Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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Digression 19: Re-baptism

Some people feel very hesitant to be baptised after having already had what they thought was a ‘baptism’ of some sort, either by sprinkling as a baby, or by full immersion into “another gospel”. Baptism is a once-for-all commitment. Notice the different tenses in the Greek text of Rom. 6:13: ‘Don’t go on yielding’ (present), but rather ‘dedicate yourselves once and for all’ (aorist). The death of Jesus for us was a once-for-all commitment to us, and our response in baptism is likewise a once-for-all commitment to Him (Rom. 6:10). This is why true baptism is by its very nature unrepeatable (Heb. 6:4).

However, before true baptism there must be repentance and proper belief of the true Gospel (Acts 2:38; Mk. 16:15,16). Baptism is only a true baptism, acceptable to God, when it is undertaken in this way. Mt. 28:19,20 associates baptism with first hearing the teachings of Christ explained. A young child is incapable of repenting or understanding the Gospel; in any case, sprinkling is not baptism. In all Biblical examples, the desire for baptism is purely at the initiative of the person who wants to be baptised (e.g. Lk. 3:10; Acts 2:37; 8:36; 16:30). Parents cannot decide that a young baby can be properly baptised, because they cannot take the initiative for another individual. A swimmer diving into a swimming pool may be immersed in water, but this is not baptism, because the person is not consciously responding to the true Gospel. The same is true of those who are immersed whilst believing “another gospel”; they have been immersed but not baptised.

There is only “one faith”, i.e. one set of doctrines which comprises the true Gospel, and therefore only “one baptism” - the baptism which occurs after believing the “one faith”. “There is one body (i.e. one true church)... just as you were called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God” (Eph. 4:4-6). There are not many hopes, as is believed by those who say that it does not matter how we understand the Christian hope; whether we believe our reward will be in heaven or on earth. There is only “one God” - Jesus is therefore not God. It follows that if, when we were baptised, we failed to understand basic doctrines like the Kingdom of God, the nature of God and Jesus, etc., then our first ‘baptism’ may not have been valid. At our baptisms, we rose with Christ “through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Baptism isn’t just immersion in water- it depends upon our faith to make it real and meaningful. And faith comes from believing the one faith, as in the set of teachings that comprise the true Gospel. If we didn’t know these at the time of our first immersion, how could we have truly believed?

John the Baptist immersed people, calling upon them to repent, and teaching them certain things about Jesus (Mk. 1:4; Lk. 3:3). However, this was insufficient. Acts 19:1-5 records that some whom John had baptised had to be baptised again because of their incomplete grasp of the true Gospel. Like those whom John baptised, we may feel that at our first dipping we did make a genuine repentance and a new start. This may be true, but it does not take away the need to receive the “one (true) baptism” which can only occur after grasping all the elements of the “one faith”.

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||