Do You Have to Be Baptized to be Saved?


Q. Is baptism necessary in order to be saved?

A. Yes. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3…

John 3:3…Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

We must be born again of water and the Spirit in order to see the Kingdom of God. And Jesus also said:

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And Peter exhorted the crowd at Pentecost:

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “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.

Again in:

1 Peter 3:20-21 ..when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you …

St. Paul also speaks of baptism through which we enter into Christ in order to live.

Romans 6:4 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.

Titus 3:5 He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

John’s baptism was for repentance. But the baptism of Jesus is the sacrament that initiates a person into the people of God just as circumcision initiated Jewish babies into the Old Testament people of God. We are baptised into Christ and become a member of His body in order to participate in His resurrection.

However, to further answer the question, the Catholic Church recognizes all Christian baptism “In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” So, when I entered the Catholic Church my Protestant baptism was accepted and I received First Communion and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil.

BAPTISM OF DESIRE OR OF BLOOD

In addition, the Catholic Church also teaches about the Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. In the times of the early Church there are stories of people dying for their faith in Christ before they could receive baptism. For instance, Roman soldiers, participating in the execution of Christians for refusing to recant, were impressed by their amazing Christian Faith–being willing to die for it. They, by the grace of God were converted and executed on the spot.

Also the Church recognizes Baptism of Desire. This would be the baptism of one in the process of entering the Church through Christian Baptism but is killed in a car accident, for instance.

Also, those are baptized with this baptism, if God knows that in their heart they would have received baptism if they had known about it or known it was necessary.

For instance, if they were taught that baptism was unnecessary and therefore did not receive it, and died believing in Christ but unbaptized. If that person’s heart was such that they would have been baptized IF they had known it was necessary then we believe a baptism of desire existed also in their hearts.

Also, Our Merciful Father would attribute this baptism to all those people of good will towards God, throughout history on all continents, who never heard about Jesus and baptism.

You might find these posts interesting:

Do Catholics Have to Work their Way to Heaven?
Works Salvation/Works Righteousness
Can We Lose Our Salvation?
Confession to God Alone? Scripture Alone?
Atonement, Salvation, & Temporal Punishment

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52 Responses

  1. I thought you were heading to the right way. But when I read “So, when I entered the Catholic Church”… so you’re a Catholic, not a Christian following the doctrines or teachings of the Christian religion embodied in the Holy Bible.
    I am a Christian baptized into Christ on October 1, 1989 and a member of the Church of Christ. I am given the gift of knowledge of Bible Greek and I translate the Holy Bible from Greek to English plainly – from Greek word to its English equivalent. I have already published GENESIS, EXODUS, LEVITICUS (Greek-English), THE WILL New Testament (Greek to English), among others, and ELEMENTS of SALVATION which deals with the 12 elements of salvation.
    Yes, baptism is necessary in order to be saved.

    May God bless you.

  2. In Luke 24:40-43 Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would go to heaven because he received him into his life. As far as I know he was never baptised. Baptism is an outward expression to the world showing the world who you follow as LORD and Savior.

    • yes and the theif on the cross was not baptized and he went to heaven there for salvation if an act of faith not an act of baptisim. i agree with you completely Jeremy. Jesus said unto him “today you will be with me in paradise” he has complete faith that jesus was who he said he was and he was saved

      • Dear Adam,

        I am curious. By what authority do you determine that the fact that God chose to save the their on the cross without baptism means no one needs to be baptized to be saved despite all the verses in the post? How are you so certain that an act of mercy by God, who can do anything He wants to do, can be interpreted to nullify His other statements regarding the necessity of baptism??

        By what authority do you accept one Passage and reject others that contradict your interpretation of that one passage?

        Are you aware of the root meaning of heresy? It is “to pick and choose”. To avoid heresy you need to accept all the verses in the Bible not just some.

  3. baptism is an outward expression of your faith to the world. The bible says in Luke 24:40-43 that the thief received Jesus as his LORD and Savior and that saved him. Baptism is after you are saved.

