There are days I don't know what to think about baptism. You would assume that since I'm into my 58th year of attending Church of Christ services, that my understanding of all aspects of baptism would be reinforced with rebar and encased in concrete. And some days it is.
To my simple mind, when the New Testament is examined as a whole, baptism is essential to salvation. You know the scriptures I could quote...they are as much a part of my upbringing as the belt my Mom used for frontier justice. You are also familiar with the urgency of baptism mentioned in the Acts conversions.
But there are days that the solid structure of my baptism beliefs show hairline cracks. Here's why:
1. What to do about all the "he that believes shall be saved" scriptures that omit mentioning baptism.
2. What to do about the thousands and thousands of extraordinary believers who live lives of incredible faith, devotion, and service...people with whom I don't want MY life compared...who haven't been baptized and obviously are comfortable with their decision.
3. What to do with grace and baptism: to wit, if God's grace is sufficient to forgive my sins of commission and omission, isn't it just as capable of forgiving someone's theological mistake, assuming neglecting baptism falls into that category?
I will say this. One thing that drives me nuts, that sometimes makes me think that I must be missing something, is why there are those thousands of believers who have somehow decided that baptism (for whatever reason) isn't for them. I mean, if there were a one in a million chance that baptism was essential for salvation, wouldn't you hightail it to the nearest baptistry? I have never understood the "hangup" so many folks have about something so easy to do.
I know we aren't the final arbitors of a person's eternal destiny. And I guess I can't make a final and sure ruling in this matter. I just wish it were as simple as it was to me when I, as a 9 year-old, stepped into the chilly waters one Sunday night and was born again.