Should I be baptized (or rebaptized)?

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dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line.

Baptism is something that happens to a person; not something fundamentally that he does, but is done to. At least, that's true in Presbyterianism.

Is the intent to identify this person with the Triune God of Scripture? And with the true church-universal and militant? If these are true, and the formula is straight out of Scripture, and the means used is water--I cannot find any confessional basis for denying that the RCs do, in fact, baptize. I think the objection places too much emphasis on what WE are doing as the church, rather than on recognizing human hands-on in what GOD is doing.

They are defective, severely, in doctrine and practice. They have a form of godliness, and deny the power thereof. Their ministry has little more than a formal shell of ordination. But before we overthrow our recognition of baptisms that they conduct, we should be careful to note how conveniently we pass by many other similar defects in other churches. The "irregularity" of Romish baptism is no more an impediment to our recognizing it, than if we recognize some other "irregularly" performed baptism, as done by a Charismatic-Arminian-baptist. Unless we want to start saying that our church (whichever one) is the ONLY church that has a true baptism, along with perhaps a few others that we periodically bring up for a review of how well they line up with us doctrinally.
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Look, its a mark of the rejection of any kind of catholicity of the church-visible, to overthrow the baptisms of other bodies. This is frankly the position of the majority of Baptists, though some of them (thankfully) allow such marks as we have in our Presbyterian churches (but would insist on regularizing the rite if one of us joined them). What I call that is a "happy inconsistency" that allows us to be baptized in some sense by them who are our gospel-fellows, but without deep down abolishing their prejudice against our identifying ourselves as citizens of the common kingdom, if while in their borders we are without a passport of their own issue.

And basically, we Presbyterians are doing the same thing, if we deny the RCs baptism. We're on those terms insisting that only our offices have the official seal, though we will accept certain others as equivalent. Whereas, historically (in Presbyterianism for 300 years up to 1845, and since then on the northern side), and always for the continental Reformed: we've acknowledge that those tokens bestowed--even by a church that basically misuses the privilege of handing such things out--nonetheless are to be honored "for the sake of the fathers," and for the sake of Him who gave that seal to the church.

If they break the seal, or alter it to truly change it and make it unrecognizable, that's a stronger argument that they've no more of the power to bestow it. But, thus far the arguments haven't been compelling to many, outside a relatively narrow band of the ecclesial spectrum.

But in general, this is a distinction between the strictly Reformed and the Baptist. We profess to believe in a catholicity, though we recognize that there is (obviously) no Catholicity of the church. And I have to say, it strikes me as the essence of sectarianism to deny that a baptism that was intended to mark a person with the sign of catholicity (baptism) should be overthrown. Mormons? have no connection to the historic, Christian church. They are a completely different religion. And I think most other questions are also easily dismissed.
Amen Rev Bruce, I commend your answer and agree with you completely when you said "They are defective, severely, in doctrine and practice. They have a form of godliness, and deny the power thereof. Their ministry has little more than a formal shell of ordination. But before we overthrow our recognition of baptisms that they conduct, we should be careful to note how conveniently we pass by many other similar defects in other churches. The "irregularity" of Romish baptism is no more an impediment to our recognizing it, than if we recognize some other "irregularly" performed baptism, as done by a Charismatic-Arminian-baptist. Unless we want to start saying that our church (whichever one) is the ONLY church that has a true baptism, along with perhaps a few others that we periodically bring up for a review of how well they line up with us doctrinally."

I believe the Romanists and the Roman catholic church is defective, severely, in doctrine and practice. It is why I left that church and becamse a Protestant. It is wht I renounced the pope and Roman catholicism but I did not not and could not renounce my baptism. However the iregularity of the Romish baptism I had as a baby I believe is valid and my leaving the church of Rome and becoming a Presbyterian by public afirmation of faith was a completion of a desire placed in me by the amazing grace of God to find and be part of the true Gospel and faith and church of Jesus Christ and the apostles which I do believe is the Reformed Protestant faith and the Presbyterian church of which I am now a fulled professed member. I am validly baptised and I am a Christian, a Reformed Protestant and I am a Presbyterian.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
This is very difficult to understand, acceptance of Roman baptism, yet there is much good substance and believers on both sides, even in our reformed house.

The PCA study committee on this was 4-1 against their validity, with several of its "founding fathers" in majority.

It's also made difficult because biblical reformed denominations do not share communion (Lord's Supper) with the Roman communion- that is a Roman member visiting a biblical reformed communion is not to partake of the Lord's Supper.

