I have a question that I do not really know how to answer to where it satisfies everyone so I will ask it here and maybe someone can give a satisfactory answer that all can accept.
Lets say everyone agrees that Christ through his Apostles commanded everyone to be baptized. The question is how can one say that it is not a salvation issue regardless of the belief of just what it entails.
If Christ said that we are to if we do not is our faith where it should be? If we do not would it not be considered rebellion against Christ will?
It seems to me that regardless of what we think baptism is or for or whatever the simple fact that Christ said to do it would make it a salvation issue would it not?
I'm not CoC, and, as I have already said, don't know a lot about this re-baptism issue; but I do believe it is a salvation issue, and am personally convinced by Scripture that someone who refuses water baptism really has no grounds for claiming they are saved [note I said, refuses].
The question was raised, is water baptism only a religious ritual? Does it actually do anything?
It has been said that, since Jesus commanded it, it cannot be a "religious" ritual, because Jesus is God. And that would be sufficient argument for me.
The emphasis given is that baptism is "for the remission of sins" as Peter claimed on the day of Pentecost. So, does water baptism actually remit your sons, or no? It is this issue I would like to adress using an example from the Bible concerning Namaan the leper.
As you may recall, Namaan, a Syrian commander, had leprosy, and through the testimony of a child servant girl found himself confronted by Elisha's servant who told him to go and dip in the Jordan 7 times. If you have read, or heard the story, you know that Namaan objected, and refused to do so.
Now I ask you, if Namaan had refused to do as commanded, would he have been healed? The answer from the telling of his story would obviously be, no. His leprosy would have remained. So we can say that the Jordan waters healed him, even though we know that it was not the water, but the power of God. Remember, if he had gone back to the mountains of Syria and tried the same thing he would not have been healed.
This same can then be said of water baptism. Even though we know that it is the power of God, through Jesus Christ that makes us clean by faith, the waters of baptism actually do remit your sins, because the power of the act is in the command of Christ. It is not merely a Jewish ritual. By faith, when we are baptised, our sins are washed away.
In the same manner we lay hands on the sick, and they are healed. Do I possess the healing? No, it is the gift of God, but God has commanded it to happen that way.
With regards to re-baptism, I have no idea why it is often commanded; but, as to whether it is a salvation issue, yes, I do believe it is.
Remember when Jesus challenged the pharisees concerning their traditions? They had decided, if you give your money to the church you are free from obligation to your parents. Jesus plainly stated that this was contrary to the command of God. That is the way I see those who teach no need to be baptised. What they teach is not the command of God, but the tradition of men that contravenes the command of God. I pay no attention to such.