Saylorville Church responds: "Could it be that Dr. Bauder has touched a nerve of fear? ... a fear of 1,000 'what ifs'?"

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Shaynus's picture

We would accept any mode commonly accepted among Christians, sprinkling and pouring included. So let's take the case of an attender of our church (who ended up moving away before he joined) who was baptized as a believer in a Presbyterian church by sprinkling. He was saved in college and his baptism meant to him at the time a public profession of faith. We don't believe in rebaptism, so the main question is was that baptism valid. I would say yes insofar as it was a symbol that he meant in good faith. It wasn't best, but it was good enough so that I couldn't point to a scripture to say it was invalid to the extent and confidence I would need to from scripture that he needed a do-over. Let's say his baptism meant to him that he was mearly a part of a generic covenant, such as in many Presby circles. I would say he needed a do-over, but it was the meaning behind it that needs the do-over, not the mode of water.

Shaynus's picture

oh and I think it's wholly inconsistent to take on any member that you would not consider for leadership based on their past. I don't think we should have first and second class members of any kind. Either they're all in or not.

ChristyM's picture

The Baptist churches I have been in have had a requirement of deacons not being divorced, and quite often will specify "nor married to a woman who has been divorced." 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Shaynus wrote:

oh and I think it's wholly inconsistent to take on any member that you would not consider for leadership based on their past. I don't think we should have first and second class members of any kind. Either they're all in or not.

I think you need to explore this a little more. A pedophile just released form prison who was saved in prison might be eligible for membership but certainly not for leadership, even if he was saved right after incarceration, completed a Bible college degree and MDiv while in prison, and led the prisoner Bible studies before being released. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Shaynus wrote:

We would accept any mode commonly accepted among Christians, sprinkling and pouring included. So let's take the case of an attender of our church (who ended up moving away before he joined) who was baptized as a believer in a Presbyterian church by sprinkling. He was saved in college and his baptism meant to him at the time a public profession of faith. We don't believe in rebaptism, so the main question is was that baptism valid. I would say yes insofar as it was a symbol that he meant in good faith. It wasn't best, but it was good enough so that I couldn't point to a scripture to say it was invalid to the extent and confidence I would need to from scripture that he needed a do-over. Let's say his baptism meant to him that he was mearly a part of a generic covenant, such as in many Presby circles. I would say he needed a do-over, but it was the meaning behind it that needs the do-over, not the mode of water.

You are right in identifying the core issue - was it a valid baptism. However, his perception of the event is not the important one. What you describe sounds a lot like Cain's effort to worship God in his own way - which was completely rejected by God. God dictates the way we worship, and all the sincerity in the world does not validate our disobedience. You are agreed that scripture teaches immersion, not sprinkling or pouring. That is the end of the discussion - God has spoken on this issue. To extend your argument, why wouldn't you also accept someone adding works to the cross for salvation since, in their hearts, they believe that they are incapable of redeeming themselves apart from the work of Calvary and they are really trusting in Jesus and almost following the prescription laid out in scripture? Both scenarios display a lack of faith and obedience to what God has said (though one has admittedly more serious import).

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

farmer Tom N's picture

I may not be a fan of the name Baptist. But, I stand firmly on what baptism means.

Therefore, "baptism" by any other means than immersion is not "baptism" at all.

If you are going to insist that "baptism" includes other methods besides immersion, do you also consider two people of the same gender "married" if they get a sodomy permission slip from the state?

Baptism is, was and always will be immersion. Calling anything else "baptism" is an abuse of the term and leads to all kinds of problems.

As I said in my earlier post, my wife comes from a Reformed background. She was sprinkled as a baby. She was saved in her teens while at a Bible Camp. After we got married, she was baptized by immersion when she joined the church where I was a board member.

I guess using your terms, I am an adamant re-"baptizer". 

G. N. Barkman's picture

Shaynus, you say you don't believe in rebaptism.  I believe it would be fair to say that no one does, at least in one sense.  No one that I know believes in rebaptism when they believe a prior baptism to be valid.  But many baptisms are of questionable validity.  The difference lies in what one accepts as valid baptism.  I realize that this is essentially what you said, but I want to explore it further. 

Pedobaptists accept any baptism as valid for the same reason you state, namely because they do not believe in rebaptism.  If someone applies for membership in a Presbyterian church who was sprinkled as a Roman Catholic infant, that baptism is considered valid.  (According to R. C. Sproul.)  Would your church recognize the baptism of someone who was sprinkled as an adult convert to Roman Catholicism?  Even if they believed that they were truly converted at the time?  What about someone sprinkled as a Roman Catholic infant, saved as an adult, received into a Presbyterian church without further baptism, who later applies for membership in your church?

