Protestant claims baptism not necessary - help!

I hope I put this under the right topic.

Today at work a customer asked me what church I belonged to (I.e. he initiated the topic), and I replied that I’m Ukrainian Catholic. He said “oh, that’s too bad” (!) and said that the Catholic Church “added on” extraneous things like Baptism (no kidding!)

He cited St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (if you confess with your mouth…) that only acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior is all that is necessary to be saved and that one doesn’t need to be baptized.

I couldn’t believe my ears! A Protestant saying that Baptism is not necessary? I cited John 3: 5 and other verses (without getting into an argument about the Sacrament of Baptism vs baptism of desire and baptism of blood).

I couldn’t talk long with him because I had to continue my work (I work in retail).

Any suggestions on how to prove the necessity of Baptism accurately and succinctly?


It will be lots of quoting Bible verses back and forth because solo scriptura nvolves a lot of picking and choosing and isolating, but there is this:

Jesus explicitly commands the apostles to go out and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

There are also verses that talk about proclaiming Jesus with your lips.

Since Catholics readily acknowledge both of these things, there is no need to isolate one verse from another. We acknowledge holy baptism as a mandatory sacrament instituted by Our Lord, and we also profess Jesus every week at Mass (or the Divine Liturgy). So we dont need to shy away from any passage or part of scripture. We accept and embrace all of it, taking each into the whole.

But he can’t. He has to cling to some passages and ignore or downgrade others, in order to make it all fit into his own theology.


Also Acts 2:38
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.

I haven’t encountered Protestants who deny the need for Baptism, however.


Did he just mean not necessary for salvation, which is pretty standard for Protestants, or not needed at all, which isn’t standard?

Anyways, this article from Catholic Answers gives some decent Bible verses that are perhaps less ambiguous than John 3:5, where Protestants often interpret “water” as “amniotic fluid”. It also gives quite a few quotes from Tradition that show that being saved by Baptism was pretty standard belief early on, indicating Apostolic origin.

Well there is this-

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;*…

Mt 28:19-20

It really is a commandment.



You can’t prove anything about this. You can share what the Church teaches and what you believe to be true. That is the best way to encourage someone with differing beliefs to consider that yours may be valid.


I’ve mentioned this before - my former Baptist Church taught that Baptism was not necessary for salvation. It was an outward sign for others that we were following Christ. Somehow, baptism got connected to Church Membership/voting rights and many did not want to be “members.” It was taught that praying the sinner’s prayer was enough. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” What they missed is the rest of the story …“and thy house.” The jailer and his family then went and were baptized.


It will not matter which or how many Scripture verses you point out to him, he will act infallible. You can just tell him thank you and move on, or you can engage him, not to win an argument, because you won’t, but because this is a great way to learn and have a deeper understanding of your Catholic faith.

I chose to engage a Protestant that told me the Catholic Church chained down Bibles. We had some heated discussions for two years. During that time it made me read more Scripture to answer or to offer a counter argument. I also learned a great deal about history and the authority of the Church. In other words, I think I learned all the things I did not learn growing up, even though i attended a Catholic School.

Now when those who are REALLY interested in my Catholic faith ask questions I am prepared and able to answer with confidence.

God bless and enjoy the opportunity.


I am looking forward to the opportunity someday to ask where in the Bible the sinner’s prayer is found!

What he doesn’t realize, is that this is a description of the the ritual of Baptism. Explain to him, that in this verse, St. Paul partially describes baptism, where, we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and are then washed of our sins:

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou?
arise, **and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, **
calling on the name of the Lord.

I couldn’t believe my ears! A Protestant saying that Baptism is not necessary?..
I couldn’t talk long with him because I had to continue my work (I work in retail).

Yeah, they try to catch us off guard. They’ve had a lot of success blindsiding Catholics this way, through the decades.

Any suggestions on how to prove the necessity of Baptism accurately and succinctly?

The best way and the one I use most often, is to show them Mark 16:16.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Now, if he gets technical, you might want to break it down for him.

  1. He that believes AND is baptized shall be saved. Both are necessary.
  2. He that does not believe will be damned.

He might try to say, “Look, it doesn’t say that the one who is not baptized will be damned.” Your answer is simple.

Jesus didn’t need to say the one who does not believe and refuses to be baptized will be condemned. That’s because the person who does not believe will refuse to be baptized.

In my experience he’ll try to twist that Scripture to death and he’ll bring out other Scriptures, such as the one you mentioned. Just say.

Are you pitting one Scripture against another? Which one do you believe and whicgh one do you reject?

He’ll keep talking. But just say.

Look, who made you the authority over Scripture? You look like an ordinary man. I don’t see a halo on your head. Until you get one, I suggest you go twist Scripture somewhere else.

That would be a good time to play Chubby Checker. “Twist again, like you did last Summer. Oh twist again…”


I hope that helps.


You mean like this? :smile:

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He meant it’s not necessary for salvation. I was shocked because most Protestants place a lot of emphasis on being baptized.

Have him read 1 Peter 3:21

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This hits the nail right on the head. Some in my extended family (Methodist, Baptist, Nazarene, Pentecostal, etc.) did not comprehend the absolute necessity of baptism. However, my grandfather (whom I never met, died years before I was born) insisted on being carried down to the creek on a stretcher to be baptized, when he saw his death approaching. It all depends on the individual.

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As a convert, I can tell you the answer. It is called the “Roman Road to Salvation”.

Romans chapter 10, specifically vs 8 and 9

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On Pentecost day, after hearing St Peter preach, about 3,000 souls were baptized. So it has been from the beginning in Christianity, not a Catholic innovation. And this predates St Paul.

What I see as a former Baptist - we would often point to one particular verse and claim it as the whole of teaching. You can’t follow/teach Scripture based on one single verse (verses were added my men, not God.) You have to read and follow the entire Scripture and then you will see what is required. Otherwise, you are saying one verse has more importance than another - almost pitting one against the other. They all work together.

My dad (who had a Lutheran Baptism) had on his baptismal certificate a quote from Mark 16:16. Seems to me like baptism is important. (“He who that believeth and is baptised shall be saved”)


Baptism is so crucial that Jesus Himself consented to be baptized. I would ask them why our fallen race doesn’t need baptism when Jesus placed such an emphasis on it.


Use of the term “Protestant” regarding doctrine and practice is folly.
The “Protestant “ upbringing I received teaches this

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.

Whatever faith communion your friend is part of, their teaching on baptism is wrong.

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