When we think that “rebaptism” issues were only debated within Churches of Christ, perhaps we need to see things more broadly (e.g., Southern Baptists rebaptize) and historically (can you say “Donatist“?).
A blogpost entitled “Southern Baptists and Alien Immersion” was linked to my last post and it drew my interest. It illustrates that while there is potential rapprochement on baptismal theology, there is also strong and settled entrenchment on the subject.
The post quoted some results of a survey of 778 Southern Baptist pastors. 74% surveyed said their churches would not accept immersions by the Assembly of God or Free Will Baptist Churches. 87% said they would not accept immersions by Churches of Christ.
I think this is rather sad. When immersion is hinged on anything other than faith in Christ, it seems to me that it becomes an ecclesial–and consequently sectarian–power play. Baptism then serves denominational loyalty rather than serving faith in Jesus.
Alexander Campbell’s insistence that the confession of Jesus as the Christ is the only requirement for baptism seems all the more important to emphasize in our contemporary American context–not only for members of Churches of Christ but also, apparently, for pastors among Southern Baptist churches.
Whoever believes in Jesus is a candidate for baptism and whoever dismisses their baptism denies, it seems to me, the power of God’s work through faith (Colossians 2:12).