My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

December 18, 2017


By Paul Tatham               


Mark 16:16


"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


Is baptism part of salvation?  (Such a position is sometimes called "baptismal regeneration.")


It's the last chapter of Mark's gospel.  Mark is giving some details of Easter Sunday. Then he goes into the Great Commission. In the Great Commission, Christ tells His followers to evangelize and seems to include baptism as part of His plan of salvation.


In the preponderance of scripture, there is no mention of baptism being linked to salvation. Approximately 150 New Testament passages state that salvation is by faith alone. Only three passages in the Bible make the salvation-baptism connection. Just three!                          

1. Mark 16:15-16 says, "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."

2. Acts 2:38 says, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

3. Acts 22:16 says, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

Scores of salvation verses never mention baptism. Not one Bible verse says that he who is not baptized is lost.  Nor is baptism ever mentioned as part of the gospel when the gospel is defined, such as in I 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"

Water baptism is an outward expression of an inward change.  We get baptized because we want to tell the world about our faith in Christ.  It's a public declaration.

Water baptism is not necessary for salvation. As my father used to say, "Baptism doesn't make you a Christian; it marks you a Christian."  All Christians should be baptized, but baptism is not necessary for salvation.

In the Mark 16 passage, if unbelief is the only basis for condemnation, then it must follow that belief must be the only necessary ingredient for salvation.

To be consistent, if baptism were necessary for salvation, you would think the verse would add "but he that believeth not, 'and is not baptized,' shall be damned." 

But it doesn’t. This passage simply means that baptism is the expected outward expression of belief. Again, baptism is not a condition of salvation but a proclamation of salvation.

In the Acts 2 passage, the Greek rendering disassociates baptism as part of the remission of sins.

In the Acts 22 passage, Paul is addressing Jews at his defense in Jerusalem. Like the Acts 2 passage, where Peter is preaching his famous sermon to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, there is a sense in which a Jew “washed away his sins” by disassociating himself from his Christ-rejecting nation by water baptism.

At baptism, a Jew repudiated the awful action his nation had taken when it killed its Messiah. It was a public declaration.

Baptism, in and of itself, did not save them, but it was a public admission that they—the Jews—had made a grievous mistake. Baptism saved them on the man-ward side.

This concept is similar to the teaching of the book of James, in which works saves us on the man-ward side while faith saves us on the god-ward side.

Following is further support for the view that baptism is not a part of salvation:

•    The thief on the cross was not baptized but he went to Heaven nonetheless (Luke  23:43)

•    Paul stressed the importance of preaching the gospel rather than baptizing (I Corinthians 1:17); he separates the two

•    No mention of baptism in Acts 3:19--Peter is preaching: "Repent [only], that your sins may be blotted out"

•    The Gentiles in Caesarea were baptized after they were saved (Acts 10:44-48)

That speaks volumes!                      

So why was the Lord Jesus Christ baptised? Although not explained in scripture, Christ was baptized probably to set an example for all those who would follow Him as their Lord and Savior.