Baptism Questions- If They Don’t Take It, Are They A “Believer” Or Not?

baptism questions

baptism questionLast week we looked at the questions related to being ready for baptism. Today I want to look at another important baptism question.

Are They A Believer?

*Can someone be considered a “believer” or “disciple” if they don’t desire (or are not willing to take) this the step of obedience?

To find answers to this baptism question, we need to look at what scripture teaches.  Many cultural and social issues exist that make this a difficult step to take.  Persecution can increase after and around the question of taking baptism.  In South Asian settings, many view baptism as the point at which you are “changing your religion.”

It’s better to help them see that baptism is a way to demonstrate there has been a “change of heart.”  The fear of being seen by their relatives and community as having “changed religion” is a big obstacle for many.

Baptism Question Addressed By Scripture

One of the clearest directives we find related to baptism is in Acts 2:37-38 when Peter addresses the 3000 who have believed.  As the Holy Spirit works, faith rises in their hearts, and they ask him what they need to do.  Peter’s response is clear about two important necessary actions- Repentance and Baptism.

37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Both are still needed today.  I’m convinced that when we fail to emphasize them, we end up with weak disciples rather than bold, committed and growing disciples who are able to disciple others.

In our desire to “take things slowly”, not be pushy, and in our fear of creating obstacles for those showing interest in following Christ, we sometimes fail to teach them about the things that are able to make them strong – Repentance and Baptism.  I believe this is a mistake, both for that person and for the DNA of the movement.

Every context is a bit different, and we do want to uphold the theological understanding that it is not our actions that save, but Christ’s work on the cross.  Baptism doesn’t save us, Jesus does.  Faith, however, must be lived out in actions of obedience.  Baptism is one of them.

If someone doesn’t want to be baptized or waits a long time before showing a desire to be baptized, we need to have a serious discussion with them about why.  We don’t want to force anyone to be baptized.  We do want to encourage obedience to Jesus’ commands and make sure that a complete shift of allegiance has happened in their lives.  Is Jesus truly Lord?  Has He taken a higher place than family, society, and fear?

Back to our original question, are they a “believer” if they don’t want to be baptized? Maybe, but they are not a strong disciple who will make more disciples.  Will they get into Heaven?  Probably. God is amazingly gracious.  Getting people into Heaven when they die, however, is not out goal.  We want to make strong disciples who experience and live out transformed lives here on Earth!

Pray.  Gently and clearly encourage them.  Raise the bar of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and don’t make this step optional.  Whatever it is that is holding them back, if those things are bigger in their mind than their desire to obey Jesus as Lord and Savior, those things have to “bow the knee.”

Many times, the problem is more with us, the disciple maker, than with them.  We fail to give opportunity for obedience in this area and make it difficult rather than “normal” for new believers to take this step.  We will talk about that more in the coming blogs.


  1. Pranay Kiran from Hyderabad

    For sure everyone’s faith in the gospel/repentance by acknowledging the finished work of Christ on the Cross/ and believing Christ as their personal savior is the major and basic step by man and woman in response to the good new i.e. the Gospel.
    But then the moment the mere person became a believer of the finished work of Christ, Holy Spirit God would baptize him or her(believer) into one body i.e. Church; wherein which Christ is the head of the body.
    Baptism is a bold declaration of the death burial and resurrection in Christ.
    Holy Spirit God would make him his son and daughter. And there are 68 positional blessings that a believer is imparted unto. He is saved forever only because of the faith in the Finished Work Of The Son Of the Most High God- JESUS CHRIST the SAVIOR ……

  2. Gospel Jana

    This is awesome , i ve enjoyed the topic, and ive also learned that baptism is for every believerg

  3. Evnglist tahir masih

    Praise the lord praise the Lord Hallelujah keep up the good work in the name of Jesus Christ I am agree with you and biblical agree my congregation baptized agree I have 50 people’s prepared but I in the name of Jesus Christ please contact us with me on WhatsApp+923126437678

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  4. Bro. Barth Okonta

    My question is a Christian who was baptized in one church (maybe in Roman Catholic Church) and changed to another church (maybe Baptist Church) is it right for him or her to be baptized again? What if he or she refused to be do another baptism?

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      Cynthia Anderson

      I dont think you are baptized into a denomination but into the family of God. Re-baptism into a particular church seems unnecessary and inappropriate. However, when there was no adult commitment made to follow Jesus and no repentance (because you were a child) sometimes re-baptism can be a helpful step of publicly declaring your faith in Christ and decision to surrender to His Lordship.

  5. Kalo Sayid Angalo

    For sure i appreciate all the procedures you are applying it is totally Biblical and this is how it should be applied worldwide as it says in Acts 1:8

  6. Binod Kumar

    It is eye opening experience for us. It is true that we are under the bondage of church tradition, a tradition that has become obstacle for multiplying disciples. It is true that we should allow all believers to practice their priestly duties of giving baptism, holy communion, teaching and preaching etc;

  7. Method ndandila

    I’m so blessed,learned and IHave gained
    knowledge through this article,Now we can remove away all denomination’s obstacles to those need to be baptized and to make sure we make disciples who can be able to make disciples.
    God bless you alot.

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