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The Agnostic and Water Baptism

June 19th, 2005

(The following reprint comes from, As A Man Thinketh, Batsell B. Baxter, Washington Industries, P.O. Box 1301, Nashville, TN 37202, 1966. It is adapted with comments and scriptural references by Robert M. Housby, Cape Girardeau Missouri Church Bulletin,

June 19, 2005)

Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) an American lawyer, politician, and writer, often lectured on his creed of agnosticism, and in other ways displayed animosity toward orthodox Christian beliefs.
During his travels in England on one occasion he was staying in a small hotel somewhere in the midlands, at the same time a preacher happened to be staying at the same hotel. Upon learning that the famous Ingersoll was a fellow-guest, the preacher asked for an interview and sat down to talk with the noted agnostic. In the conversation the preacher asked, “Mr. Ingersoll, some months ago I wrote to you challenging you to a debate concerning the Bible. Why did you not respond?” Mr. Ingersoll asked, “Do you believe that baptism is necessary for salvation?” The preacher responded that he did not believe that it was required. Mr. Ingersoll asked for a copy of the Bible, and when he received it he opened it to the sixteenth chapter of Mark and the sixteenth verse. He read, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” Mr. Ingersoll then explained, “Why should I debate the Bible with you? You don’t believe it either.”
Christian baptism is a belief and practice of the early church, as commanded by Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 6:3-5; 6:17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; 22:16). This is the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5, and the “washing of regeneration” of Titus 3:5. There is water in the plan of salvation as surely as there was water in the plan for Noah (1 Peter 3:21). This baptism is an action “into” Christ by faith (Galatians 3:26,27). We are raised in baptism by God to receive the benefits of the resurrection (Colossians 2:12). Become a New
Testament Christian today! Accept the Bible alone: without creed or catechism.

-Robert M. Housby

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