Friday, December 22, 2006

Eureka! I Finally Understand

For many months now I have struggled to understand why the clear teaching of Scripture regarding baptism -- that it is the believer's outward profession of faith in Jesus Christ, identifying the participant with Jesus Christ and His followers -- seems to be ignored or minimized by some in the current baptism debate taking place within the Southern Baptist Convention.

My view of baptism, as defined above, is based upon Scripture, but it has also been defined in a similar manner by Baptist confessions over the centuries. The two quotes below are from our most recent confession and one of our earliest confessions respectively.

"Baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour . . ." (BFM 2000).

"That Baptism is an Ordinance of the new Testament, given by Christ, to be dispensed only upon persons professing faith . . . (that) the persons designed by Christ, to dispense this Ordinance, the Scriptures hold forth to be a preaching Disciple, it being no where tied to a particular Church, Officer, or person extraordinarily sent, the Commission enjoining the administration, being given to them under no other consideration, but as considered Disciples" (The 1644 Baptist London Confession of Faith).

No Baptist disagrees that the baptism of a believer should occur prior to church membership. In other words, that baptism is a 'prerequisite' to membership is held by all true Baptists, but it seems that there are now some Southern Baptists who consider baptism as 'an initiation rite into the local church.'


Dr. Brad Reynolds is a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and seems to be a very nice man with whom I could cooperate in Southern Baptist ministry and missions without hesitation. However, Dr. Reynolds believes something I find rather unusual in terms of Scripture and Baptist history.

Dr. Reynolds believes baptism is 'an initiation rite into the local church.'

"Baptism initiates us into the local church and thereby symbolizes both our agreement to her theology and teachings as well as our accountability to her." (Dr. Brad Reynolds in a comment on his blog December 22, 2006).

There you have it.

A clear, succinct statement expressing baptism as an initiation rite into the local church. A common web definition of inititiation rite is "a formalized ceremony of passage where an individual acquires a position or a status through personal participation."

To become a member of a local Southern Baptist church, according to Dr. Reynolds, you must be baptized into that 'local' church as an act of 'initiation.'

This view of baptism as an initiation rite into the local Southern Baptist church is completely contrary to the historic Baptist understanding of baptism and the clear Biblical teaching regarding believer's baptism.

One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism, One Body (Church)

Charles Spurgeon held that there was only one church and it comprised all believers. This universal church was both visible and invisible. The invisible referred to the regenerating work of the Spirit hidden from human eyes. The visible church referred to the work of the Spirit as made visible by the profession and deportment of believers. Since the church comprised all believers, ecclesiological differences had little importance. There were many denominations, but only one church.

When a Southern Baptist church examines a believer who is petitioning for membership, the pastors and leaders of that church ought to examine the member candidate's faith and baptism. If there is present a personal faith in Jesus Christ, and if that memberhip candidate has been baptized by immersion after coming to faith in Christ, then that local Southern Baptist church has the wonderful privilege of receiving that membership candidate upon their statement of faith and baptism as a member --- without 'rebaptizing' that believer.

In other words, there is no need to rebaptize in order to 'initiate' that person into the 'local' church because he is part of the 'one' church of Jesus Christ. He is a member of Christ's body -- and the 'local' church has examined him, asked him questions, investigated his life and doctrine -- and his baptism -- and the local church believes all the above to be in order in terms of Christian experience. The church simply receives the member candidate into fellowship.

Five Questions You Should Ask

I would like to give you several reasons why practicing baptism as 'an initiation' rite into the local church is not even close to being Scriptural by asking several questions, and suggesting that you ask those who hold to 'the initiation rite' theory to answer them:

(1). Into which 'local church' was Jesus Christ baptized into?
(2). Into which 'local church' was the Ethiopian Eunich baptized into?
(3). Is the body of Christ found only in the 'local' Southern Baptist Church?
(4). Where in Scripture can you show me that baptism does not identify you with a Person (Jesus Christ), and where does Scripture say baptism identifies the believer with a system of doctrine (i.e. 'the teachings of the local church')?
(5). What if my church does not hold to baptism as 'an initiation rite' into the local church, but rather, my church views baptism as the believer's identification with Christ -- will you fellowship and cooperate with my church and her members as Southern Baptists?

The answer to that last question has been made clear to me in the last several months. What is the answer? I think Dr. Reynold's should give it. The following comment is from his blog on December 21, 2006.

"Let’s say First Baptist and Second Baptist church of Tuckersville, were like-minded theologically and decided to work together in sending out M’s. They decided they would keep the M’s accountable to the local church through an organization made up of representatives from both churches who would oversee the M’s and the M’s would be going out representing the two local churches.

This is what we have with the SBC only on a much grander scale. The Trustees are elected by the local churches (through representatives) to oversee the IMB. They hire a president who is accountable to them and they are accountable to the local churches. The President hire’s staff to help oversee the daily operation. This daily operation should conform to the President’s wishes which should conform to the Trustees wishes which should conform to the local churches wishes. And so the accountability does ultimately reside with the local churches. It is my firm belief that the M’s should also be members of their local church and be held accountable there. But when a local church tells the M to do something contrary to the wishes of the group of local churches then the M should side with the IMB over his local church or resign for no one church has authority over the IMB. (emphasis mine).

Let me show you the logical outcome of Dr. Reynold's statement.

A person petitioned to join Emmanuel Baptist Church. He was came to Christ at the age of 20 in Niger, Africa through the influence of a "Youth For Christ" evanglist. This evangelist gathered the family and friends of the new believer on the river bank and baptized this new convert, identifying him as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Persecution began immediately. The new believer's Muslim family rejected him. His earthly father 'disowned' him. He was friends mocked him because he was now a 'Jesus' man.

The new convert to Jesus Christ eventually fled to the United States where he obtained his college degree and petitioned to join our church. We examined his faith and his baptism, listening to his outstanding, biblical and personal testimony of faith and baptism. We extended to him the warm hand of Christian fellowship --- there was no need for him to be 'initiated' into our church by baptism -- he was already a part of the 'one' true church of Jesus Christ.

Three years later desired to apply to the International Mission Board to serve as an IMB missionary. His desire was around the time that the new policy on baptism was being discussed. I was told by the person who helped write what I would now call the 'initiation' view of baptism that our member would have to be 'rebaptized.'

When I asked him 'Why?', I was given three reasons: (1). We did not know what the 'Youth For Christ' evangelist believed when he baptized the new convert, (2). the new convert had not been baptized 'into' a local church, and (3). since the baptism 'ordinance' is only a 'local church' ordinance, the YEC evangelist was not 'qualified' to baptize.


