What Must I do to be Saved? Response on Baptism...by Matt1618

What Must I do to be Saved?
Is Water Baptism Required to be Saved?
Response on Baptism

By Matt1618

This is a response to an email from a Mr. Dwayne Farr, who sent a detailed paper which attempted to prove that the Bible teaches Faith as the only instrument of salvation and that Catholicism is wrong on many issues. He is a Baptist. I have responded to only a portion of his whole paper. That is because I like to be thorough in my responses to such papers and if I took the time to respond to the whole paper, this would be much too long. My responses are extensive. This response of mine does respond point by point to some essential issues that he has brought up. I have italicized his words. I respond with analysis and Scripture. He asked that I respond with Scripture, and so I do in this response. I respond that the Catholic Church is correct on the issues, and point out from the Bible why I find him and his theology to be incorrect. Although I have this, as part of the whole paper, each issue can stand on its own. Thus, I also have this piece on baptism as its own url. Here is my response on baptism.

Is Water Baptism Required to be Saved?

There are certain Para-church organizations such as the "Jesus-only" group that espouse the doctrine that one must partake in water baptism to be saved. All too often in my discussions with such people they immediately say that you should be baptized. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. You should be baptized if you have accepted Christ into your life, but it is not a requirement for salvation. All too often they assume that people who don’t believe this have not been baptized and are making an excuse for their rebellion. I have been baptized but it is not a requirement for salvation. Those who hold to this view will get themselves into more than a few problems when one becomes the Acts 17 Berean. Let’s see if this view holds up to the ultimate litmus test.

Well, these Para-church organizations that Dwayne is speaking of, are most likely incorrect on many things. That is because of the outlook of Sola Scriptura, which Dwayne follows, which says that Scripture alone is the sole, authoritative, inerrant guide for Christians. Agreed that they are wrong on many issues, depending on what para-church organizations he is speaking of, but on this one they are at least partially correct. There are many Scriptures that clearly teach the salvific efficacy of the sacrament of baptism.

The other fact is that Christianity taught united for 15 centuries that baptism was salvific. The ‘Reformation’ brought with it Sola Scriptura, which spawned the teaching in some Protestant quarters, that baptism was not salvific. However, united for 15 centuries, Christianity taught unanimously that baptism regenerates. It is not merely 'Para-Church' organizations but Christianity for 2000 years has thought when it said 'Baptism saves you' (1 Pet. 3:21), it meant 'baptism saves you.' When it says in Scripture 'repent and be baptized for the remission of sins' (Acts 2:38), it meant repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Somehow, these Scriptures don't seem to take up the 'Berean' test. Instead, he focuses on what only can be seen as 'exceptions' and sees those 'exceptions' as the standard for his analysis on baptism.

How about the Berean test in Acts itself? Why doesn't he refer to Acts 2 which says repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and Acts 22:16 which says that Paul's sins are washed away by baptism, when calling on his name?

The very first thing that pops into my head when I hear this espoused is several situations that would be hard to explain. First, we have the biblical example of the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). The thief had never been baptized and even if he was he was apathetic towards Christ before he was on the cross with Him. Jesus said, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." The meaning is very clear. This is sound biblical hermeneutics.

So the method of imposing the general outlook on baptism is by ignoring the question after the commission of the many who asked 'What must I do' in Acts 2:37, where Peter answered that question on how people are to be saved, where he says, 'Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins' (Acts 2:38). Instead we are to focus on a person who is about to die, who died before Jesus himself had died, where there was no opportunity for baptism, and before Jesus had even give his commission to baptize (in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:16)? Then we generalize from that, on all people who are not about to die, after the great commission? It is strange to make this extraordinary circumstance as foundational to our understanding on baptism. How in the world is that 'sound biblical hermeneutics'? How come accepting Peter's declaration, on the specific question on how one is to be saved, which says to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, is not 'sound biblical hermeneutics.'? That is a strange way of looking at things.

Of course Jesus had not even died yet, and as the great commission to baptize was not even given (Mk. 16:16, and Matthew 28:19), it is kind of hard to generalize on someone who died before even there was a commission to baptize as though that means that baptism is not necessary. This was an exception, not the standard, since most people on hearing the gospel, are not in the condition of being about to die, with no possibility of being water baptized at the time. However, on hearing the gospel, there are probably more people who will be in the condition of asking 'What must I do' in Acts 2:37, and the answer was given specifically to that question in Acts 2:38, where Peter says, 'repent and be baptized for the remission of sins'. Thus, Dwayne is ignoring the specific question that was asked of the apostle on how one is saved, after the commission to baptize, in favor of looking at one person who was on the brink of death, who obviously had no chance to be baptized, before the commission to baptize was even given, and make that the standard to judge the necessity of baptism. That is not sound biblical hermeneutics.

Christ declared that the thief would be in paradise with Him that very day. But the thief never got baptized. This is just one of the many quandaries that the proclaimer of this doctrine has to get around. For is this was true, then the thief could not, and should not have been saved, but he was. Some people will counter this point with the statement that we were still "under the Law" while Christ was on the cross so the thief did not have to be baptized." This doesn’t make a bit of sense and here’s why. Why would God require more "works" while we are under grace then when we were under the Law? Lucky Abraham, he didn’t have to get wet to "get right" with God. Baptism is simply an outward proclamation of your faith in Christ.

Even though we are bound to see baptism as the ordinary way to forgive sins (per Acts 2:38, 22:16, Titus 3:5, Rom. 6:3-4, etc.,) Catholics do recognize that there may be exceptions to the rule. The fact is that even if after the commission to be baptized, which would only be incumbent after the commission, if one is on the brink of death, and unable to get water baptized, the Catholic Church does recognize that the desire for baptism would be justifying. As this kind of profession is not a sure thing, whereas baptism with this profession would make it a sure thing, baptism is a more reliable and steadfast way to get the sins forgiven, per Peter's instructions in Acts 2:38 and 1 Pet. 3:21. Per Paul's instructions in Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:27. Per Jesus instructions in Mk. 16:16 and John 3:5. Now, we see Dwayne downplay the plain meaning of clear passages of Scripture, to concentrate on such things as what one person who is saved before there even is a commission to New Testament baptism. However, Dwayne is making the exception proving the rule, in which we shall see his inconsistency in applying this standard further down.

