I have a question about Romans 10:9. Before every baptism I've been to, including my own, the person to be baptized confessed "Jesus is Lord." Was this confession done in the 1st century before people were baptized? Was it something the church recognized as a requirement for baptism? What if your church didn't have the book of Romans in its collection? Is Paul referencing a tradition that was started sometime in the first century, maybe sometime after the beginning of the church? Would a person not be saved if he didn't confess Jesus as lord before being immersed? To me it is interesting that this topic of confession isn't really mentioned much whereas repentance, baptism, and discipleship are mentioned over and over. -- Jason Shiffler

I am not 100% sure Romans 10 is talking about a confession made in the context of conversion. Could it not be referring to our daily faith and lifestyle? "Jesus is Lord" was indeed an ancient Christian confession, but only when, under duress, a believer was asked to acknowledge the ultimate authority (or lordship) of the Roman emperor. In that light, "Jesus is Lord" is a highly subversive statement. Though there may be wisdom in asking those to be baptized to profess their faith--if for no other reason than to solemnify and clarify the occasion--the biblical basis seems less than clear. For more on this, see my article on homologeo (3 February 2004).

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