The rapper known as Lecrae posted a baptism video on Instagram and Twitter touting his upcoming album. The social media post sparked conversation on baptism and the merits of getting baptized more than once. Many comments had assumed that Lecrae, who has for years marketed himself as a Christian had already been baptized. Others tout Jordan River baptisms as something Christians do when they visit the Holy Land. There are a number of important biblical questions here that should be discussed. But first, here’s the post:
Can’t be baptized in the Jordan river and make the same old music. This new album is gonna be special. pic.twitter.com/YnlWOhd8g5
— Lecrae (@lecrae) September 20, 2019
The Bible has examples of baptism all throughout the Book of Acts. We see that in Peter’s Sermon, Peter instructs the convicted audience to repent and be baptized. We can go all throughout the Book of Acts, but my favorite example is is Acts 16, the passage read when I was baptized.
27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. Acts 16:27-34 NASB
People first believe, then they are baptized, promptly. That is the model throughout scripture with every Christian except the thief on the cross next to Jesus.
Number of Baptisms?
I challenge people to find a scriptural example of someone being baptized more than once. There may be a passage fitting for this question with the baptism of Jesus.
11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
3Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:11-17 ESV
John the Baptist was presumably already baptized, seeing as he was baptizing many others. While one cannot blame him for wanting Jesus to baptize him, Jesus corrects the situation by saying it must be done to “fulfill all righteousness.” As we can see in verse 17, Jesus knew what he was talking about. John the Baptist is not then baptized by Jesus afterwards despite experiencing the awe of the Holy Spirit.
If John the Baptist was not baptized a second time, what scriptural support is there for any believer to be baptized a second time.
Legitimate Second Baptisms
Samuel Sey of Slow to Write wrote a piece on why he’s a baptist. It provocatively begins by stating:
I’ve been baptized twice. I was baptized for the first time two years before I became a Christian. And I was baptized for the second time six years after I became a Christian. But what happened in between that time is why I am a Baptist.
He goes on to explain how he had a meaningless baptism in his youth. Then when he actually became a Christian, his church wrongly disallowed him to be baptized. There are Christians who were baptized either as infants or when they never really believed. For them to be baptized when they are saved is perfectly in line with the scriptural model. Otherwise it is not rooted in the Bible for Christians to be baptized a second time whether they have just gone through something or as a “renewal.” For if it were, what is to stop baptism from being performed a third or fourth time for a believer. And if a believer can be baptized that many times, why then is baptism not practiced to the regularity that Communion is?
1 it’s Mikvah. 2. Jesus was God already and still was baptized. 3. Celebrate the heart vs criticizing the information.
— Lecrae (@lecrae) September 20, 2019
So in one tweet, it went from being a baptism to a Mikvah. So after being questioned, he backtracked. His Instagram post delves deeper into explaining how baptism and Mikvah are the same, which further undermines the legitimacy of his defense. But then after backtracking, he doubled down. He then compared his baptism after already being baptized to Jesus being baptized despite being God, as if the reasons for either are remotely comparable. Thirdly, Lecrae insists that we “celebrate the heart” as opposed to criticizing him. But plainly put, there is nothing here to celebrate. He is a rich man of privilege vacationing overseas. There is nothing godly about what he is doing: calling a baptism a Mikvah under criticism and telling us to “celebrate the heart” instead of discerning the obvious theological discrepancy that sets a terrible example for believers. No, we should reject his his postmodernist statement of celebrating the heart which the bible says is deceitful. We should instead use our heads, for Christianity is a faith that promotes and enables us to critically think.
Come on. Mikvah is for ceremonial cleansing, a thing done away in Christ. All orthodox traditions, especially those backed by Church History, hold to a singular application of the sacrament of baptism. If this isn't your first, call it what it is: a bath. If it is, congrats!
— ドーソン (@TheDawsonJames) September 20, 2019
Can’t be baptized in the Jordan river and make the same old music. This new album is gonna be special.
This stunt is clearly self promotion and that elevates this from being a misunderstanding of scripture to an open mockery of the sacrament of baptism. This is likely a sign of further decline as he increasingly distances himself from the “Christian” label in favor of going woke. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (believer’s baptism), and believers ought take that seriously.