Rinse, Repeat: Should Believers Be Dunked Again?

Just like being “born again,” the symbol of baptism becomes a way of life, not a repetitive ritual.

Since I was baptized at the age of eight by my pastor father, I haven’t really lingered on the meaning of baptism as part of my devotional life.

It was a one-time event that marked a spiritual milestone in my life, and over time, I’ve lost some connection to that moment. I considered the significance of baptism as a church ordinance or sacrament only much later when watching other people get baptized.

As a pastor in a faith tradition that practices baptism for believers, I am having an increased number of conversations with people who wonder about their baptisms. I am not alone. The uncertainty of COVID-19 seems to have only multiplied these questions. In their confusion, many sincere believers feel the need to get baptized again to recapture the feeling of being cleansed through the work of Christ.

If we couple the cultural moment with the beginning of a new year when people are considering a deeper commitment to God, this longing increases.

I have talked with many who share this angst. It can lead to some real confusion. Many wonder whether these feelings undermine the legitimacy of their baptism experiences or even their salvation.

In reality, the amount of time since you were baptized doesn’t diminish its significance, and there is no biblical evidence that any genuine believer needs to get baptized more than once. In my own Southern Baptist tradition, a “rededication” of faith does not warrant rebaptism.

However, as a symbol of new birth into eternal life with Christ, I believe the significance of baptism should play a more prominent role in our devotional lives. We can recall the feeling of being baptized without returning to the water by embracing the spiritual exercise of ongoing submersion. …

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