Is baptism necessary?

by ozziepost 48 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • ozziepost

    This thread is prompted by some comments on the "Unbaptised publisher" thread which was going off-topic so here's the comments thus far:


    The christian meaning of baptism is to have salvation. So unbaptized means without salvation.


    is baptism necessary for salvation? The dubs say so, but are they correct? What about the guy on the cross alongside Jesus who repented at the last moment without being baptised; yet Jesus promised him a place in the kingdom?


    un-baptised is the state of being without the salvation. During the 13th centry, there was quite the debate going on in the church regarding 'unbaptized infants' who die. Will they be burned in hell, and suffer eternal pain? The argument focused around understanding of salvation in christ. Baptism IS salvation, not the physical act of getting wet.


    Baptism IS salvation

    Whoa, steady on!

    Umpteen texts speak otherwise, e.g. John 17:3

    And what about even John 3:16

    So it's the belief, not the physical act of baptism that saves.


    Phisicle baptism is the sacrement of acseptence of Christ grace, and salvation.

    OK, anyone want to join in?

    This'll interest those of christian persuasion I guess.

    So, is it necessary to be baptised in order to be saved?

  • MerryMagdalene

    I'm pretty new to all this, but my take on it is that worshiping in spirit and truth means that the sacraments are primarily spiritual, so even if we are deprived of the physical symbols and acts baptism and communion and such can still take place spiritually.


  • willy_think

    To my thinking, the criminal on the cross next to Jesus didn’t repent. He merely asked to be remembered and he was remembered and forgiven. I don’t believe that one necessarily need ask for forgiveness in order to receive it. The God of the bible is not fare and just he, is generous and benevolent. The only thing I understand to be absolutely necessary is Jesus.

  • Shazard

    What you need to be saved is - faith. Baptism is sacrament by means of which you recieve. Also you receive faith by hearing Word of God. Baptism for man is like soilf or seed. Faith is life in the seed, soil keeps it growing giving forgiveness and Holy Spirit. But soil itself does not guarantee that seed will grow. If seed is without life (faith) then baptism does not saves you. And also - if you read Bible (so through Word of God) and recieves faith and go to Chrurch and some car hit's you you still are saved coz on the moment of death seed has life in it (case of thief on the cross). But I doubt that it is real faith which denies need for baptism.

  • Narkissos

    Theology, and especially the chapter on "sacraments," implies a break of binary logic -- a fact that many theologians unfortunately miss.

    The very concept of sacrament (if not lost in sheer symbolism as in the Zwinglian-Calvinist side of Protestantism to which, believe it or not, JWs belong from that pow) imply that the act is salvific. Late NT texts already claim that baptism saves, e.g. (pseudo)Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21.

    But should you reverse this assertion into its negative, i.e. "who is not baptised is not saved," you'll find a host of texts against you, from every shade of sacramentalist stance.

    "Yes" and "no" are not symmetrical.

  • stevenyc


    A little more background on our discussion. It came from a question that Ozzy posed : Isn't the "un-" prefix denoting a 'positive' act, rather than as the WT uses it, a negative one? I would have thought that the "non-" prefix would have been more accurate.

    With that in mind, my comments were based on the linguistic use "to be in a state of un-baptized". I have to ignore anything protestant, as, defining the usage of the word un-baptized predates protestant teachings. So, I chose the church's dilemma of the death of unbaptized infants to demonstrate the usage.

    An example I gave was the work Lucky. To be either with or without luck as described as being lucky or unlucky. Therefore, a person who is unlucky is one to be without luck. A person who is unbaptized is a person without the baptism.


  • Honesty
    So, is it necessary to be baptised in order to be saved?

    Baptism does not save a person.It shows a symbol of what happens after a person prays and trusts Jesus and Him alone as their savior. It also shows that a person is not ashamed to obey and follow Jesus in scriptural baptism. When a person accepts Jesus as their Savior and King, they begin dying to their sins, bury their former rebellious life and are being raised to a new life in following Jesus.

    If baptism is not needed for salvation some may ask, "why be baptized?"

    1. Jesus commanded it. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations..." Matthew 28:19

    2. Baptism demonstrates obedience.

    Jesus set the example (Mark 1:9).

    Jesus' followers obeyed His command to be baptized (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:38).

    3. Baptism represents a picture of breaking from the past and begining a new life in Christ. "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

    4.In the New Testament, baptism is a public testimony of faith. "Those who gladly received his word [about Jesus] were baptized" (Acts 2:41).

    Also, in the New Testament baptism is for believers (Acts 2:38; 8:12-13, 37-38; Ephesians 4:5). Water apart from personal committment to Christ makes no difference in the life of anyone. In the New Testament baptism occurs when a person trusts Jesus as Lord and savior and obeys the command to submerged in water and raised from it as a picture of the salvation experience that has occurred. Baptism comes after conviction of sin, repentance of sin, and confession of Christ as Lord and Savior. To be baptized is to preach a personal declaration through the symbol of baptism. It is a witness to a person's faith in the final resurrection of the dead.

  • Narkissos


    I had not read the other thread, and from Ozzie's opening post here I thought the topic was theological rather than lexical.

    English being a second language to me I have no opinion on the latter aspect. I can understand Ozzie's logic at the etymological level -- because "baptised" is a verbal participle, not a mere adjective as "lucky" -- so "unbaptised" might be (mis-)understood as the result of an "unbaptising" action (as in "baptism annulment"). But this potential ambiguity may not be real if usage, which is the only important thing in semantics, accepts "unbaptised" as an equivalent of "non-baptised".

  • daystar

    Well, I would question "necessary for what"?

    Baptism is a form of initiation. It is a sort of a line in the sand separating a person from whom they were to whom they are to be now. While not necessary, it may be quite useful. But there are other forms of such initiation that may be just as useful to certain ends.

  • BlessedStar

    Well said Honesty!!


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