This kind of sarcasm does little to advance the cause of truth, but it does do its part to widen the divide that already exists between Reformed Christians and Roman Catholics. It goes without saying that baptism is something explicitly associated--by name--with conversion (i.e., Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Mark 16:16 etc.), while foot washing never is.Pax Christi,Spencer
Spencer Fields,Something that "does little to advance the cause of truth" is the assumption that passages like John 3:5 and Titus 3:5 should be thought to be referring to baptism because they mention something like water or washing. Demonstrating the unreasonableness of an opponent's position by using his reasoning to reach conclusions he rejects is a common form of argumentation, and it's one that the Biblical authors used.You go on to cite some passages that actually do refer to baptism, but we've already addressed those passages in recent discussions and earlier ones. See, for example, here. One of the passages you cited, Mark 16:16, isn't in scripture. Multiple false endings to the gospel of Mark circulated in early church history, and you're citing one of them.I agree with you that foot washing is never associated with conversion. But that's because I'm more reasonable in my reading of passages like John 13 than you are in your reading of passages like Acts 2. I don't ignore reasonable alternate interpretations to John 13, then use that passage as a justification for assuming the inclusion of foot washing in the much larger number of passages on justification that don't mention foot washing and exclude it in multiple ways. In contrast, the advocate of baptismal justification will reject reasonable alternate interpretations of passages like Acts 2, then use such passages as a justification for following a less likely reading of a far larger number of passages that don't mention baptism or suggest its exclusion. Again, we've discussed this issue in recent threads, such as the one here.
Spencer Fields said..."This kind of sarcasm does little to advance the cause of truth..."To the contrary, it advances the truth by using a comparison to make a point."...but it does do its part to widen the divide that already exists between Reformed Christians and Roman Catholics."One can only hope."It goes without saying that baptism is something explicitly associated--by name--with conversion (i.e., Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Mark 16:16 etc.), while foot washing never is."It goes without saying that foot-washing is explicitly associated with salvation: "Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with me....For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you'" (Jn 13:8,15).
"This kind of sarcasm...does do its part to widen the divide that already exists between Reformed Christians and Roman Catholics."Be specific: what divide? Are you talking about a doctrinal divide or a civil divide?The doctrinal divide hasn't changed that I can see. It hasn't gotten any wider than it has ever been. A civil divide? Sarcasm as a rhetorical tool can be used rather effectively for elucidation. If anyone is becoming uncivil as a result of its use, it's because they don't like what's being elucidated.To be sure, if "water" in John 3:5 is clearly referring to baptismal justification, then it must also refer to foot washing. Why? The hermeneutic employed would apply to both. The sarcasm here points out this problem with that hermeneutic in far less words than I just used.Therefore, to blame the rhetorical device is a red herring and to mention a divide without being specific about the divide is to beg the question. Employing such fallacies indicates a desire to self-justify. Where then is there room for baptismal justification if you justify yourself?Let me go on to observe this. Nicodemus came at night, apparently to escape notice by the public at large. He admits on behalf of the Pharisees that Jesus is a teacher from God. However, we know that they never accepted his teaching. Their purpose was to justify themselves. John the Baptist in the next passage indicated that he must decrease and Jesus must increase. His purpose was to glorify God and not himself. Jesus indicates that he teaches earthly things to Nicodemus and observes that if Nicodemus doesn't believe what he teaches of earthly things, he will not believe what is taught of Spiritual things.Nicodemus and the rest of the Pharisees did not count Jesus as their authority. They wanted authority for themselves. John preached the authority of Christ and submitted to him at every turn. When getting his feet washed, Peter thought not to submit to Jesus' service. Even as a servant, Christ was the authority. Peter had to submit to his authority. Likewise, we must each ask who our authority is. Do we seek to maintain our authority, which includes assigning undue authority to a religious group like the Pharisees, Magisterius, or denominational body, thinking that by doing so we glorify God - or do we submit to the authority of God in the person of Jesus Christ although it may not be comfortable to do so? It's a question we must each ask of the Holy Spirit who will reveal truth to us as we study, meditate, and submit to his guidance giving thanks for every correction to our flawed thinking.