Question:

If we are told that to be saved we must be baptized by being dunked in water, how or what allowances do you make for the sick, bedridden, old, or too young, who cannot go into water and dunk their head? 


Answer:

The argument is flawed because it seeks to find some exception to a rule to declare that the rule is therefor optional or unnecessary. Even if an exception were found, it would not change the rule itself. The point is that you are able to be baptized as God commanded; therefore, claiming that an imagined other person might not be able to be baptized does not excuse you from the command.

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"" (Acts 2:37-38).

""Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days" (Acts 10:47-48).

"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

"There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).

Prior to baptism, a person must hear God's Word, believe what they heard, repent of their sins, and confess Christ before others. This eliminates the too young because they have not yet sinned, nor are they able to learn God's word to believe it (Romans 10:7).

Those who are too infirm to be baptized would be in the same situation as those who died before accepting the Gospel message. It isn't that they didn't have the opportunity, but that they wasted the chances that they had. But in every case that I know of where a person wanted to be baptized, arrangements have been made in some form or another -- including using a hospital lift for those unable to enter the water on their own.

It is God who gave the command. It is man's duty to obey God. If there are exceptions, it is God who decides to give them. Man has no right to tell others that they are excused from obeying God. Men cannot say what God ought to do or should do. "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

Sir,

You are assuming my motives. I have already checked your answer to this question, and you seem to be attacking the questioner instead of helping us to understand.

I simply have not been able to find a verse that specifically states that one must be immersed to be saved. John the Baptist said in Luke 3 that: “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (NIV) That was the whole point of Jesus' coming, that we may be given the Holy Spirit if we accept Jesus into our heart, not because of anything we have done physically but what we have done spiritually. Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." (NIV) How can we say that anything that we have done physically could change how our sins are viewed through the eyes of God? Christ is what saves us, not water. The entire point of Jesus' coming was that we are no longer saved by works but by faith. It is good to be baptized, because it shows that we are made new, and is a symbol. I Peter 3:20-21 "water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This specifically says that the water symbolizes baptism, it does not become baptism. Baptism can be by water but it is primarily by the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit that saves you, not a random pool of water. A pledge is still a binding pledge even without a symbol. Faith is still faith. It is not dependent on works. I have yet to find the specific rule of immersion is the only form of baptism. I also cannot find anything that says a minister must be the one to perform a baptism. Can you give me verses for these two points please?

While you accuse me of assigning incorrect motives, you proceed to show that I was correct in guessing where you wanted to go with this conversation.

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jesus commanded that his disciples baptize to make other disciples. This cannot refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit since that baptism is initiated from heaven, not by those on earth. Even Cornelius, who had received the Holy Spirit was still commanded to be baptized in water. "Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:46-48). Saul was also commanded to be baptized and the purpose was stated: "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Peter also told those gathered on the day of Pentecost that they had to be baptized in order to receive forgiveness of their sins. "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"" (Acts 2:38). Once again, this cannot refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit because men cannot command God. Jesus also combined belief and baptism to yield salvation. "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

There is only one baptism today (Ephesians 4:4-6). I'm sorry you overlooked this passage. There are only two examples of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit and in both cases those people also were baptized in water. You admit that baptism by water does appear in the New Testament, but you seek to minimize it by saying it is primarily by the Holy Spirit. Since we know man cannot initiate baptism by the Holy Spirit, your argument is false. Baptism in the New Testament is primarily by water and there are two rare examples of people being baptized by the Holy Spirit. "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"" (Acts 8:36).

Interestingly, you claim that if we receive Jesus in our hearts we will be saved -- yet there is no passage in the Bible that says this.

You stopped one verse too soon in quoting Ephesians 2. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). Baptism is a work of God because He is the one commanding it. "In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Colossians 2:11-13). You claim that a pledge is still a pledge without the accompanying action. So you claim people under the Old Covenant would still be Israelites without circumcision? Yet baptism today is the equivalent of circumcision in the Old Testament.

Yes, the water in Noah's flood symbolizes the baptism of believers in the New Testament. But that baptism in the New Testament still saves. "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" (I Peter 3:21).

I'm sorry that you lack faith in God's teachings. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). God commands baptism, thus we teach it is necessary to obey the commands of God. Anything less means disbelief. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

"And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:18-19).