The Value of Baptism (Part IV)

The Covenant of Baptism

In the previous post, I talked about the more neglected elements of the baptismal process in the New Testament. I talked about the confession of faith that started the initiation rite and the invocation of the Spirit by the laying of hands which concluded the rite. By focusing on these elements and their significance, I came to the perspective that baptism in the New Testament functioned as an enacted oath of allegiance where both parties exchanged pledges of fidelity to one another. Now in this post, instead of focusing on the different components of the process, I will be looking at baptism as a whole and the type of relationship it sets up. Continue reading “The Value of Baptism (Part IV)”

Gospel Allegiance with Matthew Bates

New Testament scholar Dr. Matthew Bates has written a follow-up to his popular 2017 book Salvation by Allegiance Alone, which had a great impact on me and I have talked a lot about on this site. The follow-up is called  Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ (2019). In it he updates his summary of the essential elements of the gospel as follows: Continue reading “Gospel Allegiance with Matthew Bates”

“Jesus is King” says Kanye West?

Justin Gill over at Common Thought has written an interesting article titled “Gospel Allegiance”, Kanye West, & Pharisees. It discusses what we are to make of Kanye West’s very public conversion. Continue reading ““Jesus is King” says Kanye West?”

Jesus is Always Lord

“We can certainly never worship Caesar or his non-Jesus ways. But to say that ‘Jesus is king, so Caesar is not’ is at the same time too simple. Our allegiance to Jesus might in fact call us to support Caesar – as when we pay taxes (Rom. 13:6-7), pray for government leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-4), and live an orderly life amid non-Christians under the government’s partial authority (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-14). On the other hand, gospel allegiance might compel us to actively resist Caesar and his policies (Rev. 2:10-11, 13; 14:8-12; cf. Exod. 1-3). Jesus as the King of kings receives our unconditional allegiance. Mere earthly kings and governmental leaders receive our qualified allegiance, as long as it is not in conflict with our allegiance to the true king. Beyond government, we also must sort out how allegiance to family, employers, friends, and colleagues can all be ordered appropriately under allegiance to Jesus.”

– Matthew W. Bates Continue reading “Jesus is Always Lord”

Allegiant Orthodoxy

In a previous post I spoke about how Matthew Bates‘ proposal for allegiance in the New Testament rehabilitates the contemporary meaning of faith for Christians. He argues, and I agree, that “faith” in modern usage as a macro-term no longer captures the full import of the Greek word group “pistis” that it traditionally translates in the New Testament. He suggests “allegiance” better captures the scope of meaning of pistis. Faith in contemporary English has many meanings. However when we narrow them down, there is overlap with a certain meaning of the pistis word group present in the New Testament which is “mental assent.” When it comes to saving pistis (faith as cognitive affirmation of certain truth claims) it is the first step of three towards total enacted allegiance to King Jesus. The subsequent steps, which are also meanings of pistis, are sworn fealty and then embodied loyalty. This three tier proposal for saving allegiance in the New Testament I think can also be applied to help solve the theological problem of how orthodoxy, the creeds and praxis (Christian living) ought to relate to one another.

On the surface the connection is obvious and in many ways it is. However, the difficulties arise when you apply them to real world problems. Continue reading “Allegiant Orthodoxy”