Monday, November 21, 2011

Baptized Twice!?!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    Many churches have laws against baptizing somebody who's been baptized as a baby.

    They don't believe in rebaptizing.

    For them, once is enough, uh, or should be enough, uh, or can be assumed to be enough, uh, or...

    They figure "baby" baptism is sufficient for anyone who's been, uh, baptized as a baby; and they've devised elaborate covenantal theologies to make themselves feel good about their, uh, restrictions.

    I'm not about to debate the distinctives or duplicities of such churches; and if you don't know why I'm not interested in the former because of the latter, I can't as well as won't even try to...

    Whether dipped, dripped, dabbed, or dunked, baptism, regardless of the age, is all about being "marked off" for God.

    Babies are "marked off" for God as parents and congregations promise to pray/try to provide an education, environment, and example of Christianity that will encourage "confirmation" of everything said in baptism about Jesus and Biblical faith when the baby grows up into a more discerning soul.

    Adults, whenever that happens, make a decision to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior and Biblical faith as true and then ask to be baptized or "marked off" for Him.

    But it gets a little dicey when somebody older than a baby shows up and asks after confessing, "I know I was baptized as a baby; but I never knew about it except for some certificate that I found among some old papers in a closet.  But now I really, really, really believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior; and I really, really, really want to be baptized because, well, I just want to be baptized because I love Him so much and want the whole world to know how much I love Him.  Will you baptize me?"




    Before spitting out the typical denominational law about it like a mindless drone, ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?"

    I can't even reimagine Jesus saying, "Sorry, dude, you were baptized as a baby and that'll have to be enough for you."

    This sounds about right: "Sure, I love you so much and you loving me so much makes this a good day to baptize the relationship."

    Jesus always gave second chances; actually, second and third and fourth and...

    Really, and, again, I know this is tough for mindless drones who pay more attention to denominational laws than Biblical revelation and Spiritual enlightenment, what's sooooooo bad about doing it again?


    If we can renew marriage vows and auto licenses and magazine subscriptions...


    Big Mac comes to mind.

    I'll never forget the corny joke that he'd repeat in every class that he taught in seminary.

    "A woman went to her pastor and asked if she could have her baby daughter done.  The pastor asked, 'Do you want her rare, medium, or well done?"


    But whenever he'd repeat it, I'd think, "I wonder if I'm rare, medium, or well done for Jesus?"


    Biblically, and the Biblically literate know this already and others will just have to catch up by reading the Bible a little bit more, there are two baptisms.

    Water baptism - being marked off for Him.

    Spirit baptism - being empowered by Him if the water baptism was more than a show of getting baby or adult, uh, done.

    John the, uh, Baptist: "I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!"

    John marked off, like all undershepherds can do, for Him.

    Jesus: "John baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

    Jesus empowered as only He can do.

    Paul: "To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."

    In other words, if a person is water baptized for real, then empowerment/abilities/charismata prove it.


    There's a big lie that persists in many churches.

    I'm not sure how it got started; and rather than theorize about that, I'll just expose it.

    The lie is a person's faith cannot be measured/proven.

    Actually, I know where it began - in hell with the enemy.

    Luther: "Good works don't make a person good; but a good person does good works."

    Even Calvinists who are so much more predestinarian than Calvin himself - read his commentaries - know people who are related to God and saved for eternity show the signs of that eternal relationship.

    Dang, they got it from Paul and Jesus!

    Paul: "The fruit/proof/evidence of the Spirit in a person's life includes..."

    Jesus: "If you love Me, you will..."

    The lie is a person's faith cannot be measured/proven.

    The truth is a person's faith can be measured/proven.

    "Having believed," Paul wrote, "you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."

    Or as Francis de Sales observed: "Devout souls ascend to Him...Devotion is nothing else but that spiritual agility and vivacity by which charity works in us."

    Yeah, the timing/logistics can be hard to figure out; but the results are, uh, obvious.


