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Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
First, I am a covenant baptist (I think baptism administered within the covenant*family is true baptism, and so it never needs being re-done).

What I am curious about is what credo-baptists believe about the following situation, and how they respond to it.

Suppose a person who is outside the church hears a sermon, responds through an emotional call, and "comes forward" and is subsequently baptized. The individual "falls away" and years later hears the gospel again, appears again to believe, and then asks for baptism because he thinks the first time "didn't stick" and thinks he probably was not a Christian before, but now he is.

1) Would credo-baptists insist on, allow, or prohibit the person from being baptized a second time (by the person's own testimony they were not a Christian the first time).

2) If the response to 1 is to baptize the individual "again", would the response change if it happened more than once? (That is suppose the same individual left, came back in another couple of years, and asked for baptism a third time.)

I am not going to respond here (except for clarifying questions to make sure I understand) so please feel free to help me understand your view.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Brian,

You put your finger on one of the things that gags me. Our pastor just re-baptized a fellow a couple of weeks ago. He came to faith as a teen, was baptized, drifted away from the faith, and recently rekindled his chuch involvement. He was "baptized" in a public service.

Frankly, Brian, that is one of the reasons that led to begin questioning my lifelong commitment to credo-baptism as the norm.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
No, I would not support rebaptism in that case.

I'm quite confident that many other credo churches would not either.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
No, I would not support rebaptism in that case.

I'm quite confident that many other credo churches would not either.
Thanks for the short answer ... could you explain the reasoning? I would have thought "re-baptism" would be the norm from a credo standpoint, and I've seen several churches that would not (much as you have said). I would want to know why, as the person "baptized" could be seen as not having believed before, and therefore the baptism would be no different than an infant's. Your views are exactly the ones I'd like more insight into.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
As far as being a Covenant Baptist well. I would agree you have a view on Covenant Baptism. But when you say Covenant Baptist that seems to have some implication of being a Reformed Baptist for the most part.

(Gal 3:27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Here is a link where this was discussed a very tad bit.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f123/another-re-baptism-question-51354/

I guess I would first find out what the person believed the first time and see if it lines up with the Gospel. I believe that Baptism is way of confessing and proving God to be just and truthful by submitting consciously to baptism.

(Luk 7:29) And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

(Luk 7:30) But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
John Gill....
Luk 7:29 And all the people that heard him,.... Either Christ saying these things in commendation of John, and gave their assent to them, and showed their approbation of them, having been baptized by him; or rather, the people that had heard John preach the doctrines of repentance and faith, and of baptism; for these words seem rather to be the words of Christ, relating the success of John's ministry among different persons:

and the publicans justified God; even those wicked men, who were before profligate and abandoned sinners, when they came under John's ministry, were so wrought upon by the power and grace of God through it, that they approved of, and applauded the wisdom, goodness, and grace of God, in sending such a prophet as John; in qualifying him in the manner he did, and giving in him a commission to preach such doctrines, and administer such an ordinance as he did: and this their approbation of the divine conduct, and their thankfulness for the same, they testified by their

being baptized with the baptism of John; they expressed their sentiments by their obedience; they declared it was right in God to institute such an ordinance, and for John to administer it; and that it became them to submit to it, as a part of righteousness to be fulfilled; they hereby signified, that they thought that it was agreeable to the nature of God, who is holy, just, and good, suitable to the Gospel dispensation, and very fit and proper for them.
I first submitted to an invalid baptism believing that my sins would be forgiven. I was incorrect and just wanted fire insurance. I had no idea what baptism was about. I was completely clueless to what Baptism was and signified. I was not seeking union with Christ in the way that the scriptures prove what that means.

Here is something I posted many years ago.

Now let me explain my rebaptism. You may conclude that I have crucified the Son of God afresh as F. N. Lee has accused me of but I know you would be wrong because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. I am convinced of Christ's Justifying work for me.

I believe I was baptized in a heretical way. I was told if I chose to be baptized God would forgive and cleanse me from all of my past sin. I also understood that I needed to attend the Lord's Supper for a weekly recleansing from sin. This is Heresy and not biblical Christianity. I partook in this heresy. Baptism and the Lord's supper became a what can I do to keep myself cleansed from sin and acceptable to God pursuit. My faith was in the action of these ordinances themselves. I miserably failed at this and sunk into deeper sin.