We do not say that the law ever saved anyone. Abraham was not saved by law, but by grace. Baptism is not a mere human work. It is God's grace within us. It is God at work within us. As we have seen, baptism and repentance brings the forgiveness of sin, and the reception of the Holy Spirit. So thus, baptism is not a mere human work. It is God's work to make a new believer. It is God's grace in action. For another passage that shows us this let us look at Paul's words in Romans 6:3-7:

3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For he who has died is freed from sin.
It is not our human work. We see that we are united with him by baptism. Paul is clear that baptism is not man's work, but God's means of being united to him, and putting to death the old man. Here Paul says that baptism gives newness of life, which alludes to Jesus very words that one must be born of water and Spirit (John 3:5).

You can get baptized and still go to hell if your heart isn’t right. This is stuffy legalism.

It is not stuffy legalism to believe Peter's words in Acts 2:37-38:

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter clearly teaches that if one is baptized and repents, one gets the forgiveness of sins, and the reception of the Holy Spirit. What Peter says, Paul reiterates when speaking of the plain salvific efficacy of baptism (as just seen in Romans 6:3-7). I wonder why in his 'Berean' test, these passages are neglected or downplayed, or explained away, while things that are done in an exceptional manner, such as the thief on the cross, becomes the hallmark on what baptism does not do. Now it is true, after baptism, if one turns his back on God, one can lose their salvation, and they can go to hell. But baptism is the means to put us into the right condition before God. Perseverance and good works are necessary after baptism, which is initial justification.

Here are some other scenarios that pop into my head: Let’s say I go to a Mormon’s house and preach the gospel to him. He renounces Mormonism and takes Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Then I say to him, "Let’s take you over to the church and let the pastor baptize you." He agrees to this and as we walk across the street, at that time a truck hits my friend and dies. Now you might chuckle a bit at such an extreme situation, but if it did occur, would that person be going to heaven or hell?

Here we are getting exceptional circumstances to dictate the rule. As stated earlier, there are extreme circumstances in which if someone has a true understanding of the true gospel, and renounces the errors of his way, such as a Mormon, he would normally, at least 99.9 percent of the time, be able to get baptized. So most of the time, the scenario does not happen. What is the normal way? The normal way is stated in Scripture. And what is baptism for? Scripture says it is for the forgiveness of sins. Now, if he is willing to get baptized, and be like Paul, and get his sins washed away, as Paul himself got his sins washed away (See Acts 22:16), in all likelihood, he will be able to get baptized and get his sins washed away, just as Paul was able to. Just as the 3000 had their sins washed away in Baptism as Peter commanded them to do in Acts 2:37-41. Now, if this actually happens and the Mormon comes to faith in Christ as Lord, repents of his sins, and goes on the way to get baptized, and on the way he happens to get killed in an accident, it is possible he can be saved. The desire for baptism can get his sins forgiven, but is not a guarantee and is very subjective, as only God can see the heart, to see if he is fully repentant of his sins, and truly turns towards Christ. Baptism is a truly objective standard that objectively provides the forgiveness of sins, and is not iffy. Now can God work outside of baptism? Of course he can, but because extraordinary circumstances may happen, does not invalidate baptism as the normal means of justification.

If one rigidly holds the doctrine of "water baptism" then he would not be saved. If one allows for an exception there (or in the case of the thief) then it must not be required. How about the scenario of a man in a foxhole during a firefight in World War II? Under great duress and pain he cries out to Jesus. In that moment he prays for Christ to come into his heart and cleanse him of all unrighteousness. Shortly after that a mortar blast makes a direct hit on the foxhole and the young man dies. Is he saved? Once again, if you rigidly hold to the doctrine in question then he is NOT saved. If you allow for this exception then it must not be required. What is a believer in this to do? Either they go against the clear teaching of Scripture and state that the man is not saved, or he contradicts himself and allows for an exception.

Actually, Dwayne is not consistent in his ideas that if there are exceptions, that it invalidates the necessity of its teaching. Dwayne teaches very clearly, with Scripture, and in fact I do not disagree with him, that one must believe in order to be saved. John 3:16 applies, that whosoever believes in him will attain eternal life. However, Dwayne also believes that babies that die before the age of reason will also achieve salvation. Now, throughout the ages, since the time of Christ, infant mortality has been very high, including Christians who have had babies die. Of course in the past, babies would be baptized to make them put on Christ, as Scripture commands (Gal. 3:27). But since Dwayne rejects baptismal regeneration, and rejects baptism as salvific, and holds that one must believe to be saved, then if he is to be consistent, as part of his ‘gospel’ message, in order to be consistent, he must say unequivocally, since there is no other status for babies except going to hell. However, he does not say that. Thus, he allows exceptions to his own doctrine. Thus, using his language against baptism, I can say that his criteria that allows babies to get to heaven, makes belief unnecessary. Here will be a slight play on his above statement, that if he uses this logic to invalidate baptism, he invalidates his own belief in the necessity of belief in Christ:

If one rigidly holds the doctrine of "belief" then he would not be saved. If one allows for an exception there (or in the case of the baby that dies before they reach the age of reason, so they can not believe) then it must not be required. How about the scenario of a baby who dies without reaching the age of reason? Under great duress and pain the baby dies before reaching the age of reason, so he is unable to "believe". Is he saved? Once again, if you rigidly hold to the doctrine in question then he is NOT saved. If you allow for this exception then it must not be required. What is a believer in this to do? Either they go against the clear teaching of Scripture that one must "believe" and state that the man is not saved, or he contradicts himself and allows for an exception.
Now, if Dwayne is able to hold uncompromisingly to his doctrine that one must hold to belief in Jesus in order to get to heaven, and says that all babies who die before reaching the age of reason, and thus can not believe, can not go to heaven, then he would be consistent. However, in fact he allows exceptions and says that babies can get to heaven without believing. Thus, he has absolutely no grounds for complaining about any contradictions for those who hold to the normative necessity of being baptized to achieve salvation, while still allowing exceptions, while Dwayne himself allows for exceptions on the belief issue. In fact, since the gospel has been preached since Jesus' great commission, as a matter of fact, there have been more babies and children who have died before reaching the age of reason, than the amount of people who have been converted from Mormonism, and have been killed in an accident before they got baptized. Since Dwayne rejects baptismal regeneration, he would reject that they get to heaven because of infant baptism. Babies can not believe. Thus, he allows exceptions on this issue. Why does he allow the exception for himself, but not for Catholics?

Actually repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins in Acts 2:38 is a pretty clear teaching of Scripture. As are other Scriptures in their showing that baptism regenerates. In fact, just because there may be limited exceptions, in which God can work in an extraordinary manner outside of the way that he normally works (be it is a not so extraordinary circumstance where one dies before reaching the age of reason does not mean that belief is not essential to salvation, or in an extraordinary circumstance, one may be forgiven sins outside the way that Jesus and the apostles commissioned, via baptism), does not mean that both belief and baptism are not essential to salvation.

