Baptism of Methodists Seeking to Join a SBC Church

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Paul Kersey, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Paul Kersey

    Paul Kersey
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    I serve as a bi-vocational Associate Pastor in a SBC church, preaching on an every other Sunday basis, in rotation with the Senior Pastor. I ran into a situation yesterday that I have not encountered previously.

    We had an older couple, approximately mid-60's, visit our church for the first time. They were very complimentary and seem quite interested in our church, which is wonderful. They informed me that they are members of a United Methodist church in a nearby town.

    As this was their first visit, and I just spoke with them for a moment, I do not know the details of their situation, i.e. the method in which they were baptized. However, assuming they were sprinkled and not baptized by immersion, it seems clear that they would need to be baptized by immersion in order to join our church. It is not uncommon for us to baptize adults, but this is normally as a result of a profession of faith. I have not had a person with 40 or 50 years of church membership in another denomination seek membership without having been baptized by immersion in their original church.

    Again, my view is that they will have to be baptized properly to be legitimate members of the church. I recognize that the UMC does not always sprinkle, and there is a chance this is a moot point, depending on their personal history. However, generally speaking, how do you view this situation? It will be awkward to require them to be baptized if they seek to join the church, but we certainly will follow the biblical model and not what is the easiest path.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    If they have not been baptized for immersion after salvation and not as any part of salvation, then I wouldn't have an issue wiith them becoming members. (Although, I am sure others would.)

    The Methodists that i have encountered usually let the person choose their mode of baptism. They can be baptized by immersion or get wet by sprinkling. If they chose sprinkling, they do need to be baptized.

    That's the standard at our church, also SBC.
     
  3. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Caution: Some Methodists use the term immersion to mean "pouring while wading in water".

    Example: Van Dyke UMC

    Sounds good.

    But here is a photo of that church's idea of "immersion".

    Would that pass muster?
     
  4. Trotter

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    I don't see accepting baptism from any other denomination myself. Another flavor of baptist would be fine, but that's about as far as I would go.

    Some denominations put baptism as something other than what it actually is, making it a part of salvation. Others baptize over and over because the person "lost" their salvation and was re-saved. Others just sprinkle/pour and do not actually baptize. To me, and my church, it is best to be up front and let them know that their baptism would not be recognized, but that they could join the church through believer's baptism (we accept through statement of faith that includes a previous baptism, believer's baptism, and by letter from a sister church).
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    You are correct. You should not consider Methodist baptism valid, regardless of mode.

    Some Methodists consider baptism a sacrament, that is, to hold some saving efficacy. Baptists do not. That view alone invalidates their baptism.
     
  6. gb93433

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    Would anyone baptize a person who had breathing problems and in a wheelchair by sprinkling?
     
  7. TomVols

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    Like Tom Butler, I would hold valid a baptism that was by immersion and not viewed as salvific in any way, even if it was in another denomination's water.

    As for a person in a wheelchair, the question is inherently theological: if baptism by immersion is the only viable mode, then they must be immersed and there are ways they can be. If you make an exception for any person, then the mode is open for question.

    I've heard of handicapped persons using lifts, hospital tubs, etc. for immersion. So there's always a way, though not typical or not necessarily easy.

    Again, we have to be consistent with our theology of baptism. I know some make exceptions, but again, once you make an exception for any case and call that baptism valid, you can't really argue with another view.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Yes you can. The thief on the cross did not get Baptized but we could not call him disobedient either. Special circumstances may call for special measures. But that in no way justifies anything under the sun. Such is absurd logic.
     
  9. gb93433

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    I would bet that there are many who have been dunked but have not named Christ as Lord in the places where they live and work but they would call themselves Christians. Have they been baptized?
     
  10. TomVols

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    Revmitchell:

    Apples and bowling pins. The thief on the cross (sophistry's favorite illustration) never had an opportunity for any baptism. Baptism is not requisite for salvation so your logic falls utterly apart. Lots of things are not requisite for salvation but must be done according to Biblical mandate, not logic.
    So it seems your position is that baptism by immersion is not the only Biblically faithful method. That's fine if that's your position. Many baptists are becoming open to non-creedobaptistic positions. We just have to be Biblically consistent.

    GB:
    Your recent case is a bit of a non-sequitur.

    If a genuine convert has been immersed knowing their immersion was in no way salvific but in accords with Biblical teaching, they are legitimately baptized.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Allowing for special circumstances is not inconsistent. There are in fact those who are of poor health that they cannot be immersed. I will not put them at risk. {ad hominem deleted}.

    Baptism not being a requisite for salvation is irrelevant to this discussion. I never made that implication. What is relevant is he never was Baptized. Should he be considered disobedient? Or are there special circumstances?
     
    #11 Revmitchell, Mar 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  12. gb93433

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    My point was that in the NT when one was baptized they named Christ as Lord and that meant they could have been executed. I do not think the mode of baptism would have anything to do with naming Christ as Lord during that time. Christ being Lord is the essential and the mode is secondary. If someone were to name Christ as Lord in say Iraq I would think that the mode of baptism would be of nothing in comparison. The fact of naming Christ as Lord would be enough to cause that person some serious trouble if not death. The mode of baptism would not make any difference.

    Is your doctrine formed on the letter or the spirit. Is it according to grace or legalism?
     
  13. TomVols

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    There are no special circumstances regarding his baptism since he was never baptized. You're making my point. Thanks!

    I've yet to see anyone who could not be baptized for health reasons and I'm starting my third decade of ministry. Anything's possible, but as a cancer chaplain, nursing home chaplain, elder-care chaplain, pastor...you name it, I've never seen a soul who couldn't handle immersion.

    Revmitchell, you didn't answer my query. Just for curiosity, do you believe the mode of immersion is the only valid mode for baptism?

    Further, would you allow:
    1. A person afraid of water to forego baptism?
    2. A church to cease immersion because of low funds to pay the water bill?
    3. A person to refuse baptism because the water heater in the baptistry was worn out, the church would not buy a new one, so the water would be "just too cold?"
    4. A person joining your church, who was baptized at another church after salvation by a mode other than immersion, to join without being rebaptized?

    Or for another ordinance:
    - unconverted members to take the Lord's Supper due to hunger or to keep from wasting the elements?


    Some would assert that the same NT that prescribes the teaching relative to the gospel prescribes the theological moorings for the practice of baptism.

    If your belief is that the mode is non-essential, that's fine, and I've articulated that before. If one believes the mode must be orthodox or it is an invalid ordinance, then consistency demands either uniformity in application of the mode or else it says the mode is non-essential. If the mode is non-essential and if you view immersion to be as valid as sprinkling which is as valid as pouring, then that's your view.

    No need to be strident, friend. Baptists are having this discussion more and more, and we need to. Whatever we do, we must be consistent in the practice to save ourselves a lot of headaches practically and for coherence theologically. What we believe and practice must be Biblically informed and not based on whim, folly or preference.
     
    #13 TomVols, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  14. JohnDeereFan

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    We would ask them to be baptised by immersion in our church before they could join.
     

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