Baptism into the Covenant of Christ
NCW 11, August 1994
Q. I am really pleased that NCCG recognises the baptisms performed by other churches because that shows you are not one of the cults which claim they are the only way to Christ. But what I don't understand is why you expect new members to be baptised again. You say that you accept that those who are baptised into Christ don't have to be baptised again (which is right) but then say people have to be baptised into your covenant. What biblical evidence is there that Christians should be baptised into a particular covenant?
The apostle Paul wrote: "I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea..." (1 Cor.10:1-2, RSV).
Dr. Adam Clark, the Protestant theologian, in his famous Clark's Condensed Commentary (condensed by Robert Newton Young), comments on this passage:
Or to word his observation in another way: just as the ancient Israelites were baptised into the Mosaic Covenant, so are Christians baptised into the Christian Covenant. Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb.9:15; 12:24), just as Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant. When we speak of being "baptised into Christ" what we really mean (i.e. what the Bible actually says) is that we are "baptised into the Covenant of Christ". You cannot be baptised into a person per se, but you can be baptised into a covenant or an agreement; as a signature in the world is the seal of a legal document, so baptism is the outer seal of discipleship. When we speak of being baptised "into Christ" we are actually saying that we are being baptised into His Covenant -- the New Covenant, which was purchased by His blood (1 Cor.11:25).
"[The Israelites were all baptized] into Moses -- into the covenant of which Moses was the mediator; and by this typical baptism they were brought under the obligation of acting according to Mosaic precepts, as Christians receiving Christian baptism are said to be baptized INTO Christ, and are therefore brought under obligation to keep the precepts of the Gospel" (Vol.III, p.401).
Since most churches or denominations are living the Gospel rather differently, some obeying these commandments, some obeying those, it follows that they cannot all be living after the same Covenant or Gospel, at least not in it its completeness. Therefore each Church denomination is effectively a covenant of its own, even though many churches do recognise each others baptisms. The New Covenant Church of God, on the other hand, is a unique covenant in Christ and therefore expects new members of be baptised. This does not mean that their previous baptism is invalid in God's eyes because they were baptised in good faith and according to their understanding at the time, but it does mean that their previous baptism is not sufficient to be full members of the New Covenant Church of God.
This is the Biblical meaning and the one adhered to by this Church.
This page was created on 24 April 1998
Last updated on 24 April 1998
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