The New Testament teaches that the penitent believer must be baptized for the remission of sins.
I am happy for the opportunity to participate in this discussion of salvation, and specifically, the necessity of baptism. In the article which follows, it is my responsibility to provide Scriptural proof for my proposition.
PROPOSITION: The New Testament Scriptures teach that the penitent believer must be baptized in water for the remission of sins to be saved.
To be sure we are understanding one another, it is ideal to define the terms and phrases introduced in the proposition:
Since we are dealing with the salvation of souls, we must consider carefully the word of God in an orderly fashion with both sincerity and sobriety. The aim of this written exchange is not to exalt or degrade either man involved, but to seek with an honest and sincere heart the will of God, and to conform to it. Thus, may both Buckethead31594 and I, along with the readers of this debate lay aside any preconceived doctrinal prejudices, and wholly rely upon the word of God.
Let us now turn our attention to the Scriptures.
Let’s look again at the structure of this verse in a way we can more easily relate to. The following illustration is viewed in light of the horrific September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center:
“He that goes down the stairs and leaves the building will be saved, but he that does not go down the stairs will be killed.”
Relate this to:
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that does not believe shall be condemned.“
In each case, there are two conditions that must be met in order to be saved:
1.) Going down the stairs (believing).
2.) Leaving the building (being baptized).
The lack of fulfilling the second condition, leaving the building (or being baptized) has the exact same effect as not fulfilling the first condition, going down the stairs (or believing). That is why not being baptized is equated as not believing. Only fulfilling part of the equation is equated as fulfilling none of the equation. It is an all or nothing proposition.
"And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your
This verse, like Acts 2:38, again confirms that baptism is when our sins are washed away. Baptism is how we “call on the name of the Lord.” That is why when people are baptized the person who baptizes them proclaims aloud they are being baptized “into Jesus Christ” or “into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” We see in Acts 2:21,38 how closely the phrase “calling on the name of the Lord” is associated with baptism. This calling on the Lord (coupled with faith and repentance) is what distinguishes baptism from merely getting wet.
Ananias spoke these words to Paul three days after Jesus struck down Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul had believed and acknowledged Jesus as Lord for three days at this point in time. If belief alone brought forgiveness, then his sins would have already been washed away.
Let’s take a closer look at this situation:
Here is Paul, who, after having persecuted the church of Christ, is confronted by none other than Jesus Christ Himself in his glorified state. Jesus tells Paul he will be told what he must do (Acts 22:11). Jesus did not tell him what it was he must do. No, Paul would be told by someone else what it is he must do. So while waiting for three days Paul:
1.) had faith and believed in Jesus as the Son of God
2.) fasted and prayed in repentance (Acts 9:9,11)
3.) Yet his sins were still counted against him (Paul is told, “…wash your sins away”)
So for three days Paul was repenting and prayed. Do you think that just maybe, possibly, any of his prayers were asking God to forgive him? But when Ananias comes to him, Paul is told he still has sins that need to be washed away. This is indisputable Scriptural evidence that the “sinner’s prayer” is insufficient to save someone and we are NOT saved before baptism even if we have faith and repentance!
Notice also, Paul is not told to “pray for Jesus to come into your life.” He is not led in a prayer requesting salvation. No, Paul is told to “be baptized!” And the reason he was told to “be baptized” was that his sins were still counted against him--and it is in baptism that they are washed away. 
* 2 Timothy 2:10 - Salvation is in Him.
* 1 John 5:11,12 - Eternal life is in the Son
* Ephesians 1:3 - All spiritual blessings are in Christ.
I appreciate this challenge. May we discover truth.
I will be supporting that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works. Meaning, that all one has to do in order to achieve everlasting life, is accept Jesus Christ as their savior; rituals not withstanding. I also accept Pro's terms. I will be using the NIV translation of the Bible.
There are several flaws with my opponent's argument.
Firstly, my opponent is unaware of what baptism truly is. Baptism is not merely the submerging of someone under water, but the social proclamation of the acceptance of Jesus Christ. In Biblical times, baptism was seen as a means for which believers could identify each other; it was often shocking to find a follower of Christ who was not baptised. In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. In this sense, baptism is simply symbolization of a new life with Christ.
Now to address my opponent's line of logic:
“He that goes down the stairs and leaves the building will be saved, but he that does not go down the stairs will be killed.”
This is a terrible metaphor, in that, both instances of "going down the stairs" and "leaving the building," in no way relate to salvation or baptism in any way. My opponent believes that baptism is necessary for salvation, in this case, my opponent would be correct. However, this does not prove his point. I could easily say this:
"He that leaves the building will be saved, but he that does not leave the building will be killed.”
The problem lies in the fact that one can replace the highlighted words with anything to make it seem reasonable. Ergo, this line of logic does not prove that baptism is necessary for salvation. Not being baptised in biblical times did equate to not believing, however, this was only from a social standpoint. If one person refused to be baptised, this would seem like the person lacked faith, and would be too afraid to proclaim Christ's name. The act of baptism in the early church was punishable by death, so it would make sense as to why one would rather not be baptised.
