"Acts 2:41 speaks of “those who accepted his message” (i.e., believed) as having been baptized later on. Receiving (believing) the message is the means by which one is saved (John 1:12; 12:48; Rom. 1:16). And verse 44 speaks of “those who believed” as being constituents of the early church, not all of whom were baptized."
They add their own theological assumptions into Acts 2:41. Notice that they said those who accepted his message were baptized "LATER ON". Where in Acts 2:41 does it say later on? It doesn't. Here is the whole verse:
"So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41)
- If you want to argue semantics then of course everyone who is baptized is baptized after receiving the Gospel. You can't be baptized before the message to "repent and be baptized" is preached to you. That is, unless you are Catholic or Presbyterian. But I digress.
- The Cross-Examined author unfortunately practiced eisegesis (putting your thoughts into the text) rather than practicing exegesis (pulling the meaning from the text).
They fail to take into account the context of Acts 2:41. Have we even stopped to ask, "Why were these people baptized?" Or better yet, "What was the message that they received?" When we look back to the context it encompasses the whole chapter. To summarize;
- Peter preaches a message that Jesus from Nazareth is actually the Jewish Messiah who the Jews killed but God rose from the dead (Acts 2:14-36).
- The people were guilt stricken and asked what they should do (Acts 2:36). This implies that they knew they were not in right standing with God and wanted to know what could be done to make things right.
- Peter told them to repent and be baptized and two results would come (1) forgiveness of their sins, and (2) the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
They fallaciously limit the conditions of salvation to "belief" only. What does that mean? I mean, they pick out a few verses in the New Testament that say you have to "believe" to be saved and then conclude that this is all one has to do to be saved. Notice in our quote from them at the top of the page it says, "Receiving (believing) the message is the means by which one is saved". The reason why they say this is to argue that baptism has nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, they limit our response to the Gospel message to simply believing it. But is that what the New Testament actually says? According to this logic I guess we can throw out repentance as having anything to do with salvation too?!?!
- Luke 13:3--I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
- Acts 2:38--Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
- Acts 3:19--Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
- Acts 17:30--Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
They fail to understand the grammatical uses of synecdoches in the New Testament. There are many grammatical devices used in the New Testament (hyperboles, similes, metaphors, antithesis, paradox, appositions, etc...) What is a synecdoche? It is a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa. Here are a few examples:
- Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" By Greek he means any non-Jew not just Greeks.
- Acts 21:5 "SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU..." Hopefully we all know God was speaking to more than just the daughters.
- Luke 11:27 "While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed." She means blessed is the woman who bore Jesus and not just parts of her body.
My point is that Acts 2:41 uses "receive" as a synecdoche for the whole response to the Gospel. I base this further upon the evidence that Luke does the same thing in Acts 3:19 where he only tells the people to repent. If Cross-Examined used their same logical & hermeneutics on Acts 3:19 they would tell us all we need to do is repent to be saved and everything else, including belief, is unnecessary. But if we use proper hermeneutics and understand grammatical devices we can see that Luke is using "repent" is a synecdoche for all the conditions of salvation (belief, confession, repentance, and baptism).