Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation, Pt. 5

Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:38
What does the Bible say about the mode of baptism? Should we baptize babies? If children are not baptized, might they not be lost? Another question has to do with a certain formula stated while a person is being baptized.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi. Welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the bible and how the bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Gary, lately we've been talking about baptism here on Bible Talk. I've encountered, along the way, a number of questions about baptism that people have had and I'm sure you've had too. When you're talking to people about baptism, what do you find are the major questions associated with this subject? Maybe a lot of people listening today have questions in their mind about it.

Gary: Well, one of the questions I think we've already covered in previous programs quite thoroughly is, "Do we baptize as infants?" Because a lot of churches, a lot of faiths, do that. They sprinkle, they pour water on infants. Really, the bible doesn't condone that at all. Bible baptism is by baptism by immersion of accountable people, people who can learn bible truth and make a decision for themselves.

John: I would think that people who are baptizing babies, infants, christening them or sprinkling water on them... This springs from good motives doesn't it?

Gary: It does.

John: They want to consecrate or commit their child to God. They know it's the right thing to do, and the church teaches that this is the way to do it.

Gary: I think it even goes further than that. Well, there may be good motives I think there's some things in here that kind of cloud the water and that is churches have told people if their children are not baptized and they die, they're going to be lost.

John: Oh, that's right. That's what we believed in our family when I was a kid. There was always an urgency if there was a new grandchild came along or a niece or a nephew... Better get that child baptized because, if it dies, it won't go to heaven. That's not biblical, is it?

Gary: We even do that with adults. I think about 9/11 when they had all these people coming out of the World Trade Center towers or the Twin Towers. Priests were going around sprinkling water on people, doing the last rites, because they didn't know if they were baptized or not. We'll just get them all wet and say rites over all of them, and then they'll be saved. These people are not even thinking and talking at the time. They're unconscious.

John: Yes, that is very unfortunate. If you have children and you're concerned about them and you wonder what to do, follow the biblical example. Take your child to the church, Jesus was taken to the temple, and have your baby dedicated, your child dedicated. It's a great service. We did that with our two children. I know you did the same thing, Gary, in your family, and you know that you dedicated this child to the Lord. At the same time, you've dedicated yourself before God, to raising your child towards the kingdom of heaven.

Gary: We're going to cover some of these questions that people have about baptism. John, we're not going to be able to cover it all. What resource do we have to make available to our listeners so they can write and call us to get for more information.

John: We've got a great book. It's called, "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" At the end of the program, you'll get an email address, snail mail address, telephone number, contact us any way you can and we'll send that to you free. There's no obligation. "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" Just ask us for that, and it's yours.

Gary: Now, I've met somebody one time. In fact, I've met several people, one of them was a pastor. They said, "You haven't been really baptized until you've been baptized in the name of Jesus." I said, "I was. I was baptized in the name of the father, son and the holy spirit." They said, "No, that's not it. You have to be baptized in the name of Jesus. When you baptize in the name of Jesus, that's true baptism." They said my baptism was invalidated. It wasn't proper baptism because it didn't have the proper formula of words to it.

I've seen people go and get baptized numerous times because they've been told this type of thing.

John: You get churches started up over this issue. People who believe this believe it rabidly, that unless you're baptized with the right words being said, then it just doesn't count. What I found so fascinating about this is, nowhere in the bible do we have recorded the words that were uttered upon the occasion of somebody's baptism, nowhere.

You don't have somebody's recording, "Then he said, 'I now baptize you in the...,'" whatever. It just is not there. For us to go and put it there is to take a liberty and a license that hasn't been granted to us.

Gary: I think the closest we have is what Jesus said to us in Matthew 28:19-20, "Baptize them in the name of the father, son, and the holy spirit." But here's where people say, "See, it says 'name,' it's singular." The name of the father and the name of the son and the name of the spirit is Jesus. What they're really saying is that there aren't three persons in the godhead. It's called the Oneness doctrine. Jesus is the father, he is the son, he is the holy spirit. Therefore, you have to be baptized in the name of Jesus.

John: You've got to jump through some hoops to come to that conclusion, that Jesus is all three and not one of three.

Gary: But what proof do we have that he isn't all three?

John: Well, Jesus prayed to his father, and he referred to "the father and me." In Jesus' mind, there were two people. He spoke about the spirit and said, "When he, the spirit of truth is coming... " He didn't say, "When I come back as the Holy Spirit..." Jesus referred to three distinct individuals. To think that he was all three of those individuals is to go outside the parameters of the bible. The bible-believing Christian doesn't want to do that. You want to stay right where the bible is.

Gary: This thing about being baptized in the name of Jesus, if you take the book of Acts... I would challenge our listeners for you to go through the book of Acts. Get a Concordance, get an electronic bible on your computer, and type in "name of Jesus" or "name of" is what you have to do. Because you'll find there isn't a specific formula. Sometimes it says, like in Acts 2:38, "the name of Jesus Christ." In other times, it's the "name of the Lord." It's all sorts of different formulas there.

That tells me that it doesn't have to be "in the name of Jesus." It's got to be "in the name of our Lord and Savior." It's the concept there, not exactly what you say.

John: It needs to be baptism and it needs to be by immersion. That's very clear. I think that in our last program we talked about the great symbolism that bible baptism demonstrates. Just one more thing on this name of Jesus... What do you think he meant? He said, "Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." What was he on about? Well, there he is at Pentecost. He's preaching to all these people. Many of them are responsible for the death of Jesus directly or indirectly.

