Question: I am confused about the church I am attending, I have always as a young child attended churches that have order. I was married by my husband’s dad “preacher” and just found out he has not been baptized, does the Bible say anything about that?
Answer: First, we have taken a little longer time thinking about this question because we were not real sure as to what you mean. Answering questions without a complete background is very difficult. I am going to take it that you mean your father-in-law, who is a preacher, is not baptized.
Yes, I can understand your concern if a pastor would not be baptized. I wound find this to be a serious problem looking at it from a biblical standpoint. The reason for this is because Scripture is very clear that we must be baptized. Also, a person who would not want to be baptized shows a sign of disobedience, at least, to the commands of Christ.
Secondly, if this person is a leader of the church, if we understand you correctly, then he has no business staying in as a pastor until he is baptized. How can he be a good example if he is not obedient to the commands of Christ?
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Acts 16:15-16)
Now, maybe you mean by the ‘he’ your husband, and he is not baptized. This also needs to be addressed. Today, some people are reluctant to be baptized because they don’t see it as all that important. Again, I would question a person’s salvation, if they have the opportunity to be baptized and just don’t, this is wrong!
If a person has a death bed experience this is different, but even there, surely they could be sprinkled in their bed if nothing else. No, baptism does not save us, but when a person does not get baptized it leaves doubts in our minds whether or not they have really received Christ as Savior.
We are told from Scripture: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
“for the remission of sins: Is Peter saying that we must be baptized to receive forgiveness of our sins? Scripture clearly teaches that we are justified by faith alone, not by works (see Rom. 4:1; Eph. 2:8,9). The critical word in this phrase is the word for, which may also be translated “with a view to.” A comparison of Peter’s message in 10:34 makes it clear that “remission of sins” comes to “whoever believes.”
Believers are baptized in view of God’s work of forgiveness, not in order to receive that forgiveness. God’s forgiveness in Christ gives baptism its significance. Baptism is a public declaration that a person’s sins have been forgiven because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross. This is the core meaning of the ceremony of baptism. Yet others have also interpreted baptism as a sign and seal of God’s grace, similar to circumcision, which was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant.” (The Word For Today Bible Commentary)
That being said, baptism is extremely important, and is a witness to our unsaved friends and relatives that we mean business for God. So if a person does not want to be baptized for one reason or another, I do believe we have a right to question their sincerity to follow Christ.
All throughout Scripture when someone was saved they wanted to be baptized right away. I do believe we wait too long sometimes after someone is saved to baptize them. Yes, we need to make sure they are serious and really know what they are doing, but in the New Testament, often it was within a few hours if not a few minutes of salvation people were baptized. Here are some examples of people being baptized right away:
“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’
30 “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31 And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.’
34 “So the eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?’ 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’
37 “Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’
38 “So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.” (Acts 8:26-40)
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
27 “And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’
29 “Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’
31 “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” (Acts 16:31-34)
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
“Then Peter answered, 47 ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? ‘ 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.” (Acts 10:44-48)
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
“So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ 3 And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’
4 “Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’
5 “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.” (Acts 19:1-7)
Also, from Scripture in the New Testament we see the importance and significance of baptism:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.” (Romans 6:1-9)
So I would say that, yes, it is very important that we not only repent of our sins, receive Christ as our personal Savior, but that we follow Him in waters of baptism in obedience to what our Lord Jesus Christ Commanded us to do!
Now if we have misunderstood what you meant by your question, please write and let us know. Also, we have several other answers on baptism you might want to look at.
Maybe as you were reading this answer you realized that you are not saved or maybe not baptized yet. Why not make up your mind to be saved today and be baptized as soon as you can? Find a church that will baptize you and study God’s Word and worship with them.
Thanks, Gary Panell
For more information email me.
“How can he be a good example if he is “How can he be a good example if he is not obedient to the commands of Christ?”
“All throughout Scripture when someone was saved they wanted to be baptized right away. I do believe we wait too long sometimes after someone is saved to baptize them.”
There are many items in this writing that I can point to that are taken out of context. Let’s first focus on your question (stated at the top of this comment section.) If one is not obedient to the commands of Jesus at the very beginning how can one be saved. Christ in John 3 told Nicodemus what he had to do to be saved and yes I know that was in the OT basically. When one reads John 15-17 Christ told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them “reminding them what He taught them and that which He hadn’t taught to them until they were ready.” (Quotation marks for emphasis/paraphrasing not the exact words”) Therefore are not the words that Peter preached on the day of Pentecost the words of Jesus. When Acts 2:38 is put into comparison to what was written in John it can only mean it is the word “For”. Something else to think about and that is the fact that Philip, Peter, Paul, etc.. didn’t tell them immediately that they were “Saved.” The person asked to be baptized because it was part of the plan of salvation. One could not be added to the number without being “Baptized.” “And the Lord was adding [av]to their number day by day those who were being saved.” When one puts Acts 2 into context, without Baptism one is not SAVED.
They people at Pentecost asked, “What must we do? Peter replied Repent and be baptized. What would they receive? The gift of the Holy Spirit. Without baptism no Holy Spirit.
Finally they were baptized immediately. That is proof that these people were taught by the apostles and others baptism was necessary for salvation.
To say that the words “in view of salvation” doesn’t fit. If it was it those who heard the word would not have been baptized and that would have been stated in the Bible.
As far as it being a “Work”? It is but not on the part of man though. God searches the person’s heart to see if they are sincere. 1st Peter 3:21 : “an appeal to God for a good conscience”
Gary Panell says
Hi Jim, was the thief on the cross saved according to your view? Then salvation depends on something physical to happen, if you say no, then too you would be saying Christ wasn’t telling the truth. The spiritual is not good enough, according to your view. Why can’t someone call on the name of the Lord and be saved like Paul says in Romans 10:13. And then Acts 16:31, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Pretty clear to me! Why do you have to add to salvation? Baptism is something we want to do to follow the commands of Christ after we are saved. It is like taking the Lord’s Supper, it does not save as the Roman Catholics try to say (along with all the other things they say you have to do to be saved), but it is a command of Christ to do after you are saved. Thank you for discussing this issue. Brother Gary