The Issue of Baptism and Drive By “Educators”

“The priest is not made. He must be born a priest; must inherit his office. I refer to the new birth—the birth of water and the Spirit. Thus all Christians must became priests, children of God and co-heirs with Christ the Most High Priest
”. Martin Luther


For our drive bys: 

“Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength” Eric Hoffer



Many of our readers often bring up issues that are interesting to ponder. One such reader, Michael, made the following comment.

“I just baptized my son this past Friday. It was a wonderful and meaningful event for my son, for me, and my whole family. I’m writing to encourage others, with so much writing about our priesthood of believers on this blog, to exercise the same privilege with members of your family.
We often abdicate our spiritual responsibility in our kids’ lives by letting some, “elite,” minister, who is, “ordained,” as if we’re not, to baptize believers. That has to stop.


But, we must step up to the plate and not give up this privilege to others, empowering them and not ourselves, giving them authority that is ours, as believers. With all the griping about hyper-authoritarianism, do something about it and assume the ministries that God has given to you. Lay hold of what God is calling you to do. Stop waiting for permission from some, “elite,” within your church.


Although I baptized my daughter, as well, my former church, (the church that later terminated my membership when I pointed out that our, “pastor,” was lying), would not allow me to baptize her without an, “ordained minister,” participating. Although my wife led my daughter to the Lord and I led my son to the Lord, somehow, we’re not as anointed as the, “ordained,” to baptize them? Hogwash!”



In my own family, my husband baptized all three of our children during church wide services in two different churches. One of my former pastors, Pete Briscoe, encouraged families to baptize their own children. He even suggested that I, a woman, could do so as well.

Then TWW received the following comments in another post that is relevant to the above comment.


(JACK) “Too Dee, an emphatic yes!!! I do believe that only ordained ministers are authorized to baptize. I believe this is clearly taught in scripture”.


"I certainly agree that rebaptising someone who has been baptized by an ordained minister of the gospel in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit does not need rebaptising".


“Finally, and I do mean finally, if you can only accept 3 points you are an Arminian or a Pelagian. Both of these doctrines were condemed as heresy by the ancient church. Now, please do your homework.”


“Just study the New Testament and see how the apostles were given authority and how they organized the church. I don’t believe you will find any women given authority to preach, administer the sacraments or be ordained in any way. I’m sorry that you wish to take authority that is not yours to receive. There are many functions in the body for women but Christ has not authorized such duties for women. If you had read as much as you say you have you would know Calvin’s position on such things. I said I was done in the last blog. I’m sorry I had to break my word and say more. FIN”


I realize that I have taken some of his comments out of his exact context . Please click here to see the full extent of his comments.


Jack’s comments are not uncommon in the blogosphere. Such persons come onto a blog to “educate” the poor, deceived folks on the site. They claim superior knowledge and accuse said bloggers of being “uneducated.” Then they claim they have read such books as Calvin’s Institutes and suggest we read them.


But, once we let them know we have read the suggested work, they up the ante with claims to have read them several times and so must everyone else in order to comment. In other words, you will never be able to win with this guy because he will always have one more rule to trump you. For example, they will have read the recently translated books by some other supposed “giant of the faith”. I am waiting for the guy who then claims you must read the book in the original language in order to truly “understand” the book.


The world has a term for these guys: pseudo-intellectuals. They read but they don’t really understand. The ever cool Urban Dictionary defines this as "Created solely as an attempt to display the author's intellectual prowess though actually void of real pith; intellectualism as style rather than substance. Often relies on heavy name dropping and erudite, obscure terminology instead of easily understood, common words". Do I get an "amen?"


Then we are all lectured to read the Bible. Why? Supposedly we would then come out to the exact same conclusion that he has and be really good Christians. However, if it was so easy, then why have theologians debated many of these fine points for millennia? I guess they didn't have Jack to advise them.


