Q. I recently attended a church that is part of the Restoration Movement. This is the first I’d heard of it, but what puzzled me is that they believe baptism is necessary for salvation. They quote Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 in their literature. Could you please give your take on these verses?
A. Baptism is the evidence of salvation, not a requirement for it. It’s the public confirmation of a decision made in the heart. Mark 16:16 encourages baptism as evidence of salvation but does not say that the failure to be baptized will result in condemnation. Only the failure to believe can cause that. The same is true of Acts 2:38. In both cases baptism is shown to be an important step in the salvation experience. But nowhere is it described as an essential prerequisite. If it is then the thief on the cross could not have been saved.