Feb

06

2013

Bobby Jamieson|10:00 PM CT

You Asked: Should I Get 'Re-Baptized'? (Credobaptist Answer)

Editors' Note: Send your theological, biblical, and practical ministry questions to ask@thegospelcoalition.org along with your full name, city, and state. We'll pass them along to The Gospel Coalition's Council members and other friends for an answer we can share.

Lynda M. from Northern Ireland asks,

I was baptized at the age of 13 before I was really walking with the Lord. It came as a result of covering the topic in a youth Bible class after which we were asked if we would like to be baptized, and considering the majority of the class were doing it, I decided to as well. I recall at the time being too embarrassed to even tell my school friends about it, never mind ask them to come.

The Lord really worked in my life at the age of 20, and that's when I would say he really opened my eyes to what following Jesus was all about. Ideally that's when I would have been baptized, but obviously I already had been. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on getting baptized for a second time, and if you feel that would be necessary.

We posed the question to Bobby Jamieson, editor at 9Marks and author of the forthcoming book Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God (Crossway). You can also read the paedobaptist answer from Jared Oliphint.

******************

In a nutshell, I'd say yes, you do need to be baptized—for the first time! That's because baptism is for believers, and you seem to be telling me that you were definitely not a Christian when you were "baptized" at 13.

First, know you're not alone. Many Christians have wrestled with this very issue, including a number of members of my own church. And I want to encourage you for taking both baptism and also conversion seriously. That's wonderful evidence of God's grace at work in your life.

Next, here's a super quick sketch of the Bible's teaching on baptism. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commands his disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." So followers of Jesus make disciples, and we baptize those disciples.

This is just what the early Christians did. At the end of his sermon at Pentecost, Peter told the convicted crowd, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Then we read that "those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). Note that only those who received the message of the gospel were baptized and added to the church.

What does baptism mean? We read in Romans 6 that we are baptized into Christ's death (Rom. 6:3). We are buried with him in order that we might share in his resurrection life (Rom. 6:4). In other words, baptism is a picture of a believer's union with Christ in his death and resurrection.

Obey Jesus

In view of all this, I believe, and it sounds like you do too, that baptism is for those—and only those—who have repented of their sin and trusted in Christ for salvation. (Of course, not all Christians agree. For a substantial defense of the believers' baptism position, see here.) Therefore, any "baptism" performed on someone who was not a Christian is simply not baptism by definition.

In other words, you've not been baptized, and you need to be. So I'd strongly encourage you to get baptized---for the first time.

Of course, there's a situation similar to yours in which I wouldn't necessarily encourage someone to be baptized. Let's say you sincerely professed faith in Christ at a young age, and were baptized at 13. But your track record as a Christian was spotty throughout your teenage years, and it's tough to tell in hindsight whether you were genuinely converted at the time you were baptized. If that was your situation, I might encourage you to, as it were, trust the sincerity of your 13-year-old faith. It's easy to mistake childlike faith for no faith at all, and to impose an adult standard of spiritual fruit on a child or even a teenager. In such cases, I'd encourage someone to get baptized only if she came to be absolutely convinced that she was not converted at the time of baptism.

However, I think your situation is much simpler. You didn't get "baptized" as an expression of faith in Christ, but simply to follow the crowd. Your "baptism" was not a public profession of faith in Christ and a public picture of your union with him by faith. Which means it wasn't baptism.

So now you've got the joyful privilege, and responsibility, to obey Jesus' command to be baptized. Don't be ashamed or view this as a do-over. Instead, embrace it as an opportunity to obey God's Word, to give public testimony to the gospel, and to celebrate God's redeeming work in your life.

Bobby Jamieson is assistant editor for 9Marks, a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a member of Third Avenue Baptist Church, and the author of Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God (Crossway).

Categories: Bible and Theology
  • Pingback: You Asked: Should I Get ‘Re-Baptized’? (Paedobaptist Answer) – The Gospel Coalition Blog

  • Aaron

    Why did you skip Acts 2:39 when quoting Acts 2 which says, "this promise is for you and your children". Please read Acts 2:38, 42 within the entire context.

