Baptism. We are a grace-centered church, and we do not view baptism in terms of “baptismal regeneration” (i.e., that water is the means or basis of salvation). We believe that salvation is based on the blood of Christ alone and is accepted through the means of faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We do not view baptism as a work of law, earning or meriting salvation. We believe baptism is “an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:21, ESV). God does the work of grace in baptism (Colossians 2:12 [The Message]: “If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ.”). So, Baptism is related to Salvation. As we sometimes say, “We are saved BY grace (the basis), THROUGH faith (the means), IN baptism (the occasion), FOR good works (the result). A reading of the parallel passages found in Ephesians 2:1-10 and Colossians 2:11-14 reveals this biblical understanding of the salvation process.
Also, please consider the following videos featuring strongly evangelical voices. The first is of Tom Wright, a leading New Testament Scholar and Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), speaking on the importance of baptism to early Christians. The Second and third videos feature Francis Chan, popular evangelical author and speaker. You’ll see that having a high view of baptism that sees its relationship to salvation is consistent with the Bible and the evangelical stream of the faith.
Tom Wright, D.Phil. D.D., Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews
Francis Chan teaching on Baptism
Francis Chan speaks of his journey to a more biblical view of baptism