Going down to the Jordan, should I get wet?

In June, my wife and I will going with a group to Israel, and will wind up at all the usual spots including the Jordan River. Our host mentioned that we could be baptized in the Jordan if we wanted. That brings up the question of whether it is appropriate to do so. One of our friends thought it would be wonderful to be baptized in the same muddy stream Jesus was baptized in, and it would be of great meaning to her. However, another opinion I’ve read was that re-baptism tends to trivialize the meaning of baptism, even if it is in the Jordan.
My thought is that is no big deal, and would not criticize anyone who did so, but am on the fence myself as to whether it would be a meaningful experience or whether baptism in the Jordan would be a self-serving and empty gesture.
As I enjoy hearing what you guys think, what about it? Would you be baptized in the Jordan if the opportunity arose? Why or why not?

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When I did a tour of Egypt, Jordan, and Israel (7 years ago) we also made a stop at the Jordan river. Most of the group that I traveled with were American evangelicals - except myself and another fellow Lutheran. The idea of being re-baptized makes no sense to a Lutheran. We view baptism as a sacramental act…God is the actor in Baptism. So, therefore, when God baptizes you He does what He says.Therefore, the idea of being re-baptized would, from a Lutheran perspective, be a lack of faith and trust in the promises of God made to you in your baptism and ultimately a rejection of it. So, it would not be a meaningful experience for me and I did not participate.

At the place at the Jordan River where all the baptisms are done they will also take pictures and videos and sell them to you. Since my friend and I were not participating in being re-baptized…we took everyone’s phones for them and took videos and pictures for them. So, if in fact you are going to be re-baptized…the moral of the story is, bring a Lutheran or two along and save yourself a few shekels.

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As long as you don’t take a selfie in the act and post it on Fb, no problem.

Oops, forgot the :wink:

Perhaps baptism is the self sacrament? Communion being the Sacrament of Jesus. The communion is to be done often without shame because it is done in Remembrance of the obedience of Jesus.

Baptism is a sacrament of obedience on our part. The act should not be taken lightly just like communion, and it is not necessary to make an outward show of our own selfish obedience. Having said that, I do not think that renewing one’s obedience in a setting that has significant meaning is wrong. But being baptized for nostalgic purposes, not that it would cause others to stumble or even being misleading, but an internal choice, would just be getting wet. Only the one making the choice knows exactly the reason for taking part in the baptism. Probably should not force an issue, or lie to yourself about it. I think doing it or not doing it is being obedient to the sacrament. Personally, I do not think that, being baptized a few times in one’s life, is overdoing it. But baptism is about one’s own personal obedience, and I would agree that doing it over and over would take away any significant meaning after awhile.

I think it interesting that people put more significance on baptism. Yet view Adam’s disobedience as figurative. Baptism is only figurative of one’s internal choice, and one could easily lie about it to others and to one’s self. Adam did not have to keep eating to maintain disobedience. Yet we can be baptized and be lying about what is actually going on inside our mind while doing it. If we hold to the point that it is something special, I think that is the wrong way to look at it. God is looking for internal obedience, not just an outward act to lie to those witnessing the event. If baptism is a doorway to salvation, then Adam’s disobedience was an historical event and a literal doorway for sin to enter the world. I accept Adam’s account because it was not figurative. I accept baptism because it is figurative. Nor do I think that one has to be baptized at all. It is not really a life changing command, but like a vow, should only be entered into honestly. Nor is doing it in the Jordan any more special than any other location. So doing it seperate from it’s intended purpose is not wrong if that is a clear understanding between you and God. I think we would be in trouble if baptism was a command or vow, because it could be so easily abused and even causing great mental harm or unintended consequences. As a sacrament baptism is ok, and some denominations require it for membership. Anything other than that goes beyond the simple outward commitment of a personal choice to be obedient to God and is strictly personal on the full intent of one’s thoughts.

Just being in the presence of such a historical site would make me feel overjoyed!

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@mlkluther, @Timtofly, and @jpm

In the Protestant Tradition there are only two sacraments, Baptism and Communion. The Roman Church has seven. They are both very important and not to be messed with.

Baptism is the sacrament of joining the church and becoming part of the Christian community, but that is a problem of sorts. Many churches baptize infants, which makes them a part of the Christian community, but not members of the Church. Other churches only practice “believers” baptism, which means that they baptize those who have been born again.

