Question #12

I was baptized when I attended the Mormon church. Was I properly baptized?

I was baptized when I attended the Mormon church. I was immersed and was baptized at my request for the remission of my sins, knowing that I believed in Christ, knowing that I must repent and ask for forgiveness, and must follow a "godly" life.

A few years later, as I learned more about the Mormon belief I quit attending. Now 10-15 years later I have started attending a church of Christ congregation. The issue has been raised if I was "properly" baptized.

The Answer:

Ordinarily questions are taken in the order in which they are received. Because of various obligations it sometimes takes a while to answer questions. Please be patient. Your question will be answered. Sometimes questions are such that moving them up in the chain is in order. This is one of those questions.

First, it should be understood that no one can be “rebaptized.” If the first baptism was scriptural the second is unnecessary. If the first “baptism” was not scriptural, the second time around is not “rebaptism”; it is baptism.

Accordingly, you have either been baptized or you have not. The arguments have been long and occasionally heated on this subject. Arguments aside, there is a path to follow that cannot be wrong. You should be immersed promptly for the remission of sins so that you may arise to walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-7. If you assume that your Mormon baptism was valid, the second has done no harm. If you assume that your Mormon baptism was invalid, omission of the second is eternally fatal. Why take the risk when there is a way that is right and that cannot be wrong. Peter gave good advice when he urged that you “make your calling and election sure.” 2 Peter 1:10. By being immersed based upon your present understanding you do just that. This time it stands clear in your mind that you are 1) being baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) which is his church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), putting on Christ (Gal. 3:27), being baptized into his death ( Rom. 6:3), rising to walk in newness of life ( Rom. 6:4), and being added to his church (Acts 2:41). While it is true that one does not have to understand all scripture to be scripturally baptized (immersed), it is certainly the safe path to follow to be immersed when those things are understood, even if that understanding comes after having been baptized into the Mormon church which is unknown is scripture.

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)