I’m Episcopalian- Question about Communion and Salvation

Questions ForumCategory: Christian DoctrineI’m Episcopalian- Question about Communion and Salvation
Richard N Sam asked 2 months ago

Dear Sir,
I am a devout believer in our Lord as most in out Church are. We are all sinners and know that those of us who worship and believe will most likely make it to Heaven. Some Christians believe that Baptism must be for adults only to be effective. When John the Baptist baptized, do you think those baptized outside  of Jesus, knew its significance. They did not even have the New Testament at that time. Baptism I feel is a gift from God for us. When you bless a child, does he or she know what you are doing? I think not. Jesus blessed the children and of coarse, who of us dare question Jesus.
We can believe as Episcopalians, the Holy Communion is the real presence of Christ or it is symbolic. However, Jesus said to do this not only to remember Him, but to wash away sins. When we say literal presence, we mean he is there with us. Jesus said that when two or more pray, he is present. Why can he not be present during Communion?
Please understand, I have a lot of respect for John Ankerberg and watch and read much of him. It puzzles me why you have problems with the traditional Churches. Yes I understand that some of our members are too liberal and I’m not comfortable with this. However, I go to Church to worship God and pledge myself weekly to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We accept sinners to worship with us, in the hope they will be in Communion with God, and if they repent, they shall be saved.
Do you think after what I just wrote, I am not worthy of Salvation?

God bless you,
Rivhard

1 Answers
John Ankerberg StaffJohn Ankerberg Staff Staff answered 1 month ago

Hi Rivhard,

Thanks for your questions. Let first clarify that one’s mode of baptism (say sprinkling as an infant or immersion as an adult) has no bearing on one’s salvation. The Bible is very clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus (see for example Ephesians 2:8-9). There is no work or special ritual we have to do in order to earn our salvation; it is received entirely by faith. Romans 4 provides a helpful analogy for the way we think about this. There Paul reflects on the relationship between Abraham’s faith and his circumcision (a sign and seal of his faith – similar to baptism). Paul points out that Abraham was credited righteous before he was circumcised and not after (Romans 4:10). His circumcision was not the means of receiving righteousness, but rather “a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised” (Romans 4:11). Baptism functions in a similar way. One is saved by faith before baptism. Baptism acts as a sign and seal of the righteousness one previously received through faith.

There is a distinction made between the baptism of John the Baptist and that of Jesus after he rose from the dead. John’s baptism was a precursor to Jesus’. It prepared the way. Those who were baptized by John engaged in baptism as a symbol of repentance, consecration, and forgiveness. John the Baptist himself clarifies some of the differences, “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8; see also Acts 19:3-4). Furthermore, after Jesus rose from the dead, baptism took on a greater significance that was not previously understood. It began to symbolize one’s union with Christ’s death and resurrection (see for example Romans 6:3-4).

There is a difference of opinion among evangelicals on whether infants should be baptized. While it is not essential to one’s salvation, it a topic worthy of thought and discussion. As a ministry, we hold that baptism is intended for those who have personally placed their faith in Jesus in to be their Savior. Baptism is a public enactment of one’s personal faith. However, there are many theologians we respect and have had on the show who hold to infant baptism. R.C. Sproul is one example. Here is a link to one of many helpful debates which outline the reasoning behind both views. This one is between John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VzUOiNtgio.

Concerning the Lord’s Supper, we do not hold that the bread and wine actually become Christ’s physical body and blood. Rather, they are to be understood symbolically. This does not negate Jesus presence during this element of worship nor does it negate His forgiveness or transforming work in our lives through it. Ultimately, it is not the physical elements themselves which mediate these things to us, but faith. Again, this is a topic worthy of discussion, but not something which is essential to salvation.

What is most important is the reality that Jesus bore our sin and died in our place on the cross. He paid the punishment we deserve for our sin so that we can be completely forgiven and made right with God. God has proved this by raising Him from the dead. Romans 6:23 says that He now offers the promise of eternal life as a free gift to anyone who places their faith in Jesus (see also John 3:16).  This is the basis of our salvation. Anyone can receive it by placing their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

God bless you, Rivhard. I hope this clarifies some of your questions.