Can I Baptize Someone?

(Can I Baptize Someone?) Bible Question.

Question:

“I was told by my minister (from the Church of Christ) that I could baptize someone into Christ, even though I am not a minister in the church. Is this so?”

Answer:

We have a variety of people baptizing people in the New Testament.

Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. – Matthew 3:4 – 6 (New American Standard Bible)

John the baptizer was known for immersing people.

Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), – John 4:1, 2

During His ministry Jesus taught baptism, but He did not do the baptizing, His disciples did. In Acts, we see a variety of people doing the baptizing.

And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. – Acts 8:28

Beyond these facts, little is told to us about who should do the baptizing. The New Testament does not contain a chapter that defines who can and who cannot. We learn those things from the various passages that describe baptism and teach us about immersion. As such no rule exists that says the only person who can baptize is a minister.

To answer your question directly: Yes, you can baptize people as a servant of Jesus Christ, just as His first century disciples baptized people as servants of the Lord.

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2 comments on “Can I Baptize Someone?

  1. If I may.

    I grew up in the Campbellite Church of Christ, but have since joined the Catholic Church of Christ (and have written a book about the CofC and baptism here: http://patrickvandapool.com/store/ ). I’ve come to learn that the fullness of Christianity is found in the Catholic Church, and I think your question offers another proof for it. Let me explain.

    The Bible mentions “instructions about baptisms”, and yet, “instructions about baptisms” are not in the Bible. Have you ever wondered why? In other words, the “instructions” were not written down to one day be placed within Sacred Scripture, but rather, they were given and handed down through Sacred Tradition (the same “tradition” that produced the NT and the Bible).

    Protestants (including the CofC) has broken the pattern and abandoned the Sacred Tradition, yet has kept most of her Holy Book, and can only try to figure out some sort of pattern or code that, apparently, only the Protestant CofC is able to figure out. That, to me, is not logical nor what Jesus intended.

    In other words, the “instructions about baptism” are not available to your sect because it has rejected the guardian of those instructions. So when we consult the Church that Jesus (not Campbell) built, that wrote the NT, that discerned its contents, and then created the Bible (a process that lasted nearly 400 years), we can learn that your limited access to truth (the Bible only) has led you to have a limited answer–you are partly right and partly wrong.

    Who can baptize? The ordinary way is to have a priest baptize. The extraordinary (not ordinary) way, however, is for a layperson to baptize in the case of emergency or if the ordinary way is not possible.

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