If Onesimus had wronged his master by stealing from him and then running away, why did Paul allow him to be baptized? Shouldn't he have been made to wait until he had confessed and made reparation? -- Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Onesimus, according to Paul's short letter to Philemon, became a Christian through Paul's outreach. Paul was in Rome, while Onesimus had run away from the province of Asia. Paul was sending Onesimus back to his master (note that he seems to ignore the Jewish law of Deuteronomy 23:15), presumably as the letter-bearer to the church that met in the home of Philemon.

I think we have different understandings of repentance. Certainly it would have been spiritually beneficial for Onesimus to reconcile with his (former) master, confess his wrongdoing, etc. But Paul allowed this to take place after Onesimus became a brother in Christ. Repentance is not the sum-total of actions in accordance with the decision to follow Christ; repentance is the decision itself, nothing more.

When we require more for a conversion than the N.T. writers required, we have gone beyond what is written. Let us be careful that we are making the "narrow gate" (Luke 13) neither wider nor narrower than it really is.