Re-Baptizing

Are they Catholic? Dunk them well and pray that it will serve to cleanse them of their popish ways.

Are they Anglican? Send them under the water and command them to drink no more.

Are they Presbyterian? Bury them in the baptismal pool and tell them that it’s a good thing they didn’t show up to heaven merely sprinkled.

Are they Methodist? Tell them grab their noses and prepare for immersion for their baby baptism just doesn’t cut it.

Are they Southern Baptist? Wash them again and pray that the stench of their old NIV will not linger upon them.

Are they Independent Fundamental Pre-Trip King-James-Only Soulwinning Baptists? If they have walked the aisle again and prayed The Prayer again then baptise them again just in case.

For the baptism of water may only be a symbol to us but it’s useful for separating the congregation of the blessed from those who will likely be left standing outside the gate. It’s not so much what you’re being baptized into, after all. It’s what you’re being baptized against.

112 thoughts on “Re-Baptizing”

  1. I visited a church in NC that required new members transferring in to be baptized as part of the membership process. No, not “you have to have been baptized by a Baptist church of like faith and practice,” as crazy as that is. More like “you have to be baptized here by our pastor, regardless of how long you’ve been saved and regardless of how Baptist your baptism was.” Looking back on it I think it was one of those Landmark Baptist churches, where you’re supposed to trace your Baptismal line clear back to John the Baptizer…er, Baptist, yeah, that’s it. John the Baptist. πŸ™„

    1. Because the “authority” to baptize came from Jesus to the diciples down to us. Landmarkers have an apostolic succession thing embedded in the theology. What is strange is that they rail against catholics and the Pope but they do the same thing with church authority.
      If your baptism didn’t have authority it was considered no good. Therefore you can start an IFB church in a town with 20 churches and to them they are not really churches, just assemblies because they have no “authority”. Creates elitist attitudes and isolation.

      1. Being recent arrivals, and never having had to work through the whole “effective in the administration, or effective in the administrator”, which Rome figured out a thousand years ago…

  2. I used to get really disgusted with how many times the staff members children would get pulled into getting baptised again at my second Fundy U. They bragged to the rest of IFBdom about their “one baptism every week since the founding of their ministry” and did WHATEVER it took to get that done!

    They video recorded and took digital photos of each one as “proof” of nothing more than the fact that they dunked someone that week.

    Sometimes they did it just before midnight on SAT evening because several of us in the dorms would get rudely awakened after a long work shift to be “witnesses” of this activity. πŸ‘Ώ

    1. No worries- If numbers were low at FBC we just took the bus to the projects in Chicago and offered the kids a pickle, or a basketball to get dunked. No staff kids were harmed in the transaction. Just poor black kids who really wanted a pickle. πŸ™

      1. I don’t want a pickle
        Just want to ride on my motorsickle
        And I don’t want a tickle
        ‘Cause I’d rather ride on my motorsickle
        And I don’t want to die
        I just want to ride on my motorcy…cle

        (Arlo Guthrie, “The Motorcycle Song”)

        1. I want to ride my bi-cycle…
          I want to ride my bike….
          I want to ride my bi-cycle
          I want to ride it where I might

          (Hey, it just occured to me while typing this, that Freddie Mercury may have been referring to his bi-sexuality….)

  3. Some IFB churches certainly abuse baptism, no doubt – but baptism is not Scriptural unless it is by immersion (that’s what the word means) and AFTER salvation (from every Biblical occurrence).

    So, yes, baptize any who were sprinkled as a child.

    I do object to a church re-baptizing someone who was immersed after salvation in a non-Baptist church. It makes no justifiable sense.

      1. Though I believe that baptism by immersion after a confession of faith seems to be the most Scriptural way, I am at least open to the Presbyterian stance on baptism. For example, I can’t argue against friends of mine who were baptized as infants into the covenant family of God (not salvific) and as they grew older became devout Christians because of the faith that was taught to them by their families and through their church. While my church believes that a member should be baptized by immersion after a confession of faith, I simply don’t see things as cut and dry as that (ironically neither does my pastor, but elder majority rules). I think it should be dealt with on a person by person basis. So if these same friends of mine came to join the church I attend, I would say let them join. They were baptized as infants, have always held that the baptism simply brought them into the covenant family of God, and by grace grew into their faith as they grew older.

        I once had an older pastor explain to me that he sees salvation in children who grow up in the church as a flower bud as it’s blooming. As their faith and their knowledge of God increases they blossom. I actually think the same is true for all believers. OK, putting away my soapbox.

