Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Legalism In The News - Re-Baptism

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Make no mistake about it. Men often love to make rules that are not in the Bible and call them Biblical.

The new President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Frank Page, "...affirmed that he believes re-baptism is necessary in the case of a person who was baptized by immersion following salvation in a church with 'incorrect theology,' including one which rejected eternal security of the believer."

Now I certainly believe in the eternal security of the believer, but the issue for baptism Biblically is not the fine points of theology, but the professed regeneration of the candidate. In other words, are you born again? Are you a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

But in an echo of the Pharisees, man sometimes likes to make his own rules, call them Biblical, then parse them to the "enth" degree to cover all situations that might arise, forgetting that the Holy Spirit will be leading.

What's interesting is that President Page has a controversial background of promoting women Pastors, which he has since recanted as "incorrect theology".

Does that mean that those who were baptized in his church during those years when he held his former view should now be re-baptized? He would, of course, say, "Certainly not." There again, because one not only makes his extra-biblical rules, but then refines them according to his own sub-rules, legalism remains a slippery fish to get a hold on.

He also has written a book against Calvinism. Does that mean someone baptized in an SBC church that teaches what he would call the "incorrect doctrine" of Calvinism should be re-baptized. And on it goes.

Side Note: By the way, when Page says re-baptism is "necessary", necessary for what? Salvation? He would say, "Of course not." What then? Well, it's for putting your name on the rolls for "membership" (dare I say, another extra-biblical teaching?).

And that's "Legalism In The News" for today, folks.

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Bhedr said...

I am a Southern Baptist and I guess that is one of the things that bothers me. It just seems that all to often numbers are promoted and acheivements. It just seems that they are always so focused on that. It was like that in some Independent Baptist churches as well, but as a denomination this always seems to be the prime directive. How many have we baptized this year?Therefore I wonder if these methods are used to fill up the boastings bank.

Terry Rayburn said...

Hi bhedr,

Yup, I've seen the same thing. And I'm not meaning to single out that denomination only. Beyond-the-Scripture measurements seems to be a "normal" tendency of the flesh that we're all capable of if we're not on guard.

Thank God His grace covers even our Phariseeism :)

Bhedr said...

Yes...I am a born legalist and the law only gives me what my old Adam craves...the opportunity to go for the gold medal of purity and condemn whoever else is contending for that same medal.

So often I have to get out of the box and examine how I can unconsciously control and set up my own standards to condemn others. That is what is so hard. Determining what the Lord is genuinely convicting me of or what my old nature wants to use to condemn others and justify myself.

I know we must keep our eyes on the Lord, but there are indeed things that we must discern...that is tough...to discern without self righteousness.

BTW, what if that believer wants to get baptized again...would you counsel them not to or no?

Terry Rayburn said...

I would never counsel someone to be re-baptized unless they had previously been baptized before they were a believer.

Anonymous said...

You might have a point, and I am thinking of leaving for a different denomination, however they baptized by sprinkling. What do you think?

Bhedr said...

If they believed in baptismal regeneration or something and were not truly believers then I would re-baptize the one who was sprinkled. I don't know what Terry thinks though. If they believed the truth and were saved and then sprinkled then I would chock that up to mode and would not re-baptize. Having said that I believe in immersion myself and that is why I am a baptist.

Bhedr said...

My Mom's cousin is a brethren after the JN Darby order and he sprinkles...but he clearly believes the truth and does not even hint at baptismal regeneration.

Terry Rayburn said...

I don't think sprinkling is the best understanding of Scripture, but I sure don't consider it worthy of dividing brethren over. I wouldn't hesitate to attend an assembly that sprinkles, if it was otherwise acceptable.

Or to put it more bluntly, better a spiritual, Christ-centered, Bible-teaching, loving assembly that sprinkles, than a dead social club that dunks.

Anonymous said...

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Women pastors,Divorce,Church rules,all of it is covered and explained with wisdom and clairity. check it out!

Seer said...

While baptism was definitely considered necessary by Jesus and his apostles in order to enjoy forgiveness of one's sins and the right to begin a new life free from sin (Acts 2:38; Romans 6; and 1Peter 3, The re-baptizing of those men in Acts 19 was specifically because they had not placed their faith in Jesus who had already come and gone. It was only at the point of baptism that a believer was considered to have literally put his trust or faith in Jesus. No one can possibly refute this from the scriptures by any legitimate means. Now, if you want to charge Jesus and his apostles with being legalists, go ahead.

Terry Rayburn said...


1. If you mean that water baptism is necessary for salvation, or as you put it, "to enjoy forgiveness of one's sins", you are just echoing an old heresy of works and sacramentalism hocus-pocus that would take too much work and space to address here. Yes, I said "heresy".

2. Your citing of Acts 19 is irrelevant, since my subject was re-baptizing those who were already saved and baptized in a different church, not unbelievers who had never come to Christ.

Steve Finnell said...


A favorite defense for those who do not want to obey God's terms for pardon, is to label strict obedience to God as Phariseeism. Is Phariseeism keeping God's law to the letter?

LEGALISM DEFINED: Strict and literal adherence to law.

Were the Pharisees guilty of legalism? No they were not. The Pharisees practiced illegalism. They were not legal.

Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so they might put Him to death.

Is obtaining false testimony an example of strict adherence to God's law?

Matthew 28:11-13...the chief priests...12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers. 13 and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and sole Him away while we were asleep.'

Is conspiring to bribe men to lie, strict adherence to God's law?

Matthew 23:14[ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]

Was devouring widow's houses an example of legalism or illegalism? Were the Pharisees literally following God's law by devouring widows' houses?

Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law; justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Jesus did not reprimand the Pharisees for their strict compliance to God's law? No, it was the exact opposite. The Pharisees were neglecting strict obedience to the law.


The legalism of the Pharisees was because they followed man-made traditions, not because they followed God's law to the letter.

Mark 7:1-7 .....5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the traditions of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" 6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips. But their heart is far from Me, 7 'But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrine the precepts of men.'

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for teaching the traditions of Men. Jesus did not scold them for literal obedience to God's laws.

Mark 7:8 Neglecting the commandments of God, you hold to the traditions of men."

The Pharisees were not practicing legalism by strict obedience to God's law. They were illegal for neglecting God's commandments and keeping man-made traditions.

Is teaching what Jesus said in, Mark 16:16, being Pharisaical.
(Mark 16: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved....)

Would it be a tradition of men to say that "has been baptized shall be saved?" No it would not; it would the words of Jesus Christ.

To claim that Christians are practicing the legalism of the Pharisees because they say you have to be obedient to God's terms for pardon in order to be saved, is factually incorrect.




A. FAITH: John 3:16
B. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
C. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10
D. WATER BAPTISM: 1 Peter 3:20-21

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