Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is baptism necessary to salvation? - Bios

This question is one that comes up from time to time.  There is a strong divide within the Christian community on not just this question, but on the the mode of baptism.  Both participants agree that the mode of baptism is by way of immersion.  In this debate, I will moderate and not take sides (though I fall on one side).  Two friends of mine have decided to engage one another on this topic.  I hope that if anyone chooses to respond on the blog subject, all of the responses are put forth in a respectful and responsible way.  If any response is below the belt, I will choose to delete.

The format of the debate will consist of an opening statement, followed by two rebuttals, and then a concluding statement.  Each participant will get one week for the follow up responses and closing. 

Let me introduce the participants in the debate.  I will use only their first name and if they choose to have their last name listed, I will do so in future postings.

  • He will defend the position that baptism is not necessary to salvation
Jacob has served the Lord in ministry since January of 2004 in several different capacities including as a pastor of Student Ministries in two different Southern Baptist Churches and as a Christian apologist.

Jacob came to saving faith in Christ when he was 15 years old after having gotten involved as a young teen in drug and alcohol abuse. He had found himself in a downward spiral of anger and despair. At one point he even considered taking his own life, but it was in that darkest hour that Jacob called out to God and made a decision to trust Christ to save him. God radically changed Jacob’s life from that day on and surrounded him with new friends and eventually brought him into a group of Christian students who knew and loved Christ. It was at a local youth pastors house by the name of John that Jacob fell in love with studying God’s word and spending time with other believers. When he was 16 years old Jacob went on a mission trip to Mexico with that group of students and it was during that time that he felt the overwhelming call of God to serve Him in a life of ministry. That has been Jacob’s primary pursuit ever since. God has been very faithful to Jacob throughout the years and has blessed him with a wonderful family and a ministry of proclaiming and defending God’s truth.

Jacob holds a B.A. in Religion and Apologetics from Luther Rice University (www.lru.edu) and is now working on an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Piedmont Baptist Graduate School (www.pbc.edu) and an M.A. in Worldview Studies from Baptist Bible College (www.bbc.edu). In addition to this Jacob has also completed Apologetics certification with Biola University and Frank Turek’s Cross-Examined Instructor Academy. Jacob is a Certified Apologetics Instructor for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (www.4truth.net) and is a writer for the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (www.carm.org).

In addition to Christian apologetics Jacob is also a passionate advocate for adoption, helping the poor by meeting their physical needs and reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus through missions.

  • He will defend the position that baptism in water is essential to salvation.
James is a graduate of Beaumont Christian High School (Beaumomt, TX).  He served with the United States Navy as part of the nuclear propulsion program aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and was honorably discharged in 1995.

James received a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey. He worked in the engineering field and then decided to become a preacher.  He attended Browntrail School of Preaching in Hurst, Texas and later did work towards a Master's in Biblical Studies at Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, Colorado.

James has preaches at several different "churches of Christ" in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, California,and Arkansas.  He has even had the opportunity to preach overseas in England and Ireland.

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