm not offended by it in the slightest.

I invite you to show me from God's word that is the case.

Tell you what. If you can prove to me that my position is heresy by using God's word. I will repent.

You know my position and you know the verses I have supplied to support this position.

Have at me. I am looking forward to seeing your texts.

Mark Burns

Water is H2O, it is nothing, it has no power to work anything. Christ has all power. Christ works salvation!

You gotta love these Solo Scriptura no-church people. This statement completely contradicts John 3:5:

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

The Protestant Reformation taught Sola Scriptura -Scripture alone as the fine authority in matters of faith and life. It did not teach SOLO Scriptura -me and my Bible against all of history and tradition. That's liberalism, and it flies directly in the face of idiotic remarks such as "Water is H20! It is nothing". Christ said the opposite.

Mark Burns

*final, not fine. Sorry.


Christ never said that water was something more than water. Christ also said that one must eat his body and drink his blood. He also said that one must Hate his mother and father. I don't think that he was speaking literally. You have to exegete the scripture correctly.
Scripture also says that if anyone "confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord" then he will be saved. (I once knew a man that would ask people if they believed that Jesus was God's son, then he'd ask them to say "Jesus is Lord" then he would tell them that they were born again. You would argue that and say, "but that is surely absurd" and then he would say "but scripture says 'if you confess with your mouth' Why is this? Because he is simply reading the scripture without truly understanding what it means. This is what you are doing. You can throw around scripture all day long. So can Satan. He did it with Jesus in the wilderness. But what does it MEAN? You can't just read it and make it mean what you want. What do you do with the verse that says you must hate your mother and father?

And to Steve. You said, "can a person be saved without baptism? Yes." If this is true, then that means that something other than baptism has the ability to forgive sins. What do you do with that?

What else besides baptism is able to wash away sins?(that question is for everyone not just steve)

Steve Newell


When we take Holy Communion, we eat Christ's body and drink Christ's blood that is in the bread and wine. While I cannot explain how this happens, I take Christ at his word. Even St. Paul treats this as a fact.

As for your question, since Scripture only states the Word and Sacraments are the means by which God's grace is given out to sinners, then that all we can say.


Steve, You didn't address what Christ said about hating your mother and father. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, he cannot be my disciple."

Steve Newell

If Christ is speaking figurative language then you treat it as such. Likewise when Christ speaks as being literal then we treat is as such. Only a simplistic reading of scripture doesn't take this into account. Also the context of when and to whom he is talking to is important.

At the Lord's Supper, Christ is speaking is very serious terms and is using very straight forward language. The early church treated these words as literal and symbolic. Paul asks the question is not the bread they are eating the body of Christ and is not the wine they are drinking the blood of Christ?

Is Christ the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the World literal or figurative? It's both.


"you must hate your mother."
Should this be treated as literal? You seem to say that it should be treated as both literal and symbolic. I understand how to read it in a symbolic sense, but you're going to have to help me understanding it in a literal way. Please explain how should I literally hate my mother?

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