Thank you my dear friend for this excellent question. There does appear to be a lot of confusion among different denominations about Christian baptism, so I’ll attempt to share the Scriptures as to what the Lord Jesus, through the Bible, His Word, has to say about this.

First of all, the short response to your question is that the Bible does not teach that a believer, once baptized upon confessing Christ as their Savior, would need to be baptized a second time when entering a different fellowship of believers. Some of the confusion about this may lie with a misunderstanding of what Christian baptism really means, and also perhaps a misunderstanding about the different types of “baptisms” spoken of in the Bible. Additionally, and sadly enough, the church today is fragmented into all kinds of different local churches, often independent of others, and each with their own rules for reception at the Lord’s Table (the communion). I assert that this fragmentation of the Body of Christ was never intended by the Holy Spirit to be so. In the early days of the church, there were local assemblies of believers in various regions or cities, and all these assemblies were local expressions of the whole body, and each assembly was connected so to speak in a common fellowship, one with another. You’ll notice that in the epistles of Paul, when he speaks of the “church” in Ephesus, or the “church” in Philippi, no denominational differences are noted. If a believer in one region traveled to another local fellowship, they brought along letters of commendation introducing them to the new local assembly so that they would be received in the breaking of bread-there is no example in the New Testament of a need to be re-baptized for true believers to be received in fellowship. In the epistles, we see that all the local assemblies had care for one another. Today, the church in its local expression is in a state of ruin. Unfortunately, man has allowed disputes or false doctrines to come in which has fragmented the body into local independent assemblies or denominations so that today, we see multiple churches in every town, most of them without contact, Scriptural agreement, or care for the others.

In Luke 28:19, I believe we see the simple instruction of the Lord Jesus to His disciples as to spreading the Gospel and to baptism: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…”. I see no place in the New Testament which indicates a need for a new baptism when one goes to a different local fellowship of believers, nor indeed, water baptism at all for reception at the Lord’s Table (communion).  Thus, I do assure you that once a person has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, that person immediately receives the Holy Spirit and is brought into the church, the body of Christ (this is baptism of the Holy Spirit). Membership in the church, in its universal sense, does not depend on water baptism, but is accomplished the moment the person believes on the Lord Jesus. The Scriptural position on Christian baptism, water baptism, is that once saved, the new Christian should request baptism to show the world that they are indeed a Christian, as a testimony to the world, and that there is a true commitment to following Jesus in his or her walk from that time forward.  To quote the Morresh Bible Dictionary, Christian baptism demonstrates: “allegiance to Christ, the burial of their old self, and a determination to walk in newness of life”. Christian baptism is an outward sign of the inward change in a person’s heart once they are “born again.”

We see a good definition of Christian baptism in Romans 6:3-5: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection…”. Now, in Ephesians 4:4-6, we read, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all”.

Now, as to that “one baptism,” there are two senses of this truth. First, there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit as we see in 1 Corinthians 12: 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free…”. Once saved, the Holy Spirit enters the heart of a believer, and the Spirit Himself places that believer into the body of Christ, the church. The second sense is the believer’s baptism, as discussed in Romans 6 above, by which the new Christian publically identifies with Christ and purposes to walk with the Lord from that time on.

I myself was born and raised in a denomination where babies were baptized, they believed that the Holy Spirit entered a person at that time. And so, I was baptized. But as I grew, my life did not demonstrate any “new life” at all. many years later, I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and Christ changed me totally. I believe it was then that the Holy Spirit entered my heart and brought about new birth-the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which brought me into the body of Christ, the church. Then, in my desire to show the world that I was now a Christian, I chose to be baptized in a local lake, in the presence of many witnesses, and have been walking with the Lord now for 45 years. I see no Scriptural warrants to ever be baptized with Christian water baptism a second time, regardless of where I might seek fellowship. And, my dear friend, how about you? Are you a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ? I pray it to be so. Remember the lovely example of the saving of the Ethiopian eunuch which we see in Acts 8:36-38: “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him”.  (SF)  (489.1)