Is my baptism valid?

Are Ruben's Bat-Powers valid?

  • Totally fine

    Votes: 14 34.1%
  • A little weird, but OK

    Votes: 5 12.2%
  • Irregular but valid

    Votes: 21 51.2%
  • Invalid

    Votes: 1 2.4%

  • Total voters
    41
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py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I was baptized by immersion upon profession of faith in an evangelical church - but the man who baptized me was not ordained. The person who was pastoring the church, is ordained; but he delegated the performance of the baptism to a layman in the church. This man was in leadership and also preached (he's since passed away), but hadn't ever been ordained.

The church had something of a Plymouth Brethren structure: all eligible men were gradually brought to being de facto elders, but there was no ordination.

So what do you think of my baptism? Please pick the best option, and if you have a quibble with the poll options let me know.
 
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Ruben, "immersion" includes "water," yes? Was it "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?" Have you since repudiated that false system of church government (or non government, as the case may be), and submitted yourself to lawful authority?

If yes in all three cases, then the "lay baptism" was valid baptism though unauthorised and irregular.
 
Ruben, "immersion" includes "water," yes? Was it "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?" Have you since repudiated that false system of church government (or non government, as the case may be), and submitted yourself to lawful authority?

If yes in all three cases, then the "lay baptism" was valid baptism though unauthorised and irregular.

Yes, there was water (rather chilly water) in plenty. I was lowered twice because the first time I wasn't completely submerged so the man thought he should sink me back down. The Trinitarian formula was used, and I am a member in good standing of a Presbyterian church. I'm not actually troubled about it myself - it just came up in an offline conversation that some churches won't recognize as valid any baptism that was performed by a non-ordained person.

Does it make any difference if the baptizer is considered strictly as a layman vs. being considered as a delegate of the ordained person?
 
For sure it is valid.

And since the it was done under the authority and approval of the church, I don't even think I have a big problem with the fact that the man performing it was not ordained provided the church in question was not violating its own confession in having the guy do it. I believe the confessions are wise to limit the administration of baptism to ordained ministers, and I support this, but the biblical case for saying this particular church function may only be performed by ordained ministers is relatively weak. I'm not claiming it's wrong (moderation alert not needed!). But I'd be hard pressed to take so strong a stand against a church that decided to delegate the function to non-ordained men that I labelled their baptisms in error. At least church authority is still involved.
 
The only concern with immersion is that he brought you back up. :) We are very glad that he did. Any superfluous or superstitious practices added to it do not invalidate it. They just make you scratch your head.

I think the question of delegation doesn't change anything once it is conceded that the man was not ordained. The idea that an ordained person can create new functions in which he delegates individual duties of his office to non ordained persons is something episcopalians are required to deal with, not presbyterians who believe in parity. It is of interest, though, to observe the way in which "pure congregationalism" cannot avoid this kind of episcopalian clericalism.
 
Ruben, we have a very large megachurch near us in Louisville (part of the "Christian church" denomination If I recall correctly). It is not at all unusual for them to have baptisms where a best friend or someone else (e.g., the one who led them to Christ) is the one doing the ordinance and not an ordained pastor. While this is highly unorthodox and does create problems, it is done under the authority of the local church, and in our own church we have received members who were formerly of that congregation.
 
Even Catholics will accept Trinitarian baptisms performed by laypeople. You are good to go. Start making too many rules and you're right back in Donatism.
 
Ruben, it certainly is irregular but valid. I doubt you would see such delegation in an RB church.
 
Is there anyone that thinks it's invalid?

Just looking for some good discussion here....:) (I also think its valid.)
 
Yes, I'd like to hear from someone who thinks it's invalid as well. It would be interesting to see the reasoning behind an insistence that I need to be baptized.
 
I'm interested to know why Bill and other Baptists would think it's even irregular, the question of the Brethren style government aside. (If the latter is the only reason why it's considered irregular, then I guess the question is answered.)

I know that customarily the pastor baptizes, but on what Biblical grounds is it to be argued that baptism by any other disciple (particularly, one who preaches, as in Ruben's case) is "irregular?"

The 2nd London Baptist Confession makes no statement to the issue, which leads me to wonder whether or not they thought it was an issue. Or perhaps they were divided on the issue and left it out, as with the terms of communion.

The 1st London Confession, drawn up by some of the same men as the 2nd, states that

The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.
 
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Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XXVIII
Of Baptism

I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,[1] not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church;[2] but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace,[3] of his ingrafting into Christ,[4] of regeneration,[5] of remission of sins,[6] and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life.[7] Which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.[8]

II. The outward element to be used in this sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by a minister of the Gospel, lawfully called thereunto.[9]

III. Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person.[10]

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in and obedience unto Christ,[11] but also the infants of one, or both, believing parents, are to be baptized.[12]

V. Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance,[13] yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it:[14] or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.[15]

VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered;[16] yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.[17]

VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.[18]

Knowing what I know now, it is accepted as valid.

That's not to say ordination is a mere technicality, but the situation you describe is a man both ordainable and under authority of what can charitably, at least, be called an evangelical church, done with Trinitarian invocation.

No need to be troubled, it's valid.

(since I can't conceive of baptism being 'weird,' will abstain from voting these choices)
 
Yes, I'd like to hear from someone who thinks it's invalid as well. It would be interesting to see the reasoning behind an insistence that I need to be baptized.

A lot of Baptists would reject it on the grounds that it wasn't a "church of like faith and order." Some will reject baptisms that are not performed under the auspices of a particular congregation, even if the man doing it is ordained. Some missionaries delay the baptism of their children on the field (if there is no particularized church there) for this reason.
 
Yes, I'd like to hear from someone who thinks it's invalid as well. It would be interesting to see the reasoning behind an insistence that I need to be baptized.