Perhaps a distinction is made that baptism is more something God does for us, whereas the Lord's Supper is more based on our own volition, self-examination? (Honestly, I just can't get there)

The Catholic teaching based on the Council of Trent, Canon 4:

Extraordinary minister

In case of necessity, baptism can be administered lawfully and validly by any person whatsoever who observes the essential conditions, whether this person be a Catholic layman or any other man or woman, heretic or schismatic, infidel or Jew.

The essential conditions are that the person pour water upon the one to be baptized, at the same time pronouncing the words: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Moreover, he must thereby intend really to baptize the person, or technically, he must intend to perform what the Church performs when administering this sacrament.


Read more: When did the Roman Catholic Church recognize Protestant Baptism
Perhaps this is going beyond the scope of this thread, if so, moderators please feel free to so move.

What makes this even more difficult is that Roman doctrine for 500 years would allow a non-ordained person, apparently even a self conscious, non Christian, even a heretic to baptize. While this goes to the form attending, it makes it all the more uncertain that the person even intended to baptize into the Triune God, let alone baptize toward its object, which is salvation.

How can someone get into the church universal (visible) if no one believes the gospel (justification by faith). In the case of an infant baptized by believing parents, it is the faith (in the gospel), redemption, that causes a believing parent to bring their child?
Isn't that the basis rather than a generic belief in the trinity?

The questions asked of parents when their infant child is baptized are about their faith in covenant promises of redemption.

Very difficult indeed.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Scott,
I agree that the matter can be vexing, which is (to my thinking) another reason to generally accept other baptisms, unless specific reason is put forward calling it into question. The default position seems to me: persuade me otherwise.

What may we to do with the PCUSA, which proposes alternate-trinitarian names for God (not yet sanctioned for baptism)? Whose name is "on their foreheads" (Rev.22:4)? One may well argue this is a grosser distortion of baptism than even the RCs came up with.

Again, I see this as a question that should ordinarily be left to lie, unless specific grounds for questioning the basic form/formula has been noted; then, the burden of proof still stands with the person who thinks the issue is live, to change our basic catholic stance. :2cents:
 
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raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Then I have a question too: Can you be baptized by a Presbyterian church without being a member??
To answer this question quickly: presbyterians believe that baptism is baptism into the church, so when you're baptized (whether during infancy or upon profession of faith), you become a member of that local church.

There have certainly been times where that wasn't the case, but they're the very rare exception.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Then I have a question too: Can you be baptized by a Presbyterian church without being a member??
To answer this question quickly: presbyterians believe that baptism is baptism into the church, so when you're baptized (whether during infancy or upon profession of faith), you become a member of that local church.

There have certainly been times where that wasn't the case, but they're the very rare exception.
Baptism is into the Holy Trinity, Christ and the Church. There is the visible Church and the invisible Church. Christ is Head of both the visible and invisible Church.

Many that are baptised - both adults and children - are not part of the invisible Church when they are baptised, but later become so.

The Roman Catholic Church is part of the visible Church. How many people in the RC Church are part of the invisible Church only God knows but if they listen to what they're taught about salvation it will put them in the wrong direction.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
the PCUSA...has officially permitted "baptism" into some alternate-trinity
Seriously?!
I'm going to go back and edit my statement. What I claimed is the "stance" of the PCUSA on the subject has NOT been adopted as the official church position, which SFAIK has not changed from 2006. That year their General Assembly received and commended a report that re-branded the Trinity with all manner of alternatives, which are admissible for worship.

The report was amended to state that the biblical formula "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" remains standard for usage in baptism.


Alternatives to the biblical trinitarian Name include:
“Rainbow, Ark and Dove,” “Speaker, Word and Breath,” “Overflowing Font, Living Water and Flowing River,” “Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-Giving Womb,” “Sun, Light and Burning Ray,” “Giver, Gift and Giving,” “Lover, Beloved and Love,” “Rock, Cornerstone and Temple,” “Fire that Consumes, Sword that Divides and Storm that Melts Mountains,” and “The One Who Was, The One Who Is and The One Who Is to Come.”
Commentary available here:
AlbertMohler.com – The God Who Names Himself
Reportage available here:
PC(USA) - 217th General Assembly (2006) - Assembly votes to 'receive' and commend to the church
 

KaphLamedh

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Rufus! The baptism is the case between God and you. No one of us can tell you what to do, that's up to you. Pray and study bible and the most important is that you ask God what to do. Baptists say: Yes you have to rebaptize yourself and presbyterians do not think it's necessary and lutherans say that absolutely not to do that. I was baptized as infant into Lutheran church just because of tradition in Finland.

