Can women perform baptisms?
by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 8:27am
Someone asked me if it is OK for a woman to baptize a new convert in the church service. In defense of the practice, one person says the great commission is for everyone. Against this another person says that the great commission was given before the church began. Here is my response:
(1) Yes, the great commission was given before the church began, but it was given FOR the church. The Lord’s Supper was given before the church began, too. Should we then not practice it? That argument is not very well thought out. (2) There is no Biblical teaching that forbids a woman to baptize someone in a church service or outside a church service. The Biblical limitations on women’s roles in the church are stated only in 1 Tim. 2:12, which forbids a woman to teach Bible doctrine to a Christian man, and to exercise spiritual authority over a Christian man (as with the eldership). To baptize someone does not fall into either of these categories. In our church we have women in the children’s department baptizing young converts occasionally. I would not make a general practice of women baptizing adults, especially male converts, for two reasons. One, it could become a stumbling block for some who are accustomed to certain traditional practices; two, it could be interpreted as a concession to feminism. Both of these reasons are matters of expediency only. With proper teaching, these reasons could become obsolete. Jack Cottrell