Water Baptism: Essential for Salvation or Not?


This page will be treated in like manner to the pages involving the Oneness/Trinity debates and speaking in tongues. It is provided to supply links to both United Pentecostal Church (UPC) writings and those of similar or differing beliefs. It should be noted that most churches which call themselves 'apostolic' hold the same main beliefs on salvation as the UPC.

Baptism in Jesus' name as a requirement for salvation is an important doctrine of the United Pentecostal Church. Most UPC members would tell you that one is not saved unless they are baptized in Jesus' name by full water immersion even if they are "filled with the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues" (another UPC salvation teaching). My former UPC pastor taught if you were baptized in any other manner, all you did was get wet.

The United Pentecostal Church teaches that in the act of baptism a person's sins are remitted or washed away and therefore baptism is essential in order to be saved. In addition, they teach that:

--- baptism must be by full water immersion

--- the name of Jesus must be spoken in baptism

The omission of either of these would result in the believer being lost.

The teaching that sins are remitted in baptism is referred to by some as baptismal regeneration. Other groups which teach similar include Catholicism, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses.

In contrast, most Christian organizations teach that water baptism should be performed by saying "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" as written in Matthew 28:19. These other denominations vary as to the mode by either sprinkling, pouring or immersing in water. While most teach a believer should be baptized, the majority do not teach it as a matter of salvation.

Should a believer be baptized? Is baptism essential to be saved? Are sins only forgiven during the act of baptism? Is it a part of the Gospel? Does the blood of Jesus get applied to us in water baptism? Does the Bible teach that it should be done in no other manner than by full water immersion? Are we to be baptized saying the name of Jesus or Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Does either really matter if the person has placed their faith in Jesus?

Below is a video example of a United Pentecostal Church water baptism.


Below are links to various writings on the subject, stating several perspectives. Included under the UPC view are writings from other groups which believe likewise, at least in part. Therefore all are not representative of their view.

* Denotes the article is posted directly on this site, with all others being links.

