We clip the following query and answer from The Southern Baptist:
MR. EDITOR: If a man, after being immersed, becomes satisfied, perfectly, he was deceived, and had not received the pardon of his sins, and afterwards has evidence, satisfactory to his mind, that Jesus has been precious to him, and that his sins, though many, have been pardoned, ought he or ought he not again to be immersed? In the first instance there was sorrow for sin, and perhaps, I might add, repentance, but I am sure there was not pardon. - Please answer according to your views, in the next number of the Baptist, and oblige.
A FRIEND. November 3, 1848 ____________
We received the above communication too late for our paper. In reply, we would state that re-baptism is contrary to the established usages of our denomination, and we believe entirely uncalled for in scripture. Baptism is the outward mark of inward faith and repentance and of a determination to lead a new life and not a declaration of consciousness of pardon. It is merely the means by which we manifest our consciousness of our indebtedness to Christ, and not that by which we declare that we have received forgiveness from sins. Faith comes before a sense of pardon, and as faith is the only requisite for baptism, and the latter may and often does intervene.
We would not have given an answer exactly like the above. We would have said that in our opinion, and according with the almost unbroken usage of our church, that there are three indispensable pre-requisites to valid and scriptural baptism.
1. A scriptural subject, which is a believer in Christ.
2. A scriptural mode, which is immersion of the subject in the name of the Trinity.
3. A scriptural administrator, who must be an immersed believer, acting under the authority of a gospel church.
Now, here was a case of an improper and unscriptural subject, consequently there could have been no valid baptism. Had the mode been unscriptural, say sprinkling or pouring, could the Baptist have considered it as any baptism at all? Suppose the administrator had been an unscriptural one, an unbaptized, unauthorized, unbeliever, would the Southern Baptist consider it any baptism at all?
But, how can baptism be the outward mark of inward faith and repentance and of a determination to lead a new life, and not a declaration of consciousness of pardon, when a consciousness of pardon is inseparable from inward faith and genuine repentance?
Will the "Baptist" inform us how long we are warranted to believe that an inward faith precedes a sense of pardon? Inward faith in Christ and repentance, are made the conditions of pardon, in the gospel, and if pardon is granted, there must and will be consciousness of it. We would not feel warranted in saying, that faith was the only requisite for baptism; but professed repentance, and fruits meet, or evidencing it. Now, can we imagine a person, exercising inward faith in Christ, and affording the proper fruits and evidences in his life, and still having no inward sense or consciousness of pardon?
How can a person profess inward faith, without a sense of pardon, when a sense and consciousness of pardon, is his evidence of inward faith? The Theology of the Baptist is new, and wonderfully strange to us. Our brother is probably sound, but wrote this answer without due reflection.
[From J. R. Graves, editor, Tennessee Baptist , February 1, 1849
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