They make their pronouncements on their version of correct doctrine and make accusation of heresy when one disagrees with them on a secondary issue. Wait, didn’t I write about this yesterday? Then, they sign off, having warned us of the error of our ways.


Well, Jack,  you are a weenie. You are a hyper-authoritarian pit bull that cannot stand the courage of your convictions. It is people like you who birth websites like ExChristians.Net. In your self-centered smugness, you have lost site of your first love and I suggest that it is you who is following man and not Jesus. You can’t even stay around and have a conversation with your fellow Christians. You must be too busy reading another theology book to interact with us lowlifes. Wait, didn’t the Author of Life spend time eating and communing with non-theologians? In fact He called many of their religious leaders, “snakes.” He claimed such priests put rules and regulations on the backs of the poor in spirit and caused them to lose sight of the real faith. 


Here is a suggestion. How about actually caring enough about the people you are trying to reach? Spend some time. Get to know their hearts. There are many who comment on this site who have made enormous sacrifices for the faith. Learn to dialog instead of lecture. You might learn something as well. Or do you really want to?  Perhaps it is easier to put God in a box where you can control HIm and feel really safe. But, as C.S. Lewis ( Is he a heretic as well?) said in the Chronicles of Narnia, "Aslan is not a tame lion." By the way, I have read these books several times. Do I get any points?


Now, my rant is finished so we can get back to our readers and fellow searchers of grace. Perhaps you can weigh in on this subject. Can family members baptize their children or can only ordained pastors baptize? If you go the ordained route, please explain what you mean by ordination. I look forward to your input.


On Monday, I plan to address the controversy swirling around Beth Moore.


The Issue of Baptism and Drive By “Educators” — 24 Comments

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    This is one of those issues where there is not a lot of guidance, in my opinion. So, it’s probably one of those areas where several options are o.k.

    But, for me, just because an option is acceptable doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    My wife and I decided a long time ago that we wanted our children to see their faith as being a connection between them and the Lord. That is essential for people who believe in the priesthood of the believer.

    But we also wanted them to have an appreciation for the body of Christ, the church, both universal and local.

    When they were ready to be baptized we wanted them to remember it as a church ordinance, not a clan or family ordinance. I assisted in the birth of my children. Got to pull one of them right out by the head. I did not want our pastors doing that or being their for that.

    But when it came to their being baptized, I did want my children to have a connection to the church. I could have baptized them in our bathtub one night after a bath. But they would lose something in that type of baptism, in my opinion, even though I can’t point to a scripture and point out where that is prohibited.

    So, we had our pastor baptize them. We watched and hugged them afterwards and told them how proud we were of them and how happy we were for them.

    I have never cared for “family” baptisms. They seem really clanish to me. I suspect a lot of the homeschool, courtship crowd is into them, but I don’t really even know that. Just sounds really patriarchal.

    I feel the same way about the Lord’s supper. It should be enjoyed with the church. I don’t serve the Lord’s supper at may house, but I do grill a mean steak! And I don’t want my pastor coming to my house to cook for the family. I also don’t preach to my family at night.

    I am not a big proponent of a clergy/laity distinction. But there is some value in having some distinction when it comes to church ordinances.

    But these are just opinions.

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    Anonymous 1:21

    Thank you for your comments. I find your opinions thoughtful. I wanted to add some observations.

    The churches that I attended had homeschoolers in the vast minority. Instead, these ordinances were held within the context of meetings with the church. My husband baptized our children during the baptism service at the church (both of which are larger churches). However, my husband was baptized in college by those who were a part of his college fellowship (yep, the Jesus freak days).

    As for communion, I have been a member of small groups for many years. Communion was and is encouraged by the church within the context of this group. If one were to look at the early church, I think we might find that communion was often given in context of small groups. There is a picture in the catacombs which show the bread and wine on a small table between about 6 people.

    However, I do not see a problem with communion happening within a family as well. I just have never practiced it in this manner. Is there anyone reading this who has? I would love to hear your thoughts.

