Wednesday, November 21, 2007

some thoughts on baptism (part 2)

This is a continuation of my series of posts on Christian baptism, unpacking my thoughts and supporting my reasoning for getting baptized. Specifically I am digging into the 8 statements I made in Part 1. Today, Statement 1...

1. Baptism is not necessary for salvation
There are very few denominations within Christianity that support baptism as a necessity to salvation (most notably the Church Of Christ), so I'm not going to spend too much time digging into this one.

Among some of the verses that are used to support a view of baptismal regeneration include Mark 16:16...
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned."
At first glance it appears that this verse supports the idea that both faith and baptism are required for salvation. But notice the difference in the second half of the verse - while it is indicated that both 'belief' and 'baptism' will lead to salvation, it merely says in the second half that a lack of 'belief' will lead to condemnation. This verse teaches that 'belief' is essential to salvation - it does not teach that 'baptism' is.

One prominent example that comes to mind when considering faith as the critical element of salvation is the conversation had between Jesus and the criminal on the cross (Luke 23:40-43). Here Jesus promised a sinful man that he would "be with him in paradise" simply through belief - no opportunity for baptism.

There are a multitude of verses that support the concept of "faith alone" as the requirement of salvation, among them John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Romans 3:28, Romans 11:6, and Ephesians 2:8-10.

While browsing the web for some articles on baptism, I found one particularly interesting which de-constructs the primary verses of baptismal regeneration. If you're interested in reading further, feel free to check it out here.

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