In 1981 I set myself to try to read the scriptures. I had attempted this before but couldn't understand a word of it. I read through the four gospels in no time flat. God became real in a different way to me. I was alive in my heart and the Word of God became very real and living to me. When I understood that I couldn't do anything to earn my salvation I was elated. God justifies sinners and gives faith.

I looked to my earliear baptism as heretical and saw it as void. It was not Christian baptism. Just like the Catholics view of salvation in Christ is heretical so was my view of baptism. They both where not of God. Now is Christ and his salvation heretical? No, but the Roman catholic view of Christ and salvation are and will not stand in heaven. I also believe that this can be true of other doctrines.

Here is a push for a different passage not many consider. I have considered it before and have been encouraged in it and discouraged. Check this out.


Quote:
(Luk 7:29) (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John,

(Luk 7:30) but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

Notice the attachment between the purpose of God, declaring God just, and baptism in these verses. It is John's baptism btw. Can there be a confessional factor in declaring God is just by our obedience and submission to his will in baptism?

Well, that is kinda why I wanted to be baptized again. I was baptized under a heretical view and wanted to share God's testimony of saving me from sin by His free grace. That was not done in my first baptism. My rebaptism was more of a confession and pronouncement of God's work on my behalf. I know I was not blaspheming God in any way by being rebaptized. I was declaring salvation is of the LORD and renouncing an heretical view of baptism.
Here is the antipaedobaptist John Tombes' catechism.

Question 34 of Tombes Short Catechism about Baptism.

What is the chief end of Baptism?

To testifie the Repentance, Faith, Hope, Love, and Resolution of the Baptized to follow Christ, Gal. 3.27. Rom. 6.3,4. 1 Cor. 15.29. calling upon the Name of the Lord, Acts 22.16.
I believe we do participate in what baptism shows to be truth concerning the one being baptized. Now is this true of every individual? I would say not. I would also point that it wasn't true for every individual that partook of the Lord's supper. Everyone is admonished to examine themselves in it. I do believe if someone did it in vain than it definitely was not Christian baptism because there was no submitting to the will and truth of God and they only have judgment to look forward to unless they repent. I do believe part of the validity of baptism has to do with our response in submitting to it also. It isn't valid if we are doing it in vain. It only leads to judgment.

Do I have you thoroughly confused now?
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Do I have you thoroughly confused now?
No, but I do have a few questions. I guess the first is what I saw in your post pointing to John's baptism and associating that with Christian baptism. I had never seen anyone tie them so closely, knowing that Acts 18.25 and into 19.7 shows a clear difference between the two.

I see that you would in fact purpose to re-baptize someone. That sounds a lot more consistent than those that would not (if a person truly did not believe, then their "baptism" it would seem was false from a credo point of view).

Thanks.

Oops, forgot the second question ... if a person thought they knew intellectually what was implied, but felt strongly they did not truly believe, would you say they were eternally damned, or would you re-baptize them anyway?
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Actually I believe that Murray and Calvin declare that John's baptism was considered Christian baptism. That is the baptism the disciples were baptized with.

We discussed this here. http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/johns-baptism-46197/

Let me also emphasize that if I found that they understood their first baptism to line up with what I believed to be soundly Gospel I wouldn't encourage rebaptism. I would encourage repentance and restoration into the fellowship. They should have been disciplined and excommunicated if they refused the discipline from falling away.


Concerning your second question...
I can not judge another persons heart necessarily. If they declared that their first baptism was vain and invalid I would encourage them to examine their heart again. Church discipline should have taken place already. That should have curbed something and lead to a better understanding for the Elders. If they were being vain and placing themselves in judgment I couldn't tell. I couldn't tell the second time. Their confession is theirs as is their testimony. I do believe we are to act upon that just as the Apostles and early church did. As Roman's says..., Confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9,10
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
No, I would not support rebaptism in that case.

