Baptist Scholar Speaks

Dr G R. Beasley-Murray, M.A., M.Th, Ph.D, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., wrote in 1962 “A Thorough And Scholarly Study Of Baptism” (Christianity Today). Quotes below are from Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994 edition.

His book of 422 pages is recognized for its thorough treatment of the subject. However, it does not represent the views held by most Baptists concerning the purpose for which a person is baptized. Most Baptists today, as well as some in other denominations, teach that baptism comes AFTER being saved by “faith alone.” Dr. Beasley-Murray defies the view of others of his own church when he contends truthfully that baptism is an absolute requirement in receiving forgiveness of sins. The following quotations are from his scholarly work.

Page 102f: “Acts 22:16, ‘arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name’ implies that his sins will be washed away in his baptism accompanied by prayer.”

Page 107-108: He quotes Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). He clearly acknowledges “the connection of baptism and forgiveness … The penitent believer baptized in the name of Jesus Christ may expect to receive at once the Holy Spirit, even as he is assured of the immediate forgiveness of sins.”

Page 128: “Those who are ‘in Christ’ had come ‘into Him’ by baptism. Rom 6:3; Gal 3:26.”

Page 264: “Forgiveness of sin, Acts 2:38 and cleansing from sins, Acts 22:16, I Cor 6:11, union with Christ, Gal 3:27 implies the release from sin’s power as well as guilt … hence membership in the Church, the body of Christ, I Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27-29, Acts 2:38, Jn 3:5.”

Page 272-3: “Forgiveness, cleansing and justification are the effect of baptism in Acts 2:38, 22:16, I Cor 6:11. Union with Christ comes through baptism in Gal 3:27. Identification with Christ in his death and resurrection is rooted in baptism in Rom 6:3ff, Col 2:11f … faith is the means whereby new life is gained in baptism. Membership in the Church, the Body of Christ, is through baptism in I Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27ff ‘Baptism saves you’ (I Pet 3:21).. stands luminously self-evident!”

Page 394: “Baptism and conversion are thus inseparables; one demands the other, for neither is complete without the other.”