    1. @Guilt Ridden So what do you do with the 4 year old that parroted a prayer, “accepted Jesus into his heart”, was baptized, but then never evidenced anything through his teenage years or early 20’s that he was a true believer? Do you re-baptize then if they, “get right with God” when they are 26? How about the person who is “saved” and baptized in their teens or twenties, has a short evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus, and then “backslides” (or were they ever saved to begin with?) When they “re-dedicate their life to Christ” (which seems to me to sound more like a true conversion) and seem to make a genuine conversion, do you baptize them again? The issue isn’t nearly as black and white as some would make it out to be.

      1. @Eric

        – Regarding the 4-year-old; I am opposed to having children parrot prayers and then adults telling them that they are saved. 4 seems very young to me, but I have heard tales of 4-year-olds being saved. Lacking any evidence to the contrary, I would baptize the young child upon their profession of faith. As the child grew and never exhibited any evidence of salvation, I would wonder and be concerned about his soul. If he “gets right” with God at 26, I would not baptize him. If he tells me that he wasn’t really saved, I would; his childhood baptism was not the Scriptural pattern; he merely got wet.

        – The person who is saved and baptized and endures but for a little while (either because of persecution or the cares of this world, as Jesus said) does not need to be baptized when he repents of his error and begins to follow Christ again. If he tells me that he wasn’t saved, I would baptize him.

        I’m not looking for numbers to brag upon in baptism; I’m more interested in doing things according to Scripture.

        The issue may not be clearly black and white, but the Bible should be our basis for our beliefs and practices, and the Bible examples of baptism were always AFTER salvation and BY immersion.

    2. So, how do you explain the passages in the Bible where it mentions entire families baptized together? You’re just assuming then that everyone had become saved even though the text is not specific and could very likely have included children?

      1. In Acts 16 “his house” does not infer any children, and likely inlcuded servants and not just family members.

        And that is the ONLY verse that can even be attempted to prove such.

        Infant baptism is as foreighn to scripture as plates of moroni….believe me, I tried hard to find it to prove paedobaptism, and came up empty every time.

        Just sayin’.

  4. This is slightly off topic, but this makes me think of the resalvation/rebaptism rounds in the youth group. At my home church and the church where I went to school it was practically a rite of passage for the teens to do the process a couple times. Each occasion had to be accompanied by a tearful testimony of regret for the pretense and a heartfelt plea to those around them to not just “play church.”

    I thought it was annoying/embarassing at the time but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense. Not one of us discovered God and chose Jesus Christ because we realized we needed Him, we were all just regurgitating what we were fed. It’s just a reaction to the deep-down fear of not having “really meant it” and being in danger of Hell.

    1. Giuseppi, I totally agree! They preach a one-size-fits-all experience where you must have a dramatic conversion from wretched sin to glorious transformation. So when a church kid, who has never experienced gross immorality and the like, looks for that dramatic transformation and doesn’t see it, he fears being condemned to hell.

  5. Love. This. Post. Darrell.

    I say, get a big ‘ol pool, and put it out back and we’ll fix that problem, amen. BBQ following, AMEN!

    No, but seriously. If Baptism is an ordinance like Communion, then does that mean if you’ve had Communion in another church with leavened bread and without grape juice, you’ve never really had Communion at all?*

    *Disclaimer: This question was indeed rhetorical, though I’m fully aware some fundies may say yes, regardless of the fact that the Bible never says that we must use unleavened bread or grape juice… actually, it doesn’t say those things at all, but that’s a completely different post. πŸ˜‰

      1. Pastor Schettler spent several sermon opportunities every year to lecture the student body and/or Campus Church on why they are ordinances and not sacraments and there are only 2 of them, and everyone else is EVIL! πŸ™‚

      1. I often wonder that. If grape juice instead of wine counts, does grape soda count too? How about water, or coke? Can we have cupcakes instead of bread? I’m genuinely curious.

        1. In the reference to Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11, the church was getting together to have meals together, not have the ceremonial reproduction of the night in the upper room like we do now. Seems to me like you can eat whatever you want.

        2. We had a deacon think it was funny to substitute marshmallows instead of the crackers as a joke on the pastor. (He was severely reprimanded.) Someone behind me said, “What’s next, Pepsi?” It was one of those times when I had to suppress my laughter.

