House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Sat Feb 7 14:20:33 EST 2004

Dear brother Ross,

I'd prepared a response to most of the second half of your e of yesterday 
and then the power went off for an instant and I lost it all! Will try to 
recap as briefly as I can!

Re. your claim that I Peter  is addressed just to a Jewish audience:
- because of the similarities  between 2:9  (chosen generation, royal 
priesthood, holy nation and peculiar people) and  Ex.19:5&6 (peculiar 
treaure, kingdom of priests, and a holy nation) ...
-because references to Gentiles in the epistle contrast Gentiles with those 
to whom Peter was writing...

I would remind you that Peter, Paul and John often use the term "Gentiles" 
to designate unbelieving Gentiles, even when writing to primarily Gentile 
audiences! So the contrast is NOT between "Jews and Gentiles" but rather 
between believers and unbelievers!  Jews are also "gentiles"!  The Greek 
word is ETHNOS which simply means a "nation".

I would also remind you that it was never God's intention that those things 
(Ex.19:5,6 and I Peter 2:9) simply be true of Israel nationally. Rather as 
Ex.19:5 makes clear, these things would be true FOR THOSE WHO WOULD OBEY HIS 
VOICE AND KEEP HIS COVENANT, something Israel never has done nationally!

Rather, God has always intended to take out from a among the nations a 
people for His name. See Acts 15- statements by both Peter 15:7-11 and James 
15:13-17. One of the passages which you quoted in your last e (Acts 
10:34,35) also bring this out very clearly.

But the final authority regarding who Peter was addressing in his first 
epistle must rest with his own words. His second epistle is addressed to: 
"them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the 
righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."  There is no way such a 
description of people can ever be limitted to Jewish believers alone.  But 
then in II Peter 3:1,2, Peter informs us that he wrote BOTH epistles to the 
same audience! "This second epistle, BELOVED, I write unto YOU; in BOTH 
WHICH I stir up YOUR minds by way of remembrance: that YE may be mindful of 
the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the 
commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:"

In your previous e, you asked me how John's baptism was distinct from the 
baptism of the  apostles. I gave you five clear distinctions from scripture. 
You have not even acknowledged that I wrote such and yet you continue to 
claim that the two were identical!(" John had a unique ministry but his 
baptism is the same one that Christ commissioned his apostles to carry 
out.") Even after I demonstrated that there was no baptism of priests under 
the old covenant given at Sinai and that the Holy Spirit never designates 
any priestly washing or sprinkling as a baptism, you continue to maintain 
your claim that O.T. priests were baptized! Brother, you remind me of the 
one who said, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!"

One cardinal rule of dispensationalism is to "distinguish between things 
which differ"! So it is very strange that a dispensationalist would confuse 
things which scripture clearly distinguishes!  It is also very poor exegesis 
of scripture to force words into texts (i.e. "baptism") where the Holy 
Spirit of God does not!   If John's baptism was simply the continuation of 
"Jewish baptism for priesthood", John could have only baptized MALES, of the 
tribe of LEVI, who were between the ages of 20 and 50!!! This was NOT the 
case at all!

You wrote:"There is nothing in the Everlasting New Covenant that repeals or 
negates that Israel had a priesthood under the old covenant arrangement, but 
as a nation, they were to be a priesthood over the nations under the new 
covenant. This all has to do with the yet open offer of the Davidic kingdom 
to Israel, an offer which entails baptism (by sprinkling) to qualify people 
to become priests."

Dear brother, I have not said that the new covenant negates what was true 
under the old covenant! I have simply maintained that the old covenant 
system of priesthood does not in any way continue into the new covenant! 
That the old "decayed, waxed old, and vanished away" is very clear in 
Hebrews 8:13!

I am totally baffled by your next statement! Where in scripture is there any 
statement to the effect that "the Davidic kingdom was "offered" to Israel" 
or that such an offer is "yet open"?And where is there any scriptural 
statement that teaches you that such an offer"entails baptism (by 
sprinkling) to qualify people to become priests"???  It is just such 
unscriptural statements made by many dispensationalists that has caused me 
to reject any teaching that is not stated in the very words of scripture!

You also wrote:"Paul pronounces for the third and final time after the Roman 
Jews reject the gospel of their Messiah that he would turn to the Gentiles. 
>From his epistles, we learn that Israel has fallen and no longer has the 
advantage. We also learn that the Davidic kingdom offer is put aside until a 
future day, and for now, Jew and Gentile will approach God on equal ground 
to make up a new corporate entity identified as the Body of Christ with a 
place in the heavenlies instead of in the Davidic earthly kingdom."