  4. I have a question. If someone needs to be baptized to be saved, what would happen if they were alone, read Gods word and believed but did not have someone with them to baptize. If they died alone would they be saved? If water baptism was necessary for salvation would this mean the word of God is insufficient by itself to save and needs a mediator to apply this water baptism? I have heard it said that you must also be immersed. Does this then mean that there is an actual amount of water that is also necessary? This then would mean the amount of water would vary as to the size of the person being baptized. How would you immerse a person weighing 500 lbs and bed ridden? I saw one of those guys on television. Do you think just sprinkling him might be ok. What about a person with a very contagious disease, or someone on the space station. Would this also be true in the desert, or in an area of extreme cold where the water is ice? What happens if you are on a plane witnessing and someone wants to accept Christ, but the plane crashes? I guess we could go on and on where the word of God fails because of our lack of water or just our bad timing. I am so glad I came to a saving knowledge of Christ where we actually had water. Sending out bibles is probably something we should not do; who knows the person may only read the gospel of John. No baptism mentioned there. I am having a real difficult time in believing this teaching the way you present it. I did not know that one act of disobedience would lead to eternal damnation. The same God that said you must be baptized also said the greatest commandment was love. I know I have broken that one many times. Is it OK then to break the greatest commandment and not baptism? Could you suppose that the baptism Jesus was speaking of is something that God would do without the help of man in the process? That might leave us out of the saving process and only in the preaching process. What baptism was Jesus talking about to the apostles when He asked if they could be baptized with the baptism that he was going to be baptized with? Was this water baptism or something else that Jesus was talking about? Could this be the baptism that we are baptized with also? Is not the Spirit the one who regenerates and the word of God the instrument in the salvation process? Did not John say he baptized with water but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Did not sound like water baptism was really that critical to John the Baptist in future reference of Jesus. I do know from reading that Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before baptism and Peter says their hearts were purified by faith just like the apostles and other Jewish Christians. I believe they were baptized after salvation, not before or to receive salvation. I believe all who believe should be baptized, but I cannot say that if one is not water baptized will that condemn them to hell. I do not find that anywhere in the bible. The only condemnation I have read is to not believe. I also know that many who were water baptized were like clouds without water. They were not saved. It doesn’t look like water baptism saves. I really believe it comes down to whether their hearts were really purified by faith. If that is true and one can be baptized I see no reason to refuse or not get baptized. It is commanded. To say it is required for salvation is wrong, but to say it is commanded is true. The only person that would want to follow a command would probably already be under the one giving the command and in a position to obey for it to have any substance. Maybe what is meant by the use of baptism is submitting to The Lordship of Christ. That is the real faith that saves. Similar to the Jewish Nation going through the red sea and being baptized unto Moses and the Cloud. They were saved by the blood at the door posts and then followed Moses thru the red sea leaving behind their slavery to Egypt. I really believe it’s all about dying to sin and leaving that life behind and making Christ your Lord. Water baptism may symbolize this but does not accomplish this. So I believe the baptism that is mentioned here is the act of the Holy Spirit in the circumcision of our hearts and our being born again to serve our Lord and Savior, and yes all should be baptized, but not to get their salvation, but because they have received their salvation by the blood of Christ at the Cross

  5. Steve:I have a question. If someone needs to be baptized to be saved, what would happen if they were alone, read Gods word and believed but did not have someone with them to baptize. If they died alone would they be saved?

    BFHU:Of course. God is the author of the sacraments. This is the ORDINARY way for salvation and initiation into the household of God. But HE is not bound by them in exra-ordinary cases like the one you mentioned as well as millions more…such at the Thief on the Cross.

    Steve: If water baptism was necessary for salvation would this mean the word of God is insufficient by itself to save and needs a mediator to apply this water baptism?

    BFHU: Well, Jesus HIMSELF said,

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Mt. 28:18-19

    Are you prepared to tell people Jesus did not mean what HE said? I am not. So, I will just obey and teach what HE said. I think it is safer that way.

    Steve:I have heard it said that you must also be immersed. Does this then mean that there is an actual amount of water that is also necessary? This then would mean the amount of water would vary as to the size of the person being baptized. How would you immerse a person weighing 500 lbs and bed ridden?

    BFHU:Exactly. The Catholic Church does not teach the necessity of full immersion. Can you imagine how difficult this would have been in the more arid areas of the Holy Land. Full immersion is a beautiful and full sign of dying, as one goes under water and rising to new life in Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that water must run, move, upon at least the head of the person. See the Catechism HERE. See #7

    Steve: I saw one of those guys on television. Do you think just sprinkling him might be ok.

    BFHU: Maybe, but I think the water has to flow—as in living water.

    What about a person with a very contagious disease, or someone on the space station.

    BFHU: As I said the full immersion requirement is a Protestant belief.

    Steve: Would this also be true in the desert, or in an area of extreme cold where the water is ice?

    BFHU: Yes of course. Some of the ice would need to be melted for baptism.

    Steve: What happens if you are on a plane witnessing and someone wants to accept Christ, but the plane crashes?

    BFHU: This is called a Baptism of Desire—Catechism HERE Here
    Baptism of Blood→HERE and CCC 1260

    Steve: Sending out bibles is probably something we should not do;who knows the person may only read the gospel of John.
    No baptism mentioned there.

    BFHU: Actually, in John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemas that he must be born of again of WATER and the Spirit. He is certainly speaking of Baptism.

    Steve: I am having a real difficult time in believing this teaching the way you present it.

    BFHU:I would like to suggest to you that you do not have a problem with my teaching,but what you have been taught CONFLICTS and CONTRADICTS what Sacred Scripture actually SAYS.

    Steve: I did not know that one act of disobedience would lead to eternal damnation. The same God that said you must be baptized also said the greatest commandment was love.

