Should we schedule baptisms? Or should new believers be baptized immediately upon their decision to be baptized?
Welcome to part 15 of my biblical baptism series. These posts build upon each other. If you need to catch up, here are links to the previous posts:
- Is Scripture Descriptive or Prescriptive?
- Defining 'baptism'
- The Baptism of John
- Why Was Jesus Baptized?
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- The Baptism that Jesus Commanded
- The Biblical Purpose of Water Baptism
- Is Baptism a Public Demonstration?
- Harmonizing Grace, Faith and Works
- Is Baptism Required?
- Is Sprinkling the Same as Baptism?
- Does it Matter Why You Are Baptized?
- Should I be Re-baptized?
In the article entitled "Baptism Series Part 8 - The Biblical Purpose of Water Baptism," we have seen that the Scriptures show that it is at the point that the believer is immersed in water for the purpose of dying with Jesus that their sins are washed clean by His blood.
In the article "Baptism Series Part 10 - Faith, Grace and Works," we see the important role that faith, grace and obedience each play in our salvation and subsequent Christian walk with GOD.
In this post, we build upon these established foundations to answer the question:
"I want to be baptized. Is it okay to schedule my baptism for a future date, such as a 'baptismal service' at my church?"
No where in Scripture is scheduled baptism forbidden nor is spontaneous baptism explicitly commanded.
However, when we look at the conversions in Acts where baptism is specifically mentioned, in every case the believer(s) was baptized immediately.
My concern with delayed or scheduled baptism is that it indicates a possible lack of understanding regarding the biblical purpose of baptism.
Suppose a person hears the gospel message and realizes that they are guilty of sin before GOD—that if they should die right now, they would be eternally lost, condemned to spend eternity in hell.
If this person hears and believes this message, is it logical or wise for them to willingly and intentionally delay receiving salvation, given the uncertainty and instability of life?
Why would someone choose this?
Two passages come to mind here.
First, as Paul told the Corinthians (quoting the prophet Isaiah):
...now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
(2 Cor. 6:2b NIV)
While this passage held a special meaning to those in the first century, the application to us is that tomorrow is not promised to us.
GOD has been long-suffering with you up until this moment.
His patience with us, however, is not unlimited, and life is fragile and uncertain.
Second, is the message spoken to Paul by Ananias when Jesus sent him to instruct Paul:
And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
(Acts 22:16 NKJV)
In my humble opinion, any person who delays their being baptized or teaches (as in, promotes) scheduled instead of immediate baptism is very unwise and I would question this person's fear of the LORD.
I do see the value in churches having special baptismal assemblies where they focus on teaching about baptism and encouraging any unbaptized believers to obey the LORD's command.
It's essential that they be teaching baptism for the proper reason.
In summary, I support any attempt to obey and teach the obedience of GOD's commands, and disapprove of any attempts to disobey, explain away, or pervert GOD's instructions.
If you know you need to be baptized in order to have your sins washed away, please don't delay it.
Today may be your last opportunity.
Download the series as a PDF ⬇️
Read Part 16 here:
Continue to part 16, "What if Baptism isn't Necessary? What if it is?"