I need to comment on a number of things here:
-Paul's 3 mentions of the gospel going to the Gentiles are NOT similar to a 
frustrated parent's continual but unfulfilled threats to a disobedient 
child!  i.e. Paul was NOT saying, "If you continue to reject the Gospel, I'm 
going to take the Gospel to the Gentiles."  The Gospel going to the Gentiles 
was not at all because the Jews rejected it!  It was God's purpose all along 
to send the Gospel to the Gentiles!!!  This purpose of God is traced right 
back through scripture all the way to Genesis 12!!! "In thee (Abraham) shall 
all families of the earth be blessed." Gen.12:3 It is seen in Gen.49:10 in 
Israel's prophecy concerning Judah: "The sceptre shall not depart from 
Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; and AND UNTO 

-Brother, where in Paul's epistles do we read that Israel ever lost any 
advantage that they had over others?? They never did have advantage over 
others in a distinct way of salvation, or a distinct means by which they 
could come to God which was not available to others! Their advantage lay in 
the fact that unto them were committed the oracles of God. Romans 3:1. This 
fact can never change!  They certainly did lose out on many blessings which 
could have been theirs because of their rebellion and unbelief! But that is 
a principle that applies "across the board" to people of all nations!

-But I need to ask you: Where in scripture do you find any statement that 
teaches that "the Davidic kingdom offer is put aside until a future day"?  
Where do you find any scriptural statement that teaches you that "FOR NOW,  
Jew and Gentile will approach God on equal ground...?"  When has the 
approach to God been different or "on unequal ground" for Jew and Gentile"? 
You seem to indicate your belief that such unequal ground of approach to God 
will  again be truie in the future! How have you come to this conclusion?

Re. Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:15 tou wrote:"They both mention the 
abolishing of old covenant ordinances of which one was water baptism as I 
have clearly shown from Scripture."

But brother, you have demonstrated no such thing!  You have not shown EVEN 
ONE use of the words "baptize" or "baptism" which designate an action upon a 
Levitical priest!  Rather you have simply demonstrated your ingenuity in 
taking scriptural statements relative to "washing" and "sprinkling" and used 
them to attempt to make them denote what they do not and never will, namely 

You also wrote:"I think these Scriptures are clear that water baptism is not 
for us today in contrast to its requirement for the Levitical priesthood up 
through the royal priesthood in Acts."

Brother, how can you accept the idea that water baptism in the book of Acts 
was connected with and a requirement for the Levitical priesthood??!!!
(1)The Levitical priesthood was only for Israelites of the tribe of Levi! 
But by N.T. times very few , if any Jews could accurately trace their tribal 
lineage at all! Furthermore the subjects of many baptisms in the book of 
Acts were clearly GENTILES!!

(2)The Levitical priesthood was only open to males! But both men and women 
were baptized by the apostles and others!

(3)The Levitical priesthood was limitted to males between the ages of 20 and 
50. But no such restrictions applied to baptism of believers!

Brother,can you not see how far your dispensational theories have taken you 
from the pure words of scripture?

You wrote:"I have shown from Scripture that up until Acts, that Israel had 
an advantage over the Gentiles with respect to their relationship to God. 
This advantage disappeared by the end of Acts where Paul abandons his 
ministry "to the Jew first" and ministers to all with out preference. "

Brother, I don't recall that you ever set out from scripture what advantages 
Israel once had which they subsequently lost!  Paul teaches that they have 
the advantage in that to them were committed the oracles of God. That is an 
historical fact that can never be altered! Certainly, they could have 
enjoyed many blessings of God which they actually forfeited through 
rebellion and unbelief. But that principle applies to all people right 
across the board!

Also, the idea that "to the Jew first" was a principle at one time which has 
now been set aside, is NOT true!  God never purposed to bless Israel with 
the Gospel and not bless the nations as well. "To the Jew first" is NOT a 
principle of national priority which has somehow been lost! Rather it was 
simply a divinely ordered sequence of history and geography!  When the Lord 
Jesus told the Syrophonecian woman that he was sent to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, He was not teaching that He would not minister to gentiles! 
Far from it! Rather, the Lord Jesus was not sent by the Father to an eartly 
ministry of international travel to the nations. His earthly ministry never 
took him beyond the borders of Israel!  But His love enveloped the world! 
(John 3:16)  So too, in the early days of his ministry, he commanded his 
disciples to go exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  The 
emphasis from Israel to the nations did NOT shift in Acts 28, but rather in 
Mat thew 28 (make disciples of all nations")!!!  That Gospel testimony should 
be expanded and extended in an orderly sequence (historicly and 
geographically) is demonstrated in a number of ways:
(1)In the Gospels: we see the progression starting from where people were... 
outward. Jesus and the disciples started with the lost sheep of Israel and 
progressed outward to the nations.  Before the delivered demoniac could 
participate in a wider ministry for the Lord, he was first assigned to "go 
home to his friends and tell them what Jesus had done for him."

(2)In Acts 1:8 we see the same pattern in the Lord's instructions before he 
ascended: "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth."

(3)Paul, in Romans, describes the same process in his own ministry. His 
testimony and Gospel ministry began as it were, "in his own backyard" among 
his own people and then extended out to "the regions beyond" where he strove 
to preach "Not where Christ was named."  He was a true pioneer in the 

Such developments and progression do not indicate a "change of dispensation" 
as dispensationalists claim!

