The Followers teach that only a very special man can perform biblical baptism. The man must be “called” by God to be a preacher. The calling comes about in ways that are clear to both the newly called preacher and to other godly men who have confirmation visions, dreams, or other signs. A man cannot just say, “I’ve been called” and be accepted, it must be confirmed by others.
When I was young, I knew some older people in the church who had been baptized in other churches and then joined the Followers where they were told they needed a true baptism by a man called by God – Walter. Two of the folks who were baptized by Walter after having been baptized earlier in their lives were my uncle and my grandmother (on my dad’s side of the family). Both of them left the church after Walter died and before my birth. I'm told (and the baptism records confirm) that in the last few months of Walter’s baptism ministry, many outsiders came to be baptized, and very few of them stayed around long after his death.
So I have been wondering about this: is rebaptism biblical? Is it necessary? In my search, the first bible verse I found led me to believe that rebaptism is not biblical:
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:5-6 (KJV)
I wasn’t satisfied with the very brief hint of “one baptism” in the Ephesians verse, so I read up a bit more and found other relevant verses. This verse, from the book of Acts, refers to some men who had been baptized by John the Baptist, and then were rebaptized by the apostle Paul, in the name of Jesus.
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Acts 19: 1-6
This verse brings up another question: most churches (including, I’m told, The Church of the Firstborn) baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” but here we are told to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:16 (KJV)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:28 (KJV)
to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 3:20-21 (NIV)