Clarification of Biblical Teachings

Positions of Clarity and

Grace on Biblical Matters 

 

This page aims to clarify what the Bible teaches in several areas not outlined in an introductory statement of faith. In some cases, churches shy away from being declarative on these issues because they don’t want to offend or give a reason for a person not to want to visit their church. We tend to look at this from a different perspective. We desire to be refreshingly straightforward so people can visit our church knowing we stand upon the foundation of God’s Word. We hope our willingness to be clear and trust God’s Word gives you more reason to visit. In addition, we think it is beneficial for our staff, future staff, elders, and future elders to be unified in what we believe the Bible speaks to these issues. We believe this promotes a healthy church.


Some of these issues are indeed challenging and differing opinions exist… As much as possible, we desire to get away from opinion and rely solely upon the scriptures to give us God’s direction. With that said, grace in disputable matters is needed on some issues. That means that in some areas, and we will do our best to spell that out, people may trust in God’s Word and come to a differing conclusion. As much as possible, we desire to agree and have oneness, but in some areas, we also have to be careful not to be dogmatic where scripture is less clear. With that said, in most instances, this is not the case, and God has made it clear to us.


Several errors occur in interpreting scripture that we want to mention now, so we can be on the lookout for when one is trying to develop a biblically derived position on a matter. Although there are many ways people can misinterpret, we will list some of the more common ways this occurs.

 


Placing Opinion above Scripture

  

One thing that confuses Biblical teaching is bringing our opinion and conclusion to scripture rather than allowing the whole counsel of God’s word to help us derive its instruction. As much as possible, we should not have our preconceived notions trump or slant what we believe God’s Word says.

 

Seeking “a” scripture to support an opinion versus looking at the whole counsel of God’s Word.

 

Another problem is declaring a Biblical conclusion based on one scripture instead of the whole counsel of God’s Word.

 

It is not honest to the Bible to seek “a” scripture, especially out of context, and then declare a conclusion on a doctrinal issue from that one scripture. Instead, each area of the Bible that refers to a specific topic area needs to be considered, and they all need to be considered in proper context, in relation to the whole, to get an appropriate meaning.

 

The creation of uncertain context to dismiss a scripture that does not fit one’s position.

 

Sometimes erroneous or unknown context is developed to justify a wrong position. If we are not certain about an exact Biblical contextual setting, we cannot make one up in order to justify a preferred interpretation.

 

The need to examine any opinion, especially online articles, Biblically.

 

Many articles can be found online, and nearly any position can be found to support almost any belief. Many of them are written from a specific perspective and may not do a good job of seeking what the whole counsel (examining what scripture says on any given topic not based on one or a few verses, but on many or even all scriptures on that given topic) of God’s word says. Some articles can sound good, especially if one does not know the scripture that may dispute that position. It is important to consider other views, with the most important consideration being what the whole counsel of God’s word speaks.

 

One of the challenges of looking at the whole counsel of God’s Word on a matter is that it is comprehensive and time-consuming. Due to this, in many areas, we have discovered well-researched biblical positions on these points of clarification. In these cases, the church's elders have decided to use and give credit to these well-researched positions. In those cases, links are provided to these positions in which we declare agreement. Sometimes, we share something we agree with another organization, church, or Pastor. This does not mean we represent that we agree (or don’t agree) in every area with that organization, church, or Pastor but only in the specific position(s) shared. Many of the positions are being provided by gotquestions.org. Gotquestions.org has been a leader in this area for many years. Although we do not claim to agree with gotquestions.org in every room, their answers tend to be Biblically derived and have been challenged, vetted, and modified over time to deliver well-reasoned biblical answers to questions.

Positions of Clarification


Church Government


The following link does a great job of articulating our church's position on church government and elders. Crossing Community doesn’t have deacons as described in this article. We believe Gods Word teaches that churches are to be independent bodies led by a plurality of Elders. In this case, the lead pastor is an Elder and may lead the elder board, but a plurality of elders governs the church. We want our lead pastor to lead and be subject and accountable to the greater elder team. We have other leaders who assist the elders and sometimes attend elders’ meetings but are not yet elders.




