Some pastors it appears, view Baptism too narrowly. According to the study, 74% of our pastors would re-baptize someone because their church does not believe in eternal security. Among them, a full 16% would rebaptize someone from another Southern Baptist church!
This reflects, in many cases, a misunderstanding and unbiblical view of Baptism. First, Baptism is not biblically related to eternal security. Persons are not baptized because they believe in correct Baptist doctrine or because they have a sound understanding of soteriology. Rather, they are baptized because they have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ. A person who has, after conversion to Christ, been immersed “symbolizing [their] faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus” have indeed been scripturally baptized. There is no call to re-baptize someone because they have come to a more biblical understanding of the security of the believer. Granted, some have argued that a person who does not believe in eternal security has a deficient faith and is trusting in a “works” salvation (thus the need to be rebaptized). This view, however, demonstrates a misunderstanding of Arminianism and its rejection of eternal security. I have argued against this misunderstanding elsewhere and am, frankly, disappointed at the willful ignorance of pastors on this issue. I am not surprised, however, because similar false doctrinal assertions are made against our 5-point Calvinist brothers because they misunderstand and distort the Calvinist view (which, incidently, seems evident from the other part of the Lifeway study). In any case, the idea that Baptism is tied to eternal security rather than on conversion shows either a misunderstanding of baptism or a misunderstanding of Arminianism, or both.
Second, Baptism, while an ordinance of the local church, is not confined in its application to the particular local church in which the Baptism was performed. While baptism is indeed a “prerequisite to the privileges of church membership,” baptism is not an ordinance that is to be repeated in each local church. There is no evidence in the New Testament of a Christian being re-baptized at all, let alone for joining a new local assembly. While it was a small percentage, a significant number of SBC pastors would require rebaptism of persons coming from a church of like faith and practice – even another SBC church. This view, again, demonstrates a faulty view of baptism.
While these first two groups have understood baptism too narrowly, it seems another group has understood the ordinance too broadly. The study also reported that 13 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism of someone baptized in a church that believed in baptismal regeneration, 3 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism of someone not baptized by immersion, and 1 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism. Thankfully, these are minority positions. I should not have to argue to my Baptist readers that scriptural baptism is (1) believer’s baptism, (2) by immersion, and (3) symbolic rather than salvific. I thought this was a Baptist distinctive.
Again, I find this a significant problem in our application of Baptist theology. A small percentage seem to be accepting ANY baptism as valid. A larger percentage view only baptism performed by Baptists is valid. Only 26%, it seems, embrace the thoroughly biblical view that baptism is the symbolic immersion of a believer. Some accept a baptism whether or not is was symbolic. Others accept a baptism whether or not it was by immersion. Many reject the baptism of a believer, merely because that believer was not a Baptist. All of these are a distortion of baptism as pictured in the New Testament. Whether understood too broadly or too narrowly, who knew that the denomination that is most readily identified with their view baptism would by and large not fully embrace biblical believer’s baptism.
 Appeal to the rebaptism of the Ephesian believers in Acts 19 is not an example of the kind of rebaptism we are talking of here. Their initial baptism was not a Christian baptism at all because they had not been “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” Acts 19:5 (NASB). Rather, in terms of Christian baptism, they were being baptized for the first time.