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Is private baptism without a pastor biblically valid?

Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Is private baptism without a pastor biblically valid? The Bible establishes that there is an authority commissioned for baptizing.
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Caller:  I have a question about baptism.

Pastor Doug:  Ok.

Caller:  My wife and I are of a particular denomination however, we believe that we should get baptized by immersion and we wanted to do it privately.  We wanted to go to the beach – she baptize me, immerse me and I baptize her in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Would that be valid in God’s eyes if we did that?

Pastor Doug:  All right.  The Bible seems to establish, John, that there is an authority that God recognizes.  And when the deacons for instance were chosen, not only were they picked, but the Disciples laid hands on them.

When people were baptized in Bible times, folks who had been commissioned and given authority baptized.  The Bible has, of course Prophets, like John baptizing the Apostles and then the highest level under that we see baptizing – or I should say the lowest level – are the deacons.  There was one deacon, Phillip, and we don’t know when he baptized if he was still a deacon or if he had been promoted, I don’t know.

But, there’s no record in the Bible of disciples baptizing one another.  Usually it was the leadership.  And let me tell you why that is.  I’m a Pastor.  If every member of my church, as soon as they joined the church, if they felt like they could go and baptize whoever they felt led to baptize without any kind of a clearing process, you end up bringing people into the church who really may not have been taught.  And one of the criteria for baptism, John, Jesus said go ye therefore and teach, baptizing them, and teaching them again.

And so I’d be hesitant.  I’ve had people ask this question before, but I would be hesitant.  You know my question for you is, why would you not want to have a public baptism where you invite your Pastor?  Are you part of a church family?

Caller:  Of another religion.

Pastor Doug:  Well, I mean but you do go to a church?

Caller:  Yes, yes.

Pastor Doug:  Do they practice baptism by immersion?

Caller:  No, no, no.

Pastor Doug:  They don’t?

Caller:  No.

Pastor Doug:  Well I’d encourage you to pray that God will lead you to a church that practices that, and then ask the Pastor to participate.

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  That’s my advice – and hey incidentally John, once again, we’ve got a lesson that has a lot more detail on this we’d like to offer you for free and anyone else who has the same question.  I’m sure you’re not alone.

The title, is it “Buried But Not Forgotten”?

Co-Host:  “Buried But Not Forgotten” – that’s it.

Caller:  Ok.  So if I can just clarify this.  You don’t think the Bible recognizes or – you don’t think that Jesus would recognize that kind of baptism?

Pastor Doug:  Well I’m not going to make a dogmatic statement there.  Let me tell you why John.  There are Christians in some communist countries, who accepted Jesus, and there were only a couple of them, and they baptized each other and I think the Lord blessed and acknowledged that because they were operating under extreme circumstances.

And so to say, as a fiat statement, that you cannot have just disciples baptizing each other is not valid but I would say I’d be cautious about doing it that way.  If you do have Bible teaching, Bible believing churches in your community, why wouldn’t you want to participate in one that teaches and believes that?

Caller:  Ok.

Pastor Doug:  Ok?

Caller:  Sounds fair.

Pastor Doug:  All right.  God bless you.

Caller:  Thank you.

Amazing Facts’ Resource Number:  800-835-6747

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