“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 19:1-5)
Southern Baptists annually report tens of thousands of baptisms throughout the world. What most people don’t know, however, is that a considerable percentage of those reported are actually re-baptisms. Why would someone be re-baptized? There is, in my opinion, only one reason to be re-baptized.
You need to be re-baptized if your baptism was unscriptural. Were you baptized B.C.; that is, before you came to Christ? If so, you need to be re-baptized. Were you immersed in water, or merely sprinkled or christened? If you were not immersed, you should be re-baptized. Were you baptized by a proper authority, by a local church with a proper understanding of biblical baptism. If not, you need to be re-baptized.
A present-day bone of contention among some Southern Baptists is the issue of “alien immersion.” Although it sounds like the baptizing of extraterrestrials, it really has nothing to do with E.T. Instead, it is all about re-baptizing folks into our Southern Baptist churches who have been formerly baptized in other denominations.
According to some Southern Baptists, any baptism outside of Baptist’s circles is an alien immersion, necessitating the re-baptizing of everyone coming into our churches from other denominations. On the other hand, some Southern Baptists, such as myself, feel that the definition of alien immersion should be confined to baptisms performed outside biblical parameters, not Baptist’s circles. After all, the Scripture doesn’t limit legitimate baptism to the baptisteries of Southern Baptist churches.
To be re-baptized requires humility on the part of the candidate. His or her desire to obey Christ’s command must supersede their concerns over what others may think or say. I know this from personal experience, being one of the many Southern Baptists who have been re-baptized. I’m glad I swallowed my pride and submitted to being re-baptized. My second stirring of the baptismal waters in submission to my Savior’s command remains one of the greatest moments in my Christian life. It can prove to be a great moment in your Christian life as well, if you’re a Christian who has never been scripturally baptized.
“If you’ve come to faith in Christ since baptism, you need to be baptized. Not re-baptized, because you just got wet the first time.” (Steve Weaver)