Question:

Hi.

I received the below email and am having a tough time responding to these verses in regards to is baptism being necessary for salvation. I was hoping you might be able to help with these verses.

Thank you

Here are the places in Acts that you need to check out. Also, remember that not all mention of people being saved in Acts were said to have been baptized. Check out these passages.

"But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand" (Acts 4:4).

"The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). Yes they were obedient in that they believed.

"It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon" (Acts 9:42-43).

"And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord" (Acts 11:21-22).

"When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48-49).

There is no mention of water baptism here just that the people had faith in Christ. If water baptism is essential for salvation you would think it would be included in every place people were saved.


Answer:

The person is creating a false precision. There are many more examples of salvation recorded in Acts beyond the ones listed. He merely selected the few that do not happen to mention baptism. What he falsely assumes is that if something is not mentioned specifically, then it could not have taken place. From that he then assumes that baptism is not necessary for salvation.

Take a look at the example of conversions in Acts and notice that only the conversion of Cornelius mentions all the things typically connected with salvation. So let's turn this argument around. Acts 2:38, the conversion of Saul in Acts 9, the start of the church in Antioch in Acts 11:26, the conversion of Lydia in Acts 16:13-14, the start of the church in Thessalonica in Acts 17:2-4, the conversion of Apollos in Acts 18:26, and the start of the church in Ephesus in Acts 19:2-4 all do not mention faith, so by this man's reasoning he should declare that faith isn't necessary for salvation, which of course he would never do. But that is because the argument is illogical.

Take a look at What Saves a Person? to see that there is no single answer to that question, nor does every example of conversion mentions everything that is involved in salvation.

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).

Thanks for your reply. You definitely helped me think from a perspective I was not aware of. I was looking at the conversion chart page. To me they believed in Acts 2. Might want to think about adding that one to the chart. It really goes to show that baptism is part of God's plan. It says they were pricked in the heart. This means they believed I would think. Then even after they believed they still needed saved. Thanks again so much for the reply it really helped.

I agree that faith is implied in Acts 2; in fact, because the people responded in the various conversions, we can say that it is implied in all the cases even when not directly mentioned, but that is because we know that faith is necessary for salvation and a person would not become a Christian without faith. However, the truth of the matter is that because Galatians 3:26-27 and Romans 6:3-4 state that all Christians were baptized we can also assume that all the conversions in Acts included baptism even when not directly stated. For example, Acts 6:7 states that they were becoming obedient to the faith. Your friend claimed that was faith, but obedient means they did something because of their faith. You and I understand that one of those things would have been baptism, even though it wasn't directly stated.

When I created the chart years ago, I purposely kept it to what was directly stated and not what was implied because of the games some play with the text. As an example, I recently had a discussion with a man regarding Acts 16:30ff. He said the jailer was saved without baptism because when he asked what he had to do to be saved the initial answer only mentioned believe. It didn't matter to this man that two verses later (in the same hour of the night) it says he was baptized. It doesn't register with some people that real belief means obedience to commands, such as "be baptized."