The Heresy Of Water Baptism For Salvation

by David J. Stewart | February 2020

John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

       One of the most popular and deadly doctrinal heresies (taught in many religious cults) is the false idea that water baptism is necessary to get to Heaven. This Satanic lie is called: “BAPTISMAL REGENERATION”! The inspired Word of God in the King James Bible is very clear that salvation is a free gift from God, paid for in full by the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son on the cross, and does NOT require any human effort. We are saved by simple childlike faith in the 'GOOD NEWS' of Jesus Christ crucified on the cross, buried and bodily risen the third day (1st Corinthians 15:1-6).

Water baptism is one's public profession of faith, picturing the Gospel. Being completely immersed under the water symbolizes Christ's death; and rising up from immersion under the water symbolizes Jesus' triumphant resurrection from the dead. In water baptism, a born-again believer is testifying to the world outwardly, what has happened inwardly. We are saved BY FAITH alone!

I am amazed at the woeful ignorance of billions of churchgoers. There are an estimated one billion Roman Catholics throughout the world, who believe that water baptism is a necessary sacrament (a word not even found in the Scripture) to get to Heaven. Biblically, Catholicism is a Satanic cult! Biblically, water baptism is not required to be saved, nor is it allowed!

“Great truths that are stumbling blocks to the natural man are nevertheless the very foundations upon which the confidence of the spiritual man is built.” —Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951)

A Common False Teaching of the Meaning of “Water” in John 3:5

Let us read our text passage of Scripture again from John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:5 has absolutely nothing to do with water baptism, as I will prove to you from the Bible. Many misled false prophets claim that this passage requires water baptism to have eternal life, but nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the biggest pseudo-Christian religious cults is the Church of Christ. Here is one of thousands of examples on the internet that I could show you, of false teachers claiming that John 3:5 refers to water baptism...

Some have said the water is talking about the amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby in the womb and the spirit is referring to being born of the Spirit, which brings us back to Holy Spirit baptism. First, it wouldn’t make sense for Jesus to say that you must be born from the water of your mother because who isn’t born from their mother? So, if Jesus wanted us to know that Holy Spirit baptism was necessary, he would have simply said you must be born of the Spirit. Second, Jesus had the chance to explain to Nicodemus that he had already accomplished the first element in verse 5. But instead, he said he must be born of water and spirit. Obviously, Jesus was letting him know that he had not experienced this new birth of water and spirit. Third, the word water used in this text is never used in the Bible to refer to childbirth. This should be enough to show the water in this verse does not refer to childbirth.


What you just read is Satanic heresy! I can PROVE that Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus about the physical birth in John 3:5, by simply examining verses 6 and 7. John 3:6-7, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” There you have it, THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE FLESH!!! Jesus here is plainly talking about “THE FLESH,” that is, our biological human birth. It is hard for me to even imagine that anyone could be so corrupted theologically, that they could actually think Jesus is requiring the activity of water baptism to be saved. Folks, that is utter nonsense! Any honest Bible student can plainly see for yourself that the Lord was contrasting the first PHYSICAL BIRTH (of the flesh) with the second SPIRITUAL BIRTH (of the Holy Spirit). John 1:11-13, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Other false religions that require water baptism for salvation (aka, Baptismal Regeneration) include: Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Lutherans, Episcopalian, and the apostate Church of England, to name but a few. These are all dangerous religious cults, from which you should RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!! I marvel how stubborn deceived people are to see THE TRUTH! Author Mark Twain was so right, who said it is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they've been fooled! It is next to impossible to change an apostate pastor's mind about these new corrupt Bible revisions. They just won't listen to reason! Heresy has invaded our once fundamental churches!

Pastor A. Ray Stanford (1916-2012) has this to say to help clear up the matter on water baptism and salvation. I agree with his interpretation of John 3:5-7...