    • Beni

      excellent remark!

    • http://www.aletheia.org.uk Dave

      I think the reason for Peter declaring 'this promise is for you and your children' can be seen if we compare Matt 27vv22-25:

      Matthew 27:22-25 (ESV)

      [22] Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” [23] And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

      [24] So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” [25] And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

      Note how the crowd invoke a curse on themselves with “His blood be on us and on our children!”

      The Jerusalem crowd in Acts 2 may well have consisted of many of the very same people, the crucifixion had only been a few weeks beforehand. Peter's proclamation of the gospel in Acts 2 is deliberately worded to echo the people's calling of a curse upon themselves, as a powerful statement of how God's grace and mercy can extend even to them.

      The gospel as preached by Peter in Acts 2 promises forgiveness if they will repent and believe, and does so with the assurance that, "For the promise is for you and for your children," arguably precisely because they had called out “His blood be on us and on our children!”

      I am wondering if you mention v.39 because of a paedobaptist conviction that the verse supports infant baptism?

      Don't know if that's your reason, but if it is, I would say that just because v39 uses the word 'children' is no reason to believe it supports infant baptism, for v41 tells us "So those who received his word were baptized", and I really can't see how this could describe infants or babies. How can a very young infant possibly indicate that they had received his word? v41 implies that the people who were baptised were those who had responded in some way that publicly declared or affirmed that they had repented and believed, so that others knew they had indeed 'received his word'.

      • Aaron Scott

        Dave,

        Thanks for your response. I'd hadn't considered Matthew 27 in light of Acts 2. Just a couple thoughts.

        1. Most scholars think (but no one can be for sure) that some of the same people from Matthew 27 were also present in Acts 2. But even if we assume that at least some of them were there....Peter's full response in Acts 2:39 doesn't seem to quite correlate. Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) says,
        "And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

        If Peter was just speaking to those people about their comments from Matthew 27 it seems ill placed that he would end verse 39 also including "those who are far off". I think this instead is reassuring those present that God's covenant promises still include children as they always have as well as those who are far off.

        2. Also verse 39 includes "you", "children" and "those who are far off" as people "whom the Lord our God calls to himself".

        3. If we consider these 3 groups mentioned in verse 39 in mind as we read the rest of Acts we will see the Lord call many to himself. We find Jews, Gentiles (those who are far off) being baptized as well as entire households.

        And yes I do consider myself a paedobaptist as you may have guessed. Thanks again for your comments.

        • http://www.aletheia.org.uk Dave

          Thanks Aaron. I must admit my view regarding a connection between Matthew 27:25 and Acts 2:39 is heavily influenced by John Bunyan's "The Jerusalem Sinner Saved".

          And I'm inclined to think the crowd Peter preached to in Acts 2 included many who had called for Christ's crucifixion because of v23 and v36:

          Acts 2:23 (ESV)

          [23] this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

          [36] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” [37] Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

          - Which then leads into Peter's response to them beginning v.38

          One wonderful truth I think we can agree upon is that the clause 'and for all who are far off' includes us. I find that clause heart-warming, similarly John 17:20, where Jesus prays for us:

          John 17:20-21 (ESV)

          [20] “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

          • Matt

            nailed it Dave... or John Bunyan. Oh for the deep things of Scripture!

    • Andrew Smith

      The promise being referred to is "Repent and be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" - the promise is this --> You will receive the Holy Spirit (guaranteed!) if you repent and are baptized. The promise is valid for everyone! You and your children can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if you repent of your sins, trust Jesus and are baptized as an outward sign of your belief and obedience :).

  • Nils Holmgren

    But what if she discovers years later that she wasn't a true believer the second time either. Get baptised a third time? Or a fourth? Surely we've turned a beautiful picture of God's covenant promise in the gospel into something man-centred and man-dependant? ... Let's also not forget Lydia's family (Acts 16:15) and Crispus' family (Acts 18:8).

    • http://winsomearrows.com Joan

      I think Nils has a very excellent point.