        3. As I recall, the bread is supposed to be unleaved, to follow Jesus’ example; He took unleavened bread, the Bible says…

          The drink was “the fruit of the vine”, so I’m guessing that if you have “real fruit juice” in your grape soda, go for it… but you may make some people stumble because they may think it is wine.
          πŸ˜€

  6. I am still amazed that the Catholic Church was more than happy to accept my ‘Baptist’ baptism. No need for a re-do. No need to cleanse any ‘Protestant ways’ away.

    1. Re-baptism is considered a heresy in most churches. As the Creed says, we believe in “one baptism for the remission of sin.” As long as someone was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it’s a Christian Baptism. If you believe that some baptisms are ineffective, then how do you know if you’ve ever REALLY been baptized?

      1. Now that would just be kinda cool. You could move the dove around for each baptism. Plus think of the decorating benefits! You would only have to put up the flannel graph manger at Christmas time, or just David and Goliath and Daniel in the lion’s den for the Harvest Festival announcement.

  7. Like many other things it’s all about numbers. In my old church in Michigan the pastor was changing the church constitution to reflect his being given greater authority over the finances (another topic) but while he was in the process of doing this he also decided that any baptism done by another church of any kind was no good. Anyone who wanted to become a member of his church had to be rebaptized. Several of us had a problem with this since unlike the Lord’s supper which is repeated over and over through your Christian life, baptism should only be one time. I don’t have a problem with them wanting to baptize those who only had a christening as a baby, but to rebaptize people who had been baptized in a church of “like precious faith” was ridiculous. Of course his primary motivation was numbers.

    So many churches are this way. Recently the church I’m still in (and may soon be out of) had a spring program in which they had a goal of so many salvations (easy prayerisms) baptisms and a certain amount of money. When they ran low of it suddenly one of the pastor’s children decided he was unsure of his salvation. Hence a new salvation decision and new baptism to add to the numbers. πŸ™„

  8. A memorable quote from my long-deceased stepfather, who was a lifelong Baptist: “Some people, when they’re immersed, come up Christians. Others come up wet.”

    The how and the when makes little difference, in my estimation.

  9. At the first church I interned at, we had a 40-day renewal program. The senior pastor informed the children’s pastor that a great way to cap off the program was to have a lot of baptisms on the last Sunday. He told us that the parents of a particular kid had a strong belief their son would be a good candidate. The children’s pastor and I were surprised because the kid never mentioned it before. We talked to him about it, and asked if he wanted to get baptized, the 8 year-old boy shrugged and said “I guess.” We asked him why he wanted to do it, and he told us that his parents told him to. We then asked him what he thought baptism meant, and he told us that he didn’t know. We told the pastor we did not think the child should be baptized as a believer because he seemed to have no desire or knowledge to do so. The pastor was furious, baptized the kid himself and about a month later the children’s pastor was asked to resign for “performance.” So he did, along with the youth pastor and myself.

    1. More proof that one DOES NOT dare question the Proxy god. the “Proxy god” is a jealous god and he will not tolerate any disloyality or insubordination. Resistance is futile.

      There can be only one.

    1. And vaguely self-aggrandizing. Is it supposed to look like the dove that descended on Jesus at HIS baptism, is now descending on each believe baptized in that tank?

      1. Actually if you imagine the M-O-g standing there, the white bird would probably be just over His head. I wonder if the artist had the pastor stand in the tub just to get the right hight for placing the bird?? 😯

  10. I think the murals are leftovers from the ’70s. They seemed to be popular in small Baptist churches. Many of them showed a river flowing down a series of small falls with tree lined banks. The amusing part was that a lot of them had a dead tree leaning into the water. If the river represented the Living Water, the dead tree posed some interesting theological questions.

    1. The most beautiful baptistry I’ve ever seen is in the First Baptist Church (ABC) of Worcester, Massachusetts. It’s in back of the altar (yes, altar: the church has a divided chancel), which is white marble, and is a recessed area (sort of an apse) with a rounded wall that is painted a light, beautiful, robins’ egg blue. No Biblical scene, no clouds, no other adornment. Hanging in the front, and drawn to the sides, is a deep burgundy curtain.

      Simple and elegant.

      I’m not a fan of paintings in baptistries. They’re rarely well done, and make the whole thing look kind of el cheapo.