I have a very difficult time seeing how this 'initiation into the local church' view of baptism is not Landmark. There are those who believe it and say it is not, but many others seem to believe it is, including me.

If the Southern Baptist Convention allows this view of baptism to be pushed by our leadership, whoever they may be, we very well could end up becoming a Landmark convention. What's odd about this particular view is that the convention is being treated like it is one big Landmark church --- baptism is not valid unless 'the denomination' determines it is valid --- not the 'local' church. In other words, the old Landmarkers abhorred denominationalism, but it seems that the neo-Landmarkers love the denomination, almost more than the local church.

Don't misunderstand: I could be a part of the Southern Baptist Convention if we became Landmark convention, for I don't believe this 'initiation' view of baptism is something which would cause me to separate from those who believe it. It is not an essential of the faith over which we should divide.

The problem, however, is that Landmarkers will not work with those of us who disagree.

They say, 'Agree or resign. Agree or quit. Agree or leave.'

This Southern Baptist pastor is sticking around to make sure we don't end up becoming a Landmark convention. I warned about this one year ago in a Christmas Day post, and I will continue to be persistent in giving similar warnings until there is a return toward a more Biblical and historic view of baptism by our mission agency which has been sufficient for us as a convention for 161 years, and for orthodox Baptists for over 400 years.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

Wade, good post.

But I have some questions for all the readers that are related but slightly different. For those who will, please answer according to your understanding.

1. Is it biblically accurate to say that baptism is not a requirement for regeneration?

2. Is it biblically accurate to say that baptism is symbolic in nature?

3. Is it biblically accurate to say that the Lord's supper is symbolic in nature?

4. Is it accurate that the Greek word for baptism means "immerse"?

5. Is it accurate that Greeks used that word for immerse in a manner similar to the way we use it today in English, in that we may be immersed into studies, a plan, or literally dunked under or into something?

6. Is it heretical or otherwise unbiblical to take the Lord's supper with broken up saltines versus wafers versus communion bread versus bread versus special order communion wafers versus other forms of bread (all of which I have done) or to use grape juice or wine or pop or another juice or liquid?

7. Is it fair to say that being baptized is somewhat like putting on a wedding ring, something I have heard at a number of Southern Baptist baptisms?

Bryan Riley
(still having blogger problems and still seeking understanding) said...


(1). Yes
(2). Yes
(3). Yes
(4). Yes
(5). Yes
(6). No
(7). Yes

Merry Christmas

Alyce Lee said...

Wade, even I understand this one clearly, but then I think it's because I see the church clearly.

Ditto to Wades answers Bryan, however I would like to add that my baptism while symbolic in nature was indeed a very spiritual thing for me. I understood that I was submitting myself to Christ, I did it willingly with pleasure to my Lord and it became a "marker" or and experience that I treasurer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very helpful explanation and defense of a biblical view of baptism.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

(1). Into which 'local church' was Jesus Christ baptized into?


(2). Into which 'local church' was the Ethiopian Eunich baptized into?


(3). Is the body of Christ found only in the 'local' Southern Baptist Church?


(4). Where in Scripture can you show me that baptism does not identify you with a Person (Jesus Christ), and where does Scripture say baptism identifies the believer with a system of doctrine (i.e. 'the teachings of the local church')?

I'm still lookin'

(5). What if my church does not hold to baptism as 'an initiation rite' into the local church, but rather, my church views baptism as the believer's identification with Christ -- will you fellowship and cooperate with my church and her members as Southern Baptists?

Yes, because you hold a correct view of scripture.

I really want to know where these Landmarkers (I haven't seen Cousin Bart Barber on here in a while) develop an ecclesiological view that takes what Scripture says about baptism and turns it into something else. Insuring that members of a local body are regenerate can be accomplished by means other than baptism.

Jonathan K. said...

Rev. Wade,

Much of what I am going to say will be featured in my blog this weekend when I discuss this very issue, but I am compelled to share here, since Dr. Reynolds’ quotation was addressed to me. I wholeheartedly agree with you that Dr. Reynolds’ “initiatory rite” position is, as you so gracefully put it, “completely contrary to the historic Baptist understanding of baptism and the clear Biblical teaching regarding believer's baptism.”

I also completely agree that if a candidate for membership (assuming you believe that baptism is a “prerequisite” for church membership) has been appropriately water baptized by immersion and has that present faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, then nothing should bar them from joining in the fellowship and membership of that church. There is no need to re-baptize as an “initiate” that person into the congregation because part of the body of Christ, the one, “universal” church, as some call it.

I would like to add that if one takes Dr. Reynolds’ position as normative, then there would be a serious issue with the Ethiopian eunuch and his baptismal experience, as documented in Acts 8. According to the Scriptures, as soon as Phillip and the Ethiopian emerged from the waters of baptism, Philip was caught away, and the Ethiopian went his way rejoicing. We have no account of any church initiation, we have no account of the Ethiopian agreeing to any theology, teaching, or accountability, and we have no account of any further instruction or accountability from Phillip, as the Holy Spirit caught him away. This being said, I agree that your five questions are most appropriate. I further agree that your scenario of the logical outcome of Dr. Reynolds argument is also most appropriate. It IS landmarkist, in my belief, as well. This really saddens me, because for those who hold this “initiatory” view of baptism, it has become a source for THEM of division in Christ’s body, as you say, they say “Agree or quit,” etc.

All of this being said, I’ll close this segment with a big, healthy, “AMEN!” to your post.

Bryan, here are my responses to your:

1. Yes, baptism is not a requirement for regeneration. In fact, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is heresy in the highest regard.
2. Yes, baptism is symbolic of our union and identification with Chirst in His death, burial, and resurrection (our baptism into Christ), and this occurs at salvation.
3. Yes, the Lord’s supper is symbolic in nature, it is a memorial of Christ’s death on the cross.
4. Yes, the Greek word baptize, which is “baptizo” means to immerse.
5. Yes.
6. Yes, however, the wedding ring is your marriage to Christ, and not to a local church or congregation. Nowhere in the Scripture is found the concept of one being married to a local church, be it Southern Baptist or otherwise.

Bob Cleveland said...


It's amazing how such a simple and beautiful act of obedience can become such a divisive pawn, and a tool for the exertion of one's own will, in the hands of apparently power-hungry legalists.

I used to think that murder, rape, robbery, etc were evidences that we really need a Savior. I'm coming to think, now, that the actions of believers in positions of power may be much stronger evidence that we really, REALLY need Him.