One must remember that salvation cannot be formulated in two steps: "going down the stairs" and "leaving the building." Salvation can be achieved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is not because of man's doing, but because of God's grace. Anything else is idolatrous, because it claims that Jesus' death on the cross was not sufficient.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5
Acts 2:38-41, 47
A great summery, I might say. Nonetheless, it does not prove that baptism is necessary for salvation. Again, baptism was only a symbolic proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit enters the hearts of those who gain salvation, yet baptism is not needed for this to happen. Peter was proclaiming the importance of baptism, in that it separates believers from the unbelievers, however, he was not claiming it was needed for salvation. My opponent fails to understand that Jesus Christ IS baptism in the sense that we are wiped clean of our transgressions upon trusting in him to set us free from captivity:
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matthew 3:11
"I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:18
Baptism, in a social sense, is calling on the name of the Lord. However, baptism, in a spiritual sense, is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. My opponent brings to rise an interesting contention:
"If belief alone brought forgiveness, then his sins would have already been washed away."
My opponent is unaware of the very meaning of what he speaks. To repent, is to ask for forgiveness, but with a plan; such is the nature of the Sinner's Prayer. Furthermore, my opponent's statement contradicts a very vital instance in scripture. An instance that defined Jesus as the savior that he is; on the day that he was put on the cross:
"One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!' But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don’t you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'" Luke 23:32-43
Was this faithful criminal baptised? Certainly not. Therefore, baptism is not necessary for salvation.
"Do you think that just maybe, possibly, any of his prayers were asking God to forgive him? But when Ananias comes to him, Paul is told he still has sins that need to be washed away."
This no surprise, nonetheless, it doesn't favor my opponent's benefit. My opponent claims that prayer for forgiveness is not sufficient to dismantle sins. Claiming this is belittling God's power:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
"Notice also, Paul is not told to 'pray for Jesus to come into your life.' He is not led in a prayer requesting salvation. No, Paul is told to 'be baptized!' And the reason he was told to 'be baptized' was that his sins were still counted against him--and it is in baptism that they are washed away."
Paul was not led to a prayer requesting salvation because he was already saved. The moment he saw Christ, the moment he prayed to him; this was the moment that he was saved. Again, baptism was only a form of social acceptance; a symbol that Paul was a changed man. As for the "sins still counted against him," this was no doubt in reference to his mass genocide of Christians. The sins "counted against him" in this case, were none other than the uncertainty of fellow Christians, this is why it was necessary for Paul to be baptised; to make a public statement.
1 Peter 3:21
Again, a public statement of faith.
Was Peter really saying that the act of being baptized is what saves us? If he were, he would be contradicting many other passages of Scripture that clearly show people being saved prior to being baptized or without being baptized at all.  I will provide instances, if needed.
Simply because this verse contains the word, "baptism," my opponent decided to use it. Nonetheless, this verse is referring to God's grace not public baptism.
"...God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins."
"Newness of life" in this case, is not referring to everlasting life. But to the transformation of life on earth, upon accepting Christ.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
All of these verses pertain to the ceremonial aspect of public baptism. "baptism into Christ" is the acceptance of Christ into one's life, and the transformation that one receives upon acceptance:
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
I thank my opponent for accepting this challenge and his passion to find the truth. And I want my opponent and the readers of this debate to know that I am not opposing salvation by grace through faith, in fact it is what I am teaching contrary to my opponent who teaches salvation by grace through faith alone. Onto the debate.
Now, let’s see who has really has flaws in his arguments.
Later, my opponent denied to give reason why Mark 16:16 is wrong, instead he resorted to his own argument that says salvation is by grace trough faith alone! Really? Alone? All I can see in Eph. 2:8 is "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”. There is no alone there. Furthermore, salvation by grace through faith does not negate baptism or baptism violates God’s grace For in Gal. 3:26-27 says “Gal 3:26 for ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” It is clear enough that baptism is by faith!
And the verses that my opponent does not disprove my proposition instead it helps my proposition. Click here:
John 3:16 
Eph. 2:8-9 
Tit. 3:5 
Here my opponent agrees that this verse as a summary proves that baptism is necessary for salvation but because of the hardness of his heart he twists this verse and here my opponent contradicts himself greatly. He says that Jesus Christ IS baptism and upon Jesus he wiped our sins away. Then, baptism wipes our sins away!
In this verse, my opponent excites me with his kind of contention. Again my opponent contradicts himself by saying “baptism, in a spiritual sense, is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Then baptism IS SALVATION TROUGH FAITH!! Thank you for bringing that wonderful point. Moving on, as an excuse so that he can escape the impact of Acts 22:16 on him, he resorted to the thief on the cross. This is a perfectly valid argument and makes sense at first glance. However, the problem arises from not having a clear understanding of what baptism represents and what the scriptures tell us about it. According to Romans 6:3-6, baptism represents being unified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The problem with the thief on the cross when Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise, is that Jesus was still alive. Christ had not yet died or been buried, so He had certainly not risen yet either. Baptism into Christ was not put into practice until Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 after Christ had risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.
I) the thief on the cross was still under the Old Covenant and therefore not subject to this baptism. He was saved just like anyone else under the Old Covenant.
II) But besides that, when Christ was on this earth, He had the authority to forgive people of their sins. Look at Mark 2:9-12:
Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk? 'But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he said to the paralytic -- "I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house." He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
When Christ was on the cross, He was still on this earth. And He had the authority to forgive sins.
