Baptismal Necessity

Is Baptism necessary?  I recall learning at the seminary that it is necessary, but not absolutely necessary.  That is, it is necessary for a person to be baptized if they are to be a Christian.  But that, in an emergency, the lack of baptism will not damn a person.

The example that is always used is the thief on the cross.  He was never baptized.  The second example is if a man is stranded in the desert and has no water, but comes to faith. (He found a bible lying in the sand, perhaps?)

While the former has occured, (Luke 19) I haven’t ever heard of the letter occurring.  (Not to say it hasn’t.)

Anyway, the question still arises, how necessary is Baptism?  To which I say : Very.

Here is my rule of thumb :

Anyone who receives the gift of faith while being crucified is excused from Holy Baptism.  Otherwise, see you at the font.


3 Responses to “Baptismal Necessity”

  1. I would say…anyone who Jesus directly says will be in heaven, while being crucified or not, will probably be in heaven…otherwise, I’ll see you at the font. Perhaps we have lost our doctrine of original sin. The Augustana is very clear that original sin is sin and damning. Hmmm…

    • forestboar Says:

      I’m a little slow. I’m not seeing the connection between what I wrote and a denial of original sin – or what you wrote and a reference to original sin.
      But again, it takes me a while to see things.

  2. I’m not so sure you are slow. But you asked the question: Is Baptism necessary? Our teaching on original sin is ignored if we say that lack of baptism is not damning in an emergency. “Original sin is a disease and original vice that is truly sin. It damns and brings eternal death on those who are not born anew through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.” –Thus far the Augustana. Can an emergency make original sin go away? No. (Jesus speaking to you from his cross can.) We seem to want to pull God away from his promises when it is convenient for ourselves. We want a kind and loving God that will never send anyone to eternal death. That is why it is okay for the pope to pray at the wailing wall and to remove his shoes to enter a Islamic holy site.

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