Question:

I need to ask you about what a person should be baptized for.

I was baptized. My reasons were: for the washing of sins, to confirm my faith in Jesus, because it was a commanded, and because itís necessary for salvation. And the pastor baptized me in the name of Jesus Christ. Was it valid, if those were my reasons?

I have a friend, who is also a girl. Sheís not baptized. Can I baptize her? I donít think I can even if weíre both women because thereís no case of any woman doing it in the whole Bible. What do you think?

If I canít baptize my friend, my cousin could. Heís been baptized years ago, and did many wrong things after it, but I think heís repented because heís stopped. Can he?

A preacher who visited the area asked us about our churches, and I told him some of the unscriptural practices here. He said that what we have to do is act like the Christians acted in the Bible. They gathered in a place like a church. But itís just me and her, thereís no men. The only man is my cousin. But I donít trust him. He got involved with the Messianic Jews, though he's stopped. How can we have a leader thatís easily influenced? Heíll try to influence us as well.

Can we start by our own? Just us both? The visiting preacher said he could help us with lessons and the like. What do you think? Iím leaving my church, my friendís leaving hers too (Ephesians 5:11).


Answer:

While very uncommon, I do know of churches where there are no male members. It isn't because of any attempt on these churches to exclude men. Circumstances just caused no males to be available. The largest that I have heard of has about forty women worshipping together.

You are correct that we don't read about women baptizing, but then all the apostles and preachers were men and these are the ones recorded in regards to starting congregations. There really isn't any requirements on who does a baptism. I know of one congregation that started by reading the Bible. The group realized they needed to be baptized, but there were no baptized Christians in the area, so they baptized each other. It has to start somewhere.

There is a potential problem in that baptism is done with the authority of Christ.

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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." Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

The rule is that a woman is not allowed to exercise authority over a man. ""And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence" (I Timothy 2:12). Baptism is not a form of teaching, or of telling another what to do. The authority comes from Christ and not from the person doing the baptism. Still, to avoid any inkling of impropriety, if at all possible, if a man is present, he should do the baptism.

Yes, your baptism is valid. Unlike most who grew up in denominations, you learned the truth and then decided to be baptized. That a denominational preacher did it doesn't change the fact that you knew what you were doing.

If you and your friend are willing and you are sure she knows the truth, then go ahead and baptize her. Start studying together and start inviting others to the study as well. You might be surprised who fast a church can develop when there are people who love the truth. It will be hard at times. There will be a lot of adjusting to be done -- separating what you've always assumed to be true and what the Bible actually teaches. The good thing is that you have several resources available to you.