Let’s dig into Scripture and see what it has to say. Romans 10:9-13 is crystal clear about salvation and what one has to "do" to attain it. "That if thou shalt confess WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED… WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION… Whosoever believeth on Him SHALL NOT be ashamed… whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Also see Isaiah 28:16) I don’t see how it could be any clearer. In Genesis 15:6 Abraham "believed in the Lord and he counted it to him for righteousness." Now how could Abraham be "righteous" before the Lord if he had not been baptized? If this is a requirement then he COULD NOT have been justified by God. This is reiterated by Paul in Galatians 3:8-9. "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would JUSTIFY THE HEATHEN THROUGH FAITH, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." This is talking about the Abrahamic Covenant.

Again, I went over the ‘proof’ that Romans 10:9-13 somehow teaches faith alone here: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/salv.html. One passage does not invalidate many other passages, which speak of baptism’s necessity. But for instance, this passage does not say that belief alone is necessary. The passage does not indicate a one-time belief in him indicates that one’s salvation is set. Paul borrows in the Rom. 10:9-13 passages from Deuteronomy 30:6-16, where the necessity of keeping the commandments is shown to be necessary. Now, in reference to the profession of faith, when is that done, except in baptism? Thus, when one is brought into salvation is when one confesses Jesus as Lord in baptism. We see in Acts 9:18, and Acts 22:16, in Paul’s baptism this:

16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
In order to get the sins washed away, Paul had to rise and be baptized, calling on his name. At baptism, is when the profession of faith is made. It accomplishes the washing away of sins when done in conjunction with baptism. We see this also in Acts 16:
31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family.
Here the jailer made the act of belief, and when he professed that faith, he believed for his whole household, and was immediately baptized. So when Paul says believe, we see that with this belief comes baptism. Belief and baptism is thus tied one to another in bringing salvation. That is Paul’s own experience, that he surely does not forget in Romans 10. In addition, we remember that in Roman 6 he himself writes:
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For he who has died is freed from sin.
Does Dwayne think that when Paul was writing Romans 10, he totally forgot about what he wrote in Romans 6? He writes here that baptism is what makes one walk in newness of life. Baptism is what makes us baptized into His death, and brings to us new life. Baptism is what frees us from sin, with belief. Not belief or baptism, but belief and baptism, as Jesus himself proclaims in his commission (Mt. 28:18-20, Mk. 16:16). Even if he does not explicitly say it in Romans 10, it does not mean that he forgets his own experience in getting his sins washed away by baptism, nor does he forget his own writing that baptism is what brings us newness of life.

Another factor is that when Paul treats things that are salvific, it does not mean that every passage is done to the exclusion of others. In Romans 10, he does not say anything about repenting of sin, just as he does not explicitly write anything explicitly about baptism, though it is implicitly referred to. Does that mean that repentance is not necessary, and just undermine Dwayne’s insistence on the necessity of repentance? I hardly think so. If he uses this passage against the necessity of baptism, then he must use this passage to teach against the necessity of repentance.

The next issue he brings up is that Abraham did get not get baptized, and how can he be saved? Of course it would be ridiculous to impose on Abraham the necessity of baptism thousands of years prior to the commission to baptize. Again, Dwayne is employing a double standard. After the commission of the gospel, he says it is incumbent for salvation for one to believe in Jesus. However, there is no indication anywhere that Abraham believed in Jesus Christ. Of course, before the incarnation, although there were of course prophecies that pointed to Jesus, no one actually 'believed' in Jesus, nor were they required to explicitly believe in Jesus. Of course after the fact, we know that the Old Testament Saint's salvation was achieved only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but actually none of them actually knew that there was the person of Jesus Christ, who ultimately would be the cause of their salvation. How could anyone be saved if there was a requirement that they believe in Jesus? Well, the necessity of belief in Jesus was only required after the incarnation, after the commission that Jesus gave to the apostles. In the same way that people could get justified before the incarnation without literally believing in Jesus, they could get justified without getting a literal baptism. After the incarnation and the commission to baptize, both belief and baptism are the ordinary means of salvation.

Finally, Dwayne argues through the passages of Galatians that faith only is the way to go. He highlights Galatians 2 & 3 to say that the letter teaches justification by faith alone. Besides being a highly selective look at Galatians because there are explicit passages which taught of the necessity of obedience and works in justification (See Gal. 5:6, 16, 24, 6:2, 7-9), he shows a misunderstanding of the relation of baptism to the law. Now true, one is not saved by the law, because the law does not provide grace necessary to keep it. However, the law is not done away with, and we are still called to fulfill the law of the Spirit. Paul says that in Galatians 6:2. Dwayne says that those who teach baptism is necessary makes salvation equal grace plus law. That is a deficient understanding of both grace and baptism. Does Paul term baptism as law which is pitted against faith and grace, and is it only a manifestation of the law, as Dwayne argues? Paul says in fact that baptism is not the law, when he contrasts the law which did not save, to what is the means of putting on Christ, in the very chapter that Dwayne tries to use to say that baptism is not necessary, Galatians 3:

24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
The law does not save, and is not our custodian any longer, when we are in Christ. Paul specifically contrasts the law to faith. Faith is a bulwark of our salvation. There is no doubt about that. However, faith is not the only thing that puts us into Christ. Notice the pivotal verse 27, right when he is talking about the necessity of faith, he notes that faith is not the only thing that makes us put on Christ. What makes us put on Christ? Baptism makes us put on Christ, as Paul specifically writes in v. 27!!! So grace is not an operation of law as opposed to baptism. Baptism in fact is the means of grace in conjunction with faith. Baptism is not law, but grace in fact that puts on Christ for us, as Paul specifically writes. So baptism is not grace plus law, but is indeed grace in action that makes us put on Christ. In Galatians 3, we see the contrast of grace and works of the law. However, Paul does not pit grace against baptism. We see that there is neither male nor female in the New Covenant. The Old Covenant circumcision was not available for females, but in Christ, there is no male or female (v. 28), as baptism which makes us put on Christ is available for females as well. It is much superior to the Old Covenant. Baptism is not law but God‘s means of grace for our salvation.

Paul teaches the superiority of the new covenant baptism as the operation of God. He spells this out further in Colossians 2:11-14:

11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.
Just as Paul said that baptism makes us buried with Christ in Romans 6. Just as Paul recognizes his own sins were washed away by baptism (Acts 22:16). Just as he says that baptism puts on Christ (Gal. 3:27). He also says in Colossians 2 that in baptism we are buried with Christ in baptism. This is the working of God, Col. 2:12. The working of God is grace in action. It is the new covenant circumcision which puts off the body of sins. Again, baptism is the means of having all our past trespasses forgiven (v. 14).

