Post Author: Darrell
The LDS Church teaches that Baptism is required for entrance into The Celestial Kingdom (Heaven). They often cite Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus in John chapter 3 as evidence to support their position. However, a closer look at this conversation does not in fact support the Mormon view. Let’s go through this conversation verse by verse.
“1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
It is important to stop here and look closely at what Christ taught and what Nicodemus asked in return. Christ said that a man must be “born again” to enter into heaven. Nicodemus was confused by what Christ meant by “born again” and followed by asking how a man could “enter the womb” again to be re-born. Keep this in mind.
“5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of waterand the Spirit.”
It is at this point most Mormons will stop and say something to the effect of “See, Christ taught that you have to be born of water – Baptized – or you cannot go to heaven. ” I am willing to admit that if the conversation stopped here they might actually have a case. Fortunately, Christ clarifies for us exactly what he means by born of water.
“6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.“
Christ answers Nicodemus’s question of what born again is… how can a man “enter the womb” to be reborn. Christ tells us that flesh gives birth to flesh when we are born the first time – of water from our mother’s womb. Mormons get confused by what Christ meant by “born of water”. It has nothing to do with baptism…. He was referring to being born of our mother. However, Christ goes further to contrast this first birth with being “born again” of the Spirit. This is the requirement for entrance into Heaven not baptism.
As you can see, this conversation does not teach that we must be baptized to enter Heaven. Don’t get me wrong… I am not saying that baptism is a bad thing. In reality it is a wonderful ordinance that we should all follow once we accept Christ as our Savior. Christ most certainly taught that it is something we should do as an outward manifestation of a changed heart. However, He did not teach it as a mandate for salvation. Only one thing is required for salvation… a sincere and humble expression of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior which leads to being Born Again of The Spirit.
What a beautiful concept this is! Christ’s sacrifice is a gift we should all receive… it enables all who do so to enter The Kingdom of God. I will praise my Savior forever for what He has done for me.