We first ran this post in September of 2012, shortly after a weekend service with on-the-spot baptisms.
A few times a year we issue an invitation for hearers to be baptized on the spot. The gospel is preached, an invitation is given, and people come, Acts 2 style. We have each baptismal candidate meet with a counselor trained to ask a number of diagnostic questions to ascertain whether the candidate actually understands the gospel and embraces the Lordship of Christ. We end up turning a considerable number of people away, but we baptize a whole lot as well. This past weekend [September 2012] we baptized 180.
Failing to determine whether someone understands their profession of faith before you baptize them is, in my view, recklessly irresponsible. Declaring someone “saved” when they aren’t not only gives them false assurance, it makes them that much more immune to future calls to repent and believe. God help us never to put the excitement of large numbers ahead of the safety of people’s souls. My ego is not worth someone else’s eternity.
For this reason, many pastors require a waiting period between a profession of faith and baptism–attendance at a class, etc.–before they will administer baptism. Some won’t baptize children growing up in their churches until adulthood because only then can they be sure that a sound decision has been made.
I believe this to be a well-intended, but unbiblical and dangerous, solution to the problem.