It gets sticky.  Not everyone will arrive at the same conclusion on every question.  But surely we cannot start with "we don't believe in rebaptism" as the foundational premise.  We must start with "we believe in believer's baptism by immersion" as the foundational premise, and go from there.

I believe your situation has a valid application to so called "alien immersion," the practice of some Baptists to require rebaptism if the prospect was not baptized by a Baptist.  If it was baptism by immersion after conversion, what difference does that make?  I would certainly not require rebaptism in that situation.

Thanks for the opportunity to think about these things.

 

G. N. Barkman

Jim's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:
I believe your situation has a valid application to so called "alien immersion,"

 

I'm opposed to alien immersion. Especially for children. This image comes to mind (sorry to derail this thread but derailment may have already occurred)

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

As soon as I saw the thread title and the author, I knew there would be some kind of picture of an alien in water. 

It's either a case of 'great minds' or 'bad influence'. Biggrin

Shaynus's picture

First, by the "two classes" idea I'm not saying that there shouldn't be qualifications for leadership (such as gender). I'm saying that the criterion we have for membership shouldn't preclude any member from holding an office for what they would otherwise biblically qualify. Hopefully a former child molester could become an elder one day. "Such some of you once were."

Second, because we accept other modes of baptism, but only accept believer's baptism we're making a statement about that which is sufficiently clear in scripture to bind our consciences. Every church that isn't a cult gives leeway for differences in matters of conscience, but there is a line where these differences won't work in the same church context. Those who believe in presbyterian forms of government cannot have a working church relationship with those who believe in the local autonomy of the church. Paedo-baptists cannot have a church with credo-baptists because of what these beliefs require us to believe about membership. However, we could have a church where some are Sunday sabbatarians, and others aren't. Some treat all days as the same and some don't. That's a conscience issue and those of different opinions should coexist according to Col. 2. 

My church and others like us come down on the side of saying that the Bible is clear about who can be baptized, but it is sufficiently unclear about mode to the point that we make these exceptions. We won't bind another's conscience, but we won't have ours bound in that we don't pour ourselves. 
 

GN Barkman:

Would your church recognize the baptism of someone who was sprinkled as an adult convert to Roman Catholicism?  Even if they believed that they were truly converted at the time?  What about someone sprinkled as a Roman Catholic infant, saved as an adult, received into a Presbyterian church without further baptism, who later applies for membership in your church?

Probably not. Again it depends on whether they were a true believer at the time (according to protestant soteriology) and what that baptism signified for them. I could see strange possibilities where someone was truely converted, found themselves in an RC church through strange circumstances, got baptized, and meant it in a different way than the RC church teaches. We have a person attending our church now who we refuse membership to because they were baptized as an infant in a Roman Catholic Church and will not get baptized as a believer. 

So yes we believe in believer's baptism by immersion . . . is best. But we won't make the immersion part a test of local church fellowship. 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Shaynus wrote:

Second, because we accept other modes of baptism, but only accept believer's baptism we're making a statement about that which is sufficiently clear in scripture to bind our consciences.

This is the crux. Scripture is sufficiently clear in mode as well as intent and chronology. There is no doubt about immersion, regardless how many believers argue about the point. Your choice remains an option only if you believe the scripture is insufficiently clear about God's command here. If God's Word is clear, there is no option to accept sincere disobedience.

 

If you believe this is a matter of conscience, why do you mandate the mode your church will use? What if a new convert wants to be sprinkled/poured? On what grounds can you deny them but accept someone who was previously sprinkled/poured? It's somehow ok if it happens "over there", as long as we don't have to do it ourselves?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Shaynus's picture

Right. I don't think my church is the only place any believer should attend and be a member. If there is another church that fits their own conscience exists, and we can't accommodate them, then they should go there. If it were a new believer, I can't imagine that they would have a bound conscience on this matter too quickly. We would teach them what scripture indicates should be done with baptism, but if in the end they disagreed, we would point them to a gospel preaching church that more closely fits their conscience. 

Again I don't think mode is a matter of disobedience vs. obedience (as in the Cain/Abel example before). If God told Cain and Able that they should sacrifice to Him using nouns that seemed to indicate some kind of animal flesh be used, but it was unclear even to the hearers, I could see Cain and able both seeing it as a matter of conscience. But God apparently gave very clear instructions to them about sacrifice. This is why Cain's sacrifice was turned away and Able's accepted. It's dramatically less clear on the mode of baptism in scripture. We have a lot of implications from the words used and circumstances, but we have evidence that points to many modes in times past too. 

We think our church should use this mode because we see it's the best one as we see it. 

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