Thee is a motto, One Lord (Jesus Christ), One Faith (Christianity), One Baptism, which illustrates the unity of our faith despite our divisions, which means that the Catholic Church accepts the baptism of a Protestant Church and visa versa. The problem is that Baptists do not. It should be noted that Hebrews days that if one looses his/her faith, she/he cannot be born again again.

Baptism is the accepting the Christian covenant. It is a one time event. When we join the Church we become part of the local Church, whereas Baptism makes us part of the universal Church. Communion is the renewal of the Baptismal covenant of faith in Jesus Christ and membership in God’s People.

I would be more inclined to stand in the water and pray. I suspect the Jordan resembles a muddy West Texas creek more than a “river” these days. I’m reminded of Will Rogers’ joke about the Rio Grande: “The only river that needs irrigating.”

I think you have to cross into Jordan, but the traditional site for Jesus baptism at “Bethany beyond the Jordan” is Wadi Gharrar, a site 6 mi. east of Jericho where a series of springs feed a creek that flows into the Jordan River.

I agree with most people here.

I think there are valid reasons someone could consider getting re-baptized. Like if they were baptized as an infant but are now part of a Christian community that practices believer’s baptism. Or if they were baptized as a young child and then went on to live many years outside the faith and have recently returned. If you were baptized already by your own decision and have not deconverted and reconverted and you aren’t repenting of anything or joining anything, then I think it does minimize the significance of baptism. (Even if you are a Baptist who calls it an ordinance not a sacrament :wink: ) I guess I understand the draw for some people in the idea of being baptized (for the first time) in the same place as Jesus, but unless your church is there on the trip, isn’t that kind of weird? Who are you making your public commitment to, a bunch of tourists? It is much more significant to me that I was baptized by my pastor in my church as a testimony to my family and friends and community. I feel like getting baptized in a tourist destination in front of a bunch of strangers would be in some ways like getting married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator with an online ordination.

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You should read all the New Testament references to baptism. It is a big deal. A much bigger deal than most Protestants make of it.

You don’t think baptism was commanded in Scripture, or represents something akin to a vow of allegiance to Christ? Like I said, you should read all the verses about baptism.

I think Adam is a big deal, while a lot of humans do not. Nor do I think baptism is insignificant.

Yeah but … this Elvis actually is alive!

I pretty much agree with the whole concept of “public commitment” too. But to give the other side its due, I remember a respected friend of mine once disputing this take with me, and challenging the notion that it need be public at all (John’s Jordan riverside crowds notwithstanding, I guess). But he insisted that there were private baptisms in the New Testament where it was between the person and God (and the one baptizing them). I guess I would say that if one wanted to insist it all had to happen only one kind of way, there will always be a story or two poking at your formula - for those inclined to search for scriptural precedence for everything.

Time was when people got killed for answering this stuff “incorrectly”! Just sayin.

-your local Anabaptist

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I was at the Jordan earlier this year with a group of mostly Lutherans, some Methodists, and a Catholic. We stood in the water and reaffirmed our baptismal vows (led by a Lutheran pastor). That’s something we do in my Methodist church every year anyway. So you can “get wet” in the Jordan and have it be a very meaningful experience, without getting re-baptized.

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As a Lutheran pastor myself, I find this difficult to see how this would fit within a Lutheran theological framework (or Roman Catholic for that matter). In this “reaffirmation” were you immersed in the water and the pastor spoke the words “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?”

Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. We stood in the water up to our ankles, and we went through a liturgy of reaffirmation of our vows/commitment to follow Jesus.

When we do this annually in my home church, at the end of the liturgy, the pastor walks down the aisle and splashes/sprinkles water on the congregation. There is no re-baptism at all. And no restatement of "I baptize you in . . . "

Lots of denominations have such liturgies. Here are some examples:

http://www.interpretermagazine.org/topics/remember-your-baptism-reaffirm-your-vows-recommit-your-life



https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/renewal-baptismal-vows
https://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-2001/living-water-baptismal-renewal-service

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Thanks for all the input and comments! I was musing about it after reading a blog reviewing baptism historically. Did you know some baptized in the nude? Here is a link, the prior two blogs are also about baptism.

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