Question:

I have question on baptism.My husband and I are setting up a teaching with a man who has been visiting the church where we attend for going on two years now. His background is Baptist and when I asked him was he baptized for remission of sins he replied, yes. He says he loves coming to the Lord's church (church of Christ) vs. the Baptist church. So my question is this: since he said that he was baptized for remission of sins and he believes that he needs Jesus blood to be saved would he need to be re-baptized to be acceptable in the Lord's church? If so, how would I approach teaching him otherwise since he feels that he is OK spiritually.

Thank you for this wonderful website.


Answer:

The problem is that neither you nor I can read a person's heart nor know what actually took place in his past. "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:11). We can only go by what a person tells us.

Usually when I first begin teaching someone, I have three lessons which go through the basics of Christianity. Before getting into what is necessary for salvation, I ask several broad, vague questions about what the person had done and invite the person to write down his answers:

  • Have you ever made a commitment to Christ? If yes, how old were you?
  • Did you make a confession at the time of your commitment? If yes, what did you confess?
  • Have you been baptized? If yes, how were you baptized? Were you baptized before or after your commitment? How long was the time between your commitment and your baptism? For what purpose were you baptized? Were you saved before or after your baptism?

There is no right or wrong answers to these questions; I am just asking them for their history. But I have the answers written because I've found people rewritting history in their minds as they learn the Scriptures. We then go over the passages about what a person needs to do to be saved.

What I tell the people I study with is that if you find that what you did does not match with what God wanted, then the best thing to do is correct the problem so you are doing what God wants.

There are a few Baptist groups, especially among the Independent Baptists, who teach and practice baptism correctly. They are rare and far between, but they do exist. For most Baptists, the problem is that they teach that baptism is not necessary for salvation. Many use baptism solely as a way to join the local church. It is hard to be baptized right when you've been taught wrong.

If this man is convinced that baptism is necessary for salvation and that a person is not saved before being obedient to God's will, and there are no other problems with the things he did to obey God, then I would recommend accepting him at his word because you have nothing else to depend on. You can ask him if he wants to be baptized again to be sure, but I would leave the choice up to him. He knows his heart and what he did, and now he also knows what God commands of him. If he did obey God, who actually baptized him does not matter.