You've been fighting this battle for a year now. Please don't stop.

Will said...

Thanks (again) for a well written and courteous explanation of the differences we are hearing. I would love to hear Dr. Reynolds expand his statements and hear how he arrived at his perspective.

Great commentary!

hopelesslyhuman said...


I think this could be one of your best posts ever. It communicates the meaning and impact of the new IMB policy on baptism - an issue that will matter to most Southern Baptists -in a way everyone can understand.

Let's see if Dr. Reynolds will respond... I'm guessing not....

CB Scott said...


You have it in reverse. This is Wade's response to Dr. Reynolds

Bry M. said...

In answer to Bryan,

6. Is it heretical or otherwise unbiblical to take the Lord's supper with broken up saltines versus wafers versus communion bread versus bread versus special order communion wafers versus other forms of bread (all of which I have done) or to use grape juice or wine or pop or another juice or liquid?

I would agree on all the other statements except six. I am not so sure I would say that it is heretical, but to use anything other than the fruit of the vine does not properly symbolize the blood of Christ. I believe to use pop or some drink other than wine or grape juice trivializes the whole ordinance.

hopelesslyhuman said...


What were Dr. Reynolds answers to Wade's five questions?

irreverend fox said...

Wade,you've nailed this one on the head...great post

Anonymous said...


Great post and dead on. The only point of disagreement is on a personal basis, that is: "I would leave the convention if it became Landmarkist." Landmarkism is not just one interpretation of scripture. It is an unbiblical idea that has no place in our denomination.

I fear that if this is what some in denominational life believe and teach we may be sliding too far down the other side of that "slippery slope."

I believe there are 2 sides of that slope. One side is liberalism. The other side of the slope is legalism. Liberalism and legalism both involve the development of extra biblical rules and ideas not grounded in scripture. As the rules of liberalism seek to set man free from God completely the man made rules of Landmarkism seek only to lead him into relgious bondage by other men. Landmarkism is the Pharisees reborn.

Cash said...

The view of baptism as 'an initiation rite into the local church' may be a part of Landmark eccelesiology. I don't know whether it is or not. But I do not think that it then follows that that everyone who holds to that understanding is therefore a Landmarker or neo-Landmarker.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for allowing a slight highjacking of the thread. Here's what I'm trying to understand and still haven't had my eureka. :) If most SBCers would agree with the answers that have been given to my questions, which I think they would, then why do we quibble over dunking baptisms (the method)? I'm not arguing paedobaptism at all; I'm just talking believer's baptism. But, with regard to believer's baptism, why does it matter given those "givens"?

And, to be only slightly facetious, what if the pop contained flavoring that was derived from a fruit of the vine. :)


Anonymous said...

Alyce Lee,

I would agree that baptism is a very spiritual act of obedience and a step of faith for all believers. My questions are not meant to trivialize baptism or the Lord's supper, although some would argue that Baptists have done that for years.


peter lumpkins said...


I trust your Christmas weekend delightful.

One quick comment: Dr. Reynolds takes pains in the very thread you cite to distinguish his position from Landmark ecclesiology.
However, you seem to overlook that and insist on brandishing his position Landmark.

I see some similarities, I confess. Yet I am obligated to consider the differences as well. I heard RC Sproul say once while evaulating an evolutionary position "it is lousy, stinking scholarship to only consider similarities and not consider the differences."

I am often reminded by our Dortian Calvinist brothers that while they indeed possess similarities to HYPERCALVINISM they definitively are not to be identified as such. I hear them saying "it's lousy, stinking scholarship to only consider our similarities to HYPERCALVINISM and not, at the same time, consider our defining differences." Actually, I tend to agree.

I choose to stop with that. I trust the non-stated implication is nevertheless clear.

May grace be yours. Merry Christmas, Wade. With that, I am...

Peter said...

Me. Lumpkin,

I did not overlook it.

I said in my post, I have a very difficult time seeing how this 'initiation into the local church' view of baptism is not Landmark. There are those who believe it and say it is not, but many others seem to believe it is, including me.

That is not ignoring the claims of those who say this 'initiation' view of baptism is 'not' Landmark.


Merry Christmas to you too.


Wayne Hatcher said...

When I read the "Terrier" post just previous, I thought that you had put your finger on the elephant in the room that nobody in the SBC wants to acknowledge. In this post you have named that elephant, and he is called Landmark. Be prepared for the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
This may not be classic, text-book, J. M. Carroll Landmarkism, but it certainly is the practiical garden variety that keeps trying to narrow the parameters of cooperation. Isn't it ironic, as you note, we can work with them, but they cannot work with us?
God's blessings on you, brother. I'm glad you're back to writing online.
Wayne Hatcher

Anonymous said...

Tremendous post, Wade.

I, too, agree that what Dr. Reynolds is asserting has no biblical foundation, however, it does have an extra-biblical analogy.

You may or may not be aware that in the third degree of Freemasonry one goes through a simulated baptism by immersion experience, in which one is raised a Master Mason and is initiated into a grand lodge (thus identifying with a subunit of the greater whole).

Maybe Dr. Reynolds was not conscious of that, but his characterization of baptism reminds one of Freemasonry, not NT Christianity, where one is joined with Christ and the Church universal.

Extra Christmas blessings and grace on you if you choose to post this.:)

Anonymous said...

Here is a show may be worth a listen. While I haven't listened yet the subject is: "Dr. Jim Renihan joins Gene in studio to discuss the Landmark Movement. They discuss aspects of their beliefs and point out some of the problems."

Listen here:

Anonymous said...


Let me give a brief reply from the other side.

I believe baptism in the scriptures is always connected to a local church. This can be shown in every example. Take the Enuch. He was baptized by Philip, who was an ordained officer from the church at Jerusalem. I don't know if he was a deacon, but I do know the Bible calls him an evanglist. God caught Phillip away right after this before he could get the Enuch into a local church and we don't know what afterwards.

If the great commission was given to the local church, then baptism is a local church ordinance and can only be administred by the authority of a local church.

The baptism of the Youth For Christ individual should be rejected because Youth For Christ is not a church.

Wade if you no longer believe baptism is a church ordinance, you need to be honest enough to get rid of your baptistry and tell your members to baptize the people they lead to Christ themselves in their own swimming pools, bath tubs, or ponds. Then you would be consistent.

All for now.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Ben: I see nothing wrong with baptizing in a swimming pool, tub or pond in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by the one who lead the person to Christ.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Brother Wade,

"Me. Lumpkin"?