III) An additional point to consider: To even position the argument about the thief on the cross one must be able to prove he was never baptized. But consider the following verses:
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then ALL the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
So who can really say the thief was never baptized before he was crucified? According to Mark 1:4-5 there is a plausible chance he was!
Furthermore, I do not belittle God’s power, for in Rom 1:16 says “…the gospel of Christ: is the power of God unto salvation…” What does the Gospel say in Mark 16:16?—“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”.
Matt. 7:7— as I have proven before, prayer alone to God through Jesus Christ can’t save you!
I John 1:9—this verse is taken out of context if it is applied to mean initial conversion. This is written to the Christians not to non-Christians.
I Pet 3:21
Again, because of the impact of destruction to my opponent’s doctrine of faith alone, he cannot answer this directly.
I can also say that many of your passages you provided contradict the many verses that pertain to the essentiality of baptism to a person’s salvation!
Again, due to the impact of this verse, my opponent can’t answer clearly. Of course baptism is written in there because it is the subject! Baptism is not a work of man it is a work of God as shouted by this verse.
“"Newness of life" in this case, is not referring to everlasting life. But to the transformation of life on earth, upon accepting Christ.
Why does Newness of life does not mean everlasting life when accepting Jesus Christ, which in him you will have the newness of life, not mean everlasting life? How do we have life? In Christ Jesus right? Then how can we be in Christ Jesus? Isn’t it by baptism as said in Gal 3:26-27 and Rom 3:6-4?
Romans 12:2—do not refer to non-Christians but to Christians in Rome. Again, this verse is taken out of context.
I appreciate the quick response. Allow me to inquire a question; what is grace, if one must work for it? If one must complete earthly tasks to achieve it? Grace, in itself, is a gift from God's heart; not a formula for salvation. No means of earthly measure can equate to the perfection of God. In the same way, sinful men who baptise sinful people have no authority over one's soul. A sinful priest cannot dictate whether or not someone goes to heaven simply by submerging them in water. Only Jesus can, for he is and was God; only he has absolute authority over who is baptised in the Holy Spirit.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
In this manner, my opponent is opposing salvation by grace. As he is claiming that grace is not a gift, but a task. The Bible teaches otherwise:
"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4-5
I contend that salvation is achieved through the grace of Jesus Christ. This grace derives from God, and not of man:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
My opponent claims that these verses were taken out of context because they were addressed to gentiles. My opponent creates a straw man as a means of escaping the very real, very valid truths within these verses. To conclude this irrelevant, is to conclude the entire Bible irrelevant; as it is all part of God's Word. Now, without any more delay, I shall proceed with my rebuttal.
Rebuttal Round Two
I did not intend to allude my opponent of his knowledge of baptism, but to present my opponent with the actual concept behind the endeavors of public baptism. This statement was to tie in with the adjacent rebuke; not to attack my opponent's definitions. Furthermore, my opponent claims that there is "zero" scripture to support social displays of baptism; allow me to enlighten.
Almost every instance of baptism was public. Every verse my opponent and I have used to support our arguments; every one was an instance in public.
Why is this? We must understand what public baptism is and what it means to Christendom as a community. Baptism is to salvation what a wedding ceremony is to a marriage. The wedding doesn't legally make anyone married- that happens by the signing of a marriage license as witnessed by a church leader or court official. Baptism, like a wedding ceremony, is a public display of our love for someone- in this case, Jesus. 
"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." Acts 21
Continuing, my opponent made the following comment:
"There is not one passage in all the New Testament which makes baptism symbolize our salvation from sin."
Contradiction. Here is a verse that my opponent used earlier:
"...and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" 1 Peter 3:21
Observe the bold words. It is obvious that baptism lies in accordance to Christ's resurrection; a pledge (or vow) of a clear conscience toward God. Nothing more, nothing less.
I never made a claim that this verse was wrong. However, I do believe my opponent's context of this verse is wrong. I was merely attacking my opponent's logic; not the verse itself. Moving on, my opponent states that it takes more than faith to achieve grace, henceforth, achieve salvation. Recall my introduction to this round, as I have stated earlier.
"...and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith" Galatians 3:26
Notice how it did not say, through "works" or through "baptism." In addition, "clothing yourself in Christ" is very different to "gaining the Holy Spirit (the point of salvation)." Case closed.
Regarding the verses that somehow "help" my opponent's proposition; he has not explained as to how they help his proposition. For all listed verses attack his belief of grace; one that is not gifted, but achieved. I would ask my opponent to please elaborate if he is to use my evidence in his favor.
My opponent is greatly confused; I never stated I agreed that this verse "proves baptism is necessary salvation." My opponent is also unaware of the vast differences between the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Jesus, the one I was referring to) and the baptism of water. Baptism of the Holy spirit does in fact wipe sins away. Baptism of water is presented by another person, which is far less personal than the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. In this manner, I was merely equating Jesus' grace with spiritual baptism; as they are one in the same thing. Social baptism, not withstanding.
Always glad to be exciting. Nevertheless, my opponent is struggling with the same dilemma as the previous verse. Notice my quote:
"However, baptism, in a spiritual sense, is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ."
Let us define the differences between spiritual baptism and social baptism.
Spiritual baptism can be defined as the moment one accepts Christ as their personal savior; the moment the Holy Spirit enters their minds and hearts. Social baptism is the social proclamation of this transformation through means of a public display (aka. submergence into water in front of a congregation). The latter is in vain, if the former has yet to be completed.
