Validity of Baptism

Discussion in 'Paedo-Baptism Answers' started by Quickened, Sep 26, 2008.

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  1. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    From what i have seen and learned there can be times in the credo community where a person would either be rebaptized (perhaps not recognizing the RC baptism) or perhaps baptized multiple times throughout a life (perhaps after the repentance of what would be deemed a major sin).

    Would Paedobaptists ever see the need to baptize an individual after already being baptized?

    Two ideas come up.

    1. I was baptized RC as an infant. At the time i felt as though i should be rebaptized because of my new found faith and studies into baptism at the time which were predominately credo.

    2. (without going into huge detail for now...) I guess pertains to the validity of the person doing the baptizing. If i was originally rebaptized by someone who was no longer leading or teaching a church would that make the baptism invalid?

    I guess i would ask who should be doing the baptizing here. If one is not a credible member of any church, or is not a Pastor, Elder or deacon can that person then baptize another? What would be the criteria?
  2. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    This question also pertains to a link from my other thread that i was linked to. William Ames has said

    So i guess i would ask "would i be ok as i am now?"
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    The historic Reformed (non-credo) position is: a baptism is legitimate if it was a Christian baptism. It should have been done with water, in the name of the F/S/HS--the intent should have been to baptize a person into the Christian church. And it should have been a churchly act: it should have been performed by a office-bearer possessing a valid ministry, the purpose being to bring the church to a person, and incorporate that person into the church. JoeBlow hasn't got any business baptizing anyone if he isn't an office-bearer.

    The historic position of the church (going back to St. Augustin) is that the "quality" of the minister does not affect the service. By extension, the Reformers refused to discount the validity of RC baptism, despite all the corruptions of that church and its sacraments. God's witness remained, despite the efforts of Satan to bury it. So, your baptism would ordinarily be acknowledged as true, even if there were irregularities. And I am not saying there were any, even if your pastor has left the ministry, and your earlier baptism was RC. I would just thank God that he made something of your baptism, despite any defects.

    If a cult tries to call itself a "church", it may baptize but that is not a "Christian" baptism. A person only baptized into such an institution has never been baptized, and should be baptized. There is no such thing as "rebaptism."

    Consistent Baptists also believe this. They don't "rebaptize" either, since whatever happened before wasn't "baptism" in their view. This is true even pertaining to a Bible believing paedo-baptist church. An faithful Presbyterian's infant baptism is no baptism at all, according to the Baptist ecclesiology, any more than if he was a RomanCatholic. But a good number of Baptist churches do a lot of baptisms on the same people, simply on the basis of how the person feels one week to the next, or how often they walk the aisle. This makes for good statistics.
  4. ManleyBeasley

    ManleyBeasley Puritan Board Junior

    Good point. Its very sad how Baptism is used in many of our Baptist churches. Some Pastors brag on how many they've baptized.
  5. Thomas2007

    Thomas2007 Puritan Board Sophomore


    God is the one who makes baptism valid, not man. The ideal is where an ordained man properly administers the baptism, but we don't live in an ideal world. If a baptism is trinitarian and was acceptable to the Church you were baptized in, then another trinitarian Church should accept that. One may have an irregular baptism and be accepted, we should strive for all things proper and orderly pursuant to our confession, but we don't see the administrator of the baptism as making it valid as we are all sinners and none is righteous.

  6. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    Thank you Bruce for your reply.

    The man who had baptized me was not my pastor nor was he part of any church at the time of my baptism. Which later on caused a bit of concern with me. I would also like to add that i dont know all of the details regarding that.

    But when i was reflecting on that issue during my personal studies I was concerned that perhaps it wouldnt be recognized by either the church or even perhaps by God.

    Which leads me to ask if i hadnt recieved the RC baptism what would be recommended if it was just by this man. He had no position in any church nor did he attend one at the time.

    When i think of the church in Acts i am led to assume that perhaps some of those that were baptized by the apostles were previously baptized by John the Baptist. Again thats just an assumption. But didnt they have baptisms for multiple things back then? Please excuse my ignorance on the subject I want to make sure i can cover all the looming questions in my mind.
  7. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I don't accept that John's baptism was Christian baptism, although no less than Calvin disputed that. I think his baptism was proleptic, foreshadowing, as well as in continuity with all the OT baptisms according to the Law (Heb. 9:10 "μόνον ἐπὶ βρώμασι καὶ πόμασι καὶ διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς και..."). I know of no other NT baptism, or any other reasons for them. As for the OT, if it was not according to the Law then anything that was added to the Law was nothing but will-worship.

    So, I don't think that anyone in the NT church was ever re-baptized, once they were initiated.

    As for your situation, since it is too hypothetical, I wouldn't concern myself with it, except you may wish to ask a Baptist minister what he thinks, since you are (presumably) a Baptist. If he has a problem with either one of your baptisms, he may recommend you become properly baptized.
  8. Quickened

    Quickened Puritan Board Senior

    Ok thanks! That makes sense.

    I have spoken with my Pastor over lunch some time last year about this issue. To my understanding he did recommend the baptism but that also coincides with membership to the church which i have talked with Him about.

    Recently while viewing other threads here and discussing the issue with my fiancee I decided that i need to reevaluate my positions and make sure that i have a full biblical understanding.

    Especially since attending a reformed baptist church. I want to make sure that i fully adhere to the 1689 if/when i do become a member. If i did differ and perhaps leaned more towards the westminster confession regarding this issue of baptism I would like to be upfront with the Pastor and Elders regarding that before pursuing membership.

    (I have recently picked up a copy of the Westminster to aid and further my studies.)
  9. Nightshade

    Nightshade Puritan Board Freshman

    This is one issue that has been of interest to me. The Scripture references for this point in the WCF do not seem to be compelling regarding a restriction of the administration of the Sacraments to church officers.

    That being said, there are certainly practical reasons why, as a normative matter, officers should be the ones administering the sacraments; however, I worry that we may be taking a human rule and elevating it to the level of commandment.
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