WHO SHOULD NOT BE BAPTIZED?

Raymond Elliott

In this question we are not presently concerning ourselves with the ‘when’ as in learning the steps of obedience to the commands given by the Lord when one has heard the gospel of Christ and desires to give oneself to Jesus. Certainly we would all agree that a person who becomes a believer in Christ and is penitent of sins should be baptized without further delay. This is brought out by the fact that we have no promise of another opportunity. The ancient writer declared by inspiration, “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). We have always encouraged a person to obey the gospel when it is first learned. There is always the danger of the devil hindering one’s obedience by delaying a decision.

Our main thrust in this article is to observe that the Bible nowhere asserts that there is a specific day of the week when one is to be baptized. It is surprising to learn that some feel the only time (and day) when a person can be scripturally immersed is during a period of worship on the first day of the week. It may be that we have not made it as clear as we should in regards to the ‘when’ a person can be baptized. The only time some members witness a baptism is during worship on Sunday. Young people may therefore conclude that this is the only scriptural time for one to be immersed.

In the book of Acts we have several examples of people obeying the commandments of the gospel of Christ. The people on the day of Pentecost were baptized on the first day of the week; however, since there were about 3,000 people being immersed, we can conclude that it took several hours to accomplish this feat (Acts 2:36-41). It is not revealed on what day the people of Samaria were baptized (Acts 8:12, 13). We certainly could state that the Ethiopian nobleman was not baptized during a worship assembly since he was riding in his chariot when he learned of Jesus through the preaching of Philip (Acts 8:26-39). Lydia and her household were baptized on a Sabbath day which would be the seventh day (Saturday) of the week (Acts 16:13-15). It was sometime after midnight that the Philippian jailer and his household were baptized. Luke said that it was “the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:25, 30-34). If all the baptisms recorded in the book of Acts occurred on the first day of the week during worship, we could conclude that this would give credence to the understanding that all baptisms should be performed on that particular day of the week. But such is not the case as found in these examples. Therefore we can immerse believers anytime of the day on any day of the week. The emphasis is not on the ‘when’ with reference to the time of the day, rather it is the ‘when’ people learn the truth.

We have baptized scores of individuals during the week days, usually following a home Bible study late in the evening. It is usually the case that deep emotions are evident when people have made the decision to give their lives to Christ. There is normally a very close relationship between the teacher and student that contributes to the joy of such an experience.

In conclusion, we urge all to be baptized upon learning of Christ. Any gospel preacher would be happy to assist you regardless of the time of any day during the week. The most important thing is to do it now while the mercy of God lingers.