In Acts 22:16, Paul is encouraging the new believers to begin their walk with Christ, as social baptism is the first obligation for a transformed individual.
The Thief on the Cross
My opponent proceeds with a divided foundation, first claiming it impossible for him to be baptised, then claiming it plausible for him to be baptised earlier. Allow me to direct my opponent to this verse:
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." Hebrews 11
My opponent is correct, baptism into Christ was not necessary before Christ's sacrifice. As the ancients (Abraham, Adam, Job, etc.) were saved by beliefs in the coming of a savior (notice how they weren't publicly baptised). Considering this, it would seem unlikely that he would be baptised, ergo he would be a follower of Jesus beforehand. Nevertheless, we can deem this issue inconclusive, as baptism was not necessary for the new believer at the time. However, one begins to ponder why Jesus himself was baptised if this were the case.
Christ's authority to forgive sins
Christ could and still can forgive sins (on Earth and in Heaven). Saying he is unable to forgive sins, again, is belittling God's power:
"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me'" Matthew 28:18
Continuing, my opponent states this contention:
"as I have proven before, prayer alone to God through Jesus Christ can’t save you!"
...Need I say more? Simply limitations on God's power. John 3:16, "whoever believes in him will be saved." There is no need to address this issue any longer, my opponent is making desperate attempts to defend his arguments.
1 Peter 3:21
I have already addressed this issue. This is simply the new covenant between God and Man; not the instance of salvation.
I believe my opponent was referring to Colossians 2:12-13, the keyword here, is faith:
"...you were also raised with him through your faith..."
Faith is the point of ascension, not baptism.
My opponent resorts to rhetorical questions, when in fact, the newness of life- in regards to this verse -is in reference to transformation of life on earth. "Newness" is very different than "Everlasting."
Issue already addressed. Extend all refutations.
Indeed, we are saved by grace. But just what is ‘grace’? The Oxford American Dictionary defines grace as: God’s loving mercy toward mankind. Other words that may be found in a thesaurus as synonyms for “grace” include: mercy, favor, kindness, blessing, and compassion.
And it is because of God’s mercy, His favor, His kindness, His blessing and His compassion that He has provided mankind with a salvation plan! We are saved by God’s mercy. We do not deserve the blessings God has given us.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.
Baptism in no way minimizes or nullifies God’s grace as some critics argue that baptism does. They make this argument because they do not understand the role baptism plays in God’s salvation plan. Baptism confirms and verifies God’s grace to us! God’s grace is manifested inbaptism! And after we are baptized, His grace continues to cover us.
Notice this passage says:
When did God make us alive when we were dead, and raise us up with Christ? What is Paul talking about?
Romans 6:3-5 describes just such a scenario-- when we were dead in sin and God raised us up with Christ:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we toomight walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And when we had sinned and were dead, and had received only what we deserved, God in His mercy and grace provided a way for us to be saved—He provided His Son, Jesus Christ. And without Jesus, baptism is meaningless. Baptism, coupled with faith, is the means by which we become unified with Christ. Baptism is how we are “put into” Christ.
It is by God’s grace that He has given us a salvation plan—and this salvation plan, though His Son, Jesus Christ, includes faith,repentance and baptism.
We should be grateful and thankful beyond measure that God has provided a salvation plan for us who deserve nothing but death.
We are saved by God. We are saved by grace. We are saved by faith. We are saved by baptism (1Peter 3:21). We are saved by all of these combined because in baptism God’s grace is manifested through our faith. In baptism, God’s salvation plan to mankind—which is purely a gift by His grace-- becomes a reality.
“My opponent claims that baptism is just “a symbol that we have already been saved.”Is baptism a symbol? Yes. But is baptism a symbol of our already having been saved? NO! A thousand times, no. There is not one passage in all the New Testament which makes baptism symbolize our salvation from sin….”
Furthermore, my opponent said that I stated that “ it takes more than faith to achieve grace, henceforth, achieve salvation.” I will ask you, what does Mark 16:16 mean when it said: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.”
Does this mean believe only or faith only. No it doesn’t! Why do you keep asking these foolish questions when scriptural evidence is seen by your eyes? And my opponent tirelessly uses Eph. 2:8 which I already stated that it does not refute my proposition. And he uses Gal 3:26 as a proof of his faith alone doctrine. Well, let’s see what context says:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.
Again my opponent misuses the scripture and twists the scripture to his own destruction (II Pet. 3:16). Yes, we are sons of God through faith, through baptism!
My opponent wants me to elaborate more why his verses became my proof text, unfortunately I can’t put this in the debate because of the character limit. Just click the link.
John 3:16 
Tit. 3:5 
I don't know about my opponent here but he is bringing the debate to another topic. I did not say anything about Holy Spirit baptism or something like that. Now, i want to challenge my opponent to refute my opposition starting from my verses provided. You are Con right? So, what part in Acts 2:38 that don’t prove that baptism washes away sins. Let's show what context says: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." I think that’s pretty clear that baptism is essential to salvation!
I have one question for my opponent. Where did he get the doctrine of spiritual baptism and social baptism? There are no verses that support you erroneous claim. And you also contradict Eph. 4:5 which say of only one baptism and that baptism is for the remission of sins. My opponent is trying to put a smokescreen to what really Acts 22:16 mean! Can you please get back to pure biblical doctrine and stop trying to make assertions just to protect your doctrine!
