“So those who received his word were baptized,
and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”
Since Redeeming Grace is Reformed in our theology we often receive Christians from other Reformed traditions who are interested in becoming members of Redeeming Grace. The two most important considerations that such brothers and sisters wrestle with are our Charismatic practices and our practice of believers baptism and therefore our rejection of infant baptism.
Since many other Reformed traditions do baptize infants this can create a church membership problem. We do not baptize infants nor do we believe that those who were baptized as infants have personally fulfilled the Biblical requirement of believer’s baptism–which we believe to be a necessary step before becoming a member of a church.
Now please don’t get us wrong. Being properly baptized is not a salvation matter. We love and respect our paedo-baptist brethren! Nevertheless, we do disagree with their views on the timing and mode of baptism. In the end we find the clearest statements and examples in scripture point to water baptism being administered chronologically after personal faith, as a testimony of that personal faith. Therefore we do require that those perusing membership here be baptized as believers. We are very happy to walk patiently through this issue as it can be complex and multifaceted. But in the end this is one of those matters that does cause genuine believers to have to belong to different traditions and churches because it effects a central practice of the church. In the providence of God church history has diverged into two distinct and incompatible practices in this regard.
When we do baptize those who have grown up in a Protestant tradition that practices infant baptism, we are careful to note that their baptism is not a repudiation of, nor is it to be interpreted as being dismissive of, the wonderful Christian upbringing they may have enjoyed growing up in other rich Protestant traditions. We have complete agreement with all the most important doctrines of these sister churches. We are the beneficiaries of much great teaching, historic doctrinal formulations, and deep brotherhood in the gospel with our brothers in such Reformed churches. We are therefore always grateful when Christians from other traditions, who in the providence of God have felt called to join our church, are willing to receive believers baptism after having already been baptized as infants.
These baptisms are atypical since they don’t testify to a recent conversion. Nevertheless they still testify to the glorious reality that, by grace of God, conversion has taken place in their lives! Though the timing and circumstances of these baptisms are unusual, what they speak to, and signify, are still Christ-exalting declarations. So when those who have been baptized as infants come forward for believer’s baptism, they have a special, albeit unusual, opportunity to publicly testify to their faith and declare their allegiance to the Savior.