Proposition: “The New Testament Scriptures teach that, for the penitent believer, water baptism is for, unto, or in order to the remission of sins.” Allan Turner affirms; Keith Saare denies.
Saare’s Third Negative(posted 08/07/06): Straight to the point–
Mr. Turner’s Acts 10:43 Fiasco
Since Mr. Turner settles for non-literal interpretation, it
should not surprise me to find him also interpreting his own writings out of
context in a non-literal manner. Whereas my accusation of heresy was clearly
leveled against his method of interpreting Acts
because of John ,
he changed tactics to pit me against the NKJV (as if it actually were the
original reason for his hermeneutics of Acts !).
Mr. Turner, the matter is sealed in your own writing: you interpreted Acts as “will receive” because of your
exegesis of “dead faith” in James 2 and John 12:42, not because of a variant
translation in the NKJV. Furthermore, you were not quoting the NKJV when I
called your bluff, nor were my remarks referenced against this translation, as it
was never the topic of my discussion anyway. Thank you for introducing a matter
to thwart attention away from our debate.
No Comfort for Mr. Turner in Mark 16:16
By way of review, Scripture states:
“He who has
believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall
be condemned” (Mark ).
A Baptist preacher once said, “Whatever spiritual blessings
the Scriptures attribute to the person who believes and is baptized, the
Scriptures also attribute the same blessings to someone who has faith only.” In
Mark a person who believes and
is baptized will be saved, likewise, in John
a person who only believes is also saved. Consequently, since both passages
share belief in common, not baptism, the unbiased interpreter is apt to think
that baptism may not be a condition for salvation after all. Rather, mention of
it in Mark 16:16 is coincidence as ascertained by a harmonization with other
non-baptism passages attributing salvation to faith only.
An illustration helps illumine the logic: “He who boards a
train and sits down will arrive in Phoenix.”
Of course, the traveler will wish to sit during the trip, but it is not an
essential condition, a “qualification” in Mr. Turner’s vocabulary. (One can
attack this illustration—no illustration is perfect—but I trust the readers can
understand my point.)
If Mark is
inspired Scripture, some exegetical observations add more force to the viable
likelihood that baptism is not a condition for salvation:
·The immediate context attributes miraculous
signs to believers, not necessarily to those who both believe and are baptized.
·In context there is reoccurring emphasis upon
belief (or lack thereof), but not upon a necessity for baptism.
the latter half of the verse does not state, “but he who has
disbelieved or is not baptized shall be condemned.” Rather it just says, “but
he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Hence the question arises: Will the person be condemned who believes
but is not baptized? My opponent will say yes. But according to John 3:18:
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of
the only begotten Son of God (KJV).
Therefore, because of the promises in John 3:18, we may rest
assured knowing that the person who believes will not be condemned, regardless
of his baptism status. Remember, believing begins before baptism—by necessity
so must relief from condemnation! J
Finally, whereas Mr. Turner uses Mark to teach that the penitent believer receives
salvation at the very moment of baptism, there is no support grammatically from
this verse to suggest this faulty assertion. If Mr. Turner is competent with
Greek, he will recognize that the two substantival participles, ho pisteusas kai baptistheis, are aorist
and indicate antecedent action to the future tense verb sōthēsetai. In other words, there is a gap of time that takes place between the
act of baptism and experience of salvation spoken of in this verse. Therefore,
one cannot use Mark 16:16 to teach that salvation begins at the moment a penitent
believer is baptized; the verse is silent to this matter. If a believer is
saved at baptism, it is true for other reasons outside of Mark 16:16.
Eis Aphesin Hamartiōn, Part
In “Part I” we explored how eis in a same prepositional phrase can take on other meanings in
different contexts. Mr. Turner made a mere dogmatic assertion to connect the
same meaning of eis aphesin
hamartiōn in Matthew 26:28 to Acts 2:38, even though the two contexts
are vastly different. But my research, based upon a consistent methodology of
consistent literal interpretation, revealed there is no rule in Greek to
suggest eis must mean the same thing
in each verse. His approach was unscholarly to say the least, and I suspect he took
comfort in willful ignorance until I presented the evidence of my research. I
wonder what he will do in the future with Acts
and Matthew 26:28 since he now understands there is no grammatical rule to justify
his illegitimate crux. If Acts
meant “in order to obtain” forgiveness, then Peter could have used hina in a purpose clause to do so, but
he did not, hence we both find necessity to determine a meaning for eis because of its natural ambiguity in
I accept the possibility that eis in Acts 2:38 can be causal (“with reference to” or “because of”).
