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Memory Verse: ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ – John 8:32.

Our study series titled Knowing the Truth are aimed at explaining doctrinal matters that are difficult to understand or often misunderstood. Much as we try to avoid threading on contentious issues, we do not shy away from discussing what the bible says about topics that are often misconstrued or misinterpreted. The objective of these studies is to give us in-depth knowledge of the word of God such that as Apostle Paul said: ‘…We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive’ (Eph.4:14) and we will be ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2Tim.2:15).

In this study we shall discuss the issues of child baptism, priesthood of all believers, the worship of angels, Sabbaths, the bible concept of sainthood and the Day of the Lord.

Child Baptism: This practice that is found in some churches does not seem to have a biblical base. The requirements for baptism are clearly set out in the word of God and in accordance with the practices recorded in the New Testament bible. Let us refer to the bible on this matter.
1. In Mark’s gospel we read: ‘He who believes and is baptised will be saved’ (Mk.16:16).
2.  In his first sermon after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, Peter told his audience: ‘Repent and let everyone of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall received the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38).
3. As Philip preached concerning the kingdom of God in Samaria, those who believed were baptised (Acts 8:9-13).
4. After Philip the Evangelist preached to the Ethiopian eunuch along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, when they came across water, he asked Philip why he should not be baptised since there was water for the purpose. This is what he said: ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptised?’ Then Philip told him: ‘If you believe with your heart, you may’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptised him.
5. There was the case of the Philippian jailer who immediately he believed was baptised with members of his family by Paul (Acts 16:30-33).
6. Cornelius and members of his family and his friends were baptised by Peter after they had heard the word of God preached to them and believed (Acts.10:44-48).
7. Apostle Paul wrote: ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Rom.10:9).
8. John the Baptist preached that people should repent. Those who confessed and repented of their sins were baptised (Mt.3:4-9).
9. The command to make disciples of all the nations as recorded in Matthew 28:19, requires that the gospel be preached and believed before a candidate is baptised. True Christian belief must certainly include confession and repentance.

From the above references we could see that the requirements for baptism are: belief in Christ, confession of sins, and repentance. These requirements can only be met by adults and not babies and children who cannot understand these things even when they are preached to them.

But child dedication and the laying on of hands to bless children are recorded practices in the bible (Lk.2:22-24; Mt.19:13-15).
This is not to condemn those who practice child baptism but to enlighten us about the biblical stand on this so that we don’t feel condemned if we fail to practice it.
The purpose of baptism in Christian religion is clearly explained by Apostle Paul. You may read Romans 6:1-5.

Priesthood of all believers: This is a contentious topic in which people toe different lines. Some people are against women ordination because of what Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters: ‘Let women learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence’ (1Tim.2:11-12). However, many theologians argued that Apostle Paul gave this command because it was the custom of many women to ask their husband questions on things they did not understand during sermons in the early church, thus making the whole meeting rowdy. Paul had to find a way of stopping this rowdiness. In the ministry of Paul several women were involved like Phoebe (Rm.16:1), Aquilla (Rm.16:3), Eurodia and Syntyche (Phil.4:2). Some of them might have been ordained deacons or pastors or bishops. There can be no doubt that most of them were evangelists. However, Apostle John wrote that the risen Christ has made all believers (including men and women) kings and priests to His God and Father (Rev.1:6; 5:10 NKJV). Apostle Peter, in his own writing made a similar statement (1Pe.2:5). We should not quarrel with those who hold a different view from the one expressed here. We have been warned not to engage in any argument on contentious matters (2Tim.2:24-25).

Worship of Angels: This is forbidden by the word of God (Col.2:18). Even a true angel of God will not allow humans to worship him (Rev.19:10; 22:8-9). It is only God who should be worshipped. He is worthy of our worship.
Sabbath: Christians are not under any obligation to observe the Sabbath. It is a covenant between God and the Children of Israel (Exod.31:12-17).In fact, there are more than one Sabbaths which God commanded the Israelites to observe. We are warned by Apostle Paul about this (Col.2:16-17). It is necessary to explain further that when a Christian decides to observe it, he is going on the side of the Law. In this case, he is obliged to obey all the other laws of Moses, failing which, he has become a law-breaker (Rom.10:5). And the bible says that by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified (Rom.3:28). The purpose of this exposition is not to condemn Christians who keep the Sabbath but to understand what the bible says concerning it and not for us to feel guilty if we do not observe it.

The bible concept of Sainthood: The word ‘saint’ is used as a generic term for all who by baptism have entered into the Christian covenant (see Acts 9:13, 32, 41; Rom.1:7; 1Cor.1:2; Phil.1:1). St Paul used this title freely in his letters. This means that we have living saints and saints who have died. It is not after death that the title of sainthood should be conferred on a Christian. The word ‘saint’ is a translation from a Greek word that means holy. Holy means: to be separated for sacred purposes. It is consecration of one’s life for God’s use. Christians have their sins forgiven through the expiatory death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His holiness has been imputed to them (1Cor.1:30; 2Cor.5:21). This is the stand of the bible. Just as the apostles of Christ were called saints, so, every Christian has the right to be called a saint.

The Day of the Lord: Every day is the day of the Lord but since Jesus Christ rose up from death on the first day of the week, called Sunday according to the Roman calendar, that day became a special day for Christians. It is on this day that they meet to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus. It became a holy day for Christians of all generations.

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