Is baptism necessary for salvation?
Mr. Graham has stated: "I believe baptism is important, and I have been baptized. But I think we violate the Scriptures when we make baptism the prime requirement for salvation ... Paul's central theme was Christ and His saving power. Although he spoke of baptism, he said: 'I thank God that I baptized none of you ... lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name' (1 Corinthians 1:14-15)."
"Baptism is a conclusive act of obedience and witness to the world that we are Christ's. I believe in it wholeheartedly. In our crusades we don't baptize because we feel that this should be done by the local pastors—and that if I baptized, some people would say they had been baptized by me, and that would be putting the emphasis on the wrong person. To one who has received Christ, baptism is a necessary and meaningful experience. But, I must say with Paul: 'Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel' (1 Corinthians 1:17)."
"You may know that we urge immediate and extensive Bible study for each convert. As the Scripture is reviewed, the place of baptism will surely be discovered. If baptism were a requirement for salvation, we would certainly say that. But you couldn't support that knowing, for example, that the thief on the cross had no opportunity for baptism or church membership. Yet on his confession, paradise was secured. Jesus said to him, 'Today shalt thou be with me in paradise' (Luke 23:43)."