Women in Ministry and Women Pastors/Preachers


Women share in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and at church. Women are given spiritual gifts just as men. At Crossing Community Church, we have women who serve as womens ministry leaders, childrens ministers, worship leaders, preach and teach to other women, and women whose counsel is sought on leadership and spiritual matters. Scripture, however, puts the authority and responsibility of the pastor or elder on men. Therefore we adhere to the Bible’s teaching. Women may be asked to contribute to a Sunday service or other service with the pastor when the pastor would like to add a woman’s perspective to a specific topic.


See attached links for a great summary biblical position we agree with regarding women in ministry.

https://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html




Perseverance of the Saints
Can one choose to deny Jesus

after once accepting him?


The Bible does not use the words one can “lose” one’s salvation. However, the Bible gives ample warning not to abandon one’s faith. Many strong words are given to persevere in faith to the end. Those frequent warnings, many by Jesus himself, give us a healthy fear not to fall away from God. When one loses their keys, they search diligently for them. Throwing your keys into the sea is not losing your keys. That is saying you don’t want the keys any longer. Denying Christ is not the same as “losing” one’s salvation. There is much to say on this topic and more than we can cover in a paragraph.

 

Below is a link to paper our Pastor wrote on the topic.

LINK



Election/Predestination and

our choice in choosing Christ


The Calvinism/Arminianism Debate.

At Crossing, we believe in predestination and election but lean toward a more Arminian view. Grace is needed in this area.


https://www.gotquestions.org/Calvinism-vs-Arminianism.html



Is hell real?


Both heaven and hell are real, and both are not temporary places. Jesus speaks about hell often. The belief in both heaven and hell increases our urgency to share the good news of Jesus with the world.

https://www.gotquestions.org/hell-real-eternal.html



End times chronology including the rapture,
tribulation and second coming of Christ.



As mentioned in the opening, some areas of scripture are harder to achieve clarity than others. End times prophecy is an area that is more difficult to discern. While acknowledging that fact, our church leadership leans toward a pre-tribulation view of the church's rapture.


With grace, we hold to the church's rapture that could happen at any moment. This is not a prediction about the timing but our interpretation of what the Bible teaches. That is why we must all be ready and come to faith in Jesus. We believe Jesus will take believers from the earth at the rapture before a seven-year tribulation. That seven-year tribulation will not be a pleasant time on Earth. The last 3.5 years will be worse than the prior. The Anti-Christ will be revealed in this time and deceive many (but not believers who were already raptured). At the end of seven years, Jesus Christ will return. This is called his second coming. At that time, the bodies of believers who died before the rapture and who went to heaven at the time of their death will now have their spirits rejoined with a healthy version of their spiritual bodies. Jesus will defeat the Anti-Christ at his return and usher in the millennial Kingdom on earth. This will be a 1000-year period where believers in Christ will be present with Christ on earth. At the end of that one thousand years, the devil will ultimately be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire. This will then begin what is known as eternity with Christ. Attached are some links to read more about this view and the scriptures that support it.


Here is an article to read more about the strengths and weaknesses of a pre-tribulation view. Although recognizing Christ is coming for his church is a very important matter and strengthens our conviction to follow Jesus now, we still need to offer grace to one another on a complicated topic.

https://www.gotquestions.org/pretribulationism.html


Is homosexuality a sin?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
How does this relate to the issue of same-sex marriage?


The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. The Bible lists many sins, including but not limited to anger, rage, lust, murder, stealing, using the Lord’s name in vain, etc. In that way, homosexuality is a sin like the other sins. However, what makes the homosexuality issue different in our current culture is the desire for people to call what God calls sin proper. In a sense, the world proclaims that God is wrong, that we know better, and should redefine what God says. That is a more significant issue than simply the sin in itself. Imagine if we were to say stealing is proper and very acceptable. That would not make any sense. We have compassion for anyone who struggles with same-sex attraction. We believe that surrendering to God and his guidance is the solution. God does not support marriage between people of the same gender. The Bible says that God created them male and female and that his desire is for a man and woman to come together in marriage as one flesh. As a result, Crossing Community Church elders have confirmed that our church pastors or building would not be used for performing a same-gender marriage.



The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, becoming
Born Again, Water Baptism, and gifts of the Spirit.


We believe that Holy Spirit is poured out richly on all who genuinely believe. All who genuinely believe should be water baptized. In the early church, when people came to faith in Jesus, they were, in many cases, immediately water-baptized. Every believer in Christ should be water baptized, and we encourage those who were water baptized as infants to prayerfully choose to be water baptized when they personally make a decision to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. We believe this is the best way to honor the Bible and give the believer the personal experience of committing to follow Jesus.


