At The Anchor, 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. And so at The Anchor, baptisms are a big deal. We do a few baptism services a year either in service or at the beach and it is an incredible time of worship and celebration.
But I know there are people at our church who have a small crisis of conscience every time they see a baptism because they don't know whether or not they should be “re-baptized”. They have been baptized previously, and due to various reasons, they’re not sure if their previous baptism was valid or counted. 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.
So let's lay the foundation first...
WHAT DOES BAPTISM MEAN?
We believe the Bible presents baptism as an outward witness of an inward faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
Christian baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, declaring the believers faith in and identification with their crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It is a visible declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The believer being baptized is immersed beneath the waters in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which expresses the believers’ death to sin and the burial of their old life, and then brought out of the water, which expresses the believers’ resurrection to a new kingdom life in Christ Jesus. Furthermore, baptism identifies a Christian with Jesus, the universal church, and the local church.
Jesus commanded that all Christians be baptized. The apostles commanded that all Christians be baptized, which explains why the book of Acts and records of the early church show that baptism was practiced consistently.
DOES BAPTISM SAVE YOU?
Salvation is solely a gift given to people whose faith rests in the grace of God to forgive their sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus. For example, when the Philippian jailer asked what was required of him to be saved, Paul did not mention baptism but simply said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” Likewise, the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus was promised by our Lord that “today you will be with me in Paradise,” though he had not been baptized. Someone can be unbaptized and yet be a Christian who is destined for heaven.
Nonetheless, even though one can be a Christian without being baptized, a Christian should be baptized. If nothing else, Jesus commanded baptism to show in outward sign the inward covenant relationship we have with him. Similarily, married people are married regardless of whether they wear their wedding ring, which is the outward symbol of their inward covenant relationship. But I, for one, am glad that my wife wears her wedding ring.
Baptism is the biblical way in which we show that by the power of the Spirit, we died to our old way of life through the death of Jesus, and live a new life through the resurrection of Jesus, cleansed from our sin in the same way that water cleanses us from filth. Therefore, being baptized does not make someone a Christian. Not being baptized does not cause someone to stop being a Christian, but a Christian should be baptized.
If you are getting baptized for the first time, click here to go to the sign up sheet to get baptized.
Now with our foundation set, if you have been baptized before, 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?”
Maybe. First it is important to note, 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. However, we know that baptism can be a powerful reminder of your recommitment to Christ. Where we would advise you not to get rebaptized is if you've done it several times, every time you walk away and come back. It shows that there is a misunderstanding of what baptism really is and shows there is a sin issue that needs to be addressed. If you've been re-baptized before and want to express your re-commitment to Christ after a time of walking away again, 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. 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 you're 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 The Anchor, 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 The Anchor 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!
I hope this clears up some questions for you. If, after reading this, you know you'd like to get baptized, please sign the form below and someone in leadership will be in touch with you.