I feel like I have answers to the questions at the end of my last blog now. They might or might not help someone else later. I’ll post them just in case they might help someone, though.
Would being re-baptized help further the gospel in any way?
Probably not in the short term, at least. There are plenty of churches I could join and be a part of without being re-baptized.
Would it be meaningful to me personally? (if so, how?)
What are my reasons and motives? Would this be a reaction against the church I left, or a response to God?
Yes. I’m not sure all are good reasons to be re-baptized, but there are many ways it would be meaningful to me. I won’t go into the reasons here right now, though I thought about it. Everyone is different in this area though, and would have to honestly answer for themselves based on prayerful consideration, not anything I’d write.
Would it be a positive experience for me, or would I have doubts/would being re-baptized go against conscience?
Yes, it would be a positive experience for me, I’m fairly certain. No, being re-baptized wouldn’t go against my conscience.
I will be re-baptized this coming Sunday. I was concerned I might be nervous or doubtful, that I might even have nightmares about it. That hasn’t been the case. Most of that, I suspect, is because the pastor of my new church has handled the situation well. He did not simply announce that I would be getting baptized, but explained, very simply, that I’d been a Christian for quite awhile but had requested to be baptized [at this church]. He didn’t in any way deny what God has already done or make it sound like I was trying to “start over”. He also left the decision completely to me.
Also, I’ve come to view baptism very differently than I was brought up to view it or as I saw it in Pentecost. I no longer think baptism is saving in itself, and one off-shoot of a new understanding of baptism was the realization that if baptism itself doesn’t save me, neither will being re-baptized UNsave me.
Above that, I can’t view God as being displeased with either choice, as long as my decision is based in faith rather than fear and is done in good conscience.
I haven’t been nervous all week–except about what to wear since they don’t have baptismal robes. Not one nightmare… which surprised me. It kind of hit me harder today how final this is, at least in the view of my former church. According to them if someone leaves and gets re-baptized in the titles, they probably can’t be saved. IF (huge if) they would have ever accepted me back, they more than likely wouldn’t after Sunday. It’s not something that bothers me, but it has given this a significance I’d prefer in a way it didn’t have. I’m not doing this to deny anything that God’s done, but rather to testify to what He’s been doing and to reaffirm and attest to my faith in Jesus. Words wouldn’t have carried the same weight as this act, and there would have remained doubt in my mind about the whole issue. So this is very much a statement and act of faith.
I’m a little excited, but at peace enough that I’ll actually be turning off the computer before midnight!