I was born again when I was 29, and Lutherans teach that we born again in baptism and we can always return to "grace of baptism". I never returned to "grace of baptism", but I was saved by grace of Jesus Christ. Just as Virgin Mary is an idol in Catholic Church, is baptism as an idol in Lutheran Church today. I was baptized in the river by Christian friend of mine and I didn't join any church at that moment, but months later I was joined to Free Church. Calvinism came to my life just three years ago and now when I have read more about confessions I have noticed that London Baptist Confession is that I do agree the most, because of baptism.
I hope that Acts 19: 1-7 helps you:
1.And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland[a] country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John’s baptism." 4And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7There were about twelve men in all. (ESV)
 

"William The Baptist"

Puritan Board Freshman
To answer this question quickly: presbyterians believe that baptism is baptism into the church, so when you're baptized (whether during infancy or upon profession of faith), you become a member of that local church.

There have certainly been times where that wasn't the case, but they're the very rare exception.
Baptism is into the Holy Trinity, Christ and the Church. There is the visible Church and the invisible Church. Christ is Head of both the visible and invisible Church.

Many that are baptised - both adults and children - are not part of the invisible Church when they are baptised, but later become so.

The Roman Catholic Church is part of the visible Church. How many people in the RC Church are part of the invisible Church only God knows but if they listen to what they're taught about salvation it will put them in the wrong direction.
So, perhaps this is very elementary, is a credobaptism valid if one wished to join a Presbyterian church? My confusion stems from the difference in full immersion verses pouring/sprinkling (I have read on this... I just can't recall exactly). I'm sure this has been addressed before... and I probably haven't gone through enough forums to find it yet. Feel free to direct me elsewhere.

Also, thank you Raekwon for your response. :)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
So, perhaps this is very elementary, is a credobaptism valid if one wished to join a Presbyterian church? My confusion stems from the difference in full immersion verses pouring/sprinkling (I have read on this... I just can't recall exactly). I'm sure this has been addressed before... and I probably haven't gone through enough forums to find it yet. Feel free to direct me elsewhere.

Also, thank you Raekwon for your response. :)
If your question is:
1) Would my previous baptism on profession of faith (a self-confessed creed) count me as "baptized" in a Presbyterian's eyes? the answer is certainly. Many new converts to Christianity are baptized on profession of faith in Presbyterian churches.

If your question is:
2) Does the "manner" or "mode" of baptism matter to a Presbyterian? the answer is, not nearly as much as it does on a Baptist's reckoning. Neither the amount of water, nor its method of application are items of first-order consideration by a Presbyterian.
WCF 28:3 "Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary: but Baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
This statement can be taken to mean that pouring or sprinkling are preferred modes; but its essential thrust is not to stipulate any preference, but to deny the exclusivity of any one form--least of all immersion.

My personal feelings concerning mode have shifted--from once being fairly set-against immersion mode (as lacking--by my lights--sufficient biblical encouragement) though immersion did not in any way invalidate a baptism; to being a bit more ambivalent about the utility of the various modes, including immersion. I now think there is symbolism in immersion that (at least conceptually) might be best displayed (among all the options) by baptism in those conditions; while that choice naturally sacrifices being the "best display" of other symbolism. No single mode can signify it the BEST in every category--its just impossible.

Personally, I still think immersion is a bit ostentatious (showy and overly dramatic) for the sobriety of public worship; but having seen many a tastefully done immersion (granting allowances for the additional logistics required for the arrangement), I am content to say that even Presbyterians could use immersion as mode--provided (!) that the mode was simply the ordinary way of baptizing everyone in that church, and not a special concession or provision to one individual (the "menu" approach to baptism).
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
So, perhaps this is very elementary, is a credobaptism valid if one wished to join a Presbyterian church? My confusion stems from the difference in full immersion verses pouring/sprinkling (I have read on this... I just can't recall exactly). I'm sure this has been addressed before... and I probably haven't gone through enough forums to find it yet. Feel free to direct me elsewhere.
Yes. My church regularly accepts folks into membership who were "credobaptised." Including me! :D
 

"William The Baptist"

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you Rev. Bruce for your most helpful answer. Yes, I was wondering about both, so I am glad you went ahead and answered it twice over. :)

Thanks Gulfcoast Presbyterian, as well!
 

Dennis1963

Puritan Board Freshman
I baptized Roman Catholic as a baby, became a Christian maybe a year to three years ago (gradual conversion really), I'm in a credobaptist church, but hold to paedobaptism (and I have attended a Presbyterian church once).

So should I be baptized into a Protestant church and should I go to the Presbyterian church to have it happen? I would like to attend the Presbyterian church again, but I do like the church I currently attend.
Personally I believe you were baptized once and that is good enough. I also was baptized Roman Catholic.

