I have been baptized, ‘according to the Bible’. But I do not believe that it is what ‘saves’ a person. I believe that all born agains SHOULD be baptized, definitely, but I dont believe that it is required. It is a symbolic action of making your decision to follow God public. If a believer does not have any desire to do so, then his/her faith is most likely not genuine, and they are probably not saved. But consider this. If a catholic missionary went to africa to tell them about our wonderful father, but was killed before he could baptize them, then what would they do? If they truly wanted to be saved, and believed all of what the missionary said, and believed in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and in God as their eternal creator and Lord, then could they still not be regenerated? If they couldnt be baptized, then what? Or if a prisoner on death row was told about Jesus and wanted to accept him, but couldnt in any way be baptized, then what? If God just decides to make an ‘exeption’ for these people, where exactly is the line that he draws to determine this?
“I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God:” (Jn 3:5) “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved;” (Mk 16:16) It took fifteen centuries before baptism was reduced to a mere symbol. From the early Church until the Reformation Christians recognized baptism as the initiation into the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Catholic Church teaches that if someone wishes to be baptized and dies unbaptized, he or she receives what is known as “baptism of desire.” For more on the early Church’s teaching on baptism, see: catholic.com/library/Necessity_of_Baptism.asp
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.