Debaptism

Atheist groups are looking for ways to undo their baptisms. Some are calling on the Church of England to devise a way to take their names off baptismal rolls. Some are printing out “debaptism certificates” to display that renounce the Christian faith. See BBC NEWS | UK | Atheists call for ‘debaptism’. The thing is, though, they can’t wash away the waters of baptism! Christ has called them to Himself. They can return to that baptism at any time. That atheists should be so obsessed about what they consider a meaningless ritual is itself evidence that baptism has a hold on them.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Matt C.

    As far as they atheists are concerned, some priest just said some words and splashed water on their heads. Those sound waves have disappated and the water has evaporated, so isn't the baptism already "undone"?

    You see something similar with atheists trying to openly commit the sin against the Holy Spirit and put themselves beyond redemption. Of course, committing that sin necessitates actually believing in the existance of the Holy Spirit in the first place. Seeking to commit it just screams "I only pretend that I think God doesn't exist." Seeking to undo a baptism screams the same thing.

  • Matt C.

    As far as they atheists are concerned, some priest just said some words and splashed water on their heads. Those sound waves have disappated and the water has evaporated, so isn't the baptism already "undone"?

    You see something similar with atheists trying to openly commit the sin against the Holy Spirit and put themselves beyond redemption. Of course, committing that sin necessitates actually believing in the existance of the Holy Spirit in the first place. Seeking to commit it just screams "I only pretend that I think God doesn't exist." Seeking to undo a baptism screams the same thing.

  • kerner

    This raises an interesting point. Hebrews 6:1-8 seems to indicate that, having once received the Holy Spirit, it is, in fact, possible to harden one's heart to Him past a point of no return.

    I would be interested to know what other readers think about that passage.

  • kerner

    This raises an interesting point. Hebrews 6:1-8 seems to indicate that, having once received the Holy Spirit, it is, in fact, possible to harden one's heart to Him past a point of no return.

    I would be interested to know what other readers think about that passage.

  • Joel D

    "That atheists should be so obsessed about what they consider a meaningless ritual is itself evidence that baptism has a hold on them."

    I see it differently. That atheists should be so willing to do such a thing publicly is itself evidence that they are unregenerate and that the baptism they had was utterly without effect.

  • Joel D

    "That atheists should be so obsessed about what they consider a meaningless ritual is itself evidence that baptism has a hold on them."

    I see it differently. That atheists should be so willing to do such a thing publicly is itself evidence that they are unregenerate and that the baptism they had was utterly without effect.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stadler stadler

    So you've got a-theists who are de-baptizing themselves. Perfect. Perhaps they can also serve un-Communion at ig-worship services. At which they'll also read from their non-Bibles (which are just normal Bibles with the word "not" inserted just about everywhere they can). Which they carry around neighborhoods while pointedly not knocking on any doors. All the while ex-praying to make im-proselytes. And when asked what they believe, they will say, "What's important is what we don't believe!"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stadler stadler

    So you've got a-theists who are de-baptizing themselves. Perfect. Perhaps they can also serve un-Communion at ig-worship services. At which they'll also read from their non-Bibles (which are just normal Bibles with the word "not" inserted just about everywhere they can). Which they carry around neighborhoods while pointedly not knocking on any doors. All the while ex-praying to make im-proselytes. And when asked what they believe, they will say, "What's important is what we don't believe!"

  • http://barrybishop.blogspot.com Barry Bishop

    Alright, my apologies upfront to Lutheran believers and other paedobaptists, however, as a Baptist pastor I must say that the atheists are merely acknowledging the reality that they are not Christians and are removing their name from a church role. I don't see why non-Christians should continue to be members of a church. They could and should certainly be attenders of a church so they could hear the Gospel and be saved. Sadly many people are looking to their baptism (whether paedo- or not) for their salvation and not to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Repentance (turning from sin and trust in self) and faith alone in Jesus Christ are required for salvation. (cf. Mark 1:15)

  • http://barrybishop.blogspot.com Barry Bishop

    Alright, my apologies upfront to Lutheran believers and other paedobaptists, however, as a Baptist pastor I must say that the atheists are merely acknowledging the reality that they are not Christians and are removing their name from a church role. I don't see why non-Christians should continue to be members of a church. They could and should certainly be attenders of a church so they could hear the Gospel and be saved. Sadly many people are looking to their baptism (whether paedo- or not) for their salvation and not to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Repentance (turning from sin and trust in self) and faith alone in Jesus Christ are required for salvation. (cf. Mark 1:15)

