Thursday, April 16, 2009

Evangelical Untouchables 3 on iMonk

Michael Spencer has posted the third post in the Evangelical Untouchables series.

This time we were asked about converting and baptizing people of other denominations. How do we respond when someone from our church "converts" or gets baptized at another church? Do we try to convert people from other denominations?

The topic came out of one of Michael's recent experiences. A guy who used to be an elder at his church "became a Christian" at another church and was (re-)baptized. Michael says that the guy showed all of the evidences of being a Christian while he was an elder at his church. Is his (second) conversion legitimate? Is what that church did even acceptable?


John Pleau said...

Hi Matt,

Interesting question. I wonder if this re-baptized person also was saying derogatory of his former church..My guess is yes..but who knows.

I am always a little uncomfortable when new people come to our church and speak bad about their former church (especially if I know the church).

I actually have been baptized twice. Once as a baby (Catholic), and once as a Southern Baptist. I feel I truly needed to be re-baptized because I never had placed my faith in Christ until I started attending this small SBC as a 16 year old. I know some would disagree with me having to be re-baptized by I know without a doubt it was the right thing to do.

Bro John

Matt said...

Thanks, John.

I think most people agree that what matters in baptism is that it is an "act of faith," even if they disagree on what that phrase means.

If you feel that your first baptism wasn't an "act of faith," then perhaps its fair to say you were sprinkled, but not baptized. Your baptism occurred later in life as a Southern Baptist. I would argue that you were not "re-baptized."

I think you can make a good case for infant baptism based on church history. It's not my preferred method, but the case is strong enough that I wouldn't tell someone who had been baptized as an infant that they had to be baptized again. I would leave it up to them.

I think what happened in Spencer's case is that his friend joined an extreme church that told him he wasn't a genuine believer before because he hadn't _____________ (I don't know what the reason was).

You've baptized people at Believers Fellowship. Spencer was asking how you would feel if someone you baptized joined another church and was told that his or her baptism was illegitimate because ___________.

John Pleau said...

Hmm...honestly, I would be concerned about where this person would be spiritually in let’s say 2-5 years. Whenever a church feels they are the “exclusive” arbitrator on what constitutes being a Christian, I have to wonder what is behind their theology. Biblically, I feel our method baptisms are right on the mark. Those who have chosen to follow Christ, being baptized as an outward sign of their commitment to Christ.