      • Scott Groom

        Yes, Nils has it right. The Baptists, while on a noble task to keep everybody from the error of easy believism, over reach themselves and the texts.

        If the waters of Baptism are not regenerational, but a sign and seal, then it is a matter of living up to that testimony that was given.

    • Paul

      Good point, Nils. We should ask ourselves, is our baptism something we do for God, or something God does for us?

      • http://www.sbcfocus.net/ Chris Roberts

        I'm pretty sure God isn't the one who gets the water on people. Unlike salvation, baptism is something we must do.

    • Greg Scott

      Agree with your point, Nils.

      Pastor Jamieson's view of baptism as outlined briefly in this post is one of the things that convinced me that covenant baptism was the objective, consistent, Biblical administration of the sacrament.

    • Bill

      Or what if you have been a believer since birth? Have always remember that you have loved and followed Jesus? What age do you choose to get re-baptized? The age of reasoning? If so, where is that in scripture?

    • Matt

      answer: the Holy Spirits work is visible in a saints life. It's not so mysterious as what you're describing. No good tree bears bad fruit.

  • http://www.rescuedthroughgrace.org Mark

    As a Credobaptist, Bobby Jamieson offers sound pastoral counsel for the question asked.

    Thanks for the post.

  • anonymous

    I was baptized as an infant. The Lord captured my heart five years ago. The first thing my heart clearly told me to do was to get baptized – to make a declaration of my sorrowful repentance and my allegiance to my Savior and my Lord. The next thing it clearly told me to do-get to know God and find out what further pleases Him, by the power of the Spirit. He’s my King.

    • http://johnbotkin.net John Botkin

      Amen, brother.

  • Dan

    Citing: "Your "baptism" was not a public profession of faith in Christ and a public picture of your union with him by faith. Which means it wasn't baptism. ... So now you've got the joyful privilege, and responsibility, to obey Jesus' command to be baptized."

    This is the predominant argument in evangelicalism today, and after 20+ years as a professing believer I finally succumbed to it. But seven years later, I don't buy it. I'd not have "redone" my trinitarian Methodist infant baptism. Though I've questioned the validity of my parents' faith over the years and its implications on the validity of my infant baptism, whether they knew what they were doing or not when they had me baptized is less important than that they did obey Jesus' instructions in Matt. 28. I don't need to be individually aware of my own baptism, as the subsequent process of becoming a member and being welcomed to take the Lord's Supper as a believer in remembrance of Christ's work on my behalf allows me to participate, with full awareness, in an equally significant means of grace given to us by God.

  • http://www.newhopec.com JMT

    My experience was very similar to that of the questioner. I was Baptized at 13; born again at 19; and re-baptized that very night. If I had known then what I know now, I might have realized that God's promises--as signed and sealed by baptism--were being realized. I might have understood that being united to Christ sacramentally by baptism is one thing; and being united Christ spiritually by new birth is another. Regardless of the order. But my credo-baptist context held a different view, so (regrettably) I was counseled to be re-baptized. Now, as an "oiko-baptist", I am inclined to think that re-baptism makes as much sense as re-circumcision, and it is just as unnecessary. It's like trying to re-ingraft a branch that has already been in-grafted to the covenantal tree of Christ. (With all due sincerity and respect for my brothers and sisters in Christ who hold a different view.)

    • Matt

      Well spoken and good testimony. I think the difference that I would say is that similarly to the new priesthood being not of the blood of Levi but the blood of Jesus by faith, we are not now a saved people based on the lineage of the flesh, but faith in Christ causes us to be born again to a new family. In other words, the circumcision of a people group born from Abraham is different. That sacrament was for the children of Israel. The sacrament of Baptism is for those born of the Spirit, by faith.

  • Tim

    Great post from Bobby. Very straightforward and clear counsel.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    If we were the ones who did the baptizing, and if our commitment were the point of the baptism, then I would say, 'by all means...be re-baptized'.

    But God is the One (Jesus) who commands us to be baptized. So He is the One at work in it...baptizing...for our sakes.

    And one time is all that God needs. Those promises that He makes TO US, in baptism, are always true, always good.

