Is Baptism Necessary To Be Saved?


Levi Durfey




Is baptism necessary to be saved? If it isn’t, then why should we be baptized? Many Christians have neglected being baptized for a variety of reasons, but in the end, it just boils down to not thinking baptism is that important.


It should be no surprise that there are Christian groups out there that have reacted against this seeming apathy to be baptized by making it a necessary part of being saved. 


One such group is called the church of Christ. One of their core beliefs is that a person must be baptized to be saved. Their “plan of salvation” is that you need to: Hear the Gospel, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent, publicly confess faith in Jesus, receive baptism for the forgiveness of sin, and remain faithful.


A popular book in the church of Christ is named, “Muscle and a Shovel” by Michael Shank. Shank’s book is basically the story about how he came to believe that baptism was necessary for salvation.


I could not find out why he named it “Muscle and a Shovel,” but it strikes me as a very odd name to give a book that is essentially a manual on how to get saved. Does it take muscle and a shovel to get saved?


I will say that I do appreciate the importance that Michael Shank and the churches of Christ give to baptism. I think they have overblown it by making  baptism necessary for salvation. But many other Christians have done the opposite and made baptism optional. The truth, as it often does, lies between.   


After thinking about this for awhile, I decided that if I got into a discussion with someone about whether or not baptism was was necessary for salvation, what I would do would be to change the topic: “So, what do you think about this crazy weather we’ve been having?” 


Okay, I wouldn’t change the subject that much, but I would try to focus the conversation more on the heart of salvation, namely…

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Answers To Questions About Baptism


Levi Durfey




Baptism is an ordinance that Christians are to undergo after they become believers in Christ. It’s an important ceremony for Christians, and so people have a quite a few questions about it. Let’s begin with…




Baptism is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ.


19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19–20)


These verses are known as the Great Commission, a command given by Christ to evangelize the nations. It has three parts to the command or mandate.


1. Go…we are to go and teach the truth about Jesus (in the sense of making disciples), much emphasis in the church is rightly placed on supporting missions and witnessing.


3. Teaching, so that believers will know how to follow Jesus. We believe that public teaching and private study of the Bible is very important.


Between these two important commands is the command to baptize. Think about that: Christ included baptism in the Great Commission! He was serious about it! We are to be baptized, it is the command of Christ, and his commands ought to be obeyed. Continue reading

Sermon: Believer’s Baptism


Selected Texts 20130519FBCPM


Iʼve been baptized three times (some of you probably wondered why I am all wet). As an infant still in the hospital, I was not expected to live long, so a priest came and baptized me. I would know nothing of this baptism until the day before my second baptism when I was finally told about it.

When I was saved, I had a limited knowledge about Christianity, much less about what the different denominations taught. I attended a Lutheran Church after I was saved. After witnessing a baptism, I felt the need to be baptized—which meant that I was sprinkled, of course.

I attended for 3 years a Lutheran Bible college. In my Junior year, I began to question Lutheran theology, and I did not return for my Senior year. Over the next two years, the baptism issue smoldered on the back burner.

Then I was typing the constitution for First Baptist Church in Bemidji, MN, and after reading carefully the statement on baptism, I did not feel that I had been baptized scripturally, and so finally, I was baptized by immersion Lake Bemidji (pronounced Burr-midji).

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