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Some people think this verse is referring to water baptism because it says you must be “born of water.” But let me ask you a question. Are BIRTH and BAPTISM the same thing? Of course not! If Christ wanted to say, “You must be baptized of water,” He would have said so. But He said, “born of water,” and Jesus knew the difference between the two. Consider the context. The first time Jesus told Nicodemus of the new birth, He said, “Except a man be BORN again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (verse 3). Nicodemus thought Christ's statement was referring to another physical birth. In fact, he asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” (verse 4) We KNOW that the BIRTH OF WATER in John 3:5 cannot mean water baptism. There are at least three things this could mean within the context and without contradicting other parts of the Word of God:

(1) Some Bible scholars believe that being “born of water” refers to physical birth. Notice Christ's reply to Nicodemus that a man has to be BORN (the subject throughout is BIRTH, not baptism) of water and the Spirit. Christ was saying, “Nicodemus, you must be born of water (physical birth) and the Spirit (new birth).” Why is it said that being “born of water” refers to physical birth? Because of Christ's clear explanation in the very next verse, “That which is born of the FLESH is flesh; and that which is born of the SPIRIT is Spirit” (v.6). Jesus then said, “Marvel not (don't be surprised) that I said unto thee, “Ye must be BORN again.”

(2) Other Bible scholars believe that being “born of water” refers to the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Gospel of John water is used as an illustration to point to Christ as the giver of “living water,” as in John 4:6-14. Christ asked the woman at Jacob's well for a drink of water and also told the woman that He could give her water as well.... But the water He gives is not “H20”.... The water that He gives is a “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (v. 14). In John 7:39 Christ gave this explanation of “living water”: “But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive....” The Greek word for “and” in John 3:5 is “kai.” Quoting from Strong's Concordance, #2532, we find that this word is a “primitive participle, having a copulative ( joining together) and sometimes also a cumulative force.” Besides being translated “and” it is also translated “indeed, likewise, moreover,” etc. To paraphrase John 3:5, then, it could read, “. . . except a man be born of water (the living water Christ gives), indeed, by the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

(3) Still other Bible scholars believe the birth of water in John 3:5 is speaking of the “washing of the Word” as is mentioned in Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. The important thing for us to know is that salvation is always and only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this passage in John 3:5 in no way suggests water baptism for salvation. For someone to conclude that John 3:5 is referring to WATER BAPTISM, he would have to ignore completely the entire context of the third chapter.


Jesus made very clear by His referral to “THE FLESH” in John 3:6, that “born of water” in verse 5 can only mean the physical human birth. This is so obvious to see. John 3:5 has absolutely nothing to do with water baptism.

“All you have to do is accept His gift of eternal life and you'll go to Heaven when you die!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles, a quote from the great sermon, “I Find No Fault In This Man!

The Only Possible Meaning of Acts 2:38 is Salvation By Faith Alone in Jesus

I use the term “water baptism” simply because the word “baptism” has several different meanings in the Holy Bible. Every person is baptized with the Holy Spirit when they get saved. The Hebrews were baptized with Moses into the Red Sea. The word baptism means to be “immersed” into something. As believers, we are baptized with Jesus in His suffering and persecution for our faith. Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Notice carefully that the Bible doesn't say to be baptized in “water”; but rather, be baptized “IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST”!!! You get saved by being immersed by faith in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. This is what ALL THE PROPHETS preached from Genesis to Revelation! Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

In view of the preceding truth, we can only logically conclude that Acts 2:38 simply means to BELIEVE ON CHRIST for the remission of sins. Repentance is simply a change of mind unto the Gospel itself, and to be “baptized” here must either refer to being immersed by faith into Jesus Christ, or to get water baptized after one is saved as a public profession of one's faith. I tend to believe the former idea. But regardless, to teach anything other than salvation by faith alone in Acts 2:38, would violate several dozen passages of Scripture which plainly teach that salvation is solely by THE HEARING OF FAITH (Galatians 3:2b). Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” The popular ridiculous religious requirement to be bathed in H2O to get to Heaven, goes totally contrary to sound Scripture! It is ridiculous to think that God would require a person to get physically wet with a substance, to receive His gift of eternal life. Truly, religion is the worst thing that ever happened to this world.

Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) offers this excellent helpful explanation of Acts 2:38...

