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Is Baptism Even Important Anymore? – A Look At The ESV Outreach New Testament

This is a continuation from the previous post found here. Please read it first before continuing forward.

As I mentioned in the last post, it used to be that the denominations would teach that while baptism does not save, it is necessary and/or important. But this does not seem to be the case any longer.

The ESV Outreach New Testament goes on to describe how to grow in Christ. It says, “Jesus’ teaching about how to live for God can be summed up in three simple instructions.” It goes on to teach these three things: read the Bible, pray, and seek Christian fellowship. Nothing about turning away from sin. Nothing about repentance. Can the Christian life really be summed up as reading the Bible, praying, and finding other Christians to meet? I do not believe so. I think the New Testament would be much smaller if so.

Further, the word “baptism” does not appear anywhere in this four page article, “God’s Plan To Save You.” While I agree that we need to read the Bible, pray, and seek Christian fellowship, how can an article telling people what God wants them to do completely leave out baptism?

Is baptism not even important anymore? Why does the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, repeatedly note how people in the first century were baptism if it is not important? Should people be baptized? According to this article, not at all. No mention of baptism is given. Is baptism completely irrelevant to the religious world now? Did Peter say these words for nothing?:

Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… (1 Peter 3:21)

I believe we need to stress baptism because there seems to be a move to completely erase it. I noted this in the ESV Study Bible in a few of my posts. Some do not like what I am saying, but this is what I am observing: the complete removal of baptism. As I have said before, mindless, faithless baptism alone does not save. Baptism is not a sacrament. God does not save us because we are baptized. But, friends, the commands for baptism are clear yet are being treated as irrelevant and unimportant. 

In an effort to fight Catholicism’s false teaching on baptism, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Baptism is found on nearly every page in the book of Acts. Baptism is commanded by the apostles. Just because some have twisted the meaning of baptism does not give us a license to throw away baptism.

Baptism alone does not save. But prayer alone does not save either. Baptism is in the scriptures for a reason.