(Each month Ms. Townsend will answer questions which have been asked by members of our congregation or respond to issues that come up in general conversation.)
Dear Ms. Townsend,
I can’t remember being baptized as a baby, should I be baptized again? What if there is no record of my baptism and no one can remember whether I was baptized or not?
These are two very different questions. First of all, baptism is a condition brought about by an act. Its meaning and value are not dependent upon “remembering” any more than remembering the feeding, love, and care you were given as an infant. Baptism is something to be remembered every day. We remember it when we cross ourselves in worship or receive the sign of the cross. We remember it when we confess our sins and receive forgiveness. Baptism is the Christian condition in which we live. It means we are fully born from above.” (John 3:3) The Lutheran position on baptism is that as long as you were baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit your baptism is valid coming from other denominations. Some other Christian Churches (such as Baptists) have a different understanding of baptism and require their members to be baptized as believers and by immersion. For them, infant baptism is not recognized so this is not “rebaptism.” The second question poses a different scenario. If one doesn’t know, and there is no record of baptism, it is certainly appropriate to seek baptism and consider it the only baptismal act. The bottom line is that Christian baptism is a sacrament — something Christ commands us to do. We don’t really understand it but we do it and receive it as a gift which includes on in the Body of Christ, His Church.
Blessings to you,