Water Baptism Is Not Necessary, Nor Allowed, For Salvation
by David J. Stewart | November 2019
1st Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
One of the deadliest and most popular false doctrines promoted among the religious CULTS today is called “Baptismal Regeneration.” As the term sounds it is the belief that a person can be born-again (regenerated) by being water baptized. This damnable heresy is taught by the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists and countless more false religions. To be regenerated means “to be re-gened” from above! It means to have He (Jesus) Who is the beginning born in you! When a lost sinner receives Christ sacrifice on the cross as full payment for their sins, believing that Christ bodily raised up the third day, that person is eternally saved!!!
Pastor Max D. Younce of the Heritage Baptist Bible Church in Minnesota (and my friend for 15 years) wrote a very helpful book called: “A BIBLICAL EXAMINATION OF BAPTISM | .PDF” if you would like to read it.
What saith the Scripture? ...
Romans 6:1-6, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Carefully notice the words “like” and “likeness.” Water baptism is an outward snapshot of what has happened inwardly. Baptism symbolizes the Gospel—Jesus DEATH on the cross, His BURIAL, and His bodily RESURRECTION three days later. When a person is water baptized by immersion (going under the water), it pictures one's faith in Christ Who died, was buried and raised up. So Romans 6:1-6 is only talking about the LIKENESS of the Gospel. This passage is talking about walking in the NEWNESS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE... “so we also should walk in newness of life” (verse 4). This passage is not about being saved. Paul is writing “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7). Paul is writing to Christians! Paul is saying in Romans 6:3-4 that just as Jesus died, was buried, and raised up from the dead, even so should we AS BELIEVERS crucify the old man and walk in newness of life in the Holy Spirit, “that henceforth we should not serve sin” (verse 6). This passage is about DISCIPLESHIP, and not SONSHIP.
When a pastor baptizes a saved person in the baptistery, he says: “I baptize you my brother (or sister), as a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ—buried in the LIKENESS of His death, raised in the LIKENESS of His resurrection!” You see, it is only the “LIKENESS” of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Water baptism is like a wedding ring, it symbolizes the marriage bond. A ring does not make a person married, just as baptism does not make a person saved. If a woman doesn't wear a ring, she is still married. The same is true with salvation. Water baptism is one's public profession of faith in the 'GOOD NEWS' of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen.
Also, the Gospel of John is God's Gospel tract. John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” The Gospel of John does not teach us to be baptized. Jesus taught us how to be saved in John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” There is no mention of water baptism. In the Gospel of John we find the word “BELIEVE” mentioned 87 times.
In 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 the apostle Paul defines “THE GOSPEL” as being comprised of three things:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
That is “The Gospel” by which we are saved. God promises to “SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21b).
Another thing is that John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) wrote the epistle of 1st John so believers could “KNOW THAT YE ARE SAVED” (1st John 5:13b). Yet, John never mentions the word “baptism” even once in the epistle of 1st John. If water baptism were required for salvation, then certainly John would have emphasized it's importance for salvation, but he didn't. Clearly, water baptism is not essential to be saved. There are many other evidences in the inspired Word of God that water baptism is not necessary, nor allowed, as part of saving-faith. It is ludicrous to think that God would require someone to be immersed in a body of water to receive the free gift of eternal life! What saith the Scripture? Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Here are some helpful sermons on BAPTISM by Pastor Steven L. Anderson...
THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS...
BAPTISM AND THE RESURRECTION...
BAPTISM AND THE FLOOD...
I also heard a wonderful sermon this week that you will love by Pastor Jack Hyles. He explains water baptism in the sermon. I didn't think much of the name of the following sermon when I first read it, but I was amazed when I actually heard the sermon. It is all about salvation and a beautiful sermon indeed, one of my favorite! The sermon is called: “YEA, YEA, AND NAY, NAY.”
Here is a portion of Dr. Younce's book, “A BIBLICAL EXAMINATION OF BAPTISM,” in which he explains Mark 16:15-16...
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned."
At one's first reading, "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" would seem contradictory to the multiplicity of Verses which say we are saved by believing only. For example, 1st John 5:13 states authoritatively that a person can know with absolute certainty that they possess eternal life, yet there is no mention of water baptism.
