The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: B

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Baptismal questions

The following should be a guide only. It is best for both the interviewer and the candidate for baptism to put their thoughts into their own words. If a potential question has already been answered during an earlier exchange, it is not necessary to repeat it.

First and primary question: Why do you want to be baptized?
(Acceptable answers involve one's love for God, and a personal desire and commitment to serve Him. Unacceptable answers: "I'm old enough now." "It would make my parents (or husband, or wife, or children) happy." "My friends are getting baptized.")

1. What is the Bible?
A collection of writings by men inspired by God, to write the story of God's dealings with man, and to write of God's offer of eternal life.

2. Is there any other direct source of the knowledge about eternal life?

3. What was the condition of the original creation, including Adam when he was first created?
Perfect, or "very good". There was no sin or death in the world.

4. What caused Adam to lose this condition? That is, what brought God's curse upon man and his world?
Adam disobeyed God!

5. Does Adam's transgression affect us? If so, how?
Yes, the consequence of Adam's disobedience is upon all mankind, in our mortal, sinful natures inherited from him.

6. Has God made any provision for our redemption from this curse?
Yes, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

7. What is the primary promise God made to Abram?
That he and his "seed" would receive the land of Palestine for an everlasting possession.

8. Was this promise made to anyone else?
Yes, to hls descendants Isaac and Jacob.

9. Did any of them actually receive this promise?
No, they all died in faith, not yet receiving the promise.

10. Who is the "seed" referred to in these promises?
Jesus Christ, the descendant of Abraham.

11. How can we inherit these promises?
By being baptized into Christ we become spiritually the children of Abraham, and heirs with Christ of the same promise.

12. What is the gospel?
The "good news" of the kingdom of God and the name (or purpose) of Jesus Christ.

13. Did God ever have a kingdom on earth before?
Yes, the kingdom of Israel. It was ruled first by the judges, then by the kings for about 400 years.

14. What happened to that kingdom?
It was first divided and then overthrown, and the people of Israel scattered among the other nations, because of their rebellion against God.

15. What is the promise God made to David, king of Israel?
That his kingdom would be restored and his "seed" would rule over it forever, sitting upon his throne in Jerusalem.

16. Who is the "seed" referred to in this promise?
Jesus Christ, the descendant of David.

17. What is the nature of man?
Mortal. Physically, he has no superiority over the animals. When his breath leaves him, he dies, and ceases to possess all of his senses.

18. What is the "soul"?
The body, the person himself. The entire being.

19. What is the "spirit"?
The breath of life within man. Also, his mind or disposition.

2O. Does the Bible teach that men or their "souls" go to heaven at death?

21. Does man or his "soul" have any conscious existence in death?

22. How many Gods are there?
Only one God, the Creator of all things.

23. Who is Jesus Christ?
The only-begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary.

24. Is Jesus also a man?
Yes. He was born with the same mortal, sinful nature which we all possess. Even now, although he is immortal, he is still a man.

25. Are God and His Son the same person, or separate persons of a "trinity"?
No, there is only one God!

26. Did Jesus have a pre-human existence?
No, except in the mind and purpose of God.

27. Are God and His Son equal in power?
No. God is supreme. Any power and authority which Christ now has was given him by his Father.

28. What is the Holy Spirit?
God's power, by which He performs His will.

29. Is the Holy Spirit a separate and co-equal "God"?
No, it is simply an extension of the one God.

30. Who or what is the "devil"?
The personification of evil or sin, which is part of mortal human nature.

31. While he was mortal, was it possible for Jesus to sin?
Yes. Otherwise, his temptation and victory over sin, or the "devil", would have been unreal and pointless.

32. Why was it necessary in God's plan that the Savior be a man?
So that by perfect obedience he might overcome the "devil" in his own flesh.

33. Why was it necessary that Jesus die?
As a perfect sacrifice, to destroy perfectly and absolutely this "devil", or the power of sin in himself. And as a representative for others, who by faith in him might be forgiven their sins and thus win their own victories over sin.

34. Why did God raise Christ from the dead, and give him eternal life?
Because he was perfectly obedient, even to the death of the cross, and therefore the grave could not hold him in death.

35. After his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven. What is his role now?
He is acting as a high-priest and mediator for those who through faith approach God in prayer.

36. Can we pray to God through anyone other than Jesus Christ?
No. He is the only mediator between God and man.

31. Did Jesus die because God was angry with mankind?
No, he died because God so loved the world that He was willing that His beloved Son should die, so that sinners might believe, repent, and be saved.

38. Who or what is "satan"?
Any adversary or enemy (usually, against God).

39. What are "devils" or "demons"?
A New Testament way of describing mental illnesses and disorders.

40. What is "hell"?
The pit or the grave; in short, the state of the dead

41. Are the wicked tortured forever?
No, they simply die without hope. This is an "eternal punishment" because it is eternal death.