A Quick rejoinder: To merely allude to his denial of identity with Landmark, from my perspective, is not exactly what I had in mind, Wade. Did he or did he not offer REASONS why he believes his position is not Landmark?

For me to simply acknowledge that while some 5P Calvinists deny identity with HYPERCALVINISM and conclude "but many others seem to believe it is, including me." is not an argument that deals with what I perceive to be their faulty reasoning for denial. Rather it is only an unproven assertion based on, well, nothing but my assertion.

And, if I continue to dub them HYPERCALVINISTS in the face of no reasoning--with only a nevertheless "many others seem to believe it is [HYPERCALVINISM], including me"--from my perspective at least, exists as an empty hull. Good for rhetoric in ralleying soldiers, I am quite convinced, but bad for reality in geniune understanding.

Grace. With that, I am...


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Brother Wayne,

'"Terrier" Post'?

Have a gracious Christmas. With that, I am...

Peter said...


We tell our people that if they lead someone to Christ and are at the lake, and if that person will profess Christ before family and friends (and anyone else who will observe), then the 'preaching disciple (as the 1644 Baptist Confession states) has the privilege of baptizing the convert.

We will, however, examine that converts faith and baptism of that convert if he chooses to join our church.

We don't get rid of our baptisty because many of our members believes it is more 'convenient' to do in on Sunday -- and allow a pastor to perform the baptism.

But if I had my druthers, we would build a pond by the interstate highway outside our church and let members baptize their converts where everyone in the city could see it.

Ben, I think you are aware the river was the highway of biblical days. Bathing, washing, water drawing, transportation --- it all happened in the river. When a person was baptized it was a very, very public event.

I couldn't help but smile at our request we be consistent with logic and remove the baptistry from our church.

Ben, for 1800 years prior to indoor baptistries, did all the Christian baptisms which took place in 'living waters' (rivers, lakes, oceans) not count as legitimate?

What in the world does the church 'baptistry' have to do with our discussion?


CB Scott said...

Greg H,


I saw no questions. I did notice, what I thought to be, five suppositions deduced from a singular presupposition which was superimposed upon Dr. Reynolds' post formed as questions "initiated" by prepositions.

Well, what do I know? I am just a chewed up old "Swamp Rat" out on a Christmas lark after having been mauled by "Terriers":-)

Merry Christmas,

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade, just curious about your last comment. What do you check when a person is led to Christ and baptized by one of your members outside the church proper? What would cause you to "re-baptize" that person?

This is a great discussion. said...

Mr. Lumpkins,

I would, surprisingly, agree.

However, I would direct you to Mr. Wayne Hatcher's comment in this string as an example of a multitude of people who, like me, see the 'initiation' view as Landmark.

If you would be so kind as to read the link in my original post today you would see I have posted many tims about the beliefs of Landmarkers.

I am not saying Dr. Reynold's is a Landmark Baptist, I am simply saying his views are very similar. said...


We check several things.

(1). We ask the person to share their testimony, without prompting, and listen for faith in Christ alone for salvation, and nothing that the believer claims he has done himself.

(2). We ask him to share about his baptism. We are looking to see if he understands that it is the outward profession (before people), that he believes Christ died for him, and that he is not ashamed to own him as Lord.

(3). We explain to him about our local church. That we are a group of like minded believers, and then we go over our church's confession of faith, and take him through a four week church orientation class.

Then, we ask him if he would like to join our body of believers who worship at Emmanuel. We describe for him his duities and responsibilities, as well as ours toward him, and if he desires, we present him to our church on recommendation of our pastors.

That's how we do it. Thanks for asking.


P.S. Of course, we baptize anyone who makes a profession of faith in Christ, but that does not necessarily make them a member of our church -- we believe God has made them a member of the one true church --- His church --- and there are many expressions of the universal church in 'local' churches.

We would love to have the convert at our church, but 'baptism' does not 'initiate' him into our church --- it identifies him with Christ.

Glen Alan Woods said...

The church where I was baptized was too poor to have one of those fancy in house baptistries. We had to settle for an above ground swimming pool at a home in a very public neighborhood, and not even a new shiney one at that. But you know what? As a 17 year old young man excited to be living for Jesus Christ, I would have been just as happy being baptized in the baptistry, pool, local pond, lake, river, or ocean, for that matter. I had then, and maintain today, a belief that water baptism was my public obedience to God in identifying with Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. I can't help but wonder if the neighbors who were eavesdropping on the proceedings later began to inquire as to what all of this was about. Perhaps in eternity I will learn the answer to that question.


Glen Woods

CB Scott said...


I really like the "pond by the interstate" idea. That would really make our baptisms more akin to the N.T.


CB Scott said...

Ben Stratton,

You can't give a view from the other side. You are a Landmarker. That is a totally different view and I might add the wrong one:-)


Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I do believe on this issue we are almost in agreement. We do about the same here in Knoxville with the exception of encouraging people to baptize outside of the local church. I agree that baptism is not an initiation, however, I believe it is best done by the church thus preventing preversions.

I also believe that maybe I hold a little different view about the local church versus the universal church. I hold to the universal body of Christ but the church being the local body seen in each seperate local church with no universal church - true ecumunicalism in my view.

Merry Christmas - thanks for the note of encouragement after my heart attack. Much better now - should be preaching next Sunday if all continues to go well. By the r and r can kill you!!!

RM said...


In our church we allow fathers to baptize their children--but they are given the authority by our church so I guess we're ok. Of course we also check to see if the father is saved and is a member of our church. Its beautiful! But I do want to rent a lake or a river by the freeway. What a fantastic testimony!

Anonymous said...


Tremendous. You are exactly right.

The other issue concerns the unBiblical mindset that comes from a willful devaluing of the Biblical Doctrine of "The Body of Christ."

This total focus on the local church, its authority, its authorized holy men as the only ones that can baptize or hand out the LS, leads to an ensuing sectarianism that is foreign to Scripture: an unwillingness to cooperate and reach the world for Jesus with all the rest of those who have been truly saved and are truly in the Body!

Everytime I read the policy as it is now; that one is baptized as a "testimony to the system of belief held by SB," it truly disgusts me. I was not baptized as a testimony to any man-made system be it right or wrong, I was baptized as a testimony of my fait in and loyalty to Christ! There is no King but Jesus. I was not baptized as a sign of loyalty to the SBC.

Wake Up SB,


jasonk said...

