Ask what saved Noah, and most people will say the ark, thinking that the danger from which he needed saving was the water. But Peter says that the water saved that ancient preacher of righteousness, with his family, because the danger was that perverse generation, and the water separated them from it. As real as that salvation was, so is baptism, and so it saves us from our sins.

20  after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. 21  And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22  who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels and authorities and powers subject to him. (1 Peter 3:20-22 NET)

(Read my earlier, longer take on this here. Today’s post was inspired by John Wehan’s, “Saved by baptism?“)

The elders of the community should be called in to pray over the sick person. In the early Church the elders or ‘presbyters’ (presbuteroi, presbyteroi) exercised leadership in the community; they also taught and preached. They were the predecessors of our ‘priests’ who now have this leadership role. But there were as yet no priests, as we understand the term now, in the early church. Or rather, there was only one High Priest, Jesus Christ (see the Letter to the Hebrews). via Sacred Space.

Of course, this admission makes no difference to Catholic theologians, since what matters most to them is their tradition. Their tradition supercedes the Bible, for it is, in their view, the official interpretation of the Bible and the subsequent development of the Roman Catholic Church’s practices. They also readily admit that baptism in the first century was immersion. But things are different now, and that is a good thing. Continue reading

Q: My friend says that saying, “Come in to my heart, Jesus” saves you; I say Mk 16:16 is necessary. Why is baptism ignored?

A: Protestants have an aversion to baptism, apparently since the time of Martin Luther, who swung from the extreme of Roman Catholicism’s works-righteousness to declare that faith only saved.

Many see baptism as a work of merit, so it has to be excluded. They miss, however, that the New Testament identifies it as an act of obedience, but nowhere calls it a work of righteousness or merit.

The British Baptist scholar, F.F. Bruce, stated that the New Testament does not know of an unimmersed believer. But even he dispensed with the necessary reason for baptism. It’s been observed that, according to Baptist doctrine, it’s easier to get into heaven than it is to get into the Baptist church, for they teach it’s not necessary for salvation but it is to enter the Baptist church.

By helping our Protestant friends see the difference between works of merit and the obedience necessary to salvation, we might be able to help them overcome their aversion to it.

For as you say correctly, according to Mark 16:16 (and other texts) faith and baptism are necessary for salvation.

Have a question? Pop it to us on the Plink forum or in comments below.