Vol.V No.XII Pg.7
February 1969

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner: Who may scripturally administer baptism, and how is this determined?


Baptism is not "administered" — in the commonly accepted theological sense of the term. This concept of baptism, the Lord's Supper, and to some denominations various other "ordinances" of "the church", calls for authority resident in the church, and makes the validity of the ordinance dependent upon the exercise of that authority.

This, in turn, necessitates an unbroken line of succession, either of "bishops" or their equivalent, or of "the church" itself — as in Baptist doctrine. It also calls for some universally valid means of testing that succession. The whole idea is shot through with fallacies long exposed, and it is amazing that brethren will allow themselves to be drawn into the unholy mess by arguing that any certain one must "administer" baptism in order for it to be valid. The person who baptized you may have been a genuinely dedicated follower of Christ, but before you could consider your baptism valid you would have to know who baptized him — i.e., was his baptism valid. And who baptized the one who baptized him? And so, on and on — If such matters make valid, or invalid, baptism. But baptism is your response to the gospel of Christ, and its validity depends upon your faith, repentance, and complete giving of yourself to Christ. Note particularly "but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then make free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (ROM.6:17-f).

The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (LUK,8:11). The character of the seed, not that of the sower, is what determines the crop. If a jay bird carried an acorn over proper soil and dropped it there, so that the seed could take root and grow, the tree would be an "oak" -- not a "Jay Bird" tree.

Several years back an officious, brassy young preacher refused to allow me the use of a baptistry, saying, "Bring the person to me and I'll baptize him into Christ". I told him that if the boy was baptized into Christ it would be because he was truly converted to Christ, not because he, or I, performed some act. I then took the boy to the lake and, I trust, "baptized him into Christ".

Sectarian baptism is questioned, not because of who baptized, but because of what was taught, believed, and done. One who is taught an erroneous gospel and, believing error, practices something for which there is no divine authority (example: be sprinkled — with crude oil), has not received valid baptism. If the "administrator" can validate what is not already valid by virtue of sincere obedience to the Lord, a "proper" administrator, backed with sword or gun, could force a nation's population into the "fold of Christ". Believe me, it has been tried!!

Men go, preach, and baptize; but God gives the increase (1CO.3:6-f).