    BTW, my teenage son would say that I preach to him way to frequently! 🙂

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    Thanks for your response. Please don’t take my comments as being critical of your husband’s experience. You bring up the other end of the Christian socialogical spectrum which I had forgotten about.

    I became a believer in the mid 70s. Lots of people in the Jesus movement practiced the ordinances in this way – very loosely. It was all based on trying to get back to a NT authencity vibe and away from ecclesiastical rules.

    I had completely forgotten about that type of thinking, and was only looking at the groups today where we run into this at our church from time to time.

    Sometimes I wish we could go back to the Jesus movement times. There were some great aspects of that.

    I read a story today about the demise of youth groups. I sat under one of the most dynamic youth leaders in the country. I cannot imagine teens not enjoying that kind of experience. But apparently, the youth group model, much like the Jesus movement, is out of vogue.

    By the way, I have a blind 17 year old nephew. He is an avid reader. I asked him if he had heard of Joshua Harris. He nearly died. He had read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and said it was one of the worst books he had read. He summarized it as follows: “Dating is not mentioned in the Bible. Therefore, it is wrong to date. So, let’s start a practice called “courtship” to replace dating, and claim that it IS in the Bible.” He recalled the book only citing 1 scripture in any valid way.

    I know that’s off topic. Just had to tell you while it’s fresh on my mind.

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    I appreciate your comments regarding wanting the event to have a connection with the church you presently attend.

    What’s not said above, referring to me baptizing my son, is that multiple families attended, not only from the church we attend, but from other churches, and we baptized him at the lake.

    What was especially cool about it, was all the kids from those families witnessed the baptism, instead of being somewhere like Kids’ Church or Sunday School, where they would have missed it. Three of the boys that were the same age as my son decided to get into the water and witness the baptism up close; very cool for my son and for them. In addition, there were many other families around that just happened to be at the lake, some of which might have been Christians and some of which were probably not. It was truly a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. To baptize him in public like that was probably more in line with a biblical example, as opposed to some man-made, “bathtub,” within the church building, where only believers witness the event. My son was not afraid to proclaim his faith, even among unbelievers. So, it was anything but a, “family,” or, “clannish,” event.

    But, the emphasis in Dee’s post that needs more discussion is our tendency to defer these ministry opportunities to the pastor. Ephesians says that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were for the equipping of the SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF SERVICE, (or, the employment of ministry), to the building up of the body of Christ. I hope you caught that. The saints are the ones that are to minister. And, trust me, there’s no special anointing that the pastor carries to baptize or minister that is not available to all of us.

    The point is, believers need to mature and stop relying on the pastors to do the work of ministry and do the work, themselves, as able ministers of the Truth, as well. When we don’t do the work of ministry, we both deny our responsibility and authority as equipped believers, and we place undo responsibility, thus, undo authority, on the pastor. As a result, it also opens up the pastor to excessive criticism, because there’s no way for him to do everything people expect him to do.

    You’re free to baptize your children or not, that’s your choice. I believe you, yourself, could baptize your kids at church and experience the same connectivity to the universal and local church you spoke about. There’s plenty of freedom in Christ for you, you and your wife, a friend, or your pastor to baptize.

    But, what’s objectionable is when there are unbiblical church policies, or unwritten rules, that prevent a believer from exercising his God-given ministry to baptize, as a part of the priesthood of believers. That has to change. But, it won’t change until other believers step into the ministries that God has reserved for them, instead of abdicating their responsibilities and letting someone else bear them.

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    I am very familiar with Harris. This mindset has invaded all aspects of Sovereign Grace Ministries which we think is highly legalistic. It has spawned several blogs one of which (SGM Refuge) is linked under our blog roll. Please also look at the number of articles we have on Harris, Mahaney and SGM under our category section. You might find it amusing to know that there is a blog called “I Kissed SGM Good-bye!”

