Does a confession need to be taken before baptism?

Question:

We are having a problem with words in our congregation. When you baptize someone should you say the words "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins?" Or should you just immerse them and say nothing? Also, our preacher does not want to take their confession before baptizing. He states that there is no confession in the New Testament. This is the first time we have ever encountered this. We are not under eldership but do have experienced sojourners here. We are trying hard to get this congregation sound.


Answer:

There are no set words to say at a baptism. All baptisms are done in by the authority of the Lord. Thus, whether someone says it is being done in the name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20) or in the name of Jesus (Acts 10:48), it is the same thing since God is one.

Confession is required in Romans 10:8-10, but nothing says it has to be done right at the point of baptism. We do have an example of the eunuch's confession in Acts 8:37. Some translations place this verse in the margins, but I personally believe that is a mistake.

Do you need to have witnesses or can the preacher baptize without witnesses?

Are you saying he doesn't have to say, "I baptize you for the remission of sin?' I was always taught that was mandatory throughout the brotherhood. I've been in five congregations and two states. It has always been done the same way, for the same reason and it was always spoken. That is one thing that sets us apart from being a denomination.

I must disagree. A uniformed way of conducting baptisms does not distinguish us from denominations. There is no record of what people said while baptizing someone. There is no command stating that particular words need to be used. What we are told is that baptism is based on faith, repentance from sin, confession that Jesus is the Son of God. The authority for baptism comes from the Lord God. The purpose of baptism is to bring forgiveness of sin and enter into the covenant with God.

Yes, people tend to mention these facts during baptism because the denominational world has lost sight of the necessity and purpose of baptism, so mentioning these things makes it clear to those watching the baptism.

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (I Timothy 6:12). It takes two or three to serve as a witness. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established" (II Corinthians 13:1). Even if we take the minimum, there should be at least one other person besides the preacher who hears the person's confession.