The thief on the cross
My opponent is not really refuting my argument here. He just puts comments here that seem to prove his position. For you see he’s trying to struggle with my arguments here and therefore he twists the argument. And my opponent has misinterpreted what I said in Christ’s authority to forgive sins here on earth. My point was when CHRIST WAS STILL HERE IN EARTH! No one denies that Christ can still forgive sins whether he will be on heaven on earth.
Once again my opponent brought the topic of prayer. I’m not going to respond to this anymore. I already showed my contention in my first affirmative and you have barely responded to it.
I Pet. 3:21
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
My opponent said that he has refuted this issue but he has not really addressed the issue here. He’s been circling around just to lost me in his erroneous argument.
My opponent again makes attempts to twist this verse. Clearly observe what this bible verse says: “having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” By faith baptism done and through it in the working of God.
This debate has many rounds, which is good, for I feel like we have not progressed at all. I feel it is time that I stop beating a dead horse; I am going to state my case for what it's worth, and end all doubts that my opponent has to offer.
I accept my opponent's definition of grace, and I agree with my opponent on his reference to Eph. 2:4-9.
"Baptism in no way minimizes or nullifies God’s grace as some critics argue that baptism does."
My opponent is correct in that baptism doesn't nullify God's grace. However, if baptism is essential for the remission of sins, it does. This makes baptism less than the Bible's standard of baptism. This also means that repentance is impossible and unimportant; as it is no different than the ancient act of animal sacrificing.
My opponent will surely reject this, however, I would ask him to please think about what I am stating before he proceeds to ignore the cultural aspects within the Bible. Before Jesus' sacrifice, Israelites would sacrifice animals in order to remove sin (Heb. 9:22; 10:3). Because of the hectic and inconvenient acts of killing perfectly healthy animals, God sent his only son to die on the cross as an ultimate sacrifice to all of humanity (1 John 2:2). Why was this? Namely, it was very difficult to repent and commission sacrifices; once someone in a village sinned, a priest would then have to sacrifice an animal, and then another, and another. Now that Christ had defeated death and ascended into heaven, we no longer have to sacrifice animals.
Now, what about baptism?
My opponent states that baptism is essential for the remission of sins. Does this not sound similar to sacrifice for the remission of sins? This is one reason Jesus came in the first place, hence, his sacrifice would be in vain. My opponent cannot deny this fact, if he states that "the penitent believer must be baptized for the remission of sins," he might as well be saying "the penitent believer must sacrifice animals for the remission of sins."
"Baptism confirms and verifies God’s grace to us! God’s grace is manifested inbaptism! Andafter we are baptized, His grace continues to cover us."
There are many theological problems with my opponent's statement:
1. "Baptism confirms and verifies God's grace to us." This is not true. Faith is the confirmation and verification of his grace:
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." Heb. 11
- Also, read Romans 5:1
2. "God's grace is manifested in baptism." Also not true; God's grace is manifested through Jesus Christ. Not a believer's proclamation of faith:
"For the grace of God (Jesus) has appeared that offers salvation to all people." Titus 2:11
- My opponent may recall my mentioning that Jesus is baptism; taking this out of context. I was stating this as a means of confirming Jesus' grace, not that he takes the place of the submersion into water; which is completely different.
3. "And after we are baptized, His grace continues to cover us." My opponent states that God's grace does not occur before baptism; therefore, God's grace is conditional and unjust according to my opponent. My opponent's doctrine of baptism continues to contradict many Biblical references.
Rebuttal: Round Three
The following quote was provided by a cited source:
"In no way does this verse establish baptism as a condition for salvation; ...It should be noted that when the Lord added, 'but whoever does not believe will be condemned,' there is no mention of baptism. In identifying what would bring about condemnation, Jesus did not say that 'whoever believes but is not baptized shall not be saved.' If baptism were necessary for salvation, there are many significant verses which should be amended to read 'you are saved through faith and baptism.' It is clear that faith in Jesus Christ is what saves a person (Acts 16:30-31; Eph. 2:8-9).
Baptism is a distinct act of obedience, apart from salvation. This is clarified by the order in which the words 'believe' and 'baptize' occur in the text (cf. Acts 2:38; 10:44-48). Baptism with the Spirit places believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), while water baptism merely signifies to others that a person has professed Christ.
The word 'saved' is translated from the Greek word sesosmenoi, which is a perfect passive participle. It means that this salvation took place at some point in the past, being accomplished by Jesus Christ Himself, and is continuing on in the present." 
My opponent stated the following quote:
"Does this mean believe only or faith only. No it doesn’t! Why do you keep asking these foolish questions when scriptural evidence is seen by your eyes?"
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Rom. 5:1
Acts 2:38The Bible clearly teaches about the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 23:25; Matt. 7:7; 1 John 1:9; Rom. 8:13)
The Holy Spirit transforms a person into a new creation; not baptism:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Cor. 5:17
Secondly, Jesus himself never mentioned that baptism is essential for the forgiveness of sins, or salvation:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24
The only verses that such false teachers quote and reference are the ones they feel they can use to promote their "water gospel." The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn't include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Rom. 4:5, Rom. 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.)