    I would also like to revisit some of those days. I came out of a very liberal, nonChristian family and became a Christian during Star Trek when I was 17. Kind of fits with that era, doesn’t it? But make no mistake, it was a deep and true conversion!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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    Are you surprised to see your name as part of a post today? Told you I was going to do it! It was a comment that needed discussing!

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    This is an issue on which it is very difficult to be dogmatic. On one hand, it appears in Scripture that we only see people who are officers in the church performing baptisms. On the other hand, there are no commands given about who should baptize. It seems that it is best for this issue to be decided by each local body and that these local bodies should land on the side of freedom.

    On a different note, what is the Beth Moore controversy?

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    Hi Scott
    Thanks for the comments. It is confusing. I also agree with you on being on the side of freedom. Just a few questions if you don’t mind. What do you mean that only “officers” in the Bible performed baptisms? Do you mean pastors? Also, how do you think all those folks got baptized at the beginning of Acts? Weren’t there thousands? (see Acts 2).

    As for Beth Moore….well tune in Monday. (Its called a hook) 🙂

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    I hope you don’t mind me reposting my response to Jack a few nights ago. I spent a good amount of time thinking through what I would post and did not want to waste my points on someone who would not respond. I edited it some and added something to the end. For the sake of other readers, it was in response to Jack’s belief that only the ordained should baptize and only those baptisms that are by the ordained are legitimate.

    Now, regarding baptism:

    In I Corinthians 1, Paul says he baptized Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas. It goes without saying that all the other Corinthian believers were baptized by someone else.

    1. Who baptized them?
    2. Do you have proof that the person who baptized them was ordained and by whom?
    3. What is your scriptural reference that instructs ministers to be ordained, and who ordains them?
    4. What is your scriptural basis that instructs us to only be baptized by the, “ordained?”
    5. Who baptized those three thousand souls in Acts 2?
    6. Do you have any scriptural evidence that tells us that they were ordained?

    There were 120 people in the upper room, men and women, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Any of them could have baptized the three thousand. It’s no stretch that if sons and daughters, bond slaves and free, could all prophesy, and could all be filled with the Holy Spirit, then any of them could baptize. I mean, if so many, “ordained,” ministers today, who are NOT filled with the spirit, baptize, why can’t someone who is not ordained, but filled with the spirit, baptize? And is the former more legitimate a baptism than the latter?

    Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…Let’s be consistent here, who does this passage speak to? Is it just to the eleven disciples or to all believers, because I’ve heard a million sermons telling me to make disciples as I go, referencing this passage?

    If it applies to just the eleven, then you would have to say it applies only to them and not to other apostles, like Paul. So, only the eleven are to go and make disciples, baptizing them…Also, if it only applies to the eleven, then it must not apply to pastors, since they are not of the eleven, and they are also not apostles, but pastors. So what are these pastors doing, baptizing? Are their baptisms illegitimate?

    Well, then if this instruction is not ONLY to the eleven, then it must be to all believers, as well, since it doesn’t specify exactly to whom it also applies. And if the, “make disciples,” applies to other believers, then the, “baptizing them,” also applies to other believers. That would pretty much debunk your belief that only the, “ordained,” whoever they are, should baptize.

    In addition, let’s consider Philip. He led those in Samaria to the Lord. But, it just says they were baptized. It didn’t say that Philip baptized them. He did baptize the eunuch. But, was he the one who baptized him because he held an office as an apostle, or was it because he was the one who led the eunuch to the Lord? Again, there is certainly no instruction here for a pastor to baptize someone after someone led him to the Lord. If we had to make up some applicable principle out of this example, alone, we would have to say that, 1. only Philip could baptize, (which is ridiculous), 2. only one of the original apostles could baptize, (equally ridiculous), 3. those who lead someone to the Lord should be the ones baptizing them, or 4. any believer equipped to do so could baptize. The pastor would only fall into the last category, but with everyone else. So, he has no more a claim or right or ministry authority to baptize than any other believer, in my opinion. This would also apply to anyone considered generically, “ordained.”

