How Soon Do You Baptize New Converts?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, May 22, 2009.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I was browsing through some old threads going back to 2003 and 2004, and came across one by Jim1999.

    Jim said as a pastor, we waited at least three months, preferably up to six months before baptizing a new convert. He didn't elaborate.

    Jim, when you read this, would you expand on your reasons for your practice?

    As for the rest of you, how quickly do you baptize a new believer? Would you agree with Jim? What are your reasons for quick baptism, or delayed baptism?
     
  2. zrs6v4

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    As soon as they understand and desire to be baptized... I say this based my knowledge of how it was practiced in the first century.
     
  3. Salty

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    The key word is "knowledge"

    Also in the 21st century, baptism does not have the preeminence it did in the first century.
    With me it is not the amount of time to wait, but rather the desire of committing to the Christian life.

    I have always like the story about the man who was just getting into the waters, and the pastor said, "brother, you may want to take your wallet out of your back pocket" to which the new convert replied "Pastor, my wallet needs to be baptized too!"

    I just recently attended a Power Conference by the Bap Con of NY. ( would you believe that only 100 attended this) One point brought out was that when a person is to be baptized, that he should send out invitations to his friends so they may rejoice in his next step in his spiritual life.
     
  4. Olivencia

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    Many years ago my Pastor told me he would would wait a little longer to baptize the chidren that came to faith as compared with the adults because he didn't want the children to see their baptism as being part of their salvation.
     
  5. Salty

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    I would say the same for adults.
     
  6. Olivencia

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    Very true but I agree that children would be more likely to tie the two together.
     
  7. Jim1999

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    We are not in New Testament times. There is no urgency to be baptized after conversion. It seems that people in NT times fully understood the meaning of baptism, as a sign of a previous experience in Christ.

    Each candidate is different, but I want to be certain that one has made a confession of Christ in redemption before I provide that witness in baptism. I, therefore, prefer to wait a few months before baptism takes place.

    To facilitate this wait, I require baptism classes, much like the confirmation classes in the Anglican Churches. At least the new converts will have a grounding in the fundamentals of the faith and the candidate is not making a rash decision based on emotion rather than reason.

    I have seen "new converts" come from some evangelistic service where tey made a quick decision to be "saved", a walk down an aisle, led, yea, sometimes dragged, by a friend who meant well, but they didn't have a clue what had happened.

    If we want strong members of the local church, we want strong teaching, and allow babes in Christ to be so nurtured, weaned from the bottle and prepared for a life in Christ and His word.

    Anyone can have a bath without soap, but is there an actual cleansing? Let's add the soap and be reasonably sure.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. Harold Garvey

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    I don't want to be rude, because others know I am an "idiot", but when did we leave New Testament times? Maybe you mean "early church" times?

    Amen, I agree.

    Amen, I agree. I hope that class would emphasize on the importance of being baptized as the initial requirement for service, note; i.e., not salvation.

    exactly why the need for time to show a fruitful beginning.

    Nice and well reasoned. Also it follows what the New Testament teaches about making disciples out of converts.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    There is some evidence from the days of the early church and even in the New Testament that as the Church grew and matured that there was a bit of space between conversion and baptism. Also, that in the baptismal formulas there was a place for a recent convert to explain their story and hold fast to a common confession. Also, there is evidence that the early church created some space in welcoming the new believer to their local community. They would let me exist with them and show them Christianity for several months before the baptism would take place. I think that is wise.

    While I don't oppose baptism soon after conversion, I am a fan of holding off and sending the person through a baptism or introductory class. If all the person wants to do is get wet and then go about their life without any significant change than the ceremony is a mockery.

    You can check into most of these things by reading JND Kelley. :)
     
  10. Jedi Knight

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    Acts 8:35-39 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
    37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
    And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”[a]
    38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
     
  11. CoJoJax

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    I'm not knowledgeable enough to really give a good answer on this.

    But I know my church just had a little girl who accepted Jesus into her heart and then was baptized immediately that next church service.

    I really didn't have an opinion on it .. or think about it .. I was happy about it.

    But this topic does make me think about it more!

    I don't mean to start another topic inside this topic .. and I'll start a new one if neccessary .. but in answering this topic's questions, would you treat children any differently than adults? Perhaps wait till they get older?
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    We treat children different than adults in terms of when they are baptized. We baptize adults as soon as possible after the have believed on the Lord Jesus. We made that decision after studying the Scripture in Acts where on the day of Pentecost people believed and were baptized and the Philip baptizing the Ethiopian after he made a profession of belief.

    For children, we believe that parents and children's workers are the best "judges" of the reality of a child's belief. For us, both parents and workers have to agree that a child is ready for us to baptize the child.
     
  13. Olivencia

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    In the early church they were able to discern spirits (1 Cor. 12:10) as to if a person was saved or not - but this may not always have been true if one believes Simon was still lost (Acts 8).
     
