Water baptism is a special ritual that began with Jesus, and intended to be practiced until the end of the age.
It’s a way for people who put their faith in Jesus to show they are connected to his life, death, and resurrection. It’s also a way for them to show they are part of the church, a family of people marked by God’s covenant with them.
But for many, baptism can be a little confusing– especially for those who may have been baptized as a baby, baptized before they really believed, or feel the need to rededicate themselves to the Lord and to the church.
So let’s look at some common reasons you might want to get rebaptized and what the Bible and church history have to say about it.
Reasons You Might Want to Get Baptized a Second Time
There are a few key reasons people feel the need to get baptized twice. Some are legitimate, while others might not be:
You Were Baptized As a Baby
Infant baptism is a common practice in Catholicism and many mainline denominations like the Methodist church, Episcopal church, and many Presbyterian churches. There are many compelling reasons to baptize an infant and then to walk them through some kind of “confirmation” period where their faith is solidified years later.
That said, most of us here at UTB believe in what many refer to as a believer’s baptism, which we see modeled in scripture. This stance says that Christians should be baptized following their conversion, not prior.
I definitely wouldn’t say it’s sinful to be baptized before professing saving faith in Jesus, but it does beg the question: should you get baptized a second time after coming to saving faith?
We think yes: Getting rebaptized after coming to faith is an act of obedience.
Many in the church (including myself) who might have grown up Catholic or in a denomination that practices infant baptism might wonder if getting baptized a second time is disrespectful to their parents’ faith. It’s a legitimate question. We would argue that it’s more important to honor the precedent of scripture, but also important to honor our parents. So if you think they’d be confused or hurt by your decision – definitely have a conversation with them first.
You Were Baptized As An Unbelieving Adult
In the day and age of huge church gatherings and mass baptism events, there are many in the West who have gotten baptized without really believing in the saving grace of Jesus. Whether they felt pressured, were simply overwhelmed with emotions, or legitimately felt like they believed – they got baptized and then only later came to real saving faith.
Should these people get baptized again? Yes, we think so.
As mentioned, the only way we see baptism practiced in the Bible is post-conversion. And we believe following that model is obedient and honoring to God.
Let us note that the first baptism was in no way sinful and there should be no shame around it.
You Went through a Transformational Experience or Event
Another common scenario involves going through a big life event or transformative experience and then feeling the need to get baptized as a sign of the change, growth, or new perspective.
It’s definitely normal to feel that baptism should be a marker or signpost, or that it should be an event to publicly pronounce your new outlook – but we don’t feel like this is a legitimate reason to get rebaptized. Again, is it sinful to do so? Probably not, but this isn’t the way we see baptism practiced in the scriptures, and wouldn’t recommend it.
You Want to “Rededicate” Your Life to Jesus
If you spent a season sliding or far from God, and then come back into an intimate place with Him, it’s normal to think about baptism. But just as we mention above: If you were already baptized as a believer, rebaptism isn’t necessary.
The Only Legitimate Reason for a Second Baptism
At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: “Have you been baptized as a believer?” If you have, then you don’t need to be baptized again. If you haven’t been baptized as a believer, and now you’ve come to saving faith in Jesus, then you should be baptized.
Was Anyone Baptized Twice in the Bible?
In Acts 19, a group of men who had been baptized by John the Baptist – a baptism of repentance – were then baptized a second time in the name of the Lord Jesus after Paul helped them understand salvation through Christ’s work on the cross.
This scenario confirms for us what we’ve laid out so far in this post: that baptism should only happen after legitimate conversion. The men had repented of their sin, but hadn’t yet fully understood the Gospel of Jesus. They only grasped one half of the story of salvation.
This situation is most similar to the Christian who was baptized earlier in life at a time they thought they understood the Gospel. Then, after coming to a true saving faith, were baptized again.
Talk with Your Local Church Leaders
If this post didn’t clear things up for you – go to your local church leaders and let them know what you’re thinking. There can be a lot of confusion and mixed reviews regarding baptism throughout the church. So seek counsel and make a wise decision.