    Disobeying the express commandment of Jesus Christ is an act of rebellion and totally lacking in love. If a person has not been baptized because of a lack of information or opportunity, despite his love of God that is not the rebellion I am talking about. God will be merciful. Each individual knows in his heart and so does God if the person in question is rebellious or truly a person uninformed and of good will who would be baptized if only he knew he should.

    I know I have broken that one many times. Is it OK then to break the greatest commandment and not baptism?

    BFHU: Of course not. But it would have to be a GRAVE as in DEADLY act of lack of love, with full knowledge of the gravity of a sin; that it was damnable and then freely and willfully do it anyway.

    Steve: Could you suppose that the baptism Jesus was speaking of is something that God would do without the help of man in the process?

    BFHU: No, Not as a regular way for salvation. But God is not bound by His sacraments CCC 1257

    Steve: That might leave us out of the saving process and only in the preaching process.

    BFHU: God likes to work through us for some reason. But of course he can save a person all by Himself if He wants to and I know He does this on occasion.

    Steve: What baptism was Jesus talking about to the apostles when He asked if they could be baptized with the baptism that he was going to be baptized with? Was this water baptism or something else that Jesus was talking about?

    BFHU: This was the Baptism of Blood or Martyrdom that Jesus was talking about there.

    Steve: Could this be the baptism that we are baptized with also?

    BFHU: Not with any regularity.

    Steve: Is not the Spirit the one who regenerates and the word of God the instrument in the salvation process?

    BFHU: Yes.

  6. I had a friend who recently passed away. He was a ” new ager”
    and believed in Jesus as a prophet along with Buddha etc no matter how many times his Christian friends try to lead him to Christ.
    He died alone. My hope is that he realized Jesus as the only way to salvation and the only son of God. just before he took his last breath. If he did, would he be saved ??

  7. Yes, he would be saved thanks to you and his Christian friends. His baptism would be a baptism of Desire just like the Thief on the Cross. Hope and trust in God’s mercy. He wants every soul to spend eternity with Him.

  8. I’m just gunna throw this out there, and read the response afterwards…because, honestly…i was to lazy to read the ones above..lol…i’m just gunna say that the bible teaches that baptism is a part of recieving your salvation. Read Mark 16:16, or Acts 2:38, or Galatians 3:27 or Romans 6.

  9. Now you’ve got this Baptism of Desire, where did you ever get this? What teaching is this again?

  10. Baptismal regeneration is the belief that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. It is our contention that baptism is an important step of obedience for a Christian, but we adamantly reject baptism as being required for salvation. We strongly believe that each and every Christian should be water baptized by immersion. Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 declares, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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.” The action of being immersed in the water illustrates being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.

    Anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ as being required for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add ANYTHING to the Gospel is to say that Jesus’ death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation. To say that we must be baptized in order to be saved is to say that we must add our own good works and obedience to Christ’s death in order to make it sufficient for salvation. Jesus’ death alone paid for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ payment for our sins is appropriated to our “account” by faith alone (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, baptism is an important step of obedience after salvation, but cannot be a requirement for salvation.

    Yes, there are some verses that seem to indicate baptism as a necessary requirement for salvation. However, since the Bible so clearly tells us that salvation is received by faith alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5), there must be a different interpretation of those verses. Scripture does not contradict Scripture. In Bible times, a person who converted from one religion to another was often baptized to identify conversion. Baptism was the means of making a decision public. Those who refused to be baptized were saying they did not truly believe. So, in the minds of the apostles and early disciples, the idea of an un-baptized believer was unheard of. When a person claimed to believe in Christ, yet was ashamed to proclaim his faith in public, it indicated that he did not have true faith.

    If baptism is necessary for salvation, why would Paul have said, “I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius” (1 Corinthians 1:14)? Why would he have said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17)? Granted, in this passage Paul is arguing against the divisions that plagued the Corinthian church. However, how could Paul possibly say, “I am thankful that I did not baptize…” or “For Christ did not send me to baptize…” if baptism were necessary for salvation? If baptism is necessary for salvation, Paul would literally be saying, “I am thankful that you were not saved…” and “For Christ did not send me to save…” That would be an unbelievably ridiculous statement for Paul to make. Further, when Paul gives a detailed outline of what he considers the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), why does he neglect to mention baptism? If baptism is a requirement for salvation, how could any presentation of the Gospel lack a mentioning of baptism?

  11. Jeronie,

    All of your arguments are based on a false premise. That premise is that all Christian truth can be found in Sacred Scripture and ONLY sacred scripture. The irony is that this Protestant Doctrine of Scripture Alone or Sola Scriptura cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.

    You base your beliefs and criticism of the Catholic doctrine on Protestant interpretation of scripture which is actually Protestant Tradition.

    Click the links for more posts on Catholic TRADITION

  12. You’re misinterpreting it… baptism was never defined as being dipped in water, its a tradition based on what Jesus did when he got born again. Therefore… most certainly not a BAD thing(I don;’t think babies should be bapitized though cause they don’t understand whats going on), Baptisim is just another phrase and expression of being “born again”

    The scripture you use, John 3:5, the being “born of water” there is the representation of the physical birth(someone’s water broke), AND they must be “born of the spirit” which is being born again.