    One Baptism is all we need.

    ____

    Now...we ought return to that Baptism and God's promises...daily (as Luther said). Revisit what God has done for us. Repentance and forgiveness. All throughout life. It's a picture of the dying and rising that St. paul describes in Romans 6...which is what Baptism is all about.

    Thanks.

    • http://www.sbcfocus.net/ Chris Roberts

      One baptism is all that we need and must do to obey the commands of God, but there is a difference between baptizing someone and throwing water on them. If what we do is not in accordance with the Scriptures, then it is not baptism.

      • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

        Baptism is not water only.

        But the Word of God's promise attached to the water.

        __

        I really don't know anyone who just baptizes with water only? Do you?

        • http://www.sbcfocus.net/ Chris Roberts

          ?

          We are not talking about the baptism performed by the Holy Spirit. There is no point debating whether or not he is doing it the right way. The debate is over what we do, and what we do is pretty much water only. I certainly do not baptize people with the Spirit. I do not baptize with the promise. I baptize with water. Whatever other significance it carries comes from God, not from me.

          • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

            ???

            That's what Baptism is! Water and the Word!

            If the Spirit isn't involved in Baptism, water and Word Baptism (that's what Baptism is)...then to hell with it.

            Jesus commanded it. He is in it.

            Sheesh. Do you Baptists have to reject everything that Jesus commanded we do?

            • Jikkiyu

              A Lutheran I do detect in the midst....

  • Caleb Scott Roberts

    It's already been mentioned above, but this article again brings to the surface the shaky ground that baptist theology stands on in this regard. Once you locate the legitimacy of one's baptism in the subjective state of her spiritual self-awareness, you have placed her in a never ending cycle of self-doubt and hence comes the annual dramatic "rededications."

    • http://www.sbcfocus.net/ Chris Roberts

      Just because someone might abuse what the Bible tells us to do is no reason to redefine what the Bible tells us to do.

      • Caleb Scott Roberts

        Of course, the simple existence of those who might misapply a truth of our faith does not then necessarily invalidate the truth in question. You're right in that. However, even if all credobaptists didn't succumb to the pathology I referenced -- perpetual pulse-checking and the angsty rededications it often invokes -- you're still left with a subjective and individualistic conception of baptism and, by extension, the Church. For the credobaptist, the believer is both the recipient and final arbiter of his baptism: a heavy load for an individual. There is one baptism, its legitimacy based upon the resurrection of Christ and the Body which sacramentally participates in Him. Nothing else.

    • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

      Amen.

    • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

      Amen to what Caleb Scott Roberts said.

  • Matt

    ex opere operato.

  • Tom

    Hi Bobby, thanks for your post. I just wanted to note that your view is not unanimous among Baptists.

    The old Southern Baptist theologian, John Dagg, disagrees with you. Check his Manual of Church Order, Chapter 10, Section 4, here: http://www.founders.org/library/dagg_vol2/ch10.html

    Many of the older Baptist believed that if an unbeliever gives a "credible profession of faith," and the church rightly recognizes his credible profession, then his baptism is legitimate. Should this unbeliever later come to faith in Christ, he should not be re-immersed, since the church already baptized him once on the basis of a truly "credible confession." The confessors "invisible faith" is not the true basis of baptism; rather, his "visible profession" is.

    This viewpoint is practically important today when so many are "re-immersed" over and over because they struggle with assurance. They "get saved" on a yearly basis. Dagg's view would mean that such a person should not continue to receive immersions, if he has credibly professed faith in Christ.

  • David Negley

    What struck me first of all was Lynda's question itself. She is measuring herself in regard to her works, it seems, rather than at what point she believed.

    This question is not "paedo-" or "credo-", but did the pastor who baptized her at first exercise due diligence in bringing her to the water? Can even she herself judge rightly when she first believed or even confessed?

    If her confession upon preparing to enter the waters was sound, I am not sure her level of growth should be relevant. I hope Lynda, and others in similar circumstances, are not simply left in the (good) debate addressed here, but seek further pastoral counsel.

    • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

      Our seriousness...our commitment is not what matters. Since we are often weak and vascillating. It's God's seriousness...God's decision for us that counts.

      Grace before faith. That's why we baptize only once. That's how we can dare to baptize infants.

  • Trip

    I greatly appreciated both of these posts, but I must say that I found Oliphint's article much more compelling. It often seems to me that the Baptist advocate tries to drive home an oversimplified defense (offense?) to get people "in the water" as quickly as possible, whereby, moving forward, the baptism event serves a similar role to "praying the pray" or responding to an altar call. This seems to put far to much emphasis on the human response and experience while deemphasizing God's sovereignty, wisdom and goodness in rescuing his covenant people, and any time we put more emphasis on our response than God's initiation, we're in danger of experiencing inner turmoil, uncertainty and despair. (I'm thinking of this article by Tullian Tchividjian from a few weeks ago - http://www.christianpost.com/news/where-to-look-when-youre-in-trouble-50152/)

    Generally speaking, I think the paedobaptist view aligns more rightly with the entirety of scripture and it's central covenant theme. In recent years, at least in the area I live in, I've seen a shift by Baptist churches and thought-leaders toward a more reformed, covenantal theology, but often the reasoning I hear for credobaptism doesn't reflect that shift. That said, there are so many people on both sides of the issue that are much smarter than me and have spent much longer thinking about these things, it's hard for me to say one perspective is absolutely right. I think one thing we should all rejoice in and praise God for is denominational diversity that allows for all types of people to come into the church and inspires great, sharpening discussions like this one.

    Wow, my comment got a little long. Maybe I should start a blog of my own ;)

    • http://www.sbcfocus.net/ Chris Roberts

      Trip,

      A covenantal, biblical view of baptism: we baptize babies who become part of the covenant community of Christ. This does not happen when we are physically born, but when we are spiritually born again. Spiritual babies, not chronological babies, receive this sign of the covenant.

  • http://www.someonetellmethestory.com Andrew Faris

    Something that seems overlooked to me in this discussion generally is that Paul encourages Roman believers to look back on their baptism from long before when they are apparently struggling with their identity in Christ in the present. This seems to be part of the point of Rom. 6:3ff. The call is not to get baptized again, but to "remember" what that baptism was.

    It seems to me that developmentally, a lot of what happens for a 13 year old vs. a 20 year old really is just an increase in understanding, partly due to the increased ability to connect intellectual decisions with our hearts and lives. 13 year olds don't think in those categories. 20 year olds do. So most times, I'd tell the 20 year old, "Do you know that you were baptized into Christ's death?" and then, as Paul does, help them to unpack the rest of what that means, whether they initially understood it fully or not.

    The Romans needed help understanding their baptism in fuller terms apparently well after they'd been baptized. It shouldn't be surprised that people still do.

    Just my two cents. Good stuff, Bobby.

    Andrew Faris
    Someone Tell Me the Story

  • a saddened Christian brother

    I agree that Oliphant wrote a better defense. However, Bobby took a much less theological stance and a more pastoral one in his article. This should not discredit the solid biblical foundation that exists for credo-baptism. I would recommend the book "Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ" edited by Thomas Schreiner. This book does an excellent job at disarming the paedo-baptist line of thought and fully explaining the Scriptural support for credo-baptism.

    Also, I am slightly disappointed that TGC posted something like this. It seems to have only breeded greater disunity amongst brothers and sisters in Christ. It is always good to discuss our differences in ministry practice and things like that, but the theological unity that I generally find in TGC is the reason why I love this website. It encourages and challenges me. This article however has only left me feeling saddened.

  • Dave

    Baptism takes place at the initiation of God. I love these words when I baptize - no matter the age:

    It was for you Jesus came into the world; for you he died and conquered death; all this he did for you, little one, though you know nothing of it as yet. We love because God first loved us.

  • Dave H

    I find it interesting that nobody seems to enter into the Patristic sources to answer this question. Do the Church Fathers, the Doctors, mean anything in this debate? Or they totally dismissed? It is not like they did not have to deal with these issues, and they offer guidance as well. Even the Reformers went back to the Doctors of the Church to discern doctrine.