  14. Jim1999

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    There is a huge difference between discussing what was done in New Testament TIMES, when it could cost your physical life to profess Jesus Christ as Saviour and King, and the relative disconcern of our current AGE. "So, he got religion! When is the ballgame onTV?"

    In understanding scripture a basic rule is that we understand what the passage meant to the NT believers, and then apply that teaching to us in our time and relativity.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    I think some caution is wise, and the Southern Baptist numbers suggest it.

    We have 16-million people who are counted as members of Southern Baptist churches. Yet, it is agreed that those numbers are inflated. On any given Sunday, we can find about 6 million of them in church somewhere. That's considerably less than half. Where are those other 10 million so-called believers? A large SBC megachurch with 30,000 names on its roll plans for only about 10,000 on Sunday.

    Those "believers" responded to some kind of gospel, some kind of invitation, some kind of witness. Where are they?

    Maybe we ought to re-examine a couple of things. One, the message we're giving. Is our "say these magic words" message producing false Christians who think they're going to heaven because they "prayed the prayer?"

    Two, the message they're receving. What is their understanding of repentance and faith; what is their understanding of the implications of salvation. Do they truly understand what it is to trust Christ completely. Do they understand what baptism is all about? And if they don't understand, what does that say about our witness?

    Some will say it is not our place to question the validity of someone's salvation--that their word should be sufficient. We see where that's gotten us.

    Maybe some period of discipleship would be useful before baptism
     
    #15 Tom Butler, May 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2009
  16. John Toppass

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    Ahhh but the church should be in New Testament times. ~ Well maybe many churches have strayed. I guess that is how we get weird doctrine such as; one can loose one's Salvation or Salvation was intended for only a few and God selected the others to go to Hell or the office of deacon running a church or women pastoring churches and then some even believe it is God's will that practicing homosexuals can not only be active but in some churches they are leaders.
    I can not find any scripture that supports this type of church.

    Classes are great for new believers but they should not be a requirement for baptism. I do not think that would be scriptural.

    Baptism causes nothing to magically happen,including cleansing, the cleansing should have already happened. It is not a sacrament or a requirement of salvation. However baptism is an act of obedience to a command given by Jesus Christ to show the world that we (believers) are submitting to Christ through our actions and life.
    Baptism symbolizes the spiritual cleansing provided by divine forgiveness that took place upon salvation. Baptism gives the believer the opportunity to make a formal declaration of their salvation and newness of life before the church and the world.
     
  17. Jim1999

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    Methinks there is a need for a few lessons in reading English as well.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. convicted1

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    How soon to baptize

    Jedi,

    These verses were on my mind from the very instance I read the title. Also, what about Acts chapter 10? As Peter was preaching in Cornelius' house, the Holy Ghost fell up them all, and Peter then stated that since they(gentiles) now receive the Holy Ghost the same as the Jews do, who can forbid water? They took them and baptized them immediately. These classes seem "iffy" to me. It takes Jesus Christ's shed blood to save someone, and then the Holy Ghost will lead them from there. If they have it when they give their hand to the church, things will go well, period. If not, you can give them all this "discipleship"(sp?) and they are still lost. To the best of my knowledge, discipleship classes don't save people.....I am not necessarily downing them, but let the Lord do the leading, and not man.

    Willis
     
  19. zrs6v4

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    I dont completely disagree with baptism calsses to new converts, but I tend to lean towards disagreeing with some aspects of it. I completely agree that in the first century there were special gifts that may not be offered presently along with a much better awareness (Jews) of God's Holiness. There are many aspects of the Gospel I see that need to be re-taught biblically on with this post-modern society that have been traditionalized. In order to make the gospel message clear, in these times, we might have to get into a little more detail to break through false understandings passed down over many years. Anyway my point is that while I see the importance for discipleship I also think that we have the tendancy to try and do to much in the process, getting to philosophical and so forth. I just don't know if it is right to tell someone who has been born again (professes faith) that they must wait to be baptized. I dont have a problem with taking some time to make sure they understand what they are doing. I see the intention, which is good, in schooling new converts on baptism but I just don't know if it is necessary in every case to make them wait to be obedient.
     
    #19 zrs6v4, May 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2009
  20. Tom Butler

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    Several years ago, two young girls,ages around 12 or 13, came down the aisle and spoke to the pastor. He motioned to to me to come and counsel the young ladies.

    I took them to a room off the auditorium and began to question them. Both said they wanted to be baptized. It quickly became clear that they merely had seen it done by some other kids, thought it was cool, and wanted to do the same. When I raised the question of their salvation, neither had a clue. So I informed the pastor that they were not ready, and had made no profession of faith.

    That's mainly what I'm talking about. If you're not willing to delay baptism for discipleship classes, at the very least can we not take a few minutes to talk with them and determine their understanding?

    Can we not sit them down for 30 minutes before dunking them?

    To be sure, not every situation is the same. Sometimes, it is clear that salvation has taken place. But when one preacher says "repent and believe," and another says "pray this prayer," it behooves us to at least try to be sure.

    Even John the Baptist refused baptism to some who came.

    Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
     

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