    • That the water birth refers to childbirth is an interpretation since the scriptures don’t elaborate. Protestants say it refers to childbirth to counter the Catholic claim that it refers to being born again through water baptism. Both are legitimate interpretations but the Catholic view has a 2000 year old history of interpreting it this way.

  13. You do not have to be baptized to go to heaven. The thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved while he was on the cross and was never baptized. He went to heaven. Baptism does not impart grace. Neither does the Lord’s Supper (communion). All you have to do to get into heaven is to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. If, after asking the lord to come into your heart, you are run over by a bus before getting the chance to be baptized, the Lord is not going to deny your entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • You do not have to be baptized to go to heaven. The thief on the cross next to Jesus was saved while he was on the cross and was never baptized. He went to heaven.

      BFHU: True. God is not bound by the sacraments. He may save anyone he so chooses. But baptism is the normal route to being born again and one ignores it at his peril.

      Baptism does not impart grace. Neither does the Lord’s Supper (communion).

      BFHU: Where does Scripture deny the grace imparted by baptism and Holy Communion?

      All you have to do to get into heaven is to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

      BFHU: You are ignoring hundreds of other verses of scripture that give obligations for eternal life.
      If, after asking the lord to come into your heart, you are run over by a bus before getting the chance to be baptized, the Lord is not going to deny your entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

  14. Questions like “do Catholics go to Heaven,” are not good questions. What you should ask is “do Catholics teach biblical truth concerning getting into heaven?” To my knowledge, they do not. They do not teach that you have to ask Jesus into your heart to be saved. I am not a Catholic but I have many Christian friends who used to be Catholic and they all tell me that they were never taught that you had to ask Jesus into your heart to be saved. Basically, if you are born into a Catholic family, you ARE Catholic and will get into heaven. They tell me that up until about 30 years ago, they weren’t even encouraged to read/study the Bible!

    • What biblical truth do Catholics leave out concerning how to go to Heaven?

      Where does Scripture alone say that we must ask Jesus into our hearts? Catholic do have a relationship with Jesus just b/c we don’t use the more modern Protestant terminology doesn’t mean we think a relationship with Christ is not necessary. You have been taught to jump to uncharitable juddgements based on superficial observation of the the Catholic Faith.

      Just because one is Catholic does NOT guarantee Heaven. That may be what they remember as children and if they did not pursue a knowledge of their faith beyond that then that may be all they know. But that is not what the Church actually teaches. Catholicism is simple to follow for children and the uneducated but to fully appreciate its beauty one must dig in and find all the buried treasure. It is a most sublime FAITH.

      After the Reformation/Rebellion personal study of scripture became a recipe for spiritual disaster so it WAS discouraged. It is encouraged but one must read it in union with the teachings of the Church and not just come up with your own interpretation as James says. Scripture is not a matter of personal interpretation.

      • I don’t understand your way of reasoning. in one post you said, the scripture is not the only support for faith, but then here you counter with “Where does Scripture alone say that we must ask Jesus into our hearts? ”

        As Christians, we need Christ. It’s simple as that. it’s great that people try to do good things and that they try to set a path for others to follow, but ultimately, all you need is Christ. If you love him and strive to understand his teachings, you shouldn’t have to defend yourself against anyone.

        The new testament tells the story of Christ’s rebellion against the corrupt teachings of the institution then in power. So, I personally believe that it is better to rebel against the norm in order to follow Christ than to follow the path laid forth by someone who was able to reach Christ.

        From what I’ve read on this blog, it seems that people are just throwing up bible verses as proof that they are the ones who are right. But none of that matters if you don’t feel with all your heart that you are walking towards Christ.

        There’s too much emphasis here on being right or wrong. You are all very concerned with making sure that you will ultimately go to heaven, and it seems that you are missing the point.

        Rather than nitpick over what is in the bible, which we can all agree has been modified through translations, interpretations, etc, how about we try to know the inherent messages of the word of God.

        Christ is love, peace and salvation.

  15. The baptism in the Bible is a submersion baptism.

    (1) The word baptism means “into” and “out of.”

    (2) There is also architectural evidence. First century church buildings had baptism pools.

    (3) Jesus was baptized in the river by his cousin John the Baptist. He wasn’t sprinkled!

  16. Correct. However, the Church in her infinite mercy and care of souls allows also for the pouring of water on the head. This was to generously allow for the baptism and salvation of souls in areas without deep water nearby, for the sick and dying who could not be moved to deep water and for the baptism of babies.

    It is amusing that you adamantly refuse to allow that baptism is necessary for salvation and yet dictate that it can only be done one way. The Church was given the power and authority to make decisions for the good of souls.

    Nothing in scripture says that baptism must be done with full immersion.

  17. Pam,

    I understand that those verses seem to strongly suggest that baptism is necessary for salvation, but from my own readings, I’m afraid I must disagree with you on this. I’ve got a link to an article that goes more in depth about this, so I’ll just comment a few of those verses.

