Baptism as a requirement for membership?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by HeDied4U, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. HeDied4U

    HeDied4U
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    I apologize in advance if this topic has been covered before. I did a search, however, and didn't find any references, but maybe I didn't have the search parameters "wide enough" (for lack of a better term).

    Anyway, my wife and I are in the process of finding a new church home (thought we had, but it didn't work out (long story)). For the last 5 Sunday's we've been attending a church that a friend of my wife goes too. It's one of those Baptist churches that doesn't have Baptist in it's name (there's a story about it that I'll share if anyone cares). Anyway, this past Sunday one of the deacons came up to us and wanted to know what we think of the church and all. So far, we've been pretty pleased with everything. The preaching is sound and very biblically based, although I wish the sermons lasted longer than 20 to 25 minutes (give me a good ole 60 minute sermon any day [​IMG] ). He asked us if we were considering joining and we told him that we weren't sure at this time. He went on to say that one of the conditions of membership is to be baptized before one can become a member. Both my wife and I raised our eyebrows at that.

    Now I know that baptism is an outward, public expression of faith in Christ, but wouldn't you think that baptism would come after membership, not as a condition for it?

    Is this out there in left field, or is this the "norm" nowadays? Don't get me wrong, if we decide to join we have no problem with getting baptised first. I guess I'm just wondering if this is a standard practice.

    Any info, comments, insights, and whatnot will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

    God Bless!!!

    Adam :)

    As a little side info, this is a independent (but not IFB), self-governing, evangelical Christian church voluntarily affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, Midwest Baptist Conference, and the Willow Creek Association (this comes from their weekly bulletin).
     
  2. Bro. James Reed

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    What did he mean by "before"?

    Did he mean you get baptized and then they decide if you can be a member?

    Did he mean you tell the church you want to join and upon being baptized you are considered a member?

    It may just be the terminology.

    BTW, our church follows the 2nd set of guidelines above.

    The way it works for us is:

    You come forward and ask for a home in the church. You love God and His Son Jesus.

    The church votes then and there whether or not to take you in as a member.(It's almost always a unanimous "yes", but occassionally there is a person who none of us has ever met before and needs to be "investigated" a little bit first.)

    A time is set for your baptism and an Elder chosen to follow through with it. It could be the same day, or during the week, or the next weekend. It could be the church's Pastor, or an Elder from the church, or even another church entirely. It all depends on what the person wants.

    As soon as the baptism has occurred, that person is entitled to all rights and responsibilities as anyone else in their congregation. He has a vote on all matters, and he can take Communion with us or any other orderly PB church.

    I have always assumed that's how other churches did it, but Primitive Baptists are different in almost every way imaginable from other Baptists, so it wouldn't surprise me if we are on this subject as well.
     
  3. Soulman

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    Likewise Brother Reed. You are considered a member after baptisim.
     
  4. KeithS

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    Wow. This is pretty new to me. The churches of which I have been a member all have had a pretty standard practice to accept a baptism that was scripturally administered. Proper mode, proper authority, after salvation, etc.

    In other words, to be a member one must be scripturally baptised, but not necessarily baptised by the church being joined. If you are crossing denominations they may or may not require a re-baptism depending on specifics. Obviously, if you have just been saved you must be baptised before you can be a member. Our church also requires you complete a new members class before your are accepted into membership. Upon completion you become a member in good standing.

    Baptism is viewed more as an affirmation of salvation and step of obedience. It is an identification with Christ rather than an identification with the local church, although there is still a blurring of this distinction in some cases.
     
  5. delly

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    KeithS, I agree with you. Someone who has already been scripturally baptised in another church should not need to be baptised again unless THEY feel like they need to or want to be baptised again. We accept people for membership by letter if they are coming from membership in another Southern Baptist church or a statement of belief if from any other Baptist denomination that practices scriptural baptism.

    When someone makes a profession of faith, we accept them for membership and baptise them later. Baptism doesn't save a person. It is simple the way of showing that they have accepted Jesus into their lives although most people who have been saved will want to be baptised. It is not a requirement for membership and certainly shouldn't be a requirement for an saved person who has already been scripturally baptised.

    [ February 23, 2005, 09:35 AM: Message edited by: delly ]
     
  6. El_Guero

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    HeDied4U

    Why would you expect Baptist to mean something different theologically?