Merry Christmas Wade.
Several years ago I served in a church located in a city that is home to a major university. At the First Baptist Church, the new head football coach wanted to join, but had never been immersed. He had been baptized by sprinkling in another denomination, years before. Fearing he would not join if they demanded he be immersed, the church allowed him to join by statement.
At our church, a lady desired membership. She was in her 60s, and had relocated from the Los Angeles area, where she had been converted, baptized, and discipled under the ministry of Grace Community Church. John MacArthur had been her pastor, and her friend. In addition, she had served as his secretary for several years.
Our church refused to accept her baptism, and insisted on immersing her again.
Had the football coach later come to join our church, we would have accepted his letter without question, since he was already a member of an SBC church.
It seems to me that the system you described would have been the solution to both situations.

Steve said...

There is only One Christ, only one Church, and of course only one believer's baptism. Never degrade a true believer's baptism, no matter where done - in a muddy creek in Central America, a swimming pool, or a freezing "crik" behind a 400-square-foot sanctuary in Eastern Kentucky in January. Whatcha gonna do next, tell a mostly/somewhat Roman Catholic actor,actress, or politician, "Don't worry, you weren't really married those ten years! Go marry your sweety after all!"??
Isn't the same Lord asked to bless all sacraments?

Hierarchical and bereaucratic power-grabbers cause S*t*n to put his dancing shoes on more than any ten sinners.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that it is easier to get your yearly baptism numbers up by re-baptizing and making it an initiation instead of actually going out and finding more lost people who need Jesus?

I keep seeing the Baptist church moving from one that seeks lost souls to a social club that promotes wealthy individuals. They use the church roll to sell products. The sunday service to promote building programs, etc...

Now its an initiation not a biblical show of a changed heart....

And we wonder why the Baptist are loosing people by the thousands and thousands....

Anonymous said...


You missed the point on my comment about church baptistries. My point was that baptism is connected to the church in the New Testament and should be connected to the church in Baptist churches today. If someone believes that baptism is no longer a local church ordinance, they they should remove their baptistry and hence separate baptism from the local church. It all comes down to what do you believe about baptism? Is it a local church ordinance or is it a Christian / Universal church ordinance? That is the root of the problem. I believe the Bible teaches it is a local church ordinance. The Baptist Faith and Messages backs this up. Further more Baptists have always believed baptism was connected to the local church. I don't believe you can show hardly anyone in Baptist history who has believed that if a church layman (or a woman or a child) lead someone to the Lord they could baptize the individual themselves apart from their local church. You continue to quote the 1644 Confession, but later writings by Hansard Knolleys shows that the Particular Baptists believed only a pastor of Baptist church could scripturally baptize. I assure you I am not making this up. said...


I would in no sense ever want to imply you were making anything up.

You have always been both gracious and articulate, and I commend you.

We disagree about the Scriptures teaching regarding baptism, and both of us can point to Baptist forefathers who held our particular views.

I am not interested in convincing you of my view, and I can assure you that I will never switch mine. :)

Therefore, the issue for me is simply one of cooperation.

Could I cooperate with a pastor who believes like you, a church who believes like you, and a missionary who believes like you? --- of course!!

The question is: Can you and others with your viewpoint cooperate with those who disagree, or will you make it a special point to exclude those who disagree from cooperative missions in the Southern Baptist Conventon?

volfan007 said...


i've got a question. and, i am truly interested in hearing your response, and i am sure tha others will respond as well...good. would you accept the baptism of some teen who was led to Christ and baptised by another teen in the swimming pool in his backyard?

volfan007 said...


You do not give enough information for me to answer the question.

Is the teen a 'preaching disciple' of Christ (1644 Confession). Has he been praying for the conversion of his friend? Is he committed to seeing his friend become a disciple of Jesus Christ? Is the teen a member of our church? Is he considered a serious, devoted disciple himself?

Were there family and friends present when the teen was baptized? Did the teen convert share his faith in Christ before the baptism? Were there tears of rejoicing from those who witnessed it. Were there jeers of ridicule by friends who are not Christians, and did persecution by those former non-Christian friends continue in the days following the baptism?

Was the baptism seriously, with Christian deportment and as a sign and symbol of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Were there tears in the eyes of both boys as they shared the experience with the pastors of Emmanuel Baptist Church as the new convert petitioned for membership?

You mention nothing about the teen's 'faith in Christ.' No baptism is valid without a genuine, heart changing regeneration of the soul. Is the teen a new person? Has Christ made a difference in his life? Is he trusting Christ alone for his salvation?

These are the kinds of questions we would ask the 'new convert' when he applied to our church for membership. If the answer is yes to the above questions we would seriously consider accepting the new convert into church membership based upon our examination of his faith and baptism.

However, if, as you seem to imply, it was two boys horsing around in the swimming pool, then not only would we NOT accept the baptism, we would reprimend the boys.

But, Volfann, you obviously do not know me, for if you did know me like the people who I have pastored for fifteen years, you would have a very hard time imagining two teen boys approaching me about 'church membership' without being very, very serious about their faith and commitment to Christ.

I trust this answers your insufficent question.


Merry Christmas

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Brother Wade,

I am confused. Though I'm quite sure I may be the cause of it. My wife convinces me many times that I most certainly am.

Nevertheless, your original words were "I have a very difficult time seeing how this 'initiation into the local church' view of baptism IS NOT Landmark."(emphasis mine)

Now compare that statement with your last post to me, that I find strange. It reads: "I am not saying Dr. Reynold's IS a Landmark Baptist, I am simply saying his views are very SIMILAR." (emphasis mine).

Going from a difficult time not believing a position IS Landmark to simply saying the position is SIMILAR seems to me to be a bit of a backpeddle, if I may politely say so, Brother Wade. Which one of these two statements should I understand indicates your position?

More significantly, Wade, is your last statement about Dr. Reynold's position being "simply similar" to Landmark.

Laying aside the fact that your observing only the similarities was the very reason I posted to begin with--"I see some similarities, I confess. Yet I am obligated to consider the differences as well."--this "simply similar" critique becomes, unhappily for you, Brother Wade, self-indicting. Let me show you what I mean.

J.R. Graves wrote in 1857, "A Statement of Landmark Principles" (SourceBook, McBeth, p.318). In that statement, he listed several principles, but for space I'll mention three:
Principle #1--"The Bible & the Bible alone unalloyed with human devices or traditions, is, and ever has been, the religion of Baptists". The principle of Scripture alone. I think you agree with that, Wade.

Principle #5: Christ gave no men, society, or church the authority to traffic with the ordinances...or to change His laws..." As I read your blog, Wade, I think you surely agree here. No one has a right to monkey around with Christ's commands.