---------- Post added at 10:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 PM ----------

Besides, who the person was who baptized you is not really important.
 

clinpep05

Puritan Board Freshman
The question is "Should I be baptized (or rebaptized)?" The only answer to that question can come from God himself who gave us the ordinance of babtism as a way to express our inward faith in an outward manor. Paul wrote in Colossians 2:12"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
Water baptism is a way of identifing ourselves with Christ in burial of the flesh. When we are made alive unto God we are told to be Baptized as the first act of obedience unto our LORD,going through this ceremony telling everyone "Look at me.. I was dead but now I am Alive" therefore putting us in correct fellowship with Christ. "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" The salvation mentioned is in the second aspect (the salvation of sins power in our lives).

I suspect that when you were an infant you had no understanding of exactly what Baptism means or is... Therefore in my opinion ( and please note my opinions are flawed by my nature) you should be "re-baptized" or actually baptized scripturally which i believe was never accomplished. Really its a small matter, I know people who were baptized 5 or 6 times before they actually understood what they were doing. My wife got baptized once in her teens because the church was giving away these cool new teen bibles to everyone that came for Batptism. LOL She got her bible and she got wet, but she was lost. She ended up getting saved in a small bible study in her 20s.

I hope this helps you, Baptism is important in fellowship with our LORD as well as church membership.
 

Dennis1963

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not sure if this is addressed to me but, I'll comment. Hope you don't mind. :)

I suspect that when you were an infant you had no understanding of exactly what Baptism means or is...
I think your suspicion is correct. I surly cannot remember back then.

Therefore in my opinion ( and please note my opinions are flawed by my nature) you should be "re-baptized" or actually baptized scripturally which i believe was never accomplished. Really its a small matter, I know people who were baptized 5 or 6 times before they actually understood what they were doing. My wife got baptized once in her teens because the church was giving away these cool new teen bibles to everyone that came for Batptism. LOL She got her bible and she got wet, but she was lost. She ended up getting saved in a small bible study in her 20s.
Thanks for your opinion. However, I firmly believe God chose His elect before the foundation of the world. If I was baptized by the hands of a RC priest, that was who God chose to use, or it wouldn't have happened. I believe when one is baptized, it is actually an act of God. Just as a priest cannot call Christ down into a piece of bread, the priest also has nothing to offer but his services in baptism. Now, don't get me wrong, as you, my opinions are imperfect also.

However, I do not rule out the possibility that I may be re-baptized, I just do not see scripture (at this time) pointing to that. I'm not convicted of it; if I read a good scriptural case for it, it may indeed change. :)


I hope this helps you, Baptism is important in fellowship with our LORD as well as church membership.
I agree baptism is important, Jesus said so.


Thank you and God Bless.
 

clinpep05

Puritan Board Freshman
lol sorry if it felt like i was aiming anything toward you... not my intention...

You know i read a book called "The Trail of Blood" that shows how Baptists got their name because they went around Re-baptizing every convert. The Catholics named them Anti-Baptists and the name stuck. LOL Guilty as charged (with my hand up)

thanks
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Also, wanted to make clear for those following,
We all agree that a biblical, reformed presbyterian church would accept the baptism of any historic Protestant (evangelical) communion, e.g. Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, etc. of either infant or adult as valid baptism. The idea being, baptism is only once, and a charitable view of the household of faith, Christ's Body, the universal church.

The only question is whether the Roman church would fit that definition. There are honest and good faith differences in the Reformed house on that question.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
My wife got baptized once in her teens because the church was giving away these cool new teen bibles to everyone that came for Batptism. LOL She got her bible and she got wet, but she was lost. She ended up getting saved in a small bible study in her 20s.
That is awful, simply awful (the carrot for baptism, not the latter part). What a trivializing of what the Lord instituted. Churches that do this and call themselves "Baptist" make a mockery of the name. I am thankful for the faithful Baptists out there. I am also glad that she found the Lord, albeit later.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
It is the Lord's Supper as the inner door of the Church - by its opening or closing to the individual(s) concerned - that should be used to correct mistakes, not baptism.
 

cajunhillbilly53

Puritan Board Freshman
lol sorry if it felt like i was aiming anything toward you... not my intention...

You know i read a book called "The Trail of Blood" that shows how Baptists got their name because they went around Re-baptizing every convert. The Catholics named them Anti-Baptists and the name stuck. LOL Guilty as charged (with my hand up)

thanks

Actually that should be Anabaptist not Antibaptist. Anti means agianst baptism, ana means rebaptising. Be sure you use the correct prefix. Plus the book The Trail of Blood has some historic mistakes in it.
 
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