If you believe the account of the penitent thief on the cross being forgiven proves that people do not have to be baptized today to become saved, here are a few questions to consider:
1. Can it be proven that the thief had never been baptized to have his past sins forgiven? (see Matthew 3:2, 5-6; Mark 1:4; John 4:1-2).
2. Is it possible to sin after baptism? (see Acts 8:12-ff).
4. Did the New Covenant begin before, or after, the death of Christ? (see Hebrews 9:15-17).
5. Was the thief forgiven while living under the Old Covenant, or the New? (see Luke 23:42-46).
6. Are we living under the Old Covenant, or the New?
7. What were the first people saved under the New Covenant told to do to have their sins forgiven? (see Acts 2:36-41).
8. Was the thief forgiven before, or after, the Great Commission was given?
9. In the Great Commission, what did Jesus command all men to do to be saved? (see Mark 16:15-16).
10. If you believe that “He who believes and prays shall be saved,” why did Jesus say, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved”?
11. Since the Great Commission was for the salvation of people all over the world, why didn’t Jesus include prayer in it, if that is His plan for the salvation of man?
12. Can you cite an actual conversion account in which an alien sinner (someone never saved before) living under the New Covenant was commanded to pray to become saved?