Principle #6: "Principles can neither be conceited nor compromised." How did you express it? "This Southern Baptist is sticking around" or some such. That's principle, Wade, and, frankly, I, for one, admire it and hope under Christ I possess, at least in part, that same spirit for principle.

Given, then, the proposed "simply similar" grid for critiqing others--in this case, Dr. Reynolds--Wade, one would be just as reasonable to also conclude "Wade Burleson is very similar to Landmark. It is difficult for one to avoid the conclusion that his position on these matters is not Landmark."

I trust your Lord's Day gracious. With that, I am...

Peter said...

I'm saying the 'initiation' view is pure Landmark.

However, some who hold to it don't see themselves as Landmark, while others DO (and are proud of it :) ).

So, in deference to those who don't like to be called Landmark, I will politely say it 'seems' to be Landmark to me.

No sense upsetting people unduly, right?

Hope this clears up your confusion.


Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Just to piggyback on Tim Cowen for a sec (he seems like he's got a strong enough back to carry me) there is another church tradition that holds to an authorized baptizer and proper church authority. The Roman Catholics.

Let me jump over on Bryan Riley's back while I'm at it and say that I could see where he was going with his first comment (the first one in the string) and I have similar questions. If the mode of baptism is vital, why not the mode of the Lord's Supper? While we might see Teddy Grahams and lemonade as "inappropriate" few are willing to call it "invalid." Why is that?

peter lumpkins said...


Thank you for clearing that one up! Whew...I thought I was going nuts...

Now, however, somebody really needs to get to poor old Professor Erickson and let him know he is "pure Landmark." In his systematic theology, he titles his chapters on Baptism & The Supper respectively "The Initiatory Rite of the Church: Baptism" and "The Continuing Rite of the Church: The Lord's Supper."

Oops! Maybe we better also warn our Calvinist brothers about our wise old Georgian theologian, J.L.Dagg. He too refered to baptism as a "rite" in his Manual of Church Order, the very same volume he offered a lengthy critique of J.R. Grave's Landmarkism and answered most of the questions that have been raised about rebaptism, etc in this discussion.

I do not think you would agree with him though. He strongly argues in the Landmark critique that only qualified officers sanctioned by the Church may baptize new believers. He indicates the position that appears to be defended in your posts about any Church member baptizing as untenable. He writes: "But this interpretation [that is, any one who makes a disciple may baptize him] is inadmissable."(p.255).

I'm going to bed. Peace. With that, I am...


Anonymous said...


The strawman has taken a beating...let him rest.

volfan007 said...

its not a straw man....its something that could very well happen in wade's view of anyone baptising at anytime. a teen...a very serious teen, who loves the Lord...leads his friend to genuine faith in Christ. he then, according to wade's teaching, then takes his friend in the backyard and immerses him in the water. he then comes to wade's church and applies for membership.

no one was in the backyard with these boys. they were very serious. the young man genuinely got saved.

wade, no where did i say that they were horsing around, nor did i mean to imply that. i was simply asking would that be enough for you and your church? and, what did others think about this scenario?

like, what if was duck hunting with a friend, and he got saved in the duck blind. so, i just baptised him right out there by the duck blind with just me and him present??? would that be acceptable baptism to wade and his church?

i'm serious, and i'd seriously like to know this.


ps. it looks like from wade's answer to me before that it would be acceptable to wade and his church. am i right, wade? said...


Ahh, Peter ---

The baptism of the Spirit places us in the one true church by the work of regeneration.

The outward act of water baptism identifies us visibly with the church of Jesus Christ.

Shall I ask you this Christmas Eve, dear Peter, is the church of Jesus Christ found ONLY in the 'local' Southern Baptist Church?

If not, dear Peter, then why would we not accept the baptism of another believer (by immersion, after faith in Christ) from another church which is not Southern Baptist, but part of the visible, earthly body of Jesus Christ --- since there is only one true body?

Could it be that we don't think everyone else is truly part of the kingdom?

Not accepting the baptism of a believer unless it is "in our church" sure sounds like pure Landmark exclusivism.

But, I am sure Peter, that you only 'seem' to be Landmark and are not really one.


Merry Christmas said...


They do teach reading in Kentucky, yes?

Read my post.

People must be present at a baptism --- it is a 'pro' (Latin: "in front of people") 'fession' (Latin: testimony of faith).

Without witnesses it is not a legitimate baptism.

So the ridiculous story of being in a duck blind is beneath your dignity.


CB Scott said...


1 If you did baptize your friend he might drown if he has his wadders on.

2 The game Warden might lock you both up for fighting with loaded weapons in the blind. Has happened.

3 Other hunters might shoot you both for messing up their hunt by making so much noise.

4 Depending on where you were hunting a gator or bear may eat you both or a moose may charge the blind and trample you both. Surely you would lay down your shotgun to baptize and render yourselves vunerable to attack.

Possibly a cotton-mouth might bite your friend on the rear end when you take him under.

5 Unless your friend and you both have a change of clothes you may freeze to death and never be able to give any testimony as to what had taken place.

6 Who knows what may happen, so it is probably not a good idea to mix baptizing, ducks, loaded shotguns and blinds of any kind.

Vol, Wade and I do not agree on all things, but he has never been absurd with me in a disagreement, nor, do I think, have I been such with him.

(Coy,yes. Absurd,no:-)

I am close to you in matters of the doctrine of Baptism, but I must call your hand on such an absurd question as you ask Wade and tell you that Wade is right.

This kind of debate really is beneath you no matter your position on the matter.

If you are going to continue to ask such silly and absurd questions, please become a Landmarker so there will be a valid excuse for such rude behavior:-) It becomes easier to overlook:-)


volfan007 said...


rude behavior? what? i was trying to be very kind and gracious. phillip and the ethiopian eunuch came to my mind while giving this scenario. was there a crowd when phillip baptised him?

also, wade, you just slammed the entire state of ky with your remark about reading. i know that you didnt mean to being irenic and all. btw, i dont live in ky. i live in tn. i dont know if them thar ky hillbillies can reed, or not. but, we'un's down here in tn can reed and rite both. and, we wear shoes, and we have water that runs right into the house.

i guess the duck blind story was not beneath my dignity. i asked it. i was serious. i was just wondering if you meant that kind of thing. wow! forgive me for breathing.

cb, the answers to the duck blind baptising were great....especially about the cotton mouths. lol. priceless. did you know that it was not too long ago that they baptised in rivers and ponds around this neck of the woods, and they had to make sure no cottonmouths were around, and i was also told to always baptise with the candidate facing up river when baptising in a river. otherwise, they may just keep on going down river when you dunk them under.


