I know quite well that the plethora of Protestant denominations means that there are almost no universal traditions. However, there are a number of particular traditions or beliefs that are held by the majority of Protestant denominations. In this sense, then, I'm wondering if there is a general consensus - and what the consensus is - as to who can baptize a new believer. An even better answer would be one that broadly categorizes the denominations that have a particular restriction on who can baptize and the denominations that don't have such a restriction. (Brownie points for an answer with a Wesleyan viewpoint.)

Related: According to the Roman Catholic church, who can baptize?

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    I don't think there can be a right answer to this question. Main protestant branches can't even agree on who can be baptised, let alone who does the baptising. The Roman Catholic chruch question is a good one, because I would assume the Roman Catholic church has one answer.
    – Greg
    Feb 21, 2013 at 0:34
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    @Greg: Wait, you mean there are some Protestant branches that don't believe a adult who just became a believer can be baptized? Also, note that I'm asking if there is a consensus, so a single answer could say "No"! Feb 21, 2013 at 1:50
  • I don't know of any who say an adult believer shouldn't be baptised, but there is plenty of difference for children/infants. I would argue that children can be believers, and so I think they should be baptised (I also believe in pedobaptism), but there are others who don't think that children should be baptised at all. I don't think there is an answer to this question.
    – Greg
    Feb 21, 2013 at 4:49

2 Answers 2


The Scriptures make no restriction on who can baptize another person. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28, Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples, to baptize them and to teach them obedience. It is very plausible to presume, then, that the one who disciples is the one who has the right to baptize and teach obedience as well. Yet, individuals can play different roles in this.

So, some Protestant denominations may restrict the privilege to pastors, but when they do so, it is likely not based on clear prohibitions of Scripture. Many Protestant denominations reject the idea of a clergy class and a laity class, so what a pastor can do, others who are not pastors can also do (except when it comes to legal issues like performing weddings).

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NAS

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    I'm not aware of any Protestant denomination that requires any qualification on the part of the minister. Often ordained ministers are required by church rules for baptisms in normal practice, but none say that a lay person cannot baptise, for instance in emergencies. Dec 23, 2013 at 16:39
  • Some conservative denominations (Church of Christ, Brethren assemblies) would restrict baptism to being performed only by men, as we do not see any NT example of a woman baptising another believer. Mar 9, 2016 at 9:19

In my church, which is a nondenominational Protestant church, a pastor or male member of the church will baptise a new believer. Often a child's father will baptise them. However, I don't know if this is a rule or just what usually happens

  • Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. Thank you for your contribution - good things were that you sourced the tradition (nondenom), described the practice, and then evaluated your own answer. If you could find out more about whether it is a rule or a tradition, it would be interesting. Dec 23, 2013 at 18:13

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