I'm quite confident that many other credo churches would not either.
Thanks for the short answer ... could you explain the reasoning? I would have thought "re-baptism" would be the norm from a credo standpoint, and I've seen several churches that would not (much as you have said). I would want to know why, as the person "baptized" could be seen as not having believed before, and therefore the baptism would be no different than an infant's. Your views are exactly the ones I'd like more insight into.
Sorry Brian, I was rushed and didn't expand.

Perhaps I have a minority view, but I see baptism as a church ordinance, not a personal one. True there is a personal aspect, and it is objective: a profession of faith. If a person professes faith in the context of a body of believers, and the body (as a body) performs the ordinance (or sacrament), his baptism is proper regardless if he backslides. When he comes to himself, he is restored to the church through repentence, not another baptism.

But this presumes that the baptism was performed in the context of a church or assembly of believers. I'm not very keen on the revival style come-one-come-all one-off baptism mills I've heard about, and that is because it is not done in the context of a church.

I have sympathy for those who are convicted that they were playing games in a previous baptism, but I am very cautious about playing games a second time, too.

How 'bout this variant: an adult, never baptized before, undergoes a Roman Catholic baptism after going through membership classes. Years later is converted and convinced of credobaptism. Leave out the mode issue, baptize again?

The person I know who faced this opted for rebaptism after reading Dabney.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Actually I believe that Murray and Calvin declare that John's baptism was considered Christian baptism. That is the baptism the disciples were baptized with.

We discussed this here. http://www.puritanboard.com/f57/johns-baptism-46197/
Thanks for pointing out the thread again (mine was the last post on it :) ). I still think Calvin and Murray wrong, and Luke right. :)
Let me also emphasize that if I found that they understood their first baptism to line up with what I believed to be soundly Gospel I wouldn't encourage rebaptism. I would encourage repentance and restoration into the fellowship. They should have been disciplined and excommunicated if they refused the discipline from falling away.

Romans 10:9,10
I have always thought that the goal of excommunication was repentance and restoration as well (the goal of all church disciple I see as repentance and restoration).
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
No, I would not support rebaptism in that case.

I'm quite confident that many other credo churches would not either.
Thanks for the short answer ... could you explain the reasoning? I would have thought "re-baptism" would be the norm from a credo standpoint, and I've seen several churches that would not (much as you have said). I would want to know why, as the person "baptized" could be seen as not having believed before, and therefore the baptism would be no different than an infant's. Your views are exactly the ones I'd like more insight into.
Sorry Brian, I was rushed and didn't expand.

Perhaps I have a minority view, but I see baptism as a church ordinance, not a personal one. True there is a personal aspect, and it is objective: a profession of faith. If a person professes faith in the context of a body of believers, and the body (as a body) performs the ordinance (or sacrament), his baptism is proper regardless if he backslides. When he comes to himself, he is restored to the church through repentence, not another baptism.

But this presumes that the baptism was performed in the context of a church or assembly of believers. I'm not very keen on the revival style come-one-come-all one-off baptism mills I've heard about, and that is because it is not done in the context of a church.

I have sympathy for those who are convicted that they were playing games in a previous baptism, but I am very cautious about playing games a second time, too.

How 'bout this variant: an adult, never baptized before, undergoes a Roman Catholic baptism after going through membership classes. Years later is converted and convinced of credobaptism. Leave out the mode issue, baptize again?

The person I know who faced this opted for rebaptism after reading Dabney.
The question is not whether the man "backslid" but whether he ever slid forward in the first place.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Brian,

Comments of mine from a previous thread on this subject:

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.
__________________
 

msortwell

Puritan Board Freshman
As Credo-Baptists it would seem that a priority is to ensure that all genuine believers receive this sign and seal, this means of grace - as commanded.

It would seem to be a lesser issue if the sign were to be applied in response to a false profession. It would also seem to be a lesser issue if an individual was baptized a second time.