    About John 3:5…I HIGHLY doubt this is a reference to water baptism. For one, how would Nicodemus have recognized a (at that point) nonexistent sacrament? I think that the water in this sense refers to the water from the physical birth. That would fit in with Nicodemus’ comment “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

    About Mark 16:16…I don’t think Mark 16:9-20 should be in there. It talks about how the women are leaving the tomb, afraid, and then mentions that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week,etc…a rather unusual ending.

    Anyway, here’s a link to the rest (so I don’t end up posting yet another long post ;)
    http://www.tektonics.org/af/baptismneed.html

  18. FM:
    Just understand that that is merely your INTERPRETATION. It is not infallible. And I am not bound to accept it. The interpretation of the Catholic Church is different and based on the teaching of the apostles and 2000 years of history.

    So, you don’t think Mark 16:9-20 is scripture? It dove tails with the other gospels. By what authority do you infallibly define what is sacred scripture and what is not? I am afraid that your desire to excise passages of scripture that don’t agree with your theology is just another echo of Martin Luther doing the same thing.

  19. Pam,

    Here are a few reasons I don’t think Mark 16:9-20 is the original ending of Mark.

    1. Vaticanus B and Sinaiticus, two of the earliest texts/ parchment codes, don’t contain 9-20.

    2. Eusebius (Quaestiones ad Marinum I) said that 9-20 are not in “accurate” copies of Mark and are missing from “almost all” manuscripts

    3. Jerome (Epistle CXX.3, ad Hedibiam) wrote that nearly all Greek manuscripts of his time don’t have 9-20.

    4. The subject from 8 (the women) suddenly changes to Jesus (9)- a rather unusual change.

    5. Our disputed verses introduce Mary Magdalene, saying that out of her Jesus had cast seven demons. This is rather unusual, because it makes it seem like Mary Magdalene hadn’t been introduced in Mark before– but she had.

    Also, even if 9-20 were part of the original ending, Mark 16:16 doesn’t say that he who isn’t baptized will damned. Furthermore, the part about BELIEVING…as I understand it, the Roman Catholic Church practices infant baptism. Can infants believe?

  20. FM: Mark 16:16 doesn’t say that he who isn’t baptized will damned

    BFHU: Exactly! We do not believe that anyone who doesn’t get baptized will go to Hell. All we KNOW is that Jesus said:

    John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit

    So, the Church seeks to give every grace possible to assist all her children to reach Heaven. The Bible does not say NOT to baptize infants. So, it is merely a Protestant interpretation that infants should not be baptized. Jesus’ disciples rebuked Jesus for accepting babies too. :

    Luke 18:15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

    FM: The Roman Catholic Church practices infant baptism. Can infants believe?

    BFHU: No. But baptism imparts grace to the soul and disposes the infant towards belief in God. As the child grows up in a family with faith he will make it his own and receive the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.

    Infant baptism is a gift of the Church and parents to give the baby every chance for eternal life. We take Jesus at His word about “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit”. During most of the last 2000 years infant mortality was high. Christian parents never knew if their children would reach the age of reason, let alone adulthood. Wanting the best for their children they asked the Church for baptism and the Church was willing to give every baby the opportunity to reach the Kingdom of God.

    This does not mean that we believe unbaptized infants and children are going to Hell. We commend them to our merciful Heavenly Father. Meanwhile Christian parents do what they can do to ensure eternal life for their children, rather than being presumptuous.

    I fail to understand why anyone would object to this. Many Protestants don’t even think there is any grace to be gained through baptism. They do it as a witness to faith and b/c Jesus said to do it. This is admirable but why object to infant baptism when nothing in scripture prohibits it?

    • i think the objection to infant baptism may stem from those of us trying to understand original sin. i was baptised catholic as a baby, but was not raised in the church. i am just now really making an effort to understand the catholic faith, though i have always loved jesus i have been in church but rarely. i have not wanted to come to God out of fear, but love. i have in the past viewed baptism as a kind of “country club” ritual – you could be the most God-loving person in the world but if you aren’t baptised – out you go! i have understood original sin to be taught as “you are born bad and evil and pouring water on your head will save you (i.e. – only the priest can save you)”. in my search to understand i can only say i have much to learn. i am not interested in pointing my finger at anyone, protestant or catholic, and say they are wrong and i am right. i have two beautiful daughters and i do not want God to exclude them from heavan because i haven’t figured it all out. i hope if i screw up God will forgive me and will accept that i am trying to understand.

      • Dear Becky,
        May Our Lord Bless you and your family as you the TRUTH. Be at peace and don’t forget this part of my post above:

        Also the Church recognizes Baptism of Desire. This would be the baptism of one in the process of entering the Church through Christian Baptism but is killed in a car accident, for instance.

        Also, those are baptized with this baptism, if God knows that in their heart they would have received baptism if they had known about it or known it was necessary.