    So, from Augustine's letter to Maximin (AD 392):

    "Therefore, to rebaptize even a heretic who has received in baptism the seal of holiness which the practice of the Christian Church has transmitted to us, is unquestionably a sin; but to rebaptize a Catholic (here meaning a member of the universal church, holding orthodox Christology) is one of the worst of crimes."

    " If, then, it be indeed the case that, under the promptings of a devout and pious mind, you abstain from dispensing a second baptism, and rather accept the baptism of the Catholic Church as the act of the one true Mother, who to all nations both offers a welcome to her bosom, that they may be regenerated, and gives a mother's nourishment to them when they are regenerated, and as the token of admission into Christ's one possession, which reaches to the ends of the earth; if, I say, you indeed do this, why do you not break forth into a joyful and independent confession of your sentiments? Why do you hide under a bushel the lamp which might so profitably shine? Why do you not rend and cast from you the old sordid livery of your craven-hearted bondage, and go forth clad in the panoply of Christian boldness, saying, I know but one baptism consecrated and sealed with the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost: this sacrament, wherever I find it, I am bound to acknowledge and approve; I do not destroy what I discern to be my Lord's; I do not treat with dishonour the banner of my King? Even the men who parted the raiment of Christ among them did not rudely rend in pieces the seamless robe; John 19:24 and they were men who had not then any faith in Christ's resurrection; nay, they were witnessing His death. If, then, persecutors forbore from rending the vesture of Christ when He was hanging upon the cross, why should Christians destroy the sacrament of His institution now when He is sitting in heaven upon His throne? Had I been a Jew in the time of that ancient people, when there was nothing better that I could be, I would undoubtedly have received circumcision. That seal of the righteousness which is by faith was of so great importance in that dispensation before it was abrogated by the Lord's coming, that the angel would have strangled the infant-child of Moses, had not the child's mother, seizing a stone, circumcised the child, and by this sacrament averted impending death. This sacrament also arrested the waters of the Jordan, and made them flow back towards their source. This sacrament the Lord Himself received in infancy, although He abrogated it when He was crucified. For these signs of spiritual blessings were not condemned, but gave place to others which were more suitable to the later dispensation. For as circumcision was abolished by the first coming of the Lord, so baptism shall be abolished by His second coming. For as now, since the liberty of faith has come, and the yoke of bondage has been removed, no Christian receives circumcision in the flesh; so then, when the just are reigning with the Lord, and the wicked have been condemned, no one shall be baptized, but the reality which both ordinances prefigure— namely, circumcision of the heart and cleansing of the conscience— shall be eternally abiding. If, therefore, I had been a Jew in the time of the former dispensation, and there had come to me a Samaritan who was willing to become a Jew, abandoning the error which the Lord Himself condemned when He said, You worship ye know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews; John 4:22 — if, I say, a Samaritan whom Samaritans had circumcised had expressed his willingness to become a Jew, there would have been no scope for the boldness which would have insisted on the repetition of the rite; and instead of this, we would have been compelled to approve of that which God had commanded, although it had been done by heretics. But if, in the flesh of a circumcised man, I could not find place for the repetition of the circumcision, because there is but one member which is circumcised, much less is place found in the one heart of man for the repetition of the baptism of Christ. You, therefore, who wish to baptize twice, must seek as subjects of such double baptism men who have double hearts."

    I know it is long, but it is the shortest of Augustine's remarks on this during the Donatist controversy.

    One could always offer "confirmation" or a renewal of baptismal vows, THAT would be orthodox AND pastoral.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    I find it odd...very odd...that Evangelicals can say and believe that Jesus is present inside their hearts...but they deny that Jesus could be present in a bowl of water accompanied by His Word of promise (in an act that He commands we do!).

    It's very odd, indeed.

    • http://www.aletheia.org.uk Dave

      I can believe that Jesus, by His Spirit, is "present inside my heart" because of Scripture that tells me so (e.g. Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 1:27, etc etc)

      I can't think of anywhere in Scripture where I am told that Jesus is present inside a bowl of water, or that it is the water which is instrumental in saving me.

