Escape from an apostate church through knowledge of Scriptures.
Baptism For the Dead?
I need more clarification on 1 Corinthians 15:29, which the NAC bases services for the departed on. Why baptise for the dead?
Regarding 1 Corinthians 15:29, this is indeed a very interesting study!
This verse is just one example of why, it is believed, the writings of Shaul (Paul) must be regarded for what they literally are: letters to assemblies of believers. It is also generally believed among scholars that if Shaul fully understood how his writings would be circulated among all of the congregations and regarded as Scriptures, he would have been much more careful with his wording so as to not allow the Gnostics the opportunity to take so much liberty with his writings (and take them out of context).
We must also be mindful of Kepha’s (Peter’s) sobering warning regarding Shaul’s writings, as found in 2 Peter 3:14-18, which reads, “So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand,1 which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless, but grow in the favour and knowledge of our Master and Saviour יהושע Messiah. To Him be the esteem both now and to a day that abides. Amĕn.”
I am certainly not suggesting that Shaul’s writings are in any way false or untruthful, however. We must be clear on this point. Shaul’s writings must be fully contextualized with the rest of Scriptures to understand his teachings, and we must not allow ourselves to interpret his writings as in any way contradictory to the rest of Scriptures, as to do so would implicitly accuse Shaul of being an apostate per Deuteronomy 13:1-11. Shaul’s writings properly understood provide wonderful insights as long as they are understood to not contradict the rest of Scriptures in any way.
In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Shaul is contending with a faction in the assembly at Corinth that apparently denied or questioned the resurrection – either of Messiah Yahshua or of all of us on the last day or both. Sadducees also denied the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). Apparently, this same faction that denied the resurrection also were baptizing for the dead, which would be contradictory. After all, why would one be concerned with the dead if the dead would never come back to life?
Interestingly, there is a town near Corinth named Eleusis, and the people of Eleusis practiced the ancient mystery religion born in Babylon, as they celebrated the worship of the false god Bacchus. Bacchus was the Eleusis variation of the ancient Babylonian Nimrod. In other words, the people of Eleusis were into their own version of Baal-worship. Eleusis was the center of this ancient mystery religion, and part of the rites of initiation into this pagan religion were washings of purification in the sea, without which no one could hope to experience bliss in the life hereafter. Given the Corinthian’s propensity for distortion in matters of church practice, as evidenced by the 5th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th chapters of 1 Corinthians, it is likely that some in Corinth (possibly influenced by the pagan practices in nearby Eleusis) were propounding a false view of baptism, which Shaul took up and used as an argument against those who denied the resurrection.
It is also important to note that Shaul did not condone the act of baptizing for the dead, as no such commandment was given in the Torah. We can make a strong case from the Scriptures that just the opposite is true.
Regardless, to this student of the Scriptures, to cite the aberrant practices of the Corinthians, a people from a region historically given to Baal-worship, as justification for baptism for the dead would be indeed very reckless! Yahshua gave no command to minister to the dead or baptize for the dead. The rest of the law and the prophets give no such command. Therefore, it is my opinion that doing so is presumptuous and even heretical.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:544). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G2030). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.