"These things have I written unto you THAT BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
Peter states it is not water baptism or any human effort that redeems a person, but only the blood of Christ.
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1st peter 1:18,19)
One should take the time to check his concordance and read all the Verses that promise eternal life by faith and belief ONLY. The gospel of John, where belief and faith are mentioned over 100 times, would be a good place to start. Here is just a couple:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." (John 6:47)
Comparing these Verses with Mark 16:16, there either has to be an explanation or we definitely have a contradiction between Peter, Mark, and John! May I draw your attention to the last phrase in Mark 16:16, "...He that believeth not shall be damned."
It does not say,
"...He that believeth not (and is not baptized) shall be damned."
Only those who "believe not" shall be damned--in perfect accordance with John's statement in John 3:18...
"...He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
Both Mark 16:16 and John 3:18 state that a person is condemned if they do not believe; but nothing is said about being condemned if one is not baptized. All Scriptures agree to this conclusion. Since we are not condemned for not being baptized, then what does the opposite mean when Mark says "He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved"?
It is easy to understand this Verse when the child of God realizes there are TWO who recognize that he is justified as being saved. The "believing" in Mark 16:16 justifies the person in the eyes of God as being saved; this is our position in God's eyes, our salvation by belief or faith. Their public baptism is their testimony, justifying them as being saved in the EYES OF MAN. The lost will not recognize and justify a person as being a child of God, unless he hears the testimony AND sees the works compatible to a Christian. Baptism declares,
"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation."
This identification is justification in man's eyes that I am saved. "Believeth" in Mark 16:16 is to the Book of Romans what baptism is to the Book of James. Romans 4:5 says,"...But to them that worketh not, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness (justification in God's eyes)."
Notice James 2:17, 18 where man cannot see our faith, unless it is outwardly evidenced.
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead (in man's eyes), being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works (justification in man's eyes)."
Therefore, "he that believeth" justifies me in God's eyes as being saved, AND my baptism justifies me as being saved in man's eyes.
"Believeth" is my position before God, whereas baptism is my walk and testimony before men.
We are taught in hundreds of Bible passages that salvation is simply BY FAITH alone in the dear Lord Jesus Christ.
The Danger of Lifting Text Out of Context to Create a New Pretext
It is bad Bible interpretation to take one Bible verse; such as, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” in Romans 10:9a, and add it to the Gospel. Some people teach that you have to “confess” Christ publicly to be saved. If they would only “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES” (John 5:39a) they would read in John 12:42-43, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” So we see that MANY of the chief rulers believed and were saved, but they DID NOT CONFESS HIM before men. It is false doctrine to lift Romans 10:9 out of context, to create a pretext (a new meaning) that says you must confess Christ before men to be saved. Always, always, always compare Scripture with Scripture, to find the proper interpretation of any particular Bible passage, “rightly dividing” the Word of Truth!
The same is true of water baptism. In hundreds of passages baptism is not mentioned concerning salvation, but we are told only to “believe.” John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” That's very plain and simple. Church of Christ and other cults who teach the heresy of Baptismal Regeneration interpret Mark 16:16 by itself, which is very bad Bible exegesis. To “rightly divide” the Scriptures we must take into account the whole counsel of God. 2nd Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The cults always lift a single Bible verse text out of context, creating a new pretext (a new meaning). Like solving a puzzle, we must compare Scripture with Scripture to obtain the proper meaning. If we attempt to interpret the meaning of any particular Bible verse, our suggested interpretation must agree with the rest of the Bible. If the puzzle piece does not fit, then we know we have the wrong meaning.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, he was worried about them, having heard that a cult teaching works for salvation had infiltrated the church. So Paul asks them ONE THING—“How did you get saved, by WORKS or by FAITH?” Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” I love that last part of the verse—THE HEARING OF FAITH! That is how a person gets saved, by simply believing (trusting) the Gospel when they hear it preached. The apostle Peter preached the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” There were 3,000 people saved in one day, BY GLADLY RECEIVING HIS WORD, that is, saved by the HEARING OF FAITH! And then AFTERWARDS, they were water baptized as a public profession of their faith.
