Pastor Matt, do we accept immersion baptism from other denominations?
Translation: Would First Baptist Church of El Dorado receive as new members individuals who come from a different denomination even if they were baptized by immersion (dunked)? Or would they need to be baptized again?
Answer? Yes & No.
Let me explain.
If someone wants to join FBC and was baptized in another denomination, here is what I would want to know:
1. Were you baptized by immersion AFTER salvation?
2. Was your baptism understood to be symbolic?
3. Did you believe you had to be baptized for your salvation to be complete?
4. Did you believe – when you were baptized – that you could lose your salvation?
If they answered #1 with a ‘yes,’ we’re good.
If they answered #2 with a ‘yes,’ we’re good.
If they answered #3 with a ‘no,’ we’re good.
If they answered #4 with a ‘no,’ we’re good.
If we were on the same page regarding these questions, then NO I would not require them to be ‘re-baptized’ to join FBC regardless of their denomination. Southern Baptists
are NOT the premiere or only biblical denomination out there. To my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters – THERE WILL BE THOSE FROM OTHER DENOMINATIONS IN HEAVEN!!!!
However, if their understanding of baptism was different from the answers I am looking for (which I believe to be biblical), then I would definitely want to talk further.
: I believe baptism by immersion must come AFTER salvation. This was by the command of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20
) and the practice of the early Christians throughout the book of Acts.
I believe baptism is symbolic in nature. Meaning, it does NOT save a person – only Jesus saves
. But it symbolically demonstrates what Jesus has done as well as their own commitment to follow Him (see Romans 6:3-11
: Some denominations teach that one is not totally ‘saved’ until he/she is baptized. In other words, some believe salvation isn’t finished until the ‘believer’ is baptized. I don’t think this to be true at all. For instance, the thief on the cross
– Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise that very day – never having an opportunity to be baptized.
Regarding #4: I would really want to talk with the individual to see what they believed about salvation when he/she was baptized and what is required of us to be right with God and to live forever with Him in glory. Was their hope in Jesus alone? Do/Did they believe Jesus saved them – not only for then, but forever?
Other denominations obviously differ from Southern Baptists regarding the method and meaning and mode of baptism. Others are very similar. So, yes, we accept biblical immersion by baptism from other denominations. If the Apostle Paul or Jesus wanted to join our church – WE WOULD DEFINITELY LET THEM and accept their immersion baptism though neither were Southern Baptist! But, no, we don’t – if their convictions/beliefs about it are foreign to what I believe the Bible teaches.
At the end of the day – IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS and faith in His complete and sufficient work on the cross.