Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism today commonly refers to the religious practice of baptizing a person on behalf of one who is dead—a living person receiving the rite on behalf of a deceased person.
Baptism for the dead is best known as a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, which has practiced it since 1840. It is currently practiced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), where it is performed only in dedicated temples, as well as in several other current factions of the movement. Those who practice this rite view baptism as an essential requirement to enter the Kingdom of God, and therefore practice baptism for the dead to offer it by proxy to those who died without the opportunity to receive it. The LDS Church teaches that those who have died may choose to accept or reject the baptisms done on their behalf. Source: Wikipedia
(JTA) — A researcher says Mormons have posthumously baptized the late Lubavitcher rebbe, the grandparents of Carrie Fisher and Steven Spielberg, and hundreds of Holocaust victims, violating an agreement to halt the practice.
Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City-based independent researcher who has been looking into the Mormon practice of posthumous baptisms for two decades, said there are hundreds of examples of Jewish Holocaust victims being baptized in Mormon churches around the world since 2012. In a report released this week, she shared names of 20 such people who had been baptized.
“There are at least hundreds, probably more,” Radkey, a former Mormon who was excommunicated from the church in 1978, told JTA on Thursday.
The practice of proxy baptisms is a controversial one. Mormons are instructed to perform baptisms on dead relatives who did not have the opportunity to convert to the church. However, in the 1990s it was discovered that Mormons had performed such rites on hundreds of thousands of Jews who died in the Holocaust. This angered Jewish groups, which said the practice disrespected the victims’ religious beliefs.
Radkey also says she found examples of family members of famous politicians, including Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as relatives of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, being posthumously baptized.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the church was doing its part to ensure there were no posthumous baptisms.
“The Church cares deeply about ensuring these standards are maintained,” he said in a statement. “Each month, we receive a list of names of Holocaust victims from the [Simon] Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. These are added to our database of names that require a direct family connection before temple work can be requested or performed.” See the whole article here.
Baptism for the dead is a non-biblical practice where a living person is baptized in lieu of a person that passed away, as a means of making a public profession of faith for a person that is already deceased. We can, essentially, think of it as the practice of baptizing a dead person.
The practice has as its basis the misinterpretation of 1st Corinthians 15:29: “Otherwise, what will they do, those being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not at all raised, why indeed are they baptized on behalf of the dead?” This is a difficult passage to interpret, but we do know by comparing it with the rest of Scripture that it does not mean that a dead person can be saved by someone else being baptized on his or her behalf, because baptism is not a requirement for salvation in the first place (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:28; 4:3; 6:3-4). The entire passage (vv. 12-29) is about the surety of the resurrection, not about baptism for the dead.
What was being baptized for the dead?
It is a mysterious passage, and there have been more than thirty different interpretations put forward. 1. The plain meaning of the Greek in verse 29 is that some people are being baptized on behalf of those who have died—and if there is no resurrection, why are they doing this? 2. Either Paul is referring to a pagan custom (notice he uses they, not “we”), or to a superstitious and unscriptural practice in the Corinthian church of vicarious baptism for believers who died before being baptized. 3. Either way, he certainly does not approve of the practice; he merely says that if there is no resurrection, why would the custom take place? The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead is neither scriptural nor sensible. Baptism for the dead is a practice that was common in the pagan religions of Greece and is still practiced today by some cults; but it doesn’t change a person’s eternal destiny, for that is determined while he lives (Luke 16:26). Source: Got Questions
What is the BIBLICAL TRUTH about Baptism?
Loran Larson September 2015
II Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away behold, all things are become new.”
As I study the New Testament, I see three baptisms that were encountered by the New Testament believer.
First and foremost, there is a baptism into the body of Christ. This is accomplished as the Holy Spirit unites and plants the believing sinner into Christ at salvation. I Corinthians 12:13 says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” This baptism is what is being referred to in Romans 6:3-5. After this truly “born again” experience, either one of the next two baptisms are legitimate.
There is a baptism with water that witnesses to all that the believer has accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour and dedicated his or her heart and life to Him. This baptism is seen in Matthew 28:19.
Then there is the baptism with the Holy Spirit, where Jesus Himself baptizes the born-again believer into the person of the Holy Spirit. The initial physical evidence of this baptism is speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives the believer supernatural power. Its purpose is not to save, but to empower the believer for service and enhance the relationship that believer has already established with the indwelling Spirit of God.
Only the first baptism—a baptism into Christ—is necessary for salvation, but according to the record of the New Testament, all three baptisms are normal Christian experiences and should be pursued and experienced by all who are saved. In this article we want to begin looking at the miracle and benefits of the first baptism, being “baptized into Christ.”
DEFINING THE NEW CREATION
First, let’s establish that the supernatural construction that is carried out in the human heart at salvation is done solely by the Holy Spirit.
In Colossians 2:11 the Bible says, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands….” The surgery that is performed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of redemption is not done with human hands. The circumcision is one of the heart, the soul, and the spirit as described by Paul in Romans 2:28-29 which says “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
The heart is made up of two separate entities: the soul (the part of man that feels) and the spirit (the part of man that knows). The Holy Spirit reconstructs the soul causing the believer to have an inner love for God and the desire to get to know Him better. The reconstructed spirit becomes the receiving center of revelation and understanding.
The Holy Spirit brings the information from God, relaying it to and through the newly installed “receiver” of the born-again spirit. The Holy Spirit moves into this newly constructed heart and immediately begins the process of teaching, leading, revealing, rebuking, instructing, guiding, etc. The Holy Spirit is God dwelling in man. The Holy Spirit did not come to be a silent partner. Therefore, we must learn not to grieve or quench Him.
These miraculous changes were prophesied in Ezekiel 36:25-27. As another supernatural benefit, the moral code of God is written into the very heart of the believer at redemption. Hebrews 10:16 verifies this truth. If we then add a growing knowledge of the Word with the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside the new creation, true life can now begin. All of this is available only because of what Christ Jesus did for us on the Cross.
THE DEFEAT OF SIN
At the core of man’s “sin problem” lies the sin nature. This nature was received at the fall of man and passed on to all human beings born thereafter. The sin nature, also known as the sin principle or the Adamic nature, bends the heart of man toward ungodliness and sin until the conscience of man is so seared that sin becomes the norm and not the exception. This “source” of sin is continually corrupting the heart (soul and spirit) working and weaving evil desires, ungodly thoughts, and selfish designs into the framework of the heart. Romans 6:1-11 teaches us what every Christian must know—that our baptism into Christ breaks the power of the sin nature and separates the new believer from the impacting influence of the sin nature.
So our salvation experience frees us from both the penalty of sin and from the very source of sinful bents in us. Next the clean up work commences, being headed up by the Holy Spirit. He immediately goes to work to rid us of every evil desire and design that has been painted in our souls by the active sin nature.
Every parent will understand this illustration. A child finds a crayon and connects that crayon to the walls of their bedroom creating a masterpiece of disaster on the wall. If you don’t remove the crayon from the child’s hand there is no way to effectively clean that wall. But after the crayon has been eliminated and the child “taught” that that action is unacceptable, then and only then can the cleanup process begin. Even so, our salvation frees us from the “coloring” influences of the sin nature and the Holy Spirit instantly descends upon the mess inside us. With all of His power, He begins to eliminate the strongholds and sets out to establish the new man. Thus, progressive sanctification has begun (once again, all because of our simple faith in Christ and the Cross) and the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier.
Romans 8:2 has become a reality: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” All of this and more is ours because of simple faith in Christ. All of this and more is maintained as we come to understand what Christ did for us on Calvary and as we fight to maintain our faith in what it means to be “baptized into Christ.”