There are a bunch of doctrinal nuts in the churches! Baptist pastor David Hoffman in Tennessee actually teaches that the earth is flat. I wrote this article refuting him. Can you believe in 2019 that there are still people who think the earth is flat? And this man is a Baptist pastor! Pastor Hoffman misinterprets Revelation 1:7, claiming that the only way “every eye shall see him” is for the earth to be flat. Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Isn't that crazy? I guess he's never seen a satellite photo of the earth. Even Isaiah 40:22b mentions “the circle of the earth.” My point is that if a person takes pieces of Scripture here and there to fabricate doctrines, they can come up with anything! That is exactly what wicked Church of Christ cult members do, wrestling the Holy Scriptures to justify their ungodly heresy of Baptismal Regeneration.
Here's a classic example used by Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) to deny Jesus' deity from John 14:28, “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” JW's lift the text “my Father is greater than I” out of context, creating a new pretext that says Jesus is not God. Anybody can teach anything if they lift Bible texts out of context. JW's don't consider John 10:33, “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” JW's also ignore John 8:56-59, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” The Jews knew that Jesus was claiming to be God, the “I AM,” which is why they tried to kill Him with stones! Exodus 3:14, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” So we see that Jesus is in fact almighty God, and He did claim to be God.
Yet the wicked JW's say Jesus is not God, by lifting the text “my Father is greater than I” out on context and ignoring other Scripture passages. That is what Church of Christ, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Lutherans and Seventh-Day Adventists do with water baptism. Run dear reader from any false prophet who tells you that water baptism is required to be saved.
Water Baptism Always Happens AFTER a Person is Saved
No one in the Bible was ever water baptized until AFTER they were saved. What saith the Scripture? In the following passage the Ethiopian eunuch saw some water, and asked Phillip if he could get baptized. Phillip tells him that he must first BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God. Acts 8:36-38, “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” The eunuch was baptized BECAUSE he already believed, not to get saved.
This is why Infant Baptism is very wrong, because a baby is not old enough to be saved. Believer's baptism is only for one who has been born-again, by receiving the “GOOD NEWS” of Christ crucified on the cross, buried and bodily risen the third day, by their own decision.
Beware of the Devil's Counterfeit Bible Versions!
By the way, the modern Bible PERversions completely remove Acts 8:37. Here is what the inspired King James Bible reads:
Acts 8:36-38, “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” [emphasis added]
Please make sure you are sitting down! Now here is what the corrupt Easy-To-Read Version (ERV) that Harvest Baptist Church on Guam reads (carefully notice that they have removed faith in the Son of God to be saved):
Easy-To-Read Version (ERV) - Acts 8:36-37, "While they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look, here is water! What is stopping me from being baptized?” Then the official ordered the chariot to stop. Both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him."
And here is the corrupt English Standard Version (ESV) that Bob Jones University uses, sells in their Bruins bookstore, and promotes...
English Standard Version (ESV) - Acts 8:36-38, "And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him."
Kindly, the Bob Jones camp are helping to strengthen the hand of the wicked, by promoting the Devil's fake Bible versions. Ezekiel 13:22, “Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:” These modern corrupt Bibles are full of lies which deceive men's souls.
And here is the popular corrupt New International Version (NIV) used in most churches today...
“As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?' And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”
Isn't that horrible? These corrupted Bible versions completely remove believing on the Son of God, teaching that the Ethiopian eunuch got saved by just being baptized in water. IT IS WICKEDNESS!!! No wonder people are so confused and messed up these days doctrinally. That is why I expose Harvest Baptist Church on Guam, who are all alumni of Bob Jones University. The Devil sure is slick, the greatest salesman in the world. Satan is so good at what he does, that even the Bible colleges and churches have eaten the forbidden fruit! It is because preachers are not standing up today against heresy and evil, that we are losing the battle. Thankfully, the war has already been won by the Blood of the Lamb! Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” God cares, and I care, but do you care? I expose the Devil's counterfeit Bible versions because I care. Churches who don't care, go along to get along with the Devil's program.