Thinking Cap # 16 - The Question: Must You be Baptized to go to Heaven?
Baptism.... If you're a good "Baptist," you just had all sorts of mental
pictures from that one word. Most of them accurate I would suspect. But the word has also
spawned some rather aberrant (my opinion) religious practices. Being raised a Methodist, I
was baptised as a helpless infant. My wife, having been raised a Lutheran was taught that
her baptism brought her "into God's family" and thus assured her of heaven
(that's precisely what the liturgy said). But of more interest to me in this thinking cap
is the question of whether or not you must be baptized to go to heaven.
It would certainly appear that John 3:5 teaches that concept. There is also the
favorite verse "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16). I
was taught in my mathematics classes that the word "and" in that verse means
that both conditions must be satisfied in order for the condition to be true. Your thots
please. Must one be baptized in order to go to heaven? Responses, if you're are so
inclined are due by midnight, Friday, July 28.
I had a wonderful 3+ week vacation. Put on 5652 miles as we travelled from Florida to
Wisconsin for my parents 50th Wedding anniversary. Was a very pleasant experience.
Drove east through the UP and across upper Ontario into French Quebec. Time with
friends in northern Vermont, up Mt. Washington and four nights with the Olsons in rural,
rustic and relaxing Maine. Checked out the Rockwell museum and spent a couple days in
Bayonne, NJ, then on for a neat weekend with the Meldrims in Raleigh before returning
home. I'd like to say I used the time to prepare this Thinking Cap response, but I'd be
lying. I did read 3 great books though.
I heard from Bob B, Mike C, Martin O, and Brian H. Here is how I would handle the
question at hand.
The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet
and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B. C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is
helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the
vegetable should first be `dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then `baptized'
(baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a
solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable,
produces a permanent change.
When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and
identification with Christ than to our water baptism. For example, Mark 16:16. `He that
believes and is baptized shall be saved'. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent
is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the
Have you been "pickled"
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