Monday, 29 February 2016
Seeing Judaism Anew: Christianity's Sacred Obligation,
Ed. Mary C. Boys, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002
Chapter 13, "Covenant and Conversion" (pp. 151-162), page 160
Philip Cunningham then generalises his claim:
If Jews do not need to be baptised to be in relationship with the G-d who saves, then what about the rest of humanity?
Perhaps we have a more fundamental problem here. What is baptism for? Is that what makes relationship with G-d? Whilst there are some Christian churches that mistakenly teach that salvation doesn't happen until "you hit the water", that is certainly ot a biblical view. Baptism is an outward sign of the change that G-d has already wrought inside; it is a sign of obedience within the context of a relationship with G-d. In the case of Jews, who by virtue of G-d's gracious calling and choosing of the Jewish people are already in that relationship called 'covenant' with G-d, baptism is a sign that they are now followers of Yeshua and are walking with Him, that they are now part of the "church of the circumcision". In the case of Gentiles, who have now been brought near (Ephesians 2) and made party to the covenants of grace and the promises of G-d, baptism is a sign both of that "new" relationship (that they didn't have before) and that they are followers of Yeshua.
So while agreeing with Dr Cunningham that Jews do not need to be baptised to be in relationship with G-d, I suggest that his statement is misleading as made and cannot be generalised to address Gentiles.