The final article dealing with the Ministerial Alliance (part 3) is the article inside, but this slot will highlight the fundamental problem of all those who claim that salvation is by “faith only.” They want man to have no response at all to God, but in actuality they know that this position is impossible and conflicts with the Scriptures. Here is the way the Ministerial Alliance, who took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to attack the Preaching Brother in another state, handled it.
They conclude with a lengthy paragraph of explanation with these words: “We are saved by Jesus’ death on the cross as the sinless Savior, not by anything we can do (Eph. 2:8-9).” Notice, we are not saved by anything we can do. Why do they say this? They say it in order to exclude baptism. They consider that baptism is something we can do, but it is not a work of man; it is the working of God (Col. 2:12): “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead.” Baptism is a matter of faith—of trust in God—that He will remove our sins when we are buried with Christ. But the Ministerial Alliance—to a man—does not want baptism to be part of salvation. God is the One Who included baptism as part of His plan for salvation. They want to remove it.
They view baptism as a human effort which cannot be part of a system in which man is saved by faith. They cite several verses which teach that salvation is by faith, and every Christian agrees with what those verses teach on the importance and significance of faith. But not one of them ever says “faith only.” In fact, “faith only” involves a human response—faith is built by looking at the Word of God and responding positively to the evidence (Rom. 10:17). John says that he recorded the evidence of the miracles of Jesus just so that people would believe (John 20:30-31).
But the real problem the Ministerial Alliance has is that they contradict themselves. They concluded that we are not saved by anything we can do, but look what they wrote earlier in the very same paragraph: “Salvation comes to all who confess their sin, turn from it, and place faith in Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord.” Wait a minute! Notice how they tried to sneak in repentance? One must “turn from” sin (or repent). Although they did not emphasize this point with a Scripture, Jesus taught that “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The problem for them is that repentance requires man doing something. It requires human effort (considerably more than it does to be lowered into a watery grave and raised up again). They hopelessly contradict themselves. They must choose—Is there effort on the part of man (such as in repentance) or not? Peter links repentance and baptism together in Acts 2:38. Both are required.