Another example would be the promiscuous woman in Luke 7:36-50. This woman was a sinner of the worst kind and everyone in the house abhorred her. She was scum of the earth to them and they would not have anything to do with her. Jesus, however, did nothing to stop her from wiping His feet with her tears and pouring the ointment on them. Jesus gave them a parable to illustrate the situation and then said in conclusion: "Thy sins are forgiven… Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." Now she was not baptized, yet Christ declared that her faith had saved her. You mean faith alone will save someone? That is correct. Those who state that water baptism is required for salvation are just another example of the "Christ PLUS law" group that Paul battled in Galatia. Paul said, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you… having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh… Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness… the just shall live by faith… ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus… ye observe days, and months, and times and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain… Therefore, being JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Galatians 3:1, 3, 6, 11, 26, 4:10-11, Romans 5:1, 11:6) Paul was battling those who attempted to "put the Christian under the Law" again. This was the Jesus plus law group. We are seeing this again today with such Para-church organizations that just lead people astray with ridiculous doctrine such as this. This is all over Paul’s writings. It is very clear that faith is what saves us, NOT faith and baptism.

Again, this is a selective look at Paul's writings, (which I have not even looked at all the passages which show Paul's recognition of the salvific efficacy of baptism), which ignores that Paul specifically writes that baptism is the means of putting on Christ, as we have already seen. The Galatians 3 passages leads directly to v. 27, which says that baptism is not law, but the means, in conjunction with faith, to put on Christ. Thus, it is faith and baptism.

The woman's conversion in Luke 7 is done before the great commission of Mt. 28 and Mk. 16, which mandated that one must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, as shown in Acts (Acts 2:37-38, 22:16). Jesus does not say that a one-time profession of faith guarantees her salvation. She surely must live holy without the pursuit of no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). In the very next chapter in Luke, Jesus says in Luke 8:13-15, on the good soil and rocky soil, the parable:

13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
So he was not implying faith alone saved her. It is possible that she could believe for a while, and fall away. Jesus specifically says that in the very next chapter. The only ones who achieve salvation are those who bring forth fruit (i.e. good works), with patience. In the New Covenant, after the commission, part of the way that one brings about the forgiveness of sins is through baptism, as Jesus, Paul and Peter teach. We see this in Acts, which is after the commission to baptize (Acts 2, 8, 10, 16, 22, etc.)

The follower of this doctrine might quote Acts 22:16. "…arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." The context is very important here. What washes our sins away and cleanses us? The blood of Christ or baptism? Hebrews 9:22 declares: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Also see Leviticus 17:11) Water baptism is simply a public testimony of your faith in Christ.

Before I get to his attempt to skate around the clear teaching of Acts 22:16, I will address his diversion which he called 'context.' He says context shows that the blood washes away our sins, and thus can't refer to baptism as doing it. Of course it is through the blood of Christ that our sins are forgiven, but is not through the blood or baptism, but through the blood via baptism. That is initial justification. Since whatever washes away our sins is the application of the blood in cleansing it is important to see what does the washing. Acts 22 does this. Of course Acts 22, is a showing in action of Peter's teaching. Again, Acts 2:37-38 is essential to see this again:

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter says get baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Scripture is thus very clear on this. Thus, the fact that the blood of Christ justifies us is noted in Romans 5:9, is followed up in Romans 6:3-7, which says that we are given the newness of life via baptism. Thus, how does Hebrews 9 relate, which talks of the shedding of blood? The blood is the means, and its application, through initial justification, is via baptism. Dwayne says the context is very important in Acts 22. Now I agree that the context is important, but he doesn’t give us any context in Acts 22 that discounts baptismal regeneration. In fact the term ‘blood’ is not even mentioned anywhere in this specific passage. So the supposed ‘context’ of Acts 22 doesn’t even mention the term ‘blood’ at all. In Acts 22 the context is Paul recounting his conversion. In verses 6-11 he relates his encounter with Christ. He then recounts following God’s order to go to Damascus. In verses 12-13, Paul recounts that Ananias called to him and told him that he would gain his sight back. Thus, Paul had already turned to God and had his blindness wiped out. Then we get into the immediate verses prior to and including Acts 22:16:
14 And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
There is no context which does what Dwayne says it does, which supposedly does away with baptismal regeneration. Instead, he gives us other verses that has nothing to do with the issue of blood, which Dwayne says is the context. Indeed the context, shows that Paul had already turned towards Christ, and already had his blindness cleansed. However, his sins were not washed away yet. What washed the sins away? “Rise and be baptized“, says Ananias. Calling on his name is done when he gets baptized. He uses the language of ‘washing away your sins’, and baptism in the very same sentence, relating them to one another. This is a playing out of Peter’s teaching on ‘repent and be baptized’ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

Now, the blood of Christ is applied in different ways. When we walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Christ cleanses us from sins (1 Jn. 1:7). When we confess our sins, the blood cleanses us from sins (1 Jn. 1:9). The blood indeed cleanses us from sins, but there are different ways that the blood does cleanse us from sin. In initial justification, the blood cleanses us from sins via baptism, as Paul himself proclaims not only through his action in Acts 22, but as he shows us in Romans 6:3-7, right after saying we are justified by his blood (Rom. 5:9).

Dwayne repeats a man-made tradition that baptism is only the public testimony of the faith that one has in Christ. In fact, that is not the case. There is no passage which talks about baptism in that fashion explicitly or even implicitly. None of the verses that he cites say: baptism is simply a public testimony of your faith in Christ. Instead we see baptism makes us put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). Baptism brings us forgiveness of sins and receipt of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38). We are buried with him in baptism (Col. 2:12-14). Baptism saves us (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism makes us buried with Christ into his death (Rom. 6:3-7). There is One Lord, one Faith, One Baptism (Eph. 4:4). I see that about baptism but I don't see anywhere that is merely a public testimony of faith in Christ. In fact, in Acts 16 for example, exactly when the jailer asked how to be saved, Paul not only said believe in Jesus, but in the middle of the night baptized him right then and there (Acts 16:31-33). Thus, it was tied into salvation. There was no public testimony in Acts 16. When Peter said repent and get baptized for the remission of sins, he did not delay the 3000 baptisms so they could give a public testimony, but the 3000 got baptized right then and there (Acts 2:37-41). The Ethiopian Eunuch who learned the importance of baptism got baptized right then and there via Steven (Acts 8:35-39). Notice that when the baptism was done, that was when the Spirit entered the scene, exactly as done in Acts 2. How can the main purpose of baptism be a public testimony, when absolutely none of the events in Acts show that to be the purpose at all? Not only is there no statement in Scripture which relegates baptism to a mere public testimony, but when baptisms were actually performed, they were done in fact privately.

