Re: Is Baptism Important?
A few more bullets for things that I haven’t addressed so far….
- Jesus got baptized as an example to us. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. Did Jesus have anything to repent of? Of course not. He did it as an example to us.
- I don’t think that baptism is a “just do it if you want to” thing anymore than “Thou shalt not commit adultery” means “just don’t do it if you don’t want to”. We do it as an act of obedience to Christ. Just like taking communion. That’s why the disciples taught it as something that Christians are to do: an act of obedience. That’s why I’ve said in this thread that I see baptism’s importance being as a litmus test for the sincerity of someone’s belief. If you won’t do something that Christ has said to do, is He really Lord of your life and is your “Christianity” any more than worthless lip service?
- I don’t believe that, in 1 Corinthians 15:29, Paul is advocating–much less commanding–proxy baptism for the dead. In that context, he is building his argument for the fact of the resurrection of the dead. In that verse, he’s basically saying, “Why would people be getting baptized for the dead if the dead stay dead?” Notice Paul’s word choice. He’s not speaking of proxy baptism is being something that the Corinthian Christians themselves were doing. He says “those”, speaking of others. If the Corinthian Christians were performing proxy baptism, Paul ought to have said, “Now if there is no resurrection, what will you do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are you baptized for them?”
EDIT: Someone pointed out that my comparison to adultery in the second bullet makes it sound like I’m saying that it’s sinful to not get baptized and not take communion. I wasn’t meaning to stretch things to that point. Merely trying to say that I think they are very important and not just casual suggestions.