Some time ago I wrote a response to Calvin Beisner’s explanation of Acts 2:38 as found in his book “Jesus Only” Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998). That response appears on this BlogSpot in the January 2005 archives.
Recently I discovered that Beisner has written a partial response to my comments as they appeared earlier on a web site at http://www.clc.edu/askdr/Archive/Acts238.htm. Although that site is no longer available, the essence of my comments there is incorporated into the article that appears on this BlogSpot. Beisner’s response can be found at http://www.equip.org/articles/does-acts-2-38-teach-baptismal-remission-...
Beisner is of the opinion that the “plausibility of . . . alternative understandings of for reduces the evidential value of Acts 2:38 for the doctrine of baptismal remission of sins.” The article does not concern itself with the meaning of the identical Greek phrase eis aphesin hamartiōn in Matthew 26:28, Mark 1:4, or Luke 3:3 where it is certain that the meaning has to do with effecting the forgiveness of sins. The same phrase appears on the lips of Jesus in Luke 24:47, connecting forgiveness of sins with repentance in a significant anticipation of Peter’s words in Acts 2:38, further indicating the solidarity between repentance and baptism in effecting forgiveness. If the phrase eis aphesin hamartiōn in Acts 2:38 has nothing to do with effecting the forgiveness of sins, this is the only place in the New Testament where it does not. Contrary to Beisner’s opinion, this does not reduce the evidential value of Acts 2:38, nor does it, as Beisner claims, “dispossess the baptismal remissionists of Acts 2:38 as proof of their doctrine.” Instead, the consistent meaning of the phrase everywhere else it is found strengthens the evidential value of Acts 2:38.