Another verse that might pop up is 1 Peter 3:21: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." One has to consider the context here. In the preceding verses it talks about Noah and the Flood. Verse 20 says, "…eight souls were saved by water." Then they link verse 21 to it and say there you have it, baptism is required for salvation. The words "like figure" (v. 21) tell us that baptism corresponds to something (It means "type" or "representation"). We just have to figure out what it corresponds to. Which saved Noah? Was it the water of the Flood or was it the Ark? Everyone knows the answer to that. It was the Ark, and they entered the Ark by faith. This is recognizable by Peter’s statement: "NOT the putting away of the filth of the flesh, BUT THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD, BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST." The water did save Noah in a sense, but it only saved him from the moral degradation of the world at that time. Just like the water didn’t "save" (give him salvation) Noah, water baptism doesn’t "save" anyone else either.

Let us look at the scripture he brings up, in 1 Peter 3:

19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
First of all this Scripture is very clear. It says in verse 21 that baptism now saves you. Dwayne says ‘water baptism doesn’t save anyone’. Well, with all due respect to someone who says he believes Scripture, he is saying something directly contrary to what Scripture says. Scripture says baptism saves us. Dwayne says Scripture doesn’t save us. Whom am I to believe? Scripture or Dwayne. Well, I choose Scripture.

Now, Dwayne’s reasoning to say what Scripture means is actually the direct opposite of what it says in 1 Pet. 3:21 does not wash (pun intended). He brings up the issue of whether it was the water or the Ark that saved Noah. And since he says it was the ark, it couldn’t mean that the flood saved Noah, so baptism can not save us. However, that is something totally different from what Peter says. Peter writes eight persons “were saved through water, in 1 Pet. 3:20.” Thus, although Dwayne may think the Ark saved Noah, Peter himself says that the water saved Noah. Thus, it was the water, not the Ark. At least according to Scripture. How can this be? Dwayne even gives us partially the answer when he says that ‘it saved him from the moral degradation of the world at that time.’ Well, what did the water do except destroy evil throughout the world? It in fact destroyed the world and all its iniquity, exactly as baptism in the NewTestament does. True, they did not get wet, but this water destroyed the iniquity of the people and the world surrounding them. That is what Peter himself writes when he says he was saved through water. In the New Testament, as we have seen through Paul, baptism washes away those sins. The water of the flood is the type. The fulfillment of the type is baptism, according to Peter.

Peter concludes ‘baptism does now save you.’ Not Baptism does not save you. Those are Peter’s words, not mine. Inspired by God, Peter wrote that baptism does now save us. As the waters of the flood cleared out the sin and iniquity of the world during Noah’s time, the waters of baptism clear the conscience, through the power of the resurrection. We should let Peter mean what he says, and not let one’s preconceived notions (anything to do away with baptismal regeneration in the hope of salvaging Sola Fide, or at least this version of Sola Fide) wish those words away.

Another oft-quoted verse is John 3:5 where our Lord says, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." The "water" that Christ referred to is not the water of a baptismal ceremony, but the "water of the womb." This is evidenced by Nicodemus saying, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?" (v. 4) A man According to Jesus can be born twice (by the water of the womb and by spiritual regeneration) and can die twice (a physical death and a death in hell. See Hebrews 9:27 and Revelation 20:14). So that verse lends no help to the "salvation by water baptism" proclaimer.

What Dwayne is doing is repeating Nicodemus’ argument. Nicodemus is the one who said that one must be born twice. In John 3:5, Jesus is not speaking of two events, but one. He says one must be ‘born of water and Spirit‘, with no mention of an intervening time. Jesus would have had to say “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being FIRST born of water and then being born again of spirit” if he was using Dwayne’s argument. He is speaking of the event of water baptism, the effects of which were depicted for us in Jesus own baptism. (Jn 1:33, compare also, 3:31) “begotten from above”. The term anothen, is used there, the same as was used in John 3:3, 5: He went down into the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, the voice of the Father was heard saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” It is the one event where one is born of water and Spirit at the same time. That is water baptism. It is significant that immediately after this teaching to Nicodemus, he goes out baptizing with his disciples (Jn. 3:22, 4:2), even if it is prior to the commission. This is significant that this is the only time in all the gospels in which Jesus is mentioned in baptizing with his disciples, immediately after telling Nicodemus that we must be born of water and Spirit. Mere coincidence? I think not.

Here water is not placed in opposition to the Spirit. Remember, earlier, he was baptized with water AND Spirit (Jn 1;31). There is no context anywhere in the gospels or any epistle that makes any allusion to amniotic fluid water. Where is there anywhere else in the gospel any mention of amniotic fluid as water being an interpretation? Nowhere.

If one claims that you have to be baptized to attain salvation then what they are doing in essence, is making the death of Christ a superficial thing. I hate to sound condescending but that is the truth, whether they intend it or not. Paul illustrates this in 1 Corinthians 1:17 when he says, "Christ sent me NOT to baptize, but to PREACH THE GOSPEL. Not with wisdom of words, lest THE CROSS OF CHRIST BE MADE OF NONE EFFECT." Now we know from Scripture that Paul did in fact perform baptisms (see 1 Corinthians 1:14-16), but that was NOT his commission. His commission was to "preach the gospel."

Before we see that Dwayne is making much more of this passage than that which is in the passage itself, if we see the background we can see the absolute necessity of being baptized, ironically. He gave us verses 14 through 16, but let us look at a couple of verses prior to that, 1 Cor. 1:12-14:

12 What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Paul is downplaying here his own necessity not the necessity of baptism. It is important that the Corinthian believers follow Christ. He downplays his, Cephas’ and Apollos’ own importance in contrast to that of Christ. Now in verse 13 he gives questions that demand a no answer. Paul was not crucified for you, and it was not in Paul’s name that you were baptized. If we put this positively, which the context demands, we see that it was Jesus who was crucified, and in Jesus’ name that he was baptized. That is the gospel that Jesus was crucified and that we are baptized in Christ. Thus, what signifies and makes you are a follower of Christ? That you are baptized. Thus the gospel is that you are baptized in Christ. It is of the same importance as Jesus’ own crucifixion. Remember, Paul exclaims elsewhere that is how you put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).

