Further Facebook Discussions on Baptism
"I would call it an act of obedience. Infant baptism does not "save" so how does it save the adult? It is an outward, public expression of an internal transformation."
I agree that it is an act of obedience, but it's more than that based on scriptures. Not only is it an act of obedience but Jesus said belief must be accompanied by baptism or we won't be saved.
Did Peter tell the crowd in Acts after preaching to them: "Repent now and be baptized as an outward sign of the inward transformation that just occurred?" No he didn't say that.
Did Ananais later tell Paul after he was knocked off his horse: "Arise, don't wait, be baptized as an outward sign of obedience of the inner transformation?"
No. Clearly not. Both Jesus, Peter, Ananais commanded that each should be baptized for the "forgiveness of sins."
There is unanimous agreement among early church historians that the early Christians viewed Baptism as regenerative and not symbolic.
I would find it surprising if Christians so close to the apostles could have gotten it wrong. I would be willing to concede this discussion to you, if there was a marked discrepancy in what the Church Fathers wrote about baptism but there isn't. I have been reading the Early Church Fathers for 6 years and haven't found one who described baptism as symbolic only. I know you and @@@ don't agree with this, but I still maintain, if we can't agree on what baptism is from scripture alone, we must look at other sources to see what the early church believed.
If we reject the teachings of the earliest Christians, than we must assume that the Holy Spirit that was promised to the Church to lead her in all truth went on sabbatical for 1500 years. Finally the Anabaptists arose in 1521 and unlocked the true understanding of what baptism is, ignoring all the creeds and councils of Christendom for the intervening 1500 years and getting Luther so angry he imposed the death sentence on them for heresy.
Personally, I can't accept that, but everyone is entitled to come to believe what they want. At the very least, this discussion further illustrates my point that sola scriptura is an inadequate construct as it has not helped you or I to come to an agreement on what the meaning of baptism is based on just scripture alone.