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

Baptism is not necessary for salvation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 666 times Debate No: 48250
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




There is a considerable amount of scholarship on both sides of this issue. One school of thought preaches baptism as an absolute necessity for salvation, while the other preaches it as merely a symbol and that all it takes to be saved is acceptance of Jesus into your heart.
I am taking the Con position, that is, the position that Jesus explicitly commands us to be baptized in order to receive salvation. My opponent will take the Pro position and must attempt to prove that baptism is not necessary for salvation.

FORMAT- please read carefully!
My opponent will present an opening argument in the first round. I'll begin my response in the second round.
4TH ROUND- to keep it fair, Pro will not present any new arguments in the 4th round. This ensures that both of us will have three chances to post an argument. Pro may make a brief closing statement if he wishes.

The rules for the debate are pretty simple-
1. As always, both debaters are expected to treat each other with the respect that Christ would have us display. No personal attacks or profanity.
2. Please accept ONLY if you define yourself as a Christian who accepts the belief that baptism is unnecessary for salvation. Don't accept just to troll or play devil's advocate. I also ask that you only accept if you plan to stick around for the entirety of the debate.
3. Votes and comments are encouraged, but I respectfully ask that no hateful or belittling remarks be made against any person or group of people, religious or not. Such remarks are uncalled for and do not prove anything.

A big thank you in advance to whoever accepts this debate!


I accept

One question can you use your testimony as an argument like the one you used when getting baptized
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Pro for accepting, but did you read the instructions? You were supposed to make the first argument in round 1. I guess we'll have to do it a little differently. Post your first argument in this round, and I will of course respond in the next. The rules for the 4th round still apply. We each have two chances to argue now.
Regarding your question, yes you can use your testimony as an argument, or better to say you can use it IN your argument.
The floor is yours, Pro. Why is baptism not necessary for salvation?


Baptism is not necessary for salvation because John 3:16 says "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" I think baptism is a symbol to the world that you have given your life to Christ you don't have to do that to have salvation like when Jesus told a parable of a rich man and a poor man in Luke 16:19-31 it tells us that the rich man had everything he wanted and Lazarus had nothing so I think he did not get baptized because he had nothing.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for posting your argument.

It seems that Pro has started with the usual argument: "it doesn't mention it here, so it's not necessary."
Specifically he cites John 3:16 which we all know: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Pro implies that since the passage does not mention baptism as a requirement to have eternal life, it must be unnecessary.
Let's follow Pro's logic here. The passage does not include baptism, so this must mean that it is unnecessary to gain eternal life. NEITHER does the passage mention repentance. Or living faithfully, or even "accepting Jesus into your heart" as the usual saying goes. Therefore, we must conclude that repenting of your sins, accepting Jesus into your heart, and living faithfully are not necessary for salvation either. So all we have to do is believe that God exists, and we are free to live any lifestyle we choose, without repenting or living morally, or even accepting Christ as our savior? It becomes clear, then, that the all-too-common "arguments from omission" fall apart pretty easily.

Rich man and Lazarus

Pro states that he does not believe that Lazarus, the beggar in Jesus' parable in Luke 16:19-31, was baptized on the grounds that he was a poor man. I fail to see how the poverty of Lazarus indicates that he was not baptized. The passage clearly indicates that Lazarus went to heaven when he died. How is this possible if he did not HEAR the message and respond to it? The rich man even begged Abraham to let Lazarus warn his household that they will end up in hell if they do not repent. If he had the means to have the message of Christ preached to him, what prevented him from being baptized? Remember in Matthew 3 that John the Baptist was baptizing people from Jerusalem and all over Judea. Are we to believe that ONLY the rich people were baptized? Many of the disciples themselves were no doubt from less fortunate backgrounds, and we see in John 4:2 that they were the ones who were baptizing. This is solid evidence that there was evangelism among the poor. Also don't forget the Apostles themselves, many of whom came from humble livelihoods such as fishermen. Of course, the rich man and Lazarus come from a parable, which is sort of a hypothetical situation, but they are nevertheless instructive.

