The book of Acts, or rather as the Greek has it Praxeis ton Apostolon, the *Practice* of the Apostles, shows unequivocally that the practice of the apostles was to instantly baptize anyone who confessed faith in Christ, and to me this is sufficient to refute not only the Calvinists but basically every Protestant denomination. In the past, since I was raised in a minority church (church of Christ) that believes baptism is essential to salvation I always felt this need to prove myself, to show that I’m orthodox, that what I believe is true [which made me have a sort of breakdown]…and my major opponents were the Calvinists, not in and of themselves, but because they are the loudmouths in Protestantism, the squeeky-wheels that get the grease, and thus they set the beliefs for all Protestants. Every Prot courts the approval of the Calvinist gurus. In a way that’s what I was doing too, seeking a way to convince them = seeking their approval. But now I couldn’t care less. The most important thing in the church I was raised in and still attend is baptism, and I feel no shame in that, and no need to even defend it. The defense is simply a reading of the Practice of the Apostles, because that is their practice! We can debate election and faith alone, and all the Calvinist non-sense that they’ve convinced all Protestantism of till we’re blue in the face, but it won’t change the fact that the Apostles baptized people instantly as soon as they confessed faith in Christ whereas all Protestants defer it on the premise that justification is by faith alone and therefore it can wait 5, 10, 20 years. The PRACTICE of the Apostles shows that the Protestant THEORY is false (no matter how well they have twisted the Pauline epistles to prove their theory). Now those who’ve read my older posts on this blog, or my comments from way back on Paul’s Passing Thoughts, know that I have vacillated between hating the apostle Paul and quoting him to prove my case. The recent revelation of the fact that the PRACTICE of the apostles solves the question of THEORY decisively has cured me of my vacillating hatred of Paul. Why? Well, just read the book of Acts! Paul practiced the same thing in regard to baptism as all the other apostles (just read Acts and you’ll see) so that means that those passages in the epistles where I once thought Paul was a Gnostic or faith-alonist heretic are certainly being twisted by the Calvinists/Protestants. Paul is innocent (even if he’s not that clear of a writer, which he isn’t). Paul is only trying to explain why the apostles baptized people instantly on the simple confession that “Jesus Christ is the son of the living God” and why they don’t require people to prove themselves (i.e. a probation period of law-keeping or keeping church regulations prior to baptism). But requiring people to keep church regulations for a probation period prior to baptism is exactly what Protestantism is doing! They are putting a probation period before baptism, whether 3 weeks, 6 months, 5 years, 20 years. And this is what Paul means by justification being by faith not works, that one is made acceptable for baptism (for that is all justification is, being made acceptable for entrance into the covenant [i.e. being made an acceptable candidate for baptism]) by faith alone, not by being required to keep certain works for a probation period first. The only prereq for baptism that we can check is that people confess their faith in Jesus as the Christ and son of the living God. (Repentance is required, but we can’t check it, so as far as our ability to control who is baptized, we only have confession of faith as a requirement.) The book of Acts confirms it by showing Paul baptizing people instantly upon their confession just like Peter and the rest, so Calvinism is dealt the final mortal blow and I have perfect peace of mind. I can finally make peace with Paul. And I can know with certainty beyond a shadow of a doubt that the church in which I was raised, and of which I am still a member, is right. Because its the only church I know of that follows the PRACTICE of the apostles in regards to baptism. And knowing this practice helps us understand the THEORY layed out in the Pauline epistles. So now, like the rest of my brethren (who all accept Paul unquestionably) I can go back to doing the same, knowing that no matter how complicated Paul makes it sound, all he’s really saying is you can’t make people prove themselves before baptizing them, that you have to baptize them merely on the confession that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God, without putting them through a probation period. And he is certainly not saying that baptism is unnecessary, because if he truly thought that, he wouldn’t have baptized every convert he made in Acts(!) just as the Baptists don’t baptize half of their “converts” but just have them pray (or even just mouth) the unscriptural “sinner’s prayer.” Where you find the PRACTICE of the apostles, there you find the true gospel. And along with the apostolic practice will be the apostolic theory. So seek the practice first. Find a church that baptizes instantly upon the confession of faith, the scriptural confession of faith not some man-made creed or confessional statement. And once you’ve found that, you will have found along with it the proper THEORY. Practice comes first. Protestantism has the wrong PRACTICE, so they must of necessity have the wrong THEORY.
[9/18/2014 7:25 PM (11:31 PM) After more deliberation on Paul, I decided that on the accepting Paul thing I’ve decided that (for myself) by this I only mean accepting him as a historical witness to the PRACTICE of first century Christianity, not as an apostle nor as an inspired writer, certainly not as an inerrant writer. The church of Christ accepts him as inspired and inerrant, but I just can’t. For me, whatever he says that is substantiable from the Practice of the Apostles, I will accept, but whatever is his own theory and his own theology, I reject, since he bases it on misuse, abuse, and outright twisting of the Old Testament, not to mention that logic that is not at all logical.]
9/19/2014: This is now a series, so see also Part 2: The book of Acts disproves Calvinism, Protestantism, and Catholicism (Part 2)