Re: Is Baptism Important?
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).
St. Ignatius i.e. the Apostle John’s disciple
There are hundreds of quotes like this from antiquity. Paul even stated to the Corinthian church that some were sick and dying because they partook of the Lord’s Supper (communion) unworthily. If communion is only a symbol then why would it have an adverse effect on people when they took it unworthily? Communion and Baptism are more than symbolic, they are communicators of the grace of God. Those who receive them in faith recieve the very Lord Himself!
And the baptism for the dead is cleary stated in the scripture. I don’t fully understand how that works but I don’t think you can word play around it. Paul said it clear as day. But for those of us, myself included, that have had teachings from protestant belief systems only will see this scripture in our rose tinted glasses of our own persuasion. If you study the words of the early church fathers and see how they interpreted the scriptures you will find a very different understanding than what most of us know today. So I guess Clement of Rome who walked with Paul, Polycarp and Ignatius who walked with John, and so on and so forth were wrong and misguided. They obviously didn’t understand what Jesus and His Apostles were trying to say.
Early Christians performed this rite for believers that were not yet baptized and have ever since, excluding the heterodox denominations that have splintered from the Church. I’m baptized now so no one will need to be baptized for me. If you believe in Christ and want to be in His Kingdom then do what he asks and get baptized. This is indelible.
However, we are called to partake of the Lord’s Supper as often as we meet as believers. Recieve of His Body and Blood which is medicine for your soul. Receive it in great humbleness for you have still sinned after your baptism. He has made this provision of grace available for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Do not cast it away flipantly, for in doing so you reject Christ Himself!