  11. Off-topic fer sher, but this reminded me: when my late husband and I first came to town to take an IFB church (and we were already on our way out of IFB-dom), a man in our church, a very vocal man, tried to “make sure” we understood the “doctrine” of the wedding supper of the Lamb. What that meant was, did we agree with him that at said supper, only BAPTISTS would be seated to eat, and all other non-Baptist believers would be waiting tables. Would you not have simply assumed this was his idea of a funny story? I did, and guffawed as loudly as I ever have in my life, to the consternation of vocal man, Mrs. vocal man, and all the little vocal mans. (little vocal men? whatever) Needless to say, the new “preacher” was sternly admonished to get the “little woman” into shape, quick. However, the “preacher” merely smiled, and sat down to have a loooong talk with vocal man.
    Even in my two times of mental decrepitude at HAC, I NEVER had heard that one. Where do they GET these things??? πŸ™„

    1. Good eye! You’re right!

      I don’t think I like the dove positioned right above the person who’s being baptized. A dove descended on JESUS; HE is the One with Whom the Father is well pleased. If a church wants a painting, I’d rather just have a generic stream or waterfall.

        1. True! The dove hovering overhead though still seems a bit much to me. I guess it’s just the common tendancy in fundamentalism to be heavy handed on the symbolism: they tend to be really obvious not nuanced. (Ever seen a Christian film? What in most movies would be conveyed in a look is in Christian films spelled out clearly in awkward, forced dialogue.)

  12. A member at our (IFBaptist) church who started out attending Willow Creek baptized himself in his shower. πŸ˜† I believe that was before his “official” baptism at our church and after the “unofficial” one at Willow Creek.

  13. My daughter recently made a profession of knowing Jesus is her Savior. My MIL encouraged me to have both my children baptized as soon as possible “while it still had a special meaning.” Huh? I told her that neither of my children had expressed interest, and since it has no impact on their salvation experience, I was not going to push them. Both kids are a bit shy when it comes to being in front at church. She also seems to forget that my daughter freaks out if she goes under water. I don’t think she’d go through with it. That could be “interesting.” 😯

  14. This just reminded me of that great Emo Philips joke.

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

  15. Some thots: Why are churches labeled “Baptist” and not “Communion” if those are both ordinances left to us by Christ?

    Can we substitute grape Kool-Aid for the grape juice at communion? Would be cheaper. I know it’s been done.

    I’ve been dedicated (dry Baptism?), sprinkled and dunked. One of them took.

  16. I was rather surprised that they had a liturgical symbol.

    As a person in a church that celebrates the sacraments, I have learned to appreciate the water and the bread and juice. The sacraments are not what we do, but what God does.

  17. I was baptized by Dr. Shelton Smith the first time. The 2nd time was someone else. I wonder if anyone ever told him that when he baptized me it didn’t take. Follow me for a minute-
    1 Shelton Smith baptized me first
    2.Years later I had another profession
    3.I was rebaptized
    Here is the double standard- a rebaptism. In the church you were first baptized in is a church saying that the first person to baptize you baptized you while you were unsaved because now they are baptizing you for your second profession. How can they claim this double standard and come down on infant baptism.
    Does this make sense! My point is that if you’ve been rebaptized you’re admitting that the first person to baptize you did it while you were unsaved. Does this make sense? I know this is poorly written but I am on a blackberry-

  18. Hmm. . . If this has been already mentioned I apologize. The Grammar Nazi in me really wants to know what the mouse-over is supposed to say. I assume there was supposed to be a period or a colon after “baptistry”? πŸ™‚

    When I read it first, I automatically mentally started singing it to the first line of “The King of Love my Shepherd Is.” πŸ˜†

  19. I know that this is mainly an IFB blog, but I wanted to share my UPC (who I consider to be just as fundy) baptism experience. I actually got baptized twice. I did it the second time because I didn’t feel like I had been right with God when I had it done the first time and just had been baptized because that’s what was expected of me, and so my pastor at the time was willing to do it. Though they baptize in Jesus name as opposed to in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so another denom might want me to be baptized a third time now that I’m out.

    And as far as communion goes, they did grape juice, because all alcohol is evil or something like that, and either stale saltine crackers or wafers. And that was a once a year event that you better be right with God when you partake of or bad things are gonna happen to you!!!!!

    So glad I’m out of that mess.

  20. Theo,
    While it is true that the verse does not mention children, it also doesn’t mention that the people in the household made a professions before they were baptized. It merely says (paraphrase) that the household was informed of the covanent head coming to faith. After they were informed of this, they were all baptized. Are you “infering” that the writer meant all in the household came to faith before they were baptized. Also,to tackle the immersion issue, where was a place nearby large enough to immerse someone. It certainly wouldn’t have been in their house. Would you also “infer” that the writer forgot to mention that they all left the house in search of water they could be immered into?