While I certainly do not want to cheapen the Sacrament (Ordinance if you prefer), it seems that, when considering the possibility of either 1) possibly undermining the integrity of the Sacrament by administering it when it should not have been, or 2) depriving a believer from ever being biblically baptized . . . we will generally deprive the individual of baptism. It just seems that there is a connection here to Jesus' admonition that, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” (Mr 2:27b AV).
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Michael, not sure I am following you here. Why would you deprive a believer of the sign of baptism?
 

msortwell

Puritan Board Freshman
Michael, not sure I am following you here. Why would you deprive a believer of the sign of baptism?
Sorry for my lack of clarity. When I said "we will generally deprive the individual of baptism," it was intended to be a bit of a slight toward our tendency to be more concerned with the correctness of our application of doctrine than with the well being of our brothers in Christ and the grace that we might show them. It may sound trite but in many cases would it not be better to er toward grace, toward that which would bestow grace upon our brother, and allow them to be baptized as a believer.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Michael, not sure I am following you here. Why would you deprive a believer of the sign of baptism?
Sorry for my lack of clarity. When I said "we will generally deprive the individual of baptism," it was intended to be a bit of a slight toward our tendency to be more concerned with the correctness of our application of doctrine than with the well being of our brothers in Christ and the grace that we might show them. It may sound trite but in many cases would it not be better to er toward grace, toward that which would bestow grace upon our brother, and allow them to be baptized as a believer.
Michael, as Baptists, we believe in believers-only baptism. Therefore, we apply the sign of baptism to those who profess Christ. If that profession is credible there is no reason to withhold baptism. In fact, we should apply the sign in all haste once a person has confessed Christ. I don't know what more we can do in order to err on the side of grace.
 

msortwell

Puritan Board Freshman
What we can do is, under those situations where an individual that credibly attests to be a believer, that further asserts that he has not previously been baptized as a believer, to allow that baptism, even when circumstances, similar to some described in previous posts on this thread, seem to complicate matters.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
What we can do is, under those situations where an individual that credibly attests to be a believer, that further asserts that he has not previously been baptized as a believer, to allow that baptism, even when circumstances, similar to some described in previous posts on this thread, seem to complicate matters.
You really have me confused. If a professed believer has not been previously baptized, how can their baptism complicate matters? It would seem to uncomplicate matters by being obedient in baptism.
 

msortwell

Puritan Board Freshman
You really have me confused. If a professed believer has not been previously baptized, how can their baptism complicate matters? It would seem to uncomplicate matters by being obedient in baptism.
Reading some of the previous posts in this thread will identify situations that some consider to challenge to propriety of administering baptism. Generally, it relates to an individual who had been previously baptized, but under questionable circumstances (e.g., a questionable ministry, or prior to a genuine conversion). Under such circumstances we are often (and I believe, incorrectly) too reluctant, to administer baptism "again."
 

Manuel

Puritan Board Freshman
I have joined three baptist churches in my life and every time at the interview with the pastor I was asked if I thought I needed to be baptized again. Weird!
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Brian,

Comments of mine from a previous thread on this subject:

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.
__________________
That seems very reasonable, and yes, I was presenting a sanitized hypothetical as much as possible ... the course of action taken by your church (going back to the original church) would seem very reasonable.

But the reason for the sanitized hypothetical is that the hypothetical seems to be true in some cases (earlier in the thread there are several actual incidents). Sigh. It seems like a "credible profession of faith" is so person centered ... I know of at least a couple of times what I thought was a credible profession of faith I later learned was thoroughly denied as having been sincere ... and at least one case where the person later "returned" to faith (but I am guessing this was a return, but I am doubtful as to the original faith because of the admission of faining faith in the first place). I have not talked to the individual in many years since ... knew them in high school, and that was more than 35 years ago now.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
Not sure how helpful this is, but here's a perspective:

Though we are baptized believers and presently have assurance of our salvation through the Holy Spirit, there is that possibility that we may walk away from God for a period of time in the future, even to the point of leaving the faith. After which time, when we are drawn back to repentance and assurance, we would wonder if we needed to be baptized again. I would say no.

In the event that anyone is baptized, leaves Christ, and then returns again as a prodigal son, his original faith should not be negated or questioned. On the contrary, it was the original faith that placed him in the firm grip of Christ and ensured his return in the first place.
 
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