        For instance, if they were taught that baptism was unnecessary and therefore did not receive it, and died believing in Christ but unbaptized. If that person’s heart was such that they would have been baptized IF they had known it was necessary then we believe a baptism of desire existed also in their hearts

        Love and prayers

  21. Pam,

    I’ve done a bit more research, so please allow me to take a look at some of those verses you posted.

    For John 3:5, a problem with the view that “water” refers to baptism is this: Nicodemus could NOT have recognized a sacrament that at the time was nonexistent.

    Keep in mind the context here. Nicodemus is a Jew. A similar motif (water) is found in Ezekiel 36:25-27:
    “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

    The motif is also found in Qumran writings: (1QS 4:19-21):
    He will cleanse him of all wicked deeds by means of a holy spirit; like purifying waters He will sprinkle upon him the spirit of truth.

    From these verses, we see that the Jews had a connection of water, Holy Spirit, and cleansing. So, that’s why I find it highly unlikely that John 3:5 is referring to water baptism.

    For Mark 16:16, I listed five lines of evidence against that verse being in the text. You have not responded.

    I have responses to the rest of the verses that seem to support baptismal regeneration. I think I’ll post them later.

  22. Dear FM,
    Thank you for your comments. I have heard these arguments before as a Protestant. I have chosen to take the view of the Catholic Church because without it there would not even be a canonized Bible or Christian Faith. It was founded by Christ and I trust it for all the various reason I mention in my conversion story and other posts.

    You have nothing but a late Protestant interpretaion to offer. It will not be convincing. Sorry. I really have heard it all before.

    By what authority did Martin Luther break away from the Catholic Church. Can you imagine if the devout Jews broke away and started Israel over every time things got corrupt?

    I didn’t respond to your evidence regarding Mark 16:16 because neither you nor the form critics have the authority to define scripture infallibly. Not to mention I despise much of what passes as biblical criticism which does nothing but undermine a robust faith.

    • I see your point about Martin Luther, but i wonder about something. There is an old saying, “physician, heal thyself!”, who heals the atholic Church when it goes astray? When the bishops were saying things such as “the soul doesn’t get into Heavan until the coin is in the coffer”, what is another priest to do if he doesn’t agree? Perhaps he should’ve tried to work from within, I don’t know enough about it to say. Is there an avenue for priests to go down when they believe their own church is not preaching Jesus’ word correctly? Forgive me if I offend, I am rather new at this.

      • Dear Becky,
        Never worry about offending me. I can tell you have honest questions and I had so many myself. I had to find the truth and so I got the answers to my questions. Because of that I can do this blog fairly easily although I still take a lot of time doing research and documenting what I say when necessary.

        Regarding the priest who said, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings a soul from Purgatory springs.” it was not the bishops who were teaching this. This teaching was an abuse of Catholic teaching. But it was NEVER a teaching of the Catholic Church. The teaching of the Church is much more complex and can not be rendered in such a pithy sound bite for the purposes of fund raising.
        To better understand the Church’s teaching on Purgatory please see my posts Here—>Purgatory
        Regarding Luther, yes he should have worked for reform within the Church. His heart was in the right place but Satan corrupted by seducing him to pride in his own opinion. Which we can all fall into this sin.

        Regarding priests (and lay people) about what to do when the Church in not preaching Jesus’ word correctly we must stay the course and keep the Faith. Many of the Church have experienced just this sort of white martyrdom for the past 40 years. Many Saints had to deal with just this kind of corruption. Not that the teaching of the Church was ever corrupted but individuals corrupted the teachings.

        Vatican II was wonderful but many priests, bishops and religious took the opportunity to corrupt the teachings and liturgies of the Church which have led the innocent astray and caused much suffering in those who know their faith. But things are being rectified now, slowly, so as not to lose the lambs.

        We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If we hear something weird at church we can look it up in the CCC or go online to trusted websites or read books whose authors are loyal to the teaching of the Church and Pope. So, we can KNOW what the Truth is, what the Church really teaches and pray pray pray for the heresy to be overcome. As i was coming into the Church and people would ask me about what some whacky Catholic said, I responded, that I was a Catechism Catholic and I did not care what any Catholic said.
        I was sticking to the Catechism.

  23. Pam,

    I have a question related to this. You believe the Roman Catholic Church has the authority and ability to infallibly interpret Scripture. But is it ONLY the Roman Catholic Church that has that authority and ability? I’m not aware of the Vatican’s position on this.

    Also, you said “You have nothing but a late Protestant interpretaion to offer. It will not be convincing. ”

    Well, if you were thinking about Mark 16:16 in that statement, I wrote in one of my previous posts that Eusebius and Jerome, who lived LONG before the Reformation occurred, offered evidence that Mark 16:16 didn’t belong in the text.

    I’m guessing that you think I have a “late Protestant interpretation” because several of the early church fathers seem to have held to baptismal regeneration. If you’ll take a look at this article (http://www.tektonics.org/af/baptismneed.html), you’ll see that there was an ancient Hebrew idea called the Semitic Totality Concept, which, by applying it (which we certainly can, since the writers of the Gospel and Epistles were Hebrews) to those verses that seem to support baptismal regeneration, actually rebut BR.