    One must accept Christ. One must be Baptized by immersion. One can be re-Baptized, if the original baptism was not upon a genuine profession of faith.

    But, why would you expect baptists to believe that Baptism is not required?
     
  7. Servent

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    Once a person accepts Christ as savior and is baptized it's a done deal why would you do it again just for membership,or any other reason unless the first time was not a genuine profession
     
  8. Bro Tony

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    I would not join another church that required me to be "re" baptiized. I was Scripturally baptized after I received Jesus as my Savior. No church has the biblical right to require a Scripturally baptized believer to be re-baptized. That may be their church polity, but it is not biblical.

    On a side note believer's baptism can only be administered to a believer. Only genuine believers can biblically partake of either of the ordinances.

    Church membership is a different matter. The two should not be confused. I believe if a church requires Scripturally baptized believers to be re-baptized to join they have made themselves the final authority for what is a valid baptism, and have shown that they believe they are the only one who has the authority to adminster it.

    Bro Tony
     
  9. yabba

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    well said Bro. Tony.
     
  10. Bro. James Reed

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    I was not clear in my remarks.

    If one is new to the church, that is, they have never been a part od our church or another Primitive Baptist Church, we do require baptism.

    If they are joining our church and they are a member in good standing at another Primitive Baptist Church, we will send for their letter. If that is the case, we take them in on their request for membership and they are full members from that time. We do not require re-baptism for them just so they can be a part of our church.

    However, we do not accept baptism by other denominations, Baptist included. If we view ourselves as being representative of the true church of Christ, then we can only accept baptism by a qualified authority, that is, an Elder of a Primitive Baptist church.

    Sorry for not being more clear in my first post.
     
  11. Bro Tony

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    Bro James,

    Where does you fellowship get its authority for baptism?

    When you baptize people are they baptized into your church, denomination or unto the Lord Jesus Christ?

    You clearly see baptism as a denominational matter and even more exclusive than that, it is a matter our your particular flavor of your denomination, as you would require even Baptist to be re-baptized.

    I believe you genuinely feel your group is keeping the sanctity of baptism, but I would suggest that in practicing baptism the way your group does, you actually demean the ordinance. You are clearly baptizing disciples unto yourself and your group rather than to the Lord.

    My baptism is a testimony of my faith in Jesus, not my testimony of being a member of a Baptist church, regardless of the flavor.

    Bro Tony
    PS>>I am not surprized we differ on this as we also differed on the Lord's Supper. Nevertheless, I am glad you still allow me to call you brother, at least I believe you do. Please correct me if I am wrong.
     
  12. Bro. James Reed

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    I would not refer to myself as Bro. James if I was also not willing to extend the same courtesy to others, Bro. Tony. [​IMG] We are indeed brothers in Christ.

    Now, to the matter at hand, who has authority to baptize someone?

    That is where the heart of the matter lies. I know there are many Baptists and other groups who are baptized in order to answer their conscience, but there are others who do so because they believe it will get them into heaven. I believe you are in that first group, am I right?

    There are obvious reasons that the 2nd group above woud need to be baptized into our church. Their heart wasn't right, and they were not baptized for the right reason before. I have even seen people who were Primitive Baptist need to be "re-baptized" because they didn't have the first one under the right spirit and reason.

    Now, since we believe we are the remnant spoken of in scripture, Christ's church, we believe that we have the proper authority and our ministers alone have the authority to administer baptism.

    I need to go somewhere now, but if you would like further explanation, please let me know and I'll post some more this evening.

    Bro. James
     
  13. Bro Tony

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    Thank you my brother. I am indeed in the first group you mentioned. That being the case if I came to your church for membership, according to what you wrote earlier, I would still be instructed to be re-bapitized. I also believe your church has the NT authority to administer Scriptural baptism, but so does mine. If you came to our church, and you shared with us the means, mode and understanding of why you were baptized, if it was Scriptural you would not be asked to be re-baptized.

    My point of authority is not whether the local church has the authority, but whether the local church has the biblical authority to require someone to be re-baptized simply because they were not baptized in that church? To me the questions must be asked in accordance with the Scripture, if a person meets those requirements, a local church has no biblical authority to re-baptize one who has been Scripturally baptized.

    Thank you for your answer earlier I will await your next response.

