10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (I Corinthians 1:10-17)
This passage is often used by those who only use verse 17, "For Christ did not send me to baptize..." to prove baptism for the remission of sins is not necessary for salvation, "Because Paul, himself, said so!"
First of all, the context of the passage is not whether or not baptism is required for salvation but whether or not it was proper to call yourself after the baptizer which some of them were obviously doing.
Paul says those baptized, even those he baptized, weren't baptized in the name of Paul or anyone else other than Christ. He was grateful he personally hadn't baptized many so they would be less likely to say, "I am of Paul."
Notice that Paul said he did the very same thing Christ sent him NOT to do and that's baptize. Regardless of why a person is baptized whether as a profession of faith, a way to join a church or any other reason, it is against Christ's task to do it if he did not send anyone to baptize.
Doesn't it seem strange that an apostle of Christ would do the opposite of what Christ told him to do?
Here's the second thing...
Notice these two Great Commission passages...
15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
What is the assignment? The assignment is to go and teach everywhere. That's what we are sent out to do. We are not sent out to baptize people. We are sent out to the preach the gospel whether people believe it or not. If they do believe it, then they are to be baptized.
Paul was saying in I Corinthians 1, and in following chapters, that the Corinthians were beginning to follow after the ones who had baptized them and not after the one who had directed them to be baptized upon obedience, Jesus.
They were divided and following after their teachers rather than Christ.
Paul's question, the subject of his writing, remains the same today as it was during the first century. Was Christ divided? Were Luther, Smith, Wesley, Calvin and all the others men follow crucified for you?
Here's what Christ was crucified for...
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