Just an hour ago (12:42am now) we just baptized someone at a nearby ocean. He’s the fifth person that we baptized this week. Two of which are Christian ‘already’ including this fifth guy.
Re-baptism is rare here as we don’t try to save the saved already. The command to make disciples is to the lost, not to the found. To the world and not to the church. It is when we lose the effectiveness of the Great Commission when we loses its focus: lost. But since re-baptism happens from time to time here I believe I should give time to explain my side of belief about it. Just when we prepare for baptism in this close to midnight hour I was already bombarded with questions why we do what we do: re-baptism.
This two brothers ‘already’ was not the only person that I re-baptized. There’s a couple of them around my network of friends in my country. One time as I gathered some housechurches in one City in Mindanao I told them if they’re not tired of having meetings week-after-week? “We are” they all said. Doing meetings without being a family is non-sense. Families don’t try to be families by doing meetings. Meetings is not our job, making disciples is. If we make disciples and more people will be saved then meetings would take care of itself. We don’t multiply ourselves by doing meetings, and what, invite people to attend it? As my friend Victor Choudhrie says to Wolfgang Simson when I ask him about doing meetings, “Wolfgang,” he shouted at him as Wolf approaches us “Molong is worried about meetings, and I told him to just keep making disciples and meetings will take care of itself. I told him to go to Thailand and Cambodia, to Asia and start a movement.”
“Yeah,” Wolf muttered “he’s stuck with kids!” (I do stuck with kids around my house).
Back to these housechurches gathering. “If so, then what should you do?” I call for an answer. “Meetings don’t multiply us, making disciples is” I said my point. And I began teaching them on how to make disciples by sharing stories after stories of how we make disciples. I don’t like people to ‘copy and paste’ what we do that’s why sharing our stories is what I normally do. But some common principles I quote here and there. Three men, all husbands in that gathering of Saints decided to get baptize. Yes, re-baptism. And not only them, two of them re-baptizes their wives too! That day about 13 baptisms including some new baptisms.
I was invited to join a wedding, still in Mindanao area. One person was warned about me by the groom but I was not informed and so this person approach me after the wedding saying “I heard about you that baptisms is happening everyday.”
“Nah, that’s not true.” I replied quickly, “Not everyday. Maybe every week or two.”
Our conversation about making disciples for an hour led him to baptized five after one week. He called me on my phone and said, “I just baptized five people and I want you to come.”
“Wow, that’s exciting. I don’t need to come.” I answered him politely. “You’re already doing it. You don’t need me.”
But he insist that I should come. So I did.
“I want you to baptized me.” He said.
“What? Are you kidding me?” I tried to joke him around. “Why?”
“I just want to make sure that I am dead. I don’t want to bury spiritually dead people into baptism without making sure that I also am dead and was raised to new life by baptism.” The guy is quite serious. He wants to bear fruits and just want to make sure he’s qualified. “And it says in Acts 19:1-7 also that people there were re-baptized.” This surprises me. I knew the incident in this chapter but somehow overlook it? We search the scripture back together then. It is indeed there. They were re-baptized.
“And also I have a confession to make.” He continued. “My wife and I committed fornication before our marriage. And we want this sin to bury in our second time baptism.” At first I was quite reluctant but if the guy talks about an un-confessed sin specially in the family then it’s something. The last book and the last chapter of the OT is Malachi 4:6 and it talks about sin in the family. “Turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers.” It’s recognizing that unless there’s an un-confessed sin and un-forgiveness in our families then the revival that we have in our churches is merely hypocrisy. True family reconciliation must begin in the head of the family, the father asking forgiveness to his children. Not the other way around. Notice when these things shall not happen. Don’t be surprise with the last word of the OT: curse.
A curse in the family. No wonder revival must begin in our homes. Sin begins in the family: Adam and Eve. So God’s work begins in the family. After the 430 years of silent from Malachi to Matthew here is John the Bapist preparing the King’s way by restoring families. What? By what? Read it yourself.
“He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.””
Luke 1:17 NKJV
“To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Isn’t that clear enough? If you want to prepare Jesus’ coming, go and make disciples my friend. One family at a time. God saves households, hardly individuals.
