Ask An Evangelical: Baptism and Salvation
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I know baptism is important, but is it necessary for salvation?
My understanding of Evangelical Christian beliefs echoes your knowledge that baptism is important but does not recognize it as necessary for salvation. Our perception of being saved comes from the belief that it cannot be due, in any part, because of something we did. Salvation comes about as an unmerited transfer of grace from our Savior. Unfortunately, within the broader church, and perhaps some Evangelical circles, the question’s not that easy.
There are two primary beliefs within Christianity regarding salvation and they are often referred to as faith vs. works. For those believers who feel something is required of us to warrant eternal life, baptism can be a requirement. The faith camp, on the other hand, would see baptism as a response to receiving salvation. And then there’s the other side of the coin.
What about the person who claims to be a Christian but hasn’t participated in baptism or other commonly held doctrines of what Christianity should look like? For them, it’s possible that their failure to be baptized is evidence that they never received the gift of faith in the first place. If they realize their ‘mistake’, I don’t think running down to the stream and getting dunked in the water by a pastor will suddenly grant them salvation.
Evangelical Christianity would say they need God’s saving grace to be manifested in their life, and following that, when the decision to become baptized hits, it will be for the right reason.
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