Holy Spirit baptism is real and happens when someone genuinely believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In most cases today, Holy Spirit Baptism comes separately from Water Baptism mainly because today we tend to water baptize people after they come to saving faith. With that said, Holy Spirit baptism may come at the time of water baptism if that is the first genuine profession of faith. Holy Spirit baptism may also occur after water baptism. The reason someone may not receive the Holy Spirit through water baptism or even when they make a profession of faith can be at least two-fold. One reason is that it may not have been a true profession of faith. Another reason the Holy Spirit may come later is that someone may have yet to be aware of the Holy Spirit. Later, through teaching, discovery, or even the prayerful guidance and laying on of hands, a person may become aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a previously unaware way. In those instances, at times, it can be hard to be certain as to whether the person was a true believer prior. This we are taught in the scriptures; a true believer has the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is poured out on us richly. The Holy Spirit is the very mark of the fact that we are true believers. When we have the Holy Spirit, we are also given gifts of the Holy Spirit. God has many gifts and gives us the specific gift or gifts that he wills. We are to be eager for spiritual gifts from God but also should trust him to provide them as he determines. Some people believe what may be called sign gifts, such as speaking in tongues, healing, interpretation of tongues, works of miracles, and prophecy, have ceased. At Crossing Community Church, we believe God can do what he wants and that he can still have any gift manifested that is discussed in His Word. God is not limited. We also do not believe everyone should have a specific spiritual gift. Specifically, regarding the gift of tongues, some Holy Spirit-baptized believers have it, and some do not and will not. God can and does give whatever gifts he determines. In any case, speaking in tongues is not something for public show. Most who exercise this gift only do so as a private form of prayer.


We must be eager to serve God and open to whatever gift God desires to give us. The following article does an excellent job of talking about Continuations and Cessations. Good brothers and sisters in Christ can hold different views regarding sign gifts. Some people get rather polar in their opinion one way or the other. At our church, we lean toward a continuations position. We are eager for God to work in and through us but see ourselves as wise and cautious in this area.

https://www.gotquestions.org/continuationism.html

Biblical Baptism

Biblical Baptism


By Jay Cavaiani- Written 6/18/2008, updated 7-2022

Nearly every scripture that mentions baptism was examined during research for this report. This summary report and our ministry aim to understand biblical baptism and accurately obey its instruction.

 

Summary Position on Baptism

Why get baptized?

 

Baptism is a frequently demonstrated event modeled by the early church and followers of Jesus. It is Gods prescribed way of expressing ones faith and commitment to Jesus. It is a great act of obedience to Jesus and a physical way to reveal trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is also a special way of identifying with Christs death and resurrection for the believer. It symbolizes accepting Christs sacrifice and victory over sin and death. It also could be described as a special ceremony, where one comes before God to make their commitment of faith to him. In baptism, you are celebrating what Christ did for you on the cross, thereby forgiving you of your sin, committing to death to your former way of life, and making a pledge to live a new life for Christs Kingdom purposes.


 

Personal Baptism Testimony of Reverend Jay.

I was raised in a traditional church and baptized as an infant. I never really understood the Gospel and stopped attending church in my late teens. I became a believer in Christ in my mid 20s (1996) and afterward learned about believer baptism. I was baptized as a believer when I was about 30. Since that time, I have felt that there was not much merit for infant baptism. Although I think the bible very clearly supports my decisions regarding baptism, there is some support for household baptism, which in theory, could include infants. Baptism can be a sensitive topic; I aim to handle it sensitively and follow His Word accurately. I hope you check out the report and the Bible for yourself.

 

A couple of quick questions and answers


Is baptism required for salvation? Although there is scripture that could be interpreted in this fashion, there are multitudes of scriptures that refer to salvation coming to those who believe without mentioning baptism.

 

Is baptism necessary for receiving the Holy Spirit? Although the Holy Spirit was manifested in the lives of baptized people, there are many other occasions where the Holy Spirit came upon believers without baptism. Additionally, baptism was done so often immediately after someone believed and was saved, in those instances, it would be hard to differentiate the time of belief from baptism.

 

What is the way baptism is most frequently demonstrated? In the Bible, baptism is repeatedly and often referenced as a response and action that immediately follows someones decision to believe in Jesus. Today we do altar calls when water is available; baptizing immediately would be more biblically accurate.

