Q: I was baptized when I was 8. My parents say I understood what it meant but I don’t remember that. Looking back, I don’t think I was even saved yet. I believe I truly gave my life to God when I was 13. I remember praying to God and truly meaning it with my whole heart. Should I get baptized again?
At the beginning of the early church, people got saved and then got baptized—often right then and there! Ocean, river, road-side lake—didn’t really matter as long as it was wet. But nowadays, as children are brought up in a Christian church culture, and because modern churches have got hung up on “preferred methods” of baptizing (sprinkling or dunking? Babies or adults?), more and more people are finding themselves right where you are.
There are lots of times and ways Christians get baptized now. Just take a look at my own family: I was baptized as a baby in one church (because of tradition), then got dunked at 13 in a swimming pool after I made a personal decision to follow Christ. My husband was sprinkled as a child but then decided to get baptized in a mountain lake as an adult, with his middle-school students as witnesses. My daughter Ryan decided she wanted to be baptized at just 4 years old, but our church required she wait until she was 7. Her baptism took place in a heated tub on a church stage (lucky her—warm water!) And guess what? We all love Jesus! Our baptism stories don’t define our faith.
Ryan’s baptism was so special. She asked her Grandpa to baptize her; he flew in just for the occasion. It was beautiful and meaningful and I may have cried just a bit, and yet Ryan might not even remember it when she’s older. Who knows—maybe when she’s 17 (or 27 or 37) she’ll think about being baptized again. The straight truth is she doesn’t have to do that. I was there; I witnessed it. But if she feels strongly about it, I would never convince her not to do something she felt the Holy Spirit was prompting her to do. So maybe ask your parents what they remember about your baptism story. It’s hard to remember vividly things that happened when we were 7 or 8. But ultimately the decision is between you and God!
From what you’ve written and the heart I see behind your words, I don’t think you have to be baptized again in order to please or obey God. They very fact that you’ve asked this question the way you have assures me of that. I know it can be confusing with so much emphasis on being baptized as a “public display” of your faith, but I would say the way you live your life each and every day is the best way to “publicly display” your faith in Christ. You believe and have faith! Display that for the world to see, and you will be a testament—public evidence—that you belong to Jesus. Additional water not required.
That said, if you truly feel you became saved at age 13, I see absolutely no harm in getting baptized again. That’s a testimony story right there! Invite your friends and classmates from school. Maybe they’ll ask all about it, and you’ll have an open door to talk about the way your faith has grown. It’s a story that points to Jesus!
So take some time to pray tonight, sis, asking the Lord what He thinks about it all. Ask for a clear answer that brings peace, make the decision, then walk forward with confidence! I’m smiling as I type this because your heart for Jesus is evident, and that’s more important than however and whenever you get dunked! 😉