Re: Acts 2:38

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Mon Oct 13 1997 - 16:16:00 EDT

On Mon, 13 Oct 1997 15:24:20 -0400 (EDT) writes:
>In a message dated 10/13/97 1:42:57 AM, you wrote:
>>This might add credence, as well, to the
>>interpretation that Peter is saying to the group as a whole
>>METANOHSATE, then those that do (who have their sins forgiven and
receive >>the Holy Spirit) are then told to individually be sure to have
someone baptize
>>Paul Dixon
>Actually, Paul, it is just this interpretation that I disagree with
>(at least when you add "who have their sins forgiven and receive the
>Spirit"). If one wishes to say that Paul was addressing BAPTISQHTW to
those >who obey the first command METANOHSATE, then maybe I could grant
that. >But why, why, why would Peter stick BAPTISQHTW...XRISTOU in
between >METANOHSATE and EIS...PNEUMATOS if he wished to specifically
exclude >"for the forgiveness of sins" and "and you shall receive the
gift of the Holy >Spirit" from the act of being baptized (in conjunction
with repentance)? Why? I >cannot, for the life of me, read Peter's
statement (Acts 2:38), hearing it as his >hearers heard it, and believe
either that his hearers could have been expected >to divorce forgiveness
and the Spirit from the command to be baptized, or that
>the connection was not in Peter's mind when he spoke these words.
>I will, up front, gladly admit (confess) to being a raving
>But that being said, could someone please help me to see, based upon
>the text of this verse and those immediately following, how Peter's
>could, given the order in which he expressed his (read: the Holy
>thoughts, be correctly understood to exclude forgiveness and the Spirit
from >the act of Baptism and relate them *only* to repentance?


All I am pointing out is that we cannot automatically infer from Peter's
construction an if and only if proposition, to wit, that if and only if
you repent and get baptized, then your sins will be forgiven and you will
receive the Holy Spirit. All we can infer for sure is that if these
conditions (repentance and baptism) are met, then forgiveness follows and
the Holy Spirit is given. But, we cannot infer any more for the
statement. We cannot infer, for example, that if they do not repent,
then they will not be forgiven. This, of course, is true, but not
because of this verse. It is true because scripture elsewhere affirms
that negation, or its equivalent (Mk 16:16b, Jn 8:24, Jn 3:18, 6:53-54,
etc.). Nor can we infer that if they are not baptized, then their sins
cannot be forgiven and/or they will not receive the Holy Spirit. It
doesn't follow. It is not stated here, and it is not stated anywhere
else in Scripture. Likewise, for both: if you do not both repent and get
baptized, then your sins will not be forgiven and you will not receive
the Holy Spirit. Does Scripture ever say if a man is not baptized, then
he cannot be forgiven? No. Scripture is very explicit in affirming an if
and only proposition only for faith.

All I am saying is that we must not find more in the text than what is
really there, or is properly implied.


Paul Dixon

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