Rebaptism

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What is called rebaptism is generally seen not as a repetition of a valid baptism, but as a first baptism: the earlier ceremony carried out on the person is judged to have been invalid.[1][2] Thus, when a denomination rebaptizes members of another denomination, it is a sign of significant differences in theology. Many churches that practice adult baptism like the Baptists, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches will rebaptise people who were baptised as infants because they do not consider infant baptism as biblically valid.

In the 4th century, controversy was provoked by the Montanist sect's practice of rebaptizing Christians who had renounced their faith under persecution. The mainstream church decided that the lapsi could not be rebaptized, because the sacrament of baptism was irrevocable, leaving an indelible mark on the soul of the baptized.

Later on, rebaptism of Arians was deemed necessary because Arians did not believe in the identical Holy Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicea and their baptism was therefore not in the name of the Trinity as understood by the Council.

While in modern times some Orthodox have rebaptized Catholics, the claim that they did so in medieval times has been dismissed as a Latin slander against the Eastern Orthodox.[3] Greek Orthodox practice, but not Russian, changed dramatically in 1755, when Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople issued the Definition of the Holy Church of Christ Defending the Holy Baptism Given from God, and Spitting upon the Baptisms of the Heretics Which Are Otherwise Administered; but today even the Greek Orthodox do not necessarily insist on rebaptizing Catholics.[4]

Today, non-trinitarian movements such as the Latter Day Saints, Oneness Pentecostal and Jehovah's Witnesses are among the most likely to practise rebaptism, essentially because they do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, in whose name mainstream Christian baptisms are conducted. In the case of Latter-day Saints, this is due to their claim of being the only church with the priesthood authority to perform saving ordinances.[5]

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