      Seems to me from Scripture that the instrumentality is in faith alone, and that faith is to be in Christ alone, and it's all by grace alone from beginning to end.

      The official Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) states in section 2027: "...we can merit for ourselves all the graces needed to attain eternal life".

      Frankly, that is nothing like the gospel found in Scripture, and falls under the anathemas pronounced in Galatians 1:8-9.

      • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

        "In Baptism you receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

        "Those of you who have been baptized have put on Christ." Galatians 4

        "Baptism now saves you" 1st Peter

        _

        You guys that deny that God is present in that which He has commanded us to do really crack me up.

  • http://aliencitizens.wordpress.com Cornell Ngare

    Has anyone considered the implications of the fact that the command about Baptism, is a command to the evangelist? Jesus commissioned us to make disciples by baptizing converts and teaching them to obey. It is the evangelist who is COMMANDED to baptize, it is not the convert who is COMMANDED to BE baptized. In the same way, it is the pastor who is COMMANDED to TEACH, not the congregant who is commanded to BE taught. You cannot be commanded to have something happen to you. Our "decisional" culture and a disdain for church authority has made baptism a requirement for the convert rather than the preacher's responsibility. This is greatly due to the fact that the charismatic movement tends to highlight the "authority" that the evangelist has over the converts, or the pastor has over his congregation. So the conservatives react by completely abolishing the authority. The apostles never asked the converts' permission to baptize them. It was part of the package.

    We are commanded those who profess faith, not after we have investigated and confirmed their regeneration, but only after their profession. Whether they end up unregenerate is another whole matter.

    Just thought I should highlight this paradigm.

  • http://www.newhopec.com JMT

    Anyone here in favor of (or open to) Dual-Practice? http://newhopec.com/#/constitution/article-ii

  • http://blog.herreidbaptist.com Brandon Jones

    Hi all,

    I am thankful that, once again, TGC has entered an area in which good Christians can and do disagree. The author rightly links the meaning of believer baptism to whether or not someone should be "rebaptized." However, there are other ways to understand believer baptism, including ways that emphasize God's promises in the rite. For anyone interested in the topic I present and defend a covenantal view of believer baptism and raise the practical issue of "rebaptism" in my book, "Waters of Promise: Finding Meaning in Believer Baptism."

    For more on the book, please visit: http://blog.herreidbaptist.com/2012/10/my-book-waters-of-promise-is-now.html

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  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    Just one more thing...

    You guys who claim that baptism is not 'water baptism' think that baptism is the Spirit coming into you (and not in water and the Word)...what do you make of Matthew 28 where Jesus commands us to go into the whole world and baptize "ponta etnae"...'all peoples'....was Jesus telling us then to go and give people the Holy Spirit? Hmmm?
    I didn't know we had that power.

    Baptism is water and the Word. Ad God is the One who is active in it. It is His decision for us that matters.

    Do you really want to rely on the decision that you made for Him? Really?

    From the looks of things it seems that your decision wasn't all that serious to begin with, was it?

    Maybe you were just afraid of going to hell.

    Some decision.

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  • Clint Wagnon

    If Romans 9 tells us that not all of Israel was truly Israel (but only those who believed), and Paul clearly teaches in Romans and Galatians that we are truly the children of Abraham is we believe in Christ... and that circumcision was of no benefit in regards to the gospel, then we have pretty clear indication that genetics, family origin, etc. is not basis for considering one part of the New Covenant community. In fact, circumcision, national origin or family line was of no benefit whatsoever, thus Paul considered them rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ in Philippians 2. Shouldn't this preclude the idea that baptism is proper for children of those who believe (until of course they have professed their own belief?) That is an honest question as I consider the arguments for credobaptism and paedobaptism.

    Additionally, doesn't the text of Acts 2 itself restrict those baptized to ones who received Peter's word?

    Of course the promise was for those who heard and their children. But no one would argue that people are counted as converted simply because their parents are, but they must themselves repent and believe the gospel too, right?