    Here's a quick list - indicative not exhaustive - of expressions/manifestations when Spirit baptism confirms water baptism:

    1. Hunger and thirst for worship.

    2. Hunger and thirst for Bible study.

    3. Hunger and thirst to obey Jesus.

    4. Hunger and thirst to love Jesus by loving like Jesus.

    5. Paul's lists in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 5:22-23, and Ephesians 4.

    More than less.


    It's often said, "Blood is thicker than water."

    O.K., but, Biblically/spiritually, there's another way to look at that.

    Peterson paraphrase/translation of Jesus: "'Who do you think my mother and brothers are?'  He then stretched out His hand toward His disciples.  'Look closely.  These are my mother and brothers.  Obedience is thicker than blood.  The person who obeys my heavenly Father's will is my brother and sister and mother.'"

    Baptism(s) is/are a tad more complicated than denominational laws about it/them.

    Or as Tony said to a denominationalist who had a hard time giving up his franchise's constitution for Biblical revelation, "You do it your way; and I'll do it His way."

    I'm not saying it's always easy to figure that out; but I am saying I think we make it a lot more restrictive and confusing than He ever intended.

    I guess I'm with Dodd who was with Jesus and concluded it's better to err on the side of gospel than law.



Blessings and Love!

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Crystal said...

Dr. K.,
If they feel the need to go under the water to symbolically wash off the "filth" of the world...why not?!
Do we get so "caught up" with doctrines we overlook the obvious? :)

Whit Brisky said...

Actually, it all got started with the Donatist controversy back in the early, early days. To settle the controversy, it was decided that one baptism, even if by the other side in the controversy, was enough to get you "in". This was misinterpreted through the years that one baptism was all there could be.

I was baptized in a RC Church and then, I think through ignorance of all concerned, rebaptized in a Presbyterian church a few weeks later. That did help when I came to marry my wife in an RC Church, but otherwise there has been no effect.

Anyway, baptism was a pre-existing Jewish custom (see John) which was never intended to be once and for all. So I agree with your conclusion that a rebaptism should not be forbidden.

Chris Enoch said...

Dr. K.
Like you, I am a Presbyterian pastor. I did baptize an adult this past summer in a river. I have now had about five requests from previously baptized adults to be "re-baptized." In that same river. Hmmm.

Me thinks we need to have a 'renewal of baptism' ceremony next summer. At the river. As part of a church picnic/worship service. Either way, it is an issue that denominational doctrine (as if the PCUSA really has doctrine) needs to bend towards the pastoral and life reality. And may christ be praised!

pastormattferg said...

For Presbyterian types (don't know if this fits with other types) when renewing baptismal vows one may use water--and may use as much of it as one wishes. While we may need to record it as a renewal of baptismal vows the party involved may look upon it as their baptism.

I would like to know much more about the ritual washing done in the first century Jewish communities. If anyone has information on it or where I can find it, please let me know. I believe folks like the Essenes would be washed / baptized / cleansed each time they re-entered their community after having left it. I have seen some ancient ruins with some cleansing / baptismal / washing areas but do not know where I can read more about what they did back then.

Good post---and I think I may read that new book of yours. Sounds like a fun read.

Matt Ferguson

Michael Mast said...

Just dunk me in the Spirit and don't take me out of the river of glory!

Julie said...

I was baptized a a Catholic born baby. I was filled with the holy spirit and saved outside my preachers house after a bible study one night over 35 years ago. I was baptized in the waters of Cordell Hull Lake 5 years ago with my grandson at my side. If I need another dose, if I need to refill my heart with his Holy Spirit I will do it again, and again and again. Amen.

Ella Jane said...

Dear Bob:
Let's just get them to Jesus!! Thank you for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your transparent heart that cares more about Him and what He thinks than man's ways and thoughts!
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! I am thanking Him for YOU!

Jim said...

Excellent, AND helpful, AND hope-filled!

Giving thanks for you.

The peace of Christ's Shalom be with you and with your/his.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Chris - By Jesus, methinks he got it!

Whit - Dang, KD readers are smart...smarter than, uh, moi!

Matt - Hope you get some responses, brother! And, yeah, buy the book! I think it's gonna rock boats to get 'em movin'!

Michael - Amen, brother!

Julie - Praise the Lord!