Survey: denominational baptism

The Southern Baptist Convention did a survey of their pastors about accepting people’s baptisms from other churches. Here, we ask our brotherhood where they stand.

If you don’t belong to the churches of Christ, please don’t reply. If you do, but don’t evangelize, please don’t bother either. If you are a preacher, evangelist, elder, teacher, etc., in the body of Christ, please choose one option below.

I suppose I’ll leave this poll open until the end of the month. Please leave any comments on this page, below at the very bottom of the page, rather than going to the poll host.

Update: reply to the option which most closely approximates your view. Tweaks: by “adult” is meant one who has the mental capability to believe; “form” refers to immersion.

<a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/934080/” >What to do when people who have been baptized in denominations want to become part of your congregation?</a> <br /> <span style=”font-size:9px;”> (<a href=”http://www.polldaddy.com”> polls</a>)</span>

15 Replies to “Survey: denominational baptism”

  1. Bro. Randal,
    I cannot in good conscience answer in the affirmative to any of the four possibilities listed. The closest is definitely the third option, however, there are some denominational bodies which do teach all the right things about baptism (though they are few and far between). The problem is they show by their beliefs and practices that they are not a part of the true body of Christ, therefore the baptism is not valid, but not because of the teaching on baptism itself. I hope you understand my dilemma.

    Adam

  2. Adam, the options appear randomly, so I’m not sure which you refer to, but I imagine this one: “Teach and baptize them, since no denomination teaches the truth about baptism.” But I didn’t understand the dilemma.

  3. The dilemma is in the wording of the option. It specifically states that no denomination teaches the truth about baptism. That would not be accurate. The problem is that the handful of denominational groups that do teach the truth in this area have other problems, including an understanding of the church and authority (not to mention recognizing themselves as a denomination!) and therefore baptism is not into the proper institution.

  4. We ask them how and for what reason they were baptized. If someone is baptized according to the scriptures, by immersion and for the remission of sins, then we accept their baptism. Some have chosen on their own to be re-baptized for their own conscience sake, but not because we required it.

  5. Randal,

    Twice over the last couple of years we found ourselves facing this issue. One young lady became engaged to one of our young men. She grew up in a denominational home, her grandfather was a retired “pastor” with the group, and her father was a “lay” minister who fills-in the pulpit occastionally. In studying with her fiance’ she decided that her immersion was not for the right reasons, she convinced her “pastor” to immerse her for the remission of sins — much to his disagreement he followed her demands. She is know (since their marriage) a member here — no re-immersion from us. Another situation is more current — last week. A lady and her husband (who is a member of the church) wanted to place membership. They have been attending with us for about four months. Her father is a baptist preacher. Our elders talked with her and she stated emphatically that her baptism was for the remission of sins, just as the Bible teaches. She and her husband are now members here. If she rethinks her baptism at a later date, we will gladly re-immerse her.

  6. Randal,

    I answered the survey the best I could with the choices given. To me there are two issues. Phillip preached the kingdom of God and then some were immersed. First, I think there must be an understanding regarding the kingdom and its nature. If this is understood, then any baptism that associates one with a denomination needs to be considered very carefully. Secondly, if one is questioning his/her immersion the issue will be did they believe their sins were remitted before their immersion. Many will then answer there sins were remitted upon repentance or prayer prior to immersion. If this is their mindset then the immersion could not possibly be for the remission of sin. It takes some time for this realization to occur for some. But when it happens they will happily respond to the one baptism of scripture.

  7. Hi Randal,
    Scott here

    In evangelistic Bible studies, well before we get around to baptism, I ask some questions about folks’ conversion and baptism and write it down. The purpose is have an idea of where they are, but also so that, as we study, they do not re-write their past to accomodate new info. I don;t thing folk have done that purposefully, more of a, “oh, so that is what I did…” kinda thing.

    Only three times in over a hundred studies did the person have an accurate knowledge concerning Biblical baptism. In 2 of those cases they did not know anyone out there agreed with them.

