I apologize for not responding to you sooner, but I’ve been out of town and not able to get to the computer. I thought that I’d respond to your comments because I found them to be quite interesting.
You said, “How can whatever in Man that is good be separate from that which is good? If it is good, then is it not from God? Otherwise how can we call it ‘good’, and say that it is seperate from God who is Good, and by which you yourself testify saying, “there is none good but God”?
John, there are noble and “good” things that people do, but the motives of why people do things may be a stentch to the nostrils of God. See, man looks at the outward appearence of things, but it is God who looks at the heart. Consider the following passage for clarification.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).
What we see here is an example of a good deed in feeding the poor. This is very noble, yet if it is done without a pure motive, then to the eyes of God, there is no profit, or gain, to the individual who has done so.
You said, “Again, if you understand that we are born in sin, then why reject the free gift of grace given in baptism? It is not our works, but God’s. He is the one who sanctifies us in baptism and brings forth regeneration.”
Please show me where the bible teaches that physically baptizing babies sanctifies them from the sins inherited from Adam? Give me one clear BIBLICAL example of this practice. To use John 3:5 to support this doctrine is a far cry and stretch from the truth. Why? because you have “read into” what He said, without any contextual justification.
I previously said, “only those who have intelligently accepted Christ as Lord are to be baptized.”
You responded with, “Yet how does this regard faith, by which we know that we can never fully know God in our minds. Are you saying that those who are mentally handicapped may not recieve the free gift of baptism that traditionally was not given in regard to intellect, but either the intent of the person, or those who would be in charge of the person?”
John, I am disappointed that you would raise such an argument. If your reasoning to what I said is correct, then you must wrestle with Romans 10:9 “That if you would confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Also, consider verse 17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Are we to conclude that a deaf person cannot have faith, according to your reasoning? Are we to conclude that a mute cannot be saved because he can’t talk? On this basis, your reasoning must be rejected.
Please allow me to expound on my previous statement, “only those who have intelligently accepted Christ as Lord are to be baptized.”
In Acts 16, we read of a Phillippian Jailer who was convinced of his sins and said to Paul and Silas,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house… And immediately he and all his family were baptized. (Acts 16:30-32)
We see another clear example that I would like to point out regarding Phillip being called away to minister to an Ethiopian man in pointing him to the way of Christ. Please note this wonderful passage in regards to salvation and the proper place of water baptism.
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “IF YOU BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART, YOU MAY.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:35-38).
Finally, in regards to your long excerpt of Augustine—I really am not interested at all. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but if you want to grab my attention, then I would ask that we speak in regards to what is written in the scriptures. The Roman Catholic traditions, and writings of the church fathers, do not determine truth for me; especially when they cannot be supported by the scriptures. I do not believe in“partim-partim.”