 

Are infants baptized in the bible? There are no occasions in the Old and New Testaments where infants are mentioned as being baptized. There is some mention in scripture of households being baptized, referenced in this report. It could be theorized that infants or children participated in this baptism, but there is no mention of this. 

 

Why are you calling it a ceremony? While doing this research, I also read a commentary about baptism as a ceremony. When you read scripture on baptism, the ceremony describes it well. It appears in scripture several times where the believer, in obedience, follows through with an action that reflects their faith decision. Many times it has a feeling of being ceremonial, as it was even in Jesus’ baptism. Similar to marriage, we could sign a paper and be married, and yet we typically and perhaps more appropriately do it in the

context of a ceremony. The ceremony is not mentioned in the Bible. Still, after reading what the bible says, most would agree that baptism could be accurately described as a ceremony celebrating, demonstrating, symbolizing, and acting upon ones faith decision.

 

Is it a public declaration of faith? It can be, but the most important declaration is an act of obedience to Jesus. I have heard public declarations given as the reason people get baptized. I think it is just as special if you met with the person baptizing you in the presence of the almighty Father and, out of obedience, reverence, and love for Him, got baptized to identify with Him and his death and resurrection for you. It was demonstrated this way in the bible (Philip and the Eunuch, Paul and Ananias). When I read scripture, baptism is more about your relationship with Jesus and a personal commitment to Him. Now if you keep that focus of doing it for Jesus in mind, and it is done in the presence of family, friends, and others, that is awesome and biblical. It may be an excellent evangelism tool, and I am all for that, but remember your dedicated life to Jesus.

 


Some References to Baptism in Scripture

Baptism as a symbol and pledge:

1 Peter 3:13-22= In verse 21, “…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also”— In this passage, Peter uses symbolism from Noahs family who was saved from the rising waters and that water baptism symbolizes being saved by God. He also says that it is a pledge of a good conscious towards God. Lastly, in this passage, Peter says we are saved because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When read in relation to other baptism passages, we can learn from this that baptism symbolizes our acceptance of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us, and in it, we pledge to God.

 

Jesus was baptized as an adult:

Matthew 3:15 Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the start of his ministry at around 30. The fact that Jesus got baptized is a good example to his followers.

 

The Immediacy of Baptism in the early church:

Acts 2:38-41 After Peter finished preaching a message very soon after Jesus’ ascension, Peter said the following. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for

you and for your children and all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” In many other words, he warned them; and pleaded with them, Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

 

We can learn here that those who accepted the Gospel message were baptized and even baptized on the same day. We also see a note regarding baptized children, which I will comment on later. Nowhere does the bible mention an infant being baptized, but it could be argued that it did occur here or within some households that got baptized together. Clearly, in the early church (as recorded in the Book of Acts), baptism is

predominantly mentioned for people who believe, and there is no reference to a common practice of baptizing infants. (More on this later.)

 

An example of the Holy Spirit being evident before baptism:


Acts 10 To get the full flavor, it would be good to read the whole chapter. In summary, God comes to a family of Gentiles, who, as a people group, were generally looked down upon because they were not from Gods original chosen people. But when this man, Cornelius, and others hear Christ's message, they receive the Holy Spirit. Then, in verses 47 and 48, Peter says, Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

We can see from this that one can have the Holy Spirit, a mark of being saved, without baptism. Yet, even though they already had the Holy Spirit, Peter felt it was important that they get baptized.

 

Support for getting rebaptized and as an act of obedience to your decision to believe in Christ:


Acts 18:24-19:7 This is a vibrant passage with much that could be inferred from it regarding getting baptized as a believer even if you were baptized earlier. Please read the story for yourself.

 

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s Baptism,” they replied. (Referring to John the Baptists baptism) Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is in Jesus.” Hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

After they were baptized, Paul then laid his hands on them they received the Holy Spirit.

 

There is much to discern from this passage. First, these people trying to follow Jesus still needed the Holy Spirit. The verse just prior called these men disciples. Additionally, these men were baptized before this baptism but still had yet to receive the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist’s baptism, was one of repentance, and his baptism referred to a time before Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Similarly, some have been baptized in the past, but when they were baptized, they did not understand the Gospel or even know of the Holy Spirit. In those instances, just like these men, a strong argument can be made to be baptized again with a proper understanding of the meaning of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, and baptism.

