In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for example, everyone who desires to enter the waters of baptism must first be interviewed to see if they qualify for baptism.

The Catholics also have requirements for baptism, which are defined in the Code of Canon Law

Are there any Protestant denominations that have specific requirements for baptism?

  • According to which protestants? – Flimzy Sep 25 '14 at 16:01
  • It is my understanding that many protestants acknowledge baptisms from other denominations. Is this assumption incorrect? – ShemSeger Sep 25 '14 at 16:05

Generally speaking, many Protestant churches have no other requirement outside of a statement of faith by the individual seeking baptism. This practice corresponds to various accounts in the book of Acts, and the baptism happens immediately after the people believe.

But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Acts 8:12-13 NASB

And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:38 (Ethiopian Eunuch)

“Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” Acts 10:47 NASB (Cornelius)

Some denominations, however, practice infant baptism. For these, of course, the only requirement is that the parents bring the children to be baptized.

I know the International Churches of Christ once required a certain level of discipleship prior to baptism, as they held to the concept of "disciples baptism" rather than "believers baptism". Oddly enough, they believed that baptism was essential for salvation, but would encourage some people to delay their baptism until they were really ready for that commitment, which seems counter-intuitive if eternity is, indeed, at stake.

There may be other denominations that require something akin to confirmation prior to baptism, but I think it would be difficult for anyone to know the baptismal requirements for any and all groups.

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  • 1
    For those Protestant denominations which practice infant baptism, are there typically requirements for the parents/guardians? (perhaps in terms of classes that must be taken, some level of involvement with the church, etc.?) – Matt Gutting Sep 25 '14 at 17:34
  • This is good general information, but it doesn't necessarily answer the question. – ShemSeger Sep 25 '14 at 20:05
  • @ShemSeger Agreed, the way the question is worded, but it seemed to be better to list classes rather than individual denominations. – Narnian Sep 26 '14 at 11:54
  • "For these, of course, the only requirement is that the parents bring the children to be baptized" – this is not correct in many (most?) denominations that baptize infants. – Nathaniel is protesting Jun 19 '17 at 23:27

Yes. I'll outline the specifics for one denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, that baptizes both adults and infants, so you can get a picture of how both situations are handled.

General requirements

There are a few requirements that apply to both infant and adult baptisms:

  • A baptism must administered by an ordained minister.
  • It must be done under the supervision of the elders of the church.
  • It must be done in the presence of the congregation.
  • The minister baptizes by sprinkling or pouring water on the head while saying the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Infant baptism

In the case of an infant baptism, the child must be presented by one or both parents, or "some other responsible person." The minister then provides some words of instruction regarding the nature and purpose of baptism, and an exhortation to the parents to raise the child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. After reading the covenant promises, from Acts 2:39, Genesis 17:7, and Acts 16:31, he asks three questions to the parent(s), who answer in the affirmative:

  • Do you acknowledge your child’s need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you claim God’s covenant promises in (his) behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for (his) salvation, as you do for your own?
  • Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before (him) a godly example, that you will pray with and for (him), that you will teach (him) the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring (him) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

The minister has the option of asking the congregation:

  • Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child?

Finally, the minister is to pray, baptize the child, and conclude with prayer.

These children are then considered "non-communing members," meaning that, though they are members of the church, they may not take communion until they are older and make a profession of faith similar to the one made by adults who are baptized (see the next section).

Adult baptism

In the case of adult baptism, the elders of the church are responsible for examining the prospective member in terms of both "knowledge and piety." Afterwards, the person makes a profession of faith in the presence of the congregation, and the minister may admonish the person regarding the seriousness of the obligations that he or she has taken on. The profession typically includes affirmation of the following questions:

  • Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?
  • Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
  • Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
  • Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
  • Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?

The person is then baptized, and the minister closes with prayer. The baptized individual is now a communing member of the church, and thus may take communion.


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