Some people think that this passage contradicts the dozens of other plain statements in the Bible that a man is saved by faith and saved immediately when he believes. But when you use the word for in this passage just as it is used so many times in every-day conversation, you will see what Peter said. A man is arrested for stealing; one is grateful for a favor; one is blamed for carelessness; one is commended for bravery. The word for here does not mean in order to or to secure remission of sins, and it is not rendered that way in any translation of the Bible we know of anywhere. The Greek word eis here translated for is sometimes translated in the Bible against, among, at, unto, upon, etc.

It might properly be translated here “baptized upon the remission of your sins” or "baptized referring to, or pointing toward the remission of your sins,” or “baptized in the remission of your sins.” When one repents, he receives the remission of his sins. Then the obedient heart, following Christ in baptism, is promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, an entirely separate matter from salvation. What Peter said was that people ought to repent and then, after their sins are forgiven, they should be baptized as evidence of that. That is exactly what people ought to be baptized for, that is, to show the remission of their sins. That Scripture, then, does not mean that people ought to be baptized in order to be saved.

SOURCE: Dr. John R. Rice, “Bible Baptism

Pastor Ray A. Stanford (1916-2012) offers this helpful explanation in his excellent soulwinning book titled: Personal Handbook of Evangelism”...

In order to understand the Scriptural teaching regarding baptism, you must know what the word means. The Greek words translated “baptize” and “baptism” are “baptizo,” “baptisma,” and “baptismos.” Even if you are not a linguist, you can see from the above that the word “baptize” is not really a TRANSLATION of “baptizo” at all. The translators simply replaced the “o” with an “e.” This is called a TRANSLITERATION not a translation, because in true translation work the meaning of the word is carried over from one language into another. In the case of the word "baptize" or “baptism” this was not done.

The result of this is that every time someone reads or hears about baptism, he automatically thinks it must mean WATER baptism. So, when such a person reads in Acts 2:38, for instance, “Repent and be baptized . . . for the remission of sins,” he erroneously concludes that one must be dipped in water to be saved . . . because the verse does say you have to be baptized to receive God's forgiveness. Much harm and confusion has resulted from not understanding the real meaning of baptism. It means “to whelm (engulf or cover) and to cleanse.” When Scripture refers to WATER baptism the context ALWAYS makes this clear. When water is not mentioned in connection with baptism, we need to use utmost care in our study of the passage so that we will recognize what kind of “baptism” (cleansing or whelming) is being spoken of.

SOURCE: Dr. Ray Stanford, Personal Handbook of Evangelism,” page 54.

When studying the Holy Bible, NEVER lift a particular text out of context, lest you create a new pretext! I thank God for sound Bible teachers; such as, Evangelist John R. Rice and Pastor Ray Stanford. The best way to interpret the Holy Bible is to let the Bible explain itself. Hundreds of passages of Scripture teach salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” In the precious Gospel of John we find the word “BELIEVE” mentioned 85 times, but water baptism is never mentioned along with believing. What saith the Scripture? John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Believe, Oh sinner, and you are saved eternally!!!

Paul Said Jesus Didn't Send Him to Water Baptize, But to preach 'THE GOSPEL'

The apostle Paul was frustrated with the behavior of the church at Corinth. They had divided into cliques, fighting among themselves. Paul rejoices in not having water baptized most of them, lest they make him their clique leader...

1st Corinthians 1:14-18, “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” [emphasis added]

Notice that Paul calls THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS “the power of God,” with no reference to the power of baptism. Romans 1:16 confirms this truth, speaking ofthe gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16b). The preaching of the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen is THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, to every one who believes!!! Paul made plain that the Lord DIDN'T send him to water baptize people; but rather, to PREACH THE GOSPEL. The reason why is clearly stated—because the POWER OF GOD is in preaching THE GOSPEL, and not in being baptized with water. The truth is abundantly clear to see. If being baptized were essential for the new birth, then Paul would never have made such a statement in 1st Corinthians 1:17a, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” Instead, he would have desired and laboured to baptize as many people as possible. Paul said he wasn't interested in baptizing anybody at Corinth, lest they form another clique.

