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Self-baptism?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member

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    John Smyth, one of the very early Baptist, became convinced that believer's baptism was correct and that infant baptism was incorrect. He then baptised himself.

    Quite a number of years later Johann Oncken also came to believe that believer's baptism was correct. But there was no ordained ministers or missionaries where he lived. He was encouraged by others to baptism himself, but he refused and had to wait a number of years before he was baptised by an ordained American missionary.

    What is your feeling on self-baptism by a believer?
     
  2. sag38

    sag38 Active Member

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    Based on the Biblical record where there are no self-baptisms (that I know of) I would frown on the practice. Certainly if there is no one else around I guess it would be acceptable but how often does that happen? That would be the exception to the rule such as when I sprinkled an 88 year old woman whose health made it impossible to baptize her by immersion.
     
  3. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    What is the point of self-baptism, especially when Smyth simply poured water on his head? He wasn't even a baptist! Never did form a baptist church. Why should he even get a mention in history? I guess they had to mention something out of the Catholic Reformation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>

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    Smyth is generally considered an early Baptist until he turned to the Mennonites and the Baptist heritage was passed on to Thomas Helwys. Smyth is mentioned as an early Baptist because of his break from the non-conformists/separatists in England for a Baptist polity including believer's baptism (which was novel in England at that time, though it was already being practiced on the continent).

    Se-baptism (which is the fancy name for self-baptism) is probably incorrect. Some early Baptists actually baptized each other. There are a couple of issues here. One is successionism. There are some who believe (incorrectly, IMO) that a valid baptism must be traced all the way back to the apostles (e.g., Trail of Blood idea). Aside from being unprovable, it doesn't seem to have any basis in Scripture.

    Baptism is not legitimate based on who baptizes but rather on what the person being baptized intends to communicate.
     
  5. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    Even the Church of England practiced immersion as baptism. Queen Elizabeth 1st was immersed! Fact. The Welsh Baptists practiced immersion in Wales! Fact!

    Smyth was not a baptist. Fact. Pouring water on head is not baptism. Fact! You may quote Helwys as forming a Baptist Church in Nottinghamshire out of the Reformation. That is fact and that church continues to this day with his name on the church. It was not the first Baptist Church in England, however, and that is a fact.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. BigBossman

    BigBossman New Member

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    I can't say that I would agree with "self-baptism". Baptism, while important in a Christian's life, is not a requirement for salvation. It is symbolic of the death, burial, & resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Therefore, if one were to give his heart to Christ & not have anyone around to baptize him, the first step would be to seek out a church, minister, pastor, or a group of like minded Christians to baptize him.

    I can't imagine baptizing myself. I suppose I could go to a swimming pool & dunk myself, but all I would be doing is getting myself wet. For me personally, it needs to be witnessed by other believers because you are making the statement that you are following Jesus.
     
    #6 BigBossman, Jan 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2009
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>

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    Jim,

    That some practiced immersion is not the issue. Being a Baptist is about far more than that. Part of the issue was not just immersion, but validity. Baptism of unbelievers was considered to be no baptism at all.

    There are three general views of Baptist origin: 1) Successionism (discounted by almost everyone); 2) spiritual kinship; 3) descent from Separatism.

    In my view, the latter is correct, and it is attributed to John Smyth. It the view of MacBeth, Goldrick, Hudson and others.

    But Baptist history is not this thread and so perhaps we should leave it for elsewhere.

    To the topic here, se-baptism is not expressly forbidden, but does not even seem to be contemplated by the NT. There are better options which should be used. Baptism is an ordinance of the local church and should be administered by the local church.
     
  8. OldRegular

    OldRegular Well-Known Member

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    Correct!!!
     
  9. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy Well-Known Member

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    What if there is no local church? I have a friend from Mongolia, now living in the States, and there were no local churches. She is 3rd generation Christian being taught by her mother and father. No one is ordained.
     
  10. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    quote: In my view, the latter is correct, and it is attributed to John Smyth.
    ----------------------------------------

    So, pouring water on one's head is a legitimate form of baptist baptism?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Self-baptism seems to be missing the point of baptism being a public way of proclaiming your faith in Christ.

    It would be meaningless to do it alone, and strange and confusing to others who might be watching.
     
  12. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Do you mean there was no local church in Mongolia? That I can believe. But the person is now the U.S. Why can't she get baptized in a church here?
     
  13. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>

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    If there are three generations of Christians, why isn't there a church? Ordination is irrelevant. The church can designate whomever they want to baptize.
     
  14. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    I don't think ordination is a prerequisite to baptism. If there is one other Christian around, they can do the baptizing.
     
  15. Jim1999

    Jim1999 <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

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    Ann, that would depend on the baptist group...Some insist on an ordained pastor.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. annsni

    annsni Administrator
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    That's interesting. I know my hubby did baptisms before he was ordained. We've also had fathers baptize their children (not all cases but in some - and it was cleared before hand).
     
  17. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member

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    Self baptism goes back to Judaism. In order for one to convert to Judaism a person baptized himself in front of others.
     
  18. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member

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    I do not think Spurgeon was ever ordained. If I remember right he taught against it. It seems like his opinion was that what can man do to me that God has not already done.
     
  19. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler New Member

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    Well, I sorta think the baptizer is important to the validity of the baptism. Otherwise, we could just as well go to the nearest JW, Mormon, or whatever. The commission to baptize was given by Jesus to the churches. Churches may authorize anyone to baptize on its behalf.

    One who is willing to be baptized by someone who does not attach the same meaning to baptism as he does is not baptized.

    Why did Jesus walk many miles to be baptized by one who had been given direct authority by God to do so? Why didn't he just grab somebody and be dunked where he was? Jesus knew what he intended to communicate. But he still went to John the Baptist.
     
  20. donnA

    donnA New Member

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    Theres nothing in scripture that allows self baptism.
     
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