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What Does the Bible Say About..A Woman Baptizing?

Is it appropriate for a woman baptize another woman or anyone for that matter? I grew up in the church of Christ, but I currently attend a Christian church. I teach the 5th and 6th graders, and we have been studying about what it means to be a part of Godís family and baptism. One of the girls asked me if I would baptize her and I did, but I received some very negative feedback from my family. I grew up thinking it was unacceptable, but I personally canít find anything in scripture that would prohibit me from doing it, other than there is no example of it in the Bible, but I feel like that is a weak argument. It seems like it is more of a human tradition, especially since I am not usurping authority from man. Although Jesus was speaking to his male disciples when he commanded them to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, isnít it really a commandment given to all people, not just the men? The baptistery is also located in the church basement and it was done after church with a small group of people there.

Answer

It is interesting that you ask this question at this time. I am writing on article on just this subject, which will be in the next issue of my bulletin, Minutes With Messiah. (The article is now available at Legal Baptism.)

The Bible says nothing about who, specifically, is to do the baptizing. If one takes the passage in Matthew 28:19 to authorize only men to do the baptizing, then only men can do the teaching. Women would have no role in converting anyone. But we know this is wrong, because Acts 18:26 we find Priscilla and her husband both teaching Apollos.

Most of the time that baptism is mentioned, it is in the passive; that is, they talk about being baptized rather than baptizing. So it appears that it is really not important who does the baptizing. As I understand it, baptism by a woman, a man, a Martian (if there were such a thing), or even an atheist would still be a proper immersion as long as the recipient is doing it out of faith and for the purpose of forgiveness of sins.