42. What is required before baptism?
A knowledge and belief of the gospel. This belief should also lead to sincere repentance of past sins.

43. Briefly, what is the gospel?
The gospel is the "good news" about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. It is the message that God will fill the earth with His glory in a group of immortal people who will love and obey him. Jesus will establish the kingdom of God upon the earth and rule as king with his saints for a thousand years.

44. What is baptism?
Immersion or complete covering by water.

45. Why are we to be baptized in this way?
Because it symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

46. Why must we be baptized?
It is the only way by which our sins may be washed away and we may put on the name of Jesus Christ.

47. Why must we bear the name of Jesus Christ?
So that we may become heirs with him of God's promise and partake of his righteousness through faith.

48. Are all people who ever lived going to be raised from the dead?
No, only those responsible to God by knowledge.

49. What will become of those who live and die without knowledge of the gospel?
They will perish. They will not be resurrected.

50 . When will the resurrection take place?
At the return of Christ to the earth.

51. What else will Jesus do when he returns?
He will assemble the living responsible, together with those who have been raised from the dead. He will judge all the responsible, punishing the unfaithful with eternal death and rewarding the faithful with eternal life.

52. After the righteous are made immortal, what happens?
Christ and his saints will establish their rule over the world, by divine force if necessary, and set up the kingdom of God.

53. Who will be the king of this kingdom?
Jesus Christ.

54. Who will rule with him?
The immortalized saints.

55. Who will be the subjects of this kingdom?
The mortal people who are left after the times of trouble.

56. Does the return of the Jews to Israel have any part in God's plan?

Yes, they will undergo trials; some will repent and be prepared for the coming of Jesus their Messiah, so as to be the "first dominion" of his kingdom.

57. How long will Christ reign?
About one thousand years.

58. What takes place after the thousand years?
All sin and death will be removed at last, and the earth will truly be filled with God's glory.

59. When only immortal people are on the earth, why will happen next?
Christ will turn the kingdom over to the Father.

60. Who are the angels?
The messengers of God. Sometimes the Bible uses the word for mere mortal men, but most often the angels were and are immortal beings from heaven.

61. Do you believe in the scientific theory of evolution?

62. Can we be saved by good works only?
No, we are saved by the grace of God through faith.

63. Can we be saved apart from the sacrifice of Christ?
No, it is the only way our sins may be forgiven.

64. Should believers vote or take part in politics?
No. Their kingdom is not of this world. They believe that God rules in the kingdom of men, and sets up and removes whomever He pleases; therefore they should not put themselves in the position of opposing the will of their Father in heaven.

65. Should believers bear arms, or serve in the military or police force?
No. They should be strangers and pilgrims in this present evil world, not resisting the authority of governments, but also not participating in exercising that authority either.

66. Should believers avenge themselves against wrong, by suing at law or by other means?
No. They should "turn the other cheek", return good for evil, forgive those who wrong them, and even love their enemies.

67. What is our duty toward God and His Son?
To love and praise and glorify God through His Son, in all things and at all times. To keep the commandments of Christ to the best of our abilities, out of gratitude for what God has done for us.

68. What is our duty toward the world?
To love our neighbors as ourselves, in deeds as well as words. If possible, to teach them the Truth of God.

69. Does anyone possess the Holy Spirit gifts today?
No. Those gifts ceased after the Apostles' days.

70. Whom should a believer marry?
Only another believer. We are commanded not to become unequally yoked together with an unbeliever.

71. Should a believer ever seek to be divorced?
No. What God has joined, man should not divide.

72. What special ordinance did Christ institute?
The Lord's supper, or the breaking of bread. It is also sometimes called communion.

73. What is the Lord's supper?
The breaking of bread and the partaking of wine in remembrance of Christ.

74. What does this signify?
The bread represents the body of Christ; the wine, his shed blood; together, they show forth his death on our behalf, until he comes.

75. How often should we partake of the Lord's supper?
Every Sunday, if possible.

76. Can anyone partake of the Lord's supper?
No, only baptized believers in the true gospel.

77. Why do we insist on breaking bread or communion only with members?
Christ did not ask anyone but true believers to so remember him. In this way false doctrines cannot dilute or destroy the true gospel believed among us. Also, by not breaking bread with others who do not believe as we do, we are showing them how important our hope is to us, and encouraging them to learn the same truths.

78. Have you fully considered all the present disadvantages (from a natural point of view) that the Truth will bring upon you?
Yes, and I am prepared to accept them.

79. Do you realize the Truth is not just a "religion", but an entirely different way of life?
Yes, and I am prepared to live it.

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