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BAPTISM QUESTION 6:
What is meant by the phrase "baptized for the dead," as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:29 Does it mean substitution baptism for those who have already died?
This is a very strong view which is held by a certain cult that exist in our land. They baptize by proxy for their ancestors who have died without being baptized. This is totally foreign to the Bible. Whatever a verse means must be in harmony with what is taught throughout the Scriptures. There's not a hint anywhere, that "baptism for the dead" is what's being taught. There are three other views held on this verse:
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- Church members who had died at Corinth were being replaced by newly baptized ones. This doesn't have any compatibility with the rest of the Word of God. Nowhere is it stated that baptism and church membership is associated.
- Since baptism is a picture of death, burial, and then resurrection, those who are being baptized are declaring that the dead in Christ will arise. 1 Corinthians 15:6 and 1 Corinthians 15:20. Paul is simply saying, if some of the Corinthians doubt that there is a resurrection of the body, what is shown in the symbol of baptism?
- If Christ didn't rise from the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:14, then why be baptized? Baptism is a symbol of His death and resurrection. The latter two are both scripturally right. His resurrection is a pledge of all believer's resurrection. It is a historical fact that Jesus died, was buried, and that He rose again. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated Sept. 2013, by Sandra Felix