By Dr. Rex Duff, BA, MA, M.Div., MHA, D. Ministry, J.D.

   In the 1800’s the Church of the Brethren Church went through great changes, as well as great losses. In Kentucky, Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, as well as former Brethren preacher Joseph Hostetler were successful in pulling the entire denomination out of the Church of the Brethren into the Disciples of Christ and much more in what is today the Church of Christ. (Durnbaugh, Donald; The Church of the Brethren Past and Present, Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois, 1971, p.21). One might ask, what was the main issue that pulled so many churches out of the Church of the Brethren, not only in Kentucky, but many places? A reading of Peter Nead’s Theology (1850), would explain a popular teaching of the times, “Baptismal Regeneration”, that like a cancer, spread throughout the Church of the Brethren. Why is this important, because this doctrine is still being taught in some Church of the Brethren Churches today. Another popular doctrine of the 1800’s was also Universalism, a belief that a God who loves us, would never send anyone to eternal Hell, and all would eventually in up in Heaven. Sadly, this also is being preached today by many Church of the Brethren pastors. (Durnbaugh, Donald; The Church of the Brethren Past and Present, Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois, 1971, p.21). This article however, is a response to those who would still preach Baptismal Regeneration today, no matter what type of Church they are in. A quick look at the new formed Covenant Brethren Church under Baptism, list as one of its Scriptural references Acts 2:38. Hopefully, their churches are not preaching Baptismal Regeneration also? A side note, under Salvation, there is no mention of Repentance needed for Salvation, only faith is stated. (; Statement of Faith, Salvation, Practices, 2020). The Bible states in Luke 13:3, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (NKJV) The Bible also states in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (NKJV). Maybe the Covenant Brethren Church will realize the need to make these two critical corrections to their doctrinal statement of faith? 

Why than is the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration so dangerous? A point here might be to let the Apostle Paul answer this question? In Galatians 1:6-9 the Bible states, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (NKJV). Paul goes on to say in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.” (NKJV). The problem Paul was addressing in the Galatians church, was “professing” Christians, church members, maybe even Pastors, who were preaching and teaching that Salvation was excepting Christ and keeping the law. Galatians 5:4 declares, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (NKJV). Professing Christians who add works to Christ, are not trusting in Christ for their salvation, but in reality, their works. Adding Baptism to salvation is adding works to the Gospel. Paul states that anyone who does this “let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9; NKJV). Paul went so far as to say in I Corinthians 1:14, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius” (NKJV). Paul further declares in I Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect” (NKJV). Paul clearly declares that baptism is not part of the gospel. Peter in 1 Peter 3:21 declares, “There is also an antitype (what it stands for) which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). It is important to remember the thief on the cross (who died after Jesus) never was baptized and went to Heaven (Luke 23:39-43). There is also no reference to Jesus ever baptizing anyone in the New Testament. 

What then are verses, used by false prophets and preachers, to lead men and women to Hell instead of Heaven? 

Acts 2:38 declares, “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). 

The Greek preposition for is the Greek word eis. Eis has the meaning, because of (KJV & NKJV), concerning (Strong’s), with respect to, in reference to (New Thayer’s Lexicon). In Acts 25:20 the Bible states, “And because (eis) I was uncertain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters” (NKJV). This corrected translation fits very well with I Peter 3:21. We are always baptized, because our sins have been forgiven. 

Another passage is John 3: 3-7. The Bible states in John 3:3-7, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again” (NKJV). The Greek preposition for of in this verse is ek. The New Thayer's Lexicon translates (1537) as out of. Thus one must be born out of water (the natural birth) and experience the Spiritual birth, being born again. The entire context here is referring to first experiencing a natural birth. A natural birth is out of water. How exciting when a wife tells her husband, dear my water has broken.

In reference to John 3:5, this writer found on face book, a Church of the Brethren broadcast on December 20th, 2020, which stated, “we each being baptized are born again” (Church of the Brethren, Pastor Tom Richard). 

Further on zoom on December 28, 2020, this same Church of the Brethren Pastor, Tom Richard stated, “those that are baptized are regenerated”. This Pastor is an educated man, a graduate of Bethany seminary.

 Again, on March 8th, 2021 on zoom, this same Church of the Brethren Pastor, Tom Richard stated, “Baptism is the process of Conversion”, after stating the gift of Prophecy is for today like all the gifts of the Spirit. 


The final passage used by many is Mark 16:16. Because in the Greek manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (used to translated most modern perversions of the Word of God), verses 9-20 in Mark 16 are not there, many do not comment on Mark 16:16. However, since this passage is in the preserved Word of God, the Textus Receptus, we will address this scripture. Mark 16:16 declares, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (NKJV). At first glance this verse seems to contradict itself, because not believing only and you are condemned, but one needs to look a little further at this verse. To begin with, one is only condemned for their part. When a person gets saved, there is God’s part, called Spiritual Baptism. 

The following notes are very important:

 Baptized (baptizo) (907) (Zodhiates, 1991, p.1259) 

Aorist participle, but in a passive voice (Zodhiates, 1991, p.1259) 

Aorist participle- simple action, as opposed to the continuous action (Zodhiates, 1991, p.1585) 

Passive voice – “Represents the subject as receiving the action of the verb” (Zodhiates, 1991, p.1587) 

One might conclude that Water Baptism is something you do, as compared to Spirit Baptism as something you receive? 

Why than is this verse so important? Because there are many who believe, and never get saved. They go only so far, and stop, or change the plan of salvation to fit themselves. The Bible declares in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! (NKJV) 




   | General Editor: Rex Duff | Webmaster: Charles Felts | Updated: 04/23/2023 |