I also understand some notable Baptist scholars disagree with this possibility.
The truth is, however, other evangelical interpretations of Acts exist which do not demand mine or Mr.
Turner’s sacramental view. So even if Mr. Turner can quote a Baptist scholar
against my view, he still has yet to deal with other possibilities to interpret
Acts 2:38 which refute his position (such as connecting the forgiveness of sins
with repentance instead of baptism).
The proposed examples of causal eis in the New Testament are well known, so I need not labor the
issue now. However, here are two Koine examples outside of the New Testament to
demonstrate its use where it means because
Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to my
You wives of Lamech, give heed to
For I have killed a man for [eis] wounding me;
And a boy for [eis] striking me” (Genesis ,
In my experience, I
have seen that sacramentalists generally try to win the debate over eis by sneer. And when presented with
the evidence for causal eis, they
scoff even louder and say things like, “No reputable Greek scholar has ever
thought eis should be translated because of! Go figure. Sort of makes one
wonder what in the world they’re teaching in seminaries these days, doesn’t it?”
Such is unbecoming of any Bible student.
When critics give
into this behavior, it escapes their notice that the NAU translates eis as “with respect to” in Romans 4:20.
In fact, one prominent translator for the original New American Standard Bible
and General Editor of a leading concordance explicitly confessed to me, “In
some contexts, eis can be causal.”
With a plethora of scholarly works allowing the existence of causal eis, I am in a good company of
grammarians and lexicographers with the likes of John Broaddus, A.T. Robertson,
Nigel Turner, Julius Mantey, Zorrell, H.E. Dana, Bruce Compton, Henry Liddell,
Robert Scott, et al. I am not
intimidated by the ridicule sacramentalists in the Restoration Movement may
heap upon me because of causal eis.
The question begs,
“If eis in Acts means ‘because of,’ then why isn’t it
translated that way?” The answer naturally is not a matter of lexicography;
rather it is a committee’s philosophy of
translation. The idea is to be as neutral as possible over controversial
matters. The English word for is an
excellent choice for eis because it
too can mean “in order to, because of, etc.” There is nothing inherent to for that demands our differing views of eis either way. The word is so neutral
that it leaves room for the interpreter to decide for himself what it means
according to context. This is the reason translators choose the word for, though they might agree with my
view that eis means “because of” or “with
So why do I believe eis is causal in Acts 2:38? One reason
is that the theology of Acts militates otherwise. When the Philippian jailor
asked the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered
adversely to my opponent’s view: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved.” To elaborate upon this, it is thus my pleasure next to defend sola fide.
With this being
said, my denial of this proposition is now completed.
A Proposal for Mr. Turner
Because Mr. Turner has
expressed a repeated desire to address my view of eis aphesin
hamartiōn in Acts 2:38, I offer a
proposal for him to do so at this time. I certainly do not want to seem like an
unfair opportunist seeking to take advantage of any malicious debating
techniques. Though I honestly felt that my strategy and natural slower pace of moving
through the issues were within the domain of the rules and format we agreed
upon, I do understand his frustration for not addressing my view of causal eis.
I have confidence he would extend the
same courtesy to me if I were in his shoes also feeling disappointed.
Be that as it may, and
because I am genuinely interested to read his defense, I hereby extend an
opportunity for him to have the final word on Acts 2:38 by closing this proposition
in a fourth affirmative with another 1,000 words to address my view of eis
aphesin hamartiōn. If he takes
advantage of this offer, I will then follow without a rebuttal by opening our
second proposition for debate to proceed with the original format after this
brief extension of the discussion.