Alexander Campbell Rebaptism Broaddus

Millennial Harbinger Nov 7 1831

      MR. ANDREW BROADDUS somewhere in his pamphlet asked the question, "How are the baptized to obtain remission of any sins which may be committed after baptism--must they be rebaptized as some have been?" This question we answered not in our Defence of the Extra, because we knew that both the writer and the reader understood full well its impertinence to the question at issue; and because in proposing such a question our friend Broaddus could expect no other information than what he already possessed on this matter,
         he knew that christians have an Advocate with the Father, and if they sin and confess it, and sue for pardon through their Advocate, it is promised. But the making a question of this sort, if it were not to throw dust in the eyes of his reader, indicates a gross misapprehension of our views of Peter's command to the Pentecostian converts.

      Baptism is no where proposed as an expiatory rite. He that regards it as such--he who goes to the water as a Jew to the altar, and is baptized merely to obtain the remission of his sins, mistakes the whole matter.

      I have never heard of any person being baptized for the remission of sins committed since his first baptism, as the case is made out by our querist; but I have heard of some who were once baptized into Christ, and who in faith were buried and raised with the Lord, and had understandingly assumed him as their Saviour; not, however, having special regard to remission of sins in their baptism; I say, I have heard of some such being rebaptized--not for the purpose of being immersed into Christ, into his death, or of assuming him as their Saviour, but solely for the remission of their sins, that they might have the testimony of God assuring them of pardon. Of such cases we have heard. But how many honest and well disposed persons have been mistaken in their reasonings, and how many have acted in all great matters more from the impulse of the moment, than from calm and sober reflection!

      Their argument appears a very specious one when regarded only in one point of view. One says, 'Was I ever baptized for the remission of my sins! No, I reflected not on the matter; I had no special [481] attention to the promise of remission. Indeed,

 I thought I had the remission of my sins through faith before I was baptized; and, therefore, expected it not at that time. I wished to obey the Lord, and obtained the answer of a good conscience that the Lord then approved me;

but so soon as I saw that remission of sins was promised to be conferred through immersion, I concluded (to make the matter sure) to be immersed a second time, solely to obtain an assurance that I was forgiven. I found this assurance, and since I have been more happy than before.' Such experiences I have heard.

Others, however, have told me that they had no more happiness nor assurance after the second, than they had after the first immersion, for then they had all peace and joy in the Lord.

      This is the case fairly made out, as far as I am informed upon the subject. It appears, indeed, that this was making baptism a mere expiatory rite, and regarding it as designed alone for ablution.

It made void the former baptism, not because the subject did not believe and confess that Jesus was the Messiah the Son of God--

not because the subject was not intelligently immersed into Christ, and did not constitutionally put him on, being, according to the commandment, immersed on said profession, into the name of the Father, Son,, and Holy Spirit, and thenceforth admitted into the family of God;

but because the subject or the administrator did not fully understand the whole purport of the institution.

      As for the peace and assurance which some have obtained by a second baptism, it is easily explained. Let any person think, or imagine, that any act is ordained for any religious purpose, and when he has performed that act he will find peace. Some persons have been rebaptized in order to obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit, and have felt assured that they did obtain that gift, consequent upon their third baptism; but this was to be expected from the same law of our nature for all who think must perceive that good or evil tidings, whether true or false, if only regarded as true, will operate upon the heart according to their nature; so of the objects of hope, joy, or any of the affections. It is only, however, when the hope, joy, or peace arises from the testimony of God, apprehended and embraced, that it can be permanent, or ought to be regarded as genuine. All true joy, peace, and hope must be resolved into truth. There is false joy, peace, and hope when the causes are imaginative or false.

      I trust we need not attempt to show that Jesus Christ has not ordained any institution solely for the remission of sins--any rite or observance for expiation. Remission of sins is, indeed, connected with baptism; but so is adoption, sanctification, and all the blessings of the new institution. The salvation of the soul, which comprehends every thing which can be enjoyed in this present world, is attached to it. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. To be baptized for the remission of sins exclusively, is not what is meant by putting on Christ, or by being immersed into Christ.

No person, intelligent in the christian religion, can be baptized for the remission of his sins apart from all other blessings. For one, then, that has been born again, [482] born of water and of the Spirit, one who has been baptized into Christ, confessing his faith in the person, character, and mission of Jesus,
        to be baptized a second time for the remission of sins by itself,
        or for the Holy Spirit by itself, or for any one blessing,
        is without command, precedent, or reason from the New Testament.

      Besides, no person can be born twice to come into the same kingdom. The first birth introduces us into the kingdom of nature; regeneration, or being born of water and the Spirit, brings us into the kingdom of grace; and being born from the grave will introduce us into the kingdom of glory. No man can be born twice into one and the same kingdom.

