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Faith Only Syllogism

Baptist doctrine is a doctrine of man, not having any origin in God. It begins with the origin of the church name “Baptist.” While there is some dispute among themselves concerning their origin, Britannica ( says that some trace their origin to the 16th century with the Anabaptists, but church history scholars say their origin is better placed in the 17th century. Regardless of which century is correct, it is much too long after the time of the apostles to be the New Testament church.

One of the hallmark teachings of the Baptist Church is the false doctrine faith only. Faith only is a teaching that a person is justified by the Lord in faith, without further acts of obedience. A Baptist preacher a long time back set forth a logical syllogism to sustain this point. It goes like this: (1) We are not saved by works of righteousness. (2) Baptism and all other physical acts of obedience are works of righteousness. (3) Therefore, we are not saved by baptism, nor any other physical act of obedience.

On the surface this look irrefutable, but digging deeper it is not. Premise (1) is true. Premise (2) is not. Baptism is not identified in the New Testament as a “work of righteousness.” It does, however, have its righteous characteristic from the mind / command of God. It is, also, a “work of God,” that is, it has its origin in the mind / command of God. Still, it's not identified as a work of righteousness as Baptist preachers like to declare. Therefore, premise (3) does not follow. Not only is the syllogism not sound (that is, it is not true), but it also flies in the face the Scripture which says that “Baptism does also now save you.” The English Standard Version (ESV) reads in 1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It’s amazing that some would so teach when the Holy Spirit is clear.

A false parallel argument to show the fallacy of the Ballard syllogism: (1) We are not saved by a work of God. (2) Faith is a work of God (John 6:29). (3) Therefore, we are not saved by faith. Premise (1) is vague. What does one mean by "work" of God or "works" of God? Premise (2) is true, as made clear in John 6:29. With the vagueness of prem1ise (1), the conclusion, at best, is undetermined. On the other hand, it is actually false because the Scriptures are abundantly clear that one is saved by faith (cf. Eph. 2:8-9), thus, making the conclusion demonstrably false. Additionally, if faith is a work and one is saved by faith, then in some capacity one is saved by "work" or "works." RT

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