Verse 38 isn't the only verse in Acts 2. In Peter's message, a great deal was said before verse 38. In fact, he even told his listeners how to be saved before verse 38! In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were "pricked in their heart" in verse 37. So, to use verse 38 out of its context causes a misrepresentation of God's word. The verse does not stand alone, and, in fact, a totally different meaning is conveyed when one makes it stand alone. 
I believe source two clarifies this.
Spiritual baptism and Social (water) baptism. Not a doctrine, but a philosophy. It is only true that the submergence of water does not save an individual, but their personal proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ. Observe contention one. Nonetheless, my opponent continues to use verses because they simply contain the word, "baptism."
The Thief on the Cross
Conjecture. I have already addressed this issue and my opponent's flawed logic. Conceding to this, my opponent has agreed that this issue can no longer be discussed. Straw man, anyone?
As for prayer, I have already refuted my opponent's erroneous claim. Case dismissed.
"forgive us our debts," -Matt 6:9-14
1 Peter 3:21
Notice when looking at the entire verse, that Peter specifically states that he is not talking about the act of water baptism. He is talking about regeneration based on "an appeal to God." 
Read source three for more details.
I have twisted nothing. Read Col. 2:11-12. Baptism merely replaces circumcision of the Old Covenant.  This has nothing to do with salvation or forgiveness of sins. My opponent states that I have taken verses out of context; clearly hypocrisy at it's finest.
 Spiros Zodhiates, editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible (Chattanooga, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, 1996), note for Mark 16:16 (http://www.christiananswers.net...)
 www.reformedreader.org/RBTRII.1.Col.2.Barcellos.RPM.doc (direct download)
First of all, I want to apologize for my late response and or if I offended my opponent.
I think my opponent didn’t, can’t and will not understand what I’m trying to say about faith and baptism. These two are not separate but these two are connected to each other! This is what I’m trying to prove but my opponent instead establishes his own arguments before refuting mine!
“My opponent is correct in that baptism doesn't nullify God's grace. However, if baptism is essential for the remission of sins, it does. This makes baptism less than the Bible's standard of baptism. This also means that repentance is impossible and unimportant; as it is no different than the ancient act of animal sacrificing.”
My opponent agrees that baptism doesn’t nullify God’s Grace then why does he keep saying that baptism and faith are two different things? And wait a minute; I did not say that if baptism is necessary for the remission of sins makes repentance unimportant! I don’t know where did my opponent get that but my proposition says “The New Testament Scriptures teach that the penitent believer must be baptized in water for the remission of sins to be saved.” Now, I think it’s pretty clear; repentance, as said in the proposition, along with baptism results to salvation.
Further replies to my opponent’s argument:
I think it’s pretty clear that my opponent didn’t read or understood what I wrote in round 3. I based it on Eph. 2:4-9 which talks about baptism by grace through faith. Now, as I have said before, baptism does not nullify God’s grace, which my opponent agreed with. Observe the passage:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christeven when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.”
I don’t have to repeat this otherwise I would run out of characters. Just read what I said in the third round.
(2) “"God's grace is manifested in baptism." Also not true; God's grace is manifested through Jesus Christ. Not a believer's proclamation of faith:
Yes, God’s grace is manifested through Jesus Christ but it does not negate baptism. The grace of God offers salvation. Rom. 1:16--Gospel is God’s power unto salvation. What is Gospel? Mark 16:16—Believes and is baptized shall be saved.
(3)"And after we are baptized, His grace continues to cover us." My opponent states that God's grace does not occur before baptism; therefore, God's grace is conditional and unjust according to my opponent. My opponent's doctrine of baptism continues to contradict many Biblical references.”
Untrue. If salvation is not conditional then we are like universalists that teaches that everyone is saved with or without faith; with or without baptism. Jesus said in Mark 16:16 that you need to believe and be baptized to be saved. Now, isn’t believe and be baptized a condition to be saved?
Rebuttals to round 3:
I don’t need to refute my opponent’s source because I already refuted them in First round and in the 2nd round. Furthermore, I have provided verses that supports “faith + baptism = salvation” throughout the debate.
Furthermore my opponent said that I have a contradiction with the Scriptures by saying there are no verses that supports faith only. Here is he verse that he said I have contradicted:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Rom. 5:1”
Justified by Faith- When?
“The Holy Spirit transforms a person into a new creation; not baptism:
Wow! My opponent has no idea that he has contradicted himself by showing 2 Cor. 5:17. Observe what the verse says: “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” that means that person is saved. Well, the question is how do we get in Christ?
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? –Romans 6:3
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. -- Galatians 3:26-27
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body…--1Corinthians 12:13
And that body is the body of Christ—the church (Colossians 1:24).
Furthermore, my opponent said that we are saved by confessing only or calling on the name of the Lord.
Contradiction: “Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
My opponent didn’t respond to my arguments here again I have one question for my opponent. Where did he get the doctrine of spiritual baptism and social baptism? There are no verses that support your erroneous claim. And you also contradict Eph. 4:5 which say of only one baptism and that baptism is for the remission of sins.
I Pet 3:21
As I have studied my opponent’s arguments and the source he provided, it is quite clear that both he has twisted the scripture. Based on I Pet. 3:21, Peter is talking that baptism that saves which is an appeal to God for pure conscience. Contrary to what my opponent teaches.
