The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision and has no bearing on salvation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/1/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,261 times Debate No: 41507
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




I firmly believe that Baptism is not a requirement to receive salvation. Salvation is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). This is not downplaying baptism as a sacrament however it has no salvific properties. I agree that Christians should be baptized but it is not a requirement for salvation.


In his encounter with Nicodemus, Christ made it clear that baptism was necessary for salvation.
John 3:5
'Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'
Mark 16:16
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
That tradition continued after Christ's ascension into heaven. The apostle Peter reaffirmed the need for Baptism.
Acts 2:38
'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.'

Just think of baptism like a ticket into a club, a club of believers.

I will wait for my opponents response!
Debate Round No. 1


Well said and thank you for engaging in this debate

In answer to my opponents statements: First Jesus' answer to the Nicodemus question. The issue with interpreting this verse to mean baptism is that, if interpreted that way, stands alone as the only scripture verse calling for baptism as a means to salvation. We must look at the entirety of scripture, not just one verse to fully understand its meaning. I must also point out that John 3:5 does not mention baptism at all, it is referring to a new birth and to water in terms of cleansing. When looking at the word used for "water", we see that is the Greek word "hudwr" (Strong's number G5204). The Greek word for baptism is "baptisma" (Strong's number G908). If Jesus had wanted to refer to baptism, He would have used this word. In fact, the word (or a variation of it) occurs 112 times in the New Testament. A look at the rest of the discussion with Nicodemus tells us exactly what Jesus meant, especially verses 14-18. Here water means the cleansing of the Spirit through salvation in Jesus Christ.

Mark 16:16 answers itself within itself. It states that you must believe and then be baptized, but then it states only those that don't believe are condemned. In context this is much better understood to mean that those that believe should be baptized, but those that don't believe, regardless of Baptism, are condemned. The verse says itself that it is unbelief that causes damnation, not the state of baptism.

Acts 2:38 follows suit with Mark in making salvation and baptism two separate actions. We must first repent and repentence only occurs once the mind believes it has something to repent for. Once this occurs, the believer should be baptized in order to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, not salvation. This verse is showing simply that in order to be completely filled with the Holy Spirit and to minister to your full potential you must believe and be baptized. However this verse is not describing requirements for salvation.

The concurrence of Scripture is overwhelming in support of salvation through Christ alone. I submit the following:

Ephesians 2:8,9 ) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."
"(Romans 11:6) "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
"(Galatians 2:16) "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
"(2 Timothy 1:9) "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
"(Titus 3:5) "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Its important to note that Titus 3:5 can be compared with John 3:5 in context.

I yield the floor to my Brother in Christ!


First off, you are one of the few who are respectful.
The apostle James contradicts the faith alone doctrine.

James 2:24: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."

In fact Jesus said it himself !

Matthew 7:21 (part of the Sermon on the Mount): "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."


Revelation 20:13: "All the dead were judged according to their deeds."

And again,

Matthew 28:19-20a (part of the Great Commission): "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

So Baptism is neccesary for salvation. I will wait!
Debate Round No. 2


It is always important to be respectful, regardless of position or belief.

Again, well thought out argument

I must point out however, that these are proof texts that only appear to make baptism a requirement when removed from the context of scripture in its entirety.

1.) James 2:24, within context makes the argument for proving the faith of a person. The point James makes here is that faith without works is dead. But the argument is that you must have faith first. There is no mention of baptism in this verse as well. The context of this verse points to works being actions to the world for Christ. James is not speaking of baptism but actions to make the world a better place. I would dare argue that these are actions after faith and baptism, since scripture does make it clear we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit after baptism (Titus 3:5)

2.) Matthew 7:21 actually is speaking to the will of the Father. The verse declares that only those who practice and seek the Will of God will be admitted into heaven. This is another example of faith needing to be already established. One must believe to desire to aspire to The Will of God. This means a step of faith is absolutely necessary before action, in this case the Will of God. Not to mention, like the James verse, baptism is not mentioned here. It must be assumed that baptism is an action. I agree that it is but this is an action that occurs prior to seeking the Will of the Father but after a decision for faith, and I argue that it"s this decision, not the actions that occur afterward that secure salvation.
As we will see in your Great Commission quoted verses, the action of faith precedes the action of baptism or any other actions.
In Matthew we see that you must be a disciple before you can be baptized. The order is to make disciples and then baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The action of baptism here is an action accomplished after faith.

3.) Your Revelation reference really speaks again to actions done after decision. We can choose to accept Christ or not, once the decision for faith occurs we can then choose to be baptized. Scripture dictates that all will be judged by their deeds, regardless of salvation or baptism. We will all be judged and found wanting (Daniel 5:27) or guilty. For those who accepted Christ in faith will then receive a reprieve because the punishment has already been carried out. Again, this is because of the action of Christ, not running water.

I await your reply Brother!


I realize that we have gotten way off track so i will try to keep it short.

Does faith work with works ?
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by janetsanders733 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Good job to both debaters. However, Pro really showed the context of these verses don't require baptism for salvation. And, that the holy spirit baptizes your heart, not the water itself.
Vote Placed by kbub 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Great job on both sides. Pro did an excellent job on defense with the notion of contextualizing verses. This was a key component of the debate. While Con did provide some challenging verses, (s)he does not effectively defend their isolated validity in later rounds. Also, I totally do not understand Con's last round, I'm sorry to say. I've seen this before. Although simple can be good, I'm worried that you lost a chance for some stronger arguments by sacrificing the last round to a question, Con. In addition Con, please remember that "other people" are voting on your debate. Be careful of indirectly insulting the rest of us when you compliment your opponent (especially since we are judging your debate!). I will not take points off for that, of course.