 

Household Baptisms (infants?):


Acts 18:7, 8, and 16:13-34 three households are baptized together in these two passages. Although there is no mention of children or infants, someone could make the case that children or even infants were baptized. All of the stories are very similar. Someone believed in the message of Jesus, and immediately those in their household were baptized. When combining all of these passages, it could be argued that if the leader of a family, either male or female (you will understand if you read the quotes), accepts the gospel message of Jesus by faith, they then could have their whole family baptized, even potentially infants, and that that baptism could be a once and for all baptism, sufficient baptism. Scripturally-based on these household baptism passages, a pretty good affirming argument towards this position could be made. However, there are some prerequisites. First, this should only be considered when the family leader trusts Christ and gets baptized with the family, as in all these circumstances. Putting that point aside, the more significant questions are, was the leader of the family a believer in Jesus Christ at the time of the baptism, and was the baptizer a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? In all of these instances, this would be true. As an example, if I was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who was saved and had children whom I wanted to get baptized and the person who baptized them I also in good conscious believed was a committed believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then I think an argument could be made that that baptism could be a once and for all, sufficient baptism. If, however, I was not even a saved believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and had my children or an infant baptized without myself having saving faith, I would question more the validity of that baptism because, in all of these biblical cases, the household leader had placed their trust in Christ and out of the response of that took the lead in having their whole household baptized. In addition, what if that child when got to the age (and no one knows the exact age we are responsible for our own faith) of 13 and does not show any evidence of saving faith or walk of faith with Jesus, but now at the age of 15 accepts Jesus as their Savior. 

 

Should they get baptized? Arguments could be made both ways; however, at that point, the young man or young woman could decide how they felt led regarding baptism. After all, in the early church, baptism following acceptance of Jesus was common practice. If those men in Acts 19 were baptized twice in the bible, why not others who may have been baptized before their complete understanding of the Gospel be baptized again if they feel prompted to do so? If this is done in honor of Jesus, his name would be glorified in the process. For young people and even older adults who never got to experience a ceremony of their baptism, it is good and right and healthy for them to get water baptized as both a commitment to Christ and a special memory for them of their duty.

 

The Apostle Paul was immediately baptized after he believed.


Acts 9 Paul was a Jew who followed the scriptures intently. Once he heard about Jesus, he was baptized by a believer named Ananias. Paul then went on to write over half the New Testament.

 

Baptism as your identification of Christs death for you:


These two passages show that when you get baptized, it symbolizes your dying two your old life and rising to new life in Jesus. We cant live underwater, so baptism identifies with Jesus’ death and death to our old way of living and a rising to new life in Jesus’ name. In this way, it is also a symbol of rising to eternal life one day.

 

Romans 6:3, 4 Or dont you know that all of us baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised for the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live new life.

 

Colossians 2:12  having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 

 

Jesus commanded us to go make disciples, baptize, and teach others:


The Great Commission: Matthew 28: 16-21

 

This is one of the core verses of our ministry. It is one of Jesus' last occasions with his disciples before ascending to heaven. This is where he told them what He wanted them to go and do. It is clear here that you should get baptized to be a disciple of Jesus. 

 

Then Jesus came and said to them. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

How does the bible demonstrate baptism:


Acts 8: 26-40 Philip and the Ethiopian. Philip hears someone reading scripture and goes to explain the scripture and the Gospel to the person. Philip must have also likely shared with the man about baptism because when Philip finishes, the man says, “Look, here is water. Why shouldnt I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again but went on his way rejoicing.

 

Matthew 3:16 Jesus Baptism

As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.

 

In both scriptures, it appears that the baptized person came in and out of the water. That is why many churches, including our ministry, believe that the demonstrated method of baptism is submersion, simply meaning that the person being baptized in one motion goes down and up again in and out of the water. Is this a critical issue? Likely not, but why not perform baptism as closely as demonstrated?

 

For your reference, here are some other scriptures that mention baptism:


1 Cor. 1:10-16, Acts 18:8, John 4:2 (the disciples baptizing early on), Mark 10:38


Additional Reading


This topic is more controversial and can be a bit confusing, but in doing a report and

thorough research on baptism, it should be addressed.

