God On The Net

Getting Baptized

You can accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior by believing in Him, repenting of your sins, and being baptized in His name for the remission of your sins.

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"Should I get baptized?"

Definitely!  The Bible speaks repeatedly about being baptized and Jesus said to do it.

Matthew 28:19-20 [19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Mark 16:15-16 [15] He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. [16] Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

"Do I have to be baptized to be saved?"

The general consensus of Christian theologians is no.  Romans 10:9 is generally considered as the "minimum requirements" and it doesn't say you must be baptized.

Whether you agree or not, that is the consensus of the vast majority of Christian theologians!

Jesus did not baptize.

John 4:2 [NKJV]  Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples [baptized]

In 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul expressly says he was not sent to baptize.

1 Corinthians 1:12-17 [12] What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas" [Simon Peter]; still another, "I follow Christ." [13] Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? [14] I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, [15] so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. [16] (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) [17] For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

If baptism is necessary for salvation, what would be the point of preaching but not baptizing?

Luke 23:39-43 [39] One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" [40] But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? [41] We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." [42] Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. " [43] Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Wait a minute, Jesus -- he can't be saved!  He hasn't been baptized!


Several people have e-mailed me saying "Yes, but the thief was saved under the Old Testament."

They don't understand Genesis 15:6, Hebrews 11, Romans 4, and Galatians 3:8-18. The only method God has ever provided for obtaining salvation is by faith alone.

Also see the pages under Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? at http://www.carm.org/doctrine.htm


Acts 10:44-48 [44] While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. [45] The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. [46] For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, [47] "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received [past tense] the Holy Spirit just as we have." [48] So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.


If one of those gentiles had dropped dead of a heart attack before being water baptized, would he have gone to heaven or hell?

That is the "bottom line" issue!


Also consider Mark 16:16.  It is as important for what it doesn't say as for what it does say. It says "whoever does not believe will be condemned."  It does not say "whoever does not believe and whoever is not baptized will be condemned."

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

"Do I have to be completely dunked in water to really be baptized?"

This is an area where the various Christian denominations disagree.  Christian baptism is always done with water.  Some denominations always immerse the person completely, others pour some water on the person's forehead or make the sign of the Cross on the forehead with water and others sprinkle water on the head.

Those who support immersion claim that it has a spiritual significance.  The immersion symbolizes Christ's death and burial -- the person dies to sin.  Coming out of the water symbolizes Christ's Resurrection -- the person is "born again" and becomes "a new man in Christ."

It is important to understand that the water does nothing.  What makes water baptism important is submission to God -- and Jesus said to do it!

"Should I have my children baptized as infants or wait until they grow up?"

This is a matter you should discuss with your clergyman.  This is another area where various denominations disagree.  Jesus was thirty years old when He was baptized.  Some denominations believe that the decision must be made by the person, and therefore, it is not appropriate to have parents presenting infants for baptism.  Others believe children should be baptized as soon as possible. Protestantism is split on this issue.  Roman Catholicism practices infant baptism. Messianic Judaism practices believers-only baptism.

Those who advocate 'believers-only baptism' point out that there is no report of children being baptized in the New Testament. The flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes no children were baptized. It is equally possible that children were baptized, but the New Testament authors simply didn't mention it.

It should be noted that all denominations agree that once a person is old enough to understand the significance of baptism, s/he should not be baptized unless s/he is a believer. Put another way, an average five-year old who has not accepted Christ should not be baptized.

"I was baptized years ago but I was a baby (or) I didn't really believe, (or) I fell away from the Church and now I'm coming back.  Do I need to get baptized again?"

Most Protestant denominations "believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" (as the Apostles' Creed says).

"I'm switching denominations.  Do I need to get baptized again?"

Most mainstream Protestant denominations consider themselves essentially like "flavors" of Christianity, like dialects of a language -- American, British, and Australian English may sound a little different and seem a little different, but they are basically the same language and the differences are not fundamental.  Hence, baptism in one denomination is good for life.

Messianic Judaism and those Protestant denominations that follow believers-only baptism consider any baptism performed after becoming a believer to be effective.

However, some denominations, believe you aren't really Christian unless you belong to their denomination.  Therefore, they consider a previous baptism in another denomination as being ineffective and they require you to get baptized in their denomination.


(c) 1998-2001 by Rick Reinckens

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