Re-Baptism Turning Pastoral Dilemma into Teaching Opportunity

Discussion in 'Baptism' started by Ask Mr. Religion, Apr 26, 2013.

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  1. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Came across my desk this afternoon:

    "(1) What is baptism? Both Donatists and Anabaptists argued that they were not “rebaptizing” at all, since what was rejected was not really baptism in the first place.
    (2) What is the relationship of internal religious experience to the sacrament of baptism? Is baptism a sign of an individual’s faith?
    (3) What external form must the sacrament of baptism take?
    (4) What constitutes a “true church,” and what doctrines must a church affirm for its baptism to be valid?"

    See the full treatment here:

    William B. Evans
    Rebaptism: Turning a Pastoral Dilemma into a Teaching Opportunity | TheEcclesialCalvinist
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Your first point is likely to fall along party lines among credo and paedo baptists. While distancing themselves from the Donatists and Anabaptists, credo Baptists would typically view paedobaptism as unscriptural and therefore invalid, necessitating, not re-baptism, but scriptural baptism.

    Baptism is a sign of the thing signified (Romans 6). Any internal religious experience related to baptism is incidental. Helpful to the life of faith, but still incidental.

    By external form do mean mode (immersion, sprinkling, or pouring)? Again, pretty much a party line answer.

    Skipping the ecclesiastical question for a moment ("what constitutes a "true church""); the early Church struggled with this issue. Baptism in the Early Church (Stander and Louw, 2004, EP Books) addresses the problem the early church had with doctrinal affirmation. The historical record indicates that both east and west agreed on two important requirements up until the late 4th century: 1. The predominant view was that baptism required a profession of faith. 2. Baptismal candidates had to first become cathechumes before they could be baptized. As cathechumes they would be indoctrinated into the teachings of the Christian faith. Undoubtedly the early church developed this practice out of a quest for purity. Unfortunately these requirements exceeded the mandate of Scripture. That mandate is to believe and be baptized (Acts 2:41; 8:36-38; 16:33).

    Coming back to the ecclesiastical requirements of baptism; a church that does not preach the Gospel cannot make the appeal to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the Gospel there is no church. The question answers itself.
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