  • Mary Jack

    If I remember correctly, when the Germans invaded Latvia, they baptized the heathens. Once the Germans left, the Latvians "washed off" what had been "washed on." Surely there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Mary Jack

    If I remember correctly, when the Germans invaded Latvia, they baptized the heathens. Once the Germans left, the Latvians "washed off" what had been "washed on." Surely there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Larry

    It does force the issue to define what constitutes baptism. From a neutral point of view is there a baptism or not. That is is it based on faith or the Word of God in the end. Is it objective in and of itself or not. Being a former atheist/agnostic myself baptism even from the outside looking in was utterly objective (it IS if you will based on the Word and name of God) and not based upon faith itself. In other words I didn't deny something that only "pops into existence" if I subjectively "had faith" myself, but something that is in and of itself regardless of faith being there on the person or not.

    Thus, these atheist and Lativia heathen attempt to remove an objective thing. If they were "never baptized" because they never "had faith" then one must wonder what they are doing in so called "debaptism".

  • Larry

    It does force the issue to define what constitutes baptism. From a neutral point of view is there a baptism or not. That is is it based on faith or the Word of God in the end. Is it objective in and of itself or not. Being a former atheist/agnostic myself baptism even from the outside looking in was utterly objective (it IS if you will based on the Word and name of God) and not based upon faith itself. In other words I didn't deny something that only "pops into existence" if I subjectively "had faith" myself, but something that is in and of itself regardless of faith being there on the person or not.

    Thus, these atheist and Lativia heathen attempt to remove an objective thing. If they were "never baptized" because they never "had faith" then one must wonder what they are doing in so called "debaptism".

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Barry,

    'Sadly many people are looking to their baptism (whether paedo- or not) for their salvation and not to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.'

    You greatly misunderstand when Christians speak this way. To look to your Baptism is to look to Christ. The Scriptures say that in baptism we are buried with Christ and raised to new life in Him. It is 'the washing with water through the Word.' In Baptism Christ marks us as his own. The efficacy of baptism lies not in our act,but in God'spromise.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Barry,

    'Sadly many people are looking to their baptism (whether paedo- or not) for their salvation and not to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.'

    You greatly misunderstand when Christians speak this way. To look to your Baptism is to look to Christ. The Scriptures say that in baptism we are buried with Christ and raised to new life in Him. It is 'the washing with water through the Word.' In Baptism Christ marks us as his own. The efficacy of baptism lies not in our act,but in God'spromise.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    From what I've read, the Epistle to the Hebrews was considered a disputed book in the early church in part because of this doctrine. When taken broadly, it is harsher even than the Unpardoned Sin passages in the Gospels. According to Mark 14:26, all the disciples fell away. Were they not renewed to repentance?

    The way Lutherans read the disputed books is that you cannot found a doctrine on a teaching only found in a disputed book. Hebrews has been accepted into the canon, but it must be harmonized with the other books rather than allowed to rule our doctrine on this point. I think this can be done with a reading that sees it talking about an aggravated apostasy by those who believe in Jesus and lapse back into Judaism to escape persecution.

    Though my own practice would be to accept any back who desired to return. I would take that as evidence that the Holy Spirit was working. And my view of what constitutes the sin that hardens the heart past repentance is not so clear. And we have a promise from an undisputed book that states, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    From what I've read, the Epistle to the Hebrews was considered a disputed book in the early church in part because of this doctrine. When taken broadly, it is harsher even than the Unpardoned Sin passages in the Gospels. According to Mark 14:26, all the disciples fell away. Were they not renewed to repentance?

    The way Lutherans read the disputed books is that you cannot found a doctrine on a teaching only found in a disputed book. Hebrews has been accepted into the canon, but it must be harmonized with the other books rather than allowed to rule our doctrine on this point. I think this can be done with a reading that sees it talking about an aggravated apostasy by those who believe in Jesus and lapse back into Judaism to escape persecution.

    Though my own practice would be to accept any back who desired to return. I would take that as evidence that the Holy Spirit was working. And my view of what constitutes the sin that hardens the heart past repentance is not so clear. And we have a promise from an undisputed book that states, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).

  • N Waff

    The problem these atheists have is, once they decide the don't believe God, they can't move on. That's because God continues to pierce their conscience and they have to act in militant (and sometimes silly) ways to try to stop God. This de-Baptism "craze" is a great example.

  • N Waff

    The problem these atheists have is, once they decide the don't believe God, they can't move on. That's because God continues to pierce their conscience and they have to act in militant (and sometimes silly) ways to try to stop God. This de-Baptism "craze" is a great example.


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