I was wondering how some of you answer this argument given by protestants saying that baptism isn’t that important and is not necessary for salvation because Paul said: For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel. (1 Cor 1:17)
This statement is no different than Jesus saying that he came to bring division. I like to add that in order to be baptized first, one must be hear the Gospel first.
How would you know about baptism if you had not heard the Gospel? Remember Peter said in Acts, “Repent, and be baptized everyone one of you for the forgiveness of your sins.”
When Paul wrote…If you check the context, you will see that people were arguing that some of them were better than others, because of who had baptized them.
So, Paul was reacting to a specific situation, and telling people, that if they were going to think that being baptized by Paul somehow made them greater Christians than other people, he would rather he had never baptized anybody.
Paul often used very strong language to shake people up, make them realize that they were behaving badly. He was angry about the kind of pettiness he saw in some of the early CHristians.
He wasn’t saying that baptism was not necessary; he was saying that if folks were going to fight over it, thay he would have to simply preach and let others baptize. (Remembering that any Christian could baptize another after all; Paul doing it was no different than any other person).
I would just ask my debate partner if Jesus lied on the night of his resurrection when he commissioned the apostles to evangelize and baptize all nations.
Paul had many charisms with his vocation, but primarily, he was a preacher, teacher, and later, a writer. He made hundreds of converts, and most of the baptisms were done by his helpers (probably while he was sleeping off his sermon).
1 Tim 2:6-7
7 For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
He is not saying that it is not important to be baptized, just that it did not matter who did the baptism. It wasn’t any less valid. The people to whom he was writing understood that baptism made you a member, but instead of thinking of themselves as members of Christ, they were bickering over who did their baptism and being factious.
You can see from all the passages in Acts where first Paul himself was baptized, then baptized the jailer, and others immediately.
One should note that Saint Paul considered Baptism an important step in his conversion:
So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, 19 and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
Acts 9:17-19 It is apparent that he received the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism.
Note also that Saint Peter believed it necessary to baptize Cornelius and his household to complete their incorportation into the Church:
[FONT=Georgia]While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
First, back up a few verses,
13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14I thank God that I baptized none of you, **but Crispus and Gaius; **
15Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
16And** I baptized also the household of Stephanas**: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
In context, Paul is speaking to a church who was divided. In this context of being baptised “in the name of Paul” refers to one becoming Paul’s disciple. The point Paul is making is all are disciples of Christ in one body. In the text itself, Paul names 3 or more people who he did baptise in Jesus.
13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then **immediately he and all his family were baptized. **34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
It is likely that Paul helpped Silas with the baptisms here.
7Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
Maybe they did work as a team where one preached and the other drew the short straw and got wet so to speak.
3So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.
above is a text where Paul did baptize alone, it appears.
Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
Am I misreading this text, or is Paul the one speaking here?
is it possible that I Corinthians was written early in Paul’s ministry and that after he went up to meet with rest of the apostles, there was a change of emphasize on baptism in Paul’s teaching?