(Is re-baptism the same as the one baptism?) Bible Question
“The Bible says there is only one baptism. So why do preachers say after the sermon, ‘if you want to be re-baptized, come forward’? Is re-baptism the same as the one baptism?”
The Bible teaches,“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4 – 6; New American Standard Bible).
There is an example of “re-baptism” (if we can call it that) in Acts chapter 19. The apostle Paul came to Ephesus and found twelve men who had been baptized with John’s baptism. Paul taught them about Christ and His baptism. . .
“It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.” – Acts 19:1 – 7
There had been other baptisms before Christ (Matthew 3:11; 1 Corinthians 10:1 – 4; etc.) but as Ephesians 4 declares, there is now only “one baptism”. This one baptism is that which Christ has commanded . . .
“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. . .” – Mark 16:16
“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. . .'” – Acts 2:38
“. . . Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” – Acts 22:16
“. . . do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” – Romans 6:3
When a person has been thus baptized, he never needs to be “re-baptized”. However, if one has been baptized with the wrong baptism (as in Acts 19:1 – 7), then he has not been baptized with the “one baptism”. Such a person needs to be baptized. But he is not really being “re-baptized”, for he hasn’t been baptized at all.
Just getting wet does not constitute scriptural baptism (such as swimming). There must be the right intent and purpose (see passages above) for it to be the “one baptism” of the Scriptures. If you have been baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16:16), there is no need to be “re-baptized”.
But if you were “baptized” in order to get into a man-made religion or church (which are not authorized in the Bible), then you need to be baptized. And denominational baptism is not the one baptism (just as John’s baptism isn’t). If you have not been baptized with the “one baptism”, then you need to be baptized. It is a mistake to call it re-baptism, for you were never baptized (in God’s sight) the first time.