A lot of Baptists would reject it on the grounds that it wasn't a "church of like faith and order." Some will reject baptisms that are not performed under the auspices of a particular congregation, even if the man doing it is ordained. Some missionaries delay the baptism of their children on the field (if there is no particularized church there) for this reason.

Thanks, Chris. Would you say that's representative of a tendency that finds its fullest expression in Landmarkism?
 
I'm interested to know why Bill and other Baptists would think it's even irregular, the question of the Brethren style government aside. (If the latter is the only reason why it's considered irregular, then I guess the question is answered.)

I know that customarily the pastor baptizes, but on what Biblical grounds is it to be argued that baptism by any other disciple (particularly, one who preaches, as in Ruben's case) is "irregular?"

The 2nd London Baptist Confession makes no statement to the issue, which leads me to wonder whether or not they thought it was an issue. Or perhaps they were divided on the issue and left it out, as with the terms of communion.

The 1st London Confession, drawn up by some of the same men as the 2nd, states that

The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

Chris, I think Chapter 28, paragraph 2 of the LBCF can be fairly read to require an elder to administer it. It speaks of qualifications and calling, which is the language of an officer, or perhaps a deacon:

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
 
I'm interested to know why Bill and other Baptists would think it's even irregular, the question of the Brethren style government aside. (If the latter is the only reason why it's considered irregular, then I guess the question is answered.)

I know that customarily the pastor baptizes, but on what Biblical grounds is it to be argued that baptism by any other disciple (particularly, one who preaches, as in Ruben's case) is "irregular?"

The 2nd London Baptist Confession makes no statement to the issue, which leads me to wonder whether or not they thought it was an issue. Or perhaps they were divided on the issue and left it out, as with the terms of communion.

The 1st London Confession, drawn up by some of the same men as the 2nd, states that

The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

Chris, I think Chapter 28, paragraph 2 of the LBCF can be fairly read to require an elder to administer it. It speaks of qualifications and calling, which is the language of an officer, or perhaps a deacon:

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

Thanks, Vic. I was going by memory and obviously "misremembered."

Does this appear to contradict the 1644/46 LBCF? At first glance it does to me, as the 1st LBCF seems to suggest that there can be a distinction between "preaching disciple" and "officer." Some of the same men, including Kiffin, were involved in both confessions.
 
I'm interested to know why Bill and other Baptists would think it's even irregular, the question of the Brethren style government aside. (If the latter is the only reason why it's considered irregular, then I guess the question is answered.)

I know that customarily the pastor baptizes, but on what Biblical grounds is it to be argued that baptism by any other disciple (particularly, one who preaches, as in Ruben's case) is "irregular?"

The 2nd London Baptist Confession makes no statement to the issue, which leads me to wonder whether or not they thought it was an issue. Or perhaps they were divided on the issue and left it out, as with the terms of communion.

The 1st London Confession, drawn up by some of the same men as the 2nd, states that

The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

Chris, I think Chapter 28, paragraph 2 of the LBCF can be fairly read to require an elder to administer it. It speaks of qualifications and calling, which is the language of an officer, or perhaps a deacon:

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

Thanks, Vic. I was going by memory and obviously "misremembered."

Does this appear to contradict the 1644/46 LBCF? At first glance it does to me, as the 1st LBCF seems to suggest that there can be a distinction between "preaching disciple" and "officer." Some of the same men, including Kiffin, were involved in both confessions.

This question has been brought up on PB before. The 1644 and the 1689 represent the same theology written and signed by basically the same men. See this article by Dr. Renihan: Confessing the Faith in 1644 and 1689, James M. Renihan | The Reformed Reader

From the article:

There is no substantial theological difference between the First and Second London Confessions. I get very much bothered when I read statements asserting or inferring that there is some kind of theological difference between these two great confessions.
 
I'm interested to know why Bill and other Baptists would think it's even irregular, the question of the Brethren style government aside. (If the latter is the only reason why it's considered irregular, then I guess the question is answered.)

I know that customarily the pastor baptizes, but on what Biblical grounds is it to be argued that baptism by any other disciple (particularly, one who preaches, as in Ruben's case) is "irregular?"

The 2nd London Baptist Confession makes no statement to the issue, which leads me to wonder whether or not they thought it was an issue. Or perhaps they were divided on the issue and left it out, as with the terms of communion.

The 1st London Confession, drawn up by some of the same men as the 2nd, states that

The persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples.

Chris, I think Chapter 28, paragraph 2 of the LBCF can be fairly read to require an elder to administer it. It speaks of qualifications and calling, which is the language of an officer, or perhaps a deacon:

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

Thanks, Vic. I was going by memory and obviously "misremembered."

Does this appear to contradict the 1644/46 LBCF? At first glance it does to me, as the 1st LBCF seems to suggest that there can be a distinction between "preaching disciple" and "officer." Some of the same men, including Kiffin, were involved in both confessions.

This question has been brought up on PB before. The 1644 and the 1689 represent the same theology written and signed by basically the same men. See this article by Dr. Renihan: Confessing the Faith in 1644 and 1689, James M. Renihan | The Reformed Reader

From the article:

There is no substantial theological difference between the First and Second London Confessions. I get very much bothered when I read statements asserting or inferring that there is some kind of theological difference between these two great confessions.

I'm aware of Dr. Renihan's statements. Thanks for posting them. Indeed, in the cases other than baptism where the 1689 and WCF differ, the 1689 language sometimes is quite similar to the 1644. My question pertains to this particular issue, one which many would not consider to be a "substantial theological difference" to borrow Dr. Renihan's term.

I'm pretty sure those Dr. Renihan has in view are the New Covenant Theologians who like the First London Confession because it did not address things like the Sunday Sabbath, the 1689's teaching on the covenant, the law, etc.
 
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