Do you have to be baptized to be a Christian?
This is a doctrinal issue. Churches disagree about the answer and I will not presume to make that decision for you. I can provide you with some scriptures that may help. As I have encouraged others to do--read the scriptures, meditate upon them, then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you.
I dealt with scriptures referring to being a Christian In the Salvation link, so will deal strictly with baptism today.
I personally believe in submersion. It is to respect the burial and resurrection of Christ being laid dead in the tomb and being resurrected again in life. Read below.
In Romans 6:3-4, Paul writes, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. "
In Acts 8:35-38, it tells the story about an Ethiopian, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians:
Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:21-22,
1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
In Acts 2:38-39 Peter states,
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Later in Acts it says that,
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
In Acts 8:12-13, we see that,
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 16:14-15, tells of a certain woman named
Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
In Acts 18:8,
Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
In Acts 22:16, Paul relates what Ananias said to him,
Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
One thing is clear. Repeatedly, those who believed on the name of Jesus Christ did get baptized.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Isn't is wonderful that God is not a respecter of persons, and that ALL who would, WILL BE SAVED.