Apart from what my opponent called me (hypocrite), I do not see any proof in this verse that baptism merely replaces circumcision of the Old Covenant. Please elaborate much further because I can’t click the source you provided.
“My opponent resorts to rhetorical questions, when in fact, the newness of life- in regards to this verse -is in reference to transformation of life on earth. "Newness" is very different than "Everlasting."”
Can you pls. elaborate further why Rom. 6:3-4 doesn’t support baptism as essential to salvation?
I appreciate my opponent's response, I am in no way offended by his actions. As the final round draws near, I will rebuke/clarify all of my opponent's contentions once and for all. With this said, I will exclude unnecessary grammar and details in order to incorporate everything I wish to say.
"why does he keep saying that baptism and faith are two different things?"
- Because they are. The Bible teaches that faith is what saves the believer; baptism is merely an act of obedience after which the believer has been saved. (Eph. 2:8, Gal. 2:20)
- Obedience is the result of faith in Christ, not vice-versa
- Faith in Christ grants salvation from sin (Jhn. 5:24)
- Faith is a mental, and spiritual "belief that is not based on proof" 
- Baptism is a proclamation of this faith; which is dependent on free will
- Free will is a gift, it is not a command
- Forgiveness is an act of grace, it is not an act of obedience
- Therefore, Baptism is not equivalent to forgiveness
"I did not say that if baptism is necessary for the remission of sins makes repentance unimportant"
- By conceding my argument regarding the sacrificing of animals, my opponent agrees that Christ's sacrifice was in vain.
- My opponent's resolution lies contradictory to the above conceded detail. I have proven how Christ's sacrifice would be meaningless, as my opponent's view of baptism lies in correlation to ancient acts of sacrifice. Since my opponent has failed to rebuke my argument (as is just per every round) and as a general rule of debate, we can conclude the act of sacrificing animals in direct correlation to my opponent's false doctrine of baptism.
- Secondly, my opponent includes salvation into the original resolution; this will not be accepted.
Refuting prerequisite rebukes:
(1) I stated that I agree, but not if it is necessary for the forgiveness of sin. Furthermore, my opponent reiterates a verse that logically proves that faith is the reason for salvation. I have proven that baptism is but a proclamation of faith; the result of obedience, through the previous formula that I have created in this round.
(2) "God’s grace is manifested through Jesus Christ but it does not negate baptism."
- It is not baptism that would be negated, but Christ's sacrifice. As my opponent has conceded, baptism would be parallel to animal sacrifice. Therefore, Christ's sacrifice would be in vain.
"The grace of God offers salvation"
- Eph. 2:8 proves that God's grace is the gift of Jesus through faith
- Gospel is "Good news." My opponent creates a straw man for his usage of this word. Gospel can be any of the four books of the New Testament which reflect on the ministry and life of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice; baptism, not withstanding.
(3) "If salvation is not conditional then we are like universalists that teaches that everyone is saved with or without faith; with or without baptism."
- My opponent is unaware of God's very nature. God is infinite(1 Kings 8:22-27; Jer. 23:24), omnipotent(Gen. 18:14; Luke 18:27), omniscient(Psalm 139:2-6; Isa. 40:13-14). Therefore, to state that God's salvation is conditional is to put limits on God. To worship a God that offers uncertain salvation is to worship a God who changes his mind, and is unjust; which contradicts the very nature of God according to the Bible .
- My opponent restates a verse that he desperately holds on to, after I have proven he is using it out of context. I have certainly proven that the "condition" for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ; not baptism.
Rebuttal: Round Four
Conceded by my opponent.
"An alien sinner is justified by faith when it exercises itself in obedience."
- I have proven this contention invalid by my previous formula. I have proven that justification derives through faith; this is specifically noted in Eph. 2:8
- My opponent's illustration is out of context. Obedience is not the nature of faith, but the result of faith. My opponent insists that the said "blessing" was received after completing their obedience. God's blessing was inherent to begin with, this instance simply demonstrates his power; not his blessing.
My opponent has conceded the contention regarding the cleansing of the Holy Spirit.
One can tell that my opponent is eager from the sound of his tone. Unfortunately, my opponent has failed to demonstrate his success. My opponent, once again, has created a straw man in the hopes of dismantling my argument.
- Baptism into Christ and his death is the result of obedience.
- Obedience is the result of faith.
- Faith is the result of acknowledging Christ's sacrifice and accepting him as savior.
- It is this faith that saves the individual; baptism merely symbolizes the resurrection of Christ- hence, the "new creation"
- Cleansing of the Holy Spirit occurs during the instance of acceptance
- Therefore, this "new creation" occurs the instant one has faith in Jesus Christ
My opponent has taken this verse out of context. Jesus is implicating how one cannot enter heaven simply by doing (going to church, etc.). As I have stated earlier, faith is the form of justification (Rom. 5:1). Therefore, in order to be justified through Christ, one must have faith. In order to receive faith, one must Call on the name of the lord to be saved (Rom 10:13).
I have, in fact, explained this to my opponent. There is only one baptism; however, is it baptism into Christ or baptism in water? As my opponent claims the latter, I claim the former to be the most genuine. I have proven that baptism into Christ is a result of faith; a cleansing of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 23:25; Matt. 7:7; 1 John 1:9; Rom. 8:13). Therefore, we should no longer confuse these two doctrines. My opponent thought I was creating two forms of baptism, when I was simply contrasting his doctrine with Biblical doctrine.
