Why Baptism?


I suppose one of the ideas that is keeping me from returning to Roman Catholicism is the church’s teaching on baptism. I don’t have anything against baptism. I was baptised in the Roman Catholic church, as was my wife. Both of my children were baptised. I believe the New Testament is pretty clear that every Christian should be baptized.

I understand the Bible to teach that baptism is a result of salvation and not a reason for it. Please tell me why you believe baptism is necessary for salvation. I’ll read all of your replies and consider carefully what you are saying before i ask further questions.

If you aren’t interested in discussing baptism and want to just get to know me (or will let me get to know you) please post a reply at the “Please Tell Me” discussion thread.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – St. Peter (1 Peter 3:15-16)


If your belief concerning baptism was accurate then why do the following two passages of New Testament scripture exist

Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20: teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Acts 22:16: And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

That’s just for a start…


Hi Socrates,

Read Romans Chapter 6. It is very clear that with baptism we go from “death” to “life”. If that is not salvation, I don’t know what is.



Thanks, Verbum, and please call me Soc or S4J (whatever is easier to type)! :slight_smile:


It is now Baptism that saves us, 1 Peter 3:20-21


Can I ask you to read this article portraying an imaginary conversation?



Here is an exellent article:




Your question is, why do I, jmcrae, believe that Baptism is necessary for salvation?

Salvation is not a simple thing. If you want to pick one thing that “saves” you will never find it, because we are not saved by one thing, unless it is the grace of God - but we get the grace of God by living an on-going Christian life that encompasses every single activity of our lives - work, play, art, family - and yes, even religion. :wink:

By the grace of God, we are saved by Christ, through our obedience to Christ - which means that we need to find out what Christ commands us to do.

My first question was, How can I hear Christ? I cannot see Him or hear Him, so I need to find out what it was that He left behind, to teach me His ways.

Some people say that Christ left us the Bible, and that the Bible is all we need - but when I take a serious look at the Bible, I realize that, first, Christ Himself didn’t write any of the New Testament, and only a few verses of the Old (the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on tablets of stone and gave to Moses, which were then copied into the Torah of the Old Testament, which today we refer to as “the Penteteuch,” if we follow modern scholarship, or the “Books of Moses” if we’re a little more old-fashioned).

This shows me two things: First, that the Commandments are very important to Jesus, and secondly, that although obviously the Bible came out of what Jesus left behind, the Bible itself is not the thing that Jesus left behind.

Secondly, when I take a serious look at those who make the Bible their sole authority, the first thing I notice is the sheer variety of different interpretations that they come up with. Obviously, then, reading the Bible all by itself isn’t going to help me very much, unless I myself am a god, and can succeed in interpreting it where everyone else seems to have failed.

However, when I take a serious look at the New Testament, I come to the end of its first five books with one inescapable conclusion - Jesus founded a Church and it is in this Church that I will find His commands to me.

When I go looking for that Church, I know from the Scriptures we have read that Peter was its chief Apostle.

I also know that Jesus promised to preserve His Church from harm until the end of the age, which tells me that His Church is still here today.

So, I find the one Church that is still here today, that claims to have had Peter for its first leader.

I locate that Church, and I discover that it teaches that Baptism is necessary for salvation.

This is why I believe that Baptism is necessary for salvation.

I hope this helps you. :slight_smile:


The Church has always read scripture as something that leads to truth. We cannot take one verse and assume it is THE answer to a question. Especially a question like ‘How am I saved?’

The Church teaches there is much to do to be saved.

Baptism is the infant of faith. Still a lot of learning, but you have a beginning in your Baptism. If you die with a childish faith, you are saved. But you should not be 30 years in the faith and still in your crib.

Hearing the Word of God. Brings you into a relationship with God, a saving relationship. This plants God’s word in your heart where it can grow. So the Word of God saves you.

It then needs sacramental graces (via the sacraments of course) to feed the new faith. So we are saved via the sacraments.

In time it will flourish and produce fruit: Good works on which we will be judged. Again, to be saved.

The Church teaches that its more a both/and rather than either/or. We need all to be saved. But if you stop at some point… you MAY be saved. Just because you did not grow does not mean you died to Christ.

