Have you ever had a person ask you to re-baptize her, and how did you respond?

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I just finished leading a discipleship class with some senior high students.  I thank the Lord for the way he blessed this class!  On the last meeting, I invited students to publicly profess their faith and/or be baptized.  Happily, one young lady expressed her desire to follow Jesus and be re-baptized.  She was baptized as an infant, and sincerely wants to become a devoted student of Christ.  But she feels that in order to do that, she must be re-baptized.  I encouraged her to talk to her parents about this matter (her dad is an elder in our church), and then we would chat further about it.  Have you ever had a person ask you to re-baptize her, and how did you respond?

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Good job encouraging her to talk to her parents.  Sounds like she needs help understanding that, in baptism, God is the main actor.  Remind her of God´s promises to her in baptism when she was an infant and how her profession of faith now is a wonderful response brought about in her by the Holy Spirit in response to God´s promises several years ago.  Re-baptism is not necessary because God´s promises and God´s character do not change.  You might even talk about and even show the waters of baptism at her profession of faith (without re-baptizing) as a reminder as as a way of connecting the past with the prsent.

Community Builder

Hi Ben,

Thank you for passing on this good advice.  I appreciate your approach to this issue and will keep it in mind as I minister to this young lady. I see this situation as another chance to teach and mentor.

Happy Easter!

--Leon

Nice to read you are in Lacombe, AB.

Late in life my motto on baptism has become:" Any mode, any time.)

Anyone interested how I came to that conlusion write [email protected]

Community Builder

Hi Jake,

Thank you for writing and passing on your motto regarding baptism.  I also take a broad and generous approach to this sacrament.  In fact, at our church we focus on the need and blessing of baptism over the mode and timing. 

Having said that, this young lady was baptized as a child, which makes the situation a bit more interesting/challenging.  But I trust that the Lord will guide me and her family as we move forward.  Bottom line: this young lady wants to be a devoted student of Christ.  Thanks be to God!

--Leon

Both God and the person wishing to profess her faith are important and the pastoral challenge is not to offend either.  I always underline that baptism is a sign of God's claim on a person.  God's claim isn't fickle that it has to be constantly renewed.  It's there always no matter what we do. It speaks to us every day.  He doesn't ever take it back (so that it has to be done over).  He is trustworthy.  Profession of faith is accepting God's claim.  (That's why I always have confessors stand around the font filled with water, and I dip my hand in the water by that question and let them see and hear it fall).   We on the other hand are fickle and will have to reconfess / reconfirm our faith many times.  That sign once given in baptism is always there as a sign that God will take us back.  But again, young believers are sensative.  One has to honor both the sacrament and the person.

Community Builder

Hi Don,

Thank you for sharing your insights on this matter.  I appreciate your perspective on baptism (God's claim on a person) and Profession of Faith as affirming and/or remembering that claim.  I also like the idea of using the baptismal font present at the Profession of Faith service.  I definitely plan to  do that in the future!
Thank you and God bless!

Leon H. Johnston

Community Builder

In case anyone is wondering, I met with the student and her parents that I mentioned above.  Happily, the Lord really blessed this meeting.  The family was open and honest with each other.  There was understanding, acceptance and tears of joy! We talked about infant baptism and profession of faith, and what they both meant and the connection between them.  In the end, I asked the student, "So what do you feel the Lord call is calling you to do this matter?"  And she said, "I feel the Lord is calling me to profess my faith and not be baptized again."  So we started making plans and set a date in June.  I thank the Lord for guiding us all in this matter, and using it to bring a family closer together and teaching us about faith formation and the importance of remembering our baptisms.  

--Leon H. Johnston