The past two years in the Southern Baptist Convention churches has been alive with discussion, and sometimes with angry discussion, over the matter of Baptism; especially as it relates to the International Mission Board (IMB), and its authority to send missionaries.
Baptism is a matter concerning the Christian and the local church where they are potential members or members. We are first of all, baptized into one body by one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ, and because of the Christian’s desire to be near like minded believers, the Christian desires to become a part of a local church. Becoming a part of a local congregation means identifying with that church through water baptism, giving personal testimony of one’s faith in Christ Jesus, and His death, burial and resurrection, shown in like baptism.
The point I want to make is this. When an individual becomes a member of a local church, they should have a heart of submission; first to Christ Jesus, and secondly to the ordinances, members, and leaders of the church they are joining. The IMB made a rule in 2005 that any missionary candidate not being baptized in a SBC church would not be affirmed for the mission field. My personal belief is that they should accept the call of the local church that did receive them, and accepted their “alien baptism”, however, this is an agency of the SBC, and they have made this ruling. If you are going to be a missionary through the SBC/IMB, then where is your heart?
If I were to ever change to another belief system, another denomination, and they required me to be baptized to become a member, of their congregation, then, I would gladly do it. If I was not prepared to submit to their ordinances, rules, covenants, and leadership, then I would not join. I, however, will be a Baptist until Jesus comes again, and then, there will be no more denominations. There will be only Christ like people, with Jesus Christ as King.
What to do when a person comes wanting to join our church who has been a member of another denomination? We will require baptism. If they refuse to submit to that, then they can go elsewhere. These are usually types of people who will be trouble anyway.
-Tim A. Blankenship