I was baptized as a baby.
Why should I get baptized again?
The following was written for somebody else’s benefit, but I thought I would share it with the church as a whole.
Like most Baptist churches, First Baptist Harlan requires that a person profess faith in Christ and be baptized by immersion in order to become an official member of the church.
This is referred to as “believer’s baptism,” and it’s baptism by immersion (or total submersion into water). Other churches, of course, practice “infant baptism” – via sprinkling.
It’s not our intent to disparage any other church or denomination, or to dishonor anyone’s intent. We do not consider the timing or method of baptism to be a core doctrine of Christianity, but rather is a doctrine about which sincere Christians can agree to disagree. Nevertheless, “believer’s baptism” (by immersion) is a distinctive of the Baptist denomination and a qualification for membership at First Baptist Harlan.
The reason believer’s (not infant) baptism is a distinctive of the Baptist denomination is because it appears to be how baptism was practiced in the New Testament. Infant baptism did not come along until much later. The fact is there is little, if any, BIBLICAL support for the practice of sprinkling infants. Only after a person professed faith in Christ was he/she baptized.
According to the Bible, baptism is intended to represent union with Christ (see Romans 6:3). This being the case, baptism by immersion would seem to be the best method to illustrate that (total submersion versus mere sprinkling). Baptism by immersion is also a powerful portrayal of the means of our salvation: Jesus’ death (into the water), his burial (under the water) and, finally, his resurrection (lifted up out of the water). In my years as a pastor, I have limited sprinkling to persons who were sick or disabled.
Occasionally, I am asked if the baptism can take place in private. We empathize with those who are shy. On the other hand, the purpose of baptism is to make a public declaration of one’s faith in Christ. Thus, a private baptism would go against its very purpose. In many countries around the world, there are serious consequences to Christian baptism, and still, these Christ-followers do it anyway. We must keep faith with our brothers and sisters in Muslim countries and elsewhere.