  UPCI & Similar Views

Differing View

The Significance of the Name of Jesus in Water Baptism by David K. Bernard Bible Baptism by Michael C.*
Why We Baptize in Jesus Name- UPCI tract Heaven Only for the Baptized? Baptismal Regeneration?
Andrew Urshan & Water Baptism by Jim Ellis* What About Water Baptism? by Buddy Martin*
In The Fight Over Water Baptism, The Missing Piece Baptism and Salvation by Charles T. Buntin
What Do you Mean Born Again?- tract What Does it Mean to be Born Again? by Bernie Gillespie  
The Miracle of Baptism Into the Death of Jesus by Mike Blume Water Baptism According to the Word of Truth by Christopher C. Warren
Salvation in a Nutshell by Stan Hallett Baptismal Regeneration (taken from a book by Gregory A. Boyd)
The Bloodstained Doorway by Mike Blume A Biblical View of Baptism by Warren Doud
What's in a Name? by Glen Strecker Baptism, Is It Essential for Salvation? by Anthony Valasek
Naaman of Syria and Baptism into Jesus' Death by Mike Blume Baptism: What it Means: It's Importance to You by Don McFarland
Water Baptism- tract Verses on the Need for Baptism by Ron Rhodes  
Why We Must Be Baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost by Stan Hallett Water Baptism: Is It Necessary for Salvation?
Why We Baptize in Jesus Name & An Essential of Salvation by T.M. Bowen Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
The Absurdity of Obedience by Robert Sabin Rebutting Baptismal Regeneration by Bernard F. Londino
EIS "For Forgiveness" or "Because of Forgiveness?" by Jack P. Lewis Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Romans 6- Water Baptism- Forgiveness of Sins by Kenneth Sublett A Brief Rebuttal of Baptismal Regeneration by James White  
Baptism and Forgiveness of Sins by Dr. Richard E. Oster, Jr. Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? by Reese Currie
The Purpose of Baptism- McDonald/Ross Debate Baptismal Regeneration? by Dave Hunt
The Baptismal Formula in Scripture and History- tract Remission of Sins in Acts 2:38 by Bernie Gillespie
The Born-Again Conspiracy! by Glen Strecker Baptismal Regeneration: Dunked and Drowned
What Shall We Do?- part of a new convert Bible study Remission of Sins- Faith and Baptism by Edward Fudge
Baptism in Jesus' Name by William Arnold III Baptismal Regeneration and Bible Salvation by Dennis Costella
Into His Marvelous Light- a Bible study Baptismal Regeneration by Charles Spurgeon
The Purpose of Baptism Historically and Today by Donald Bryan and Walter Copes The Wetter the Better: The "Wash" on Baptismal Regeneration by Edgar L. Havaich
The Mystery of God Only Known by Revelation by G.T. Haywood How Did Paul 'Wash Away' His Sins? by Bernie Gillespie  
Historical Development of the Trinitarian Mode of Baptism by Walter Copes Scriptural Study Refuting Baptismal Regeneration by Dan Corner
What's Wrong With the Name Jesus? by P.T. McClure Does Christ or Baptism Save You? by Bernie Gillespie  
The Significance of Water Baptism by J.L. Hall Baptismal Regeneration by J.H. Todd
The New Birth by David K. Bernard The Oneness Pentecostal View of Salvation by Gregory A. Boyd
An Honest Answer (chapter from a book) Do You Have to be Baptized to be Saved? by John MacArthur, Jr.  
What Salvation is all About: The Facts You Need About the Kingdom of God by Wayne Bottiger Negative Inference Fallacies of Acts 2:38, Matt 19:9, and I Cor 11:5 by Paul S. Dixon
A Defense of Baptismal Regeneration by Matt (note: Catholic viewpoint)   Hearts Purified by Faith: Are Sins Forgiven Only by Baptism? by Bernie Gillespie  
When Is The Blood Applied? by Frank Hilton The Gospel and Water Baptism: A Study of Acts 22:16 by Lanny Thomas Tanton (covers 4 views)
Truth or Tradition? -tract Water Baptism is NOT a Requirement for Salvation
The Importance of Water Baptism   Baptismal Regeneration by V.L. Peterson  
Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation? Brown/Cook Debate   Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation from CRI
Water Baptism from Spiritual Growth Ministries  Baptismal Regeneration and Bible Salvation from Fundamental Evangelistic Association  
Crossing The Sea Of Death by Mike Blume   Martin Luther's Sacramental Gospel by Dwight Oswald  
Baptism- brief Mormon view   Born Again by Baptism?  
Water Baptism: Does the Mode or Formula Really Make Any Difference?   Refutes to Baptismal Regeneration from Let Us Reason  
Acts 2:38 and the Purpose of Baptism by Jason Dulle Contending with the False Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration from The Joywell    
Must We Be Baptized For The Forgiveness Of Our Sins? Against Baptismal Regeneration: An Exposition of John 3:5 & Titus 3:5 by Paul D. Adams  
Christian Baptism by Alexander Campbell Baptism For the Forgiveness of Sins Pt. 1 by H. Wayne House
Baptism: Is It a Step of Salvation? by Kenneth Weaver Baptism For the Forgiveness of Sins Pt. 2 by H. Wayne House
Jesus Name Appendix Regeneration by A.A. Hodge
Baptism in the Name of Jesus by Ken Raggio Baptismal Regeneration Examined by Dr Jeffrey Khoo
The Truth About Water Baptism- UPCI tract Twisting Acts 2:38- The Question of Baptism by Water for Salvation by Craig Branch
Water Baptism According to the Bible and Historical References- compiled by Lewis Manuwal What Does the Bible Say About Baptism?
Water Baptism in Jesus' Name is Essential Unto Salvation Baptismal Regeneration: The Council of Trent Tested by the Word of God
Essentials Of The New Birth by David Bernard Is Water Baptism Necessary for Eternal Salvation?
Baptismal Regeneration by Aaron Kenneth Johnson  
The False Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration by John R. Rice  
The Purpose of Baptism- McDonald/Ross Debate
Baptism by Francis A. Schaeffer  
Does Acts 2:38 Teach Baptismal Remission? by E. Calvin Beisner
Baptismal Regeneration by Matsati  
Ballard/Strom Debate on Baptism  
What Saves? Baptism or Jesus Christ? by Buddy Bryant
Does the Bible Say That Baptism is Necessary for Salvation? by Cooper Abrams
Can Grace be Forfeited Over a Technicality? by Bernie L. Gillespie
Baptism: In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, or in the Name of Jesus Christ? by Ron Halbrook
The Baptismal Formula by Mark McNeil (Word document)
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? by E. Calvin Beisner
In Jesus' Name: An Examination of the Oneness Pentecostal Baptismal Formula by Jason Young*
Baptism and the Shorter Formula by Dan Lewis
The Theological Purpose of the Book of Acts: Part 1 and Part Two by Dan Lewis (While these do not
specifically address baptism, they may be helpful in better understanding the book of Acts.

Below are some debates on this subject.

Debate between Don Phillips (American Baptist) and David Padfield (Church of Christ); Debate between Don Phillips and David Padfield.

Debate between Gerry Jones (Church of Christ) and Gordon Lewis (Baptist); Debate between Bob Ross and Bill Jackson (Church of Christ).

Debate between Steven Ritchie (Oneness Pentecostal) and Richard Bushey (Christian Apologist); Debate between Steven Ritchie and Robert Skynner.


Page added July 22, 1999, links checked February 16, 2016 & Updated March 19, 2016


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