Did Christ make his own death a superficial thing exactly when he commissioned the apostles to baptize? What did Jesus say was the gospel’s commission? We see this in Matthew 28:18-20:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.
What is the gospel except that the means of making them disciples in baptism? He doesn't say, have them read the Bible. He says go baptize them. If that is not part of the gospel, why does Jesus say that is part of that commission?

What is the gospel according to Jesus? Jesus himself says:

15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
The gospel, according to Jesus himself is that he who believes and is baptized will be saved. Does Jesus discredit his own death by mentioning the importance of baptism when he commissioned his own disciples? I don't think so.

Now, the point is that the passage in 1 Corinthians does not teach that baptism is not part of the gospel. No. All it says is that Paul's mission was not to baptize. We have seen that Paul has taught the importance of baptism, as central to the gospel. A look at the passages of Romans 6:3-7, Gal. 3:27, Col. 2:11-14, Tit. 3:5, Acts 16:31-33, Acts 22:16, does show he recognizes the importance of baptism to the gospel. However, it is not important that he himself baptizes. That is all the point he is making in 1 Corinthians 1. Paul exactly teaches the importance of baptism as the entrance point of salvation, but does not teach that he himself has to baptize. An important example we can see in what Paul is saying is by looking at the example of Peter in Acts 2:37-38. We have already seen Peter teach the necessity of repentance and baptism in order to get the forgiveness of sins. Peter preached that the gospel for the 3000 was to repent and be baptized in Jesus in order to get the Holy Spirit and get the forgiveness of sins. That was the gospel that he preached. However, it says nowhere that Peter himself did the baptizing. Thus, Peter taught the necessity of baptism, even though he did not have to do all the baptizing himself. The same thing with Paul. Although he taught the necessity of baptism, it is not important that he himself do the baptizing. That is all he is saying. To say anything more than that, as Dwayne is doing, is to pour much more into Paul words than Paul himself says. He does not say that baptism is not part of the gospel, just that it is not his mission to baptize.

Besides the passages that we have seen, there are other passages within 1 Corinthians which teach the necessity of baptism as part of the gospel itself. For example, let us look at 1 Corinthians, when he is speaking about how one’s sins were washed away, 6:9-11

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Paul, after talking about how the Christians used to be active immoral sinners, speaks about how they were no longer such. What took them out of being hell-bound sinners? The washing away of those sins. When he was justified he was both sanctified and the Spirit comes upon the new believer. The washing clearly refers to baptism. The only other time that the term 'washing' is referred to in the New Testament is when Paul talks about how his sins were 'washed' away in baptism, Acts 22:16. Thus, the fact that the sins were washed away, is a clear reference to baptism.

Steve Ray notes the use of the term ‘washing’.

It is the Greek word apolouo (My note 628 in Strong's Concordance; to wash fully) , and it is used only twice in the New Testament: here in 1 Corinthians 6:11 and in Acts 22:16, describing Paul’s own baptism. The word comes from louou , “to wash”, and the preposition apo , “off” or “away”. It is not a continuing or currently present activity. Paul understood what he was saying of the words had been said to him, at his conversion, in reference to his baptism and the washing away of his sins. Steve Ray, Crossing the Tiber, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, p. 124.
Even Protestant commentators recognize this. For example Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited and abridged by Geoffrey W. Bromiley notes:
In many verses there is a clear reference to baptism. In acts 22:16, Ananias tells Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, Paul reminds his readers that, being washed, the are to avoid fresh defilement. Grand Rapids, Mich., and Exeter, England: Eerdmans and Paternoster Press, 1985], 539, as quoted in Ray, Crossing the Tiber, ibid., p. 124).
Paul also speaks of baptism in 1 Corinthians 12:13
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
By the Spirit we were baptized into Christ and into the body of the Church. Again, this is done via baptism, as Paul specifically says. This is a reflection of getting the Spirit upon being baptized (Acts 2:38) and being born of water and spirit (John 3:5).

Paul also reinforces this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The point is very clear; Paul did NOT include baptism in the gospel. For if baptism was part of the gospel and therefore salvation, Paul would have added that also but because it wasn’t he omitted it.

If that was the case, Paul would be preaching a pile of contradictions because within this very letter, it is part of the gospel which he says washed away the sins of the Corinthian believers, plus his own. It was by baptism when we came into Christ and his Church. He just taught that so he is not going to teach something else. Now, baptism of course washes away our past sins, and saves us. However, baptism is the entry point unto Jesus, and is not the only thing necessary for salvation.

Here is what he speaks of in Dwayne’s reference, 1 Cor. 15:1-4:

1 Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, 2 by which you are saved, if you hold it fast--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
He is speaking about holding fast to the gospel. He is talking to believers who have already been baptized so of course he is not going to speak about getting baptized again. Taking a stand for the faith which they have already been baptized in, and which put them into God’s grace is talking about perseverance, after baptism. So of course he is not here going to be talking about doing something that they have already done. He has already spoken in the past tense about being washed (in the past) of sins (1 Corinthians 6). He has already spoken about getting baptized in baptism through the Spirit (1 Cor. 12). Now, he is speaking of holding fast to the gospel. Since he is already talking to those who have already been baptized, he is not speaking of the contents of the gospel presentation to those who are not yet in Christ, which would include baptism, repentance and confession in Christ, but of holding to that gospel. This passage is not speaking about an initial belief in Jesus Christ, which would include baptism, but an ongoing belief. Those outside Christ have not yet "taken their stand" and cannot "hold firm" to anything outside of Christ for hope. Now, since 1 Corinthians 15 does not only not mention baptism, but also does not mention repentance or even the necessity of confessing Christ, does that mean that repentance is not part of the gospel? If 1 Corinthians 15 invalidates baptism, it would also invalidate the need for confessing Jesus as Lord, or repenting of sins, also not mentioned. I somehow doubt that Dwayne would say that.

One more set of passages that deliver a deathblow to this doctrine is Acts 10:44-47. In those passages we see that as Peter was speaking, "…the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." (v. 44) Shortly thereafter they were "speak(ing) in tongues, and magnify(ing) God." (v. 46) Now speaking in tongues is a gift from God (see 1 Corinthians 12:9-11, 27-31) and the point is that those believers in Acts 10 were speaking in tongues BEFORE they were baptized. An unbeliever could NEVER possess a spiritual gift from God! Those believers were not baptized until after they were speaking in tongues and Peter commissioned them to do so (Acts 10:48). So, if baptism is required for salvation, then those unsaved people were speaking in tongues, which would be impossible for an unbeliever. (Just a quick note, God’s gifts are irrevocable. See Romans 11:29) Some people in this group also put emphasis on speaking in tongues in accordance with this passage. Paul tells us that tongues is the lowest gift of the spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28) and that we should "covet earnestly the best gifts…" (1 Corinthians 12:31) As a note the phrase "covet earnest the best gifts" could be translated "you are eagerly desiring the best gifts." Even if this is so, Paul says in the latter half of verse 31 that he will show "unto you a more excellent way," which seems to downplay the gifts of the Spirit. Not that they are not important, but that Paul’s "more excellent way" was through love as he illustrates in the following chapter. Back to the task at hand for a moment. If tongues were required for salvation, then why is it listed as the lowest gift? The thief on the cross didn’t speak in tongues either.

