I am getting baptized in a couple of days and I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. The problem is that I was baptized as a toddler in a Catholic Church. I am not Catholic and the baptism meant nothing because I lived a life of pure sin until the last 6 or 7 months. Is it okay that I am getting baptized for the second time? Is the first "baptism" really a baptism? I want to do things right and I hope you can help.
I love your site, keep up the great work. God bless you.
A similar question was asked a while back: What authority is there for re-baptism? While you were immersed or baptized as an infant, it was not the baptism commanded by Christ. Christ's baptism is founded on faith (Mark 16:16) and repentance (Acts 2:38). As a toddler, you could not have faith since you did not know what was going on. You could not have repentance because that would mean you had sins to turn away from, but children don't know the difference between good and evil (Deuteronomy 1:39). Therefore, your earlier "baptism" did as much as taking a bath or diving into a swimming pool did for you -- it got you a bit wet.
I am a bit puzzled as to why you are being baptized in a few days. One of the things we see in the Bible is that when a person sees the need to change their lives and want to submit to God's will, they are baptized immediately. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). Delaying doing what you know is right is never good.
Think about these examples:
- Peter taught the first gospel sermon and the people responded. "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:37-41). How long was it between their conviction and their baptism?
- As Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch, the eunuch responded, "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?" 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." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:36-38). How long was it between the eunuch's understanding of what he needed to do and his doing it?
- "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25). God then released them from prison through an earthquake. As a result, Paul and Silas had an opportunity to teach their jailer and his family. "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house" (Acts 16:32). But notice the response, "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized" (Acts 16:33). Even though it was in the middle of the night, the response was immediate.
You see, none of us knows what the future holds. "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). Therefore, the only time we have available is the time we have right now. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2). This is why Ananias told Saul, "'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
If you are studying with a group that does not see the importance of baptism, I am concerned that you may be with a group that is not teaching the whole counsel of God.
They baptize people every third Sunday, so I guess I have to wait until then. Who can baptize me other than a deacon of the church? I really have no other choice but to wait. My church also baptizes in the name of Jesus Christ. Will I go to hell if I am baptized in the name of Jesus Christ?
Any Christian can baptize. The command given to the apostles by Christ was ""Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20). Thus the apostles were commanded to baptize and to teach those who became disciples to do the same.
The idea of doing something in a name is equivalent to doing something with that person's authority. It is not a ritual to be chanted, but an acknowledgment of who authorized the practice. Since Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit are one, whatever one authorizes is authorized by they all. Therefore, there is no difference between being baptized in Jesus' name and being baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. See "Should baptism be done only in Jesus' name?" and the article it references for more details.
The practice of only baptizing one day per month has no foundation in Scripture. As I pointed out earlier, the Bible teaches that baptism is done immediately. If a church adds man-made doctrines in this way, I would be concerned about what other man-made doctrines they are also following.
There is always a choice. You could choose to worship with a church who practices only the things found in the Bible.