CB Scott said...


I was a pastor in the mountains for years. In that culture people often requested an outdoor Baptism.

We baptized many in a river. One January some of my football team got saved. (I coached varsity football there for years.) They wanted to be baptized in the river.

It was 15 below on the Sunday of the Baptism. I had my truck running down by the river with blankets and clothes so I could get warm fast.

We baptized those guys one and all. The strongest, most Tarzan looking one and the best player on the team was last. He swaggered into the river to me and his dad for his Baptism. (several Fathers helped me that day)

We took him under that freezing water and did him well for a great testimony to his faith in Christ and identification with the repentant church of the living Lord.

When we brought him up he was shaking like a leaf in high wind. He went into shock. We had to do CPR on him. His folks took him to the hospital.

Later he asked me to do it again because he could hardly remember it so he wanted to do it over. I told him in his case once was enough, but if he insisted I would sprinkle him in the church building with all the heat on:-)


peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

Actually, my Brother, if you knew my position, you would be a Prophet indeed. I have not stated my position, at least as I can recall.

I have attempted only two things on your thread and Tim's thread. First, I attemped to show how your critique of Dr. Reynolds was both unfair and non sequitur. Personally, I think I modestly succeeded. But who knows...

Secondly, I engaged Tim for what I perecived to be not only a mild misreading of the Confessions on the Ordinance issue but also a carefully selective reading whose purpose strangely appeared to unjustly bolster his position. I simply desired to, at least from my elementary understanding, set the record straight. That's all, my Brother.

Me a Landmark? Let's see if I "sound like" I'm Landmark, Wade. And since you are good at guessing, well, be my guess:)

I recently finished a mass evangelism project that lasted over a year and a half. We were an interdenomational team including a Pentecostal, a Nazarene, a Presbyterian, a couple Mennonites, an Episcopalian, a Wesleyan-Methodist and me--the North Georgia Southern Baptist. Indeed the ONLY SB in the organization.

No more hints. With that, I am...


P.S. Dagg really is a good source for your questions about Baptism. I have an idea: Comapre Dagg and Gill on the issue. I think that would make a facinating post...

peter lumpkins said...


My Brother, were I you, I'd grab me a sweet tea and let it alone. However, you're probably stubborn and will be tempted to give it one more try and inquire from our Brother just who constituted the witnesses for the Eunuch, if witnesses there MUST be in the sense he is insisting.

Yet, my Brother Volfan, take heart. While your question many may here see as ridiculous, Dagg thought it worthy enough in 1857 to address a similar question in his Church Order. He writes:

"[Some persons] have held that any one who makes a disciple, may baptize him. According to this interpretation of the commission, it would be proper for a mother, whose instructions have been blessed to the conversion of her son, to be the administrator of his baptism. But this interpretation is inadmissable." (MoCO, p255).

Merry Christmas, Volfan. With that, I am...

Peter said...


You are right about the comment regarding Kentucky.

I apologize. It was uncalled for and testimony to the fact I can, and do, make mistakes.

No excuses. I am often guilty of the sin of undue irritation when I hear ridiculous arguments from people I believe should know better.

I'm sorry.

By the way, you did give me something to think about regarding the crowd and the Ethiopian eunich.

However, I am sure that at any water hole in Bible days there would have been people present since there were no private faucets.

wade said...


So, you go with Dagg over the Bible in this matter?


I go with the Bible and the 1644 First London Confession, probably the finest Baptist Confession ever written.


Anonymous said...

Brad typically attempts to prove his points by saying things like, "this is where Baptists have always stood." He attempts to claim authority from his positions by claiming his position is how "Baptists" believe. He references the BFM and others in doing this. Peter:

1. I am fully aware that there are other confessions that differ from my position.
2. I am fully aware that there have been other baptists that differ from my position.
3. I was not trying to say that my position is the "baptist" position, like others attempt to say about theirs.

My point was to show that Brad's position is not, has not, and will not be the "offical" Baptist position on Baptism. Distinguished men have differed on this issue. This is exactly why the IMB is wrong to institute a policy on Baptism that is not supported by the BFM 2000.


CB Scott said...


What think ye of the 1644 First London Baptist Confession as it was "corrected and enlarged" in 1646 according to, I think Benjamin Cox? --May be wrong about Cox-- I have not read it in a while.

I am not much of a fan of confessions for Baptists not even the famous or infamous (depending on one's opinion)1963 or 2000 editions of the BF&M, although, they are good for teaching and study of the true "Confession" for Baptists which is the Bible.

You know: "Open Bible, open mind makes a Baptist every time":-)

Of course, we are in such a troubled time in the SBC that I may have to agree with Dr. William Lumpkin in what he said of Particular Baptist of England back then.

He stated that the Particular Baptist saw such problems among Baptist in England in that time that they:

"Pushed aside their prejudice against confessions to produce the First London Baptist Confession".

We may be in the same troublesome position as were those Baptist of "old".

If such is the case I would have to go with the 1646 edition of the First London Baptist Confession as was corrected and enlarged as "the finest Baptist Confession ever written"

I do hope we can use the Scripture to take care of our problems because it has never had need of "correction or enlargement"

I am sure that you probably agree with that last part of what I am saying and that is why I know we are both Southern Baptist.


Rex Ray said...

In reference to baptizing in a river, you face the candidate DOWNSTREAM.

My father learned the hard way as he was exhausted after baptizing 17 people.

Afterwards, an old deacon asked him, “Is this your first time? Most preachers pull them up with the current.”
Rex Ray

Rex Ray said...

I forgot to say merry Christmas. I’m sure both of us don’t bite as bad we bark.

volfan007 said...


thats what i was saying....or meant to say....thought thats what i said..........when you placed the candidate in the water, his head should be facing the dont dunk them under with thier head going down current....they may just keep on going...down the river.

wow, rex, you even read me wrong on what i said about baptising someone in a river. you and i are just not communicating, somehow.

merry Christmas to you, too.


CB Scott said...


Having done such many, many times forces me to say Vol was saying exactly that of which you have said.