Water Baptism is Not Necessary for the New Birth

We have many solid proofs in the inspired Word of God that water baptism is not required for salvation. ...

In the Epistle of 1st John, we read in 1st John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” The apostle John states that the purpose of his Epistle is to help believers “KNOW” (beyond any shadow of a doubt) that we are saved. The Epistle is written to each and every INDIVIDUAL Christian.

Since the stated purpose of this book of the Bible is to help Christians KNOW we are saved, if water baptism were necessary to be saved, no doubt John would have mentioned it, but he doesn't. If it were required to be water baptized for the forgiveness of sins, then John would have stressed the utter importance of being baptized, but not one mention of baptism of any form is mentioned. That speaks volumes dear reader, as to the fact that you don't have to be dunked in water to be born-again.

One of the biggest religious heretics in history is Martin Luther (1483-1546). In Luther's Large Catechism he writes:

“Moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved...” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: The Large Catechism (XIII) - Martin Luther

Mr. Luther penned those words in 1529, twelve years after his alleged conversion to Jesus Christ in 1517. How much more evidence do you need to know that Martin Luther was an imposter, a fake, and an unsaved man? It is horribly tragic that Baptist churches and Bible colleges all across America, sinfully promote Martin Luther as a born-again Christian. As I have just evidenced to you, Martin Luther was NOT a true Christian! Just like Charles G. Finney, who was a famous lecturer, both Luther and Finney were reprobates concerning the Christian faith. Just because a man is a popular public religious figure, it doesn't mean that he is right nor saved. Sadly, both of these heretics are burning in the fires of Hell forever!!! Anyone who adds to the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ is not a born-again believer!

The repentant thief on the cross was never water baptized. Nobody in the Old Testament was ever water baptized to be saved. As I quoted to you earlier from Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” This Bible verse is important, teaching that the plan of salvation was THE SAME in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament—BY FAITH IN THE MESSIAH!!!

Carefully notice in the following Scripture passage that Phillip didn't preach water baptism to the Ethiopian Eunuch, he PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS! ...

Acts 8:35-38, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

In the preceding passage of Scripture, we see the simplicity that is in Christ—simply HEAR and BELIEVE! Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Notice that the man in the chariot first BELIEVED, and only then afterwards did he get water baptized. Amen!

And may I say, kindly, beware of the dangerous modern Bible revisions, which corrupt this beautiful passage of Scripture, by COMPLETELY REMOVING Acts 8:37! By obliterating verse Acts 8:37, the new PERversions teach the heresy of baptismal Regeneration. Let's see what they removed. Acts 8:37, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” THEY TOOK IT OUT!!! Why would wicked translators remove this Bible truth? The answer is obvious if you are familiar with the new revisions, which all assault the Trinity and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the lousy crap that Bob Jones University sanctions, uses and sells...

ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION (ESV) - Acts 8:36-38, “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, 'See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?' And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

BLASPHEMY!!! They totally removed VERSE 37! What devils!!! This passage as now rendered in the perverted modern Bible versions teaches damnable heresy! Please, only use the time-tested, very pure, inspired, King James Bible!!!!!!!

The focus of this article is to refute the Devil's lie of Baptismal Regeneration! You do not have to be water baptized to go to Heaven! Granted, water baptism is the first step of obedience for the believer, and I encourage all Christians to be baptized if you have never done so; but it is not required, nor permitted, in God's plan of salvation. If you get baptized “JUST IN CASE,” then you are going straight to Hell when you die. You're not really trusting the Savior, if you're also relying upon anything else (like water baptism). Salvation is obtained by faith alone, without works. Abram believed the Lord in Genesis 15:6, and it was counted to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3-6). Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15) from God (Ephesians 2:8-9), which may be accepted or rejected, solely conditional upon our faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


If you're not DEAD, God's not DONE!!!

Pastor Jeff Owens, “Unloved Preachers

Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him
that justifieth the ungodly
, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Souls Are Dying!

How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)

Mark 1:15, “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

“The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

Mark 11:22, And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!