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    I was surprised. It made me smile. I agree with you that it needs discussing, because of its implications regarding authority, the priesthood of believers, and other things. Thanks for bringing it up.

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    If you’ll notice, in some of the passages where there were conversions, the apostles were there, but it doesn’t say they baptized them. It says, they were baptized, without a specific reference to who baptized them.

    Instructions were given to the eleven apostles and it’s clear that Philip, one of the eleven, and Paul baptized. If we are to take only these scriptures, it might appear that only the eleven plus Paul could baptize, or only apostles could baptize.

    So, a pastor, who is not an apostle would not have any biblical instruction or authority to baptize, if we’re to take such a limited view. And if that’s the case, then we’re no worse off if someone else baptizes, since pastors have no more authority to than the next person.

    Please see my other comments for a more in depth look.

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    There is a word in some creeds that is a key to understanding the underlying issue. That word is “apostolic” and the concept is “apostolic succession”. This is the idea that only those called apostles in the NT could baptize or ordain, but that this authority passes to those that they ordain, and so on from generation to generation. However, there is no scriptural evidence to support the concept of apostolic succession. BTW there was a female in the NT called an apostle “Junia”, whom some later compilers and translators transgendered into “Junias.”

    The only “ordinations” that we know about in the NT were conducted by congregations, such as that of Saul/Paul and Barnabas to go forth on their mission. The “laying on of hands” has two different meanings, one of endorsement or setting aside or blessing, and one of healing.

    Humans build myths around anything and everything of significance to and around them, and imbue their myths with religious meaning or significance, then adopt them into the practice of whatever religion they follow. So have Christians. So a lot of our practices are not biblically based, but cultural in a sense. This is true of the ordinances of the church and the idea of apostolic succession, bled together into “only the ordained can do this or that”.

    Jesus had little use for self-important factotums in religious garb. We need to break loose from modern day limitations on the practice of faith and the means of worship and grace. Why should not a mother baptize her child that was baptized in her blood at birth and in her waters for the months before? Why should not a teenager lead his family in a celebration of the memory of Christ in sharing the cup and bread? Why should not an adult child or friend of a decedent officiate at a funeral? Why, except for the interference of the state, should not the parents of a couple conduct a wedding ceremony?

    God has joined families together. Man’s foolish rules should not come between them.

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    All of these entries have special meaning for me this evening: Our granddaughter has accepted the Lord and is being baptized by her father, a layman, as was her big brother. Her twin sister, however, when asked, told her father she preferred being baptized by their pastor. In her words, she wanted it done “by a pro!”
    An important part of this for our family is the picture it gives all of us of what actually happened. The parents were closely involved in guiding these children, as was their pastor. They gave a vivid picture to their church of a family working with pastor and church body to bear witness. I am grateful to their pastor for affirming this practice, and I am more proud of all of them than my words can express.

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    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Recently, I have been thinking quite a bit about cultural practices and the church. I have become even more convinced that there are many practices within the church that are not based in Scripture but in trends.

    For example,a former church would not let women collect the offering. The reason given was strange. A pastor said that the deacons were concerned that people might think women could be deacons if they saw women collecting the offering! Imagine that. The deacons (and frankly, the pastors who were really behind this) have a cultural bias that finds it roots more in pagan culture than in Scripture. But if you were to try to explain this to them, they would become incensed (as I am sure a few of them are as they read this).

    I was so moved by your description of a mother baptizing her child. I shall remember that explanation for the rest of my life. Thank you!

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    Thank you for pointing out freedom in this area. And how thoughtful of you to pull together the entire experience to see the totality of your family’s experience between both the pastor and the parents.

    Howard Hendricks once told my husband that he sees the how well parents have done in passing down the faith by seeing the faith of the grandchildren. Singer, you’ve done well!

