another re-baptism question

Discussion in 'Credo-Baptism Answers' started by mvdm, Jul 28, 2009.

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  1. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    Do Credo's believe there should be a re-baptism in this circumstance:

    1. Adult is baptized upon a credible confession of faith.

    2. This person lives an outwardly Christian life for some years.

    3. This adult subsequently lives an outwardly worldly life for some years.

    3. This adult now returns to the church, repents of sin, and declares he has become regenerate/ "saved" for the first time--- stating that the earlier confession of faith was not sincere.

    Re-baptism, or no? Why or why not?

  2. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    A person can be truly baptized only once; though they might get wet any number of times.
  3. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    You're presenting a rather sanitized hypothetical. I have found that real life is never that clean cut. I will answer with a real life situation that was recently brought to conclusion between our church and another church.

    A gentleman was a member of a very well known Baptist church down south. This man was a Christian for a number of years before he strayed into a sinful lifestyle. Eventually he was put out of the church via church discipline. For a period of fourteen years he lived in chastisement. Last year the Holy Spirit began to work in this man's life. He started attending our church and wanted to join. He was transparent with us and shared that he was under church discipline at another church. The other church was contacted and arrangements were made for him to travel back there and publicly repent of his sin. He was restored to fellowship and recommended to us for membership by that church. We have not required that he submit to baptism again. It is enough for us that he has publicly repented of his sin and been restored.

    When we started getting into whether a person who has wandered away, and returned, was actually saved the first time, we stray into a hazy area. The individual may not even know themselves whether they were a believer or an unbeliever at the time. My opinion, and that of the other elders of my church, is that we will not require a person to be baptized a second time. The sign of baptism is applied after a credible profession of faith, not a perfect profession of faith. If a person repents of their sin, and is restored to fellowship, it may be a sign that their profession was real.
  4. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    Not knowing much about the history or decisions regarding the confessions i am inclined to ask...

    Why would the 1689 not comment on this issue? It seems that the westminster has addressed this in paragraph 7. What was the thinking on this issue at the time?
  5. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed. I took the dunk when I was 7 but was vividly regenerated and saved when I was 12. Despite my salvation, I lived a life of wickedness (and emotional torment because I hated my way of life) until I finally stopped putting myself under the yolk of sin years later. I wasn't baptized until last year (I was 18). I tried to do the whole, "well the baptism when I was 7 must have been okay since it was my public profession of faith (even though it wasn't true then); everyone saw the profession and that's all that matters since now I am saved" game. My conscience wouldn't leave the issue alone because it was imperative for me to be truly baptized.

    So, to the OP, I would say that it depends on the person who has repented of living in sin. Do they believe they were saved when they were baptized before? Then I wouldn't re-baptize. If they believe they were not saved, then I would certainly encourage baptism. If they are sincerely unsure, then it would need to be a case by case basis.

  6. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    I certainly understand why you would be comforted by being baptized a second time, especially in light of your testimony. However, many Baptists pastors have a low view of what baptism truly symbolizes. The covenant sign is underestimated by many. When properly explained to the formerly wayward Christian, they come to know that the promises of Christ are given to those who believe. Baptism is a sign of being ingrafted to Christ; it does not actually accomplish that ingrafting (which is the work of the Spirit during regeneration).

    I would counsel a person, who was in a similar circumstance such as you, to trust in the finished work of Christ on their behalf. Their repentance is all the sign that is needed that they are in Christ. Properly explained, their baptism is a sign of the New Covenant that does not need to be re-applied. if properly taught there will be less hang-ups regarding baptism in Baptist circles.
  7. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    There seems to be a clear sequence in Acts requiring BELIEVER’S baptism wherein the obedient convert, having exercised faith in Jesus follows Christ’s command to be baptized.

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    This BELIEVER’S baptism presupposes (1) the sovereign work of the Spirit in regeneration, (2) the faith and (3) repentance of the candidate for baptism

    Acts 8:36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

    Acts 10:47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

    Acts 18:8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

    Paul, upon encountering “disciples” in Ephesus finds their conversion and subsequent baptism doubtful. He questions them; preaches Christ to them and THEN baptizes them.

    Acts 19:3 And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    We have several times baptized someone who was coming into membership who had become convinced that they were not yet converted when they had previously been immersed. They desired, and we also, that they experience Baptism as an intelligent and heartfelt act of obedience to their Savior and Lord.
  8. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor


    Bob basically gave my reasoning for being baptized last year. I wasn't a believer when I was immersed back in the day so, as someone who currently holds to believer's baptism, I didn't consider myself to be baptized. :think: I figured credo-baptists would agree with this en masse.
  9. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    You know what? I am guilty of reading past your post too quickly. Please forgive me. I must admit that a child who is baptized falls into a fuzzy area. It's not that I consider their baptism any less significant, but there are many Baptist churches that will not baptize a person until they are older. Capital Hill Baptist Church (Mark Dever) normally will not baptize until the age of 18.

    I would rather a candidate for baptism be able to articulate their faith. A treatise on soteriology is not needed, but the ability to communicate that they have placed their faith in Christ, and know what that means, goes a long way in making an elders job easier.

    If an adult comes to us and says, "Look, I made a childhood profession at age five, but it wasn't real. I had no understanding of what I did and never displayed a desire for God. I didn't come to faith in Christ until recently. I would like to be baptized." In that case I would have to re-evaluate the situation and my very well administer baptism.

    My own daughter was refused baptism after making a profession of faith in kindergarden. She attended a Christian school and the teacher shared the gospel with the students on the first day. She came home and told her mom that she got saved in school. My wife was excited but I was skeptical. I talked to my daughter and she really didn't understand what salvation was. At the urging of my wife we met with the associate pastor and he interviewed her in our presence. Again, she could not articulate her faith. It was obvious that she didn't understand. She just went along with her teacher's request on the first day of school. It wasn't until she was thirteen years old that she placed her faith in Christ and was able to articulate that profession. She was then baptized.

    Andrew, once again, please forgive me for being too quick on the draw in my response. I hate when people do it to me. I shouldn't do it to others.

  10. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    No problem at all. :)
  11. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Bill, that sounds so familiar. One of my daughters was being taught by the pastor's wife in the four year old SS class where she was asked "do you believe in Jesus?". My little girl naturally nodded her head and that satisfied the pastor's wife who informed us that our daughter was saved! That was twenty-six years ago when my theology was still developing but I knew that was not right.

    In God's kindness my daughter repented and believed when she was seventeen and is now thirty, walking in faith, and will be teaching her own little one about Jesus.
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    Bad soteriology stinketh, although I understand the motivation of the SS teacher.
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