Baptismal Salvation

I recently received this peice of fan mail:

You’re a sock puppet of Satan. That’s why you baptize babies to send them to hell to burn for all eternity. They grow up duped into thinking they’re already Christians and already saved just because Satan’s minister sprinkled his putrid devil water on them. You’re going to burn for your heresy, and I don’t mean at the hands of Rome: I mean hell. But its what you want, since Satan is your god.

This blasphemy would ordinarily just find its way rapidly to the “deleted” bin, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to distinguish something that this particular blasphemer has asserted.

He suggests that the children we baptize grow up thinking that they are already Christians and already saved because of their baptism. This is not true in Reformed Churches.

Reformed churches do not suggest that baptism saves anyone. Instead, we preach the gospel:

Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

We preach it to those outside the church, but we also preach it to the children of the church. We preach it to those who have been baptized as infants, whether they were baptized in our churches, in the churches of Rome or Constantinople, or in any other church that has a formally Christian baptism. Men are justified by faith in Christ, not by the water of baptism.

To those who are not of the household of faith (outwardly speaking, of course), we do not baptize them until they have repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. In places like Europe and the Americas, most of the people who are proselytized have already been baptized, and consequently we do not rebaptize them. On the other hand, in places like Asia and Africa most of the people who are proselytized have not been baptized, and consequently are baptized.

As to the mode of baptism, while most Reformed churches sprinkle as a matter of convenience, all Reformed churches are free to adminster the sacrament of baptism by pouring or immersion. Reformed churches view the mode of baptism to be a circumstance rather than an element of the sacrament. Thus, Reformed churches do not insist on one mode or another.

Obviously, it is worth noting that the writer of this comment is in need of prayer. I hope those Christians who stop by this blog will take a second to pray for his soul. God is great, and God loves to demonstrate his power by converting the most blasphemous of men: look at Saul of Tarsus!

And let us not think that we are somehow better than the person who made this comment. We are not saved by merit, or by being washed with water, but by the grace of God. Therefore, with humility, let us:

Praise our Awesome Creator!


3 Responses to “Baptismal Salvation”

  1. Ev Says:

    Hi Turretinfan,I was accused of believeing this in an IFB pastor, I explained I had never heard or read any of the things he thought Calvinists & Reformed believed. I stated that I didn’t think he knew anything about Reform, he said he did and gave me Dave Hunt’s book- “What Love is This”,which I promised to read – big mistake – I cried at the misrepresentations, I bought books to check “quotes” which were usually out of context, got angry at the illogical thinking, sad that the Lord would permit Dave to do this,then afraid for Dave, who will have to answer in part, for all those mislead.But mostly annoyed that an accountant is allowed to teach Theology and has his own publishing company (I read that on the net).The Lord’s sheep hear Him,we pray for all people and the Lord always has perfect reasons for what he permits. You said the Reform church does not believe this,is there any denomination that does? Thanks

  2. Turretinfan Says:

    Ev,Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.I’m not sure that any church tells adults that they are saved because they were previously baptized (although there is a lot of variety out there, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find one that did).Sometimes Roman Catholics act as though they believed that baptism saves. Thus, they have such things as “emergency” baptisms to be administered to infants that appear to be dying or about to die.-Turretinfan

  3. Turretinfan Says:

    “Hidden One” submitted a comment in which he asserted that Catholics do believe that baptism saves, and also believe that salvation can be lost.My response: such a salvation is completely worthless. It’s not Scriptural salvation. It’s not real salvation.Feasible salvation is faux salvation. Those who trust in their baptism to save them will be sorely disappointed.There is one way to be saved: Repent of your sins, and Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.-Turretinfan

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