Multiple Baptisms??

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Recently, I heard a story (true story) about a young lady who wanted to work for her church (an “on staff” position).  When she met with the pastor he asked her if she had been Baptized.  She said yes, when she was a baby.  He asked her if she would be Baptized again in accordance with their congregations beliefs.  She refused.  He told her that she could not work on the staff at the church.  (I agree with the pastor in this situation)

The Bible is clear…

Mark 16:16
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Baptism is a demonstration or our faith.  John said, “faith without works is dead”, baptism is the “work” or the “doing” that is coupled with our faith.  It is important.

My personal belief is that baptism is not necessarily a “one time” deal.  I’ve been baptised with water three times in my life.  When I was a baby I was baptized in the Catholic faith (my dad was Catholic).  When I was 7, I was Baptized in the name of Jesus at a Pentecostal Church.  And when I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ, I was baptized again in a private baptism with some close friends and family at the PromiseLand.  My brother-in-law, John who was one of the men who baptized at the church, performed the baptism. 

The last baptism in that list was the most meaningful for me.  When I was a young girl and was baptized, I understood what it meant.  As an adult, that washing away of sin, that demonstration of God’s grace toward me, meant so much more because I was more aware of my specific sins.  As a child, my sin consisted of “being mean to my sisters” as an adult, my sins were vast and more serious.  

I didn’t really decide I believe in multiple baptisms.  I just knew that I needed to be baptized again.  It was one of the most meaningful things I’ve done as a Christian.

So as I thought about this subject, we visited with my friend Charlie Lujan who is a pastor at PromiseLand in Austin.  He told us they were having a “Baptism Service” on Saturday (before Easter).  In passing he said, that many people were choosing to be “re-baptized”.   Ah, confirmation.

It’s something to consider….

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8 thoughts on “Multiple Baptisms??

  1. 2reasons

    I grew up Lutheran and, like you, was baptized as an infant. But later in my life the commitment to Christ became my own rather than my parents’, and I thought it would be appropriate to be baptized again. I was concerned about doing this, not because of the theology of baptism, but because I was afraid I risked offending my family by appearing to reject the efficacy of my initial baptism. But in the end, I decided to do what I thought was right by Jesus, and just deal with whatever family issues might arise. I don’t regret it.

  2. joshuasthoughts

    I agree, although not that it matters. Baptism is a choice, and one that must be made. It is also something that marks a end of a age, a death, and a beginning of something new. I too, have had to do this three times. The last, when I got done, I did not want to even dry off, Praise God for His gift of grace to us.

  3. the question is, however, do we as a church reject and ignore those who believe that their salvation was recieved in full when they were baptized as a Child, that they personally do not feel the need to be baptized again. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace…the salvation of God has nothing really to do with the water itself and everything to do with God’s grace, mercy, and amazing unconditional agape love….

    So which church is right? We look at the mode of baptism (immersion, pouring, sprinkling) and the subject of baptism (infants, those old enough to repent and believe). Because of the different views and interpretations we even are forced to look at the The purpose of baptism (to be saved, to show that one is saved).

    In all of it, I see one thing remains- Jesus Christ and ultimately it comes down to one thing: (Romans 6) What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    Amen and Hallelujuah!

  4. Rob Steele

    Good work, Casey. Some say baptism is not essential to salvation, but I disagree. To me, baptism is the grafting in ceremony in which I left my old Adamic nature and became a member of the linage of Jesus Christ. I took on his name in baptism and now when I pray in the Name of Jesus for some issue, I have His authority to sign spiritual checks. I am one of his children. It is so much more than just a ritual. I have no issue with someone being re-baptized, but once you are accepted into a family legally, it takes another legal transaction to remove that kinship

  5. John Grimes

    I was baptized as an infant, and to me, Ephesians 4:5 (“one Lord, one faith, one baptism”) convinced me that I should not be re-baptized now that I am more mature in my faith. I feel as though baptism causes a change in a person on a spiritual level, regardless if whether or not it is recognized at the time. But at the same time, we can’t have divisions springing up in the body of Christ over something such as this (Ephesians 4:3).

  6. Amonite

    I think the pastor was wrong in this situation. Baptism (ideally) *should* be done at the time of salvation, as its meaning and testimony is greater then, and it is an outward symbolism of our dying to our old self, beig crucified with Christ, and being reborn as a new creation.

    However, there is no reason that a person who comes to Christ who was once baptised as a child cannot see that as their baptism. There is, after all, only one baptism. Getting baptised “multiple times” actually ruins the symbolism of baptism, as it signifies being crucified with Christ over and over and over and over again. Christ only died once. While there is some sense in rebaptism for those who were baptised as infants (as they could not have possibly accepted Christ as newborns) – the practice of rebaptizing those who were baptized as children (who merely had a child’s understanding of the gospel) is *not* good. It is understandable that we all are baptized with a simpler view of the gospel, and we grow. This doesn’t mean we ‘die again’, or receive the spirit twice. (We can, however, publically give our testimony as many times as we wish -without- resorting to multiple baptisms).

    As such, the christian who was baptised as an infant who either chooses to be baptised in adulthood, or to remain as they are, are both right. Each chooses what is right according to their conscience; the one to make a new public testimony of faith of their own violition, the other to say (in faith) that the first act not of their choosing was enough by the grace of God, as they choose to accept it now. (As God is outside of time, I doubt he really minds this).

    The pastor, in forcing her to be rebaptized or else *stopping her from using her spiritual gifts in the church*, was enforcing his own legalizm and tradition while himself disobeying the commands of God.

  7. Gregory Yankey

    There are several are relevant quotes from the historic Reformed confessions about the frequency baptism should be administered to one person. They are as follows.
    We believe, therefore, that every man who is earnestly studious of obtaining life eternal ought to be baptized but once with this only baptism, without ever repeating the same, since we cannot be born twice. Neither does this baptism avail us only at the time when the water is poured upon us and received by us, but also through the whole course of our life.
    Therefore, we detest the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with the one baptism they have once received….
    from the  Belgic Confession (1561) Article 34
    ONE BAPTISM. There is but one baptism in the Church of God; and it is sufficient to be once baptized or consecrated unto God. For baptism once received continues for all of life, and is a perpetual sealing of our adoption.
    from the Second Helvetic Confession (1566), Article 20
    The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.
    Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), 28:7
    Baptism is but once to be administered to any person.
    Savoy Declaration (1658), 29:7
    The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 completely rewrites the section on baptism and leaves out any statements regarding the number of times one can be baptized. The absence of such statements in Baptist confessions is a puzzle given the insistence by early English Baptists that they were not indeed “Anabaptists.”

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