As those great theologians of the past said: "Come together, right now, over me"

----The Beattles: John, Paul, George and Ringo----

You two need to heed and met the need, on this Christmas day:-)


volfan007 said...


i havent yet said which way i lean on this baptism thing. much like peter lumpkins, i have just been asking questions to see where you and others stand on it. and, making sure that i understand what you are saying.....even if it seems stupid to you.

thanks, peter, for showing where dagg and i have almost the same question and comment in this matter. wade, would you answer dagg about the mama leading her son to the Lord and baptising him in the pond out back. rex, in a pond, you dont have to worry about currents. wade, would this be an acceptable baptism? i am seriously wondering and asking.


ps. lets say that she has 4 children too. said...


According to my understanding of the Bible, and consistent with the 1644 London Confession of Faith, it would, if . . .

Our church, after examination, made sure all the biblical qualifications for faith and baptism were met.

Blessings, and Merry Christmas,


Rex Ray said...

CB & Volfan,
Ah, what a great ‘theological’ debate.

We all agree on the correct position of the candidate, but we disagree (in my opinion) on the words to put him in that position.

CB, you say Volfan and I are saying the same when he said, “Always baptize with the candidate facing up river”, and I said, “Face the candidate downstream.”

I think we all agree that “up river” is ‘upstream’, so the real debate is which side of the head is the ‘face’ on. That is: is the face on the back of the head or on the front of the head when facing up river?

We may need a committee to settle this.

When facing the flag, we look at the flag. So to baptize correctly, Volfan would have to relocate the face to the back of the head for the candidate to face up river.

No wonder some say James said the same as Peter in Acts 15.
Thanks for remaining friendly.
Rex Ray

John Stam said...

Now you've got me thinking - is local church membership (I don't mean participation) even biblical?

CB Scott said...


I think Vol, from his accent, lives near the Nile, thus he is correct according to his culture:-)

You must get out more:-)


CB Scott said...


Possibly, Vol is of Grace Brethern background and baptizes face first:-)

Three times at that:-)

As you know Blog Town is very diverse in cultures and traditions and thus far no one has been thrown out, nor voted unfit.

Maybe we should try to help the UN and let the SBC alone for a while.

Let's post on Bush and Putin's blogs and check the "depth of the water" and the "current of the river" there and see if they think we are all "wet" or what:-)

Since most of us are Baptist we can't dance anyway, so whyyy Not? They can kill us, but can't eat us. That's against the Geneva Convention which makes it safer than the Southern Baptist Convention.

OH, somebody stop me!!!! Too many chocolate covered cherries at lunch while putting a "Dollhouse" together for the first time in my Macho life.

Having little girls yelling: "Paw fix this is so new to me and sooo funn:-)

My bulldogs are running around the house with Baby dolls on their backs. Man hunters no more, the whole lot of them may become Toy Poodles and I may buy a "pink shirt" for a family picture.

Don't tell anybody, but it may be possible that Christmas with little girls may be more fun than boys with new shotguns for Christmas. God is good, joy to the world and Merry Christmas guys.


Rex Ray said...

CB & Volfan,
Merry Christmas.

In a pool, be sure the candidate for baptism is facing east; that way, he would be lowered to the West; symbolizing the term ‘Went West’ (died).
Then being raised to the East would be the reverse. If we bloggers stand together and push this idea, it might catch on.
Rex Ray

volfan007 said...


also, what should be worn when baptising? robes? regular clothes? barefoot, or socks? etc.


Anonymous said...


You said you agree with the 1644 confession that says baptism is administered by a "preaching disciple. Do you mean by this that you believe that only a preacher / pastor can baptize? Just wondering what you meant? Thanks, said...


You know better.

Preach is 'kerusso' or 'to proclaim' and comes and originates in Greek from the sound the rooster makes at proclaiming the rising of the sun.

A 'preaching' disciple is a believer in Jesus Christ who proclaims the risen Son.

It's not an ordained man, for Baptists in 1644 had no 'ordinations.'



volfan007 said...

hey, yall need to go to peter lumpkins web site and read his latest post. its very good and pertains to this subject.


Rex Ray said...

I enjoy Brad Reynolds’ blog from the standpoint he has the reputation of replying to all comments. I don’t see how he has the time to do this, but I admire him for it. He controls what is posted on comments.

I don’t understand why he posted my comment on Dec. 26, but has not made a reply as yet.
It was about ‘proper’ baptism’, so I will post it here.

On another post, you told me, “The key is not the pastor but the authority of the local church.”

I related the story of a man reading a Bible and was saved without anyone leading him to Christ. At some point in time, 20 people believed and all were baptized. They asked my uncle (IMB missionary) to organize them into a church.

You agreed that he did not need to rebaptize them as you wrote: “According to Dr. White’s essentials of the existence of a local church, they were a church before they declared themselves to be: for the gospel, the ordinances, and the purposeful gathering was present.”

The question arises: How would you have told them to baptize themselves for it to be acceptable by the IMB?

Would you say, “You ten baptize these ten, and then they’ll baptize you?”

Would you say, “Select one person to baptize the rest, then the last would baptize him?”

What if they baptized themselves? Don’t laugh; my brother saw this happen. The preacher talked so long, the ‘uneducated’ dance hall lady thought she had to do it. He couldn’t find her until her leg hooked over the glass. She had invited all her friends to attend since she was so happy about being saved. Wonder if she would be accepted as a missionary today?

What if the first man baptized the second person before anyone else was saved? Did a church authority exist? What if he baptized each one individual when they accepted Jesus without the others being present—like Ananias and Paul or Phillip and the Eunuch?

You seemed to have answered this question already when you wrote: “If your question is whether I think a person can be saved and go around witnessing and baptizing without any accountability, I would say no. There needs to be disciplining (intentionally gathering.)”

Your word, “accountability” is a strong word. (It was used to force missionaries in signing the BFM.) Do you agree our “accountability” is first to God and obeying his commandment of witnessing and baptizing?

You say there needs to be ‘intentionally gathering.’ Jesus said, if there be two or more, he would be there. I believe if Jesus is in the “gathering” of two, that’s good enough for me.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

Long-time lurker, first-time commenter, so please be gentle... :-)

In reading Wade's and the attendant comments, something struck me. If baptism as 'rite of initiation' goes mainstream in the SBC, are the followng scenarios likely?

1. People who want to leave one SBC church for another (for whatever reason) might decide it's not worth the effort and perhaps "drop out" of the SBC altogther.

2. People who want to join an SBC church but have already been baptised may decide it's not worth the effort and never enter the SBC.

These scenarios make me think that baptism as 'rite of initiation' would appeal to those more interested in setting boundaries to keep out the 'right people' than in welcoming followers of Christ.

Am I too far out in left field here?


Huntsville, AL

Unknown said...