Where would you end up if you drown during baptism?

Ok, let’s say I’m a godless heathen. One day I see the light and decide to except Jesus as my lord and savior. Thing is (as I understand it) I would have to be baptized in order to fully receive the kingdom of heaven. During the procedure something goes wrong and I drown, even though I made the appropriate declarations prior to the big dunk, I never really come back out of the water. So now what? Am I going straight to hell, limbo or where. Or would there be an exception because I “almost” made it.


See, now, THIS is exactly the kind of question that makes me love the SDMB! It’s the kind of question I never knew I needed to know the answer to, but now I do. Or something like that.

Wish I could answer it…

If you are mentioning Limbo, I think we are talking about the older Roman Catholic traditions which have led to nit-picky, even wiseassed, discussions among schoolboys that make a certain George Carlin routine funny because it’s true (yes, I asked the “International Date Line” question, too). The question I’ve been pondering is “Where do you go if you drown immediately before Baptism?” As intention is the entirety of a sin we can assume that it is also the entirety of a good; you have cleared your heart and your soul is washed clean. The Baptism itself is merely a formality. You will be fine and Heavenbound.

Me Too ** Lightnin’ **, I’m sure somebody will have something totally enlightening to say about it. OR, I have just asked a question that can’t be answered. But that’s why I put this here. Based on the encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy and theology (and some real bone headedness) that we have floating around here, I bet we will get some real thought provoking debate out of the OP.

Next question?

As another godless heathen I have to say you would end up on floating on top of the lake (river, local swimming pool, kiddies paddling pool, etc…).

Happy Christians would probably say the important step was accepting Jebus into your heart.

Fundie Christian would probably say tough luck and its a leason to all those evil disbelievers and johnny-come-latelys.

Moderate Christian is probably wondering who is going to have to explain to the police why the priest (vicar, reverend,The Venerable Father Overlord Ronald etc.) waited five minutes to pull you up.

** dropzone ** wrote:

Sorry, I don’t know what your talking about. This is a George Carlin bit?
Obviously I’m not the first person to ask this, but a form of it came up in another thread and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Here is why: I like to think I walk in the light, but I’m not perfect. I live in what is arguably a war zone. Each day as I set out I pray that Jesus will come into my heart, cleans me of my sins and to please put his hands into the minds and actions of those who would do me or my loved ones harm. However I sin every day, (To me a sin is to break any one of the 10 commandments). Each morning, I ask for forgiveness and so on, then go about my business. Much like the one who doesn’t make it through the baptism, what would become of me if just after breaking a few if the 10 commandments, I end up dead. While I have been baptized, and had recently been forgiven for earlier transgressions (this morning), I had yet to ask for forgiveness for my most recent atrocities. So am I going hell, in this case? The obvious answer is don’t sin, and I try not to, but I can be one heck of a weakling at times. And that’s where this comes from. Not trying to be a wiseass.

** Scylla ** wrote:

See what I mean. Now * that * was funny!

Baptism isn’t a ticket to heaven. Surely, even to the godless heathen, it is what is in your heart that counts, which makes me wonder if there is any point in being baptised in the first place…

Any God who would turn you away because you were a bit late in getting your head dunked is probably not worth the collection tin.

** Particlezen ** wrote:

Very well put. I think deep in my heart I know I would be ok, perhaps I’m just hedging my bets, so to speak.

Welcome to the SDMB, I’m honored that your first post was in my thread,
I’ve never been anybody’s first time before.


In Carlin’s bit (it’s been a long time since I heard it, mind you) he talked about the nit-picky and wise-assed questions Catholic schoolboys asked during religion class, in specific, “You’re required to go to Mass on Sunday but what if it’s 11:55PM and you haven’t gone to Mass and you cross the International Dateline so it’s Monday morning then ten minutes later you cross back so it’s no longer Sunday anywhere–is that a sin?” I swear it was probably a 10-year-old boy who started the debate on angels dancing on pins.

God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Jesus wouldn’t need to have died for our sins if we didn’t have any, would He? He just hopes you do your best. Don’t worry about it. You’ll be fine.

Ah, good to see Catholic Guilt Classic is still being made. :wink:

** dropzone ** wrote:

Now now, I come from the First Christian Church, (D.O.C.) I rather like to think of it as Catholic Guilt Lite. :wink:

So that wraps it up? I’ll be fine? Hmmm, not as thought pervoking as I had imagined, but Oh well.

Still soliciting other Ideas here.

Janx, a good portion of your question’s cause relates to the DOC background you mention. In the most general terms, in the States the idea that baptism by immersion is essential for salvation is normally associated with churches that come from the Restoration Movement (“let’s read the New Testamanet as if it had never been read - restore the New Testament Church”). Again, generally speaking, those are (from ‘left’ to ‘right’ theologically) Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches (Independent) and Churches of Christ (a capella/non-instrumental).

While a lot of the rank and file in the pew wouldn’t take the idea to it’s logical conclusion, the theological side would say that, if you’re on your way to the front of the church to profess Christ and be immersed, trip and split your head open and bleed to death, you don’t make it into the Kingdom since you missed the crucial step of immersion - where the blood of Christ “washes away your sin.” Much of the rest of Protestantism would dissent, saying that faith had likely occurred prior to walking the aisle (and that baptism is an act of obedience for the believer anyway, so it has no salvific effect).

Back to the OP, I think those within the theology of the Restoration Movement would probably say that the person who drowns during baptism has met the minimum standard (albeit by the Scriptural skin of the teeth perhaps). Those in other Protestant and/or evangelical traditions would say that the ‘salvation by grace through faith’ occurred prior to the immersion, so you made it by a wider margin.

Hope that helps.

I think for the majority of Christian churches, baptism is supposed to be an outward sign of an inward committment. So presumably this person would go to heaven if they had made an inward committment.

This is what I believe. If baptism was required, then the man who died on the cross beside Jesus wouldn’t have been told he’d be with Jesus again.

Actually, you’d go to the hospital or funeral parlor.

Not to split hairs, but to point out the minutae - many on the ‘baptism is essential’ side would argue that since the thief became a believer prior to Christ’s death, the new rules didn’t apply to him.

And the RCC allows Baptism to be performed immmediately post-mortem so for them the question is moot. We schoolkids were trained in the rite Just In Case there wasn’t a priest handy as part of our training in administering Extreme Unction. Didn’t want our stillborn baby brothers ending up in Limbo!

What needs to be determined is at what point is the baptism effective. Are you baptized as soon as you’re dunked? If so, then I would say the person is OK, because they were dunked before they were drowned (right, otherwise how’d they get underwater in the first place?).

OTOH, are there certain prayers that need to be said after the immersion in the baptismal? And, lastly, if there are certain prayers to be said (or other rites that are done) after the immersion, are they critical to the service (i.e. do they render the baptism ineffective if not done)?

Zev Steinhardt

To further [b/]dropzone**'s point, the RCC also baptizes infants so full immersion is rare, they are simply held over the fountain while water is poured on their forehead. Not only does this reduce the risk of drowning but makes for much happier babies.

As for certain prayers, it depends on the version of Christianity you are being baptized in. But almost always you’ll hear “baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” in the prayer as per biblical instruction. However, this can be said before, during or after full immersion baptism.

I’ve baptised a few people back in the day, and my method was “in the name of the Father” above the water, “in the name of the Son” while dunked and “in the name of the Holy Spirit” coming out of the water. But we were free-wheeling fundies, so we prayed however the “spirit” moved us. My daughter was just baptized in the RCC, and they said all kinds of set prayers, including the Prayer of Exorcism.