IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Steve Grisetti. He wins a free book for asking the question.
Here’s his question, with his comments:
Is water necessary in order for someone to be baptized?
Case in point: Acts Chapters 10 and 11. Peter goes to visit Cornelius.
In Acts 10:47-48 it says, “Then Peter said, ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
But later, recounting the scene in Acts 11:15-17, Peter says, “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
As my teacher used to say in 7th grade, “That’s a pretty big ‘but.’ “
The implication seems to be that, since Pentecost at least, it’s no longer necessary to be dunking folks in the Jordan.
Sounds like level-headed thinking to me.
Still, lots of Christians say you’ve got to get baptized.
After all, when Peter launched the Christian movement with his first sermon, he said: ““Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins,” (Acts 2:38 NLT).
That’s a big “and.”
But is it a heaven buster?
Can we get into heaven dry as a bone, never sprinkled, dipped, or dunked in baptism?
Many Christians would agree that baptism is a fine ritual—a public way of expressing our belief that Jesus has washed away our sins. But they would quickly add that it’s our belief that’s essential—not the ritual that expresses our belief.
Jailer to Paul: “What must I do to be saved?”
Paul to jailer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
The jailer believed. Then, apparently as an expression of his belief, “He and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.”
Other times, there’s no mention of baptism:
- “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
That said, I recommend baptism unless you’re afraid of water or of giving the preacher an opportunity to drown you.