Does a Baptist need to be baptized “again”?
Right now I attend a Freewill Baptist church. If I decided I wanted to be a member of a church of Christ, would I have to be baptized again in that church?
There is but one way to become a member of the church of Christ – be added to it by Christ himself. Your question really asks what you need to do for Christ to add you to his church. Please see “The Plan of Salvation” on this website.
Beyond that, your question focuses on the act of baptism and whether there is a difference between baptism administered by a Free Will Baptist church and churches of Christ.
The two following statements are from the National Association of Free Will Baptist Churches.
“Salvation - Man receives pardon and forgiveness for his sins when he admits to God that he is a sinner, when in godly sorrow he turns from them and trusts in the work of Christ as redemption for his sin. This acceptance of God's great salvation involves belief in Christ's death on the cross as man's substitute and the fact of God's raising Him from the dead as predicted. It is a salvation by grace alone and not of works.”
“Gospel Ordinances - Free Will Baptists believe the Bible teaches three ordinances for the church to practice: Baptism in water by immersion, the Lord's Supper, to be perpetuated until His return, and the Washing of the Saints' feet, an ordinance teaching humility.”
The following statement is by Liberty Free Will Baptist Church, 3819 Johnson Rd, Norton, Ohio.
“What do I have to do to be saved?
Admit that you are a sinner.
Turn from sin (repent).
Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
Say the following prayer inviting Jesus into your life to become your personal savior. Just say this prayer with all your heart and you will become a Christian, be saved and have eternal life. Heavenly Father, I admit that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ shed his precious blood and died for my sin on the cross, and rose again on the third day. I believe in the Gospel. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior and ask him to come into my heart as my personal savior. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
A reading of this information reveals quickly the differences between the teaching of the Free Will Baptist Church and the New Testament. Baptism is a “church ordinance” and is included with the Lord’s Supper, which is clearly an act in which those already saved engage. New Testament baptism is not engaged in by the saved, but by penitent believers who want to be saved at added to the Lord’s church. Acts 2:36-41.
Question 12, under “Questions and Answers” was the same question asked by a Mormon. Please read that response. Mormons baptize for the remission of sins, but they do not believe in the Christ of the New Testament (in spite of what they say in their efforts to convert people to their sect). Free Will Baptists believe in the Christ of the New Testament but they neither teach nor practice baptism as taught in the New Testament. Both are necessary.
As for whether you need to be baptized “again,” we must ask in kindness and in light of these scriptures whether you have ever been truly baptized at all.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)