“So, looks this man’s reasons to get re-baptized is valid.” I said to myself. I baptized him that day and he in turn baptizes his wife and both of them baptizes another three that they made into disciples of Jesus. That day is Sunday and it’s not only five who was baptized. It’s actually seven. Because the person that we made into a disciple the day after has baptized two!
“I want to make sure I am dead too.” One American says to me during the gathering of the Saints in the same city. “No wonder why maybe we couldn’t do anything for three months staying in Cebu and another three months here. We tried to do something for the Lord’s kingdom but somehow we could not. Let me be baptize again.” That day also he baptizes his wife after him.
The stories above is what I normally shared to barren Christians. “I think I need to be re-baptized” one brother and friend of me and my wife for more than ten years. He tried to make disciples but somehow he could not. After his baptism just last Friday he baptizes his wife after two days (Sunday). And now he’s sharing to me that he’s ready to baptize his younger brother. And for what more reason anyway that he was re-baptized? Same. For want to make sure that he’s dead to sin. For confessing the sin of fornicstion. For fruitfulness sake.
And honestly, after these folks has been re-baptized somehow they’ve started their journey of making disciples. That is, they are making disciples to their friends now. We are full of records, photos and videos and stories that you can find in my site. I make sure I record them for a purpose: for the next generation to learn and follow.
The ‘christian’ friend that we just baptized tonight is ready to baptized his wife tomorrow (it’s too late now, after midnight and to baptize his wife means we have to travel back again to the ocean). At first the wife is not quite convince but she has promptings from the spirit already she said.
“Oneness” I exclaimed saying that it’s the reason she get baptize again, this time by her husband. Her husband has some prompting also “we want to be fruitful together as this is what we’ve desired for a very long time.”
“Oneness!” As soon as I exclaimed the wife said “that’s it. That is the very reason I should do it.” She put a smile on her lovely face.
“Oneness” why I said it? To force her? Not really. But to remind both of them of the word that I got from God for them months ago before they came here. See, this man Donand, that’s his name by the way, has shared some situation to me and offered him prayers from the ecclesia here and see what the Lord’s word for them. And that word is “oneness.” Coincident? Think not. God do works in ways we cannot see but I think He works also in ways that’s quite obvious for us to see. He’s not playing ‘hide and seek’ to His kids all the time. He’s just full of surprises for us. Who would think Don would get baptized tonight? Not even him. Although he has already promptings for a year to do it. Just started making sense tonight as we gather at the table with some saints around and do our Lord’s Supper together.
Ophs! Yeah. We just a ‘meating.’
So to cut this short is, re-baptism occurs for some reasons based on our experience here.
1. They’re making sure that they are really dead in their sins. Somehow their first or second or even third baptisms didn’t do that. They’re baptized somehow to be a part of a church denomination. Or was just baptized because they repent and nothing else.
Baptism is both, for repentance and for receiving the new life. “Just as Christ died, you also died in baptism. And just as He was raised from the dead you also raised with Him in new life.” Maybe no wonder many who were baptized have no change life because their baptism is only up to repentance and not receiving new life? Hmmnn…..
2. They want to confess some sins. “But there should be some baptism going on to do that?” You may ask. If the person thinks he needed to do that, who should stop him? Baptism doesn’t save you. Jesus work is. But believing without obedience to baptism is not full gospel. “Go make disciples, baptize,…” Genuine belief will want to make you do your best to obey Jesus.
But in their case, baptism is not for salvation, it is to make sure that they get it right. To enter into the kingdom of God is through baptism. To remain in the kingdom of God is by obedience. Many enter into a church denomination by baptism and I think they got the wrong baptism. Just like Roman Catholics here, mostly are baptized when they’re a baby. That’s not real baptism. That’s not Jesus’ way.
3. They want to bear fruits.
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:8 NKJV
Disciples makes disciples. Bearing fruits is bringing glory to God. He is glorified. That’s our worship.
You don’t wanna be a barren Christian. If you’re really are in serious business in serving God then bearing fruits should be your desire. Bringing people into the kingdom by making disciples is your marching order. If there any that hinders your fruitfulness in God you should be willing to identify them and eliminate them. It’s what Jesus required to become a disciple-to deny yourself in order to make disciples.
Is re-baptism is required to be able to bear fruits? I don’t know. Only you can answer that. But for these people who went into it, the answer is obvious: you shall know them by their fruits.