Again, this is the exception making the rule. This is an extraordinary circumstance, in which God had to impose a one-time event for the Gentiles, and for the Jewish Christians to witness. Remember, Jesus had preached to the disciples that all nations should be baptized (Mt. 28:18-20). He did not say, make them become Jews and become circumcised before they come to Jesus. However, the apostles were slow in getting the message, that this message included Gentiles without subscribing to Jewish laws. There was just an extraordinary dream that was given to Peter, to determine that the Jews should be given the gospel without the necessity of circumcision. Peter and the rest of the apostles were still primarily preaching to Jews. As we saw in Acts 2, where all the listeners were circumcised, his focus was on preaching the way to come to Jesus. And of course in order to get their sins forgiven, they had to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:37-41). They were preaching and baptizing in the Jewish communities. In this vision, God was basically reminding Peter of the commission to preach to all nations. Peter in his dream was still seeing the Gentiles (as did all the other apostles) as unclean. Apparently all the apostles were still seeing the need to circumcise people and obey Jewish dietary laws, even though that was never part of Jesus’ commission. In his dream, meat that was unclean by Jewish dietary laws, Peter would refuse to eat, which indicates a holding on to the old Jewish ritual laws. Peter is taught through the vision the abolition of Jewish dietary laws (Acts 10:14-16), and by direct inference to the issue at hand, the end of the necessity of circumcision. Peter finally recognizes this in Acts 10:34-43. Here he proclaims that all from every nation who does what is right and fears God is acceptable to God. This was a momentous occasion for the whole Christian Church. Gentiles could become Christians without getting circumcised and obeying all the Jewish dietary laws. God had to drive home this point to Peter, who was the head of the apostles, and the Jewish Christians who were around him. Thus, God went beyond the normal way of bestowing the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins (as exemplified by Peter’s previous preaching on the issue in Acts 2:37-41) via repentance and baptism. He acted in this one instance to make this plain to Peter and all the Jewish Christians that in this New Covenant, circumcision and the dietary laws are not necessary for Gentiles to come to Christ and his Church. Therefore, in an extraordinary fashion, which would happen in this manner only at this monumental time for Christianity, the Jewish Christian finally got the point (or at least those who were there at that time of the vision) of Jesus‘ commission to go to all nations and bring Jesus to them without them first becoming Jews. Then God gave them the Holy Spirit prior to them actually being baptized at this extraordinary point in time. Now of course, immediately upon Peter and the Jewish Christians seeing this, he commanded the others to baptize these Gentiles right then and there. Notice by the way, that Peter preached this gospel. He did not do the actual baptisms, but taught them the absolute necessity of baptism as central to the gospel (Acts 10:47-48). He did not forget his own message that they must be baptized to come fully incorporated into Christ and his Church. This reflects Paul’s message that baptism is a part of the gospel message of salvation, even though neither one of them had to do the actual baptizing themselves. There is no wait for some ’public testimony’ to all the rest of the Christian Church. As these folks were being regenerated now, the time for baptism was now. It is not some ’public manifestation, that they are already saved,’ but again, is a part of the salvation package. Here direct divine intervention was necessary to insure the Gentiles admission to the Church without the Jewish conditions. It was on the basis of this happening that in Acts 11, the Jewish Christians who still saw the need for them to be circumcised, with Peter‘s authority behind it, saw that ‘To the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life‘, without the necessity of circumcision (Acts 11:17). This extraordinary circumstance can not be the basis for overthrowing the necessity of baptism for salvation, as Peter did not repudiate what he said in Acts 2, which said baptism was necessary to get forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit. We know Peter meant what he said in Acts 2, because in his own epistle he writes ‘baptism does now save you‘ as we have seen in 1 Pet. 3:21.

In reference to the necessity of tongues, although that is held by some Pentecostals, that is not held by Catholics, so that portion of Dwayne’s response I will not touch on or argue with.

Lastly, Mark 16:16 is another verse that is quoted often by those who adhere to this doctrine. The rebuttal is simple: Mark 16:9-20 is a late addition to the Markan gospel. It is not in the Codex Vaticanus (325 A.D.) or the Codex Sinaicatus (350 A.D.). These are the earliest and most reliable complete copies of the Bible that we possess currently. Furthermore, it is not found in any Greek copies predating the Vaticanus.

Let us look at the Scripture that Dwayne attempts to sidestep, again, Mk. 16:16:

He that BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
You can see why Dwayne would try to say that this is not Scripture. He can say that because here Jesus’ commission is unequivocal. He that believes and is baptized, will be saved. He links baptism with belief for the end of salvation. Thus, the salvific efficacy of baptism by Jesus in his commission is clear. However, we see in Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:18-20, almost as clear anyway. In his commission, which was for the salvation of all peoples, he said their mission was to baptize them, which of course would be for the sake of their salvation. This Markan conclusion is not something out of character with the Matthean commission.

In any case, what about the argument that this is a late addition to the Markan gospel? First of all the premise behind that charge, would leave Mark at 16:8, with a most unusual ending of a gospel. Mark 16:8, after the mention of the resurrection, says:

8 And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
What kind of ending is that? Mary Magdalene ended up being afraid, and that is the conclusion of the gospel? That is out of character for an ending of the rest of the gospels. We would have no commission in Mark except for Mary Magdalene and the other Mary being scared. In Matthew we have the great commission for the people to baptize all nations and the fitting ending where Jesus closes by saying that he would be with his people until the end of the age (Mt. 28:18-20). Luke gives them a commission with a teaching of the gospel and that he rose from the dead and they would be witness of Christ preached to all nations, then he ascended into heaven, and how they were in great joy with this great commission, and they were in praise of God (Lk. 24:44-53). John in closing his gospel does not write the commission but does close it by writing about how much stuff Jesus had done, while verifying that the words that John had written was a true testimony of Jesus, and how the world could not contain the deeds of Jesus (John 21:24-25). Yet Dwayne would have the gospel closing not only with no commission at all, but with people being scared? With the addition of the verses from verses 9-20, which includes the necessity of baptism for salvation, we do have an appropriate ending of the gospel of Mark, similar to those of the other gospels, Mk. 16:16-20:

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.
We see a great commission, as in Matthew and Luke, we also have a reference to the ascension, just as in Luke. And we have God being with them in all that they do. That is surely a more appropriate ending than people being scared.