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    I only wish that Jack would have stuck around to debate this with you. I think he was afraid. Its easier to talk about how smart he is and what books he has read. Putting his thoughts up against another is where the real test comes in.

    I totally forgot the Great Commission. That is the strongest evidence that one does not have to be ordained to baptize. Thanks for your cogent response.

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    John the Baptist baptized God in the flesh. The thief on the cross was NOT baptized but saved. There are many things we turn into a Talmudic legalism that has no place in the NC. Ordination is just one of them. Remember, the reformers were really “reformed” Catholics.

    What “Jack” is really advocating is a sort of Apostalic succession by decree. He would disagree with that but it is the only logical conclusion. He is saying that one must have an ‘ordination’ to do such things and this is outlined in scripture. (I wonder where he finds Ceasar conferring ordination as civil institutions)

    Is he speaking of the laying on of hands to wait tables or carry the gospel to different places?

    Or, is he talking about the piece of paper the state gives him?

    Jack has gone the way of Rome but will not be able to see it.

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    “On one hand, it appears in Scripture that we only see people who are officers in the church performing baptisms”

    Which brings us to another problem. There are NO officers of the church. That word as added by translators.

    On the other hand, many SBC churches, which are heading toward Landmarkism, are refusing to recognize any baptism except that done by what they say is an appropriate person in a baptist church. They are insisting many have it ‘redone’. (I personally have a bigger problem with that! Where IS the Holy Spirit these days. So many act as if He does not exist)

    So, in one fell swoop, these types (Paige Patterson is one) have elevated servants of the Lord to having a special anointing to perform baptism and they have made the building sacred!

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    Paul also says he wishes he had not baptized anyone. Notice how it comes down to a focus on WHO baptizes whom.

    When the focus should be on the Baptism as a public way of saying I AM A NEW CREATION. The focus is on the WHY of Baptism which is JEsus Christ IN US.

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    Isn’t that the way of fallen men? Remember how James and John wanted to rule at the side of Jesus? They just didn’t get it. It is sad that so many want to take on the cloak of authority instead of allowing Jesus be in charge.

    I am still stuck on the word “authority.” Jack accused me of wanting to take on “authority” that belongs only to men. What precisely is authority? What flows through some pastor’s hand in order to make the communion somehow better? This sounds so much like Catholicism.

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    I never thought of it in that way before. Paul was upset that others were saying they were baptized by him as if that conferred some sort of a “better” baptism. The more I think about, the more odd this ordination thing begins to sound. Much to ponder!

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    “I am still stuck on the word “authority.” Jack accused me of wanting to take on “authority” that belongs only to men.”

    I know, they say this a lot with very little spiritual understanding. And they interpret all of the Word through this human “authority” filter which means you cannot believe most of what they teach. What would the purpose of the Holy Spirit be in a believers life if we must have all these leaders with “authority” over us in the Body or marriage? Are we never to mature spiritually past them? Or if we do, I suppose we must keep it to ourselves so as not to damage egos?

    He is “presuming” authority on men. What he should most definitely be presuming is all of us, if we are believers, are mere servants.

    Have you noticed they do not fight or even rebuke others for ‘last place’?

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    Someone recently reminded us that the household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus, Himself, being the chief cornerstone. Then he pointed out, “It says foundation, not the top of the building.” The foundation is the lowest part and often, not even visible.

    Also, yes, baptism shows that Christ is in us, and more importantly, that we’re in Christ and we were in Him when He died and rose again.

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    You know, I had another thought about this last night. If WHO Baptizes us is so important then I may be in trouble.

    I was baptized at age 8 by my then ordained- seminary educated -SBC pastor. He went to another church when I was about 11. Fast forward to when I was 21. I found out that he had become a chaplain years before and when I was about 20, he left his wife and kids and moved in to cohabitate with a much younger woman.

    Now, He had all the right credentials, according to Jack, but since he obviously did not have the right spiritual heart and might not even be saved, is my baptism valid?