You also wrote:"1Cor 1 strongly implies Paul's cessation of water baptism 
and this is reenforced by his further lack of preaching it in light of his 
unifying message, and the fact that the apostles never really fulfill the 
Mat 28 commission. How many years was it before we see any of the apostles 
moving outside of Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the world? How many do 
we see ever leaving?"

Dear brother, the fact that Paul baptized only a few AT CORINTH where the 
saints were so prone to form denominations around their favourite preachers, 
does not at all imply that he ceased to baptize believers!!!  I have also 
shown in a previous post that the unifying message of one body composed of 
Jews and Gentiles was not unique to Paul but was shared commonly by all the 
apostles. Nor did this ministry commence after Acts 28 (A.D. 67). It had 
become a common teaching long before this!  Thus this dispensational theory 
is clearly shown to be a fabrication of men of very recent origin and not a 
scriptural docrtine whatsoever! Dear brother, thje close of the Book of 
Revelation is not "The End of the Story"!  The apostle's travels, many of 
them to other continents are not recorded in scripture. But the Gospel being 
taken to the ends of the earth continues to this day and will continue until 
the Lord returns! It is for this reason that the Lord's command relative to 
baptizing disciples is still incumbent on believers today!

You also wrote:"Paul is clear in saying he had a new administration to 
administer in Eph 2 and 3. One in which the Jew and Gentile would by grace 
both have access equally. This is in contrast to the situation in the Gospel 
accounts and Acts where the ministry was to the Jew first. Acts covers the 
history of Israels fall from favor with God as a nation.Acts shows things 
happening in which Gentiles are given treatment unseen before. "

Brother, you seem to assume that the new revelation of the truth of the Body 
(Jew and gentile united to Christ as one) means that before the Body became 
a reality, Gentiles did not have the same access to God as did Jews!!  
Please explain, in light of the above how Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Job, 
Rahab, Ruth, the Queen of Sheba etc (all Gentiles!) ever came into right 
relationship to God, while many full blooded Israelites never did enjoy the 
blessings of right relationship to God!  Please specify 'the special 
treatments" experienced by Gentiles which they had not experienced before!   
(Actually, under the new covenant God extended "special treatments" of many 
kinds to believers regardless of their nationality!!)

You wrote:"It is a history in which we see a transition from a purely Jewish 
mission unto an international mission. This international mission was 
supposed to happen through Israel but rather occurs in spite of them."

Brother, again this is a dispensational fallacy!  God never had a "purely 
Jewish mission"!! In fact one of the scripture passages you quoted yesterday 
sets this fallacy to rest! Peter declared to Cornelius' household:"I 
perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that 
feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him."  Acts 10:34,35.  
  Although this truth had just recently been revealed to Peter's prejudiced 
mind (we all are brought up with a variety of prejudices!) it was a 
principle that has been true of God from creation!  It did not all of a 
sudden become a new "modus operandi"  in the purposes of God at the supposed 
change of some imaginary "dispensation"!  But what Paul did say was an 
absolutely new revelation , never made known before, was that JEWS AND 
absolutely new territory for BOTH Jews and Gentiles!  Both had to overcome a 
lot of prejudice in order to really wrap their minds and hearts around this 

Finally, you wrote:" The practical application for "home church", for those 
who think this discussion is irrelevent, is what are we supposed to be 
modeling? Are we to model the Body of Christ before it was established by 
Paul and mix in elements of a past dispensation, or are we to model the 
established and fully matured body of Christ?

Dear brother, Paul never did "establish" the Body of Christ!  God did! Paul 
simply taught the truths that God revealed to Him about His new creation!  
The Body was not established in Acts 13!  The Ethiopian eunuch, the 
household of Cornelius, and many other Gentiles were already members in the 
Body of Christ. Some of them even before Paul, Himself!!!

Nor are we to "model the Body" at all!  We are to function as the actual 
members in the Body which God has made us!  That involves each member being 
obedient to the Head. Any member which, knowing a commandment of God but 
refuses to submit to it is, not only disobedient, but thereby introduces 
weakness and error into the Body and thus is a hindrance to the Body being 
edified and  growing up!  Specificly, those who know ful well the command of 
the Lord that disciples of His should be baptized by others in water, and 
yet refuse to submit to His commands and instructions, are being a positive 
hindrance to the Body. Any member in one's physical body which does not obey 
the direction of the head, becomes a hindrance and a load upon other 
members. So it is in the Body of Christ.

Dear brother, I pray that the Lord would help you to see the errors of the 
teaching which you have received and embraced and that you would soon have 
the joy of willingly submitting to and obeying the command of the Lord Jesus 
relative to the baptism of believers.  Could I appeal to you to consider 
three scriptural questions and their answers relative to believer's baptism:
-"What doth hinder me to be baptized?"  If thou believest with all thine 
heart thou mayest.  Acts 8:36,37
-"And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized.  And he received sight 
forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."  Acts 22:16; 9:18
-"Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have 
received the Holy Ghost as well as we?   And he commanded them to be 
baptized in the name of the Lord."   Acts 10:47,48

Your brother in Christ,


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