Here are Questions 14 to 17 in our series based on the article ’51 Questions that might lead you to Mormonism’.
Just to let you know, after consulting with Michelle I don’t believe I’m going to answer all the questions in his article. However, I do plan on answering the ones that pertain directly to Mormon doctrine, and those which use scripture as a means to mislead the lost or cast doubts on what God has actually said.
As I looked over the following questions I decided that, considering they all go together in one way or another, I’m going to sum up my answers for them in the following paragraphs.
14 “You must accept Christ in order to be saved. But what if you never even heard of the name of Christ while in your lifetime?”
15 “Would a just God condemn someone merely because of the space of time in which they lived on the earth?”
16 “If baptism is required for salvation as taught by Jesus Christ (John 3:3-5), what happens to those that never had the chance to be baptized such as infants that died near child birth?”
17 “Why would Paul speak to the Corinthians about baptism for the dead, and why is this concept overlooked in mainstream Christianity? (1 Cor 15:29)”
These questions fall into two categories, Salvation for those who have never heard the name of Jesus, and Baptism. I’m going to start off talking a little about Salvation.
Yes, there have been people who have died and never heard the name of Jesus, but does that mean they’ll never enter Heaven? No.
Hebrews 11, sometimes call the ‘faith hall of fame’ tells us about people saved by grace through their faith before Jesus died upon the cross for the sins of the world.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not,”
“Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. – Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,”
Now, as for those who have lived and died after the coming of Jesus, scripture tells us in Romans 1:19-25 that everyone is without excuse. Everyone, on some level knows there’s a God, a someone who created everything. Sadly, people around the time of Christ, and even now have chosen to worship false gods, and created things rather than the creator, the one true God.
“Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever Amen.”
Baptism was never a requirement for your salvation, it’s a result of your salvation. It illustrates a new believer’s commitment to walk in the new life Jesus has given them, and represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Baptism for the dead
1 Corinthians 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
This is one of those verses Mormons have taken out of context believing that it supports their practice of baptizing the dead, by proxy into the Mormon Church.
In Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians Paul is reminding the believers about the reality of Christ’s resurrection, and the hope they have in knowing that because of the resurrection they too will have eternal life, and be resurrected. Still there were some who didn’t believe it. Which is why Paul asked, somewhat sarcastically, “Why are you baptizing the dead when you don’t even believe in the resurrection?”
Apparently, baptisms for the dead was a common practice by pagans at the time. It’s important to note that the body of Christ wasn’t performing this ritual, it was the pagans. We see this by noticing that Paul uses the word ‘they’ not ‘we’ as a way to draw a contrast between the believers, and non-believers.
In conclusion, it’s amazing to me how Mormons can think of questions someone who truly loves the Lord would never think of. Yet, they claim to be followers of Christ. They make salvation so complicated, demanding temple works and church members a requirement to live in the presence of God for eternity.
They refuse to accept that Jesus made it quite simple. Yes, you must repent and accept the work He did on the cross for your sins, however you don’t have to be baptized receive eternal life. As we discussed earlier, the desire to be baptized is a result of your salvation.