Though there are no explicit texts mandating certain restrictions, wisdom suggests that at least a few qualifications be placed upon those performing the ordinance. We might summarize the qualified individual as one who is:
- A believer in Jesus Christ
- Baptized subsequent to salvation2
- In good standing with a local church
Again, though there are no explicit Scriptural mandates, wisdom would suggest that only believers who have themselves publicly identified with Christ in baptism should be allowed to administer the ordinance to another. The person should also be considered to be in good standing with his or her local church. It would certainly seem strange to otherwise allow performance of the sacred ordinance to be performed by one who has not personally participated in it or who is under formal discipline for unrepentant sin.
As a church, we want to be firmly committed to the sufficiency of Scripture and maintain tradition to the extent that such tradition accords with clear biblical teaching and/or wisdom. In the area of performing baptism, it seems as though the only real requirements should be belief, baptism and general Christian obedience. Therefore, it seems as though prohibiting those who do not meet these general conditions from performing the ordinance is most wise and faithful to the principles which we can glean from God’s good Word.
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1 It is interesting to note that, at times, Scripture emphasizes that certain leaders were not the ones to themselves personally perform baptism ceremonies. For instance, Jesus was not baptizing, but His disciples were (John 4:1-2), and Paul celebrated the fact that he was not commissioned directly to baptize, but rather to preach (1 Corinthians 1:13-17).
2 The Village Church is convinced of the biblical prescription and pattern of believer’s baptism by immersion. However, if one who is being baptized requests baptism by one who was ‘baptized’ as an infant, we will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. This in no way implies a compromise on our part in regards to our theological convictions, but is rather a desire to acknowledge the distinction between that which is absolutely essential (belief in Christ) and that which is somewhat more peripheral (the timing and mode of baptism).