(No Author Listed)
WE are informed that certain brethren in the West are making use of the Bible reading on this subject, which appeared in the REVIEW of April 7, to stir up strife and division. This is wrong, and, we think, without any occasion. While it is generally held among our people that rebaptism is proper under certain circumstances, as in cases of first conversion to the full understanding and intent of the law of God, or of restoration from a state and period of complete apostasy from the truth, it is also held and taught that this matter should be left to the individual conscience of every one, to act as he or she may feel that duty demands, and that no pressure should he brought to bear upon any to lead them to act contrary to, or even in advance of, their own convictions in the matter. Yet it often occurs that persons, under the influence of a powerful religious experience, by which they are conscious of being newly converted, feel that it would be a privilege to be rebaptized, and desire to do so, but yet hardly know on what ground the step could be justified. The reading above referred to was designed to set forth the grounds upon which one could act in such cases.
In regard to the freedom which is accorded to every one on this question, the following action taken by the General Conference in its twenty-fifth annual session, in Battle Creek, Nov. 18 to Dee. 6, 1886, and reported in the 1887 Year Book, p. 45, in conclusive :—
"Whereas, We learn with regret that in some places certain persons have urged the subject of rebaptism as necessary to salvation and—
"Whereas, This has caused trouble and division in some churches, and the mind of this body is asked ; therefore—
"Resolved, That upon the subject of rebaptism of those who have been properly baptized before embracing the message, it is the teaching and practice of our people, founded upon the Bible, as we believe, that they be received into our churches without rebaptism if they themselves are satisfied with their former baptism, though it is the privilege of such to be rebaptized whenever they shall desire it, as most of our people do sooner or later; but that it should not be urged upon any one as necessary to salvation."
If any persist in acting contrary to this instruction, they must be classed with those of whom the apostle speaks in Rom. 16 : 17.—Review and Herald, July 7, 1891