Question of the day: who can baptize?

I’ve had discussions with other believers over this issue in the past. I’ve attended churches that all differed on their stance on this subject. I have my own opinions — but that’s all they really are: opinions. So I’m curious to hear what you all think about it.

Use Scripture to back your opinions. Please. and thank you.

Here’s this week’s QOTD…

Who do you believe has the authority to baptize Christians after salvation?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Posted on October 15, 2012, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. If you believe the call of Matthew 28 is for all believers, then all believers can baptize…and should.

    There, maybe that will get the ball rolling!

  2. I don’t have a Scripture because there isn’t one. Any believer can baptize because there isn’t a verse which says differently. Phillip wasn’t the dang Pope. He was just a believer who knew enough about Scripture to help his new Ethiopian friend understand what he was reading, and then he baptized him. Also, the Great Commission, as has already been mentioned, is given to all believers.
    I’d be interested in anyone’s reasoning for thinking it only has to be a pastor or something similar. I can’t imagine they have a verse to back it up.

  3. There is no Scripture that says anything about who should baptize. Nowhere does it say only ministers or pastors should baptize. Nowhere does it prohibit the average Christian from baptizing a fellow believer. However, I don’t see where anyone doing the baptizing in the New Testament, from Acts forward, was anyone other than an Apostle or spiritual leader. Even though Philip “was not the dang Pope,” he was one of the 12, which carries a little more weight than being “just a believer who knew enough about Scripture.”

    In my opinion, the one doing the baptizing, if not a pastor or such, should at least be a recognized spiritual leader in the group.

    • I agree with you, Pastor Baker.

    • Anthony, the relevant thing here is that the Great Commission does speak to all believers. That’s huge.
      That said, I am my kids’ spiritual leader, because I am their dad. Based on your last sentence, are you up for allowing dads to baptize their children? How about home group leaders?

      • James, my point is that there is no prohibition in Scripture for either. But let me be clear about a thing or two. First, as pastor, I prefer that only an ordained minister (pastor, preacher, youth pastor) baptize anyone in our local place of assembly. Does that mean that is the only way it could be done and still be biblical? Not totally sure.

        Secondly, do I think it is ok for family members to baptize family members? Sure, why not? But if they want to do it at Riverside Baptist, we have a policy that only ordained men can perform the ordinance. If the family member is ordained, and a man, then I would have no problem with it, nor would our congregation. But if you are out near a pond, with family, and a family member wants to be baptized right then and there as a proof of their conversion, then go for it!

        Thirdly, I think that the question about “home group leaders” can be adequately answered by the above statements. The only thing that I would add is that if there is no prohibition for anyone to baptize anyone, then why wouldn’t a group “member” suffice? But, as I mentioned earlier, if all that is required, theorectically, is a recognized spiritual leader, then why not the home group leader? Why would I have a problem with that?

        What I think this has a tendency to segway into is a debate over the authority or relevance of the local assembly of believers (church) as described in the Epistles. What importance to we give to the role of pastor/undershepherd/bishop/overseer? What importance do we give to a recognized body giving its stamp of approval to something or someone who claims to be a part of it? For instance, Paul did not officially embark on one of his missionary journeys until he was sent out by the local church – ordained (Acts 13:2-3). Considering how important a symbol baptism is, should it not be administered by recognized representatives of that body?

        Sorry, I hope I didn’t ramble. But thanks for the opportunity to clarify my thoughts on this.

  4. Who can baptize? Baptism brings glory to God. Ephesians 3:21 says Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. I believe the church has the authority to baptize. The authorize whoever they desire to administer the act itself, but the church must approve it first. I read many years ago where Phyllis Diller had a party at her house and many who had been drinking heavily decided to be baptized. Pat Boone, a self-proclaimed “Christian” began to baptize them in MS Diller’s swimming pool. That in itself is a mockery of the seriousness of the ordinance. BUT – after he finished, MS Diller drained the pool because she said she didn’t want any “Holy Water” polluting her pool. When it is done properly, the ordinance is a beautiful picture of the burial and resurrection of Christ. Therefore to give God the glory, I believe it must be done by the authority of the church. Yes, anyone authorized by said church can do the act, but the ordinance is of church capacity.

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