This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Baptized Into Christ

QUESTION: Is the statement that we are "baptized into Christ" of Rom. 6:3, and Gal. 3:27, to be understood to mean that water baptism actually brings the believer into a saving union with Christ, and that without it or until it has been performed, we are not really saved?

ANSWER: No, for often the sign, water baptism, is by metonomy put for the thing signified, inward cleansing, begun by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Hence, the Westminster Catechism wisely says, "Grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it (baptism) as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all, who are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated." Unless the administrator of water baptism can read the heart of the candidate he may affix the sign in the absence of the thing signified as did Peter in the baptism of Simon Magus in Acts 8:13-23. If water baptism saves, it follows that Paul generally left his converts unsaved, for he says in I Cor. 1:14, "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius." It seems that Peter, in Acts 2:38, thought baptismal regeneration was the invariable Divine order, but he was corrected in 10:44-48, when the Spirit fell on the hearers before they were baptized.

Steele's Answers pp. 175, 176.