At Living Stones Churches, baptisms are a big deal. Because we celebrate them so often, people have asked me whether they should be "re-baptized". All of these people have been baptized previously, and due to various reasons, they’re not sure if their previous baptism was valid or counted.
I know there are people at our church who have a small crisis of conscience every time they see a baptism because of this issue. So my hope in writing this is for you to have a firm belief in your baptism, or to show you that you should be baptized again.
At Living Stones Churches, we believe that baptism in water is a symbol of the Christian's new life in Jesus, and that one gets baptized after they have believed in Christ. There are multiple verses in scripture that speak about this, but a few key ones are found in: Matthew 28:18-19, Romans 6:1-4, Colossians 2:12 and Galatians 3:27.
With this as our foundation, here are six different scenarios, along with why you should or shouldn't consider “re-baptism”:
1. "When I was baptized, I wasn't a Christian yet. Should I get re-baptized?"
Yes! Baptism is an act of obedience once you are a Christian. Being baptized before you're a Christian is like getting married before you’ve found a spouse. Come and get baptized so you can experience the joy of following your king.
2. "I became a Christian and was baptized, but walked away from Jesus for a while. Should I get re-baptized?"
No. Your Baptism didn’t save you. Jesus saved you! Your baptism isn't ruined when you fall into sin, and you don't need to get re-baptized to receive God's grace. If you want to express your re-commitment to Christ after a time of walking away, confession and communion is where you can bring Jesus your sins and remember that he has taken away your sin.
3. "I was baptized as a Mormon/Jehovah's Witness, should I get re-baptized?"
Yes, but only if you are a Christian. Mormon's and Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a different God, and a different Jesus, than Christians do. It’s important that you are baptized as a Christian. If you want to talk about this more, any of the pastors at Living Stones would love to discuss it with you.
4. "I was baptized and the person who baptized me no longer believes in Jesus. Should I be re-baptized?"
No. Baptism is about your new identity in Christ, and your baptism is not ruined because the person who baptized you walked away from the faith. (This was also an issue that the early church dealt with.)
5. "I was baptized as an infant at another Christian Church. Should I get re-baptized?"
I would recommend to be baptized as an adult. Brandon Evans (one of our Elder Candidates) wrote on the subject in a previous blog post:
"We re-baptize those who were baptized as infants (or young children) and come to faith later in life because they were not at an age to make a genuine decision. While it is not necessary to be re-baptized, we encourage it because the baptism ceremony is a chance to declare publicly what God has done inwardly to the person."
If this is the question you’re asking, here are two questions to ask yourself in making a decision: Can I give a defense that I was baptized as an infant, even though I didn't believe in Jesus yet? Do I feel uneasy or unsure about my infant baptism? If you feel uneasy/ unsure, then your not going to be able to ever feel secure in your baptism. I encourage you to take the plunge and get baptized!
6. "I was attending another church. Now that I'm at Living Stones Churches, should I get re- baptized?"
No. Jesus has not only saved you but has saved a community of believers called the Church (with a capital C). The Church is made up of every believer, past and present, of all nations, races, languages and tribes that confess Jesus as their savior and cling to Him. No matter what church you have come from, if you believe in Jesus you're a member of the Church. You join in our collective worship of Christ by participating at Living Stones Churches or any other church that proclaims the gospel and truths of scripture. Rejoice, because you have been brought into the family of God and have become a member of His people!