Look at St Paul. He knew the end of his journey in faith was not the conversion on the road to Damascus, but the continued work for the kingdom lead him on the Way (as the early Church was called: People of the Way) to salvation in Christ.


Socrates, here are two articles for your consideration:




Really, is this enough to keep you out of the Church? In practical terms, why does it matter if the sequence is A,B or B,A, if both A and B happen? Why is it so disturbing if God chooses to impart sanctifying grace in the actual act of baptism?

The notion that baptism is a symbol of something already done is part and parcel of the general Protestant mindset that all the important stuff is strictly spiritual, and that God uses the material world for nothing other than symbols of the spiritual reality. Same with the Eucharist / Lord’s Supper. But Catholics believe that the material world, and our material nature, play a much fuller and more significant role in God’s plan. The sacraments are one aspect of that fuller, more significant role.

BTW, it is said that one of the reasons that Jesus was baptized was to sanctify water for its future role in the sacrament of baptism. A very cool thought, IMO.


Hi Soc,

Sorry for misnaming you, and thanks for answering ( so few do!). You already have a pile of amazingly good answers. Just let me add one thing. God has chosen to unite himself to his creatures in order to achieve spiritual good. Thus the Bible is God’s word given to us through human writers. Jesus is God made man. And baptism is the use of a material thing (water) to achieve a spiritual result (justification).

That is God’s way.



Consider This---- Two babies are born to two different parents. One is born into a Catholic family and is baptized. The other is born into a family that is not Christian and is not baptized. Both babies die. Which baby is going to heaven? And another question would be " do you think that God would really send a baby to hell just because it was not Baptized ?

In heaven everyone is a Baptist


Limbo was never a defined doctrine in the Catholic Church:


We cannot say we know with certainty what will happen to unbaptized babies but we have good grounds to hope that God in his mercy and love looks after these children and brings them to salvation.


I’m not sure how useful it is to speculate on how God calls those who know nothing of Christianity. What happens when that baby born to non-Christians grows up. Is he still guaranteed entrance into heaven? Or is there some magic moment when he suddenly is pointed to hell? For every “do you really think God would…” I can come up with a counter-example.

The point is, Christians (and particularly, Catholics) are held to a different and higher standard, and we don’t get to play the invincible ignorance card anymore.


We’re talking here about the same God who let both of these innocent babies die, right?

God does all sorts of things that we don’t like. What we need to remember is that God doesn’t act according to our view of the world, but according to how the world really is.

That said, what we know from God’s promises to us through Christ is that, for sure, the Catholic baby who was baptized is going to go to Heaven.

We have no way of knowing from this side of death where the other baby will go - other than the fact that he is in God’s hands, and that he will not go anywhere that it is not God’s will for him to go, or that is not the best of all possible places for him to spend eternity. (Just like with all of us.)


Through no fault of their own. Both!!


The eternal fate of each of us–adults, children, babies–is entirely dependent upon the Mercy of our God and Savior. I am not sure why Allischalmers would present a scenario opposing a baptized infant and a unbaptized infant from a non-Christian family as such a polemic topic will render very little to do with the OP.

So, back to the TOPIC. . .

I understand the Bible to teach that baptism is a result of salvation and not a reason for it. Please tell me why you believe baptism is necessary for salvation. I’ll read all of your replies and consider carefully what you are saying before i ask further questions.

While there have already been numerous very well pointed posts to answer this request, I think we would all benefit from some more information from the perspective of the OP.

For instance, Soc states:

I understand the Bible to teach that baptism is a result of salvation and not a reason for it.

Lest, we fall into an argument of opposing personal interpretation, it would behoove us to know better the basis for Soc’s understanding of the sacrament of Baptism.

Question for Soc: Why do you believe the Bible to teach that baptism is only a result of salvation and not possibly a movement of God’s santifiying grace on the journey towards the salvation of a particular soul?


Exactly. Was going to say the same thing.



I was impressed that you encouraged me to read a passage of Scripture in context instead of throwing a verse of quote from a church father at me. I took your advice and read through Romans 6. Here it is:

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Please explain to me why the passage teaches that Baptism is a cause of salvation. I do not see that in context, but maybe you can show me?

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