      How a person who has been born again and entered the kingdom of grace, can die in that kingdom, and be buried in that kingdom, and be born a second time into it, is not for me to explain. There is but one baptism, and but once baptism under the Christian King. Indeed, I know not how any proclaimer of the gospel, how any intelligent disciple, can presume to bury a living disciple; [it is against the law!] how he can immerse a believer a second time into Christ, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He must have received a new commission. The old apostolic commission authorizes it not. I know some will say that the candidates which they immersed a second time did not rightly understand baptism the first time. Well, I am persuaded they did not understand it the second time; and shall they be baptized a third time! But did all the believers whom the Apostles baptized understand their baptism in all it designs, meaning, and bearings. We presume not, else the Apostles need not have written to them to explain it: "Know you not," said Paul to the Romans, "that so many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into his death." But did Paul command any one to be baptized a second time, because he did not fully understand the whole import of his baptism? Did Peter command Simon to repent and be baptized again for the remission of his sins? If any person ought to have been rebaptized, it was this Simon the sorcerer. But no such idea is suggested any where in the New Testament.

      But were not many of John's disciples baptized again? Not one of them was baptized twice into John's baptism; but some of them were once baptized into Jesus Christ. John baptized not into the name of the Lord Jesus, but into reformation, saying that "his disciples should believe in him that was to come after him." There is neither precedent nor analogy to support this practice.

      In political regeneration how is it? A German desirous of holding an estate in fee simple, is naturalized. He understood that no foreigner can hold an estate in fee simple, being an alien. He was born again, or naturalized. This was all he desired and expected. But an election draws nigh: he hears the citizens talk of voting. He never thought of this at the time of his naturalization. He wishes to vote as a citizen. Must he be naturalized again? He need not. He cannot.

      A Frenchman migrates to the United States. He is a republican in principle. He desires to become a citizen purely because he [483] approves proves and loves the government, or the political institutions. He thinks about nothing but the adoption of the constitution, and the renunciation of monarchy forever. After some years he wishes to he a legislator, to be a candidate for congress. Of this he had neither knowledge, expectation, nor will at the time of his regeneration. Must he be regenerated again? No, the right to vote and to be voted for, the right to hold the soil, the right to be a magistrate, legislator, or judge, was all secured in the act of naturalization. These are, at least analogies, as far as suits this subject, and may illustrate the idea that every birth secures to a person all the immunities, rights, and privileges of the kingdom into which he is born, whether he distinctly understand them or not at the time of his introduction.

      In all covenants all the items of the covenant are secured to the person on the confirmation of the covenant. It is so in the marriage covenant, the national covenant, and the new covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ. And here we cannot but use another interjection. How can any person who constitutionally ever received the cup of the Lord with these words, "This is the new covenant, or institution, in my blood, shed for you," persuade himself to go out of the covenant to disbelieve these words, to disfranchise himself, to make himself an alien, in order to be introduced a second time, to secure some one blessing in that covenant which he did not regard at the confirmation of it!

      Such a one resembles an over-squeamish husbandman who covenanted for a farm, and obtained a deed according to law, securing to him all the premises, with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging. After living some years upon it, he discovered a gold mine. He then reasons with himself, saying, 'When I covenanted for this farm I had respect only to the soil and the improvements upon it, together with its situation, &c. but never thought of buying a gold mine. I will go and purchase the farm over again; or rather, I will have the covenant renewed with this specification, that I shall have a right to work said mine for the interest and behoof of my family.'

      While on the road to find the other party in the covenant he meets with a friend to whom he relates the whole matter. His friend, better acquainted than he with the nature of covenants, asks him to show him the deed. He does so. 'Why neighbor,' says he, 'you have not read or attended to all the clauses in this instrument! Do you not observe that "all the appurtenances thereunto belonging" are secured to you with the soil itself?' 'I never perceived it,' replied the honest swain; 'but now I see it, and regret that I did not sooner discover the gold mine; and when I did discover it, that I did not understand that I had a right to enjoy it. It would have saved me much labor for the years that are past, and would have relieved my mind from many anxieties.'

      To as many as received Jesus he gave the privilege of becoming the children of God. In constituting them children he bestowed upon them all the privileges of children of God, made them heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ. Few understand all that is comprehended in [484] this; but every new discovery does not render all the past void, nor make it necessary to be born again. And he that insists upon a person being rebaptized in order to fellowship, makes his own inferences a bond of union, and adds to the commandments written in the book.

      But my friend Broaddus knows full well that we teach no such doctrine; but if a christian errs from the good ways of the Lord we exhort him to repent and pray--not to repent and be baptized again; but to confess and forsake his error, and through the Divine Advocate he will find mercy and forgiveness.

      He must also perceive from our defence of the Extra, if he have not before, that we do not insulate the remission of sins as the only blessing connected with baptism, nor as the only thing necessary to salvation; but, with his own confession of faith,
as well as the Westminster, we regard baptism as securing to the believing subject all the blessings of the new covenant, and especially the remission of sins, on which we emphasize when we address penitents, or those who make baptism a mere ceremony. EDITOR.

  <img src="/cgi-bin/Count.cgi?df=piney/counter_Alexander.Campbell.Rebaptism.Broaddus.html.dat">