I was babtized many years ago by a Presbyterian minister after he had separated from the mainstream church and then became heretical. I left that church. Should I seek to be re-baptized by an Evangelical minister?

Hi, Ron. Great question.

The Westminster Confession of Faith (27.3) makes this statement:  ". . . the efficacy of a sacrament [does not] depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers."

Although this is speaking specifically of the Lord's Supper, it has application to baptism. In the fifth century a state persecution arose, the result of which was a number of ministers denied the faith, and left the ministry. A question arose as to whether ANYTHING these ministers ever did (performed marriages, baptisms, administrations of the Lord's Supper etc.) was valid, or whether it was all null and void.

Augustine won the day, arguing with a group called the Donatists that the acts of ministers who were acting under proper authority, and performed the rites properly were binding, in the same way that an appointed civil judge's rulings would not be deemed null and void, even if it was later discovered that he was a criminal (as long as he did not do criminal things in the court room with regard to the rulings).

If the minister was acting under proper authority, and baptized you "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," I do not think you should seek to be baptized, especially if you were baptized before any of this took place. If, on the other hand, you are saying that the teaching he came to embrace is outside the bounds of the Christian faith, and it was into this non-Christian or quasi-Christian faith that you were baptized,then yes, you should be baptized (not re-baptized, but baptized into the Christian faith for the first time). An example of where this would be appropriate is if someone were baptized into the Mormon faith or (here in the US)into the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses. As there are clearly declensions from historic Christianity, and not merely a denominational expression of Christianity, such people should be baptized into an expression of the orthodox (small "o") Christian faith.

I hope this helps. The Lord be with you.


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Pastor G


I am glad to answer questions about the Scriptures, Systematic, Biblical and Historic Theology, New Testament Greek, Biblical Hebrew (although my Greek is stronger than my Hebrew); and I am also glad to give pastoral advise and counsel.


A minister ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church since 1993. Prior to that I served as an elder. Former Senior Police Chaplain. College and Seminary-level lecturer.

B.A. Psychology and Theology, M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Law Enforcement Chaplaincy certification, ICPC

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