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Does God Really Require Immersion In Water?

Some time ago David Martin, minister at the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Bartlett, TN, authored an article entitled “Common Sense Questions A ‘Church Of Christ’ Preacher Cannot Clearly Answer.” This article contains 13 questions that address subjects such as the necessity of baptism and instrumental music. Through much study and reading on these subjects I have formulated answers that cite “book, chapter, and verse” references showing what the Bible teaches regarding these questions. This article addresses Mr. Martin’s third question.

It is my prayer that anyone who reads this article will study the verses cited with an open mind to truly learn what God’s Word teaches. Obedience to God’s Word, nothing more and nothing less, is what will get us to Heaven. We all want to go, but we have to remember that those who reach Heaven will do so on God’s terms, not man’s.


If the water pipes broke and the baptistry was bone dry, would my salvation have to wait until the plumber showed up? If I were to die before then, would I go to hell? If obedience to water baptism is the means of forgiveness of sins, then I would.


The real question here is not whether one has to be baptized in the baptistery or be condemned as the writer of the question implies. The real question is whether God requires immersion in water for salvation. The answer to this question is “Yes, He has.” There are many scriptures that can be cited to show that he has. Here are a few.
Mar 16:15-16
(15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
(16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
To me, this verse alone removes all doubt as to whether baptism is required. Jesus said as recorded by Mark, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” No doubt, both are required. In Acts 2:38 Peter also makes it clear that baptism is required.
Act 2:38
(38) 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.
There are several more that are just as clear, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:1-11, Colossians 2:11-13, Galatians 3:27, and 1 Peter 3:21.

Can I or anyone else say that someone who dies on the way to the baptistery is going to be lost? No, that is up to God and God only. What we can do is look at the Bible and see what God requires for salvation and compare that to what a person has or has not done.

We have faith that God keeps His promises. If we didn’t, then why would we even attempt to obey Him? From the scriptures we see that salvation is promised to those who are baptized. This is a promise that God will keep. That is why there should be urgency in baptizing those who believe. Salvation has only been promised to those who have obeyed.

We also need to remember that baptism is immersion and it is in water. It does not have to take place in the baptistery in the church building to be a scriptural baptism. There was nothing special about the place where the eunuch was baptized.
Act 8:35-36
(35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
(36) 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?
All we know is that there was water – enough water for both of them to go down into. Philip had taught the eunuch about Jesus and the only requirement was that the he believe.
Act 8:37-39
(37) 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.
(38) 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.
(39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Baptism is a part of God’s Law. Man trying to rationalize salvation without it is nothing more than changing God’s Law and none of us has the authority to do that. God did not, however, place any importance on where this was to take place. Modern baptisteries are a luxury and a great convenience, but it can just as well be done in a lake, river, pond, creek, or bathtub as long as it is immersion for the remission of sin.

By:  Donnie Autry

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