Some Christian denominations require a baptism before becoming a member of a particular church, regardless of previous baptisms. Is it a Biblical requirement to be re-baptised?
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As far as I am aware, the only mention of re-baptism in the New Testament occurred in Acts 19:1-7, where approximately twelve individuals who had received only the baptism of repentance (such as that preached and performed by John the Baptist) were re-baptized in the name of Jesus, and then received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by Paul, after which they spoke in tongues and prophesied as evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence. This would lead me to believe that (although re-baptism is not prohibited), as long as a person has been baptized either in the name of Jesus (as in Acts 19), or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (as mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 28:19), there would be no requirement based on Scripture to be re-baptized. However, based on differing baptismal practices among individual denominations, specific church bodies may not recognize the form of baptism performed by another denomination (such as infant baptism, or a form of baptism other than full immersion), and may thus require re-baptism according to their own beliefs and practices as a condition of joining their fellowship. It would seem to me that it would be the right of those church bodies to do so (especially in the case of requiring baptism by immersion, which is more symbolic of the individual dying, being buried, and then being resurrected or born again with Christ (Romans 6:3-4)) as long as, by being re-baptized in conformance with that church body's doctrines, the person being re-baptized was not also indicating agreement with or submission to any other aspects of those doctrines that the person viewed as unbiblical or opposed to the clear teaching of Scripture. Also, to me, baptism (as important as it is, as evidenced by Christ's command) -- and, by extension, concerns about the form of baptism, or re-baptism -- should not be allowed to obscure the one essential element for salvation -- confessed faith in Christ's death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:9). The Christian should desire to be baptized if at all possible, and should not avoid or refuse it, but I think that the Bible also makes clear that it is not an absolutely essential condition of receiving salvation and eternal life.
"If" the individual wasn't truly born again at the time of baptism and later made a profession of saving faith I believe re-baptism would be warranted. Consider the text in Acts chapter 8 verse 26 through 38. I assume the Ethiopian eunuch was headed home after being baptised by Phillip. There was no requirement that he join the "First church of Jerusalem" in order to be baptized. Only that he believed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God.
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