Thief on the Cross & Prayer
Conceded by my opponent.
1 Pet. 3:21
A poor attempt by my opponent. He has clearly not studied my source; only to conclude that I have "twisted" scripture. I have demonstrated how Peter's mentioning of baptism is not related to salvation through Christ. In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were "pricked in their heart" in verse 37. 
Allow me to reveal the entire verse in context:
"In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." Col. 2:11-12
Baptism represents a replacement of circumcision; a "pledge of a clear conscience toward God" (1 Pet. 3:21). It is but a pledge; a symbol; an act of obedience.
Certainly. As I have stated in this round, baptism into Christ is the result of faith. Baptism by water; the public proclamation of this faith. Paul is referring to the former. If Paul was implicating the latter, he would simply be encouraging the Romans in their faith. But according to my opponent, this wouldn't matter anyway, would it? For these verses are apparently "irrelevant." Also, I have stated that "newness" is different than that of "everlasting:"
Everlasting = Everlasting life
Newness = Transformation of life
As I have stated above, Newness = Transformation of life = renewing one's mind. If my opponent is to conclude this (Rom. 12:2) irrelevant, he is to conclude Gal. 3:26-27 and Rom. 6:3-4 irrelevant, as both address Christians . Therefore, my rebuke still stands.
Again, I apologize for my late response. But now I will refute my opponent's repetitive arguments.
My opponent showed a summary a showed a summary of “how a person is saved”. Add to this, my opponent “seemed” to respond on my statement “why does he keep saying that baptism and faith are two different things?” Unfortunately my opponent didn’t again reply to my contentions about this matter. Time and again, he is showing Eph. 2:8 to justify his faith only. BucketHead3459, time and again, I have showed that it does not justify your faith alone doctrine. Eph. 2:8 says about salvation by faith not by faith only! To support my contention let’s see what the scriptures say. Heb. 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, AFTER they were compassed about seven days.” No Bible believer doubts that the walls of Jericho fell down by faith. The Word of God plainly says. But wait a minute, I see that they received the blessing by faith but what I don’t see is that they were saved by faith only! Faith was living when they began to march, but the blessing was not received until they completed their obedience.
As for the issue of animal sacrificing, it’s very different from baptism and but my opponent concludes that it’s like animal sacrificing. (1) Actually animal sacrificing is done many, many times while baptism is done only once. (2) Baptism does not nullify Christ’s sacrifice in the cross, the sacrifice on the cross brings grace and my opponent himself said that baptism does not nullify Grace therefore baptism does not nullify Christ’s sacrifice.
(1) “I stated that I agree [that baptism does not nullify God’s grace], but not if it is necessary for the forgiveness of sin”
If you’ll observe clearly you can see the very flaw of my opponent’s argument. God’s Grace brings salvation, now my question is that how can you say that baptism does not nullify God’s grace if it’s not necessary for forgiveness of sins because God’s grace bring forgiveness of sins?
(2) “It is not baptism that would be negated, but Christ's sacrifice.”
Either way, these two are connected. Baptism doesn’t negate Christ’s sacrifice a.k.a. grace because of scriptural evidence that I provided throughout the debate
Sorry I can’t continue any further because of time shortage and family problems. But don’t worry I’ll extend your arguments. I also want to apologize to the readers of this debate. Thank you
Beginning, it is my prayer that my opponent's family matters become peacefully resolved. Now, let's end this debate.
Rebuttals: Round Five
1.) "Unfortunately my opponent didn’t again reply to my contentions about this matter."
I most-certainly did reply; I just took a different approach. I felt as if my earlier approach was inadequate for this debate. Nonetheless, it did result in an interesting turnabout.
2.) "BucketHead3459, time and again, I have showed that it does not justify your faith alone doctrine."
My opponent attacks my repetition of using Eph. 2:8 for my case. I will agree that I have been using Eph. 2:8 to declare my case valid; this was because I feel as if this verse adequately exemplifies my stance in this debate. Nevertheless, I have also provided many a verse that has proven my opponent's verses out of context. In the same manner, I have supplied many a verse concerning salvation without the mention of baptism; as my opponent continues to use the same verses to support his case.
3.) "Faith was living when they began to march, but the blessing was not received until they completed their obedience."
Issue already refuted. Extend
4.) "As for the issue of animal sacrificing, it's very different from baptism and but my opponent concludes that it's like animal sacrificing."
My opponent attempts to rise concern to a contention that he has already conceded to; compromising a rule of debate. Nonetheless, I will proceed to rebuke him; although this isn't necessary:
1.) "I stated that I agree [that baptism does not nullify God's grace], but not if it is necessary for the forgiveness of sin."
Baptism is not an act of grace. It is an act of obedience. I have proven how God's grace (Jesus) would be inadequate for man's sin if baptism were the only way to remove sin.
2.) "It is not baptism that would be negated, but Christ's sacrifice."
My opponent claims this invalid by merely stating himself "correct." This will be considered conjecture in a debate of truth.
3.) Extend all unrefuted arguments
As this debate comes to a close, I would like to thank my opponent for the exciting disputation; I hope his future is filled with honorable challenges that will build him up into a better debater. I also extend my gratitude to any of the voters who read this entire debate; it was a long one, but I appreciate your time.
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