I just received a letter from bro.
Edward Quansah in which he reported a successful campaign to Northern
Ghana. During the 13 days they were there their group was able
to baptize 241 resulting in 3 new congregations established. (Bro.
Edward is the one we helped with eye surgery in January.)
Edward Quansah & Family
I Consider Being Re-Baptized?
The bible teaches that baptism is
essential for one to be saved (Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16) and to
become a follower of Christ (Mt 28:19-20; Ga 3:27). Bible baptism
is an immersion, not pouring or sprinkling. Pouring and sprinkling
do not fit the FIGURES used to describe baptism in the NT. Baptism
by immersion was the practice in the NT. Scriptural baptism is
for penitent believers. That is, for sinners with faith in the
Lord Jesus who have repented of their sins. Not infants, who are
incapable of faith and repentance.
A number of times I have been asked:
"Is there a need for me to be re-baptized?" And what
about those who were sprinkled? Or those who were baptized as
infants? Or those who were taught that they were saved prior to
their being baptized?
OF "RE-BAPTISM" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In Acts 18:24-28 we find that Apollos
had been teaching the baptism of John. Aquila and Priscilla then
teach him and correct his understanding of baptism. In Acts 19:1-3
Paul finds some "disciples" at Ephesus. After some discussion
Paul has them "re-baptized" (Acts 19:4-5).
Note: They had been previously "baptized";
but their baptism was lacking in some way. Though it was immersion
and though it was "for the remission of sins" (Mk 1:4)
- their baptism was not in the name of Jesus, i.e., by His authority
(Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5). When one is baptized in Jesus
name it is equivalent to being baptized into the name of the Father,
the Holy Spirit, and the Son (Mt 28:19) and into the death of
Christ, by which they would have been clothed with Christ (Ro
6:3-7; Ga 3:27). Because their first "baptism" lacked
an essential element, "re-baptism" was necessary! If
an earlier "baptism" lacks some essential element, then
"re-baptism" is necessary.
We need to remember that four elements
constitute valid baptism according to the NT:
We saw in Acts 19:15 when one element
was lacking (being baptized by the proper authority), re-baptism
was commanded. Even though their previous baptism had been the
right mode, purpose and subject, re-baptism was commanded.
If one was baptized by sprinkling or pouring,
as practiced by many in the religious world, then their baptism
lacked the proper mode (immersion) - "Re-baptism"
would be therefore be necessary.
If one was baptized by the authority of anyone
other than Jesus then their baptism was not by the right authority
(Jesus Christ) - "Re-baptism" would be therefore be
If one was baptized as a public confession of
faith (thinking they were already saved), as practiced by many,
their baptism was not for the right purpose (remission of sins)
- "Re-baptism" would be required to ensure we have
been scripturally baptized.
If one was baptized but was not a penitent believer,
as is the case when people are baptized when all their friends
are doing it, or because their spouse, fiancé, or parents
are pressuring them to do it (and they do it to please them,
not God), or in the case of infants who are incapable of faith
or repentance, their baptism was lacking the right subjects
(penitent believers) - the need for "re-baptism" would
be just as great as any other!
If our baptism lack any of the four
essential elements of Bible baptism - (1) The proper mode - immersion;
(2) The proper authority - Jesus Christ; (3) The proper
purpose - for remission of sins; (4) The proper subject
- a penitent believer - then "re-baptism" is
both appropriate and necessary to ensure that our sins have been
washed away by the blood of Jesus!
When one is baptized because their
"first" baptism lacked an essential element it is not
really "re-baptism"! Technically speaking, the person
is being baptized scripturally for the first time! When one has
been scripturally baptized once there is never a need to be baptized
again! For once we have clothed ourselves with Christ in baptism
the blood of Christ continually cleanses us of our sins. As we
repent and confess our sins to God in prayer (Ac 8:22; 1 Jn 1:9).
Have you been scripturally baptized?
If you desire assistance, please feel free to let us know! May
God bless you in your efforts to do His Will!
Adapted from a sermon by Mark Copeland