    I have no doubt that the early church fathers were much more brilliant and godly then you and I…but the problem is, they were not Hebrews. So, they were simply mistaken on this issue.

  24. Have you read John 3? Baptism is necessary in order to be saved.
    However, baptism by water is not necessary. There is baptism of blood and baptism of desire. Baptism of blood is martyrdom. If someone who was not baptized by water dies for the faith, of course he will not be damned to hell. Baptism of desire is when you wanted to be baptized but died before you could be or, if you had understood that baptism was necessary for salvation, you would have desired it. Some people cannot comprehend that baptism is necessary for salvation either because of their nature or because they have never had it explained properly to them. God is not going to punish them for their inability to understand or because no one they knew could explain it properly.

  25. if baptism was necessary for salvation that means God is dumb and evil for sending his son to die on a cross for us [which is not true] exalting tounges/baptism/any otha work above christ is saying that Jesus Christ blood was not enough to save u, if that was the case jesus could have jus stayed in heaven and not went threw all that pain. ephesians 2:8 you are saved by grace through faith and not by works so that no one can boast. imagine u die and r in heaven and christ is there with the holes still and his hand and then there is a pucket of water next to him do u think the angels are praising the water for their eternal salvation or Jesus who died and then rose?

  26. Dear Shorty,

    I am so glad that you wrote this comment. It is such a good illustration of the difference between the Protestant culture and Catholic culture.

    You have, without knowing it, absorbed the Protestant mind set of

    Either/Or——

    Either Jesus Or Mary
    Either Jesus Or Baptism
    Either Jesus Or Tongues
    Either Jesus Or Good Works
    Either Jesus Or Purgatory
    Either Faith Or Good Works
    Either Praising Jesus Or Praise a bucket of Water
    Either Confessing sins to Jesus or NOTHING
    Either Pray to God Or Nothing
    Either a barren Church OR a Church full of Idolatrous art

    But the Catholic Culture is one of Both / And ( But not all are EQUAL))
    Both Jesus And Mary play a role
    Both Jesus And Baptism
    Both Jesus And Tongues
    Both Jesus And Good Works
    Both Jesus And Purgatory
    Both Faith And Good Works
    Both Confessing sins to Jesus And Confessing to a Priest
    Both Praying to God And asking the Saint s for their prayers
    Both barren Churches and Churches full of artistic reminders of our Christian family

    I am not sure how this dichotomy among Protestants got started. Perhaps it simplifies things for Protestants. But there is absolutely no Biblical reason why a church must be devoid of family pictures of the members of the Family of God. We can confess straight to God and/or to a priest. Where does Scripture forbid the confession of sins to a priest? The Bible also does not forbid the request for intercessory prayer from other members of the Body of Christ, even though they may be in Heaven and no longer on Earth. Good Works are commended to Christians and the Bible does say

    James 2:24
    You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

    We keep the commandment to honor our mother in the faith, Mary in imitation of Jesus.

    Rev 12:17 And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.

    As Peter says, Baptism now save you.

    1 Peter 3:21
    Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you– not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

  27. Dear Ms. Pam,

    I dunno if I’m posting on the right place, but I must say that reading your blog has been very refreshing for me. Although when it comes to reading comments and replies, I tend to get tired of going over what seems to me such an endless debate that will not meet into agreement. Having said this, I would just like to say that I admire the patience and perseverance you have poured out in keeping this blog. May the Almighty God bless you for defending the faith and spreading His word to all that have access to your works. Thank you very much. I’m gonna shut-up now…:)

    God Bless…

  28. Thanks for the encouragement, Jayson.

  29. If the theif on the cross was not baptised with water before he died, he would not be saved. For the bible is clear that He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved. We must be baptised with water in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    • It is true that baptism is the ordinary way to be initiated into the Body of Christ. But God is not so unmerciful as to damn someone to Hell who had no opportunity to be baptized but who would have been baptized if he had only had the opportunity or known it was necessary.. God is outside of the rules and is able to save based on His own critera and the heart of the individual.

  30. We must be born from above to enter the Kingdom of God, so we can understand the truth.
    There should be no more fighting among christians of different views, because all should listen to God, remember Jesus said: I am the Gate… whoever enters by the Gate shall be saved.
    Pray for wisdom from God.
    God bless you and protect you!

  31. These are the kind of conclusions that are drawn when the foundational belief is in error. To believe the baptism is required for salvation is to take these passages out of context and interpret them based on a lack of understanding. When Jesus said you must be born again, he meant again in the spirit. The original birth was water in the womb, the second birth is in the spirit. The whole context of the passage was that there was confusion about how someone could enter into the womb again to be reborn the same way. Jesus clarified, you must be born of water (first birth), and born of the spirit (second birth), not born of water twice. Context is EVERYTHING. Stop using your imagination and the catholic false church to interpret the Scriptures and your eyes will be open to the glorious truth. And may all His people say “Amen”.

