Is baptism necessary for salvation?

When I was a fundamental Baptist, I was told no. Yet Jesus was baptized. If it wasn’t necessary why did he do it? Why did Jesus send out the apostles to baptize?
If baptism is not necessary why did Christians in the early church continue to be baptized out of “obedience” which would lead to confusion as to what why we baptize in the first place?
For the record, I never got any satisfactory answers from fundamental Baptists.
Thank you. :thumbsup:

In a specific legalistic sense, according to the Church, yes. Are there exceptions, in general, certainly. I may be wrong, but I think your question has more to do with the anagogical than the literal requirement for Baptism.

If it is an apologetic response and justification you are looking for, go to Mark 16:16 -

 ****Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.***

Of course the naysayers will claim that while the first half of the verse indicates baptism is required, the 2nd half is clear that only belief, not baptism, is required for salvation.

However, if we go to Romans 6:1-6, we see the importance of baptism to bring us to full union with Christ in death, so that we may be resurrected and live eternally, thus showing conclusively that belief alone is not enough. Rather, belief has to be acted on, and expressed and validated by taking the action of being baptized.

Peace and all good!

1 Peter 3:20-21: who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

My go to bible verse for proving the saving properties of baptism. Saint Peter draws the parallel of Noah being saved through water and us being saved through water now. “Baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you” it does not get much clearer than that.

When Jesus was baptized, he as being anointed at the Messiah, the King of the Kingdom established from heaven by God. And the Holy Spirit descended and remained with him.

When he said, “the Kingdom of God is in your midst” he was saying, “I am the King, my disciples are my subjects, citizens of this Kingdom of which I am King. And we are right in front of you, talking to you, so, as you see, the Kingdom established by God is in you midst, in your sight, so that you can reach out and touch the King’s robe, and, you can become one of my subjects also. When my disciples baptize you and teach you all that I have taught them, you are being given citizenship.”

When we are baptized, it is not something we do - instead it is the representative of the Kingdom granting us citizenship in the Kingdom of God, and he is also giving us the Holy Spirit, which was given to him so that he had the ability to make citizens and grant the Holy Spirit.

When you say, “I want to be baptized” you are saying, “I want to be one of this Holy People, a citizen; here is water; is there anything to prevent you from baptizing me and giving me this new birthright?” (why did the Ethiopian eunuch ask to be baptized this way? Because his whole life he was not able to be one of God’s people, but now he found out that through Jesus Christ, through the apostles he sent, he could be included. So he asked to become a naturalized citizen of this People, via baptism.)

From the Augsburg Confession:

Article IX: Of Baptism.

1] Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary 2] to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace.

3] They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.

That is the teaching of the Lutheran tradition. All others we place in God’s grace and mercy.


Please add the following to your bookmarks - I personally prefer the book in hand:
Catechism of the Catholic Church

As for your specific question, this is the teaching of the Catholic Church (from the above link - use the search tool):
CCC1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (1129, 161, 846)
Please go to the full context: The Sacrament of Baptism (this is just the text, no navigation) Starting with CCC1212 there is a very rich discussion about the Sacrament of Baptism. :slight_smile:


1- water baptism
2- baptism of desire (thief on the cross)
3- baptism of blood (Stepen, martyrdom before water baptism)

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5)

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. (Matt 3:13-15 NIV)

And now if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we , being unholy, to be baptized, yea even by water? And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments." (2 Ne 31:5-7 Book of Mormon)

Isn’t it strange that Baptists insist if you are baptized you must be immersed and yet you don’t even need to be baptized?

Matthew 28

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Teach and baptize. It couldn’t be more clear.

I also wonder what Baptists can say to parents who lose a child prior to them reaching the age of reason and developing faith. Catholics can say that the Baptized child can obtain Heaven. For those who rely on faith alone what can be said?

Great answers folks.

Yes from what we are taught it is necessary to enter into heaven.

Now with that said what the Church teaches and what we do is Ordinary means of Baptism.

Which means we have the Grace of God to know, we have the opportunity to do so, and the Love of God to do so.

There are ways of extra-ordinary means also.

But to answer you question, according to the word of God yes.

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, “Brothers, 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 will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Many Christians explain Baptism as being, “Necessary, but not required.”

This leaves room for those who were unable to receive actual Baptism, like the thief on the cross or little ones who die before they can receive that sacrament.

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