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If Churches are Closed, How Can we Baptize New Believers?

by | Mar 20, 2020 | Blog, Opinion, The Church

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Earlier this month, a well-known Southern Baptist leader called on churches to perform spontaneous baptisms in an effort to increase the membership numbers in Southern Baptist churches to stave off declining membership. He asked churches to baptize as many people as they could on Easter Sunday since that’s the day that more people visit churches than any other day of the year.

So while the Southern Baptist Convention has largely been practicing unbiblical modes of baptism, baptizing unregenerate people, and not taking baptism seriously as the Lord commands us to do, now that churches are closed, how are we going to baptize new converts who truly should be baptized?

One of the primary functions of the Church is to administer the ordinances which include both the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. And while it’s technically possible to practice the Lord’s supper over some kind of social media platform where people can see each other and at least talk, despite the lack of physical connection, baptism poses a bigger problem.

In the Baptist tradition, baptism is generally performed by an ordained elder or pastor of the local church. This means there must be a physical presence between the two for that to happen. But further, there must also be a body of water to baptize in, and most people don’t have a swimming pool in their backyards. Baptisteries are generally located inside the buildings where churches meet.

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It looks like Johnny Hunt’s call to perform spontaneous baptisms on a largely unregenerate group of people who only visit the church once a year in order to increase roll numbers and church offerings are going to be a bust. It is highly likely that most church doors will still be closed on Easter Sunday. Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps it’s not. But one thing is for sure, roll numbers will not be artificially inflated in the meantime.

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