If you have been baptized before should you be re-baptized? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
[Darris McNeely] If you’ve been baptized in your life, should you be re-baptized? Before you click me off, stop and think a minute about this. It is a question that’s legitimate and it often comes up. Every year I teach a class in the doctrines of the Bible, and I teach the fundamental doctrine about baptism. And part of the teaching asks the same question – what about re-baptism? What about baptism? Even in the Bible, there’s examples of people who were baptized a second time, and properly understanding what that says helps us to understand a lot about the teaching about baptism. But you may be a well-meaning, well-intentioned, good person, you’re studying the Bible, you’re reading Beyond Today, you’re watching our programs, you’re learning a lot of things that you didn’t know. Very often, the questions will come to us – “I’m a part of this church, I’ve been part of this denomination, I was baptized when I was eighteen or twenty-five, but do I need to be re-baptized now that I’m learning what I am learning about God’s word, His law, and my life and my relationship with God?”. It’s a very, very good question. It’s a very important question, and it’s one that you need to answer.
Let me give you a few tips just to think about, a few other questions just to think about, in formulating your answer to this question. Ask yourself, when you were baptized, did you have a repentant attitude? In other words, did you fully repent of your sins? Did you even know what sin was? Did you know the full ramifications of sin and its meaning as the transgression of God’s law?
Another question for you to ask – were you completely immersed in water when you were baptized? The word “baptism” comes from the word baptismos, which means a fully immersed action within water, to be fully underwater. Did that take place? Or was there just a sprinkling or just perhaps even an emotional feeling that you might have had on a particular occasion? Was there laying on of hands by a minister who fully had explained to you the meaning of laying on of hands? In Acts chapter 8, we have the example that it is by the laying on of hands that one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is why you’re baptized – to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. But it is by the laying on of hands that that is done. So that’s another question to ask.
Have you developed a solid, biblical understanding as a result of the decision you made years ago when you were baptized? Or has that now just come as a result of coming into a deeper understanding of the word of God, by the questions and the issues that you’ve been challenged with?
How about your prayer life? Is it solid? Is it effective? Another good question to ask. Perhaps the kicker – can you look at your life, and are you making any progress in overcoming sin and your own human nature? Those are interesting questions. They’re important ones to ask and to consider.
I would say to you that if this is a question that you are pondering, that it would be good for you to get in touch with a minister. Call one of our ministers, the United Church of God ministers. We have trained and educated and capable men who are available in your area to discuss this very question with you. Or call us and write to us, and we can offer spiritual guidance and help you come to the answer on this question. It’s one that I’ve had a number of times as I teach the subject and in my pastoral ministry as I work with people who come to me with that legitimate question. And in every case, you can work to an answer. There is an answer and it can settle that in your mind, and that gives you a great deal of comfort, encouragement, and hope.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.