What is the difference between God and Lord,
between soul and spirit and
between baptism by immersion and sprinkling?

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What is the difference?

Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, June 1997, p.3

LAST JANUARY AND February, I received copies of Pasugo (God's Message) from Ms. Judith Brani, a member of your Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, in Naval,  Biliran Province. Since then, I have become an avid reader of your magazine and even a regular listener to your radio programs.

 I would like to know your answers to the following questions which have been confusing me:
     1. What is the difference between God and Lord?
     2. Other groups declare that Jesus the only one God. But other groups say that God has three appearances.
     3. What is the difference between soul and spirit?
     4. Why is it that during baptism, some religions simply sprinkle water on  the individual instead of immersing him?

Jovencio Barbanida
Biliran Province, Philippines

Editor's reply:

     We are pleased that you are now regularly read Pasugo and listen to our radio programs. Here are the answers to your queries:

      1.  Both God, the Father, and Jesus Christ are called  by the reverent title ‘Lord’ which by biblical definition means one being worshipped (cf. Ps. 95:6-7) and obeyed (cf. Lk. 6:46). This does not mean, however, that Christ is God like the Father. Whereas the lordship of God is inherent to Him (cf. Mk. 12:29), Christ’s lordship is appointed by God. It is also God’s will that He (Christ) be worshipped for the glory of God. The Bible testifies, thus:

 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36, New International Version)

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11, Revised Standard Version)

          Moreover, Christ Himself taught that He is a man (cf. Jn. 8:40) while the true God is not a man (cf. Num. 23:19). God is spirit (cf. Jn. 4:24) while Christ has flesh and boes (cf. Lk. 24:37-39). God is immortal (cf. I Tim. 1:17) while Christ died (cf. Jn. 19:30, 33). These differences clearly prove that Christ is not God.

      2. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught that the one true God is the Father, not Himself:

         “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father… this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God’.” (Jn. 17:1, 3, NIV)

         Thus, the teaching that God has three appearances or three persons-also referred to as the doctrine of the Trinity-is unscriptural. The Holy Scriptures teach that there is only one God, the Father (cf. I Cor. 8:6), who is Lord from everlasting to everlasting (cf. Ps. 90:1-2).

     3. Regarding the soul and the spirit, the Bible explains that man is composed of three parts:

      “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23, NIV)

       Some people believe that there is no difference between the soul and the spirit. The Bible teaches otherwise:

      “The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and the spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of man’s heart.” (Heb. 4:12, Today’s English Version).

      The soul is the inward man that is renewed day by day (cf. II Cor. 4:16). Once a person dies, the soul dies and clings to the ground (cf. Ps. 44:25) while the spirit goes back to God who gave it (cf. Eccl. 12:7).

    4. True baptism entails that the one to be baptized be united with Christ in His death in which the old self is buried with Him (cf. Rom. 6:3-6). Hence, the person being baptized is immersed in water (cf. Acts 8:38) as though he is being buried.

      On why some religions such as the Catholic Church baptize by sprinkling, James Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic archbishop, wrote in the book The faith of our Fathers, thus:

     “For several centuries after the establishment of Christianity, Baptism was usually conferred by immersion; but since the twelfth century the practice of baptizing by infusion has prevailed in the Catholic Church, as this manner is attended with less inconvenience than Baptism immersion.” (p. 228)

      Some religions adapt in their method of baptism for the sake of convenience. This, however, against the strict prohibition of God that man must neither add nor subtract from His commands (cf. Dt. 12:32).



Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.

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