    Blessings,

    Bro Tony
     
  14. OldRegular

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    The Southern Baptist Faith and Message, 2000AD Version, states the following regarding Baptism and the Lord's Supper:

    Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.


    The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.


    Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
     
  15. Bro. James Reed

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    A simple answer to your post.

    We do not believe that anyone who is not an Elder of a Primitive Baptist church has scriptural authority to baptize anyone.

    When someone is baptized, both they and the administrator, as well as the church taking the person, have to be in order. Since we believe we are the remnant, we believe that all other orders have fallen out of order and are therefore no longer true New Testament churches. That being the case, if those churches ordain someone it is not scriptural, and if those churches take someone in a s member it is not scriptural. Would you accept the baptism of a Catholic, even if the person who was baptized was immersed and believed in the grace of God and Jesus Christ? We would not, because it was without the proper administrator and without a true new testament church.

    I don't think we hve the authority not to recognize the work performed by an orderly church of our faith.

    Ex. If Houston PBC had a member who was coming to our church and decided they wanted to join us, we have no scriptural authoriy to demand they be re-baptized because Houston PBC is an orderly church with proper administrators(Elders).

    We don't have the authority to refuse an orderly church's work, but we don't consider any other order of churches, Baptist or not, orderly churches.

    I still enjoy fellowship with non-PB's though. There are things on here that I often disagree with, but that is expected as we are of different lines of Baptists. It really troubles me when folks calling themselves Primitive Baptist hold strange, diverse, and unscriptural doctrines and practices.

    I just enjoy talking with people in general who are not filthy-mouthed and almost always cheerful. That is why I'm on this board.

    Does that answer all of your questions, Brother?

    God bless.

    Bro. James
     
  16. OldRegular

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    Bro. James Reed

    This practice is much the same as that of the Old Regular Baptist churches.
     
  17. Bro. James Reed

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    I would imagine so. The Old Regulars are much like the Old Baptists in many ways.
     
  18. gb93433

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    Who baptized the very first PB?
     
  19. Phillip

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    Let me see if I can help you understand where Baptism became so tightly involved with membership.

    Baptism was not solely a Christian practice. In fact, during John's time there were a lot of "teachers" who had groups that followed them around, learning and belonging to the group. Many were completely wrong, but they did it anyway.

    Baptism was used as a symbol during this time to show that you accepted and approved of the beliefs of that particular group. Therefore, even Jesus was Baptised by John, showing that He agreed with John's teaching. This has NOTHING to do with salvation; it simply shows agreement with the group and was considered as a requirement for membership.

    When adopted by the New Testament church, it was considered to be used in the same way. In most Baptist Churches, including SBC, you have more than one way of joining the church. 1) By letter, showing you are a member of another Baptist Church of like belief and Baptised into that Baptist Church. 2) By statement, the letter cannot be obtained either because the church is lazy and won't send it or maybe the church no longer exists. So, you make a statement that you did belong.
    And finally, 3) You are Baptised and become a full member of the church.

    In order to be Baptised you make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, then you are a candidate for Baptism and joining the church, at which time the church votes to receive you and then a time is set where you are Baptised and become a full-fledged member.

    Non-denominational churches and other churches have washed down the meaning of Baptism and people cannot understand why it matters so much. Remember, Baptists got their name by being "rebaptizers" because we rebaptized adults who made professions of faith even though they were Baptised as babies.

    Since most non-denominational churches do not believe in the same doctrines as Baptists, most Baptist Churches feel it is important for the person to be Baptised to show that they truly accept the doctrines of the Baptist church. In fact, we will not accept ALL Baptist churches, especially those who do not accept eternal security.

    As far as churches being a "remnant" of New Testament churches, I don't agree with that for several reasons. This is no different than the Catholics claiming the popes are a complete line of succession from Peter.

    If just ONE of those people who do the Baptising is not saved (for any reason), then the chain is broken and nobody would ever even know it.

    Baptists are primarily from Holland and although some groups put out a phamphlet called the trail of blood, it contains some interesting quotes, but is not exactly without error.

    There is no unbroken chain of churches that go back that far with the exception of the Catholic church which we do not accept as the real deal.
     
  20. Bro. James Reed

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    gb, John the Baptist.

    The very first PB was Jesus Christ because he established the church and gave authority to the 12 apostles to baptize in his name.

    I am guessing that you do not believe in church succession, and if that is the case, then we will never agree on this issue.
     

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