By Jay Horsley

Wednesday night, quite unexpectedly, a long time member of the congregation came forward at the invitation not to confess sin, but to be rebaptized. They explained that they were concerned that their previous baptism as a young person had not been for the right reasons. We happily rebaptized them.

Although such is not a regular occurrence, it is neither unique nor unusual. Gospel preachers tell of rebaptizing those in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s after these people have been involved in local congregations for years. During at least one gospel meeting the visiting preacher rebaptized the local preacher.

Why does this occur? Should it be encouraged? What should our response be? Should we encourage it?

Rebaptism occurs when one who has been baptized previously comes to the understanding that their baptism was not according to the scriptural pattern. When we teach denominational people the gospel way of salvation the question of baptism always comes up. “But I was baptized as a baby.” Some object when we teach the necessity of faith before baptism. Another says, “They only poured water on me” when we teach about immersion. Yet another says, “I was told I was being baptized because I was already forgiven” when shown the gospel purpose is as remission of sins.

On all occasions where the subject, purpose or form of baptism was incorrectly taught and practiced, we wish to shake the confidence that men have in error and bring their thoughts and actions into line with truth.

Rebaptism (really a first scriptural baptism) is the only answer.

But what about cases like our recent one, where the person had been brought up and trained in the truth of God’s word on this subject? What was taught and what was practiced appeared to be the truth. What was the need for rebaptism? Most cases of rebaptism have one or both of these elements involved in the original baptism:

1)       The person involved was very young—the vast majority of rebaptisms are of people baptized under the age of twelve—some as young as seven or eight.

2)       There were often others (friends, fellow Bible class members, fellow campers, etc.) being baptized at the same time.

Later, sometimes many years later, after many hours of struggling with their conscience and losing many hours of sleep, the one who was baptized comes to the conviction within themselves that they were baptized with the right form and confession, but not fully for the right purpose—an appeal to God of good conscience calling on his name for forgiveness of sins, because they were too young to be accountable and understandingly confess Christ or they did so because of peer or parental pressures.

What should those who come to heart-felt conviction on these matters do? Be baptized in the right way, from a full heart immediately.

What should those who come to heart-felt conviction on these matters do? Be baptized in the right way, from a full heart immediately.

But let us also be careful not to sow seeds of doubt into the minds of faithful brethren concerning their own baptism because a few are convinced they were mistaken in earlier times. When we teach about all that baptism does, all its connections to the one true church and kingdom entrance and leaving the domain of darkness and the world of sin, we do so because such teaching must be done so that Christians understand and preach the importance of baptism and error is defeated. Fuller and fuller understanding of baptism, and what a momentous occasion it is for us, is part of our maturing and growing in the truth—not a requirement for baptism. The full understanding of the symbolism of baptism (cf. Rom. 6) and all the significance of it (not to mention all the implications that come from believing and living by faith, and all the ramifications of repentance) are not yet in the minds of those who need the salvation that is in Jesus Christ; they are not even to the point of being babes in him yet. Often we do things, especially begin to do things, and only later fully understand what we have gotten into. Growing in Christ and in his grace and knowledge doesn’t mean we must be rebaptized because back then we didn't understand all we know now.

The more anyone knows concerning repentance of sins, the design and purpose of baptism, and the kingdom of God before being baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ, the better.

But in the New Testament, those who believed in Christ through the preaching of the gospel and who wanted the salvation that is in him alone could be (and sometimes were) taught enough to obey in a single lesson. They heard and believed in Jesus the Messiah and Savior, had a repentant heart and were baptized on basis of their good confession, not because they had a certificate of completion from a catechism class. &

Compassion in War and Life

By Tom Leavins

At Phan Rang Air Force Base, Viet Nam in 1970 there was a walled area at the main gate where South Vietnamese were cleared off the base. Their clearance badges were checked and they were searched to make sure they did not have items that were not permitted. The same was done when they came on the base, usually to work.

Some Army and Air Force troops would arrive at the gate to talk to some of the Vietnamese women they knew that worked in various parts of the base.