 

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

 

Baptism of the Holy Spirit happens when a person genuinely believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior and then receives the Holy Spirit. It is shown that Holy Spirit Baptism (spiritual baptism) comes upon people that believe regardless of water baptism. Sometimes Holy Spirit Baptism and water baptism come at the same time because, for that person, their first true faith decision came when they were getting water baptized. Sometimes the bible indicates that Holy Spirit baptism happens before water baptism. The Holy Spirit enters a man or woman during their genuine faith decision/conversion. However, as this report will indicate, the bible is still clear that water baptism is prescribed and important, even if someone already has believed and received the Holy Spirit.

 

Some people and churches believe that the evidence of Holy Spirit Baptism is shown by the gift of speaking in tongues. This needs to be shown to be consistent in the scriptures or our experience today. Many people in the Bible and today are given the Holy Spirit when they believe without the gift of speaking in tongues. Some scriptures could be interpreted that there is a Holy Spirit Baptism where someone places their hands on you and prays for you to receive the gifts of the Spirit. Two of the scriptures used to support this is Acts 18:24-19:7 and Acts 8:9-25. As the first mentioned earlier, some men were called disciples but still needed the Spirit. Then when Paul baptized and placed his hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues and prophecy. Some churches and people believe that speaking in tongues is an outward sign that you have had the special baptism of the Holy Spirit that they claim is different from the normal water baptism that occurred when people believed. Although the Bible can be shown to support this, when looking at the whole counsel of God’s Word, there is ample evidence to refute this.

 

In the case of men from Acts 19, before their second water baptism, they had never even heard of the Holy Spirit. It is difficult to see how they could have previously understood the Gospel properly without hearing of the Holy Spirit. With that being said, it could be argued strongly that these men were not yet saved until they understood the Gospel more adequately, and that is why the Spirit was not given to them earlier but was now given to Paul.

 

In another example, in Acts 8, there was a man named Simon and others who were said to have believed and were water baptized. Yet, when other disciples showed up, they found these men without the Holy Spirit. They then laid hands on these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. This passage does not mention speaking of tongues, but they did receive the Holy Spirit by laying on hands. When reading scripture, it does need to be looked at as a whole. If everyone were to speak in tongues through the Baptism of the Spirit and laying on of hands, then these people would have received this gift. Those reading this report, especially those fond of speaking in tongues, might find it interesting that I was prayed over and had hands laid upon me by several people who claim to speak in tongues. Many years later, I do not have the gift of speaking in tongues. If you read 1 Cor. 12, you will see that Paul indicates that we all have different gifts from God, and what gift you receive is up to his will.

 

1Co 12:11 NASB95 - But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

It is also apparent in 1 Cor. that only some baptized people in the Spirit will speak in tongues. The answer to each of these questions is clearly, no.

 

1Co 12:28-31 NASB95 -  And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, [various] kinds of tongues.  All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not [workers of] miracles, are they?  All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 

 

With that said, we should be open to whatever God chooses to give us.

 

1Co 14:1a NASB95 - Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual [gifts,]…

 

In the end, I will summarize this by saying that I think it is appropriate for someone to place their hands on you and pray for you that God may grant any special gift that God may have for you. When I baptize with water, I also lay a hand on those being water baptized and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit and whatever gift God may give. This is the best Biblical example.

 

I believe spiritual gifts are real, as evidenced in the Bible, and that spiritual gifts exist today. At our church, we believe that God can still do whatever he desires. Unfortunately, some can emphasize spiritual gifts in a way where they are pressured or manipulated instead of received as a gift from God. That is inappropriate and something we do not do. 

 

There is a website called Got Questions that does a great job on many topics. The issue being discussed here is called Continuationism or Cessationism. Continuationism states that any gift mentioned in the Bible can still exist today. Cessationism is the belief that specific sign gifts have ceased. At our church, we lean toward Continuationism, but we do this cautiously and with reverence. We dont believe we should state that God cannot do something today.

 

Summary Position on Baptism

Why get baptized?

Baptism is a frequently demonstrated event modeled by the early church and followers of Jesus. It is Gods prescribed way of expressing ones faith and commitment to Jesus. It is a great act of obedience to Jesus and a physical way to reveal that one trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is also a special way of identifying with Christs death and resurrection for the believer. It symbolizes your acceptance of Christs sacrifice and victory over sin and death for you. It also could be described as a special ceremony, where one comes before God to make their commitment of faith to him. In baptism, you are celebrating what Christ did for you on the cross, thereby forgiving you of your sin, committing to death to your former way of life, and making a pledge to live a new life for Christs Kingdom purposes.