I now turn the discussion back over to Pro.


Baptism is not necessary for salvation because of the people who were saved without baptism
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!"
43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
This tells us that this criminal rebuked the other by saying "don't you fear God" and he said that he wasn't going to Heaven but Jesus said to him that he was saved right there
Debate Round No. 3


Pro has simply ignored all of the arguments that I made against his claims in the previous round. Instead he has brought up the thief on the cross, which is a story that many people run to when questioned about the necessity of baptism.
There are a few points to be made about the claim that the thief on the cross indicates that baptism is not necessary.
1. Remember that the baptism of Christ was not established until after His death, in Mark 16:16. Thus, the thief could not have been baptized into Christ. Jesus had not yet died, been buried or raised. Before He gave the command, it was through the baptism of John the Baptist that people were baptized. Of course, they were later baptized again, this time into Christ (Acts 19:1-5 is an excellent example).
2. JESUS PHYSICALLY TOLD THE THIEF that he would be saved, because only He has that authority.
3. It seems quite distressing to me that the thief on the cross would be used as an example for salvation in the first place. Here's a guy who has no indication of prior baptism and is sentenced to death for his crimes, and only when he is on the brink of death does he receive salvation- from JESUS IN THE FLESH. Sounds like he was in the "right place" at the "right time," does it not? Is the thief on the cross seriously upheld as a model for salvation? A sinful man who was not baptized, and then is only saved by Christ Himself? It is an upsetting thought, that so many Christians would use this story to justify their claims that baptism is not a requirement for salvation.

Thanks a bunch to Pro for accepting this debate. I certainly hope that anybody following the debate will be inspired to search this topic further, and that God's truth will be revealed.


thesupporter forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Gordontrek 3 years ago
MrWright, that is a great thought, one that I have pondered personally in the past but never quite had the gumption to express it publicly. Especially in the creation/evolution and atheism/theism debates, nobody seems to realize that there are highly qualified and highly intelligent people on both sides. But you must always remember that even if there is a scientist with valid credentials on one side, the other side will simply say that he does not qualify as a "true" scientist unless he believes what they believe. That, I believe, is more of the inspiration for bringing up the arguments about how "such-and-such a smart scientist believes in this, that means you're wrong."
I also agree with you on the question of personal testimony. I personally won't use that in the debate, because I agree, it does not override the Scriptures. But my opponent is the one who asked if he could use it, and I agreed to let him if he wishes.
Posted by MrWright 3 years ago
Another question that came up as I read this debate is; how can one's personal testimony in any way bolster any debate over the TRUTH or validity of an issue or belief. Is the TRUTH, what is RIGHT and what is REAL based upon what the scriptures say and/or teach, rather than on anyone's personal opinion, experience or perception?
Posted by MrWright 3 years ago
I notice how many are inclined to the idea of how many renown scholars hold a certain position contribute to the validity of a particular proposition, such as "The Necessity of Water Baptism in Salvation", "Once Saved ALWAYS Saved", "Total Human Depravity", etc. Fact is, as Gordon say in his opening challenge, there is an abundant amount of scholarship on both sides of most every debate, from Atheism vs. Theism, to Creation vs Evolution, to the Deity of Jesus Christ, to Infallibility and Inspiration of the Bible. So, why is there so much stake placed in the amount of the the names of scholarship exists on a particular side of any debate.
Maybe this is a debate in itself.
Posted by Gordontrek 3 years ago
By baptism I mean full immersion by water.
And no Wylted, I highly doubt your knowledge of the Bible "far exceeds" most Christian's knowledge. Otherwise you wouldn't be an atheist. :) Most my fellow Christians that I highly regard have been reading it and studying it every day of their lives for decades.
Posted by Wylted 3 years ago
I'd like to play Devil's advocate here and I'm assuming you're referring to Baptism by water. My knowledge of the Bible far exceeds most Christian's knowledge. I think I'd be able to give a more logical case against your position then most people.
Posted by Matt_L 3 years ago
Are you talking about being baptized with water?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited the last round.