    • Ryan,

      According to Paul (Titus 3, 5) Christ SAVED us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Why do Protestants emphasize the Spirit while leaving out the washing (of regeneration). Protestants have not learned that baptism is a condition to enter the kingdom of God (John 3,5). In Eph. 5, Paul states that Christ sanctifies and cleanses the Church with the washing of water by the word (baptismal formula). This is nothing but the sacramental principle, that is to say, the principle that spiritual gifts from God are communicated to us by means of material things or actions ( using water or imposing hands etc). There are plenty of examples in the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles apply the sacramental principle again and again and is adopted by the patres apostolici, from here there is an unbroken line (in the catholic church). According to Ernest Renan there was a fracture in the life of Jesus himself. Abandoning the principle of pure (spiritual) religion (believe), from the moment he was baptized by John in the river Jordan. Only unbelieve can accept this, for someone who believes in Christ cannot

  32. Ryan,
    I want you to read the passage carefully and tell me what it is in the context that demands the interpretation that Jesus is talking about “waters of birth”.

    Yours is a plausible interpretation of the passage but I see nothing that demands the “waters of birth” interpretation. The Catholic interpretation is just as plausible. So, since God is not a God of confusion which interpretation is correct?

    Since all the early Fathers of the only Christian Church in existence spoke about the waters of baptism and quoted this passage in John 3 I think it makes sense to go with the interpretation of those closest in time to Christ and His apostles. For these quotes see this post–>Fathers on: Born Again of Water & Spirit

    The Protestant interpretation is new by comparison and I think it was invented in order to interpret the necessity of baptism out of existence in opposition to Catholic teaching. This is the case with many Protestant scripture interpretations.

    Baptism in water is also a reception of the Holy Spirit, so it is truly a baptism of Water and Spirit. Jesus did not say “you must be born again in the Spirit” as you contend that He meant even though what He said was, “You must be born again of WATER and Spirit.” Do you think Jesus misspoke?

  33. the Thief on the cross went to heaven after Jesus died… what people don’t understand is jesus is God manifest in the flesh.. (1tim:16) he went down to hell and got the ones like moses and abraham and even the thief are in heaven… but we all should know that the true church did not start at the death of jesus… it started at the day of pentecost… is anyone else in heaven or hell now… NO!!! they are sleep in the grave until jesus returns to take them first and those who are living for him.. 2tes chapter4) as far as baptism goes yes u need it.. we have to have it and the holy ghost… no one ever in the new testment ever was baptized in father son or holy ghost… it was in jesus name or the lord jesus christ… obey Acts 2:38 it is the plan of salvation!!!! also john 3:5.. mark 16:16.. john 3:3 says without the water and spirit u will not see the kingdom of heaven!!!

    • Dear Todd,
      Catholics believe that all the souls that have been judged to be worthy of Heaven are certainly there either immediately or upon their purification in “Purgatory”. Their bodies sleep and it is our bodies that will all be raised, first those who have “fallen asleep” then those who are alive will be caught up with Him and body and soul will be reunited and clothed with immortality. What are you baseing your belief on?

      TODD:…no one ever in the new testment ever was baptized in father son or holy ghost… it was in jesus name or the lord jesus christ… obey Acts 2:38 it is the plan of salvation!!!! also john 3:5.. mark 16:16.. john 3:3 says without the water and spirit u will not see the kingdom of heaven!!!

      Your assertion contradicts the express command of Jesus Christ Himself who said:

      Matthew 28:18 Jesus came to them and said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! 19 Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.”

      The Catholic Church does not rebaptize any Protestant who is received into the Catholic Church who has been baptized with the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit.” But anyone who was baptized only in the name of Jesus must be baptized authentically according to Scripture.

  34. I’m not sure about this. The thief on the cross went to paradise, the “forefathers” were in Abraham’s bosom … nothing to indicate that these place are the same as heaven. We’re baptized in the formulae of “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” according to Christ himself (Matt 28:19). Being baptized in the name of Jesus is just an abbreviation of the above, distinguishing it from the baptism of John the Baptist.

    • God gives those who need no opportunity for baptism an opportunity for the desire of baptism which when added to perfect love counts as baptism.

  35. Catholics believe baptism is necessary for salvation.

    VATICAN II declared this in #7 of it’s decree Ad Gentes:
    “Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.” (Dogmatic constitution by Vatican II: Lumen Gentium 14) Therefore though God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6), yet a necessity lies upon the Church (1 Cor. 9:16), and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity.”

  36. No, it is not necessary to be baptized for salvation. Example: Your a sinner and just had a car wreck and you know your going to die, so you call upon the name of the lord and ask forgiveness of your sins and then you breath your last breath……God Heard that prayer…..He was not baptized……….John 3:16 is pretty complete and says nothing about being baptized. However, if your born again, the next step would be to be baptized as obedience to scripture.

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