With that aside, what about the argument that this is only a late addition, not penned by Mark? As noted in the ‘The Dhouay Rheims New Testament, with a Comprehensive Catholic Commentary, Commentary on Holy Scripture:, Catholic Treasure, 1856, 1991, p. 1343:

When St. Jerome says that most Greek copies wanted this chapter, he speaks not of chapters according to our present division, but only of the last 12 verses, which formerly made what was called a little chapter: yet those twelve verses must have been omitted by those MSS. by some negligent transcribers. Now they are found in all, both Latin and Greek copies. They are found in the Canons of Eusebius on the Gospels; in S. Jerom in several places; in St. Amb. 1. iii, in Luc. tom. iii, p. 292. Ed. Paria an. 1582, in St. Aut. 1. iii, de consensu Evang. c. xxv., tom. 3, part 2, p. 142, &c. Wi-S. Gregory of Nyssa, (orat. 2 de Resurr.) that the best copies of S. Mark’s gospels finished with the 8th verse- It is the very generally received sentiment of the learned, that the last 12 verses were given by St. Mark; and the most probable reason yet offered for the omission of them in various copies is, that the transcribers followed a mutilated copy, where the last page was wanting. The Dhouay Rheims New Testament, with a Comprehensive Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, originally 1859, ed., George Haydock, Catholic Treasure, edition, 1991, p. 1343.
More documentation on the matter, from The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, p. 907, 726a there it speaks about various endings, and it notes ‘the canonical conclusion’ which is the conclusion of verses 9-20:
This (conclusion) is found in all Gk MSS except Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. It is included in all Vg MSS and in all MSS of the Old Latin version except k; it is also found in the Syriac, Coptic and other early versions, with the exceptions of the MSS already mentioned. Justin, Irenaeus, Tatian, Epiphanius, and Chrystostom were acquainted with it. Ambrose Augustine and later Latin writers also have this passage. This external evidence is, on the whole, strongly in favor of the authenticity of the canonical conclusion. Furthermore, it is highly improbable that the Gospel originally ended at 16:8 with the abrupt final phrase ‘for they were afraid’..Bernard Orchard, ed., The Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Thomas Nelson & Sons, New York, 1953, p. 907
Thus, we see that Dwayne’s analysis does not quite match the evidence as we have many early Fathers attesting to the Scriptural status of this section of Mark. Jesus commission to believe and baptize for the sake of salvation, is indeed from Jesus himself.

In closing, we can see several things from Scripture study.

Yes. That is true, but I am afraid our study has concluded something differently.

The thief on the cross was saved without speaking in tongues or manifesting any spiritual gift. He did the most simple things and simply recognized Christ as his savior.

This was done before the commission was done to baptize all nations (Mt. 28:18-20 so that people can believe and be baptized to be saved (Mk. 16:16). As the commission was not given yet, God would not hold the thief to something that has not even been commissioned yet. Besides that, God would not punish someone who has no chance of being baptized anyway. He can work outside the ordinary way, if absolutely necessary. However, this fact does not do away with the fact of the later commission which did mandate baptism for salvation. The exception does not make the rule that cancels out Jesus’ own commission to baptize for salvation, as understood by Paul, Peter and the apostles.

The believers in Acts 10 manifested gifts of the Spirit BEFORE they were baptized. It would be impossible for an infidel to have gifts of the Spirit.

This was just discussed above.

Paul did NOT include baptism as part of his commission. He was sent to "preach the cross" not to baptize.

Actually a look at that passage in 1 Corinthians, with its background does show the necessity of baptism as part of the gospel. His only issue is that he did not himself personally have to baptize, though baptism is part of the gospel message. We went into detail on this one.

Christ forgave and erased the sins of the promiscuous woman in Luke 7. She was not baptized but Christ forgave her, sent her on her way, all without being baptized.

This of course was done before the great commission.

Paul is very clear that we are justified by FAITH, NOT faith plus something else.

Actually in the very books that Dwayne referred us to, such as Romans and Galatians, we saw baptism as the means of putting on Christ. So it is faith plus something else. It is grace alone, but not faith alone.

Abraham was justified because "he believed in the Lord."

Well, Abraham did not explicitly believe in Jesus Christ, as there is no mention of him explicitly believing in Jesus Christ. Of course he believed in the Lord, who all he would know of that time would be God the Father. So does that mean that belief in Christ is not necessary? Of course not, this was thousands of years before the great commission. In the same way, this does not prove baptism was not necessary. Besides that, a quick look at James shows that something else besides faith was necessary:

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.
Thus, even in regards to Abraham, justification is by faith plus something else. In his case he was also justified by works. Faith needed to be completed by works in order for Abraham to be justified.

Romans 10:9-13 makes it crystal clear, as do many other passages.

Romans 10 says nothing about repentance. Does that mean repentance is not necessary? Dwayne teaches the absolute necessity of repentance. However, using his hermeneutic, if he quotes Romans 10 to teach the lack of necessity of baptism, he must also use it to deny the necessity of repentance. Thus, he must adjust his whole teaching on justification.

Now, Scripture has been very clear in this study that baptism is necessary for salvation. In sum, we have the following:

The Bible says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21) us. Dwayne says that baptism does not save. The Bible says that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). Dwayne says that baptism does not wash away sins. The Bible says that one must be born of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). Dwayne says that water is not necessary. The Bible says that baptism causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Dwayne says that baptism does not cause the remission of sins. The Bible says that baptism makes us put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Dwayne says that baptism does not make us put on Christ. The Bible says by baptism one is buried and raised with him and makes us alive with him, and forgives our trespasses (Col.. 2:12-13). . Dwayne says it does not bury us in him, nor raise us, nor make us alive with him, and does not forgive our trespasses. The Bible says that we are buried with him in baptism unto Christ’s death, so that we can walk in the newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). Dwayne says baptism buries nothing and does not put us in the newness of life. Dwayne says that baptism does not put off the body of sins. The Bible says ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved’ (Mk. 16:16). Dwayne says the baptism part is not necessary. The Bible says through baptism one is made to drink of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). Dwayne says, baptism does not bring the Spirit. Dwayne says: ‘Baptism is simply an outward proclamation of your faith in Christ’. The Bible does not say that. Dwayne says “baptism is simply a public testimony of your faith in Christ” The Bible does not say that. Who really goes by the Bible?

In Christ,


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