Dear Brother G.
I have been waiting for some one better qualified than I to challenge C.R.G.’s interpretation of Romans chapter six which appeared in the September issue.
Let us consider his reasons for questioning what has been, so long, taught in the assemblies of God’s people, and firmly held by such outstanding Bible teachers as Vine, Hogg, Hoste, and Rodgers. Our brother gives two reasons for this: first, “If water baptism is meant, then Paul’s argument applies only to water-baptized believers”; second, “If one teaches water baptism from this passage, then he must teach baptismal regeneration.”
If our brother is suggesting that the argument for or against continuing in sin applies only to water-baptized believers because they are introduced at this point, then he must, to be consistent, argue that the truth expounded in the Epistle to the Romans applies only to the Romans since it is addressed to “All that be in Rome.” I am sure that he does not believe that. “All Scripture … is profitable …” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is just such faulty reasoning that has led many sincere Christians down the pathway of error. You will recall the assertion, “Matthew is for the Jew,” which was used in the early years of this century to reject the divine formula which Christ attached to this ordinance, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19).
His second objection is not only fallacious but inculpatory. The four men already mentioned believed that Romans chapter six taught water baptism, yet were adamant in their rejection of baptismal regeneration(See, The Sacraments, C. F. Hogg, pp. 21-26). Having, as you will remember, some personal acquaintance with this problem, I know that the origin of this teaching does not rise from taking Romans six to be water baptism, but from the spiritual benefits of baptism by the Spirit. Note the words of the priest on the completion of the ritual, “Seeing now, dearly beloved brethren, that this child is regenerate and grafted into the Body of Christ’s Church …” How could anyone conceivably get this from Romans six? Baptism by the Spirit is “into one Body” (1 Cor. 12:13), not “into His death” as here.
The rest of our brother’s argument is taken up with an interpretation of the word “baptizo”. Mr. Hoste warns of the danger of building according to our own views of the Greek text. The writer makes no pretence of being a scholar of New Testament Greek, but numbers among his friends and associates those who are. One a Ph.D. in Greek who has spent two years in Greece studying the language has never come across the meaning given by Mr. Wuest. Says she, “It is a very free interpretation which leaves itself open to question when you consider the root meaning of the word, to dip.” Liddell and Scott (the Oxford of Greek) gives no meaning akin to the one employed by brother Wuest. Had such a meaning been given by scholars of the past, these men or their successors would have taken cognizance of it. In any event, where this doubt exists, it is extremely dangerous to build a doctrine upon this interpretation.
Sincerely in Christ,