A new rule had been put into place that this could not be allowed in the early evening, because the main gate had recently been attacked with AK-47 fire, rockets, and explosive devices. The sergeant in charge of the gate area and three other airmen had to enforce this rule.

The sergeant explained the new rule, and one Army soldier became much more angry than the rest. As two of his buddies held him back, he looked at the sergeant and said, “If you come downtown you are a dead man!” His friends stood up for him and said, “Please don’t arrest him. He was shot down in a helicopter today.”

Immediately the sergeant put himself in the place of that soldier that was putting himself in harm’s way almost every day and dismissed the matter.

In like manner, we never know what others are going through in this life full of trouble and strife. They may explode at us, but the real problem may be elsewhere. Compassion is the key. Jesus had compassion on individuals and sometimes multitudes. Let us follow His example. – 1 Peter 2:21-25

We have received love, grace, and compassion from the Lord. Should we not give it? – Romans 5:6-10; Matthew 7:12; 5:19; 9:36-38; 18:23-35; Mark 1:40-42; 1 Peter 3:8

Remembering this event helped me. I hope it helps you. God Bless, and may victory be yours in Christ in 2013. -- Tom Leavins (Preaching for the Tri-City Church of Christ in Longwood, Florida 407-920-1757) &

The Error of Penal Substitution: Jesus Did Not Die in My Place

By Bob Myhan

Penal Substitution is that theory of the atonement that says that God demands the payment of the penalty for sin by a substitute in order to remain just while justifying man. In other words, God cannot justly forgive man unless the punishment for sin is suffered by a substitute for man. And, according to the theory, Jesus is that substitute. He died in your place and in mine that you and I might be justified (or forgiven) and God might remain just.

It seems to this writer that, if the theory were true, either Calvinism or Universalism would follow because salvation would then be unconditional.

Calvinism posits that all humans are born totally and hereditarily depraved, that God unconditionally elected certain individuals to salvation, that the atonement was limited to the elect and that all the elect will persevere to the end. Universalism holds that, since Jesus died for all, all will be saved. Both affirm that all those for whom Jesus died will be saved because their sins were punished in the person of Jesus. However, Jesus was not a substitute but a sacrifice.

What one is willing to sacrifice for a person or cause is an indicator of the love he has for that person or cause. The life of a living thing is in the blood thereof (Lev. 17:11). Therefore, to shed the blood of a living thing is to sacrifice the life thereof. The sacrifice of Jesus’ life was the ultimate demonstration of the love of God (Rom. 5:1-11; 8:31-39; John 3:16) and of Christ (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16) for humankind.

If the Son of God had come into the world immediately after the sin of Adam and Eve, there is no way anyone could ever have appreciated the love of God. And one could hardly reciprocate a love that he does not appreciate. For this reason, God incorporated the idea of sacrifice into religion so that, in the fullness of time, His love could be demonstrated—through the sacrifice of His Son—so that man could appreciate it and would be motivated to reciprocate it.

The Old Testament was taken out of the way and the New Testament was dedicated by the pouring out of Christ’s blood and the sacrifice of His life (Col. 2:14; Heb. 10:1-10; 9:16-18).

The shedding of Jesus’ blood in His death on the cross also reveals “the goodness of God” that “leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:3-4), it provides a focal point for man’s faith in God and in His Son (Rom. 3:21-26) and only the shedding of the precious blood of Jesus the Lamb could demonstrate the magnitude of sin (Rom. 8:1-4).

Some who are neither Calvinists nor Universalists also hold this theory but these seem to this writer to be inconsistent. If Jesus was punished for the sins of anyone, then those for whose sins He was punished will not be punished. Nor would they need forgiveness. Furthermore, eternal security would then be unconditional. If this is not the case, why is it not?

Therefore, Jesus did not die in my place or yours. It was His place and His alone, to die on that cross. He died on the cross, not as punishment but as a sacrifice for sin. He did this that we might realize both the enormity of sin and the magnitude of His love and His Father’s love for us and that we might be motivated to love them in return.

Yes, we were “redeemed by the blood of the Lamb” but only in the sense that His blood purchased our release from sin by providing the conditions of our forgiveness. &