He's talking about the messiah. They had never accepted Jesus as the messiah. He said, "Jesus is the messiah." Oh, wow. What do we do? Repent and be baptized "in the name of Jesus."

In other words, repent and be baptized accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, surrendering to him and being his follower. He certainly wasn't saying, "Be baptized and make sure the preacher utters these words..."

Gary: He was telling them you're going to accept the most important biblical truth for this generation. When you say "Jesus Christ," "Christ" wasn't Jesus' last name. It's saying that you accept Jesus as messiah. The word "Christ" is the Greek version of "messiah," which is a Hebrew word. What they're saying is you're being baptized accepting the fact that this man Jesus, born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth; that this man who taught and died on the cross, that he is the promised messiah of all of bible prophecy. You're accepting that as a fact and you're accepting him as your Lord and Savior. That's what they're saying.

John: That was the key issue there. The key issue was whether you're going to accept this man as the savior of the world, as the messiah, or whether you're not. That's what it boils down to. Friend, when you accept Jesus as your savior, he invites you to enter into this wonderful experience of baptism. The old you is gone. You are consenting that through the power of God, the old man is put to death.

A new person is created and is resurrected to come out of the waters of baptism. For more on this, you've got to get our free offer today. "Baptism: Is It Really Necessary?" A little book we'd like you to have.

It's free, we'll send it to you. Just contact us by any of the means we'll share with you at the end of the program and we'll send you that book.

Gary: John, another question that I've run into about baptism is do we need to speak in tongues when we're baptized? Because we do have occasions where people are baptized and then they speak in tongues. If you've not spoken in tongues after you've been baptized by water, does it mean you've really not been baptized?

John: Well, look at the Bible. Jesus was baptized and there's no mention of Jesus coming out of the water and speaking in tongues. In fact, there's no mention anywhere in the bible that Jesus ever spoke in tongues. Now, let me say this. If you get baptized and you come out of the water and you speak in tongues, that's according to the biblical method of tongues, I would just say, "Praise the Lord," and thank God for that.

But you don't need to go and make your experience the normative experience for everybody that they have to experience. How about the man from Ethiopia? He was baptized, nothing about him speaking in tongues. The Philippian jailer, same... What do you think?

Gary: I would agree with you on that. But a lot of people have been put on serious guilt trips and made to feel like they're less than Christian because they've been told you have to speak in tongues, and the bible doesn't sustain that whatsoever.

John: I met a lady, she was about 40 years old. As far as I could tell, she was an earnest, Christian, God-fearing woman, but she told me that she was convinced she was not saved. I asked her why. She seemed... You can't always see, maybe there was something under the surface, lurking. But she seemed outwardly to be quite the Christian. She told me, because she didn't speak in tongues, she wasn't saved.

I said, "But you love the Lord." Yes. "You've repented." Yes. "You serve him." Yes, but I'm not saved because I don't have this gift, and that's just not something you can substantiate from the bible. It's a deadly idea. Not biblical.

Gary: In fact, in 1 Corinthians 12, the gift of tongues, if I remember correctly, it's the last of the gifts. The apostle Paul actually numbers the gifts. He says first, there's the gift of apostles. Then there's the prophets and teachers. But then, the last gift in this list is tongues, which would mean that it's the least important of the gifts. Yet, we're kind of inverting this aren't we when we say you have to speak in tongues in order to be saved.

John: To say that is to say something that the bible doesn't say, so let's stay with the Bible. Can I ask another question here? That's the question of is it ever appropriate for a person to be baptized more than once, re-baptized?

Gary: I believe it is. It's just like if you've been married and divorced and you're going to get remarried, you need another marriage ceremony.

John: Can't I just go move in back with that person?

Gary: No. You want to be re-baptized if you have lived for Christ, you died to the old man. But then, all of a sudden, somewhere in your life, you fall away from Christ. I'm not talking about the occasional sin or learning how to walk with God victoriously. I'm talking about a major falling away, just turning your back on God, leaving God, leaving everything you know to be true. You come back, you need to be re-baptized when you're reunited with him. We have an example of that, don't we, John? Not of the falling away, but we have an example of re-baptism.

John: Yes, in Acts 19, and these were disciples according to the Bible. There was Paul and he found these folks and he spoke to them. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit and they said, "We didn't know what you're talking about," and he shared with them this knowledge. Because they had taken an exponential leap, their knowledge had grown exponentially and their experience had deepened, they felt like it was appropriate to be re-baptized. That's another time re-baptism is probably necessary.

There are times that people that are committed to the Lord and following him as far as they know. But then they discover there are some things missing. They'd been breaking one or more of the commandments maybe for years.

They're doing things to their body they shouldn't be doing. They felt more light. They say, "I'm going to start again and wash all that away." Thank God he gives us the opportunity to have a cleansed record after we'd gone and botched it.

Gary: If we've been baptized and we've fallen away from the Lord or you've learned life-changing significant truth, you could be re-baptized. Or, if you've not been baptized at all, now is the time to study this topic out, and look at what God wants you to do. It's a wonderful experience. It's a time that you could look back on and say, "Here's where I made my commitment to Christ" and you'll sense the infilling of God's spirit if you're baptized.

John: I'll never forget the day I was baptized. It was a wonderful moment. I'd given my heart to Jesus Christ. I was a child of God and then I knew that from that moment on, God was with me. Thank God for the gift of baptism. If you've not experienced it, you pray, you study, you speak to somebody and speak to the Lord, and go for it. Thanks for joining us. See you again next time here on Bible Talk.

If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you want to know.

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