I was baptized as an infant, but my parents did it mostly out of tradition. We rarely went to church after that, and I would surmise my infant baptism meant little to my parents (maybe to my mom). Of course, a baby is clueless as to what is happening.
When I finally did “see the light” at the ripe old age of 25 years old, I spent the next year or two hearing about baptisms in the Vineyard Church I attended. No one ever tried to “guilt” me into getting baptized, but they did hold regular opportunities to get baptized as an adult, if you felt led. I will never forget the day I felt “led.” No one ever tried to “guilt” me into getting baptized, but they did hold regular opportunities to get baptized as an adult, if you felt led.
The Holy Spirit fell on me during a regular Sunday morning worship service, and I began to weep. Then I began to sob, as if another wave of repentance was washing over me. I went down to the “altar” (makeshift at the casual Vineyard), and got some prayer. It just so happened that a baptism was being held that afternoon, and the person praying for me asked if I wanted to go. Without hesitation, I said yes.
At that time, I lived in beautiful Santa Barbara, and there was a fairly wealthy church member who offered their home pool as the place we would get baptized. This pool sat on the edge of the Riviera, a well-to-do neighborhood modeled after the French Riviera, overlooking the ocean. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day, and as my roommate and I drove up the hill to this gorgeous house, I looked up to the sky and there was a rainbow encircled around the sun. My roommate exclaimed, “That is for you, Lisa! That is God’s promise for you.” Whatever it was, I took it, and rainbows have been special to me ever since.
When we arrived, there was a small team of people who were going to pray for those who received baptism. My turn came, the pastor prayed over me, and dunked me under. Someone exclaimed, “Her whole body didn’t go all the way under!” So, they dunked me again. (I must have needed a double dose, and if you knew my whole past, well, I guess I did – ha ha.)
I got up and nothing remarkable happened, but I felt relieved somehow. I went into the prayer circle, and one woman, whom I never met, said this: “I see you with a newspaper, and God wants you to lay it down.” I was shocked! This lady didn’t know I was a news reporter. I said, “Do you know I’m a broadcast reporter?” She quickly backed down and said, “OH! Um….no! Maybe God just thinks you’re reading the paper too much, and wants you to read the Bible more?” That wasn’t it. I knew exactly what it meant.
Just a couple of months before this baptism, the Painted Cave Fire broke out in Santa Barbara, destroying over 500 homes and killing at least one unlucky homeowner. I was reporting for KTMS news at the time, and was sent to cover the fire. I worked more than 24-hours, doing live radio reports throughout the night, trembling in fear and praying all night as I drove the KTMS news vehicle through flames that licked at my car. Electric high-wire cables had fallen from the telephone poles and were jumping radically all over the road, sparking even more flames. Seeing devastated home owners, walking down their streets carrying paintings, or whatever they could grab before their homes were destroyed, destroyed me.
It was the worst night I ever experienced. I knew I didn’t have the heart to be a reporter anymore. I had been praying to God to show me what to do. All I ever had prepared for was reporting. I was afraid to leave it. Yet this baptismal experience was a prophetic confirmation that God had heard my prayers, and gave me the courage to trust Him. Just two months later, a job opened up at the City of Santa Barbara for a Public Information Officer. I applied, got the job, and did what God asked me to—laid the news business down. My life has been blessed ever since!
Overall, I am all for adult baptism! The Bible is not clear about re-baptisms, as there are no direct scriptures against it, or for it. I think, for me at least, baptism was a defining moment in my faith journey. Not all baptisms are like mine, but I know they are all special in God’s eyes when they come from a repentant soul. I think it is a good outwardly act of an inward commitment to laying down your life for His will to be done. If you’re were baptized as an infant, consider praying about making a deliberate choice to publicly doing it again, knowing full-well the choice you are making.