Should Baptists Be Baptized? – Charles L. Houser

Charles L. Houser

Are there people in Baptists churches who are honest, sincere, conscientious, and deeply religious? Of course there are, and this is likewise true of many people in various other churches. But does their sincerity and honesty make them right religiously?

Saul of Tarsus was just such a person, even though he still was keeping Moses’ law after it had been nailed to the cross and taken out of the way (Col. 2:14; Gal. 3:24- 25); and when he was persecuting Christians (Acts 23:1; 26:9-11). After the eyes of his understanding were opened he was converted to Christ (Acts 9:3-20; 22:6-16). He later referred to himself as having been the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), and he declared that he…”obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly in unbelief (1 Tim. 1:13). Saul of Tarsus was not an uneducated man. Even Governor Festus mentioned his “…much learning…” (Acts 26:24). Hence, although he was “a man of letters” he was woefully lacking with respect to the facts, commands, promises, and warnings of the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 2 The. 1:7-9).

What was true of Saul before his conversion to Christ is also true of many educated religious people today. They have gone through a humanly devised form of conversion, but have not complied with the commandments of Christ which are embraced in a scripturally authorized conversion. They have been “sold a bill of goods.” They have been led to believe that they received the forgiveness of sins at the point of faith and by faith only. If this were true, which it isn’t, then sinners could obtain pardon without repenting of their sins, and not even they believe that. It is generally agreed that repentance is essential (Acts 17:30; 2 Pet. 3:9; Luke 13:3). But, if repentance is essential, then salvation is not by faith alone, is it?

That a confession is also involved in the process of conversion is generally accepted, for Romans 10:10 says, …”with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” And Baptists in all sincerity make a confession before their baptism, but what is their confession? I can assure you that you would never find it mentioned even once, if you were to look for it in the Bible the remainder of your life. A Baptist preacher usually asks the candidate, “Do you believe that God for Christ’s sake has pardoned your sins?” If a person being questioned were to refuse to agree to that confession, a Baptist preacher would refuse to baptize him. But in making that confession, sincere religious people really disqualify themselves from being scripturally baptized. This is enough to prevent their being extended full Christian fellowship, when they express the desire to be affiliated with the churches of Christ. (To see for yourself the contrast between “the baptist confession” and the one authorized by the Bible, read Acts 8:35-38).

When sincere Baptist people request membership among us, even though they may say, “But I am satisfied with my baptism,” they should be reminded, “You are not the one to be satisfied; the Lord is, and he is not satisfied until His will has been done.”

Baptists preachers give two reasons for one’s being baptized, after he/she has become a believer, namely: (1) To declare to the world that one has already been saved, and (2) To join the church of his choice. One could never find those reasons in the Bible.

To a penitent believer, the Bible reasons are: (1) For the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), (2) To wash away sins (Acts 22:16), (3) To get into Christ (Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27), and (4) To be saved (1 Pet. 3:21).

We do not believe that the water of baptism literally washes away sins, but that is the time and place that God looks upon the obedient heart and forgives, through the blood of Christ. The water of the Jordan did not literally cleanse Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:10-15) and neither did the water of the pool of Siloam (John 9:1-11) literally open the eyes of the blind man. But Naaman would not have been cleansed of his leprosy and the blind man’s eyes would not have opened, if they had not obeyed the words of the prophet and Jesus respectively.

Even so, penitent believers today do not receive the remission of their sins until after they have confessed Christ as Lord and Savior (Mat. 10:32) and have been baptized (immersed) to that very end. Hence, the answer to the question, “Should Baptists be rebaptized?” is an emphatic “Yes!” Gospel preachers and elders of churches of Christ, do an injustice to honest, sincere Baptists who claim to be satisfied with baptism, to extend to them full Christian fellowship, without their making the authorized confession and being baptized for the reason given in the Bible. When fellowship is extended, without their correcting the errors they previously made, those souls are left believing that they were already saved, when, as a matter of fact, they have not done what one must do in order to be saved.

Baptist preachers claim, whenever Acts 2:38 is called to their attention, and especially the expression, for the remission of sins, that the preposition “for” means “because of.” It is true that it can mean either “because of or “in order to receive,” but it can’t mean both in the same sentence. In Acts 2:38 repentance and baptism are joined together by the conjunction and, hence, what for means as related to repentance it also means as related to baptism. If one knows how to parse or diagram a sentence, according to the rules of English grammar, then he could parse Acts 2:38 for himself and then the facts could be easily seen.

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