  21. Am I allowed to name churches? In the meanwhile, my story:

    When I was first married I moved across the country and joined the church where my husband ushered. We were blessed (says the snarky in me) to sit in the back of the church where many of the bus children sat. This church was quite proud of their bus program – even though sadly most of the children were left to their own devices upon arrival to the church.

    This one particular Sunday morning, a little boy sat next to me and I had given him some paper and a pen to use during the service. He couldn’t have been more than six or seven. He clearly wasn’t paying attention to the sermon – nor would he, IMO, truly understand at that age (and that preacher) what the sermon was about. Yet at the end of the service, he trotted up to the front of the church and was summarily baptized.

    What bothered me more was seeing him again that VERY night being baptized. All to bolster the numbers of the bus captains so once a month or once a week or once a year (aren’t we supposed do these things for the glory of God and not man? I digress)they could get their hurrahs from the pastor at the pulpit.

    That was the most legalistic church I had ever seen in my life.

    1. This happened too often at my old fundie church. Some parents would bring their young child (maybe as young as three years old) down the aisle. The parents would tell how their child had given his/her life to Christ sometime in the prior week. All the adults at church would coo and awl, like the laugh track on β€œFull House” when one of the Olsen Twins spoke.
      The baptism would be planned for the evening. But as soon as the child would get close to the baptismal, the child would freak out and start crying. I remember one young girl yelling in the back room, β€œI don’t want to get my hair wet”.
      A young child can no more be a Christian than he or she and be Republican or Democrat.

  22. Maybe the reasons for the multiple baptisms is because in IFB churches any sin (no matter what it was, be it disagreeing with husband or not being “sweet”) needs to be confessed and your salvation questioned. Get “re-saved” then you have to be “re-baptized”…as for communion, if it’s wine…why always grape? Why not strawberry, blackberry or elderberry? They can be wines too…just a thought.

  23. Growing up in the Lutheran tradition, I was baptized as an infant. It has great meaning to me now as an adult. As I reflect upon my life and how even as an infant, I was welcomed into God’s loving arms, I think of how God has been with me through it all.
    When we joined what started as a Lutheran church (but evolved into a non-denominational one) I remember problems with people having big disagreements on infant baptism. I think the trend at our church is definitely adult baptism now. I have been pressured to be baptized again…I have just said no, I was baptized as an infant.

  24. To become a *member* of a Baptist church you must be Baptized a certain way, just like to become a *member* of a Prebyterian church you must be Baptized a certain way. Do you have a problem with that?

    And unlike the other denominations you mentioned, the Roman Catholic Church is not Christian. And the RCC actually does teach Baptismal regeneration. So do Eastern Orthodox, Anglo-Catholics, and Campbellites (Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, and Christian Church). The Campbellites are a cult.

    Baptists and other Evangelical Protestants, on the other hand, do not teach Baptismal Regeneration. Most Baptists are against the rebaptizing policies of the Landmarkers.

    1. “..the Roman Catholic Church is not Christian.”

      And you do not have a clue.

      Why I respond to you , I do not know. I guess I hate to see any creature, even a troll, go hungry.

      1. If you deny Salvation by Grace through Faith *ALONE*, then you are not Christian.

        If you pray to *anyone* other than the Triune God, then you are not Christian.

        If you commit idolatry, then you are not Christian. If you deny the Finished Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, and you instead teach that the Mass and Eucharist is a sacrifice, then you are not Christian.

        So yes, if you are a Roman Catholic, than you are not a Christian by any stretch of the imagination.

        http://www.holywordcafe.com/bible/resources/WrightAntichrist.PDF

        1. Yes, you do teach pray to Mary and the Saints, which a true Christian cannot do. And you do teach that the Mass is a sacrifice.

          Also, the Bible knows of no distinction between worship and veneration, so you are indeed an idolater. Henry is right.

        2. When you say “you teach”, you would imply that I am Catholic. I am not a Catholic but can read and understand words.

          Seems like you and Henry and Bill and Ted all found SFL on the same day.

        3. Hey Look! Scorps apparently got re-baptized & converted to Roman Catholicism by a couple of fundamentalists. Good luck explaining that one!

        4. Henry is right, the Roman Catholic church does teach that the mass is a literal sacrifice (via transubstantiation), as well as the veneration of Mary and “Saints”. It is “scorpio” who does not understand what the Catholic church teaches

        5. Henry is wrong. Scorpio isn’t a Catholic. I’m not either, but I know when Baptists are lying about Catholics.

        6. I get how a Baptist would read that an leap to the assumptions they were taught. You should try talking to actual Catholic Priests or reading those w/o the primrose glasses at least.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.