How's that for a shocking title! Well before you think I’ve lost, it let’s consider a verse;
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name.
1st Corinthians 1:14-15
Why in the world would Paul be thanking God for not baptizing people? Baptism clearly is very important in the Scriptures (Acts 2:38, 1st Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16). Jesus commanded it, the apostles taught it and the text is replete with examples of it. So what he doing?
Paul here isn’t talking about the person needing to be baptized but the person doing the baptism. Baptism requires a person to be baptized and a person doing the baptism. Here Paul is making a point that it doesn’t require a special person to do the baptizing. This might be a shocking statement to us but it shouldn’t.
Jesus taught about baptism but he didn’t do the baptizing himself (John 4:1-2). Both Peter and Paul told people to be baptized but had others do the act (Acts 10:48, 1st Corinthians 1:17). There is no Biblical requirement for an authorized “clergy” to baptize anyone.
Yet it seems we might have forgotten this concept. People feel the need to ‘call the preacher” when someone desires to be baptized. Folks might brag about the being baptized by a famous preacher. None of that matters or is necessary! Baptism is not about who we are baptized by who we are baptized into (Galatians 3:27).
Whenever someone is baptized I want to know about it and be there if at all possible. It is a time of rejoicing (Luke 15:10). But as a preacher I don’t have to be there or do it for it to matter. It might even be detrimental if it causes us to put faith in men rather than God.
Being baptized is what matters, not who is doing it.