Can a baptism be annulled?




When a person has been baptized once in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and then receives a baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, has the first baptism become annulled? I have a friend who told me that I wasn't baptized because I wasn't baptized in the name of Jesus so he baptized me again, in the name of Jesus. I always believed and still do, that baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is being baptized in the name of Jesus and now I feel as if I let the Lord down by permitting this person to re-baptize me. How do I handle this? I felt such pressure by him and he continually told me that I would never enter into the Kingdom of God if I weren't baptized in the name of Jesus. I feel guilty and bad about permitting this.

"Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin" (Romans 14:22-23).

If I had to pinpoint where the problem lies, it is in the fact that you acted because someone told you and not because you were convinced that it was true. As Paul stated, hopefully none of us accept things that God finds wrongful, but when we act without faith, that act becomes a sin.

The Bible describes baptism as a one-time act. It is something you do to receive salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and to enter the church. Assuming that your baptism was proper, being baptized again doesn't change things. The one case mentioned of being baptized again is found in Acts 19 where Paul found some disciples of John who did not know about the Holy Spirit. Because their baptism was only in preparation for Jesus and not done under the authority of Jesus, Paul had them baptized again.

It is possible for a baptized believer, a Christian, to lose their way and stray off the straight and narrow. It happens to all of us. When we find ourselves in the wrong, we have to pick ourselves up and return to God. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 1:5 - 2:1).

But let's look at the idea of being baptized in Jesus' name only. Your friend does not understand what is meant by doing something in another person's name. It is not a formula to be said, but it refers to acting with that person's given authority. For example, when David needed food for his men, he sent representatives to a neighboring herdsman. "So when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited" (I Samuel 25:9). The men were not David, but they delivered the message with David's authority behind them.

When Peter and the apostles performed miracles, the authorities at that time hauled them in to court. "And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" " (Acts 4:7). These rulers wanted to know who gave them the authority to do the miracles. Peter answered, "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole" (Acts 4:10). Peter said that he was authorized by Jesus Christ, a thing the rulers were not happy to hear.

"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11). This passage is making the same claim that Jesus did in Matthew 28:18: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Therefore, when a person is baptized in the name of Jesus (under the authority of Jesus), they are being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (under the authority of the Godhead). There is no difference.

Yet, I am amazed that people think that being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is somehow wrong. It was Jesus, the one they claim to be following, who gave the order: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Though this is not a formula to be said at a baptism, it states that baptism is done under the authority of the entire Godhead. But then Jesus represents the Godhead to us. "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:9-10). That is why you see mention that the disciples baptized in the name of Jesus. Claiming the authority of Jesus was no different from claiming the authority of the Godhead.

In other words, you baptism in Jesus' name is no different than your earlier baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. One cannot an null the other because they are the same. Of course, there was no need for the second, assuming the baptism was also done properly (immersion) and for the proper reason (to obey God so as to obtain salvation and to enter into the kingdom).

Pray to God and ask His forgiveness for acting without faith. Then get on with serving Him with your whole heart.

See also:

All in a Name
Should baptism be done only in Jesus' name?
Questions and Answers regarding Baptism