    Scott P. Wiley

  8. Randal,

    I, too, have having trouble choosing one of the options, but for a different reason than the brothers above. My dilemma involves “accept them for whatever reason” and “accept them only for the right reason”. I cannot choose the first option since “whatever reason” is so broad as to include all sorts of nonsense. But I cannot choose the second option because it suggests that there is only one “right reason”. The New Testament indicates that there are many “reasons” to be baptized — to receive remission of sins, to obey Jesus, to be added to the one body of Christ, to receive the Holy Spirit, etc. If someone says, “I was baptized for the remission of sins, but I didn’t know I received the Holy Spirit”, were they baptized for the “right reason”? Most of us would say, “yes” because we think there’s really only one “right reason”. We’re willing to overlook ignorance on some of the other reasons, but not on the one we think really counts. So how many of the ten or so “reasons” for baptism does someone have to know before the baptism “counts”? And why do we think that one reason is more important than the rest?

    Still studying,
    Alan

  9. I take the position of Campbell, prior to the Lunenburg letter. Alan’s comments pretty well sum up my dilemma. The letter mentioned above and Campbell’s responses are instructive. The most recent issue of the Stone-Campbell Journal (http://www.stone-campbelljournal.com/) had an interesting article about the letter. I find it somewhat ironic that we seem proud of our ties to Campbell, while he would almost certainly not be accepted into many of our congregations due to his “liberal” theology.

    Also still studying…

    Emmett

  10. Hi Randal:

    To my mind the “right reason” would include any and/or all of the various things for which one is baptized, because all of them are with a view toward a salvation to be received upon one’s obedience to the gospel. If one has the view that baptism is NOT essential to salvation, then they would need to be reimmersed properly. If one has the view that bapism IS essential unto salvation, then THAT is the right reason.

    Now, as far as perfect understanding about the Kingdom and one’s responsibilities after baptism, if that is a requirement, then we are all in a great deal of trouble. SOME understanding is likely necessary, but one wonders just how much understanding those on Pentecost had about the various matters concerning the Kingdom.

    Let’s not add requirements God did not, and let’s not relinquish requirements He did make!

  11. Mr. Matheny,

    I currently live and work in the northwest and I could not answer affirmatively to any of those questions. You need a fifth option that says: “Accept them regardless and teach them and allow them to come to their own conclusions about their salvation.” All to often many of the churches of Christ look for reasons to exclude instead of reasons to include. I agree that baptism for remission of sins is very important but if we use it as a tool for exclusion (which is the feeling I got from the survey although I know this was not the intention) then we are in the wrong. If God has brought them into your sphere of influence than it is your God given responsibility to accept them no matter how your opinions of salvation differ. We do not decide who is accepted and who is not, that is Jesus’ job and we have no say in it. Bottom line: The decision is up to the individual because they bear the responsibility for their souls. Our responsibility is to teach and allow the Spirit to do his job.

  12. I appreciate some of the concerns expressed, however, this is a poll and certainly cannot include all shades of possibilities and theological concerns such as respecting free will and leaving it up to the individual to decide. Those are questions that have to be assumed, in one form or another, and which one may expect to be dealt with in works of theology, missiology and ministry.

  13. We recently baptized a man who said he had been baptized in another church as a youth, he thought for the biblical reasons. We accepted his baptism, but continued to teach him. He finally concluded that he wasn’t certain about his earlier baptism, so requested to be rebaptized. Had we turned him down earlier, he probably would have left us, giving us no opportunity to teach him further. We need to be kind and sensitive in such a case, but kind yet firm in others.

  14. There are two distinct promises as a result of emersion-baptism. God’s grace offers forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    However, there are four conditions of faith that God asks of each person who is emersed in order to receive these promises: 1) hear, 2) believe, 3) repent and 4) confess Christ as the Son of God. As we teach others in following the great commission, let us always remember that these issues of faith are absolutely God’s standards as presented in his inspired word and not any human’s. If anyone is willing to confirm and affirm his faith by these standards and then is clothed with Christ in emersion-baptism then God will be his final judge and not any human. They are added by God to the Church of Christ and not by any man nor institution of man.

    God’s love is unconditional but his grace is not unconditional. What then remains is staying faithful to Christ and his Church as revealed through the whole counsel of the inspired word of the Bible.

    We must be willing to ask questions and be willing to respond to anyone and always out of love, kindness and gentleness but with a firm conviction and knowledge of what and why we believe and the reason for the hope that we have.

    Love of God and love of “lost people” will hopefully be our motivation and purpose.

    Ron

What do you think?