Who is allowed to baptize another person? Is anyone permitted to baptize/ perform baptisms?
Does the Bible provide any details regarding who can perform a baptism? While it does not offer specific rules, there are some guidelines that can be helpful.
First, it is obvious that a person who baptizes someone else should be a Christian. A person who is an atheist or belongs to another religious group should not be baptizing Christians.
Second, church leaders traditionally baptized people in the New Testament. This was not limited to elders or pastors, but also included missionaries like Paul and his associates who performed baptisms during their missionary activities. The church leader Philip also baptized an Ethiopian in Acts 8:36-39.
Third, the Great Commission was originally given to those with Jesus before He ascended to heaven, but applies to all believers. It teaches that we are to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… (Matthew 28:19). In this broad context, any Christian who leads another person to faith in Christ could potentially baptize someone.
Fourth, there is no age or gender requirement for those who can baptize others. Though not all local churches approve, a younger person or female believer could also baptize someone else.
Fifth, the local church is responsible to make sure baptisms are carried out in a manner than honors God. In other words, your local church may include requirements beyond what the Bible teaches as part of their effort to conduct baptisms in an honorable manner. This is not necessarily bad, but is rather an attempt to perform baptisms in a proper manner.
Interestingly, Scripture does not focus very much on the person who baptizes Christians. John 4:2 teaches, "Although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples." Jesus had His disciples baptize His followers rather than doing it Himself. Apparently Paul did not personally baptize many people either. In 1 Corinthians 1:14-16 we read, "I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)" It appears Paul allowed other believers to baptize people as part of their service to the church.
Baptism is important, but the person who baptizes is not specified with detail in Scripture. Many different people were involved in the baptisms in the New Testament. Further, the local church is important in this work as well. One's local church pastor can provide additional direction in this area.
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