THIS term (somewhat an unfortunate one), with all it implies, had long agitated Baptists of the South and West. They are by no means agreed upon it - that is, in regard to the reception of a member who has been immersed by a Pedobaptist or Disciple (Campbellite). Joseph W. Weaver, who had been for more than thirty years pastor at Louisville, Ky., had been in early life immersed by a Methodist. He united with a Baptist church with no question as to the validity of his baptism. After some fifteen years, and while the esteemed pastor of the Chestnut Street Church, Louisville, he voluntarily requested Dr. J. P. Boyce, president of the Southern Theological Seminary, to re-immerse or, as stated, baptize him.
Drs. Boyce and Weaver's reasons were, not the want of succession in the former administrator, but the fact that the act was performed with an unscriptural design, and that the design, that is, the scriptural symbolism of the ordinance as in the Lord's Supper, was essential to its validity.
Baptism is to show forth the Lord's death, burial,
and resurrection, and the believer's unity with him in his atoning work. Neither Pedobaptists nor the Disciples baptize for this, i.e., simply to show this forth in the symbolic action of baptism. Therefore immersions administered by them are invalid. There are other reasons, of course, but this is the prinical one. Churches generally throughout the South and Southwest reject such irregular immersions, but many receive into their churches persons otherwise worthy of fellowship, when such persons are satisfied with his or her baptism. Churches have to act in all such cases for themselves. No rigid rule should be a guidance, and each case should be decided upon its merits. Uniformity in this usage cannot be expected. It, however, would be much better if all such irregular immersions were discouraged. The practice of some pastors of baptizing persons who intend to join other denominations cannot be approved. It is most evidently encouraging them in a course which is unscriptural.
[Samuel H. Ford, Baptist Waymarks, ABPS, 1903. Typed from the original document by Linda Duvall; the document was provided by Pastor Steve Lecrone, Burton, OH. - jrd]
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