Baptism for salvation is a constant debate. The Bible is very clear on its necessity for salvation. However, there are countless arguments given by some to try and discredit the necessity of baptism and downplay the importance that scripture places on it.
Last week, I started a series of blog posts that is intended to look at some of these arguments and give a scriptural response to them. If you haven’t read the post from last week, it is probably best to read it first (click here).
I also want to point out, as I said in the post last week, that baptism in and of itself is not the only act of obedience required for salvation. It is not more important than any other act of obedience. However, it seems to be the one that is most controversial for some reason, so that’s the reason I am focusing on it.
Let’s take a look at two more arguments this week.
Argument #2: The apostles were never baptized, so why should I be?
This second argument is not one that is going to take long to answer. The question itself is based on an underlying assumption that is false. In order for this argument to carry any validity, then it must be assumed that the Bible contains a record of every single event that happened during the lives of the apostles. We only need to take a look at a single passage from Scripture to prove that assumption wrong. “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) This appears to be an exaggeration by the John. It’s commonly held that Jesus was approximately 33 years old when He was crucified and ascended into Heaven. Let’s assume that it takes 2 books to document everything Christ did in a single day. In 33 full years, that would be around 24,000 books written to record His life. There’s more than 16 million books in the Library of Congress today, so it would be possible for the world to hold those 24,000 books about Christ. But that’s not what John is saying. He’s simply making a very basic point. There are things done by Jesus that aren’t recorded in Scripture. That means its reasonable to assume that there are significant things that happened in the lives of the apostles that also aren’t recorded in Scripture. Do I know the details surrounding the salvation of each apostle? No. And neither do you. That means you can’t claim they were never baptized. No one knows if that’s a true statement.
Argument #3: If I’m required to be baptized for salvation, and someone has to baptize me, then Jesus’ power is not strong enough alone because another person is needed (i.e. the baptizer).
Before we address that, let’s take a look at one passage. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14) Let’s get away from baptism for a minute. According to Scripture, you can’t hear the Good News unless you have someone tell it to you. Remember that when this was written, the Bible didn’t exist yet. Today you might be able to read it in the Bible for yourself, but you didn’t write it. The simple fact is that you can’t go through the process of becoming a Christian without someone else being involved. Romans 10:14 tells us that’s true for hearing the Word, which is arguably the first step toward salvation. Why then is it difficult to admit that the same thing would be true for baptism. You can’t find a single account in the New Testament of anyone obtaining salvation without another person being involved (Acts 2:36-42; 8:4-13; 8:36-40; 10:34-48; 16:11-15). The closest you might come would be Saul on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), but was he saved at that point? No. When he asked Christ what to do, he was told to travel on to Damascus and he would be told what to do. When he got to Damascus, he was baptized by Ananias. The Bible does not give any specific qualifications regarding the one who performs the baptism. However, it is very clear that there is always someone who performs the baptism, just like there is someone to share the Word with you. That person does not carry any specific power. Just like having a preacher or a friend tell you about the love of Christ does not take away from the power of Christ, having someone perform the baptism does not take away from that power either.